The news keeps getting worse for the Florida Gators, and the season hasn’t even started. On Wednesday, the school announced that the wide receiver Andre Debose has a torn ACL and will miss the entire 2013 season.
This is another hit to an offense that struggled at times last season, and has already seen injury creep up on it in the preseason. Starting quarterback Jeff Driskel had an appendectomy in late July, and was expected to miss about two weeks of action.
These injuries will have an impact on the Gators’ offense in 2013. Debose was expected to be a big play receiver for Florida this season. His absence means that someone must step up to fill that receiver spot. Quinton Dunbar is the starter at one receiver position, but the question about who plays at the other spot remains. Trey Burton and Solomon Patton figure to play bigger roles in the offense now, and at least some of a group of true freshmen must play immediately. That group includes Alvin Bailey, Ahmad Fulwood, Marqui Hawkins, Demarcus Robinson and Chris Thompson.
Driskel’s injury doesn’t figure to have long-term effects on the team, but head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease would have liked Driskel to be getting the reps in preseason practice to form a chemistry with his receiving corps.
Florida figures to have a strong defense again this season, under the defensive-minded Muschamp, so the fortunes of the team largely fall on the offense. The loss of last season’s leading rusher, Mike Gillislee, means that Florida must find someone to step into that spot as well.
It seems that now, more than ever, the Gators have plenty of questions on offense. A week-two meeting with the Miami Hurricanes could expose some weaknesses, unless Muschamp and Pease can get the offense humming by then.