Hello Florida Fans!
As most of you know (and for those that don’t) I’m Kassidy, the Magnolia Plantation’s resident Florida football non-expert enthusiast. I moved to Gainesville and fell on Cindy and Joe’s doorstep when I took an internship with the local TV stations sports station. After spending nearly 2 years immersed in Gator football, I may not know everything but I probably know more than the armchair quarterback eating breakfast next to you who thinks he’s Steve Spurrier’s better half.
Cindy asked if I’d include just a little update on your beloved Gators so you can have some background when you head to Gainesville this fall. As a recap, if you haven’t already exorcised it from your mind, the team finished a dismal 4-8 in 2013, missing a bowl game for the first time since some of you were in school here and with an offense that made offensive coordinator Brent Pease’s office practically pack itself after the last game. Although if we’re being honest, that office probably had boxes outside the door after the Missouri game. There was a discord there most of the season and I had a couple of seniors tell me that no one really understood any of the decisions made concerning the offense.
The offense is probably where you’ll see the biggest change this season. One of the first things Will Muschamp did this January was to hire some guys that could actually repair the fraying fabric that are his playmakers instead of just patching it up. New Offensive Coordinator Kurt Roper comes from Duke where he helped lead the Blue Devils to a 10 win season. If you can do that at Duke with guys who couldn’t cut it as basketball players then he should have no problem doing the same at Florida. Another point in Roper’s favor for you fans; he’s opening it up. That’s right, they’re planning on going throw back to fun-and-gun and as much as it pains me to say that as a defensive aficionado, maybe it’ll stop some of you from whining for the days when a visor was thrown after every touchdown.
One of the pieces in this new game could come in the form of the lanky gunslinger Will Grier. The North Carolina quarterback impressed all four years in high school and could be the cog of this new fast moving air raid. Of course he’ll have to beat out incumbent Jeff Driskel who the coaches still staunchly stand behind. The senior watched from the sidelines much of 2013 after a leg injury and says that the new point of view taught him a lot more schematically. Also Tyler Murphy transferred to Boston College while Skyler Mornhinweg refuses to do so.
The offensive line, which last year caused their quarterback to have more grass stains on his jersey than a little league outfielder, is being whipped into shape by Mike Summers who came all the way from sunny California at USC to sunny Florida to coach a dreary line. And your former national championship MVP Chris Leak is coaching receivers. If nothing else, you know they’re getting good passes in practice.
The defense, well that’s Muschamps forte so don’t even worry about that. Even after a 4-8 season, there were still 3 defensive players drafted this past April and the defense ended 2013 ranked 15th in the country. That’s pretty good. Also, Dante Fowler will now move into a permanent position up front and the junior is already giving nightmares to these new wide-eyed quarterbacks all across the SEC. That’s really all you need to know about the defense. They’re going to be fine.
As for Muschamp himself, I’d venture to say he needs to win 4 out of his 5 first games to not have pitchforks and shovels waiting for him outside of the locker room. That one loss in the first 5 will be allowed at Alabama because a game against Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa is generally only winnable with a little voo-doo magic and the only people that can conjure that are Les Miles and Johnny Manziel. And no matter what words of support Jeremy Foley throws behind Willy, it’s pretty clear that his seat is going to start out warm this season and where it goes from there only God knows.
Lastly, I leave you with my favorite Muschamp quote from 2013, and I do so with a smile on my face because it’s a lesson we could all humbly serve to remember heading into what one can only pray will be a successful season; “I love our fans but some of you need to just get a grip.”
Stay classy Florida fans. Don’t forget you can catch your favorite boy Timmy Tebow on the SEC Network this fall. Try not to cry too many tears of remembrance.
If you can’t wait to see how this season plays out, make sure to catch the Gators in action live. We still have a few rooms open for games but they’re going fast so make a reservation now online!
11/1-vs. Georgia at Jacksonville