Talking Florida's Two-Deep Offense

We haven't had any form of an official depth chart since before spring practice started and on Monday, Will Muschamp released his newest version for game week. A look at the offense doesn't show too many surprises to those that have been reading FightinGators.com, but there is a wrinkle or two thrown in for good measure. We take a look at the two-deep on offense released by Muschamp today.

When Florida takes on FAU on Saturday in The Swamp, there will be a lot of new bodies added to the lineup for Florida from a year ago and then some of the same ones we are used to. For the most part, the changes will come at the line of scrimmage, but we'll talk about every position anyway.

Quarterback
#12 John Brantley; #16 Jeff Driskel

Brantley has been the solid leader from day one and the offensive staff has really talked him up. He has missed some time recently due to an injury and the issue here is that he is facing no contact in practice and still injured his back. Regardless, Will Muschamp and company have stated quite clearly they have faith in Brantley and what he is capable of doing.

It has been one of those wait and see things for Driskel. The high school phenom with all of the tools to be an elite talent was not being talked about at all in the spring and into early fall camp. Midway through, Driskel was suddenly named the backup at the position and pushed ahead of redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy… everything seemed to fall in line with what was ‘expected'.

In the last week or so, with Brantley's injury, Driskel has gotten the majority of the snaps at practice and that can only be good for him. He should get a lot of playing time in the opener and in a situation where he can play loose and hopefully under control.

Half Back
#1 Chris Rainey OR #28 Jeff Demps; #23 Mike Gillislee

It has been Rainey or Demps since the beginning. According to sources Rainey has supposedly been a terror behind the closed gates of the practice field and is expected to be the guy that gets the first snap on Saturday. Of course he is also the first punt returner, so things could changed based on any long return he might have.

Demps is capable of doing just about anything Rainey can and can do most of it faster. He will get just as many carries as Rainey and likely will be used a little more in the power role when necessary compared to Rainey.

Interesting that they clearly made Gillislee the third guy and ahead of Mack Brown, but the order certainly isn't a shocker. That he is listed at all is a good sign in my opinion that he gets some decent action on Saturday.

Fullback (F-21)
#8 Trey Burton; #41 Hunter Joyer

The (21) designation in (F-21) stands for the personnel in a particular play. In the numerical order, the first number stands for the number of backs on the field and the second number for the number of tight ends. Given that the skill positions other than the quarterback total five on the field at any one time, the (21) means there are two backs, one tight end, and the remainder of the five (2) are receivers.

They have to find ways to get the ball in Burton's hands and so I am surprised that he is only listed as a fullback on the 2-deep. Either way, this will be his primary position and I expect him to get the rock a bit from the fullback position.

Burton is such a coach friendly player with his versatility and ability to learn on the run, he will make a huge impact this year as he did in his freshman season.

I assumed G. Christian would be listed second at fullback, but I think it is a big sign that Hunter Joyer will get on the field early and often that he is already listed in the 2-deep. Joyer is a huge kid and should be a devastating blocker once he really learns everything he is supposed to do on the field.

Tight End
#11 Jordan Reed; #32 Gerald Christian

The first tight end spot can either be a flexed out receiver or an extension of the line tight end. As a flexed out receiver Reed is the best one we have and probably one of the top 4-5 athletes on offense with the ball in his hands.

Weis wants a tight end that can block and that isn't Reed's strong suit. Freshman A.C. Leonard was the guy here, but was hurt and will be out for a good part of the season. In the meantime, Christian has stepped up big time and has become a reliable blocker. Don't be surprised in a run heavy offense if Christian is the lone tight end on the field a lot.

2nd Tight End (F-12)
#32 Gerald Christian

Again the personnel designation for the (F-12) indicates there is a second tight end on the field. In all, it is 1 back, 2 tight ends, and 2 receivers. With only one name on the list, if the gators go to a second tight end it will be Reed at the first and Christian is that second guy. Again, he is the best blocker of the bunch. Noticeably absent is freshman Clay Burton who was moved to the position from defense in the middle of fall preseason practice.

Wide Receiver
Receiver (X) #84 Quinton Dunbar; #4 Andre Debose
Receiver (Z) #6 Deonte Thompson; #85 Frankie Hammond
Receiver (Z-11) #85 Frankie Hammond; #4 Andre Debose

The lack of numbers overall is the scariest part of the 2-deep lineup at receiver. However, in a traditional pro-set, there are only two receivers, so the four guys listed should be the main receivers we see in week one.

If there is a surprise it is probably that Dunbar is the starter at (X) basically pushing Hammond out of the starting lineup. By all accounts the tale of the two has been that Hammond has been the steadiest and most reliable while Dunbar has been the biggest play maker. Maybe this is a sign of what the staff is really looking for?

As we have talked about here, Thompson is the likely starter at one spot and that is the way it is set at this point.

The (Z-11) designation means they are playing with 1 back, 1 tight end, and 3 receivers, and is marked for the slot receiver. This what we expected in that Hammond would move into the slot with Dunbar and Thompson on the outside. Debose as the backup is somewhat of a surprise and in my opinion bodes well for maybe a renewed ability to cut and move better after recovering from injuries in the past.

Offensive Line
LT #73 Xavier Nixon; #75 Chaz Green
RT #71 Matt Patchan, #75 Chaz Green
C #72 Jonotthan Harrison; #56 Dan Wenger
LG #56 Dan Wenger; #64 Kyle Koehne
RG #67 Jon Halapio; #58 Nick Alajajian

At tackle the three guys listed for two spots has been pretty much the status quo all fall. The main thing that has changed in the last two weeks was Patchan took over the starting right tackle spot from green who has played well and is now the very flexible backup to both tackle positions.

Halapio has been a staple at right guard since Muschamp's first practice and is considered by most to be the line's leader. Alajajian has made big strides lately and may very well have earned big playing time early in this season.

At left guard, we have one of the more contested spots on the entire roster. Ten days ago Ian Silberman was the starter at left guard. Now, he isn't in the two deep and has been passed by senior Notre Dame transfer Wenger and tackle turned guard Kyle Koehne. Muschamp said Monday the position is not settled yet, so that is a big battle moving forward.

Jonotthan Harrison finished the spring as the starter at center and has never lost ground at the position. He is big, solid, and nasty in the trenches and has a bit of intelligence needed for the position. His backup is Wenger which makes me believe that Koehne will indeed get that starting left guard spot.

All in all it wasn't a surprising release of the depth chart. We knew the battles at receiver and at the left guard spot were definitely there. I think the lack of real numbers of receivers on the list may in part be due to the fact they have two running backs, a tight end, and a fullback that they really need to distribute the ball to.


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