Five Things at the Orange and Blue Debut

The Orange and Blue Debut will start around 1 pm Saturday and there are a few things we should all be looking for when the team scrimmages. Most of what we are looking for will happen on the offensive side of the ball, but not all. Here are my top things I will be looking for when we get to see this version of the Gators football squad square off in front of an audience at The Swamp.

The Florida Quarterback Battle

In the end this could be a three person race for the position, but right now all things point to a battle between the two true sophomores. Early indications this spring had Jacoby Brissett as the leader when spring practices started. About two weeks ago we started getting indications that Jeff Driskel was making this very difficult and now in the last week we have been hearing that Driskel has looked phenomenal.

Things change when there is an audience watching and so we will be watching carefully at those two and Tyler Murphy to see just how well they perform in this new offense on the stage. We saw what Murphy did last year in the spring and he was pretty impressive. We have seen bits and pieces from Driskel and Brissett in the fall when things are even tougher. But, either way it should be more difficult than a normal practice with thousands of fans looking on and cheering.

The Offensive Line

In the last couple of weeks we have been hearing that the offensive line has been moving the defensive line around. This would be a big improvement from last season and a welcome sight, especially given that we know the defensive front is pretty proven.

Surprisingly sophomore Chaz Green isn't listed as a starter and instead they have gone with older Xavier Nixon and Matt Patchan at tackle. Nixon has gotten high praise lately and it will be good if he can get back to his freshman form that earned him Freshman All-SEC honors.

Junior Jon Halapio and sophomore Jonotthan Harrison definitely provide some beef in the middle and a welcome site this spring is the return of senior James Wilson who was awarded a sixth year of eligibility and has maintained his hold on the starting left guard spot.

This group has great size and is bigger than a year ago and they also have quite a bit more experience than last season. They need to show it on Saturday and make people believe in this unit moving forward.

Ronald Powell off the Edge

He improved a great deal near the end of the season and we tend to forget the guy was just a true sophomore a year ago. Still, the Gators really lacked a pass rush for most of last season and Powell was asked to provide that.

He has gotten a great deal of praise this spring, so we need to see it come to fruition on the field. Of course, if he gets to the quarterback that means the offensive line mentioned above won't be getting the accolades we are looking for. So goes the nature of the beast when you are working against your own team.

Latroy Pittman

I would never want to put pressure on a true freshman that arrived early like this guy, and honestly I have no idea what to expect, but the word coming out of camp is he has been the best of all the receivers.

I saw Pittman a few times in high school and I know the kid can play, but he certainly didn't receive the accolades out of high school to make anyone think he can be a star in college. The problem is, the Gators really need it. There were times a year ago when they had nobody that would take charge and be that play making receiver the offense needs. He supposedly has been the hardest working guy at the position this spring.

An Offense that Utilizes Talent

Yes Brent Pease, you are on the clock. It isn't your fault, but Gator fans are tired of seeing incompetent offense and a third year of it isn't going to cut it. You have a chance to become a hero to a fan base that is sorely looking for the improvement on that side of the ball.

This man wants to see the ball spread around, wants to see it thrown short and long, wants to see something more than a ‘draw' play on 2nd and long, we all just want the ball in the end zone.

You have a pretty good defense to go against and show what he can do, let's see if he can make Gator fans leave the Swamp with a smile on their face this time around. There is no one in the stadium that can do that more than Pease can.

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