Dissecting the Two-Deep Offense

Florida released the two-deep roster on Monday and there were a few surprises along the way, but mostly what folks expected. Here is an overall look at the two-deep roster presented to the public for the first game against Bowling Green this Saturday in The Swamp.

The quarterbacks had a little fun on Tuesday talking to the media about the competition between the two. Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett are going to split quarters in game one as a starter has not been named. The two joked around about how ‘close' they are off the field, but that seemed to be a big barrier wall for the intense battle that is going on between the field. While there doesn't seem to be any hate between the two, they aren't best friends as they kidded with the folks that cover Florida football.

My guess is that Brissett gets the nod in the first quarter on Saturday and from what I have heard he has been the slight leader in the club house through fall camp. We will find out soon enough how Saturday shakes out, but I won't be surprised if the battle continues into game two and we see both quarterbacks well into the season.

At running back, the clear starter is Mike Gillislee and there is absolutely no surprise there. Gillislee actually has better overall physical tools than any back that has been at Florida in a long while and it will be good to see him get a lot of touches. The feel good story of the two-deep roster is probably Mack Brown. Brown is in his third year and as a sophomore he has never seen a meaningful snap as a Gator. It clearly looks like he will get that chance this season and probably in game one against Bowling Green.

At left tackle, the incumbent is back and although Xavier Nixon struggled last year, he seems to be healthier than he has been in a couple of years. He has lots of added weight and it is said to have been put on the right way and that should help the massive lineman that clocks in at 6-6 and 318 pounds now. Kyle Koehne has been praised for his ability to play all five spots on the line of scrimmage. This is where they list him as a backup and he is a very solid #2 at left tackle.

Senior James Wilson is another feel good story. The sixth year letterman has had a very quiet career until the last few games of 2011. He played very well late in the season a year ago as his health improved. He lost a little excess weight he had and is now playing the best of his career. Ian Silberman has been battling as well and missed the entire spring with an injury. He has pushed himself to get where he is and is a solid player as a sophomore as trhe #2 left guard.

James Wilson is a feel-good story on offense

Florida will finally have a returning center again as Jonotthan Harrison returns to the starting spot for his junior season. After Harrison got through some snapping issues a year ago, he had a solid sophomore season in his first one as a starter. An intelligent player, Harrison also brings some physical play to the position. Senior Sam Robey can play any of the interior spots but finds himself tagged as the backup at center where he has played most of his career at Florida.

Jon Halapio is the most experienced player on the offensive line and holds down the fort as the right guard. The most physical lineman Florida has Halapio has matured in time and finished the season playing very strong down the stretch in 2011. True freshman Jessamen Dunker will back Halapio up at right guard and the Under Armour All-American out of high school has quickly transformed his body this year into one that is ready to play college football. He will definitely play as a freshman.

Junior Matt Patchan is out at right tackle and so the depth chart reads sophomore Chaz Green and redshirt freshman Trip Thurman. Green may have started anyway and was a solid contributor to the squad in 2011. He is big, physical and quick on the edge. Thurman is one of the surprises of the squad and has had a really good fall camp. At 6-5 and 327 pounds he is one of the bigger linemen on campus.

Jordan Reed is a post season award candidate at tight end and the staff believes they have a really good one. He has just one full year under his belt at the tight end position and this second year should be much better for him. Mostly a split out tight end, Reed can be a big play maker and they expect him to be a mismatch physically for almost anyone they line him up against. Sophomore Clay Burton is another surprise in the two-deep but has a really good fall camp as well. With his 253 pounds, Burton is a guy that can play at the line of scrimmage, unlike Reed, and he may do that a lot in games where the Gators run a great deal.

At fullback, Hunter Joyer may be the best in the conference. He has size and is a bulldozer of a runner. He proved himself very worthy as a freshman in 2011. Junior Trey Burton will back up Joyer and he is more of a flashy runner with some size. Burton is also a true asset in the passing game.

At the X receiver, Frankie Hammond gets the nod with his consist play and reliability in practice. Hammond also looks a little quicker on the field than in the past and we will see how that translates in his senior season. The most talked about receiver and a true freshman share the backup spot with Andre Debose and Latroy Pittman splitting the X. We have seen the big plays from Debose in the past but not the consistency. Pittman has made a ton of big plays in practice since arriving in January a semester early from high school. Debose is always the most talked about because of his status as a five-star prospect in recruiting and he has made some big plays. One has to wonder of the depth chart is maybe another wake up call for the junior with talent we all have seen.

Hammond is a leader on offense as a senior

It wasn't listed, but when they play three receivers and in the slot, Hammond slides to the inside meaning one of Debose or Pittman would play at X.

Quinton Dunbar is listed as the starter at the Z receiver spot. This is the second year in a row we have heard all the talk of Dunbar being a star in camp. Last year we didn't see it translate to Saturdays in the fall. He has decent size and quickness and seems to make the tough catch, but needs to do it more often. Solomon Patton is an electric jitterbug and will probably back up at Z and in the slot. He is probably the fastest receiver on campus.

Finally the F position, which is the hybrid guy that will play some running back, some tight end, some slot, etc. and may be the most fun position on offense to watch. Trey Burton is the starter and senior Omarius Hines backs him up. Similar skill sets with the two, but Hines is probably a bit faster and runs tougher.

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