Looking at 2013: Offense

There's a lot of production for the Florida offense to replace before the start of the 2013 season. Running back Mike Gillislee rushed for 1,152 yards while tight end Jordan Reed led the team with 559 receiving yards. Both will need to be replaced, along with two offensive linemen. There is stability at quarterback. That's an important piece in the second year under coordinator Brent Pease.

That's where head coach Will Muschamp finds optimism about the 2013 offense. With playmakers leaving the Florida offense, the return of Jeff Driskel gives the Gators comfort in the scheme. Driskel's play wasn't always impressive, but Muschamp is confident his bad night at the Sugar Bowl is an outlier.

Having an experienced quarterback under center in 2013 is a big part of an offense that will be searching for playmakers. Driskel also has an entire offseason to get more comfortable with the same offense.

"Obviously a returning quarterback, a guy that won 11 football games," Muschamp said. ‘That's certainly a strength of our team.

Behind Driskel, there will be a battle during the spring and fall for the backup job since Jacoby Brissett elected to transfer. The battle this spring will be between Skyler Mornhinweg and Tyler Murphy, while 2013 signee Max Staver gets to campus in the summer to join the mix.

Muschamp said that Murphy heads into spring practice as second on the depth chart.

"Tyler Murphy and Skyler Morninhweg are two guys who are on the roster and will get all the reps," Muschamp said. "We've also got some variety there in some of the things we do with Trey at quarterback at times and doing some different things. We've got to continue to develop the position. That's what spring is for. That's what the offseason is for."

The Gators have an empty spot in the backfield with the loss of Mike Gillislee, the program's first 1,000-yard rusher since Ciatrick Fason in 2004. The positive for Florida is the Matt Jones got better as a freshman throughout the 2012 season and ended the year rushing for 275 yards. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry compared to Gillislee's 4.7.

"I think Matt Jones is a guy that ended the season very strongly," Muschamp said. "I look at the young running backs coming, I think we've recruited well."

Jones had an impressive freshman year

One of the recruits will join the Florida roster for spring practice and has already enrolled on campus. Kelvin Taylor, who is 5-10, 205 pounds, is built to contribute immediately as a freshman. Although he hasn't played the toughest high school competition, Taylor has the benefit of going through spring practice and adjusting to the speed of the college game before he will be expected to tote the ball in the fall.

He will have a chance to put together a strong freshman season.

"Kelvin's a guy?that's mature," Muschamp said. "A lot of playing as a freshman, and I've said it?before, is maturity — how they handle being away from home, how they?handle being in a new environment, new coaches, different terminology,?different schemes, all of those things and how they manage and handle?those things.

"From a?maturity standpoint and a physical standpoint and stature, he's a good-looking guy who will figure in. He will get every?opportunity in the world to accomplish what he wants to as a freshman."

Tight end Jordan Reed was the trusted pass catcher in the offense last season. The Gators lose three of their top four in receiving yards — adding Frankie Hammond and Omarius Hines to the mix — and will need to find playmakers.

The hype around Quinton Dunbar has grown since he stepped on campus. Going into his redshirt junior season, Dunbar will have his opportunity to be the man for the Florida passing game. He was second on the team with 383 receiving yards and led the Gators with four receiving touchdowns.

Dunbar improved throughout 2012

"Quinton Dunbar has really improved at the receiver position throughout the year and was a guy that really came on and made some plays for us," Muschamp said.

The rest of the position is up in the air. Trey Burton is the second leading returning receiver from last season. The third? That's fullback Hunter Joyer, who caught four passes in 2012.

The depth chart will be wide open. Raphael Andrades and Latroy Pittman will be given the opportunity to make a jump in their sophomore seasons, and the Gators will bring in a big number in the recruiting class. Four-star Demarcus Robinson is the only player to enroll early, but the Gators will get an infusion of talent when the 2013 class gets to campus in the summer.

A second year in college will also help tight ends Colin Thompson and Kent Taylor play a bigger role.

The offensive line is the area that should see the most improvement. The Gators lose left tackle Xavier Nixon and left guard James Wilson, but return center Jonotthan Harrison, right guard Jon Halapio and right tackle Chaz Green. D.J. Humphries also played a lot as a freshman last season.

Humphries could have a breakout sophomore year

There will be plenty of competition. Florida gets two transfers eligible — Max Garcia from Maryland and Tyler Moore from Nebraska — to fight for starting jobs. The Gators also have four offensive lineman, including one junior college player, committed that will be on campus in the summer.

"We'll be as talented or more talented up front than we were a year ago," Muschamp said. "We're in Year two of the system and usually you make leaps, you make a lot of improvements in your second year. The terminology is more familiar and the players understand it a little bit more as far as what's being asked of them."

The numbers on the scoreboard weren't pretty, and while there's still progress to be made for the Florida offense, Muschamp likes what he sees.

"I think our staff did a really good job offensively this year," Muschamp said of 2012. "I don't really look at numbers. I look at what we did to do win games."

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