Will the Florida offense improve?

The second year under Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease should come with some natural improvement. Players are more comfortable in the system, especially second-year starting quarterback Jeff Driskel. But there are still important players from last year's offense that will need to be replaced after Florida lost its running back and most productive pass catcher.

The numbers produced by the Florida offense last season were ones rarely seen in Gainesville -- 10th in scoring offense, 14th in passing offense, 12th in total offense.

If it were as simple as an extra year in the offense for every player, the Gators would see dramatic improvement on the offensive side of the ball. And the truth is, that could still be the case -- but there are still plenty of questions on that side of the ball.

The two most explosive playmakers from last year's offense are gone. Mike Gillislee was the bell cow of the Florida offense, carrying the football an SEC-high 244 times for 1,152 yards while becoming the first Florida running back to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since Ciatrick Fason in 2004.

Gillislee enters the fall competing for touches in the Miami Dolphins' backfield.

Jordan Reed was the only trusted option through the air for the Gators in 2012. He led the team with 45 catches and 559 yards. When Driskel got in trouble, he often looked Reed's way.

Reed enters the fall trying to earn reps with the Washington Redskins.

The lack of proven playmakers is an issue, but the improvement at other positions should help the Gators be a better offensive team in 2013.

It starts on the offensive line. Sophomore D.J. Humphries is ready to anchor the line at left tackle, while transfer Tyler Moore and Max Garcia are eligible this season. Garcia's tenacity should be an important part of the line at left guard, while Moore offers depth and a battle with Chaz Green to start at right tackle. The returns of right guard Jon Halapio and center Jonotthan Harrison give Florida veteran linemen in the middle.

The line was often an issue in 2012, causing Driskel to run more often or avoid pressure. Improvement this season will give him more time to throw, more time for the receivers to get open, and better blocking in the run game.

The departures at running back and tight end still need to be filled. Florida head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease vocalized their support and belief that sophomore Matt Jones will prove capable of handling the running back spot, and after a strong close to his freshman year, Jones looks poised to take the starting position.

The pass catchers aren't as clear. It likely won't come from one of the tight ends, as it has become one of the weaker positions on the roster. The Gators need at least one freshman to be an impact player, likely Demarcus Robinson after his strong spring. Quinton Dunbar reaching his potential would also go a long way.

It would be a surprise if the Florida offense didn't improve in 2013, but with questions about who the playmakers will be, the Gators still have plenty of areas that need to improve in fall camp.


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