Necessity in a Coordinator

The search is on for a new offensive coordinator for the Gators, or at least we are waiting to find out exactly who that will be. A long and arduous season provided some insight into what is really needed from the leader of the Florida offense. More than anything Will Muschamp should be searching for a guy that can play to the strengths of his quarterback, no matter who that quarterback is.

Florida has not had good consistent play from the quarterback position since Tim Tebow was throwing and running with the pigskin back in 2009. Four long years it has been since the Gators had even solid play at the position. In a nutshell, this is the biggest issue facing whatever offensive coordinator that Florida head coach Will Muschamp hires.

From John Brantley, to Jeff Driskel, to Jacobi Brissett, to Tyler Murphy, to Skyler Mornhinweg, the Florida quarterbacks in the three years since Muschamp has taken over at Florida have accumulated just 6,367 yards or a paltry 167.6 yards per game. They threw just 37 touchdown passes in 38 games and 27 interceptions in that same time frame.

We can point at the offensive coordinators / quarterback coaches at hand for the travesty, Charlie Weis and Brent Pease certainly didn't produce and this is where things need to be focused in my opinion.

The next offensive coordinator needs to be a really good technician for quarterbacks. While the running game hasn't been great and protection and blocking spotty at best, a good quarterback can neutralize a lot of that.

More than anything and in the particular situation that faces Muschamp and this Florida offense, the coordinator has to be able to utilize the strengths of the personnel on hand and the strengths of the personnel to be recruited.

It starts with Jeff Driskel, Florida's starting quarterback for the last two years that missed 9.75 games this year with injury. Clearly he is the guy on the current squad with the ability to make all the throws and the athleticism to make big plays with his legs. When he went down, Florida lost its biggest play maker on offense both in the running game and passing game.

But, Driskel has struggled when trying to become a typical drop back passer. His pocket awareness is sketchy and his ability to read defenses at the level needed in the SEC seems a bit less than desired. This is my opinion and one shared by a lot if not most that watch Florida football.

That doesn't mean he can't be a good quarterback at Florida. It just means that his talents have to be utilized properly. He has to be able to constantly use his legs in the offense, a real weapon. He has to be allowed to limit the possible receivers he throws to and then again use his legs. We have seen Driskel win games for Florida, but unless utilized wisely you are limiting his value in the offense.

We can talk about Tyler Murphy, but Murphy has shown he can be a good backup at Florida and learns the offense, even if a tough one to learn. He also has the ability to run and with some depth at the position he should be able to be used in somewhat of the same manner.

But the real kicker for the new offensive coordinator is to be able to also train to a system they want. While I believe that Will Muschamp is definitely going to open things up on offense, I don't believe he is looking for a spread option attack, more of a spread offense similar to what you see from most pro teams and not too far from what they WANTED to do this year.

When Will Grier shows up on campus in January, you have to be able to train him as a drop back guy that will be able to read defenses and run a more sophisticated passing game as well. However, it should be noted that Grier is also a terrific athlete and can run as well. He isn't as bulky as Driskel and has to gain more strength, but he can handle a little bit of zone read and option play as well.

I think Max Staver, the red-shirt freshman on the squad falls into the latter category as well. It means that they have two quality arms and athletes that fit what they want moving forward.

The bottom line is Muschamp needs to hire a coordinator that can work both ways on offense and with both types of player. There has to be immediate success because of all of the heat on the head coach to perform quickly. He hasn't hired coordinators willing to do this and I believe it has been the single most detrimental issue with the offense in the last three years.


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