Ready to make some noise on offense

As we wind down the bowl season and with the Gators not participating, it is easy to look ahead at what could be. With that in mind, I would like to take a look at some current offensive players on the roster that saw little or no work in 2013, some that may be forgotten a bit. Maybe there are some gems to find inside the Gator roster this spring.

It seems nearly impossible that Will Grier won't see the field in some capacity in 2014. The true freshman isn't even on campus yet, but he might as well be. All eyes are on starting quarterback Jeff Driskel, but he hasn't been able to stay healthy in any season on campus so far and so Grier needs to be ready at the outset. Grier is a drop back passer and sees the field, he can make all the throws. One thing people may not know is that he is also very athletic and ran for over 700 yards again as a senior after running for quite a bit in his high school career. Like any freshman he needs to ad muscle, but I don't see that keeping him off the field.

We ended up seeing a lot of Kelvin Taylor in the fall and we kind of know what we get from him. The other running back that showed up in the 2013 class is Adam Lane. Lane is a bowling ball in the Maurice Jones-Drew mold, he has very deceptive speed and big time power. He is one of those guys that can run in up inside and then pop it outside for the long gain.

New offensive coordinator Kurt Roper is supposed to be able to utilize different people in the mix and that could mean Mark Herndon gets a chance in 2014, unlike in 2013. The walk-on turned scholarship player is a mix of good speed and balance and has some tools to play at this level.

Of course we are all waiting on freshman-to-be Dalvin Cook to show up in the fall and we will get a final word on that next week. Cook is the really explosive home run hitter that Florida seems to lack at the position. Dynamic plays have been few and far between in the last few years and Cook could bring many of those back to The Swamp with his presence.

Out of sight out of mind is what I think of with the return of receiver Andre Debose. The senior was counted on by the staff to have a big year last year and it was derailed in the first few days of fall practice with an ACL tear. Debose will have high expectations meeting hi again as he was granted a sixth year and they need his speed and athleticism to do something in 2014.

Ahmad Fulwood and Demarcus Robinson got small tastes of playing college ball in 2013. Fulwood progressed through the season. Robinson had off the field things that carried over to the field and slowed him down. Both have big time tools for a spread offense that will be run, both need to be ready when their number is called.

I don't think we should forget about the 2012 class of receivers. Just two, but Raph Andrades and Latroy Pittman saw the field a lot as freshmen. Pittman was slowed by his own off-the-field issues and then finished off the season catching a few passes. Andrades had turf toe that dragged him down for most of the year. Both are excellent blockers and heady players so they may get in the mix again in 2014.

At receiver we also have a trio of guys that saw little to no field time. Chris Thompson is probably the fastest receiver on campus now that Solomon Patton is gone. That has to account for something you would think. Alvin Bailey red-shirted and could be the happiest guy on campus because the new offense should fit his skills to a tee. A quick twitch receiver that isn't afraid to go over the middle. Marqui Hawkins is the third and he's the strong and aggressive type that can go over the middle for the tough catch.

The number of receivers that could make an impact is promising and much more than we saw in spring of a year ago.

Florida will have to wait until the fall to get some new blood at tight end, but the hope is that sophomore Colin Thompson can finally do some damage. A chronic foot issue has sidelined Thompson and his fate is still unclear, but he is a different player than what Florida has on hand.

On the offensive line, a trio of freshmen red-shirted and have a chance to make some noise. Cam Dillard will get an early look at center and the staff was very high on him in the fall. Rod Johnson could play guard or tackle, but his long arms means he probably ends up outside when everything gets settled. He may have the most upside of any linemen in the 2013 class. Octavious Jackson almost saw the field a few times as a rookie, but the held off. Built like a guard, he is still growing into it, but will certainly see some time after his red-shirt season.

Freshman Nolan Kelleher will enroll early and compete in the spring. The big time guard prospect is physically ready to compete as a freshman and can get a jump on things. With only nine returning offensive linemen, he has a real chance to get on the field in 2014.

Speaking of a chance, Florida signed a surprise last week in Drew Sarvary. Originally from Tallahassee, Sarvary was committed to Texas Tech and signed with Florida. He is another one at 6-foot-7 and 310 pounds that will get a look right away along the offensive line.

It is a far cry from a year ago on the offensive side when there just weren't many new faces to add. With a new offense being implemented, the chance to play for the new guys seems to multiplied a bit. It should make for a fun and competitive spring.


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