Several that need to step up

If the Florida Gators are going to distance themselves from the 4-8 record of 2013, they are going to need several players to step up and either fill a void or play better than they have in the past. The 2014 season is a huge one for the Will Muschamp era, and these guys can't help put their stamp on it.

Jeff Driskel: The junior quarterback will have to come out firing with a new offensive coordinator, his third in four years. WE have seen Driskel do some great things in his time at quarterback for Florida and we have also seen him struggle mightily.

He probably couldn't ask for a better offense to be put in, so now it is time to shine. With an emphasis on quick throws and using the athleticism of the quarterback, Kurt Roper will actually simplify what Driskel is doing on the football field in order to use his tremendous physical gifts in a way that he can handle.

In the end, it will still be up to Driskel to pick things up. There are times when he will need to drop back and read coverages and throw to the right receiver. He has to me more comfortable with that.

All the changes in system isn't helpful for him, but hopefully he has a system that will allow him to shine. We will know more in September.

Demarcus Robinson: The sophomore receiver came in with all of the accolades and fizzled out a year ago. Part of the issue was him and part of it was on a scheme that didn't allow him to grow and develop.

Muschamp has made it a priority for the offensive staff to figure out a way to get Robinson the ball. Despite not knowing what was going on a year ago, it was a huge issue for the head coach that his best receiver couldn't get the ball in his hands… for whatever reason.

Robinson also has to do his part. Maybe his mind wandered a year ago when he wasn't playing and distracted him enough to get himself in trouble.

He may be serving the end of a suspension when the season starts, but he seems to want to do the right thing now. He has to clean that part of his game up and then allow the staff to really train him up.

Robinson is the hardest of the receivers on the roster to cover and he has to be a weapon at their disposal in 2014.

DeAndre Goolsby: I really didn't want to put a freshman on this list, but they have to get some play making ability out of the tight end position. Goolsby gets the nod here because he is already on campus and was a big get in the recruiting cycle.

Goolsby gives the Gators a more down-the-field threat at tight end than the two seniors at the position. With Colin Thompson still banged up and questionable at all, Goolsby becomes a priority this spring for Derek Lewis.

The new offense is suited more for the flexed out tight end who had 620 receiving yards as a senior in Kansas last year.

Tyler Moore: Moore is the first name to appear at center for the spring, and it is a huge position to fill after three year starter Jonotthan Harrison graduated. Moore played a little inside last season and seemed more comfortable than at tackle. He has two years of college ball under his belt, and may be a better fit all around at center.

Moore hopefully will bring some stability to a line that underperformed all of last season and parts of 2012. A simplified attack overall may help, but the line also has to stay healthy and that includes the junior who transferred from Nebraska a year ago.

A spring under his belt at the new position should help, but Moors is one the Gators need to perform well in 2014.

Tyler Moore

Alex McCalister / Bryan Cox: Florida has to find some good snaps from defensive ends not named Fowler and Bullard. That should come from McCalister and Cox.

McCalister was a bit undersized a year ago but the staff loves his get-ff at the line of scrimmage and the way he pursues the ball. With limited snaps, he actually made a few plays in 2013, but he really needs to add some weight in the off-season and get on the field to spell Fowler. The BUCK position really could be his in 2015.

The BUCK is such a hard position to fill because you need to find a player that can play as a standup linebacker in some situations while most of the time rushing the passer with his hand down as a defensive end. A tall and lanky end in the mold of Jarvis Moss, McCalister is the type and if playing with enough strength could be a force.

It is much the same for Cox, who is the immediate backup to Bullard. Cox was very active last year and the staff happy with his play, but he seemed to be out there when teams ran or threw away from his side.

He needs to continue on the positive growth that saw him play early in 2014 and maybe add a little bit more strength along the way. Another spring under his belt should help a great deal as well and he just needs to keep on with the nasty way he plays the game. The staff loves that as well.

Jalen Tabor: He's the only other freshman on this list, but like Goolsby it is pretty much out of necessity. This spring, the numbers at cornerback are dangerously low and Tabor could find himself in a starting spot very shortly after spring starts.

Vernon Hargreaves should man one side, Brian Poole and Nick Washington are really nickel players, and that leaves it for Tabor or fellow freshman Duke Dawson to have a real shot as the only other scholarship corners for the side opposite Hargreaves.

Tabor has all the physical tools to man the boundary side of the field. At 6-foot-1 and nearly 200 pounds he is a very physical player and extremely athletic for his size.

He will have help show up in the summer when the Gators add three more freshmen to the mix at the position, but Tabor getting a good grasp of what is going on would do wonders for this defense heading into the summer.

Austin Hardin: A horrendous freshman year from Hardin has people wondering what is going on with the former high school All-American kicker. Hardin went 4-12 on the year and missed from short or long, it really didn't matter which.

He's a terrific kickoff man often kicking it high and right at the goal line so the coverage unit can make a play deep, but he has to improve his field goals and in dramatic fashion.

The Gators could have won a few more games a year ago with adequate field goal kicking. Again, an improvement in this department is huge for the Muschamp era and it starts with Hardin.

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