Answered questions: Offense

The Gators finished spring practice on Saturday with the Orange and Blue Debut, but Florida coach Will Muschamp was optimistic about the progress throughout practices. Florida answered multiple questions on the offensive side of the ball under former Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.

What will the offense look like?

First-year offensive coordinator Kurt Roper said before the spring that the 15 practices would be more than enough to install his offense. Near the midway point of spring, Roper said his offense had enough installed to play a game.

The Gators will use a quick tempo this year, and that took some getting used to. At the end of the first practice, offensive players were struggling to get through the practice because of the tempo. They went through offseason conditioning to prepare for it, but even the players said that there was no substitute for getting on the field and playing at the tempo. It took some getting used to for players to see one play end and sprint to the line of scrimmage for the next snap.

The running game showed that it will use more zone read concepts, utilizing Jeff Driskel's legs to create plays on the ground. The passing game featured drag routes and short passes in the spring game, allowing the Florida receivers to make plays after the catch while mixing in deep shots.

Can the receivers improve?

Florida lost Trey Burton and Solomon Patton from the receiver position, needing some to step up in the spring. The Gators got what they needed. Redshirt senior Quinton Dunbar will be the leader of the group, but multiple receivers showed improvement this spring. Latroy Pittman had his best spring since enrolling at Florida and has strength and speed to start in the slot position.

After playing at running back last season, Valdez Showers moved to the slot receiver position and looks to finally have found his home. His shiftiness and speed give the Gators a playmaker that can take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

The most important emergence was the trio of sophomores. Ahmad Fulwood, Demarcus Robinson and Chris Thompson all improved this spring. For Fulwood, it was just about continuing after a strong freshman season. Robinson had to improve on the field and his maturity off it, and multiple Florida players said they think he has done that. Thompson got stronger and has turned into more than just a speed receiver.

Redshirt freshman Alvin Bailey also made plays from the slot position.

What's the best offensive line grouping?

The Gators went into the spring with three offensive tackles they trusted in Trenton Brown, Chaz Green and D.J. Humphries. After Green and Humphries proved capable of handling the tackle spot, Florida moved Brown into the right guard position for the last week of spring practice.

Tyler Moore played right guard for the first half of spring, but when Brown slid inside, Moore moved to left guard. Trip Thurman can also bounce around to both guard spots, and redshirt freshman Rod Johnson is expected to be ready for fall camp after a head injury forced him to miss most of spring.

The center position was a work in progress from Max Garcia. He has the intelligence to handle the position, but he struggled with snap accuracy. It was normal at the beginning of the spring, but when the snaps continued to be inconsistent throughout spring, it got a little more worrisome. Thurman took reps at center and Cameron Dillard worked there, too.

Can the kicking game improve?

We'll throw special teams in with the offense. Going into the spring, Florida coach Will Muschamp said his main priority was the offensive installation. The second most important thing was the kicking game. It looked like the spring provided enough answers for the coaches to feel comfortable going into the fall.

After a miserable 2013 season, Austin Hardin was much more comfortable and improved in the spring. His practice success wasn't a surprise though. Muschamp opened the kicking battle multiple times in the fall, but Hardin usually secured it because he kicked the best in practice. His 4-4 field goal day on Saturday was the most important part, transitioning his success to a game.

Kyle Christy didn't have a strong day in the spring game, but he looked back to 2012 form during practices. The ball jumped off his foot like it did when he finished as a Ray Guy finalist.


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