1. Stay out of trouble: The most important goal for Florida is to have every eligible player on the team and ready to go when fall camp starts. So far this offseason, so good. That wasn't the case last year. Antonio Morrison's trouble off the field kept him off the practice field when the Gators opened fall camp, and he missed the season opener.
After a 4-8 season last year, the Florida players don't have the option of missing some players. The Gators have a lot to prove this year and need everyone ready to go. The Florida players have handled themselves off the field much better in recent years, and it's important that trend continues until fall camp opens.
2. Stay healthy: While off the field trouble could hurt the team heading into fall camp, an injury could do the same. After ACL injuries plagued the team last season, Will Muschamp said the team would make some minor changes to the workout plan, including strengthening the hamstring more to stabilize the knee.
The hope is that the changes will decrease the amount of ACL injuries. For the most part, staying healthy involves some luck. The Gators need some luck on their side during the player-run practices this summer and in the weight room while preparing for the 2014 season.
All of the news with current injuries sounds positive. Matt Jones was held out of the spring after rehabbing a torn meniscus suffered at LSU last season, and he is expected to be fully healthy for fall camp. Linebackers Alex Anzalone (shoulder), Jeremi Powell (ACL) and Matt Rolin (ACL) are all expected to be cleared for the fall.
3. Player-run practices- These are a big deal every offseason, but this might be the most important player-run practices under Muschamp. The downside for the Florida coach is that he can't be involved in them. Player leadership needs to be at its best this summer following a disappointing four-win season last year.
The coaches have pounded it into the minds of the players that their effort last season wasn't good enough. Fixing that starts this summer. It begins with quarterback Jeff Driskel rounding up the offense and getting them on the practice field to work together and continue growing their knowledge of the offense.
That's why this season is so important. Not only are all eyes on the Florida program to see how it responds with its coach on the hot seat, but it comes under a brand new offensive coordinator. Kurt Roper felt like the 15 spring practices would give him plenty of time to install the offense, and once it ended, he was happy with how the team learned and memorized his offense. Near the midway point of the spring, Roper was saying that his offense had enough plays installed to go out and play a regular season game.
If player-run practices aren't as frequent or as effective as they need to be, it can waste the offensive growth during the spring. Players have to stay in their playbooks and continue to work hard on the offense.
And the coaches will know right away during the fall whether or not that happened. If this season is going to live up to expectations and get the program back to where it was viewed one offseason ago, the player-run practices have to be consistent and push the offensive players.