Kan Li / Scout

What I want to see with Gators' offense Friday

The Florida Gators football team will be on exhibition Friday night in the big conclusion to spring drills that should showcase much of what this team has to offer for the 2016 season. The general consensus is that Florida has improved itself at the skill positions on offense and should be more experienced and talented on the offensive line. The defense has some big names to replace, but several guys have had a good spring. Here is what we want to see on offense Friday night.

What: The Orange and Blue Debut

When: Friday April 8, 2016; 7 p.m.

Where: Gainesville, Florida; Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

TV: SEC Network

The Orange and Blue Debut shouldn’t be anything like we have seen in the last 2-3 years. With a full allotment of offensive linemen, there will likely be one or two that are switching sides during the scrimmage, but they have enough to actually have a real competition between two teams.

With so many new faces, here is what I want to see.

QUARTERBACK

Kan Li / Scout
 When September rolls around, you really want one or two guys to break away from the four man pack and be the one-two punch to take on the season. Friday, I want them all to be successful in the sense that the competition continues into the offseason.

Luke Del Rio is the leader of the pack right now, but having to look over his shoulder at this point is a good thing. It will be interesting to see how freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask do in front of a large crowd, but bet on senior graduate transfer Austin Appleby to feel a little more comfortable with the crowd and play well.

Whatever happens, I just don’t want for one or two of them to have a really bad day and I don’t anticipate that happening.

 

RUNNING BACK

Kan Li / Scout
 Give me the big plays. We just haven’t had enough of them from the skill positions on offense. The last scrimmage saw two touchdown runs over 70 yards, if the fans get a glimpse of that, that will be something they won’t forget heading into next season.

I do want to see big 6-foot-2, 242 pound Mark Thompson bull doze someone on the way to the end zone. He’s been one of the big stories of the spring. But, don’t sleep on senior Mark Herndon and sophomores Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite. Everything I am hearing points to this group being the most improved unit on the entire team.

 

RECEIVER

Scout
 One old guy and one new guy should be expected to show out. Except for a possible injury that could limit him, this has evidently been the best spring for senior Ahmad Fulwood. A highly rated four-star prospect out of high school, Fulwood has just 35 catches in his first three years on campus. He’s big at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds and he can run. He’s invested a lot of time in the offseason preparing for this year and it would do the fans a lot of good to see it on display Friday night.

The new guy isn’t exactly a young guy. Junior college transfer Dre Massey came in to add some dash and splash to the offense and as a junior, he is expected to contribute instantly. Reports out of camp are that Massey is better than they thought he would be and works as hard as anyone to make sure he knows what is going on. He’s a guy that can the jet sweep and the wide receiver screen as well as we have seen and I don’t want to see a big play or two as much as I expect to see them from Massey on Friday.

Of course we want to see a big play or two from the early enrollee freshmen Josh Hammond and Freddie Swain. Both have made big plays a regular happening this spring and it would be a big upset if we didn’t see one or two from them on Friday.

Even if it doesn’t happen from the four above, just like the running backs, we need to see some big plays out of the receiver unit Friday.

 

TIGHT END

Kan Li / Scout
 We have all seen big plays from junior DeAndre Goolsby and redshirt sophomore Cyontai Lewis. Both have been impressive this spring. But, redshirt sophomore Moral Stephens and sophomore Camrin Knight have been getting some positive pub from the staff this spring.

I have maintained that Stephens has the most physical ability of the bunch and he has probably gotten the most surprise praise from the staff. With the offensive line still not expected to be a strength, it is very likely we could see a good bit of multiple tight end sets in 2016, so getting Stephens and Knight ready to go for prime time would be a great thing.

Acting it out on the big stage Friday night could go a long way in growing the confidence of the young guys, so let’s see it.

 

OFFENSIVE LINE

Kan Li / Scout
 We’ve seen the same starting offensive line all spring… junior David Sharpe (left tackle), redshirt junior Antonio Riles (left guard), redshirt junior Cam Dillard (center), sophomore Tyler Jordan (right guard), and sophomore Fred rick Johnson (right tackle).

By all accounts this group has been solid and making moves, 

With the teams split up, it isn’t certain if they will split the first and second team or not, but there is still something to watch for.

Given that they feel pretty good about those five, the real competition for getting on the field has been coming from a quartet of redshirt freshmen interior linemen. Guards Nick Buchanan, Brandon Sandifer, and Richerd Desir-Jones along with center T.J. McCoy have been battling to get on the field.

Of the four, McCoy may be the most advanced and if he could push for that starting center spot, there is talk that Dillard could play some guard.

Regardless, these battles are what spring is all about. Seeing some of these linemen move a very stout defensive line around on Friday will be a site for sore eyes. These guys have all worked very hard to improve their bodies to get on the field in 2016 and we should expect the battling to continue up until the start of the season.

 

UP NEXT

Look for midday a breakdown of what to look for on the defensive side of the ball. 


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