Five Players to Watch on Offense

Wednesday will mark not only the pro scout day for the Gators looking to start earning money professionally. It will also mark the start of one of the more intriguing spring practices in recent years. Florida lost a ton of talent off the 2009 team which finished third nationally and posted the Gators' third 13-win season in four years.

Obviously quarterback John Brantley will be the focus of this spring as the Gators go through the transition from the Tim Tebow era. Listing Brantley as a guy to watch would be ridiculously obvious so we won't do it. Instead we'll pick five other guys who have the opportunity to raise their game and take on a much greater role for the Gator offense in 2010. This spring will give us an idea how ready they are to do just that.

The Gator offense needs to be better in 2010 despite the departures of Tebow and top receivers Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez. Florida failed to reach the 30-point mark seven times last season, and twice (LSU, Alabama) scored just 13. That's not good enough and that's a big key to what kind of season the 2010 campaign will be.

Emmanuel Moody ---- No player is happier about the off-season coaching carousel than Moody who is reunited with Stan Drayton, the man who brought him to Gainesville in the first place. Moody (58-378, 3 TD) averaged less than five carries a game even though he was good for 6.5 yards per carry when he toted the ball. It seems he got lost in the shuffle at times, but gets a fresh start for his senior year. He scored two touchdowns in the Sugar Bowl, which should give him some momentum as he battles for an increased role.

Deonte Thompson ---- If Moody is thrilled with the coaching changes at his position, Thompson is equally excited about the John Brantley era. As good as Tim Tebow was, he certainly seemed to lock in on his favorite targets pretty regularly and Thompson was often a lot more often than his numbers (24-343, 4 TD) would seem to indicate. He's been around a long time and also has a new position coach. It's time to become the go-to guy in the Florida passing game for the talented junior.

Gerald Christian ---- He made a play in the Under Armor game that was reminiscent of Ben Troupe and it appears he is already full grown. Christian is a remarkable athlete and with TE a wide pen position he has perhaps the best chance of any true freshman to win a starting job.

James Wilson ---- It's time to stop talking about his potential and start talking about his play. Wilson has had trouble staying healthy, but with Carl Johnson limited he'll get a ton of snaps in his battle with Mo Hurt for a starting guard job. He should win it and keep Florida formidable in the middle with Johnson and Michael Pouncey.

Carl Moore ---- Back problems cost Moore the 2009 season, but his return could be a huge boost for 2010. Moore had a solid 2008 season with 14 catches including a TD against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. If Thompson emerges on one side and Moore on the other, Florida's young receivers will be under a lot less pressure. And Chris Rainey will have a field day in the slot every week.

There are loads of other guys who could make this list including Mike Gillislee, Desmond Parks and a group of young receivers and offensive linemen, but these five guys could/should have the greatest impact this fall.

Tomorrow, five guys on defense to watch this spring.


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