The Florida gators 2013 season was the first losing season (4-8) since 1979. I mean you really have to feel bad for those guys because they was littered with injuries and just could not overcome them. 2013 looked promising until quarterback Jeff Driskel was sidelined before camp even started with an appendectomy, while running back Matt Jones was held back with a nasty viral infection. At the end of the 2013 season, 23 players had missed games with injuries. While the Gators were in a constant battle against players missing time, there’s simply no excuse for losing to the Georgia Southern Eagles.
So needles to say, that the theme this year around fall camp is lets stay healthy. That much was obvious after the team’s best player, sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, was hurt last at Thursday’s practice. Will Muschamp has taken the time to preach strength and conditioning and to hydrate and take plenty of vitamins to all his players. With all hands on board and healthy, the Florida gators know that they can get back to the same type of team that fans were used to see winning and competing for the SEC crown before 2013.
On offense they return key starters like QB Jeff Driskel, RB Kelvin Taylor, RB Matt Jones, OT DJ Humphries,and OL Max Garcia. Driskel will have to play to form like he did in 2012 when he lead the team to a 11-2, 7-1 (SEC) record. With new offense coordinator Kurt Roper, Driskel will have more chances to spread defenses out and throw the ball down field. The gators will also have a good back field with returning starter RB Kelvin Taylor and backup RB Mack Brown, they will balance the offense out well. I think with these changes and the returning starters, then the offense will be much improved.
On defense they return key starters DE Dante Fowler, DL Jonathan Bullard, LB Antonio Morrison, LB Michael Taylor, and CB Vernon Hargreaves. The defense has been good since Muschamp took over a couple years ago and will continue to be good this year. Dante Fowler Jr. is the key figure if Florida is going to improve its sack numbers. The Gators ranked 11th in the SEC in sacks per game last season (1.6) and haven’t ranked higher than sixth since 2009. Fowler’s 2013 season, though, took a turn after tackle Dominique Easley was lost for the season in September, and now Easley is gone for good. Beyond cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, talent in the secondary is unproven, but they do have a stable of 4 and 5 star talent.
If the gators are going to return to SEC dominance, then they have to navigate a pretty tough schedule in which they play on the road at Alabama, Tennessee, and Florida State. Then they will still have to play Georgia in Jacksonville and South Carolina. In my opinion I do feel like the gators will be a much improved team this year just by staying healthy alone. Remember that this team has a lot of big time talent on it and they are ready to showcase those talents. So to you the Forida fans, go ahead and rip up all those old 2013 articles that mentioned all the downfalls of the gators. This year these gators are going to the fans much more to cheer and brag about.