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Spring practice primer: A six-pack of questions as Florida opens camp

Florida-spring-practice(Courtesy gatortailgating.com)

GAINESVILLE -- Florida football kicks-off spring camp this afternoon, opening the first of nine practices at 3:35 p.m. inside the Sanders Fields.

The Gators -- who will practice 15 times between today and April 12th’s Orange & Blue Debut -- hope to slowly start to wash away the stains from their abominable 2013 campaign and the worst season (4-8) in Gainesville in 35 years.  

Naturally, it’s a big spring for embattled coach Will Muschamp -- who’s stink has been Febreze’d a bit thanks to the success of Florida’s top-ranked hoops team.

But can Muschamp maintain his (newfound) fresh fragrance? We’ll see.

The Gators (seriously) boast one of the nation’s most talented teams but question marks remain abound. From sorting out jumbled positions to answering key concerns for an irritated fan base, it’s an important month for Florida football.  

*************** SIX STORYLINES TO FOLLOW ***************

1. Can new coordinator Kurt Roper’s rebuild UF’s offense? [BONUS Q’S] How fast will Florida’s players grasp the new system, and what will Roper’s tempo-attack look like with (under-developed) four- and-five-star players?

The Gators ranked No. 113 nationally in total offense last year, replacing two offensive coaches 24-hours into the offseason. Roper’s success (or lack their of) will likely determine Muschamp’s future at Florida -- so no pressure on Duke’s former quarterbacks guru. While spring practice won’t ultimately determine Florida’s 2014 fate, quality work would certainly be advantageous.

2. Will Jeff Driskel sink or swim?

Florida pushed back spring practice specifically so its redshirt junior quarterback would be fully recovered from his broken leg. The Gators’ enigmatic signal caller is working under his third offensive coordinator -- and third different system -- in four years, but Roper’s no-huddle spread is specifically tailored to Driskel skill-set. With a pair of talented freshmen waiting in the wings, it’s put up or shut-up time for JD.  

3. Who -- if anyone -- will emerge along the offensive line and at wide receiver and tight end?

Driskel needs help, lots of help. Florida’s offensive line was a disaster last year, as the Gators shuffled the deck more than a Jumbotron hat game. Injuries were a major factor, but a lack of development (see: Humphries, D.J.) and positional fit (see: Moore, Tyler) were key issues as well. At wideout, (the forever uninspiring) Quinton Dunbar returns as the team’s leading receiver, but the rest of the group is largely unknown, high on potential yet low on progress.  Meanwhile, Florida has a dearth of talent at tight end, problematic considering the way Roper likes to utilize the position in the passing game.

4. What will the Gators’ secondary look like?

Florida must replace four (sometimes) valuable contributors from its vaunted defensive backfield. Although Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson underwhelmed last season, the duo still made plays, as did the much-steadier performing Jaylen Watkins. Adding Cody Rigss’ transfer to Notre Dame, UF has a pair of openings at safety for the second straight spring. Marcus Maye, Keanu Neal and Jabari Gorman will compete for playing time, while Marcell Harris could be in the mix as well. Meanwhile, five-star early enrollee Jaylen Tabor is expected to fight for a starting job at cornerback opposite Florida’s top overall returning player: Vernon Hargreaves III.

5. Who will star (and will they have any staying-power?)

It’s a yearly tradition at Florida: spring stars = fall frauds. Over the past several seasons, Demarcus Robinson, Jabari Gorman (two years ago), Quinton Dunbar, Latroy Pittman, Gideon Ajagbe (on defense) and many, many others have shined in spring camp only to disappear (for a multitude of reasons) when the games actually count. Obviously this question cannot be answered in a month, but if guys like Adam Lane, Alvin Bailey or Jay-nard Bostwick go off in March, it’s best to temper all future expectations. 

6. How hungry are these Gators?

The entire program was embarrassed about its first losing season since 1979.  The pervasive truth last fall was that the team succumbed to a “woe is me” mentality, Florida’s very own Krokodil. Have attitudes changed? Muschamp says his players should never forget last season, using their failures to fuel the fire. Undoubtedly, the players will say all the right things this spring, but it’s their actions during practice that will tell a better story.

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Comments

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Explain it to me how U can have a losing season with top 10 recruiting every year & U have 4 & 5 star recruits (over rated & prima donnas) at every position?? The coach or coaches, laziness, the culture or lack of (a city of trailers, apartments & meth)??

Just shows the complete lack of football knowledge of the oh so abundant uneducated hurricane fan. When you lose almost your entire starting team to injuries, common sense would tell you you're going to have a rough season. But, no one expects the community college rejects to use common sense. That would actually require a brain! Please cane fan explain to me how a "mighty" lol program like the canes can go 10 straight years of 9 wins or less? That's more of a perplexing question. Especially when you losers are on here everyday running your mouths.

Posted by: GatorAlum

Don't expect the MDCC rejects to understand what you said, their answer will probably be something with "Georgia Southern". You gave them too much credit only 4 times in the last decade have they managed 9 wins, most of the time they can't get past 7.
Plus you neglected to mention that they play one of the softest schedules in the nation overall while playing in the worst conference in the land. If they had a schedule similar to ours those numbers would be much, much worse.
I like the Roper hire and the change in OL coach and special teams coach, all of these were areas of weakness last year. With the new coaches, better schemes and all the injured players coming back we should have a good season. The numbers in the OL still seem a little thin and the TE position seems like a concern. The WRs and RBs should be just fine. Driskel should be much better in the Roper system that is suited to his skill set. The defense should return to dominance once the offense can muster some drives and score. Things look good in Gainesville.

Go Gators!

Jlo....U like the roper hire? Dont U brag on how the ACC is a cupcake conference? He was an assistant in the ACC. In your words, it will take an ACC assistant to fix all those problems? Say it....SAY IT! Not gonna happen anyway, its bad evaluation of talent. Its gonna take him 3-4 years to fix ufs problems. He has to work with that nOline and driskell .

You're right jls, I am giving them too much credit. Newsflash unknowledgeable cane fan, he spent 13 years in the SEC before the last 6 in the ACC. I'm pretty sure that explains what his pedigree is, but again I wouldn't expect a cane fan to be that knowledgable. You guys just spew at the mouth before actually thinking about what you're saying.

So let me get this straight....once an sec coach always an sec coach? Yous guys are confusing. So is strong still an sec coach? If a coach starts his career in highschool then is he a highschool coach forever? You dumba55es dont understand the fact he came to the gators for a one year stint from the ACC? Next season when muschump is gone and he goes to another conference is he still an sec coach?

Gator fans, when are you going to stop using the injury excuse? Oklahoma had devastating injuries last year but still sucked it up to beat Alabama in a BCS game. No wonder the Gators suck, they cry about injuries instead of having the next man up play hard. Driskel is a lousy quarterback, his injury was actually a blessing and the sooner he's benched, the better off the Gators will be. One day you'll wake up and realize that it's not injuries, coaching, or bad luck that is the reason the Gators suck. It's the players, silly rabbit, who's going to have a good offense with Brantley or Driskel at quarterback. Coaching is not going to make a bad player good. Will UF win more than six games next year? I doubt it, the writer is deranged when he thinks the Gators are "one of the nation's most talented teams", like UF, he must be a joke as well.

Yea ,I was right again....he was an assistant coach at duke. Thats ACC. Therefore he was an ACC coach before he went to ufelony. Unless duke was in a secret sec deal while he was there, he was an ACC coach whether U like it or not. So riddle me this batman....is Carrol an nfl coach or a pac12 coach? Or is he an sec coach because he spent 1 year at Arkansas ?

Jls and gatordumb, you are made to look more ignorant everyday and yet you still dispute facts, you must be Republicans, they do the same thing, anyway, Your Big 12 coach and ACC assistant will get you to 5 wins this year, hey that's an improvement over the 4 wins from last year, so yes gators are one of the most talented Div II teams.

GAYtor trash doesnt EVER confront their own teams faults but attack others (like repuglicans). U all had a good run with tebag (a once in generation athlete) but ur back to being what you are, a mediocre school in the middle of no where! trailers, apartments & meth..

Lol...i was gonna say the same thing^^^^^^^^^^

39-6

Mike Winter, the injuries were real, not an excuse. Did Okla have the 3rd string QB starting? Did anyone have 3 starters at OL missing, plus the top RB, plus the first 2 QBs, plus a starting WR, plus the best DT, plus 2 starting LBs all missing at the same time? Get the F out of here with your ignorance.
Sid The Moron, the ACC is a cupcake league for sure, only FSU is any good. That does not mean there are good players or good coaches in that cupcake league you idiot. Roper did an excellent job with the talent he had at Duke, did a lot better than any cane coach in the past decade in fact. It is UM that has talent but no coaching and no player development. We have talent but we were missing the coaching on the offensive side of the ball. That is why I like the Roper hire he will use the talent we have in the proper way. The proof will be evident soon enough in the Fall. Right now you Morons keep running your traps like you always do in the off season. Once the games begin you will still be your sucky selves and we will return to the top again.
It is evident you Morons are the ones attacking others every day yet you accuse us of that. Just like you do when you use multiples names. You fools are truly sick, delusional and demented.

meant to say, that does not mean there are NO good players or coaches
Have to make it clear for the low comprehension MDCC rejects

39-6....uf doesnt own their stadium technically. Think about it. U and jlo use half, your brains when you talk.
Wah,wah,wah jlo. U reload not rebuild remember? Short memory? And the good thing about when we beat U , U had your FULL team . I seem to remember just before the game muschump started panicking and lifted suspensions to make sure everyone was on the field. Wah,wah,wah!
Also jesse, next time do a 12 pack of natty questions for more gator responses.

39-6....uf doesnt own their stadium technically

Talk about not using their brains. Better question about you would be: Brains? What brain?
Sid you need to get out of Bunell more often. In such a small town everyone knows you are a douche and a retard that is why you have no friends and are still a virgin. Take another road trip to Jacksonville but this time don't wear the torn cane t shirt from back in the 80s. Also take a long shower and groom yourself a little. I know it's a lot to ask from you. Maybe you can call one of those mobile pet grooming outfits to come help you out. Loser.

Georgia southern.

Ollie Trojan strikes again with the 39-6 comment under a different name, as I said before Ollie, we know your mother serviced 39 guys in 6 days and created the puss filled creature you are. Jlo, you wine like a biatch, admit the truth that uf is a good Div. II school behind GA Southern.

39-6, as good as it gets for the U(unranked).
how's your BB team doing right about now????

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