Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Filled with Optimism; Gators Eager to Take Revved-Up Offense for Test Drive

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Filled with Optimism; Gators Eager to Take Revved-Up Offense for Test Drive

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Pincus

GAINESVILLE | The poet Alexander Pope once wrote, "Hope springs eternal."

That's never been truer for Florida football coming off a 4-8 season with its starting quarterback healthy again, a new offensive coordinator and its spring game Saturday at Florida Field.

The Gators want to show that last year was an aberration. Players have raved about the hurry-up spread system new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper has brought from Duke. The defense grew tired last year picking up the slack for an offense that finished 113th in the nation.

"What you want to see from the offense is really, 'Hey, let's get the right personnel on the field. Let's get lined up. Let's get set with motion. Get the ball snapped before the play clock runs out and let's have possession of the ball at the end of the play,' " Roper said. "If we'll do those things, look like a well-coached offense and [have] guys that are locked in, we're going to make plays in this offense."

The Gators have shown some flashes on both sides of the ball during the spring. Sophomore receiver Ahmad Fulwood, a former Bishop Kenny star, had a 52-yard touchdown in a scrimmage last Saturday. Quarterback Jeff Driskel shook off rust stemming from his broken leg in September and has shown off his running ability. Defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. has the coaches believing he can provide a one-two punch with Dante Fowler rushing off the edge.

"They're going to see a good-looking team. We're going to have a good team next year. We just need to continue to progress," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "The summer months are going to be critical for us to continue to take advantage of those opportunities to take the next step offensively and then defensively as well."

Barring injuries, the most watched position Saturday will be quarterback. The offense is highly dependent on Driskel. Quarterback play held the team back last season. …

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