Are Gators Transforming Too Fast?

We’ve been over this before. Florida had a slew of problems last year on offense, between the offensive line, injuries, inconsistency among counted-on players, etc. Another problem they had that certainly wasn’t forgotten, but was definitely overshadowed by the others, was that they didn’t have the right players for Will Muschamp’s style.

Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey were without a question the most feared and explosive one-two freshman combo in 2008- and that was on a team where Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin got the credit. They then had two good, not great years in 2009 and 2010. 2011 came around, and they were once again off to an explosive start- against FAU, UAB, Tennessee and Kentucky. Enter real SEC teams, and they both floundered. That raises the question: was Muschamp (and Charlie Weis) trying to make them be something they weren’t?

The difference between Urban Meyer’s offense and Will Muschamp’s (or more accurately Brent Pease’s) is glaring- and simple. Meyer wants speed. Muschamp wants power.

You can’t take a knight in chess and turn it into a queen any more than you can turn Rainey and Demps into power runners. They ran outside some, certainly more than ole Stevio let them, but not enough against the good teams to win. Of course, with a good offensive line, it might not have mattered, but that’s another story.

The poor inside running game was the epitome of a Will Muschamp first year team. You need to let everybody do what they’re comfortable with. Recruiting is another story; there’s no law forcing you to recruit speed demons instead of hulking monsters, but you always have to coach what you’ve got. If you’re not willing to deal with coaching a spread offense for a two or three years, then maybe you shouldn’t accept the job at all (very extreme).

I’m not saying this is what Muschamp did; it just seemed that way at times. You can go either way on this. The weak offensive line certainly contributed to the lack of results up the gut, and that’s another thing the Gators need to fix.

Defensively, I’ve got no strategical questions or complaints, except for the lack of turnovers last year. At worst, Florida will return 8 of 11 starters from the 8th best defense in college football, and if both Dominique Easley and Ronald Powell can come back and be 100%- not simply be on the field and be 15%- Florida will return 10. You always have to wonder how anybody will do coming off an ACL tear, even if it was last November (Easley’s case). That’s my only question at all about the defense.

As I said yesterday, Muschamp appears to be doing just fine in the special teams game.

So let’s see what 2012 brings- not just in the win loss stat, but in how the Gators’ offense goes about its business. Obviously, it’s a few months away, but with each passing day I get more and more excited about our future. Stay tuned for the season preview, which will be released at a date to be decided later.