GAINESVILLE — When Florida coach Will Muschamp was asked this past spring if he was concerned about the perception that his offense was not high-powered enough for Gator fans, Muschamp responded, "not at all."
The goal, he said, is to win games — whether it's by scoring 10 points or 35.
But as the Gators begin the 2012 season under first-year offensive coordinator Brent Pease, the offense will look much different from the one that averaged only 20.8 points in SEC play last season and finished 105th nationally in total offense.
Pease, the former Boise State offensive coordinator whose team with quarterback Kellen Moore last season averaged 44.2 points per game, is preparing to unveil an offense that combines no-huddle, and a fast-paced scheme of shifts and motions designed to cause confusion and create mismatches that stymie opposing defenses.
"It's motions and shifts, variation of formations," Muschamp said. "From the imagination standpoint, those would be the things that would be drastically different. Obviously because our running backs are different (from last season), the inside running game will be more of a two-back power game as opposed to what we were a year ago. I think those would be the things that will be very, very noticeable, different from where we were a year ago. About 50-50 from underneath to the gun (for the quarterback) which is what we had last year until we got John (Brantley) hurt."
The system was unveiled this past spring, and while some terminology has remained from last season, the offense is more complicated. It included learning timing of the shifts and motions, substitutions, play-calling, and ensuring that no more than one player is in motion on the play.
"I expect a lot of this offense," senior receiver Frankie Hammond said. "The sky is the limit. It feels a lot different especially with the shifts. It makes things look a lot different, it makes the defense think a lot more, when we come out in this formation and it looks totally different. In actuality it might be the same play, but it looks different to the defense (during various times in the game)."
But even with the new system, the question of whether Florida has the talent to make Pease's system successful in the SEC will remain until well into the season.
Georgia coach Mark Richt's Bulldogs lost 35-21 to Boise State in the 2011 season-opener. Richt said the Gators can succeed in the league with the new offense.
"Any system that is sound, coached-well, and understood, you insert the type of athletes that Florida will be able to recruit and I think they'll be just fine," he said.
The problem for the Gators is that their quarterback situation is unsettled and their receivers have underachieved. The Gators have just seven scholarship receivers.
But Pease insists the receivers have proven they can thrive in this offense.
"I think there's game-changing talent (at the position)," Pease said. "We have speed, guys that can stretch the field. I think there are some that are getting more confident that can do that naturally. … I think as a group they've gotten a lot better."
Richt said opponents should not assume the Gators' new offense is just a gimmick. When played well, it's a force.
"Boise State for years had been very outstanding offensively with what they are doing," Richt said. "They are big on shifts and motions, and they just run really good solid football plays. They've got their razzle-dazzle reputation for that, but the great majority of what they do is good, old fashioned line up and play football."
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]