Sunday, November 19, 2017
Colleges

Florida's new offense generates lots of optimism

RECOMMENDED READING


GAINESVILLE — Six hundred and six.

If you're a Florida fan looking for just the slightest light at the end of what has been a really dark tunnel since September, Saturday afternoon's 606 yards of offense between the Orange and Blue teams during the spring game might help.

New offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's spread, uptempo scheme generated offense and optimism during the Gators' final practice in front of 35,834 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Players now have 111 days to perfect it on their own before they report to camp in August. For now, all signs point to improvement, coach Will Muschamp said.

"I'm extremely pleased with the day offensively and with 15 practices and how far we've come," said Muschamp, who hired Roper from Duke, where he was offensive coordinator. "I think you can attribute all of that to Kurt Roper and the offensive staff and the job they've done.

"Our kids have been very receptive and have confidence in what we're doing. I think it's a good fit moving forward. I thought we were very efficient offensively in what we are trying to do. We didn't get to some of the quarterback running game, which is what you will see in the fall. That helps us even further with Jeff (Driskel) and what he can do."

DRISKEL'S back: Driskel played a "game" for the first time since breaking his right leg against Tennessee on Sept. 21.

"It was nice to get back out there with the guys, but I wasn't out there thinking about any injury," said Driskel, who was 18-of-32 for 167 yards and a touchdown.

Driskel rated the spring a success, adding that players are excited about what's to come.

"Whenever you have a new offensive coordinator and a new system, you're re-energized," he said.

"We felt like it's a new start and there's something about it where you can get rolling. It's been a lot of fun, and I think our guys had fun making big plays."

RECEPTIONS FOR EVERYONE: Remember, it was just a scrimmage, but the offense provided a glimpse of just how many receivers could have an impact. Among the standouts:

• Senior Quinton Dunbar (four catches for 42 yards).

• Sophomore Ahmad Fulwood (four for 32).

• Sophomore Demarcus Robinson (three for 45).

• Sophomore Chris Thompson (four for 37).

• Junior Latroy Pittman (two for 31).

• Redshirt freshman and Armwood High alum Alvin Bailey (two for 28).

"It's definitely a sample of what we're going to do," Fulwood said. "I mean no-huddles, speed, tempo. That's how we're going to show up when it comes to game day. You're not going to get anything less.

"We still have stuff to put in, but as far as the game goes and the offense we're going to run, that's what the (fans) got."

HARDIN'S REBOUND: After a miserable 2013 in which he lost the starting job late, sophomore kicker Austin Hardin showed glimpses of the high school star he was. Hardin was 4-of-4 on field goals, including a 42- and 43-yarder. Last season, he was 0-of-5 from 40 yards or longer. Muschamp said Hardin has been more consistent, and Saturday was critical for his confidence.

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher longed for his team to play in this type of game throughout its disappointing season.After Hurricane Irma caused a three-week layoff between FSU’s first two games, forcing it to play 11 in a row to finis...
Updated: 5 hours ago
A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

GAINESVILLE — Chauncey Gardner wasn’t fooled. He saw UAB snap the ball. He saw the quarterback throw a screen. He saw the receiver fire a second pass downfield. Then a crowd of 84,649 saw the sophomore safety high-point the trick-play pass to earn hi...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Florida back on track with non-conference blowout of UAB

Florida back on track with non-conference blowout of UAB

GAINESVILLE — Florida’s next head coach — whether it’s odds-on favorite Chip Kelly or someone else — should be encouraged by Saturday’s 36-7 win over UAB.Not because the Gators (4-6) snapped a five-game losing streak by beating up on a 7-4 Blazers te...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Matt Baker’s takeaways from Florida-UAB

Matt Baker’s takeaways from Florida-UAB

1. A milestone Florida probably doesn’t want to celebrate: Johnny Townsend became the school’s all-time leading punter with his 232rd career punt. But Townsend has legitimately been one of the team’s MVPs.2. It took far too long, but UF’s tight ends ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Basketball: Gators romp; key player hurt for Hurricanes

Basketball: Gators romp; key player hurt for Hurricanes

GAINESVILLE — Behind a balanced effort and six double-figure scorers, No. 8 Florida dominated North Florida 108-68 Thursday. Junior KeVaughn Allen led the Gators with 18 points. The balanced scoring helped Florida (2-0) dismantle the Ospreys (0-4) fr...
Published: 11/16/17
College football week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

College football week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

The Times’ college football coverage team makes its picks for week 12 games:gametimeMartin Fennelly, @mjfennellyMatt Baker, @MBakerTBTimesTraci Johnson, @TBHomeTeamMike Sherman, @mikeshermanTom Jones, @tomwjonesJoey Knight, @TBTimes_BullsAgainst the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Will Chip Kelly be the Gators’ next head coach?

Rick and Tom podcast: Will Chip Kelly be the Gators’ next head coach?

The Florida Gators are vetting Chip Kelly to potentially be their next head coach, but is he their first choice? In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss what the future holds for the Gators and whether the coach will be Chip Kelly,...
Published: 11/15/17
College Football Playoff: Miami up to No. 3 in rankings, two-loss teams lurk

College Football Playoff: Miami up to No. 3 in rankings, two-loss teams lurk

Tuesday’s latest round of the College Football Playoff committee’s weekly rankings shows a clear path to a (relatively) controversy-free final four.Win out, and No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 5 Wisconsin are in. So, too, is the winner of No. 2...
Published: 11/14/17
Is Miami officially back? We let the turnover chains decide

Is Miami officially back? We let the turnover chains decide

MIAMI — A question that has been bubbling up all season crescendoed over the weekend after Miami’s 33-point thrashing of Notre Dame. Is the U back?"We are back," former Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted. "I don’t think anybody can say we’re not," receiver Braxto...
Published: 11/13/17