The 2014 version of the Florida Gators are coming into opening weekend healthy which is a sigh of relief for their fans. We have talked about the 2013 Gators plenty over the past couple of months. Whether its discussing head coach Will Muschamp’s job status or rival fans making fun of their worst season since 1979. Now with the 2014 season a few days away, I wonder can the Gators be this year’s version of the 2013 Auburn Tigers?
First, let’s discuss what the Tigers did last year. After going 3-9 and 0-8 in conference play in 2012, the Tigers rebounded big time going 11-2 and appearing in the National Title game in Guz Malzahn’s first season. So for the Gators to try to make that type of turn around, their offense must make a big improvement. New offensive coordinator Kurt Roper has some talent to work with but it all begins with QB Jeff Driskel. After breaking his ankle in the Tennessee game last season, there has been reports that this is the best Driskel has looked since he has been at Florida. The RB position is led by sophomore Kelvin Taylor who could be poised for a breakout year in this scheme. At WR, two guys stand out as the potential playmakers. Sophomores Ahmad Fulwood and Demarcus Robinson were highly recruited coming out of high school and the reviews out of camp has one thinking that they could put up some nice numbers. The weakness of the Gator offense will be their offensive line. The first team will be okay but there is no quality depth behind them besides freshman David Sharpe.
Even though the offense will be looking for improvement, the defense looks like it could be one of the nation’s best. The defense is led by DE Dante Fowler and DB Vernon Hargreaves. Fowler is considered one of the best DEs in the country and after only one season, Hargreaves is considered one of the top DBs in the country. This Gators defense is loaded with a ton of talent and will keep the Gators in every game this season. Looking at the schedule, we won’t really get to see how good this team is until September 20 in Tuscaloosa. I think the Gators can really make a statement that day and I would not be surprised if they pulled off the upset. Right now, I have the Gators at the 8-4 with 10-2 and a SEC Championship berth as their ceiling. That might not be the turnaround Auburn had but it should be enough to save Muschamp’s job.