Here are the five biggest takeaways from Florida’s season-finale loss to Florida State in what was Will Muschamp’s final game as Florida head coach.

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1. Florida DBs will be scary next season — The secondary struggled early on in the season thanks to several communication breakdowns. But as the season progressed, it became clearer that this was a unit destined for big things in the future. Freshman defensive backs Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson made some highlight-reel plays at the end of the season and became very reliable options in the secondary. With Vernon Hargeaves and Keanu Neal both returning as well as Brian Poole potentially coming back for his senior season, the Gators should have a ton of talent in the secondary next season.

2. FSU game a microcosm of Muschamp’s UF career — Florida didn’t have the lead the entire second half, but the Gators had more than their fair share of opportunities to take the lead and possibly win the game. But the offense didn’t make the plays it needed to and it seemed like a rerun of the biggest issue throughout Muschamp’s career at Florida. The defense was spectacular, but the offense was less than impressive. Too many missed opportunities means close losses like this one last night.

3. Austin Hardin is gaining more confidence — The former No. 1 high school kicker hasn’t had the most consistent career at Florida. Despite his struggles, Hardin has hung in there and last night’s performance was a huge step forward. Although he missed two attempts, Hardin converted on four kicks and kept the Gators in the game. Even on his misses, the leg was there for Hardin. A reliable kicker has been missing from Florida since Caleb Sturgis left. Perhaps Hardin can be that guy for the Gators next season with a strong 2014 season under his belt.

4. Lack of run game ultimately hurt Florida — The Gators’ offense failed to do much against the Seminoles and the biggest reason for that was FSU’s run defense. The Seminoles limited Florida to just 113 rushing yards, which is much lower than the Gators need on the ground to be effective on offense. Fortunately for the Gators, Florida completed some big passes, but other than that, it was a rather unproductive game.

5. Gators won’t lack talent with new head coach — Despite a 6-5 record in the regular season, Florida boasts more talent than the record shows. Whoever comes in as the next head coach should have an opportunity to compete right away in the SEC East. With a young quarterback in Treon Harris and another gunslinger in Will Grier as a redshirt freshman, there’s a lot of potential at the quarterback position. The defense is solid and the secondary should be top-notch and with the recruiting base at Florida, there’s always a great chance to bring in some instant impact recruits. The Will Muschamp era was inconsistent, but moving forward the Gators should have a great opportunity to make some big strides in the SEC East sooner rather than later.

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