Playmaker wanted: Who will step up for Florida?
Over the last four years, Florida’s offense has lacked explosiveness that it’s been known for over the last two-plus decades.
That should be remedied with offensive-minded Jim McElwain now running the show. The flexible former Alabama offensive coordinator and Colorado State head coach has run all types of offenses, from pro style to spread. He’ll maximize the talent the Gators have on the roster and run an offense that best fits them.
Who are the candidates to have big offensive seasons for the Gators? Looking at the skill positions, there are plenty of options.
- Demarcus Robinson — Robinson put up solid numbers in 2014 (53 catches, 810 yards, 7 touchdowns) that are made more impressive when you remember the issues the Gators had throwing the ball. He has the size, skills and athleticism to be one of the top receivers in the SEC in 2015, so long as Florida can put the ball in his hands consistently in his junior year.
- Ahmad Fulwood — If Robinson is built like a sports car, Fulwood is Christian Bale’s Batmobile. He’s huge, at 6-foot-4, and he’s fast, having reportedly run under 4.4 second in the 40-yard dash, but he didn’t he put those gifts together to take a step forward during his sophomore year. After breaking off a long touchdown grab in the Gators bowl win, Fulwood gave everyone a glimpse of the big-play potential he has. If nothing else, Fulwood should be a dangerous red zone target in 2015.
- Latroy Pittman — The rising senior started most of 2014 in the slot for Florida, but hasn’t yet broken out. In an offense that will prioritize throwing the ball a bit more, Pittman should see more opportunities on some quick passes to take advantage of his size and quickness from the slot.
- Kelvin Taylor — With Matt Jones gone to the NFL draft, Taylor will be in line for plenty of carries as a junior after he averaged nearly five yards per carry in 2014. Taylor is big enough to run between the tackles and fast enough to break it outside. He could be on course for a big season.
- Adam Lane — After barely seeing any action as a freshman, Lane went crazy on Eastern Carolina in the bowl game and rushed for 109 yards on 16 carries. The 5-foot-8 Lane looks to be a shifty threat coming out of the backfield, and he’ll get his shot with the new staff in Gainesville.
- Jordan Scarlett — One of the gems of McElwain’s late recruiting push is Scarlett, a four-star Ft. Lauderdale native. While he’s not on campus for spring practice, Scarlett’s speed will make him a home-run threat when he gets the ball, especially if the Gators decide to spread it out.
- D’Anfernee McGriff — Another incoming freshman, McGriff flipped to Florida from Auburn and offers a different dynamic for the Gators. He’s a big, punishing runner (6-foot-3, 230 pounds), and could offer the Gators their best goal line option this fall.