Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Can gator legs carry the load?

A lot is being made both about the potential for Florida to compete against Missouri, South Carolina, and Georgia in the SEC East this season after a disappointing (or very satisfying, depending on your perspective) 4-8 campaign last year. Also, a lot is being made about new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's capability to turn around Jeff Driskel's career.

But perhaps as much should be made of the running back committee they have in Gainesville that will help keep linebackers and safeties honest. I don't know that I agree with the opening sentence of this article's assessment, but hard to argue with the rest of it.
This group of running backs is the deepest Will Muschamp has had in his four years in Gainesville. With his ground-and-pound philosophy and Kurt Roper calling the plays this fall, the Gators could surprisingly be one of the most productive rushing offenses in the conference.
Most of the article deals with sophomore Kelvin Taylor, son of former Gator Fred Taylor, and the likelihood of his contribution to the offensive production. For kicks and giggles I went back and looked at his stats. Georgia was able to keep him well below his season average in yards per carry, despite the fact that Florida tried really hard to get Taylor loose on the ground. No doubt, part of that success against the run was due to the gators inability to pose a downfield threat.

Sure, the WLOCP is many moons and games away. But I will always have one eye on that game. And it will be interesting to see how this new offense develops under Roper.

And for what it's worth, I also went and checked Duke's overall stats. Roper called run about 53% of the time last season for the Blue Devils. Last season the Gators ran at a 60% clip. No doubt a lot of Florida's success will depend on how Driskel absorbs Roper's system. But just as much will depend on the legs of Taylor, Mack Brown, and Matt Jones.