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March 19, 2014

Sneak Peek: Florida rolls out new offense



The usual hesitations and delays that come with the first day of practice in a new offense were present, but for the most part, Wednesday was a sneak peek at the new direction in which Florida's offense is headed.

In past years, the Gators opened practices with two-minute drills but transitioned back into a methodical pro-style approach as practice moved forward. In Kurt Roper's offensive coordinator debut, it was all tempo all the time.

"We're nowhere close to where we want to be, but certainly understanding that the urgency you've got to play with, the execution you've got to play with," Will Muschamp said. "I don't care if you're an up-tempo team or you're a huddle team, it comes down to execution and that's going to be paramount. But for the guys to understand the advantage of playing fast and getting snaps."

There are plenty of position battles to sort out on the defensive side of the ball, but Muschamp made it clear Wednesday his two biggest concerns this spring are making sure the installation of a new offense goes well and solidifying the kicking game.

With that comes the biggest challenge of making sure coaches aren't throwing too much new at players to where it bogs them down in practice and makes them forget about technique and running plays the right way. The installation process makes measuring where players are right now difficult.

This offense comes with a new look. The Gators did not run a single play from under center Wednesday.

"We're going to be a gun team," Muschamp said. "I mean, there's going to be a little under center for some things. You've got to kneel down at the end after a good win. I don't want to be in the shotgun doing that."

Roper worked closely with his players throughout Wednesday's practice, mostly going for patient mentoring but getting vocal when the situation called for it. He's somewhere in between a timid coach and an enforcer like Muschamp, whose voice filled the practice field all afternoon.

"Just a really good teacher, very fundamental in his approach," Muschamp said. "Certainly philosophically being on the same page with me and what we want to do, and that's be balanced. We're not going to get away from running the football. Different ways to run the football, but I just a really good teacher and more than anything just a positive guy. His positive energy is very contagious in the building. I just enjoy working with him. He's a very good fundamental football coach."

Day one in the books.


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