After missing the 2013 BCS National Championship at Sun Life Stadium by just one game, the Florida Gators suddenly turned the tables & performed atrociously in 2013, posting a 4-8 record while losing their final seven games. But Florida RB Matt Jones is not letting that get to his head.
From Jeff Barlis of ESPN, “We put that behind us, but we’re not going to forget that,” Jones said. “We’ve definitely got a chip on our shoulder that we’ve got something to prove, but we’re not going to keep it over our head that we went 4-8. We just know that we’ve got to come back strong.”
If the Gators are to come back strong, three essential keys are:
1) They must begin with a potent offense with the ability to run up the line with their offensive line – Jones missed over half of the 2013 season with a torn meniscus while several other offensive starters are coming back fresh off of injuries as well.
Jeff Barlis quotes Florida Head Coach Will Muschamp’s confidence in his stellar RB: “He’s a 230-pound back that about midway through the third and fourth quarter you get tired of hitting. He’s got extremely good hands, he’s very good at protection, very smart player.”
2) Work to improve the offensive line the most – along with Jones, two of Florida’s best offensive lineman Chaz Green & D.J. Humphries missed a great amount of playing time in 2013, leading to bigger struggles on offense.
“We had various situations last year where we lost guys to injuries & had to replace them guys who weren’t accustomed with the situation,” Muschamp said in an interview with ESPN’s Phil Murphy.
Offensively, the Gators have bolstered confidence & offense as they head into 2014 Training Camp.
3) See the most individual improvement from Jeff Driskel & John Bullard – Likewise to a portion of their offense, Gators QB Jeff Driskel only played in two games last season but Muschamp sees the junior as a leader who fits the suits the team offensively.
Defensively, lineman Jonathan Bullard looks to regain his freshman competence. “He (Bullard) played very well for me as a freshman but inconsistent as a sophomore. He is a guy I think needs to improve the most & step forward in order to have a good season,” Muschamp explained to Murphy.
The Gators certainly have their work cut out for them this season. Four of their final nine games is against a No. 12 ranked team or better and they will end the season against the reigning BCS National Champion Florida State Seminoles.
But that is not discouraging Muschamp or any of the Gators the least as their main goal to success is getting to Atlanta & playing to win a championship.