Nussmeier: Experience will make difference

Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier talks with quarterback Feleipe Franks during practice last month on the UF campus. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun] Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier seems convinced that Florida’s offense will be dramatically better in year three of the Jim McElwain era. When asked why he feels that way, Nussmeier answers without hesitation.

“The players,” he said. "I feel good about our players. Now in year three, we’ve played a lot of young players in the first two seasons. We have a lot of guys that have experience now. We’ve won 19 games in two years. We’ve played in big games. We’ve played against great quality opponents.

“Playing in this league, you’re not getting any layups. So, you’ve got to come week in and week out, and that’s hard with young players, and they’ve done a good job of understanding where we’re at and where we’ve got to go. And they understand the expectation. I’m really excited about the group, the leadership that’s coming from within that group, and they’re gelling together."

Nussmeier quickly points out the positives on offense: a more experienced line; a deeper and faster wide receiver corps; tight ends who run extremely well; proven producers at tailback; the excitement generated by the two new assistants (Ja’Juan Seider and Brad Davis).

“We’re really starting to build a core of guys,” he said. “You look at our perimeter players. Our wide receivers are probably one of our deepest positions on our team. I really feel good about the way the line is starting to gel together, the depth at the running back position.

“I feel really good about where we’re at from a speed standpoint of perimeter players. When you talk about Tyrie (Cleveland), and you talk about Brandon Powell and Antonio (Callaway), we’ve got some weapons.” But what about the player responsible for locating those weapons and getting them the ball? What about the quarterback? It is the great unknown on this offense. There is zero experience at the position this spring with former starter Luke Del Rio out following double shoulder surgery. The Gators like the arm talent of redshirt freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask and the potential playmaking ability of true freshman Kadarius Toney.

One potential problem: none have played a play at this level, yet.

Given that fact, many in Gator Nation may find the quarterback situation still a bit unsettling, but Nussmeier does not.

"No. Why should we (be worried),” he said. “Last time I checked, greatness wasn’t defined by age or experience.

“Obviously, we’re young at quarterback, but I like the players that are in our system. I feel good about the group, good about where we’re at and where we’re headed.”

Franks is considered the leading contender this spring to eventually become the starter, but the QB competition is just getting started, and both Trask and Toney will get their shot at the job. The coaches are already considering putting in a package of plays for Toney, who is an explosive threat running the football.

Here’s Nussmeier’s early take […]