Florida’s offense is ranked 115th nationally heading into the Outback Bowl, but with so many players returning, optimism is high for next season. Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier at practice this week in Tampa for the Outback Bowl. (Photo: Will Pantages/UAA Communications) TAMPA, Fla. – Gators head coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier know what the view from the mountaintop looks like.
Both won national titles at Alabama as offensive coordinators. In two seasons together at Florida, they have squeezed enough from an offensively challenged roster to win back-to-back Southeastern Conference East Division titles.
Still, Gator Nation is restless. It wants more offense and wants it now. It wants a quarterback to emerge and reinvent UF’s offensive identity. Ditto for McElwain and Nussmeier, a duo that has shown an ability to develop players and build productive offenses at previous stops in their coaching careers.
But unlike those displeased fans who criticize loudly that Florida’s offense is ranked 115th (345.1 yards per game) among FBS schools entering Monday’s Outback Bowl matchup against Iowa, McElwain and Nussmeier sense the Gators are about to turn a corner.
"Obviously, we all want results,” Nussmeier said following Saturday’s practice. "You want great numbers, you want to score a ton of points, everybody wants that. But how do you get there? That’s the focus. We’re going to be better. We’re going to get better. We’ve got all of our players back. That’s a positive thing. We’ve played a lot of guys. We’ve played a lot of young players."
The questions continued to be fired in rapid succession at Nussmeier, who had not spoken to the media since Florida’s media day in early August. They ultimately led to one word as Nussmeier tried to explain what has ailed the Gators’ offense: consistency.
"I know it’s there because we’ve done it in stretches,” he said. "You see it in stretches. It’s the consistency and we’re struggling to find that consistency on a day in and day out basis."
The critics say Florida’s lack of consistency goes back to coaching and play-calling. The defenders counter that talent deficiencies and too much turnover at quarterback need to be considered.
Gators All-American cornerback Teez Tabor was reminded recently that in his three seasons, the Gators have used five starting quarterbacks (Jeff Driskel, Treon Harris , Will Grier , Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby , who will start the Outback Bowl).
A football junkie, Tabor studies the game as much as anyone on the team. He understands constant turnover at quarterback is not conducive to high-octane offenses.
"In the game of football, the most important position is the quarterback,” he said. "Without a quarterback, you better have a great defense and a great running game, or you’re not going to be one of the top teams. A great quarterback is key to everything." No compatible source was found for this media.
Florida’s quarterback woes since the departure of Tim Tebow seven years ago have been well-documented and a constant source of frustration for fans, amplified by the fact the […]