Take Two: Will Florida's offensive struggles scare off recruits?
Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites.
The offense at Florida continues to be dismal and that was evident this past weekend when the Gators lost its season opener to Michigan, 33-17, where both of their touchdowns came on interceptions returned for scores.
Sure, Florida had 10 players suspended. That could be a cause for the offensive ineptitude. But the Gators also rushed for only 11 yards and the passing game was not exactly an incredible bright spot, either.
The offensive line got absolutely demolished, the quarterback play from Feleipe Franks and Malik Zaire was sub-par and it certainly seemed like Florida has not figured anything out from last season on the offensive side of the ball when the Gators sputtered as well.
Will the lack of offense hurt recruiting? It might worry some playmakers who don’t see the Gators doing much on offense at all. It has not hurt yet with high four-star quarterback Matt Corral, who has the ability to solve some of these problems. Four-star receivers Jacob Copeland and Ja’Marr Chase are potential stars as well.
The SEC is a cutthroat business and Florida has found a way to win the East the last two seasons even with a lackluster offense. Against Michigan, the Gators looked like they took a step backward on that side of the ball.
When exactly will Florida find any traction on offense – and what is the breaking point for recruits who have plenty of other options and want to play in an exciting system?
First take: MARK WHEELER, INSIDETHEGATORS.COM
“Though it is currently the problem of Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier, Florida's offensive woes date back seven years and span three different coaching staffs. Since Tim Tebow's departure following the 2009 season, the Gators' highest ranking in total offense is No. 93 back in 2010. To this point, it's hard to put a finger on how much it has or hasn't negatively impacted Florida's ability to recruit top-tier offensive talent. Take quarterback, for example. In that seven-year time frame Florida has landed Rivals100 signal-callers such as Jeff Driskel, Will Grier and Feleipe Franks to go along with current commit Matt Corral. The Gators' offensive ineptitude didn't scare them away. However, at some point don't you have to start being able to sell production rather than a dream?
“In our Recruit Reaction after the weekend loss to Michigan, Rivals250 receiver Anthony Schwartz, one of the Gators’ top remaining offensive targets, voiced his disappointment in UF's offense. On the other hand, Rivals250 running back commit Iverson Clement took the dismal offensive showing in stride, telling us it will get better. In the end it likely just comes down to the individual prospect. Where one may turn up their nose at trying to turn around an offense that may need an exorcism to get back on track, others see themselves as the catalyst to returning Florida to its offensive glory days.”
Second take: MIKE FARRELL, RIVALS.COM
“I don’t have the answer to that one. I didn’t expect the offense, especially with all the suspensions, to really be hitting on all cylinders. Feleipe Franks was making his first start. Malik Zaire I never thought was a difference-maker at quarterback even though he’s a nice kid. The thing that surprised me the most was how dominated they were along the offensive line. This was supposed to be a great offensive line group, some of them are McElwain’s kids. He had the excuse that he inherited a really weak core with no depth at offensive line. Now he’s been there for a while and they got absolutely annihilated. They just got destroyed. I don’t know what it’s going to take to figure out the offense there, because it’s not just the quarterback. There are so many things missing from dynamic playmakers, to running backs who can make something out of nothing, to receivers and the offensive line. They have so much work to do.”