Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Florida Gators season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Florida Gators
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Florida Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
Remember when Florida football wasn’t so brutally boring?
When your identity as a football program – and to a certain extent, as a school – becomes crafted by one of the most charismatic football coaches of all-time, it’s hard to not want anything else but another Steve Spurrier, even if that’s not possible.
And then, when you miraculously find another legendary head man in Urban Meyer just as he’s hitting his prime, and he brings a different brand of excitement – complete with a transcendent superstar in Tim Tebow – it’s asking too much for the Ron Zooks, Jim McElwains and Will Muschamps to compete at that level.
But lately, Florida hasn’t come close.
Ever since that fateful day in early December of 2009 – when a dominant Alabama 32-13 SEC Championship win shifted the balance of college football power from a crying Tebow to the era of stunning Crimson Tide dominance – Gator football has lost its way.
Oh sure, Muschamp came up with a whale of a 2012 season, and McElwain got to two SEC title games, but going 60-41 over the last eight years isn’t okay for a program of this might. By the way, over that same span, Mississippi State was 64-39. More on that in a moment.
Worst of all, Florida has been really, really boring.
The Muschamp blend of great defense, amazing special teams, effective-enough offense actually works, but if it doesn’t …. zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
McElwain’s teams – even when they were winning – were about as much fun as watching a Ben Affleck movie while drinking a diet root beer.
And that’s where Dan Mullen comes in. The former Gator offensive coordinator knows how good and how entertaining Florida football can and should be.
His first task was to simply change the energy of the program. It helps to do this …
Just by being more personable, and bringing in a faster offense, a more aggressive defense, and doing everything possible to make the attitude brighter, Florida now looks like it at least has the potential to be back on the SEC championship path again. In this case, optics and personality matter.
The guy made Mississippi State a winner in a division with Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss – before getting nabbed for being naughty – and in the Manziel era of Texas A&M. He’s been that coach who’s been ready for something bigger for a while now, and now he has to bring back the glory to Gainesville.
This year’s team isn’t going to take down the national title, but there’s a plenty of experience and a whole lot of parts to tinker with.
Thanks to the addition of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, the 3-4 D should attack more and be more … fun.
With a faster offense that gets back a deep group of skill players and a veteran line, the slow-and-stodgy era is done and the Gator attack will be … fun.
Of course, the gold standard right now is the Zero Fun, Sir world at Alabama, but Mullen is about to show that Florida can win big and still be … fun.
Oh yeah, but Mullen has to win a national championship or two along the way, too. That, more than anything else, really is fun.