With quarterback Jeff Driskel set to return from a broken leg and a new offensive coordinator in place, Florida is hoping going out of the shotgun makes its offense more dynamic than it was in 2013.
That won’t exactly be difficult — the Gators’ 4.79 yards per play average last fall ranked 110 out of 125 FBS teams — but for Will Muschamp to keep his job, the offense has to make a significant improvement. Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper is hoping a step toward that improvement is getting Driskel into more shotgun formations, in which he can be more effective as a dual-threat quarterback.
“I think he’s more comfortable in the gun,” Muschamp said, via the Orlando Sentinel’s Edgar Thompson. “A lot of the reason why we went to this was because of Jeff and as we move forward at the quarterback position.”
Thompson throws in some pretty damning stats about Driskel going under center or out of the shotgun that don’t exactly make ex-offensive coordinator Brent Pease look good. But Roper brings with him to Gainesville a more modern offense, and that — along with avoiding another year of brutal injury luck — could wind up turning things around for Florida.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah