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Can Gators have an improved offense behind Luke Del Rio?

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By now, we are accustomed to believing that the  Florida Gators will be good on defense. But can Florida hold up on offense this time around? It couldn’t last year, not after Will Grier was suspended for PEDs. But coach Jim McElwain thinks his program has made progress this year.

At quarterback, adviser Steve Spurrier has said that Luke Del Rio will be the Gators’ quarterback. But will he have the flair that Greer showed while he was on the team?

“To play successful football at the quarterback position, the people around you, A, have to believe,” McElwain said. “And B, they have got to trust in everything you’re doing; and C, their play is elevated based on how you go about playing the position. And what does that mean? So I’ll see how the guys respond to them when they are in the huddle, when they are into the situations that we, you know, set up during practice. That really is kind of, to me, the key to success at the position.”

The Gators will have new running backs, too, in Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkite.

“Really with the two Jordans, I think it’s building on the little bit of success that they had a year ago,” McElwain said. “And the understanding of probably the daily kind of pounding and your ability to move on to the next play, is something that is going to be big.”

The Gators have possibilities at running back now that Antonio Callaway is practicing again.

“Those young guys that were here at spring I think came a long ways, and I’ll be excited to see how far they have come,” McElwain said. “Obviously, Ahmad Fulwood is a guy that we haven’t talked about, but had a good spring, and yet we need him to really step up and be aggressive in his play for us to be successful.”

Then there is the offensive line, the key to the Gators’ offense.

“To me, the big key is the development and maturity of David Sharpe on a day-to-day, play-to-play basis,” McElwain said. “And what I’ve seen out of him from a leadership standpoint is something that I think is really good, and you know, just looking at them, they have grown up a little bit.”

Bottom line: The Gators can be efficient if they get good play from their quarterbacks. At most places, that’s the key. At Florida, it’s essential.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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