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Florida’s college football teams must have better passing attacks in ’16

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They can block. They can tackle. They can run like the wind.

But when it comes to your favorite college football team this season, you have one simple question. Can they pass? And, for heaven sakes, can they do it better than they did it ago.

Everyone wants to be better, right? Everyone wants to win bigger. But for the teams of Florida, the question is whether the passing attacks from last year can be better this year.

Consider Florida State. Once they settled the quarterback situation by turning to Sean Maguire over Everett Golson, things were decent. But in FSU’s two ACC losses, Maguire struggled. His rating was 31.7 against Clemson.

Now, with receivers Travis Rudolph and Kermit Whitfield both on the Biletnikoff Watch List, the hope is that Maguire can be a true complement to running back Dalvin Cook, especially in the big games.

Meanwhile, at Florida, coach Jim McElwain’s program grew during his first season. But is the passing game any better? Last year, with freshman quarterback Wil Grier, it seemed to be on its way. But Grier is gone now after his PED suspension, and receiver Antonio Callaway is suspended. The Gators will have to prove that they’ve progressed on the field.

If anything, Miami has the quarterback in Brad Kaaya. But after a 3-0 start last year, the Hurricanes were only 5-5. Yes, Kaaya played well, but not on a team where the defense gave up more than 50 points twice.

So can Kaaya help coach Mark Richt turn things around?

South Florida’s passing attack is led by quarterback Quinton Flowers and receiver Rodney Adams, who is also on the Biletnikoff Watch List. Adams showed he could be a deep threat to complement running back Marlon Mack a year ago. But Adams had several drops he’ll try to cut down on.

At UCF, the hopes of a better offense surround new coach Scott Frost. Quarterback Justin Holman hopes to take advantage of sophomore Tre’Quan Smith.

At FIU, quarterback Alex McGough is back, as is receiver Thomas Owens. The two need more big plays, however.

FAU will turn to either quarterback Jason Driskel or Daniel Parr. Nate Terry will be the top receiving threat.

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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