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Thursday, December 8, 2011
Weis leaving gives UF offense fresh start

By Edward Aschoff

Florida is yet again sitting back and watching another coach leave Gainesville, after offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left to take the head-coaching job at Kansas.

It can be hard to say goodbye to a coach, especially a coordinator, but for Florida, this could be a chance for a fresh start for an offense that has gone nowhere in the last two years.

Like 2010, Florida's offense was a disaster. Even with a great offensive mind like Weis, the Gators finished the year with the eighth-ranked offense in the SEC and scored just 25 points a game. Under a coach who helped repair Brady Quinn's college career, the Gators tossed just 12 touchdown passes. And after having the top rushing offense through the first four weeks of the season, the heart of the SEC crushed Florida's ground game, as it finished the season ranked eighth in the league.

In Florida's six losses, the Gators averaged just 11 points a game and failed to consistently move the ball for four quarters in each.

Plain and simple, you would have never guessed that Weis was in charge of Florida's offense by watching the Gators live. Lots of fingers will be pointed at Weis, but there is plenty of blame to go around.

Charlie Weis
Charlie Weis' departure for Kansas could help Florida's offense recover from an ugly season.
Now, it's time for the Gators to put 2011's offensive implosion in the past. In fact, they should lock it in a box, attached some cinder blocks to it and throw it into the heart of the Mariana Trench.

The offense can start over new ... with its third offensive coordinator in three seasons. The difference now is that there is a ton of youth on offense, so this really will be a fresh start. This is a chance for the disgruntled offensive players to gain new life with a new coach. They can try and reinvent themselves after a crummy season.

There was immense pressure put on Florida's offensive players with someone like Weis at the helm. Without a figure like Weis running things, this offense won't be put under the giant microscope this time.

Taking the pressure off of a group of players that underachieved with all eyes on it is a good thing.

This is a chance for those two freshmen quarterbacks -- Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel -- to start fresh as well. Brissett showed some flashes here and there this fall, so having that experience will help him with his new coach. Weis personally recruited him when he was hired last year. Losing that relationship could hurt, but Brissett now has all of spring to learn from someone new.

Driskel was basically the forgotten man this season. He started the year as John Brantley's backup, but was demoted after injuring his ankle in the Alabama game -- the same game as Brantley's injury. He played during the second half of the Auburn game, but wasn't seen again. Now, he can really start over. This is his chance to step up and compete on the same level as Brissett. This new coach won't have any added investment in either quarterback, so they'll be starting over from square one together.

Finally, this is a chance for coach Will Muschamp to redo things. There were always questions about how Weis and Muschamp would get along. Neither ever hinted at any rift, but it's hard to believe that having two head coaches on one staff resulted in smooth sailing for a season. There were bound to be times where egos collided.

This is a huge hire for Muschamp because he has to get the offense up to par with his defense. Another year of offensive ineptitude won't help him or his team progress.

“We are going to remain a pro-style offense," Muschamp told reporters Thursday night. "Now, I'm going to hire the best offensive coordinator in the country.”

And he might have to right this ship.