Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Countdown to SEC kickoff: 37 days
By Chris Low
We're in the second day of our countdown to the start of the 2013 season and we turn our attention from Alabama to Florida.
The Gators look to take another step under third-year coach Will Muschamp after winning 11 games a year ago. One of the key numbers in doing so: 1,000.
Replacing running back Mike Gillislee won’t be easy for the Gators. He became the first Florida player to rush for 1,000 yards last season since Ciatrick Fason in 2004. The Gators have never produced 1,000-yard rushers in back-to-back seasons. Not even the great Emmitt Smith accomplished that feat. But if Muschamp has his way, that’s about to change. He’s eager to see what sophomore Matt Jones has to offer this season. Jones is 230 pounds and fast, and he also showed this spring that he can be physical. Muschamp said committing to running the football will be a staple of the Florida program as long as he’s running the show. “Mike Gillislee had a fantastic senior season, the first time since 2004 that we’ve had a 1,000-yard rusher at the University of Florida,” Muschamp said. “We don’t want that to be the exception. We want that to be the norm. That’s what we’re gunning for. We’re going to be more of a running back-oriented offense. That’s what I’ve been trying to do the last two years, coming back and changing philosophically what we’ve been before.”