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Florida coach Dan Mullen started his spring speaking tour this week.

Even with a young QB, Florida’s offense should take leap forward in 2018

Zach Abolverdi

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Scheme changes will take place on both sides of the ball this year.

Florida moves to a spread offense under head coach Dan Mullen and co-offensive coordinators Billy Gonzales and John Hevesy, while the defense switches to a 3-4 under coordinator Todd Grantham.

The offense will take a bigger leap forward in 2018 because it has much more room for improvement. The Gators ranked in the 100s nationally in total offense in each of Jim McElwain’s three seasons, which finishing No. 31 in total defense in 2017.

No matter who Mullen starts at quarterback this year, he will have a young (and potentially inexperienced) signal caller under center. Whether it’s incumbent starter Feleipe Franks or promising mid-year enrollee Emory Jones, the offense should still make strides because of the quarterback’s supporting cast.

Running back Jordan Scarlett is back on the team after missing all of last season due to suspension. He rushed for 889 yards in 2016 and could have a breakout year in Mullen’s offense. Florida’s backfield also returns Lamical Perine, Adarius Lemons and Malik Davis, who Mullen said is “coming along nicely” with rehab (knee injury) and could potentially play in 2018.

The Gators will have five tight ends and 11 wide receivers on the roster this fall, including transfers Trevon Grimes (Ohio State) and Van Jefferson (Ole Miss) and highly-touted incoming freshman Jacob Copeland. If the two transfers receive NCAA waivers and are able to play alongside Tyrie Cleveland and Kadarius Toney, that’s some serious talent at the skill positions.

And with tackle/guard Martez Ivey deciding to come back for his senior season, Florida returns 117 career starts on the offensive line and will have 16 players at the position in 2018. That amount of depth and experience up front should be the catalyst for offensive improvement in Mullen’s first season.