GAINESVILLE, Fla — A number of college football analysts have questioned Florida’s addition of graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.
Gary Danielson is one of those folks.
In an interview with SEC Country, the CBS commentator expressed doubts about Zaire positively impacting Florida’s offense — and that’s not a slight to the former Notre Dame starter.
“I am a little bit, I have to admit, surprised with the Malik Zaire transfer,” Danielson said. “I know he’s a good talent. I know he’s got great experience. But the fit is, I don’t to say it’s concerning, but surprising in how this is going to folded into the Florida offense.
“Is Malik going to have his own offense? Are they going to take time to practice him? If they do make the change, does it become more of a zone-read offense? Will that move the team forward? So there’s a lot of question marks. The dynamics of Florida probably is a team that has most people questioning what the heck is going to happen this year. I don’t really know what to think.”
Danielson also gave his thoughts on the following topics:
Florida’s offensive struggles: “Everybody judges everything by offense, and rightly so. It became obvious that the past two Florida teams were not a championship team. They were a good team, a solid team. They could win on defense. But I think that Vanderbilt game put a lot of shock into a lot of Florida fans. It was an ugly game against what Florida fans consider inferior talent. Had that game gone smoothly, maybe everybody would have a different view. And then the SEC Championship Game got out of hand. Sometimes you get in a little bit above your weight class and to your fans it exposes what you don’t have. So until they get a guy in modern college football that can be a weapon at quarterback, I think Florida is going to have a lot of question marks.”
Florida’s offensive ceiling with a weapon at QB: “It’s one of the things they’re missing. I’ve been a little disappointed in Florida’s talent at wide receiver. I think they’re going to be better this year. Antonio Callaway should be a little bit more mature and match his ability on the field with his maturity. Tyrie Cleveland is going to continue to emerge as a great weapon on the outside. But in this run of non-offense for Florida that has been basically since (Tim) Tebow left, I’ve been alarmed at the lack of elite, special wide receivers and running backs. They just haven’t been there. So that has to be shored up. In this league, if you have a weakness these powerful teams will take advantage of you, no matter where it is — whether it’s quarterback, wide receiver or right guard. You have to be well balanced. I know McElwain knows what he’s going. I know it was a rebuild and that’s tough to take. They knew they had it going pretty well on defense, but they had to rebuild it on offense.”
Florida’s 2017 schedule: “It’s very advantageous. I think there would probably be 13 other teams in the SEC that would love to have Florida’s schedule. If they can get it going, they have their tough games obviously at home and I can’t imagine they’re going to take too big of a step back in the athletes they have. I don’t think they’ll be quite as dynamic on defense, but I just have to believe they’re going to be more than rudimentary on offense.”