Florida left tackle Martez Ivey didn’t sugarcoat his feelings about how Florida has changed for the better from 2017 to 2018.
It’s no secret the 2017 season was a disaster for the Gators. Florida finished the season 4-7 and parted ways with coach Jim McElwain before the season was over. Not only was Florida’s performance poor on the field, but McElwain didn’t make many friends by publicly referencing outside threats towards members of the football program and then refusing to give additional details to the athletic department.
After Randy Shannon finished the season as the team’s interim coach, Florida hired Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen quickly after the offseason began.
“We’ve got a lot more options”
Mullen is back at the school where he was an assistant coach under Urban Meyer when Florida was winning national titles with Tim Tebow. Mullen’s offense, according to Ivey, is far more creative than McElwain’s.
“100 times better to be honest with you,” Ivey said Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “We’ve got a lot more options and I feel like we do a better job at utilizing our players and our weapons and it doesn’t matter who it is we can get the ball in their hands and we can gain about [5-10] yards every time. We take deep shots, read play-option and we can confuse the defense and take a shot on them or we can be physical up front and just dominate the line of scrimmage. I feel like we’ve got options; it’s not a one-dimensional team.”
How one-dimensional was Florida? Well, the Gators threw for fewer than 2,000 yards as a team and ran the ball more than it attempted to pass it. Florida quarterbacks threw 10 touchdowns to just 10 interceptions.
Offense isn’t the only thing that’s changed
Ivey said there have been vast improvements in the program’s strength and conditioning department as well. That’s a big deal coming from an offensive lineman, a player tasked with moving defenders out of the way on every play.
“You’re coming out you could just tell people were stronger than you,” Ivey said. “It was kind of like, not intimidating, but it was like man wow I’m not as big — you would see kids come in that you hosted on their officials that turned out to be bigger than you right now. It was something that blew my mind so I knew that once we got new staff in it was going to be different and we were going to change it around.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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