As spring practice begins, Florida Gators have offensive playbook down for a change

For the first time since he became Florida’s head football coach, Will Muschamp is not spending precious spring practice time teaching his players a new offensive scheme.

His past two spring practice sessions were focused on implementing Charlie Weis’ offense in 2011 and Brent Pease’s last year. However, when spring ball began Wednesday, the Gators already had the playbook down.

“That makes us even better than a year ago,” Muschamp said. “That’s refreshing.”

His team practiced in shorts Wednesday and will increase the level of contact Saturday. Practices on Friday and Saturday will be at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and open to the public, beginning at 4:25 p.m. and 12:55 p.m., respectively.

Florida is coming off a breakout season in which it went 11-2 and reached the Sugar Bowl after going 15-11 over the previous two years. The Gators were 104th in the FBS in total offense at 334 yards per game, beating out only Kentucky and Auburn in the SEC.

The defense was No. 5 in yards allowed, though it has lost safety Matt Elam, linebacker Jelani Jenkins and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd as early entrants to the NFL draft, as well as three other starters who were seniors.

Because of those departures, Muschamp sees “serious question marks” at defensive tackle, linebacker and safety.

“We’ve got to continue to build depth with the guys that we’ve got,” he said. “”I’m glad we’ve got them. They’re talented guys. They’ve just got to get some experience.”

Antonio Morrison, a true sophomore who started three games last season, begins spring as the starting middle linebacker. He replaces three-year starter Jon Bostic, from Palm Beach Central High School.

Cody Riggs and Jabari Gorman are listed as the first-string safeties. Gorman has never started, while Riggs had mainly been a cornerback before missing most of last season due to injury.

“We need to have some guys develop and become better communicators,” Muschamp said. “That’s something we’re missing at this point after one day and going through the offseason program, being vocal and being confident with the call and the check. There’s no question that’s an issue.”