Florida has hired Mike Locksley as an offensive assistant in an attempt to rejuvenate an offense that has struggled in head coach Jim McElwain’s first two seasons.
Matt Zenitz of AL.com contends that Mike Locksley has not yet been hired by the Gators – that Locksley will decide whether to leave his post at Alabama after the season’s end. Still, it appears as though Florida possesses a keen interest brining in the analyst to spice up an offense that has been inconsistent, at best, for much of Jim McElwain’s tenure.
The Florida offense struggled once again this season. Ranking 116th in the nation in total offense and putting up a mere 345.1 yards per game, it was another year of the defense carrying the load and leading the Gators to an SEC title.
Help for them is on the way, though, as head coach Jim McElwain has hired Alabama offensive analyst Mike Locksley, per FootballScoop.com.
Locksley brings in a lot of experience, having served as Maryland’s offensive coordinator from 2012-2015 before accepting the Alabama position for this season. Although oft-maligned offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is still on the staff, the addition of Locksley should help innovate the stagnant offense and bring in new ideas.
In addition to his offensive acumen, Locksley also brings a history of recruiting for the Gators, having served as recruiting coordinator and running backs coach under Ron Zook in 2003-04. He also joined Zook at Illinois where the Illini’s offense consistently improved under his watch.
The biggest challenge facing the Florida offense, as it has been for several years now, is finding a quarterback that can be both accurate and a downfield threat. This season, Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby both proved to be ineffective a majority of the time, as the Gators averaged just 215.3 yards per game through the air.
Feleipe Franks, a highly-touted freshman who spent this season as a redshirt, is expected to take over under center next season for the Gators, and the running back situation, with Jordan Scarlett, Lamical Perine, and Mark Thompson all set to return, is set.