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Florida eager to get started, change 4-8 to 1-0

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 26, 2014 at 4:44 pm •  Published: August 26, 2014
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — It might be hard to find a team more eager for the season to begin than Florida.

Coming off their worst year since 1979, the Gators are ready to start anew, end a seven-game losing streak and prove last year's 4-8 debacle was a fluke.

Florida opens Saturday against six-touchdown underdog Idaho, which has just four wins over the last three years.

"Everybody starts out the season undefeated, so I think it's a good chance to start fresh and really showcase all we've done throughout the spring and summer," quarterback Jeff Driskel said Tuesday. "We've done some good things. We just have to carry them over to the games. ... There's a lot of excitement around our program right now."

Florida figures things have to be better than last season's injury-filled meltdown.

The Gators lost Driskel in the third game of the season with a broken leg and were unprepared to play without him. Making matters worse, the team also lost defensive tackle Dominique Easley, receiver Andre Debose, running back Matt Jones, right tackle Chaz Green and several others to season-ending injuries.

The injuries led to losses — including a humbling one to lower-division Georgia Southern — which led to lost confidence inside the locker room, which led to finger pointing, which led to the dismissal of offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.

The personnel changes led coach Will Muschamp to hire Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and USC offensive line coach Mike Summers. Roper and Summers revamped Florida's offense, which combined with Driskel's return, has created optimism for 2014.

"We're more talented, that's No. 1," Muschamp said. "We could line up and run the run-and-shoot for all I care. We're more talented. We are more talented at running back then we've been. We're more talented at receiver. We're more talented at tight end. We're better up front. And we're better at the quarterback position.

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