Posted November 01, 2012 on
AP on Fox
There are plenty of adjectives to describe Florida's offense, which ranks 100th in the nation and managed just three field goals in a costly loss to rival Georgia last week.
The best one might be predictable.
The eighth-ranked Gators are running the ball on 78.1 percent of their first downs, the highest of any team in a Bowl Championship Series conference.
Army, New Mexico, Air Force and Navy - teams that run option schemes - are the only programs in the entire Football Bowl Subdivision that run the ball more than Florida on first down.
''Probably a little predictable,'' Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease admitted this week. ''Now, we're never going to get it back to balanced because the numbers are so skewed at this time in the season, but we kind of go on a game-to-game basis.''
The Gators (7-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conference) get a chance to be more balanced Saturday against Missouri (4-4, 1-4). Then again, facing the Tigers' talented defensive front might prompt the Gators to be even more cautious.
Florida's run-pass ratio has been tilted even more over the past four games, with the Gators running the ball 81 percent of the time on first down. They ran 23 of 24 times on first down against South Carolina and 19 of 27 against Georgia.
''Obviously, we haven't made that many plays in the passing game,'' quarterback Jeff Driskel said. ''But we have confidence that when we get one-on-one matchups we're going to be able to beat them. We have good receivers and we have good playmakers, and we're just going to have to start hitting some big plays.''
Florida's predictability seemed like a fluke early in the season, especially since the offense was moving the ball pretty well behind running back Mike Gillislee.
The senior led the Southeastern Conference in rushing for much of the year, but he has tailed off over the last three weeks. Gillislee has averaged just 60 yards rushing against Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Georgia.
It has become clear that defenses are focused on stopping Gillislee, but that hasn't stopped Pease from calling his number on first down.
Gillislee has accounted for more than half of Florida's first-down runs (56.4 percent). That number increases to 64.4 percent over Florida's last four games.
It's fine when the Gators are getting significant chunks on first down. But when they're not, it leaves them in second- and third-and-long situations.
And Florida is hardly equipped to handle those.
Driskel holds the ball too long at times, struggling to make quick decisions. The offensive line has been shaky all season in pass protection, giving up 26 sacks. Running backs and tight ends need to be better at picking up blitzes. And the receiving corps has to get more separation, run more precise routes and not drop balls.
And force feeding Florida's best option, tight end Jordan Reed, comes with problems, too.
''There's coverage on him,'' Pease said. ''We had a couple in the (Georgia) game where we were going to him, but they had him sniffed out. You've got to go to your alternatives. You can't just do things where it's one guy because then what are you going to do? They've got an idea that he's kind of built into the game plan. It's there, but sometimes it isn't there, you know?''
When asked about the first-down numbers, coach Will Muschamp tried to blame them on certain situations. But when reminded that eight games is a pretty significant sample size, he relented.
''That's something we're aware of,'' he said.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Florida Gators legend recently admitted that with his former coach Urban Meyer at the helm, he has developed into a "pretty big fan" of the Ohio State Buckeyes.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. By the time Gators coach Will Muschamp left the locker room for the start of the second half, the words he yelled into radio reporter Brady Ackermans microphone at the end of the first half were already attached to a hashtag on Twitter.
And in all caps: OVERCOMETHEADVERSITY
Following Muschamps forceful statement, the Gators went out after halftime and did just...
This was supposed to be a celebratory week at Florida.
The Gators expected to beat rival Georgia, clinch a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game and then worry about staying undefeated against Missouri.
Six turnovers changed everything.
The mistake-prone Gators lost 17-9 to the Bulldogs, leaving them in an unenviable position of trying to regroup from a setback...
The Gators have an opportunity to bounce back from last week’s loss to Georgia, but multiple players have been slowed by the flu bug and missed time on the practice field this week. Defensive tackle Leon Orr is the only player that has been ruled out with the flu when Missouri comes to town on Saturday,
efensive lineman Antonio Riles (6'4/265) of Archer High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. is committed to the Florida Gators. See him in action in his latest game against South Gwinnett.
After preaching discipline and holding scramble lanes to the defensive line, the Florida defensive line had a chance to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback. The Gators ended the game without recording a sack. Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn felt like the unit did a better job than the numbers showed, but there’s still room to improve as the season continues.
Mike Gillislee took a screen pass and went 45 yards for a touchdown, and No. 8 Florida survived a scare to beat Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri 14-7 on Saturday.
The Gators rebounded from a turnover-filled loss to rival Georgia and kept alive hopes of winning the SEC's Eastern Division. They need the Bulldogs to lose one of their remaining games, against Mississippi...
Will Yeguete knows his limitations. He won’t ever be an elite scorer for the Gators or a go-to option on offense, but that didn’t look like the case on Thursday in a 101-71 win over Nebraska-Kearney. The junior’s knack for the ball on the offensive glass helped him post 20 points and 11 rebounds for Florida. Yeguete knows his strengths and improved them in the offseason.
Mike Rosario has been waiting for his chance. It won’t count officially in his career statistics, but Thursday’s exhibition game against Nebraska-Kearney will be his first step in the right direction. After not starting a game in his Florida career, head coach Billy Donovan will give Rosario that chance on Thursday. It’s an honor Rosario has earned by his improved play during...
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Mike Gillislee took a screen pass and went 45 yards for a touchdown, and No. 8 Florida survived a scare to beat Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri 14-7 on Saturday. The Gators rebounded from a turnover-filled loss to rival Georgia and kept alive hopes of winning the SEC's Eastern Division. They need the Bulldogs to lose one of their remaining games...
The Florida gators cruised to a 101-71 preseason victory over Nebraska -Kearney. The freshmen showed up big, but head coach Billy Donovan is looking for more from the overall squad. Senior guard Kenny Boynton, sophomore forward Will Yeguete, and freshman Michael Frazier talked to the media following the contest and we have some of that here.
After picking up their first SEC conference win at home against the Kentucky Wildcats last week, the Missouri Tigers hit the road down South to the unfriendly venue of the Swamp to take on the Florida Gators.
Head coach Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators ready themselves as they host the Missouri Tigers this Saturday afternoon. For Muschamp and the Gators it's the last home SEC game of the season. Will the Gators be able to bring in the top tier talent this weekend?
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Mike Gillislee took a screen pass and went 45 yards for a touchdown, and No. 8 Florida survived a scare to beat Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri 14-7 on Saturday.
The Gators rebounded from a turnover-filled loss to rival Georgia and kept alive hopes of winning the SEC's Eastern Division. They need the Bulldogs to lose one of their remaining...
GAINESVILLE, Fla. Florida's offense was sputtering along like a '72 Volkswagen, relying heavily on punter Kyle Christy to keep Missouri pinned deep in its own territory.
It was early in the second half and the Gators not only trailed by a touchdown, they had yet to score. They needed something to happen after Pop Saunders' 16-yard punt return gave them the ball at Missouri...