Look, this is one of D1's most premier programs. Since 2006, they have gone 13-1 three times and won two BCS Championships. They have been seeing harder times the last two seasons, going 15-11 over those two years.
How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?
They don't publish a depth chart, but according to Phil Steele, they have the 50th most experienced team in the country, which is in the top half.
Andre DuBose returns as the nation's 21st best kickoff returner and kicker Caleb Sturgis was 3rd in the nation in Field Goals. MLB Jonathon Bostic was T-9 in the SEC in tackles.
What is their turnover ratio?
They were -12 last year, which normally points to a turn around.
How is their QB Play?
They are breaking in two new guys this year. Driskel and Brissett will split the first half with each one of them playing a quarter. Both played last year during Brantley's injuries, but neither distinguished himself. Driskel is more of a dual threat dude and Brissett is a drop back guy. Based on the play in the first half, coaches say they will pick who QBs the 3rd Q.
|His heart doesn't seem to|
be in it.
What is their scoring and yards per play?
They were 71st in scoring last year, something that has been a pretty big issue in Gainesville. They were 105th in total offense, and 5.4 yards per play was less than BG had.
They were 73rd last year in rushing offense, at 4.0 yards per carry. They lost their top two backs from last season and their backs figure to be in the middle of the pack in the SEC.
Do they pass the ball?
They were also 71st last year in passing efficiency. They are breaking in two QBs, but their receivers do appear strong and they have good TEs.
Last year, they ran the ball on nearly 60% of their offensive plays, which is really high.
|Oh no he di'nt.|
As befits a team with these marginal numbers, they were 111th
Do they score in the red zone?
They created fewer than 3 red zone attempts per game, which is below average. They were 35th in red zone% but 14 were FGs, so their average of 4.5 points per trip is only about average.
Do they protect the quarterback?
They didn't last year. They gave up sacks on 7% of their pass attempts.
OK, listen. A couple notes. First, I know that Florida developed these numbers playing in the SEC and not in the MAC. I'm just evaluating them on their own merits.
|Chomp on this.|
They lost 8 starters off a really good defense. The Gators were 8th in total defense, allowing only 4.5 yards per play. They were 20th in scoring defense. Now, as I mentioned they did lost some guys, but they seem to be re-loading on this side of the ball. Phil Steele ranks them as having the 3rd best defensive line, 5th best linebackers and 9th best D-backs in FBS.
|Honestly? Does that look like|
a helmet to you?
Could they be passed on?
They were 28th in pass defense efficiency last season, and I would figure they are likely to be better this year. Their stats are a little misleading, because teams ran on 60% of their plays.
|Urban loves to read.|
Notice how naturally
he holds the book.
Excellent. They were second in FBS...28%.
Do they defend in the red zone?
They were 80th in the country in red zone percentage, but were actually better than that. They allowed only about 3 trips per game and 4.95 points per trip.
Do they pressure the QB?
Very well. On paper, they were 44th in the country, but we have established that teams ran against them, so it ends up being 8% of their opponent's passing attempts ended up as a sack.
Phil Steele ranks Florida has having the best special teams in the country. Also, special teams are being coordinated by former BG Assistant DJ Durkin. We don't have a category for it, but Florida blocked six kicks last season in 13 games, so we have to be on our guard.
They switched punters mid year and the guy they have now put about 2 yards more on every punt.
It is unclear who is handling this for the Gators this year.
As established above, their kicker, Caleb Sturgis is really good and might be the best in the country. He made 3 over 50 last year with a long of 55.
Of course, this whole thing is changed now with the new rule. Last year, Sturgis had 10 TBs in 58 kicks, and figures do better if that is how they decide to play it. Teams averaged starting on the 25 under the old rules, which is very good.
Same caveat about the new rule. Andre DeBose was really good last year, had a TD and the Gators were getting the ball on the 31 off kickoffs, which is also very good. We should play for touchbacks.
|Bronze Mascot statues? uh, OK.|
Also: the holding hands is icky.
Now, as unlikely as it might be, there are games like this every year where the team that is the underdog puts it together and gets the win, and this could always be one of those games. We are 29 point dogs, and Florida won their pre-season tune ups by 38 and 39 points last year.
Looking forward to seeing our guys on the field, and you never know.