Florida Gators: we know what you did last week

 

A weekly look at our upcoming opponent's recent history, with animated drive charts and links to SB Nation game pages.

The Gators have essentially paid two hapless snack cakes to be their preseason, beating the Charleston Southern Buccanneers 62-3 in their opener and the Troy Trojans 56-6 last week. A quick look at the drive charts:

 

FULL SCREEN VERSION

Well. Even the drive chart program doesn't know who Charleston Southern is and simply defaults to the NCAA FCS logo. Apart from that, the only things to note here are (1) Florida's defense only caused one turnover; and (2) that sixth TD by the Gators was a Brandon James kickoff return for six. Yeah. He's back, and he's doing it again.

All right, on to the chart for last week's thrashing of the team Brian likes to refer to as the Troy Trojans Men of Troy (We're from Troy!) (or something like that):

FULL SCREEN VERSION

Hey, at least Troy has its own logo. And look at how Florida started: (1) punt; (2) a zero-yard drive and a punt; (3) [never mind]; (4) fumble; and (5) fumble. Of course, they then got things rolling, but they also missed a field goal and fumbled again later in the game. In all, they fumbled six times and lost three of them. The field goal they missed was "from 39." I'm not sure whether that "39" was the line of scrimmage, the spot of the kick, or the distance of the attempt. Anyone know? In any event, it appears that the fumbles are the basis for Spencer's scouting report of the Gators on last night's podcast: force turnovers and throw less than twenty times. Still, they only punted three times and scored eight TDs, so you know, you could say they're "effective" offensively.

Now on to the national rankings, with the caveat that the Gators have only played an FCS team and a team so obscure that we feel compelled to mention their name twice if we mention it at all:

Category National
Rank
Actual National
Leader
Actual Conf
Rank
Southeastern
Conference Leader
Actual
Rushing Offense 3 330.00 Air Force 367.50 2 Auburn 345.50
Passing Offense 13 313.50 Texas Tech 456.50 2 Arkansas 447.00
Total Offense 1 643.50 Florida 643.50 1 Florida 643.50
Scoring Offense 1 59.00 Florida 59.00 1 Florida 59.00
Rushing Defense 38 84.00 Arizona St. -5.00 6 Alabama 32.50
Pass Efficiency Defense 9 77.65 Arizona St. 22.64 3 Kentucky 57.56
Total Defense 22 231.00 Arizona St. 37.00 7 Tennessee 134.50
Scoring Defense 5 4.50 Kentucky .00 2 Kentucky .00
Net Punting 33 38.80 Baylor 46.00 5 Mississippi St. 45.38
Punt Returns 91 3.40 Louisiana Tech 85.00 8 Alabama 19.43
Kickoff Returns 2 41.60 Arkansas 57.50 2 Arkansas 57.50
Turnover Margin T-42 .50 Arizona St. 5.00 6 Kentucky 2.00
Pass Defense 29 147.00 Arizona St. 42.00 8 Tennessee 75.00
Passing Efficiency 3 193.80 Cincinnati 197.34 1 Florida 193.80
Sacks 67 1.50 TCU 8.00 10 Alabama 5.00
Tackles For Loss T-53 6.00 Oklahoma 13.50 7 Alabama 10.00
Sacks Allowed 26 1.00 Georgia Tech .00 5 Auburn .00

Observations

Offense. The Gators are No. 1 in the nation in total and scoring offense, gaining 643.5 yards of offense and scoring 59 points per game. Their rushing offense appears to be slightly better than their passing offense, for whatever that's worth at this point.

Defense. I'm a little bit surprised at their defense considering their opponents. They rank only 22nd in total defense despite (1) returning all 11 starters from a national championship team, and (2) the opposition. However, that they are fifth in the nation in scoring defense -- allowing no touchdowns so far and only 4.5 points per game -- suggests a sort of bend-but-don't-break defensive philosophy, but having not seen the games myself, I don't know whether this is really the case. Can anyone confirm?

So far, they do not appear to be spending much time in the opponent's backfield, ranking only 67th in sacks and 53rd in tackles for loss. Perhaps they've been sandbagging on defense, but perhaps that's good news for Vol fans.

Special teams. Do not be fooled by that ranking of 91st in punt returns. Instead, see that No. 2 in kickoff returns. That's Brandon James, and he can do it with punts just as easily as he can with kickoffs.

Players to watch for

Category Player National
Rank
Actual
Rushing Jeff Demps 46 88.00
  Chris Rainey T-52 80.50
  Emmanuel Moody   49.00
Passing Efficiency (Min. 15 Att./Game) Tim Tebow 2 197.95
  John Brantley   186.95
Total Offense Tim Tebow 38 248.50
  John Brantley   121.50
  Jeff Demps   88.00
  Chris Rainey   80.50
Receptions Per Game Riley Cooper T-60 5.00
  Aaron Hernandez   4.00
  Omarius Hines   3.50
Receiving Yards Per Game Riley Cooper 28 93.50
  Aaron Hernandez   59.00
  Omarius Hines   49.00
Interceptions Major Wright T-45 .50
Punting (Min. 3.6 Punts/Game)      
Punt Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Frankie Hammond, Jr. T-54 5.33
  Brandon James 75 2.57
Kickoff Returns (Min. 1.2 Ret./Game) Brandon James 5 46.33
Field Goals      
Scoring Jeff Demps T-47 9.00
  Jonathan Phillips   7.00
  Tim Tebow   6.00
  Mike Gillislee   6.00
  Brandon James   6.00
  Chris Rainey   6.00
  Deonte Thompson   6.00
All-Purpose Runners Brandon James 75 123.00
  Riley Cooper   100.50
  Jeff Demps   88.00
  Chris Rainey   80.50
Sacks Markihe Anderson   .50
  A.J. Jones   .50
  Carlos Dunlap   .50
Tackles      
Tackles For Loss      

Observations

Running backs. Florida has three running backs together averaging about 218 yards on the ground. Two of these guys -- Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey -- are quark backs who are nationally ranked, and Emmanuel Moody is the bruiser.

Quarterbacks. We all know how good Tim Tebow is, but John Brantley's no slouch, at least when it comes to efficiency.

Receivers. Riley Cooper appears to be the go-to guy so far, averaging five receptions for 93.5 yards per game. Aaron Hernandez looks like the next guy, with Omarius Hines third.

Special teams. Brandon James. Enough about him.

Conclusions

After looking at these numbers and taking an eyes-partially-shielded glance at Tennessee's numbers, I'm feeling just a bit better about Saturday. Not that we'll win, mind you, but that a blowout isn't necessarily a foregone conclusion. Sure, Tennessee's offense isn't great, but Florida's defense, at least so far, does not appear to be as dominating as I thought it would be. And as potent as the Gators' offense is, our defense has been fine so far. All of this is of course subject to the major caveat that the numbers from only two games don't yet define the teams, but it's something.

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