Florida Offense Missing Big Plays
Tim Tebow
Tim Tebow
FightinGators.com staff
Posted Nov 8, 2009

One week after looking like the dominant offense it was in 2008, Florida returned back to the struggling unit it has been all season. The Florida Gators were able to move the ball at times in their 27-3 win over Vanderbilt but had trouble finishing drives. The offense was also missing the big plays to get things going.

Tim Tebow gives credit to Vanderbilt’s defense for its preparation.

“They did a good job with some of our schemes and tendencies and had a good game plan for us,” Tebow said.

As for the plays down the field, Tebow is not sure if teams are just taking the long plays away or if they aren’t calling as many. The offense was able to move the ball down field, racking up 375 yards of total offense. But again the Gators’ drives stalled out in the red zone, only scoring a touchdown on one of their four trips.

The inconsistent play never let them get into a rhythm on offense.

“It was a little bit choppy. At times, we got into a very good rhythm moving the ball. On a couple of those field goal drives, I thought we were in good rhythm, but then we do something to know us off schedule. We need to stay on schedule,” Meyer said.

On the two drives the Gators had to settle for a field goal, Caleb Sturgis came out to nail them from 27 and 45 yards.

Both were kicked as if they were from 60 yards out. Having played against Sturgis is high school, Tebow is happy to have him on his team to convert when the offense can’t get it in the end zone.

“He’s got a leg. Trust me, I know that well, playing against him at Saint Augustine in high school,” Tebow said.

The Gators have struggled with consistency all season and have been trying to work on the problems.

But all year, nobody has really been able to place a finger on exactly what is going wrong, causing some frustration that there is no quick fix.

“Somethings you get frustrated with. You want to put the ball in the end zone more and not have to be patient and kick some field goals, but at the same time, we’re going to be happy being 9-0,” Tebow said

It wasn’t all negatives for the offense though. On 4th-and-1 at Vanderbilt’s 25-yard line, Urban Meyer decided to send the offense back on the field.

Florida caught everybody off guard by running an option instead of the usual smash by Tebow. Once Tebow got to outside he pitched it to Jeff Demps who raced around the corner and down the sideline for a score.

“They were playing a no-deep coverage and crashing everybody because they know that as well,” Tebow said “It was a gutsy call and we went outside, but we able to break contain. Once I pitched it, there’s no one catching Jeff.”

The other big play by the offense was an 8-yard touchdown reception by David Nelson — his first of the season.

Tebow wasn’t throwing it to Nelson though. The pass was to Riley Cooper, but he couldn’t bring it in and it was tipped behind him where a wide-open Nelson was standing to catch it.

Nelson has not been the receiving threat many has thought he would be, but he has been making an impact with his blocking this season

“He’s stepped up all year,” Tebow said. “The design and the coverage it has been has taken him away.”

While the offense again had issues, the defense performed great as usual. Even without Brandon Spikes, the defense dominated the Commodores.

Tebow thought the unit used Spikes’ absence as incentive.

“I thought they played great. They came out and were very motivated,” Tebow said.

This was the fifth game this season the Gators’ defense did not let up an offensive touchdown.

The unit’s performance all year has raised questions if this is the best defense in UF history. One of this year’s biggest competitors is the 2006 National Championship unit.

“The defense in 2006 was a great defense. It had a lot of playmakers on it,” Tebow said. “This defense is a little bit closer as a unit. They have been around each other for a while.”

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