UF to strike balance on offense

Gators are looking for improvement at QB from Jeff Driskel.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, September 14, 2012 at 11:55 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 14, 2012 at 11:55 a.m.

The Florida football team showed several positive signs in last Saturday's 20-17 win at Texas A&M.

UF committed just three penalties, shut out the Aggies in the second half and rallied from a 10-point deficit to win a game for the first time since 2006.

But Florida's balance offensively could be considered the biggest accomplishment, because it was a brand new system with a young quarterback in his first start on the road.

Although the Gators had just 307 yards of total offense and were outgained by A&M, they passed for 165 yards, rushed for 142 net yards and won the time of possession battle by more than 10 minutes.

“Balance in the offense is critical in our league,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said during his radio show Thursday. “You cannot be one-dimensional with the defensive linemen we face week in and week out. If you become an all-throw team, those guys will come off the edge and become very difficult for offensive linemen to block.

“Same situation in the running game, if you're not able to stretch a team vertically down the field teams will outnumber you in the box. So you gotta be balanced in what you do and we love to be 50-50.”

Muschamp said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier understood that concept when he was at Florida.

“Being an opponent of coach Spurrier when he was here, he was 50-50 run and pass,” Muschamp said. “Everybody gave him credit for the throwing game and he did an outstanding job with that, but Errict Rhett, Fred Taylor and some of the other backs he had made him successful. He was 50-50 and that's what makes you effective.”

This weekend at Tennessee, the Gators will look to establish the ground game early with senior running back Mike Gillislee, the SEC's leading rusher in 2012.

But for Florida to walk away with the win, Muschamp said sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel must play his part in the passing game and keep the Vols' defenders honest.

“We will play better defenses as the year continues, starting Saturday with Tennessee,” Muschamp said. “So we need be able to spread the field and throw the football. I've got all the confidence in Jeff to be able to do so. He made some big plays for us against A&M and we'll continue to get the ball down the field vertically and challenge (defensive backs) to stretch the defense out.”

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