Burton: Wildcat works well
Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 1:25 a.m.
Florida's Wildcat formation with senior Trey Burton has come under scrutiny as of late.
Burton's three carries out of the package this season — all in the red zone — have totaled minus three yards.
Most media members and fans are now calling for it to be scrapped from the playbook based on the latest results. Burton begs to differ.
“I really enjoy it,” he said. “I think it works really well, and we wouldn't do it if it didn't work well.”
The overall statistics back him up.
In 15 games under offensive coordinator Brent Pease, UF has rushed out of the formation 46 times for 318 yards (6.9 avg.) and four touchdowns. Burton has accounted for 192 of those yards and a pair of scores on 32 carries, while Florida's receivers and running backs gained 126 yards on 14 touches in 2012.
Last year's 80-yard touchdown scamper by Burton at Tennessee and Omarius Hines' 36-yard score against Missouri pad the stats somewhat, but Burton said those runs are examples of why the package is productive.
“(Defenses) have to spend time game planning for it, which is kind of hard,” he said. “They have to know what they want to do. And when they don't do the right thing, big runs like that happen.”
Center Jonotthan Harrison feels the Wildcat gives the Gators versatility on offense and the element of surprise.
“It adds a component to the offense that can catch a defense off guard,” he said. “We're real fortunate to have the personnel to put a package like that in, and it does come in handy.”
Pease said he goes to the formation with Burton on a situational basis, depending on down and distance or where the offense is lined up.
“I think we're always trying to see where we can put him in that situation to make some plays in the open field and in the red zone,” he said.
If the Gators do decide to cutback on the Wildcat, inside an opponent's 20-yard line is where they have struggled with it. Excluding Burton's 14-yard touchdown run versus the Vols and Hines' six-yard score on a reverse against South Carolina, UF has rushed 14 times for 39 yards when using the package in the red zone under Pease.
“We can't assume that just because it's the wildcat it's going to work 100 percent of the time,” Harrison said. “It's football and we roll with the punches, and that's just what we have to understand.”