They are what they are

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At about the same time last season, a loss to Ole Miss seemed to unite the Gators and send them speeding off in the right direction after some early-season struggles. Will a near-loss to Arkansas on Saturday have a similar effect?

Will the Gators start opening things up and turning things on like they did during their national championship run a year ago?

It’s possible. But probably not likely. That’s not to say the Gators won’t run the table and reach the national title game. What I’m saying is don’t expect this UF team to become the offensive juggernaut that last year’s team did after the Ole Miss loss.

Six games into the season, it’s obvious the Gators are what they are. They’re a very good defensive team that can shut down opponents when they don’t have breakdowns and mental lapses like a week ago. They’re a struggling offensive team that doesn’t have the playmakers (especially in the passing game) they had a year ago to roll up all kinds of points.

Somehow the Gators won a game they probably should have lost Saturday. Like Tim Tebow said Monday, it took a lot of heart and character to somehow earn a victory with those four lost fumbles and six sacks.

Maybe the near-loss will take off some of the pressure and UF will start making some of those plays they’ve been just missing on offensive. Maybe that will lead to more relaxing games and a wider margin of victory.

But the thinking here is that was just the first of what could be several down-to-the-wire games for UF the rest of the way. The Gators know they can win those games, just like they did Saturday.

To win the national championship, the Gators probably will have to do it the way they did in 2006, when they managed games so well offensively and found a way to win each week.

Buckle your seatbelts, because it could be a thrilling (and scary) ride the rest of the way.

44 COMMENTS

  1. Well, you are probably right. However, i think this team can still improve by 10pts per game just by executing at a higher level. Will they, I don’t know, but I would bet that Urban makes the corrections needed to get the red zone offense where it needs to be.

  2. Robbie. Lets tell it like it is! I know you want to keep access to Urban & the boys, but the truth needs to be told… The Gator’s anemic offense is the product of inept play calling.

    At lest 6 trips into the red zine Sat resulted in ONE TD. Demps said post-game that that play qwas ANOTHER dive play which veered into an end-around to score despite pathetic play calling. How genius do DCs in the SEC need to be in order to shut down the Addazio/Gator offense

  3. Can the Gators become repeat National Champions….Yes! Are they likely able to do so with the current offensive play….NO! Is it the fault of a lack of talent of receivers or RBs…. NO! Quality of receivers is only slightly less capable than last years. And RBs with an extra year’s growth & improvement should equal last years. Why aren’t they? Don’t you think coaching might have something to do with it?….. I do! So where’s the offense, including the O-Line?

  4. Somehow I still have hope that the receivers will step up
    and start making plays. If they do, then the offensive
    juggernaut will be back. But you are right, it is more
    likely that the next weeks will be scary. The defense
    will make the highlights. Oh boy. Here we go.
    Strange, but those ugly wins will raise Tebow`s profile
    in the NFL draft. They like that stuff in the pros.
    Go Gators!

  5. All of the offensive lineman graded out as champions except James Wilson. That doesn’t seem to compute when you had six sacks and a subpar running game. This would suggest another factor caused the offensive impotence; poor play calling? poor skill players performance? Other???

  6. Am I the only one who thinks we win this game by 24 if not for some unlikely turnovers (and a missed FG). For argument sake, let’s just say 13 more points with a couple of turnovers instead. Are we still debating the Gators O? I know the game was close but did we not pass to Cooper, Hernandez, and Thompson for big plays? I actually think this year will be alot like last yr once it’s all said and done. Alot of what has happened seems circumstantial. It will be fun to see who’s right.

  7. um HHO, its Proves, not proofs you freakin 4th grader! Cause Andreau doesnt think things will change means hes right,,come on! Stop turning the ball over and missing field goals and games are another 10-17 point spread wins.

  8. i agree with JH ! there were no running lanes what so ever, timmy was running scared alot of the game , aand due to the inability of the O line to block tim was missing open recievers. champions? in my book they were mere chumps ! i can see why meyer don’t like the passing game , that was evedent why ! i also noticed brandon james in the game after his fumble but moody was non existent! personally i believe moody is our best runner , not the fastest , but all around best and can get big gains when the O line don’t fail him and open a running lane. the defense played only subpar and i do think they didn’t take arky serious and got burned. and the special teams were far from special on this day ! i would have only graded sturgis and tebow out a champion , none of the others deserved it !

  9. Thanks for pointing that out JH. I can hardly believe those grades. Tebow had 2 seconds to throw the ball and the “Toothpick” play up the middle seemed to always go for minus yards. I thought our guys were supposed to blow people off the ball on plays like that to give our backs a crease. Maybe it was the play calling – if you keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results, that’s the definition of insanity.

  10. I agree. The o-line in this game was far from champion level. I also think the play calling was hardly impressive. How many dive plays did we continue to run when we were losing yards or only gaining 1 to 2 yds? Also what was the deal the the reverse pass on 3rd and 1 to the short side of the field (way too many bodies on that side for that play)? Is it just me, or is everyone else disappointed with our offensive coordinator?

  11. Too many times the O line has not opened up a running lane for Demps or Rainey.They keep running into a brick wall.The O line has got to open it up for them if our running game is going to work.Moody is doing a lot better.I still say that Meyer needs to use Demps and Rainey in short pass situations,get them in the open and they’re gone.Also,there is nobody that could beat the Gators if Meyer had all players on the same talent level from Freshmen to Sr’s.For instance,when Spikes came out with the injury,Stamper filled in and did a great job.It was like we couldn’t notice that Spikes was even out.We need that kind of depth at all positions.If the 2nd and 3rd string is as good as the first,nobody would beat the Gators.And we’de never tire out at the end of the game.That’s just my opinions.I may be wrong but wouldn’t it be great to have 3 strings of greats ready to go at any time?Now that’s depth and the best ACE IN THE HOLE.That’s what it takes to win a National Title.But it takes the Coaches to get them to that level of talent for the Freshmen and Sophomores.

  12. I’m afraid I have to share the concern here, regarding the offensive line. If you remember back to last year, Tebow was getting sacked and hurried early in the season. However, when the offense came around, that was
    absolutely not the case. I think our OL is still every bit as talented, and they certainly came through against LSU. Whether it is a problem of motivation or picking up blitzes, it seems like we’re missing something,
    but nothing that can’t be rectified. I think our OL folks will be playing on Sundays soon…
    Regarding the passing game, I’m really not buying the idea that we don’t have the talent to threaten deep and often. If you look at the spring game, or look at Deonte Thompson all alone on that TD reception, I suspect we have a boat load of talent raring to go. Obviously, Urban Meyer is one of the very best coaches in the history of college football, so I don’t want to sound like I’m second guessing the master, but… my perception is that we have a lot of young receiver talent that hasn’t gotten a lot of touches, and if we threaten more with the pass, it could help to set up our run attack.
    In any event, we’re 6 – 0, and I’m confident that our coaches and players are not wasting any opportunities to improve. I couldn’t be more proud, and I’m looking forward to Saturday’s game against Mississippi State.
    Go gators!!!!!!

  13. I like the commentary and am truly glad they eeked that win out. I’m not certain that all the posts above and the columnists do not overlook UF’s best player on a weekly basis. Fort Washington’s Joe Haden does it all on special teams and in the secondary. He saves play after play and never has the mental lapses visible by Janoris Jenkins (who decided to just not show up on Saturday). Perhaps Haden out of the Wild-Whatever would be fun to watch, but he has a huge roll on the team already….it’d be a shame to see him hurt or worn-out in that style of offense when it would be devistating to lose him on the defensive side of the ball. Boldly, I’ll say he would be more sorely missed than even Spikes. Robbie, lets give Haden some more ink (just Haden vs. the secondary as a whole)….that guy epitomizes our defense…

  14. I was hoping that he would pick Billy G at the beginning of the year now I fully back that one. I like that Addazio relies too much on the run. Yes, if it’s working keep doing it (thats what everyone’s agrument was) but when you play a great defense and a great team period you need to have a BALANCED offense. He needs to lay off on the dive play, also I think what needs to happen is that we need to go with some 4 WR sets with Moody as the back then have Cooper, Thompson, Hernandez, and then in the slot have Demps or Rainey (instead of James). Then you would be able to do some WR screens and motions that Percy did with Demps or Rainey. Also throw in some more quick slants to get the ball in Cooper’s and DTs hands when the offensive line is struggling. Let the playmakers do the work.

  15. with poor line play and the WRs inability to get open, why not start using the bubble screen some to get these fast players in open space….and they say that Cooper is the best blocking WR they ever had….it worked with Rainey on Saturday (except that a foot caused him to fumble). I just think we need to get something going because the passing game is hurting like it did in 05 and people were questioning whether Meyers spread would work in the SEC…..obviously it does, but we need the playmakers to make it work and get open.

  16. Robbie is a UM fan in denial(kinda). These guys have worked to show as little as possible to win and have all the things to win required. Meyer will continue to win and I am thankful for his presence on the sideline.

  17. I hate to single out a college ball player, but the only defender who really seemed to struggle was Jenkins. Take away the two long passes on him and the D held a very good and very balanced offense to 10 points, also forced 7 punts. He’s a good player, not sure what happened there, but I’m hesitant to rate the entire D as subpar when an All American middle backer is forced out with injury, and the d-line had so many dinged up players. One person has been missed in the criticism (which is way overboard for a 6-0 team), B Gonzales. If he coaches the receivers and if he’s still the red zone coordinator, he may just need to change things up a bit, as those are probably our two biggest issues. He’s a good coach, nothing drastic needed, maybe just a little change in how things are being done with this team?

  18. First, it’s time to consider that maybe–just maybe–Gator opponents are bringing their very best and then some during the week that they get a shot at the reigning national champions.

    Second, without the turnovers the margin of victory probably would have been about three touchdowns. We need more focus against inferior opponents, and hopefully this game was the proverbial Ole Miss wake-up call.

    Third, the six sacks were mostly a result of Arkansas being able to have man coverage in the secondary, which allowed a linebacker to come free on blitzes. Arkansas paid for this, though, on the Thompson TD. If we have a problem on offense, it’s the O-coaches taking too long to make adjustments for the defensive scheme they’re facing.

    Fourth, can we please stop with all the revisionist history about Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy. Both were great Gators, but Harvin didn’t dress for five full games, including the SEC championship. And while Murphy was a great receiver, opposing defenses did not stay awake at night trying to figure out how to defend him. Thompson and James are plenty fast as deep threats. And Cooper is not slow.

    Finally, as champions, the Gators have bulls-eyes on their helmets. every opponent we face can be expected to play over their heads. While it won’t be a problem in the SEC championship or a national championship game, complacency will be the Gator’s greatest enemy for the rest of the regular season. Georgia, South Carolina and FSU all have the talent to win if we are complacent and they happen to show up “in the zone.”

  19. The personality of our offense is a mirror to the coordinator. Have we lost all creativity and can’t remember how to exploit defenses or mismatches? Where is David Nelson? The coaches need to take the blinders off the players and let them loose. Trust? What do you mean put the ball in players you “trust”.

    If we run a spread offense, then why is there absolutely no distribution to the other players? The coaches must get all the receivers and running backs engaged and let them prove themselves on the field.

    My wife, who knows nothing about football, was able to call the next play. Dive, dive, dive. There’s no balance and the coaches lack of faith in the personnel is disturbing. Loosen up and give some other players the chance to contribute. What ever happened to slant patterns to burn blitzing defenses?

    Speaking of defense, those boys need to tackle. I was having flashbacks from the Nebraska championship game. The need to play like the number defense every game, not just act like it.

    The last two games were a wake up call. I certainly hope the players and coaches got a good whiff of the coffee they’ve been brewing lately. Let’s see if they can change the flavor before it starts to smell like something is burning.

  20. the gators offense is too predictable now. the have little guys running up the middle instead of trying to get them in open space. try throwing the ball to backs more. Moody is the best option on dive plays. perhaps Tebow should look for players other than the roomate sometimes. get on the edges please

  21. Patients people. Adozzio is doing alright. Players have to make the plays. Cooper dropping wide open TD. Nelson not running clean cut routs. Hernandez fumbling on the five yard line. The O line breaks down right when Thompson gets wide open. Rainy running with the ball swinging free and fumbles. Black not staying deep. Four missed tackles in a row for a huge gain. Moody got blown up running it to the sideline. Tebow holding the ball when his check down is open for a short gain. Its everybody.
    My opinion only. Moody on the dive. He is best at N and S running. Demps of the edge of the T. Throw to the flats for Rainy. Throw to Nelson underneath drag plays. Thompson deep routs and post crossing over the top. Cooper five yard cut backs and crossing routs and three deep. Hernandez just hold on to the ball. Tebow Take half a step up in the pocket and count to three. Then throw it to your check down. If its not there run. Give them a pump fake and gun it to single coverage. Trust the play called.

  22. Thanks everyone. I’ve been surprised all season that we seem to have abandoned the bubble screens and the quick hitter to the wideouts. With Rainey, Demps and Thompson out there it seems like these would open up the offense and spread the defense a bit.

  23. Last week at one point the announcer said-nine dives equal nineteen yards! Only Moody should run the dive. Rainey & Demps need a couple of steps. Give them the shuttle pass. Quick throws-nomore sacks.The routes they are running are not “rocket science”. Throw them the ball!

  24. Rob, don’t define the potential of this team for us! The problem is the offense’s inability to develop talent and make plays. Hammond, Lawrence, Hines and Nelson would play significantly for anyone in the SEC/ACC or the state of Fla, but not at UF. Addazio is no offensive coordinator; look at the amount of talent he developed over spring and the first 5-games into the season, NONE. And I haven’t even begun to discuss Moody!

  25. Well….last year we stunk it up on offense until the Ark game and I think it had more to do with the play on the OL than Tebow’s speech. Actually, we stunk it up until the 2nd half of the Ark game last year. Then all of the sudden big holes appeared for Demps/Rainey and the rest of the season we played awesome.

    I think it all starts/ends with the OL playing as a unit and giving Tebow more than 2 seconds to throw the ball. They look lost on half the plays and I dont understand how they graded out as champions.

  26. The lack of adjustments by Adozzio are glaring. Aside from the miscues last week, lets break down what didn’t happen. With the Gators poor protection and somewhat less than stellar passing game the Bubble Screen dare I say it (Ron Zook Era) should be a mainstay of this offense. And why you ask? First, because we have some of the best block WR out there, especailly in Riley Cooper. Second, with all the speed we have on the field we only need to break one tackle and whoever touches the ball is off to the races. Three, it is a high percentage pass that will force the defense to stop playing 12 yds off some of our WR. This leads me to my next point, if defenses are going to line up 12 yds off Deonte Thompson than the Gators need to audible to a slant from him. Make defenses play up on him not 12 yds back. This brings in the pass protection, unless Im blind why did the Gators consistenly go out of a empty backfield. If your QB is getting pummeled you might think about keeping one RB back there to block. It also might provide the time he needs to find that open WR.

    The dive play has worked fairly well but against Arkansas it was a bust. My suggestion is instead of running your skat backs (Demps and Rainey) up the middle consistently try using Moody since he is the more punishing back. I’m not saying forego running Demps and Rainey on the dive from time to time, I’m simply pointing out that the majority of the carries on a dive play should have gone to Moody. More importantly, if you run a play 10 times and it doesn’t work, you might think about changing to a different run play, just a thought.

  27. In 06, Myers learned he needed a fullback to block SEC linebackers from getting to the QB and for the running game. Now you don’t see one, but they were used in the Spring O&B game with good success. What happened??

  28. lol monte kiffen didn’t show much as far as weakness. petrino didn’t show anything either. petrino was pooping his pants cause the florida D was better than he thought and the offense moved the ball on his D ! i believe you should be lucky the score wasn’t 37-10 ! but thanks to mental errors and poor blocking it was closer. but hey even arky had a bad game against bama. so just goes to show everyone can have a bad game 🙂

  29. OK, I did a little research. In total offense, the 2009 Gators are averaging 470 yards per game, in 2008 we averaged 445 per game, in 2007 it was 457 per game and in 2006, 396 per game. Looks to me like the offense is OK. On the defensive side of the ball so far in 2009, oppoenents have averaged just 228 per game. In 2008, oppenents averaged 285 per game, in 2007 it was 361 per game and in 2006 they avergaed 255 per game. The summary is that offensive production is better than the two National Championship years and the defense is allowing fewer yards than both recent National Championship years. The negative stat comparison is the turnoever margin. Coach Mike and Coach Charlie are doing their jobs well and the guys are playing hard. We just need to hang on to the ball, force some more turnovers and don’t allow the big play. We’ve got great players, great leaders and great coaches…..and we’re 6-0. Not too shabby so far.

  30. Boy”” I tell you what. Every time we play a close game someone outside the gator nation hollers (monte kiffin exposed the weakness in our offense). Last time I checked IF YOU CANT HOLD ON TO THE BALL THEN WELL THINK REAL HARD HOG BOY YOU CANT WIN CLOSE GAMES. But, we did barely and I am very proud of our team for rallying around each other and winning. And if Monte Kiffin exposed us then why did we win. Because we are a truely battle tested team that does not QUIT UNLIKE LANE KIFFIN AND THE FALLEN QUEERS. p.s. does anybody know why there are no prostitutes in TN.??? Well they are all VOLENTEERS.

  31. Mark,
    I like the way you’re thinking and those are comforting stats, but the we’re in the meat of the schedule now and the stats will probably be a little leaner from here on out. Those numbers will probably change quite a bit before the end of the season. I think they’re artificially inflated because of the gaudy numbers we put on our patsies this year.

  32. Good comments by Mark. How often do you see teams lose the turnover battle 4-0 and win the game? Throw in the six sacks, the big plays given up on D, missed tackles, a dropped TD, and you have this year’s Ole Miss game, only a more mature team managed somehow to win a game they entered not focused.
    I don’t see why we are doomed to be “what we are”, Robbie. The playmakers are the same ones who beat Bama last year(remember, Percy didn’t play that game), except for Murphy. DT can become all that Murphy was by season’s end, hopefully. The RB’s are better.
    Hold onto the ball, scrap the 5-wide(why do that when there are not 5 WR’s the coaches trust?), and stay focused, and it can all happen again, imo. The first quarter vs. KY showed what THIS team can do on all cylinders.

  33. Good post Mark, stats don’t lie. This team has played great and has yet to lose despite some serious mental lapses. Nobody is shoving the ball down Florida’s D in any way. The offensive blocking scheme for passing is missing something. Quick, short outlet passes to slow the allout manner of rushing Tebow has faced.

  34. ok the first quarter at KU is what they are capable of, yet 3rd qtr of KU game wht happened when tim was not protected? ok FF to arky……where was the protection for tim? nothing , non existant protection , sacked 6 times , hurried 17 + and 14 knock downs. tim will not last the season with protection like that ! this week we do have a tough game no matter what anyone says but it’s the following week i am very concerned with. in the UF/UGA series the team that has had the bye week before this game has always won. hmmmmm , lack of protection , uga would love to knock timmy out for the season. if we can’t protect tim we are doomed. and remember these stats you just popped off had nothing to do with arky. we looked horrible and not like the #1 team in the country.

  35. Tebow has taken responsibility for the passing game. He is holding to the ball too long at time and takes the sack instead of throwing the ball out of bounds. Tebow fist option has always being to run and he needs to adjust and change his mentality early in the game and share the ball. He needs to throw the ball, be a quarterback. Lacking practice at throwing is really showing since a few of those throws he made against Arkansas were kinda short and the WR had to bail him out. He almost was picked in the last drive when looking for Cooper. Our offense starts with Tebow and he also needs to improve his passing skills, especially if he plans to play in the NFL. This year should be Tebows last opportunity to sharpen his passing skills. Tebow is very accurate but lately it is not showing much and if Florida gets into a shoot out, the team needs to be able to score quickly. I like Spurrier’s mentality of throwing the ball deep, if it gets picked, luckily it will be stopped deep into the opponent territory and not much time off the clock was wasted. But if we run the ball all the time and fumble it deep and the other team recovers we might have chewed a lot of time. South Carolina hung around for the whole game against Bama down 7 points most of the game. I say we need to play to win and start throwing the ball and gain experience throwing the ball these last 6 games and have confidence in our WR. Both Cooper and Deonte has dropped passes that could have been easy touchdowns. But we need to keep trying with them so they don’t loose confidence in themselves. Tebow knows that if he releases the ball quicker he won’t be getting that many sacks. Throw it Tim, on target or out of bounds, but throw it. Bring back the passing game to UF.
    GO GATORS!