Where are the playmakers on defense?


Much is being made about Florida’s lack of playmakers on offense. But what about that UF defense? Those guys aren’t making a lot of plays, either.

A year ago, during Florida’s amazing run to the national championship, the defense’s ability to force turnovers (and actually score) was one of the reasons the Gators enjoyed such high-scoring games and lopsided victories in the second half of the season.

This season, the games have been closer, the scores lower. Everyone points to Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy being gone and the lack of playmakers remaining on offense. But the defense’s inability to create turnovers has also been a major factor.

In UF’s last two SEC games, the Gators had one turnover (interception) against LSU and zero turnovers against Arkansas. Through six games, the Gators have produced only nine takeaways (seven interceptions, two fumble recoveries). If the current pace continues, the Gators will end up with only 18 takeaways on the season. Contrast that to a year ago, when the Gators forced 33 turnovers, 24 on interceptions.

The bottom line is the defense is not producing a lot of turnovers that are giving the offense a short field to work with. And here’s another thing to consider: the Gators do not have a defensive touchdown this season.

So, the next time you hear someone whining about the lack of playmakers on the Florida offense, point out the fact that the same thing is happening on the defense.

This is a team that probably needs to amp up the tempo on both sides of the ball to make some things happen.


  1. I don’t why it is the defense’s job to score points. This years defense while not creating more turnovers is shutting down opponents quite well(Arkansas being an exception). It is the offense’s job to score points. If each party does their job the complete package will do just fine. If the defense needs to score points, why do we need Tebow, Demps, or the great Nelson(yaps more, produces nothing).

  2. Robbie, you are dead on. Hadn’t really thought about that, but so true. I keep saying last Saturday…”We need a turnover!” but just nothing seemed to materialize.
    The couple of times the ball hit the turf, the Hogs would pounce on it before we could get to it. Close but NO cigar!

  3. Good points as usual Robbie. My biggest question is where is the pass rush?? And I don’t even mean just sacks. Where are the QB pressures? Way too many times the QB just gets to sit the pocket and look around for 5-6 seconds. Dunlap gets an awful lot of hype for not a lot of production. Better pass rush= more turnovers!

  4. Robbie: I am convinced that the lack of visible playmakers on defense has more to do with our engaging in closer games where opponents have to do less gambling on offense to “catch up” to us on the scoreboard than they did in 2008.

  5. ok I see your point but careful here… I am comming to the defense of this defense. Other than a few breakdowns in one game without Spikes this defense has been one of the best and stingiest ever in college football! If the offense had done their job last week the defense would not have had so much time on the field to wear down and inevitably be exploited by the apposing coaching staff for an inevitable breakdown or two to occur… Plus apposing offenses are being more careful against this defense where as last year they did not give them their due (to there detriment)…

  6. Both sides of the ball are playing on reputation rather than results! We are very lucky this year to have an easy schedule. We may luck out and win the final games since none are top teams … although Georgia, SC, and FSU could easily sneak up on us. But, unless changes are made, no way will we beat Alabama. Our defense is OK, not great, but our offense just plain sucks. I’m not sure why Tebow wears that cheat sheet on his wrist … if he can’t remember 3 plays, he’s in trouble! It must just have arrows on it to let him know which way is left, right, or straight ahead. I don’t think we really knew how good Mullen was but I sure miss him now!

  7. I have not looked it up, but I think the defense is forcing a lot more 3 & outs this year, which would naturally mean fewer turnovers because you are getting the punts instead. They do not need to risk much and offenses do not appear to risk much against them. They are imposing control on games, even though Ark busted two big plays on them.

    But they have NO defensive TD’s so far and one blocked kick, and really just one memorable return (for a TD.). Thus even though the Gators dominated Ut more thoroughly than 2008 the score was closer. And even though Ark essentially did what Ole Miss did, they dud not win because the drfense shut them down cold on several drives, allowing the offense a chance to catch up and win.

  8. Its easier to force turnovers when Harvin and Murphy help build a lead and force teams to play from behind with the attitude of nothing to lose. The opposing quarterback gets less grief when he throws a pick down 5 touchdowns vs. if he throws one with it a 1 or 2 score game.

  9. Great commentary. I was actually thinking about that similarly when watching the 2008 Gator highlight video the other day. As if the gap between a Saturday and the next Saturday is too long without Gator football! You are completely right! We were making plays left and right last year on defense and putting the offense in great position. Blocking punts and field goals as well. We have the same coaches on defense and special teams and the same players. The only thing that could be missing is the “intensity”. Time to get incensed and intense for the run at the SEC Championship and be able to win it!…and I mean on both offense and defense. Also, people point to Percy and Louis not being here, but we beat Alabama by 11 without Percy, if you remember. So, really the only difference is Louis and maybe that Tebow has a few less brain cells functioning after the concussion.

    I never comment on these articles, but you just hit the nail on the head, my friend. Go Gators!

  10. One of the main reasons that the Defense has not been making as many plays is that the opponents are playing a lot more conservative on offense because they are not as far behind (or they are ahead in Arkansas’ case). The pressure to make a play on the opposing teams offense is not there as much. The same can be said about the gator offense. They are pressing to keep up with expectations so they are making mistakes.

  11. It is very simple, the problem is STEVE ADAZZIO he is not good at all, his play calls are terrible and show his inability due to lack of experience…my advice…..get rid of him ASAP. before he ruins the gators ofensive reputation

  12. I keep telling everybody that even though Charlie Strong is a great coach….he now has the personnel to let the dawgs loose and start bringing the pressure on these teams. We play a base defense way too much and we are letting teams off the hook without bringing pressure. We need to bring the pain like alabamas defense. I get jealous watching them now. When it is 3rd and long, we need to be bringing the house. Lord knows we have the secondary to cover if we dont get the qb so lets get after em Charlie!

  13. Whoa Nelly! The defense has been the shining star of the Gators season thus far. It doesn’t have the flashy stats via interceptions, returns for touchdowns but this defense can hold it’s own. They did so against Arkansas as well. I belive what happened is they stuffed the Razorbacks many times but when you get back on the field after many thre and outs- the defense wore down (see Janoris Jenkins attempting to tackle 85). Once they wore down, Arkansas got some confidence and moved the ball. UT ran the ball mostly, LSU much of the same. Soooo… the only chance to get some turnovers are CSU and Troy. Let’s be reminded that EVERYONE is coming with their “A game” and “A mentality” to knock of the defending champs. We are every team’s Superbowl. We need to improve but let’s not go overboard.

  14. Matt G. has it exactly right. When you look up the stats on QB pressures (not sacks) we are way down. Sacks don’t cause interceptions, but pressures do. When you compare the # of QB hurries in 2006 (34 – Thank you Jarvis Moss) to this season’s totals to date (9) you can see why we have fewer interceptions. Also, in 2006 and 2008 we blocked 8 kicks. So far this year, just 1. Time to bring the pressure….we’ve got a secondary that can cover and the best return man in college football. Go after ’em! Attack on offense, attck on defense, attack on special teams…especially when it’s planned and executed as well as we can do it! OK, enough said. Go Gators!

  15. This years defense and last years defenses are two different squads mentally. Last year, the defense was predicated on making turnovers because they were not a dominate defense yet and teams would be able to drive on them(Bend, don’t break). This year the defense is focused on getting the 3 and out, thus the mind set is different. I will take a defense that just shuts a team down any day over one that depends on the turnover, because there will be games where you can’t get turnovers.

  16. Has anyone looked at total number of plays on defense? Last year, I feel like we were on the field a ton and our strategy for stopping teams was getting turnovers. This year, I think our defense has done a much better job of getting 3 and outs, giving us far fewer opportunities for turnovers. I wonder what our ratio of turnovers/plays is this year compared to last year?

  17. Robbie, I agree on your main point that this years “D” has not produced many big play in particularly turnovers. However, I would have to disagree on the rest. This past game for example Arkansas started off 1/11 on 3rd downs which is pretty good. The defense got put in bad positions repeatedly due to UF turnovers and still did not allow UA to capitalize with big points. As far as pressure, I have seen an improvement over last year though there is still plenty of room to continue to improve. I fr one am happy that our defense is winning games for this new and “unimproved” offense we now have. Passing it like Texas Tech is not the answer but I would like to see more balance. Defense is winning these games!

  18. I sometimes wonder if the Florida coaching staff drives the players too hard in practice. The Gator’s always seem to loose 1/3 of their team to injuries before the season even starts. This year’s defense does not have the same Defensive Tackles as it did last year and the middle linebacker is injured. Last year is was ACL’s. The year before it was high ankle sprains.

  19. Mr bagley did you say “exploited”? i believe the word isn’t exploited i believe it’s more like exhausted! the defense was on the field more than they are used to. and had the offense not put so much on their shoulders by giving arky so many chances to win that game i believe this conversation wouldn’t be happening. i guess everyone is going to say “well,bama’s defense is better” BY 2 YARDS A GAME ! again this is what i consider an offensive lines INABILITY to block for tebow or the running backs. i heard so much about the “coaching staff” was going to protect tebow better but i guess they just don’t care to protect him as much as the talked about. 6 sacks tells me someone wasn’t protecting very well !! the defense played a good game i believe, even robbie said that arky was going to score 2 TD’s and he would have been wrong had they offense not been so sloppy! it isn’t the defenses fault that the offense couldn’t hang onto the ball and score! arky did their homework and knew when Uf was gonna blitz. our defense did a great job, made stops, gave the offense the ball back, i mean 2-13 on 3rd down isn’t bad i don’t believe! yet our leauge leading 3rd down efficiency was a mere 4-13 on 3rd down. yea they gave up 357 yards,133 on the ground, but everyone knows the joker package isn’t a run stopper! but to hold the leauges leading passer to 12-27 isn’t to bad either. 2 blown coverages and all of a sudden your down on the D! yet the D has said numerous times “give us 10 points and we’ll do the rest” well the O didn’t do that, instead they left the D out in the cold with their backs against the wall.oh and how about 13 1st downs,7 punts and 4 sacks? not bad in my book. playmakers are all over the field on the D, something the O can’t speak of. an O line that is supposed to be the best running offense in the country only gained a mere 136 yards on 46 carries. what does that say about the O line that can’t open the holes when they need to? i’m sorry fellow Gators but the issue isn’t with the D, Look to the O for our issues!!!!

  20. The Defense is the reason we are still undefeated.

    If our offense scored a lot more points, like we did in the second half
    of last season, it would force the opposing team to have to pass more.
    This is the only way to get an opportunity for an interception, right?

    Fewer pass attempts by the opposing team= Fewer interceptions by our defense!!! That is why the numbers are down my fellow Gator Brothers.

  21. Where are the playmakers on defense? I dunno where you’re lookin’, but I see 11 every time our defense is on the field!

    The way people are talking, you’d think that we’re giving up 50 points a game…

    Good grief!

  22. You have got to be kidding me. A total of 52 points in 6 games, 17 of which directly resulted from offensive turnovers. With that performance you are complaining about playmakers. I am guesiing you never suited up and played the game. I am confident the UF coaching staff will take 8. 8 points pe game sasn turnovers and not be quite ac critical as you are Robby.

  23. Hey, I love this defense, and they saved our bacon in the first half against Arkansas. But in the 4th quarter they were not very good, point blank. I’m not buying the “they were tired” defense either, not when UF won the time of possession battle. It’s not like the UF offense was out there for only 15 minutes and the D was out there for 45 or something. My point is just that the defense CAN play even better than they have to this point. I realize they aren’t going to be perfect every game. But they can be better. The pass rush has been average at best. Most of our sacks seem to come after 4-5 seconds of great coverage or from a blitz. Few have come from one of our D-linemen beating their guy. Cunningham is about the only guy who does. Dunlap needs to put that immense talent to use and go eat some QBs! Let’s also not forget that Mallett is the first good QB we have really faced. Before that we had an LSU QB making his 8th start ever, Mike Hartline at UK, Crompton at UT, and a couple of scrub QBs at Troy and and Charleston Southern. Not exactly a murderer’s row of good offenses that we shut down.

  24. If Jenkins had not been burned on the one pass play, one could argue that the defense played pretty well, except for some poor tackling. Overall, they play very well. A CB is going to be burned once in a while, it doesn’t matter how good he is. I think Jenkins is awsome and can overlook one bad play! As far as the pass rush – when your main interior linemen are injured the offense is going to shift toward the ends. You look at the games our DT’s have been full go and you see great games by Dunlap and Cunningham. That said, we still put a lot of pressure on the QB. We need to quit complaining so much and let our GREAT coaches do their jobs. There are many things that we do not know about and my coaching experience tells me to trust the UF staff. Let’s not run good coaches off by making them want to go elsewhere to avoid so many complainers! Look at where we were 15 years ago. Do any of you not realize that we are not going to dominate every game – especially in the S.E.C.! And that’s all I got to say about that!

  25. chicken and the egg here. Was not the reason for many of the turnovers the fact that the offense jumped to a lead forcing the opposition into obvious passing downs? With the games closer the turnovers shrink because the other team has not had its gameplan dictated to it. Consider the SEC and Nat’l Champ games where I think we had 1 turnover each, late in the game when Bama and OU had to throw.

  26. Yes Dave Exhausted clearly, which allowed the arky coaches the means to try and exploit the weakness. Too much time on the field eventually leads every defense into a crack or two. This falls on Addazio or whoever is behind running scat backs up the middle over and over again, lord! pull the guard or run off tackle if your not going to use Moody. Anything but running scat backs up the middle over and over again. Maybe Mullen was the Key…. Our defense is great!

  27. Robbie: Defense? Go look at the offense.
    When did screen pass, bubble screen, pick play, and swing pass become dirty words for the Gator offense?

    The swing pass to Harvin and others used to be a Dan Mullen staple. Androzio (sp?) has run one swing pass — to Demps against Arkansas–and he gained 25 yards before the tripping ended up knocking the ball out of his hand. Wonder why the flag wasn’t thrown for that one?
    The bubble screen has disappeared. The flanker screen has been deleted from the play book, as has the regular screen.
    Gators have a world class 100 meter relay team ( Demps, Rainey, James and Cooper). Is there some reason Androzio can’t get the ball in the hands of these playmakers?
    The Gators have 3 plays: dive play, Tebow up the middle, and shovel pass to Hernandez. Check the tape of Arkansas. They put 8 and 9 guys in the box.
    Meyer needs to take over the play calling or the Gators will be lucky to get to Atlanta, where Alabama’s defense will put the Gators in the Outback Bowl.
    Please take a look at the offensive play calling.