Gators ignoring the statistics

The numbers aren't pretty, but everyone in the Florida football offices knows that. The offense hasn't been an elite group in the country. The Gators are focusing on possessing the ball and being smart. In that design, the defense has helped Florida start the season with a 7-0 record. The numbers aren't the most important, but Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease sees areas to improve.

The numbers alone would cause concern. Florida is ninth in the SEC in scoring offense (30.1), 11th in total offense (350.4 yards) and last in passing offense (137.7). The only positive basic statistic is that the Gators are third with 212.7 rushing yards per game.

"I'm not really concerned about that," Pease said. "I'm concerned about winning, efficiency in the red zone, third-down conversions and ball security. You've got to go that route first because if you take our first drive. It's one drive, one yard. That doesn't sound very good."

That was the issue against South Carolina. The Florida offense didn't light up the scoreboard, but short drives caused by good field position isn't something Pease and his offense will complain about. The unit didn't care about it on Saturday, putting up 44 points with less than 200 total yards.

Even with the issues, when the Gators were starting in the red zone, Pease changed his focus. It wasn't about sustaining long drives to eat up clock and give the defense a rest. It was about getting into the end zone.

"I look still more at the efficiency, and how Jeff is handling it, or what we're doing with it," Pease said.

Pease still understands what the offense is. There aren't the elite playmakers that used to line the sidelines of The Swamp, but the first-year offensive coordinator is making it work. That doesn't mean the Gators will be stuck in this type of an offense for long.

"We're not going to win any statistical awards this year," Pease said. "I don't think we're trying to. I don't think we're set up that way yet. We're definitely not going to be like West Virginia and those teams that are going to be throwing, or La Tech, who were throwing for all these yards. We're not saying we can't down the road, but you've got to be built a little differently, and that's just not our deal. It's all a flow, a game flow of special teams, where you get the ball and playing off your defense, sometimes."

Pease was asked about the offense he ran at Boise State, and his comments were surprising. Despite Kellen Moore having success airing the ball out as the quarterback for the Broncos, Driskel is having success with his feet. It doesn't look the same as what the Broncos did last year, but the schemes are still the same. The play calling is what makes it look different.

"We are running the Boise State offense, other than probably Kellen Moore couldn't do some of the runs that Jeff could do," Pease said. "But if you go back and look, we had a kid named Grant Hedrick that ran those runs rather than Kellen Moore just doing the same things Jeff does. Did you see them as much? No, because Jeff is in there every play.

"We still have the system in place. Now, have you seen as many throws? No, because Kellen Moore isn't back there until this kid or whatever kid that comes through the system grows into Kellen Moore or a good throwing quarterback."

DRISKEL AVOIDING MISTAKES: The key to the success of the Florida offense has been holding onto the football. The Gators are ninth in the country in turnover margin, and Driskel has only thrown one interception in seven games this year.

It's rare for a sophomore quarterback. The first-year starter hasn't tried to make too many players and protected the football like a veteran.

Pease showed his trust in Driskel on Saturday. Despite the Gators being based around their ground game and being able to run the football, Pease allowed Driskel to throw the football more in the red zone against South Carolina.

"That's something that he's grown with," Pease said. "I think that as you get into the red zone, at least from my standpoint, you want to be aggressive, but you've got to develop a trust. I think he's gaining that. I'm trusting him."

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