VETTEL: Ignore Second Half

To paraphrase the movie "The Wizard of Oz", pay no attention to that ugly imposter of the second half, the first half is the great and powerful offense of Florida. That bored, confused, disinterested outfit on the field for the third quarter was just a bunch of drunken frat boys dressed up in football gear. Or so it seemed.

Before that hideous stretch, the Gators turned in a spectacular offensive performance in the first 30 minutes against Troy, leaving the field with seven touchdowns in as many possessions and a 49-7 lead. Florida averaged better than 8.5 yards per play, and Tim Tebow was almost perfect with 15-of-18 for 217 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran six times for 40 more and another score. Kestahn Moore followed up his strong season opener with nine carries for 51 yards and two visits to the end zone, while Cornelius Ingram caught six passes for 101 yards and a TD.

While I wrote in the scouting report that Troy was not all that much better than Western Kentucky, the bottom line is this: Arkansas led these guys 23-17 after 30 minutes. The Gators were 36 points better than that. Troy has a history of playing tough against SEC teams, but Saturday night in The Swamp they were overmatched and outclassed by a Florida offense that causes so many problems it's hard to keep up with all of them. For example, Troy defenders got to see Cornelius Ingram get fully utilized and were bystanders to several superb plays by Louis Murphy.

Get Ready for Shootouts

I wrote during the off-season that I thought this season would be a lot like 1994 and 1995 for the Gators. The more I see of this team, the more convinced of that I am. Those Gator teams were almost impossible to stop, but surrendered quite a few yards and scores along the way. In those seasons, Auburn scored 74 points in two games and Tennessee scored 37 in '95. FSU scored 55 points in their two regular season contests, and then of course there were those 62 points Nebraska walloped Florida with.

This game showed that Florida will struggle to slow down teams that have top flight offensive personnel. A 17-point third quarter drove home the point that this team has suffered a huge drop off from last year on that side of the ball, and I'm sure there will be several other 30-point performances by Gator opponents the rest of the way.

Not Subbing Hurts

The worst thing about Florida's dismal second half performance was that Florida did not capitalize on an opportunity to get extended playing time for back up quarterback Cameron Newton and the second offensive line. I'm sure the strategy was to get those guys in after one second half possession for the first unit. However, the Gators turned it over and Troy scored. Well, you don't want to put the reserves in then, so the Gators have another shot at going out on top. Well, one bad series followed another, and before you know it, there's six minutes to play and Tebow is still being tackled for losses.

Certainly the Gators will be facing much better defenses in the weeks ahead and a 49-point half isn't likely to happen again, at least not until FAU comes to town in November. Tennessee and others will take heart in the success Troy had in the second half. But they also have to be ready to put points on the board because, after failing to score 30 in any SEC regular season game last year, this Gator offense will do it more often than not.

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