VETTEL: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

That warning is offered to defensive coordinators who have the unenviable task of preparing to handle the Florida Gators offense this season. The Gators have so many weapons and are executing at such a high level that it's hard to picture a team being able to control all of it.

It starts with the Gators superb run (234.7/game) pass (286.7/game) balance that makes you defend the entire field both North/South and East/West. The Gators ability to run both inside and out, to throw long and short means there's not a single area where a team can afford to "load up".

Then there is the variety of individuals who can produce in all of those areas. Florida has three runners on pace to gain more than 600 yards on the ground in the regular season. They have four receivers on pace to also reach that yardage total. Five different players have run for touchdowns. Four different receivers have caught touchdown passes. Plus, their inexperienced, unproven kicker has yet to miss after 25 kicks.

Add it all up and the Florida Gators are gaining a mind boggling 8.2 yards per offensive play (5.6 on runs, 13.2 on pass attempts). As a result, the Florida offense is averaging 521.3 yards per game. When you capture real estate at that clip you are either part of General Sherman's Army or a very high scoring football team. In this case, it's the latter, with an average of 55.7 points through the first three games of the season.

It Started in Atlanta

This offensive surge actually began late last year at the SEC Championship game. Florida put 38 points on the board against Arkansas that day, and followed it up with 41 in the BCS Championship Game. This season has taken those performances to the next level largely due to the running threat of Tim Tebow and the explosion of big plays. Last year, the Gators had 17 plays of 30 yards or more in 14 games. In just three games this team already has nine such big plays.

In the last five games the Florida Gators have scored 246 points (49.2/game), and they've done it with three of the opponents (Arkansas, Ohio State and Tennessee) being nationally ranked. One of the other two (Troy) won a bowl game last year and just whipped Oklahoma State and the fifth victim, Western Kentucky has won two straight by a combined score of 113-6 since losing to Urban Meyer's juggernaut.

It's only the third time in school history that Florida has scored 38 or more points five games in a row. The ‘95 Gators did it… and scored 35 and 34 the next two weeks. The next year, Florida's national champs had the most amazing offensive run in school history, opening the year with 55, 62, 35, 65, 42, 56, 51 and 47. Of course that team ended the season with 45 in the SEC Championship game and 52 more in the Sugar Bowl to finish with a school record of 611 points.

I'm not saying this team can match the year long productivity of those squads, but I wouldn't bet against the 2007 Gators being the sixth team in school history to score 500 points.

500 Point Gator Teams

1996611 13g 47.0
2001 538 12g 44.8
1995 558 13g 42.9
1994 538 13g 41.4
1993 513 13g 39.5

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