Need More Spread

When the Florida Gators won the national championship last season, four different receivers caught four or more passes. In the first three SEC games of the 2007 season, only on one occasion has someone other than Percy Harvin caught four or more passes in a game.

It's not fair to compare Tim Tebow who has only started five games in his college career with Chris Leak in his final game, but there's no denying the fact that the Florida offense needs to do a better job of distributing the ball.

"We do have some dynamic playmakers," Urban Meyer said on Monday. "Last week, Bubba Caldwell, Percy Harvin and Riley Cooper did not practice, so all of a sudden, the speed of the offense drops a little bit. I think most of those guys are in for practice this week and there is timing and other issues that we have to address."

There's no question that Tebow is locked in on Harvin. The sophomore wide receiver has 28 receptions for 455 yards this season, which is almost twice as much as the next two receivers – Cornelius Ingram with 17 receptions and Louis Murphy with 16. After that, the production from the receiving corps drops significantly.

"Percy is a great option and he is someone that you want to get the ball to," Tebow said. "Maybe on a play, he is the first option, maybe he is your second or third, it just depends on the play."

Someone the Gators will need to get more involved, if healthy, is Caldwell. The senior returned for a fifth year after hauling in 57 catches for 577 yards a year ago, but only has four receptions in an injury plagued 2007. He has been sidelined with a knee sprain, but lined up against Auburn on Saturday and should be near full strength for the Gators' match-up with the No. 1-ranked LSU Tigers this weekend.

"We need Bubba Caldwell back," Meyer said. "LSU is fast on defense, but more than that, we need Bubba for what he is and what he has become. He has become a leader, and he is a guy that is an inspiration on the team. He was wild on that sideline during the game on Saturday. He has to keep control of his emotions because he is such an emotional guy."

With a healthy Caldwell back in the lineup, he should get more touches, but then the recent game plans have called for more players to get touches besides Tebow and Harvin and that hasn't been the case.

"It really hasn't been the game plan," Tebow said. "I think it's just kind of what the defense is giving us, that is why we have been sharing it like that. Some of our guys have been getting the ball, it's just that they have been banged up and hurt. We've still been trying to spread the ball around, but that is just how the game has gone."

During his Monday press conference, Meyer said he needed to stop worrying about spreading the ball around and start worrying about execution like the illegal procedure penalty called against the Gators during a fake punt.

Still, the Gator offense was most prolific when they spread the ball around against Troy and Western Kentucky. Obviously, they are not the type of opponents Florida faces in the SEC, but Florida is most dangerous when they do spread the ball around.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski


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