Mid-Season Report Card - Rushing Offense

We begin a five part look at the Gator football team at mid-season with an evaluation of the Florida rushing offense. We'll follow up with pass offense, rush defense, pass defense and special teams.

The Gators hit the mid-season break at 4-2, suffering its first consecutive losses of the Urban Meyer Era.

Rushing Offense (B+)

The positives -----
The Gators entered this season determined to improve on last year's 160 yards a game and they've done that. The veteran offensive line has overcome the loss of perhaps its best player, tackle Phil Trautwein, to pave the way for 202.8 yards a game and 5.3 per carry. Tim Tebow is on pace to run for 1,000 yards and Kestahn Moore another 730. Moore has been consistent and reliable, his last carry not withstanding.

The Gators have rushed for at least 111 yards in every game and rolled up 255 against Tennessee. Florida has scored 17 rushing touchdowns with Tebow (9) and Moore (4) doing most of the damage.

The negatives ----- The running attack struggled against Auburn with season lows in yards (111) and yards per attempt (4.3). Part of the reason for that was Florida becoming too reliant on Tebow making things happen on his own. Moore got just three carries in that game.

The Gators have failed to develop a number two runner behind Moore with diminutive Brandon James emerging as that guy though he only has five carries. They have also depended too much on Tebow; whose 105 carries are almost half Florida's team total and 37 more than Moore has had. After averaging 237.5 in the first four games the Gators averaged just 133 rushing yards in the losses to Auburn and LSU. The Gators have also shown no big play capability in the running game with a long run of just 28 yards so far.

Looking ahead ----- The key for the second half of the season will be to find a second back to compliment Moore, ideally someone with the burst of speed the junior from Houston lacks. That would both give Florida an added dimension to its running game and take more of the load off Tebow.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel

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