Offensive Improvement Phenomenal

Coming into this season, we all felt Florida would be a better offensive football team despite the departures of Chris Leak, DeShawn Wynn, Dallas Baker and others. That belief was based primarily on the reality that Tim Tebow was a much better fit for this system than Leak would ever be.

Well, that and the return of some pretty impressive weapons like Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell and Cornelius Ingram.

Ten games into the season, Florida's offensive improvement has been simply staggering. Just the stats alone are mind-numbing when you compare this season with the first ten games of 2006. Statistics are on a per game basis unless otherwise obvious.

____2006________2007____
25.4 Points 41.3
150 Rushing 194
231 Passing 256
2X 30+ Points 8X
--- 45+ Points 6X
21 Turnovers 14


Ten games into last season the Gators had been held to 21 points or less four times, but it's happened just once (Auburn) this year. The Gators have already scored 53 touchdowns, which matches last year's total for all 14 games. Florida is perhaps the most difficult team in the nation to defend because of its ability to score from all over the field with a variety of playmakers.

Warning: Next Year Could be Better

I guess the warning is for opposing defenses, not Gator fans. I figure you guys will be pretty excited about it. Florida loses very little off the offense for next season. Carlton Medder and Drew Miller will be gone, but Phil Trautwein's return fills one of those vacancies on the offensive line. Another starter should easily be found from the group that includes Maurice Hurt, Carl Johnson, Marcus Gilbert and James Wilson.

Kestahn Moore and Brandon James return at running back and Florida will take a long look at USC transfer Emmanuel Moody plus Mon Williams could be back healthy. The receiving corps loses Andre Caldwell, but returns Percy Harvin, Louis Murphy, Jarred Fayson, Riley Cooper and Justin Williams plus Deonte Thompson off a redshirt season.

Even if Cornelius Ingram turns pro as some expect, Florida will have Aaron Hernandez at tight end, and if you saw the South Carolina game you have an idea of what he's capable of.

Oh, I almost forgot, Tim Tebow will be back for his junior season and may very well be attempting to join Archie Griffin as a two-time Heisman Trophy winner.

So if 41 points and 450 yards a game are not quite as much as you would like to see, just be patient. It's not at all unrealistic to think the Gators will produce even more in 2008.

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


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