Gator Offense Looks to Keep Rolling

There were glimpses of greatness from the Florida offense at the beginning of the season, but it wasn't quite there yet. Even in the loss to Ole Miss, with a little better precision and execution, the Gators might be sitting with an undefeated record right now. But now, there is no question that Florida is clicking on all cylinders.

Some of the points the Gators have scored are a direct product of special teams play and the defense, but regardless, the 243 points they've scored over the last five games is astonishing. The Gators rank seventh nationally in a league that actually plays defense. Only Tulsa and a collection of five Big 12 teams have put up more points this season.

Ask the Florida coaches, and they'll tell you the offensive success is because of the personnel. Both head coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Dan Mullen experienced this kind of proficiency during their undefeated season at Utah, but Mullen said it was a different situation back then.

"We were running a scheme that you didn't see a whole lot in college football," Mullen said. "It kind of disappeared after that because every high school coach in the country got a copy of it and put something in. You see it now in a lot of high schools and colleges, so I think it's caught up."

Opponents have seen the Gators run the spread option now for three-plus seasons. Teams all across the country are running some version of the spread option, and conference foes like Auburn have tried to install elements of it. So why the recent success? Mullen said that there is something this year's squad has that their great Utah team had as well.

"I think back to that team, it was a team that played at a very high level on offense, defense and special teams," Mullen said. "You're starting to see a lot of those same things with this team."

One problem the Gators may face in the upcoming weeks is playing in a tight game in the fourth quarter. They've been blowing teams away for so long that Florida may have forgotten what it's like. With a road game to an improved FSU team and a conference title game against the current top team in the nation, Florida may find itself in a close one. And don't forget the South Carolina Gamecocks who were a blocked field goal away from beating the Gators in The Swamp two years ago.

But one of Tim Tebow's knocks from last year was that he couldn't lead the Gators down the field for victory in the fourth quarter, so Florida's spent a lot of time trying to simulate it.

"We put a lot of work into doing two-minute drills and putting guys into pressure situations," Mullen said. "I think guys are ready to respond in some of those situations. We were in a battle against Georgia until our defense opened it up for us in the third quarter."

Plus, Mullen and the offense aren't worried about playing a close game down the road. Despite all the BCS talk that's surrounded the team this week, they're staying focused on the next task at hand.

"Let's just worry about this team this week," Mullen said. "I kind of laughed it off in Atlanta two years ago, thinking we were headed to the Sugar Bowl and low and behold you wake up the next morning and we're heading to the national championship. It's so out of your control that let's just worry about playing this game. In the end the computer's going to spit out someone who is going to play."


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