The Gators made 67 trips to the red zone last year and came away with just 34 touchdowns. For a point of comparison, the 2008 Gators made almost the same number of trips to the red zone (68) but came away with 51 TDs. That a huge difference. Last year the Gators ended up settling for field goal attempts 21 times, making 17. In 2008 they only tried 11 FG and made every one of them.
The main reason for the drop off in my mind was predictability. Too many five wide formation plays where Tebow ran with the ball made it much easier to defend this team in close. Certainly the absence of Percy Harvin was huge, but unless you have a dominant tailback you must maintain diversity in your attack when you are threatening the other team's end zone.
The Gators are confident they will be a better red zone team this year in large part because of the change at QB (though no one will publicly admit it). Florida became too reliant on the one man wrecking ball last season and that's no longer an option. When the Gators get in close this year you might see double tight ends with backs in the "I". Or you may see Brantley roll out with a run/pass option. You could see the return of the "Jet Sweep" with a receiver or just a straight sweep to one of the Gators' stable of capable running backs. But you won't see QB keepers from an empty backfield. At least, that's something you shouldn't see.
Senior offensive guard Carl Johnson likes the chances of the Gators being much better in those situations this year.
"A lot of teams blitzed us real heavy when we got inside the 20," Johnson said. "It wasn't a great mystery. Everyone knew Tebow was going to run it or have something to do with it. But right now, you don't know. We have Brantley. We have (Jeff) Demps. We have Carl Moore. We have a healthy (Andre) Debose. We have weapons."
Johnson said all those weapons will put opposing defenses in a no-win predicament.
"You have to pretty much pick you poison," Johnson said. "Do you want us to throw it in on you? Do you wants us to jump-fade it in on you? Do you want us to run it in on you? Or, do you just want to lay down and take it, because you're gonna get it so it doesn't really matter."
Red Zone Offense Must Improve
Fightin Gators Top Stories
South's No 19 Safety De-Commits From MiamiBrian Edwards, who checks in as the 19th-ranked safety in the South, is now back on the recruiting market after de-committing from the Miami Hurricanes.
Scout Football11:25 AM
Hester getting to the pointFreshman guard Eric Hester has a whole lot on his plate for the 2016-2017 season. Hester will be called upon as a rookie to provide depth and probably a spark for the Florida…
Fightin Gators8:50 AM
No. 11 DE Is 'Fully Committed' to GatorsBRANDON, Fla. -- Does Zachary Carter envision himself taking multiple official visits? This Scout 300 defensive lineman is fully committed to the Florida Gators, who also had a…
Scout Football6:45 AM
Kowar from IR to starting rotationFlorida sophomore right hander Jackson Kowar saw his freshman season get derailed in 2016 due to a medical issue involving his lungs. On a road trip at South Carolina, Kowar had to…
Fightin GatorsYesterday at 9:44 PM