Conventional wisdom around the Internet this week seems to be that the Gators can’t go 12-0 because they have no offense. Sidestepping the fact that the Gators only need to go 1-0 this week and 1-0 on Thanksgiving weekend to make it to 12-0, let’s examine the Florida offense and prove just how wrong the conventional wisdom is.
It’s true that Florida only gained a whopping 183 yards of total offense in last week’s 44-11 romp over South Carolina. The Gators managed a paltry 14 yards in the first half, but it’s not their fault that their three scoring drives were of two yards, 29 yards and one yard.
Let’s pretend for a moment that three South Carolina turnovers didn’t give Florida three easy touchdowns. Being that each one of those ridiculously short drives resulted in a touchdown, we can safely call those drives successful. Now, let’s start each one of those successful drives from the UF 20 yard line. Conservatively, let’s say each successful drive, had it originated at the UF 20, would have produced two first downs, 23 yards of offense and a punt. By halftime the Gators would have been trailing 6-0 with 60 yards of total offense. Still, not so hot.
But in the second half – and we’re back in real life now – the Gators totaled 172 yards of offfense. This is not a bad number when you consider that Florida was playing with a three-score lead for much of the second half after they scored on their first possession of the third quarter.
What if that first touchdown in the third quarter had made it a 7-6 game? Would the offense have looked any different? I’d like to think so. Florida would have needed to score some more points at that juncture, because the game would not have been so well in hand with 24 minutes left to play.
Given these Imaginationland circumstances, I don’t think it’s to outrageous to think the Gators could have mustered 300-400 yards and won the game something like 24-6. In that case, all the talk this week would have been about Brent Pease’s halftime adjustments, Jeff Driskel saying cool in the clutch and Mike Gillislee grinding out another second-half win.
Instead, because the defense is so good, we’ve been hearing all week that our offense is terrible. If Georgia doesn’t spot us 21 like the Gamecocks did, we’ll be in trouble. I say it’s all a bunch of hooey. Florida’s offense has been good enough in come-from-behind victories at Texas A&M and Tennessee. Driskel still has eight TD passes to one INT. Mike Gillislee is still the workhorse back he was three weeks ago, and if anything he has been spelled with fewer carries vs. Vanderbilt and South Carolina than he had against LSU. Trey Burton appears to be useful again (he was named the game’s MVP vs. South Carolina by his teammates). Jordan Reed is proving to be a solid tight end, we might even have a receiver(!) and did you see them actually throw a deep route to Andre Debose last week?
The offense continues to improve, and the numbers don’t show it because one-yard touchdown drives tend to kill the stats, which are for losers anyway.
Oh, and what if Georgia does spot us a couple of turnovers? I smell a rout.