GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- So far this season, Florida’s offense hasn’t been on the field much more than it was last season -- but it has been significantly more productive.
Florida averaged 61 plays per game in 2011 -- when the Gators ranked 105th nationally in total offense -- and is averaging 65.5 plays per game through four games this season. However, the Gators are scoring more points and running and throwing the ball better.
UF is averaging 30.5 points per game (up from 25.5 ppg last year), 224.5 yards per game rushing (up from 143.0), and has a pass efficiency rating that ranks 27th nationally (up from 71st). Granted, last year’s stats cover 13 games and UF has played only four games so far this season, but it’s an encouraging sign as the Gators head into an October stretch that includes three teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 10.
The numbers could be even better if the Gators were able to hit offensive coordinator Brent Pease’s goal of at least 75 plays per game. UF’s season high is 72 against Kentucky.
"We’d like to get 75, close to 80" Pease said. "Sometimes it depends what the offense is doing on the other side, if they’re a running team or if they’re a throwing team that can control the ball and they are getting their plays in. In the Kentucky game we opened up the second half with what a 15-play drive. So we held the ball pretty well there.
"But sometimes we aren’t always into that. We want to hit some explosives and big plays. Do that and you cut down on the number of plays you run. But we want a tempo around 75."
Actually, Pease would love a tempo like the West Virginia-Baylor game, in which both teams combined to run 180 plays (88 by West Virginia, 92 by Baylor). Both those schools run wide-open, up-tempo offenses, which obviously produces more plays. It’s unlikely to happen in Gainesville, though, because UF coach Will Muschamp wants to run a ball-control, power-run offense. But it has started to trickle down to the SEC, Pease said.
"I mean, I think you're seeing a little bit of it in Tennessee," Pease said. “You're seeing obviously A&M. Missouri already presents that. That's how they've played for years with it. You'll probably see more and more of it. It's like in the NFL. If it's a trend, people try to adopt that.
"I love scoring. You've got to have players built around you. You've got to be in the system for a few years. I mean, it takes some time."