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Monday, October 8, 2012
Short-yardage woes gone for the Gators

By Michael DiRocco

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It looks like Florida has fixed its short-yardage problems.

Mike Gillislee
His numbers may not wow you, but RB Mike Gillislee has been vital to Florida's success this season.
After struggling early in the season to convert on second and third down in which they had 3 yards or fewer to go, the Gators have been nearly perfect in those situations in their last two games. That includes going 8-for-9 last Saturday against LSU, which entered the game with the Southeastern Conference’s No. 2 rush defense (86.0 yards per game).

“We’ve put a huge point of emphasis [on short yardage] since the first couple of games,” UF coach Will Muschamp said. “To be at [almost] 100 percent against a front like that [LSU] says a lot about our players and the scheme that our offensive staff put in place.”

Florida only converted a first down six times in 21 chances in which it faced 3 yards or fewer to go for a first down in its first three games, which doesn’t include a kneel-down and a fake field goal against Texas A&M. In the Gators’ last two games, however, they’re a combined 17-for-18. The only time they failed came against LSU when RB Mike Gillislee gained 2 yards on a second-and-3 play. However, Gillislee gained 3 yards on the next play and the Gators got the first down.

Florida scored three short-yardage touchdowns against Kentucky, all coming on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. UF went 9-for-9 on short-yardage plays against the Wildcats.