Charles Kingsbury, ESPN Radio
If you owned a Ferrari Testarossa you wouldn’t keep it garaged. If you landed the Mona Lisa you wouldn’t let it sit in the attic to collect dust like a Swiffer Sweeper and you certainly wouldn’t box up a minted Babe Ruth Topps card in an office drawer. You put these things on display like a public exhibition. But in Florida’s offense, nothing of such value exists.
It lacks offensive ingenuity and nothing is worth watching. It has no Justin Hunter, Cordarelle Patterson, Cobi Hamilton or Ryan Swope. Its running attack is down like the economy, and Mike Gillislee’s incalculable preseason prediction is like Kansas – a dust in the wind.
The reality is Florida’s offense has hit a subtle plateau. You know, kind of like hitting a bench press max because a specific muscle group needs to be strengthened. Florida’s offensive woes go far deeper than its adjustment under center with Jacoby Brissett subbing in for the injured Jeff Driskel.
“The thing about offense is you got to have eleven guys doing their assignment, you can’t have one guy messing up,” Brent Pease said during on Tuesday.
Forget about 11 players on offense doing their job. How about one player making a play? Pease believes his receivers have improved in getting separation off the line and running routes, but where are the results?
Jordan Reed’s 38 receptions fall two catches short of Solomon Patton, Hunter Joyer, Clay Burton, Andre Debose, Matt Jones, Latroy Pittman and Raphael Andrades totals combined. UF ranks 114th nationally in passing offense, posting 142.30 yards per game, good enough for bragging rights over Georgia Tech – which runs a heavy flex bone option attack – and the ever so talented Army, Air Force and Navy.
The run-heavy offense that saw little resistance and a wealth of success earlier in the season has dwindled like Bank of America’s stock. Mike Gillislee has been held under 80 yards per game since Florida’s triumphant victory over LSU on Oct. 6, equating to 58.8 yards per game for one of the Southeastern Conference’s premier halfbacks.
“We have not been as efficient running the ball between the tackles since the LSU game,” Muschamp said on Monday.
Quite frankly, Florida hasn’t been efficient offensively, period.
Blame the lack of star-studded receivers capable repeatedly challenging defensive backs in the SEC or Gillislee’s lack of explosive plays over the last five weeks. Florida’s one-dimensional offense has been exposed of late and the coaching staff acknowledges it.
“Sometimes we get numbers in the box and their run fits are plugging all our gaps. What we saw early are big runs and now people have seen those plays. Those runs are turning into 4 and 5 yard gains,” Pease said.
Florida doesn’t have four or five games left to learn from. Florida State is right around the corner, snarling like two Doberman Pinchers hungry for an afternoon bone after seeing UF’s fallout in the past three weeks. With a BCS bid at stake, Pease and the Gators offense will have to recoup and find its identity amid its offensive shuffle.
“To get to 9-1 and work towards getting to 10-1, I think we’ve got a pretty good recipe. Is it totally what you want it to be in the big picture? No, I mean there are things we want to improve on.”
* Photos courtesy UF Sports Information
Charles Kingsbury is a junior studying journalism at the University of Florida. He covers SEC football for ESPN Radio (Ocala/Gainesville) and is a staff writer for the Independent Alligator. You can follow Charles on Twitter @ChuckKingsbury or email him at