The No. 12 Florida Gators offense has undoubtedly seen a resurgence this season, even if most of its success has come on the ground against some weak opponents.
Heading into their tilt with the No. 2/3 Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday, Florida sports the No. 1 scoring offense in the Southeastern Conference at 40.2 points per game and holds the same ranking in total offense (461.8 yards per game) and rushing offense (259.0 yards per game). UF is also No. 9 nationally in running the ball.
Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has not hidden the fact that the Gators will earn their due each week with a solid rushing attack, with running backs senior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Chris Rainey leading the way by combining for 731 yards on 97 attempts (7.54 yards per carry) with six touchdowns so far this year.
“Just like you study the opponent’s personnel, you study your own personnel, and these guys [Chris Rainey] are pretty special,” Weis said on Tuesday. “So it’s only right that the foundation of our offense starts through the middle and starts with them getting a good number of touches each game.”
What has been lacking, however, is the Gators’ passing attack, which ranks 79th in the nation and sixth in the SEC with 202.8 yards per game.
Questioned all season about whether or not he has been holding back some of Florida’s passing game from its first four opponents, Weis has dismissed the fact previously but said there will be absolutely nothing left over after Saturday’s game.
Not that it is going to be easy for Florida.
Alabama’s defense is as tough as it comes in college football this year. They are only allowing eight points per game (second in the nation) and lead the sec in total defense (184.0 yards per game), rushing defense (45.8 yards per game), passing defense (138.2 yards per game) and passing defense efficiency (74.7 percent).
Weis recognized this fact from the moment he started watching film and expressed how difficult the sledding will be for his unit.
“It’s unique when you come against a defense that is solid at every position. That doesn’t happen very often,” he said. “There’s two things you look at when you’re studying an opponent. Most people look at what they do on defense schematically. I always start with personnel. I always look for weak links in personnel – people that you can attack. This is an unusual group because they really don’t have one.
“You have your work cut out for you. We’ll show up on Saturday. We have a lot of confidence in our own ability and we realize that this will be quite the challenge and we have a lot of respect for both Alabama’s defense and their coaching staff. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves, too.”
And should the Gators’ offense not find too much success running the ball?
“Sometimes when you’re playing football, you have to realize that punting isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Weis said. “We want to score a touchdown every time we get the ball, but what you have to do is, you have to make sure you make good decisions in the game where you don’t make that critical mistake.”