Showcasing Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of Florida Gators

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 31, 2012

September 1, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd (73) reacts after he makes a tackle during the first quarter against the Bowling Green Falcons at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Florida was rolling right along until facing Georgia in Week 9. A 17-9 loss saw the Gators fall from No. 2 to No. 7 in the BCS standings.

Still, there's a lot to like about the Gators, starting with their defense and ending with the fact that they still lead the SEC East after Saturday's upset at Everbank Field.

Of course, the Georgia game highlighted some of Florida's weaknesses, as well, beginning with the passing game.

Here's a look at Florida's strengths and weaknesses this season.



Run Defense

You can't talk about Florida's strengths without highlighting its defense. 

The Gators have allowed just 3.1 yards per carry this season (15th in the nation), and they held LSU's powerful running game to 1.7 yards per carry in Week 6.

It certainly helps to have players like defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd (seven tackles for loss), linebacker Jon Bostic (44 tackles, six tackles for loss) and safety Matt Elam (41 tackles, four tackles for loss) in that regard.


Pass Defense

The Gators are allowing 5.3 yards per pass attempt this season, tied for sixth in the nation. 

That includes allowing just four passing touchdowns (tied for fourth) while notching 11 interceptions (tied for 18th).

Even in the 17-9 loss to Georgia last week, Florida held Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray to 6.3 yards per attempt while allowing one passing touchdown and registering three interceptions.



Senior kicker Caleb Sturgis has averaged 64 yards per kickoff this season, tying for seventh in the nation. 

Sophomore punter Kyle Christy has averaged 47.85 yards per punt, ranking second in the country.

Combining Florida's kickoff and punt return coverage, makes for a nightmare for opposing offenses...


Kickoff Return/Punt Return Coverage

The Gators have allowed an unbelievable 1.57 yards per punt return this season (14 returns for 22 yards), making them fifth in the FBS. 

They have also allowed 18.57 yards per kickoff return, making them 19th in the nation.

They have yet to allow a returning touchdown this season.

With the defense Florida has, sending opponents back in their own territory simply doesn't seem fair.


Field Goal Unit

Caleb Sturgis has made 15 of 17 field goal attempts this season. His 88.2 percent completion percentage ranks 13th in the nation.



Passing Game

Jeff Driskel is averaging 7.3 yards per pass attempt this season, tying for 65th in the country. On top of that, he's only notched eight passing touchdowns, and he is tied for last among qualifying quarterbacks.

In the 17-9 loss to Georgia, Driskel went 15-of-27 for 191 yards while tossing two interceptions. 

Of course, the pass protection hasn't exactly helped Driskel, either...


Pass Protection

The Gators have already allowed 26 sacks this season, tied for 114th in the country. 

Sure, some of that is Driskel not getting the ball out of his hands, but it also says something about the pass blocking for Florida.

Georgia racked up five sacks (40 yards lost) while forcing six turnovers against Florida last week. 



Florida is averaging 8.1 penalties (tied for 114th) for 69.6 yards per game (108th) this season. The Gators committed 10 penalties for 95 yards against Georgia.


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