Florida Football 2011: Top 5 Offensive Players This Season
The 2011 edition of the Florida Gators faced many changes from the previous season.
A new head coach and a new offensive coordinator, along with an entirely new scheme.
Charlie Weis left the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs for Gainesville and the opportunity to spend more time with his son, who is a graduate assistant at Florida. (Take notes Urban Meyer.) With Weis came a pro style offense and a whole lot of fan fare.
Looking back now, we all should have seen that Florida did not have the type of players to run a true pro style system, as the players on campus had been recruited to run a spread option.
Florida lacked a consistent power runner to carry the rock in between the tackles, the linemen were undersized and couldn't provide solid pass protection and the Gators just didn't have a big target at receiver for Brantley or the frosh quarterbacks to lean on.
With only a bowl game left, here are your top five performers on the offensive side of the ball for 2011.
K Caleb Sturgis
Stats: 21-25 FG 84 percent 28-28 XP
It is just one of those seasons when a kicker makes the list as a top offensive performer.
Sturgis battled injury for a second straight season, but will still finish in the conversation for the Lou Groza award.
Sturgis is also a junior and will have an opportunity to return and play for a full season as a senior next year.
WR Andre Debose
Stats: Receiving: 15 rec 423 yards 4 TD
Returning: 17 returns 367 yards 21.59 avg.
Despite being the Gators' leading receiver Debose only showed up in flashes this season. He only caught four touchdowns but they were catches for 60, 65, 80 and 64 yards.
Debose is only a redshirt sophomore, and will most likely spend another two years in Gainesville and provide the Gators with a deep passing threat.
QB John Brantley
Stats: 132-224 58.9 percent 1912 yards 10 TD 6 INT
John Brantley comes in at number three on the list despite an article that I wrote about how Brantley should have been benched after the loss to South Carolina.
While I still think the Gators did a disservice to the team by not giving the two freshmen a chance to start the remainder of the season, the Seminoles forced the move after knocking Brantley out of the game on senior night.
The senior quarterback gave Gator fans much of the same from a season ago, despite high expectations that Weis' system would be a better fit for the type of quarterback Brantley was supposed to be.
While Brantley has been a Gator his whole life and loyal to the program for the last five years, most fans will be happy to see him move on.
RB Jeff Demps
Stats: Rushing: 91 attempts 539 yards 6 TD
Receiving: 15 receptions 165 yards
Returning: 10 returns 250 yards 1 TD
Jeff Demps had an unsure offseason with many unsure if he would even return to football.
Demps has made it clear that he is a football guy and that he will attempt to play at the next level if given an opportunity.
The speedster was slowed by injury this season, but still comes in at number two based on how heavily the team leaned on him and the running game this season.
RB Chris Rainey
Stats: Rushing: 155 attempts 790 yards 2 TD
Receiving: 28 receptions 350 yards 2 TD
Kick Returning: 4 attempts 108 yards
Punt Returning: 11 attempts 75 yards 1 TD
Looking at the numbers now, it was surprising to see that Rainey only found his way into the endzone five times this season.
Simply put, Rainey was the Gators offense through the first five games, and when he was stopped by SEC defenses the team lost.
Rainey has had an up and down career at Florida including a redshirt, an arrest and a whole lot of laughs. Rainey is certainly a character and a Gator that will be remembered fondly for years to come.