Over the past two weeks, the Florida Gators’ offense has shown they can do whatever is asked of them.
Need a rushing attack that can control the clock and wear down an opposing defense? The Gators had a 60-carry, 418-yard performance in their win over Georgia. Need a more balanced offense? The Gators had 215 yards of passing and 214 yards of rushing in last week’s win over Vanderbilt.
The versatility of Florida’s offense is a testament to the talent on the team, according to wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood.
“To go from running for 400 yards and receivers blocking really well to passing and running for a nice bit, we’re just trying as a team, as an offense, we’re just trying to get the W and if that means we have to run the ball 60 times or we have to pass the ball 60 times, we can do it both ways,” he said.
As South Carolina comes into town, Florida looks to keep the success going. Florida provides matchup problems for the Gamecocks, who are last in the SEC in total defense. The secondary gave up big plays early in the year, and while they have improved as of late, the defense has had trouble stopping the run. In South Carolina’s last two games, they gave up 395 yards on the ground to Auburn, while allowing 344 rushing yards against Tennessee.
Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper spoke of the importance of having the ability to run and pass the ball effectively. While they would like to be a team that runs the ball first, Roper said the balance on offense is dependent on what the score is in the game.
“It really gets down to, at the end, how we going to score more points then the opponent and hopefully it goes well from there; we’ve been fortunate to have a 24-7 lead and I think a 31-7 lead early in the fourth quarter in the last couple of games, so that can lead to 50 runs and 60 runs in a game.”
While the Gators have shown the ability to run or thrown the ball over the last two games, Florida will look to continue to improve upon their aerial attack, which has gained traction under quarterback Treon Harris. Wide receiver LaTroy Pittman, Jr. said the completions Harris has made has instilled confidence in the receiving core.
“He’s a young quarterback and we have to make those kinds of plays and they need to be made,” Pittman, Jr. said. “I feel like it’s going to work out for the offense to keep it balanced in the run and pass game.”
As the Gators have shown their versatility, they’ve also shown a difference in protecting the football. In the past two games, Florida has only turned the ball over twice, far less than the 15 turnovers in the four games prior. The Gators also have been more productive on third down. In the last two games, Florida was 13-29 on third down, a 45% completion percentage. In the four games prior, the team was 19-64, a 30% completion percentage.
The Florida Gators have shown different aspects to their offense in the last two games, all proving to be successful. Saturday presents another opportunity for an offense gaining momentum to keep the trend of improved play.