Let me first start by saying that I’m writing this because somebody challenged me to come up with a reason (or reasons) why Florida shouldn’t be ranked number one in the preseason polls. I hope Michael agrees that is a fair way to word it. The real reason I didn’t rank Florida higher in these rankings is because I’m stubborn, I’m biased, and I hate Florida. This sounded like a fun and challenging undertaking though so I put together my argument.
I get it. Everyone is talking about how Florida is returning all 11 defensive starters. “Nobody will be able to score on their defense.” Well I’ve got news for you.
It’s all about offense. Yeah, yeah, yeah “defense wins championships.” Whatever. I don’t buy it. That’s bull. I’m a Tennessee fan. I know that without offense you aren’t going to win a prize in a cracker jack box. The 2008 Tennessee Volunteers. The worst season in school history. In school history! You know what the crazy part is? We had arguably the best defense in the country. Statistically we had the third best defense in the country, but when you factor in that our offense couldn’t stay on the field for more than three plays, and we had an extremely difficult schedule, the argument could be made that Tennessee had the best defense in the country. You can read all about how great our defense was by clicking here.
And you know what? We sucked! Defense wins championships? We certainly didn’t win any championships. We didn’t ever get to play in any championships. Or even any bowls. We couldn’t beat sand with a shovel. We couldn’t beat Florida. We couldn’t beat Alabama. We couldn’t beat Georgia. Hell, we couldn’t beat Wyoming! Wyoming? WYOMING! – AT HOME! So don’t tell me defense is what wins championships when it won’t even get you a win against at home against a team that was in ESPN’s bottom 10 the week before.
Alright, so now that I have made that point, I realize that you’re still probably sitting there thinking “ok, well even if I buy into that rubbish (which I do appreciate you granting me) the Gators still have Tim Tebow.” Which I will say is an excellent point… IF you could finish that sentence with “and Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy” but you can’t.
Pop quiz #1: Who was Florida’s leading receiver last year? Do you know? It was Louis Murphy. Okay, and who was Florida’s second leading receiver last year? Percy Harvin. The Gators also lost the best tight end they had on the roster in Cornelius Ingram, who was drafted by the Eagles and could be catching some passes from Michael Vick.
Now what makes Tim Tebow so dangerous? I’ll tell you what makes him dangerous. He can throw a bomb to deep-threat receivers, but you can provide too much cushion because he’ll take off and run with it. Well if he doesn’t have proven threats at wide receiver then he won’t have as much of an opportunity to run, and without a running game it’s harder to keep the defense honest and for your unproven receivers to get open.
Pop quiz #2: Who was Florida’s leading rusher last year? Take a guess and you’ll probably be right. Yep, it was Tim Tebow, who is returning but I just explained why he won’t be able to run as much this year. That’s okay though right? Surely it’ll be okay. Well, let’s take a look. Who was Florida’s second leading rusher last year? It can’t be Percy Harvin, can it? Well, yes. Yes it can. So let me get this straight, Florida’s top two rushers last year were the quarterback and a wide receiver? What does that say about their stable of running backs? I dunno, you tell me.
So that’s the top two receivers and the top two rushers eliminated from the offense right there. That’s not a good thing. But because I brought up Percy Harvin, let’s go down that path real quick. This guy was such a huge part of the offense that I really just don’t see Tim Tebow being anywhere near as effective without him. Percy Harvin had 1,303 yards rushing and receiving last year for 17 touchdowns. Anytime you lose a guy with that much productivity it’s going to hurt your team a lot. Unfortunately for Florida, he is now a Viking and will likely be catching some passes from Brett Favre. But he won’t be able to help out Tebow and the rest of the offense and will be leaving Tebow without and receivers that he’s as familiar with, and we all now how important it is for a quarterback and his receivers to be on the same page, to have their timing down and to be comfortable with each other.
Now that we’ve addressed the skill positions, let’s take a look at what every offense must have to be successful. The offensive line must perform well to provide a sturdy foundation for the rest of the offense to build on. So what’s the most important position on the offensive line? I would say, and most would agree that it’s the left tackle. This player protects the quarterback’s blind side from the defensive ends that are trying to rip his head off. Florida had a great left tackle in Phil Trauwein, he was named First-Team All-SEC by both the Associated Press and the Coaches. Unfortunately for Tim Tebow he was a senior and is now gone… Oh, what’s that? Tebow’s left handed, so it’s the right tackle that protects his blind side? Ah, well that changes everything… Oh wait. No it doesn’t. The Gators lost their starting right tackle, Jason Watkins, as well. Too bad, Tebow, but BOTH of your starting offensive tackles this year are going to be fresh meat for the SEC defensive ends that will be looking to crush your soul.
That’s the passing game, the running game and the offensive line that I’ve addressed. What other parts of the offense are there? Oh yeah, that’s it. Well, good luck, Tim.
And, Florida fans, even if your Gators are just as good or better than they were last year at least we can all laugh at you for having a player who calls somebody a bozo (really, a bozo? That’s all you got?), you have this guy as your quarterback, you have opposing fans that have these feelings toward you, and even though he’s dead Steve Irwin will still kick your ass.
Filed under: NCAA Football | Tagged: 2009, bozo, Brett, Cornelius, Eagles, Eric Berry, Favre, florida, gators, harvin, Ingram, Irwin, jason, Louis, Michael, Mike, Minnesota, murphy, percy, Phil, Philadelphia, Steve, tebow, Tennessee, tim, Trauwein, Vick, Vikings, Vols, Volunteers, watkins |