Published October 25, 2012 - 4:30pm
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If you watched the CBS telecast of Florida vs South Carolina, you heard Gary Danielson talking about how 2012 Florida reminds him of 2006 Florida. Maybe he was talking about the defensive side of the football, because ’06 Florida had more playmakers on offense and a much better offensive balance.
Florida instead compares to 2011 LSU and 2008 Alabama in several ways. This Florida team grits its teeth when it gets punched in the mouth and fights from the time they get off the bus until the final gun. They have changed from a selfish “me” team to a full on “us” team in one off-season without many changes on the roster.
You can attribute Florida’s success to a number of different things – turnover margin, special teams, Mike Gillislee, Jeff Dillman, Brent Pease. But the man behind it all who had the vision from the beginning is Will Muschamp. Right now, he’s your SEC Coach of the Year.
Exiting its 44-11 thrashing of #7 South Carolina, who happened to be the highest ranked team to lose Saturday, Florida has a chance to close out the East and make a run at a national championship.
Here are a few teams 2012 Florida will remind you of:
|2012 UF||2011 LSU||2008 Bama||2006 UF|
|Scoring O||30.1 ppg||35.7 ppg||30.1 ppg||29.7 ppg|
|Rush O||212.71 ypg||202.57 ypg||184.64 ypg||160 ypg|
|Pass O||137.7 ypg||152.5 ypg||171.1 ypg||236.1 ypg|
|Total O||350.4 ypg||355.1 ypg||355.8 ypg||396.1 ypg|
|Scoring D||12.1 ppg||11.3 ppg||14.3 ppg||13.5 ppg|
|Rush D||97.29 ypg||90.07 ypg||74.14 ypg||72.5 ypg|
|Pass D||184.7 ypg||171.4 ypg||189.4 ypg||182.9 ypg|
|Total D||282 ypg||261.5 ypg||263.5 ypg||255.4 ypg|
|Result||?||SEC Champ||L SEC Champ||Nat’l Champ|
Gary Danielson thinks this Gator team reminds him of 2006 Florida, and Matt Hayes thinks they remind him of 2008 Alabama. To me, Florida compares to 2011 LSU more than the other two teams.
LSU had a dual-threat quarterback, lower-ranked passing game, a dynamic rushing attack and one of the most physical defenses in the SEC. The special teams play is very comparable, as LSU had the best punter in the SEC in ‘11, and Florida’s Kyle Christy is tops in the country now. Additionally, the defense and special teams coverage units have a knack of making the big play, something LSU was known for in ‘11.
It should also be noted that LSU played fearlessly and with an edge on the road last season. Florida is 3-0 on the road and plays two more games away from the friendly confines of The Swamp; both teams just happen to be the only two ranked opponents left on Florida’s schedule (Georgia and Florida State). This team is built to win games on the road and punish opponents at home.
For the sake of the program and its direction, the Saban protégé, Muschamp, has very much built Florida like Alabama. Remember, Muschamp is having success with players who were built for the spread offense. Florida should become Alabama’s biggest threat, not LSU. The protégé has successfully regurgitated Saban’s ‘process’, and he’s brought it to Gainesville, something Derek Dooley or Jimbo Fisher – both Sabanites as well – can’t claim.