SOS: Save Our Season

I am an idiot.

Here are my credentials. 2 career carries for 11 yards and a 2-pt conversion. 21 tackles, mostly on special teams. 0 receptions, 1 target.

That’s my qualifications for what I’m about to write here, so I figured I’d get it out of the way early… I’m JUST like any of you out of work offensive coordinators out there. By the looks of my social media, there are A LOT of you out there who appear to be experts on football and how to organize and run an offense. So since everyone else is volunteering, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring.

So there is my football resume. If you’d like, I can include the countless hours that I’ve spent on a diverse array of gaming systems running offenses. I’ve worked with Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Playstation, Playstation 2, XBox, and have what I consider a mastery of PS3. I’ve had success at Tecmo Bowl, all versions of Madden Football, and the soon to be deceased and discontinued NCAA football games by EA sports (Thanks alot Ed O’Bannon!).

Of course, there are the countless hours of time I’ve spent on the couch watching football. 12 hours every Saturday and another 10 on Sundays, every weekend for about 25 years now. Watching. Learning. Soaking it all in. Just like everyone else, I am completely and uniquely qualified to tell a Division I offensive coordinator how to run their offense.

So as you read the rest of this, keep this in mind. Come back and check out my resume and remember… Just like any and all of our gambling predictions and picks… this is just for fun… but hey, who knows.

The Gators line up today, essentially, with their respective bowl berth on the line today vs. Vanderbilt (yea, read that again!). So here I am Gators. With my Saturday morning special edition, swooping in to Save our Season. I’ve watched this team under this regime and seen the offense sputter around while dropping like a stone in total offense ranking the past 4 years. Currently, we’re just ahead of the likes of Boston College and Kansas. Ironically, both are coached by our last two offensive coordinators Steve Addazio and Charlie Weis, respectively (Thanks OnlyGators.com for that tidbit). Now I’m actually not one who thinks we’re doing a terrible play calling job. Between the injuries and loss of offensive playmakers from last year, my quarrel is more with the execution and “coaching”, rather than the actual play calls.

Like most pre-game shows and articles, there are the “keys to the game” that they will do a run down of. Those come from people who don’t watch this team week in and week out. So, I won’t bore you with the generic: Win the turnover battle… 3rd down is key (duh!)… Scored TDs, not field goals (this is true… but it always is). Instead, I’m going to address some smaller things inside the game that if tweaked, could result in some early positives for the Gators against Vandy, and some good will with the fan base, who are a little restless right now.

1.) Tempo: This is not to say that we have to run a no-huddle all game. Far from it. However, when you see other teams go up-tempo with success, it drives me nuts that EVERY play, we huddle up and take 30-33 seconds to run the play. So, my proposal is this; when the Gators are faced with a 2nd and 2 or less, or get a big play 10+ yards and a first down, get up to the line and run your next play. No huddle. Regardless of what the other team is lined up in. I mean… we’re going to run off tackle or in the 1-hole anyway, right? So just get on the ball and do it. Worst case (non-turnover) is you get no gain and it’s 3rd and short. This would put Vandy on their heels and make us couch QBs very happy.

2.) Let the athletes play: I was telling my friend at basketball yesterday afternoon that if I were football coach, I’d ask Patric Young to come out for football and the deal would be this: No practice. No running. Maintain your basketball schedule. Just show up on gameday, about a 1/2 hour before warm ups. Suit up and hang out on the sidelines. When we get in a goal to go situation inside the 10, just walk onto the field. No huddle. No play call. We’re throwing a fade. We all know what’s happening here. Line up wide and go out jump whoever they stick out there to guard you. That sounds fun, right?!

Well, aside from Billy D not likely going for that and well, see the first sentence of this post… We actually don’t need Patric Young to do this, but we act like it. Unless it’s an awful throw, a short fade route in the end zone is a pretty safe play. Quinton Dunbar has shown he’s a great athlete and can make plays, Demarcus Robinson should be primed for this type of opportunity. I don’t think we’ve attempted one fade route this season. I don’t know why, but we don’t need Patric Young to do this… but wouldn’t that be so damn fun!

3.) The Wildcat: OK, brace yourselves. I am one of the few people left on earth who doesn’t think the wildcat is stupid. The strategy and numbers game behind it make sense. It has to be blocked well though. In 2006, you may remember, Gators had a backup QB who came in the game and for about 7 games, would ONLY run up the middle or in the 1 hole when he came in. Everyone knew it was coming, but we blocked the living daylights out of that play and now he has a statue in front of the stadium. Anyway, I digress…

I don’t mind the wildcat but it needs 3 quick tweaks. The first is: Change up who is running the wildcat sometimes. Give the running back a shot. Let Solomon Patten take a snap (See “Let the Athletes play” suggestion) Burton seems to have a stranglehold on this play and formation because he was recruited as a QB, but really… i mean… there are others.

The second suggestion: Change up the formation of how you do it. When Burton lines up behind center and (again), we take 30 seconds to snap it, the defense is more than ready to stop him. Change it up a bit. I’ll even give you two versions

Version 1: Line up Murphy under center with trip to the right and Hunter Joyer offset left behind Murphy. Motion Burton (the inside receiver in trips) to the backfield as tailback. Once set, Murphy comes from under center and motions out to the wide receiver spot on the left, leaving Burton and Joyer in the backfield. Snap it directly to Burton to run his counter or his blast, with Joyer as the lead blocker. MONEY! What’s the worst that could happen? A false start or illegal formation/motion penalty, -5 yards, which is the likely outcome of the play the way we’ve been running it, so… you at least wouldn’t lose the down, and then you’d get out of the wildcat. win-win.

Version 2: The same as 1 with the exception of Taylor being the tailback and he would just line up there as usual (no motion) and you could alter Murphy under center and going in motion, or just line up Murphy wide. I prefer the motion, as it makes the defense react and adjust in seconds.

The last wildcat tweak is this, and it’s a big one. DON’T RUN WILDCAT DURING A NICE MOMENTUM FILLED DRIVE!!! We have to stop doing this. It seems like every time we have a 6 play 53 yard drive, the 7th play is the wildcat and in the blink of an eye, it’s 2nd and 14 from the 19 yard line and the Frankie Velez/Austin Hardin pu pu platter starts warming up their leg. Stop doing this. If you must do it, use either variation 1 or 2 from above. I’ll keep coming back to this, I’m an expert, see my credentials above.

4.) Spread out: My final suggestion is to spread the field more than we have. At least for the first 15-20 plays. Let’s work a little Dan Mullen magic here and get our playmakers involved early and get them the ball in space where they can do something with it. Our Offensive line is down to the nubs now, so let’s run some plays that don’t rely so heavily on them dominating. 3 step drops and quick plays to the outside, will give them some hidden breaks in the game and allow them to run our regular offense later on and start leaning on Vandy’s D-Line, who I’d imagine is not as athletic, however decent and effective they’ve been the past couple of years.

So all that being said, I have take the liberty to scrip the first 15 plays for us vs. Vandy. Given our opponenet, our personnel issues, and our strengths, I think this is the best way for us to start the game. Again, please refer to the first sentence of this post.

We’ll lay this out by personnel, formation, motion, and the play call. There’s some numbers lingo in here that is semi-standard, but mostly, I’m making it up cause really… I’m scripting Florida’s first 15 plays in a blog post. (See sentence 1)

Play 1: 4 Wide: Trips flex left: H-short orbit (“Orbit” means motion) >Swing Screen left [Swing screen pass to Kelvin Taylor]

Play 2: 3 Wide: Twins Flex right: H-orbit (Tailback lines up at WR, then motions into the backfield) > 76 Sprint right option [Designed rollout right. Twin receivers on right run a deep corner and a hook route underneath it. QB has option to run if nothing is there.

Play 3: 4 Wide: Trips flex left 983-Y4 FB Crab [That sounds fun, huh?!]

4: 3 wide: Twins Flex left: PA FB Belly [Play action pass to the fullback running a 4-5 yard belly route]

5: Wildcat (let’s get this shit out of the way early). Trips Flex Right: Y-Orbit (Burton motions from WR spot on the left to tailback): QB Switch (Murphy motions to WR spot on left). Zero Blast [It’s a run up the middle. No ballfake, just go]

6:4 Wide: Trips flex right: H-Orbit . X Slant and Go- 449 [Primary receiver Dunbar runs a slant and go route on the left. If not safety cheating over, throw it up to him]

7: Pro set: Twins right: QB flex left > Direct snap sweep right [Variation of the wildcat. Murphy motions out to WR left. Direct snap to Kelvin Taylor running a sweep. We’ve done wildcat twice now. We should be done with it for the day… k?]

8: 3 Wide: Offset I Strong: Twins Flex Left: 41 Lead Delay [Delay Counter handoff to Taylor]

9: 4 Wide: Twins Flex right: H-Orbit (Brown motions from WR to tailback spot) Sprint right 394 [Designed rollout with Mack Brown serving as personal protector. Primary receiver Trey Burton runs belly out route underneath Patten and Dunbar crossing]

10: 5 Wide: Deuce Flex right: Y-Orbit (Patten in motion)> Jet Sweep Left [Patten needs some love and he averaged 11 yards/carry last year]

11: 4 Wide: Trips Flex left H-Orbit (Taylor motions from WR with running start behind QB) > Option left [Option play with Taylor having a head start… as we know, down to our last QB, this is more like an “extended handoff” than a real “option”. that’s OK.]

12: 4 Wide: Trips flex left: Play Action > 4 seams [Everybody go long! Inside receiver, Burton runs more of a skinny post as primary receiver. If not there, throw it deep to Dunbar or ::gasp:: Fulwood or Robinson]

13: 4 Wide: Trips Flex Left: H-Orbit (Taylor motions from RB spot on right to RB spot on left) > Swing Lookee- 9-Wheel-5 [Taylor runs into flat like it’s a swing pass to him. Murphy looks that way. Fulwood runs a deep fly and Dunbar a wheel route behind him. Defense should bite on the swing pass look with all the nibbling we’ve been doing. Dunbar’s wheel route is the primary read]

14: Pro Set: Twins Right: Offset I Strong > Sweep Right [Kelvin!]

15: 3 Wide: Twins right Offset I Strong > 45 Counter [Kelvin or Mack can run this play. It’s the counter we all know and love]

There it is folks. Our first 15 plays. In a pinch there are some red zone variations we should try out like the fade, or the option reverse which we’ve been so good at in the red zone since 2005. A tight end screen would be great at some point… and I know that’s a Brent Pease play. No Jordan Reed doesn’t mean we shouldn’t run our offense… unless, we really have buried out tight end’s bodies in Lake Alice like I suspect ::gulp::

It’s a Noon game! Screw it. At this point, these are two Noon game teams! Let’s win this thing and book our travel to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl (yay?).

Thanks for reading… and if you read this and take it seriously, please… I can’t say this enough… See sentence 1. See you later. I’ll be in Section 4, Row 22 with the headset on :)

Go Gators!

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