Florida’s Defense By The Numbers

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The Florida Gators are holding their opponents to an eye popping 12.8 points per game. While the "superiority of the SEC defenses" debate rages on I don’t want to take anything away from the Gators accomplishments but I do want to take a look at the opponents that they built their stats against.

Opponent Points Against Florida Season Average
Hawaii 10 24.9
Miami (FL) 3 27.9
Tennessee 6 17.3
Mississippi 31 30.8
Arkansas 7 21.9
LSU 21 30.3
Kentucky 5 22.4
Georgia 10 32.1
Vanderbilt 14 19.4
South Carolina 6 21.7
Citadel 19 27.3
Florida State 15 32.7
Alabama 20 31.2

Florida’s 13 opponents in 2008 average a combined 26.14 points per game. That is a far cry from Oklahoma’s average of 54 points per game but we still need to give due credit to a Gators squad who only allowed one opponent to score more than their season average against them. On average the Gators are holding their opponents to less than half of their season average in points.

In comparing defenses it should be noted that there are only three teams in the Big 12 that have a lower scoring average than 26.14 points per game and of those three (Iowa State, Texas A&M and Colorado) only A&M (25 ppg) was on Oklahoma’s schedule. In contrast, Oklahoma’s opponents averaged 28.76 points per game which isn’t a lot higher than Florida’s opponents but it is higher. The major difference when comparing the two defenses is the in conference offenses they faced. The average points scored among Oklahoma’s nine conference opponents was 32.6 opposed to 25.2 average posted by Florida’s nine conference opponents. In fact the most potent offense that the Gators played this year was Florida State’s 32.7 points per game. Oklahoma played six conference opponents with higher averages and one with the exact same average.  

However, when you look at more than just scoring defense you can see where numbers could be a little deceiving.

Gators Against The Run YPA Attempts Per Game Yards Per Game TDs
Opponents Average 3.3 31.6 105.3 9
Gators Against The Pass YPC Attempts Per Game Yards Per Game TDs
Opponents Average 10.48 31.9 174 10

To me the plan is obvious when attacking the Gators defense. You go at them through the air! Florida is very strong against the rush but when it comes to defending the pass they are in bottom half of the pack in the SEC ranking 8th. Beyond that the Gators are allowing opposing quarterbacks a 52% completion rate.

Don’t confuse this with an attempt to discredit the Florida defense. Instead look at it as evidence that scoring against them isn’t an impossible task. Keep in mind that we are only talking stats here but if there was ever a weakness that Oklahoma was built to exploit then it would be a pass defense that is prone to the occasional breakdown.

 

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