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Florida Football Retrospective


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During a visit I made to Florida last week, one of the local TV stations was doing a restrospective on Florida football and I was able to watch the highlights of the1990-1992 seasons. These were the Shane Matthews (plus Rhett and Willie Jackson) years. The Spurrier offense is a delight to watch and some of the most interesting points to me were that:

Contrary to some of the common "mythology", the running back and tight end were very much part of the Florida offense. There were frequent 100 yards plus, primarily by Rhett, ant the TE was a major receiver. In fact, in 1991, the starting TE caught 56 passes for the season.

Trick plays (reverses, flea flickers, throw backs) could come at any time, but most frequently were off the three and five step drops.

Matthews had the Spurrier offense down cold. His longer passes definitely were of the wounded duck variety, but (in the highlights at least) he was on target and there was ample air under the ball. His timing throws on the short patters were excellent and his release was quicker than I expected.

It also was notable that the Florida defense (with e.g Culpepper and McCoy) were equally dominating in those years, and there was no question that Spurrier on the sidelines was equally "into" the defensive side of the game.

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Originally posted by Neal

His longer passes definitely were of the wounded duck variety, but (in the highlights at least) he was on target and there was ample air under the ball.

The "ample air" is what concerns me, as a fluttering ball tends to float, resulting in picks.

BTW- have you registered under the handle "neilgator" on other fantasy football boards? (And now that I typed that, I realize you spell "Neal" differently, but what the heck.)

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As I mentioned in my early posts here after watching the Gators for the last 12 years, SOS's offense has mellowed. He seems to have this reputation for trick plays, but he hasn't run that many in recent years. The most frequently run 'trick play' is where the qb hands off to the running back who runs a few steps toward the line then pitches it back to the qb who then throws it down field.

The running back was always an active part of the offense in the second half when we had big leads and we just needed to run the clock down. There may have been a few games where there was success running the ball early, but it was the exception, not the rule.

The tight end was integral depending on the talent we had which was saying maybe 2 or 3 years out of his 12 years there could you expect any type of production from the tight end.

Remember you saw his clips from his first 3 years of coaching in the SEC when he was more of a gambler and people had no clue what we were doing because the SEC was a conference of running the ball. As years went on, other schools have tried to copy our style (Kentucky with their Mumme Ball) and after seeing his style for 12 years many of the schools were closing the gap and figuring out how to stop us although most didn't have the personnel to execute the plan.

Those early years were indeed a treat and it will be interesting to see if he reverts back to them given the teams in the NFL are unfamiliar with him and his style.

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