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Florida Gators ditch spread-option in favor of innovative Thundercat Offense

GAINESVILLE -- We're beginning the seventh week of the regular season. What did we learn during the first six weeks?

1. As expected, Florida's defense is pretty good.

The Gators are ranked No.1 nationally in four major defensive categories: scoring (6.4 points per game), total defense (202.60 yards per game), passing defense (115.2 ypg) and pass-efficiency defense (78.32 opponents' quarterback rating). Florida has only allowed two offensive touchdowns in five games.

Defensive MVP through the first five games: Senior weak-side linebacker Ryan Stamper. Stamper is second on the team with 30 tackles. We're giving him the nod over fellow linebacker Brandon Spikes (32 tackles) based on consistency.

Always-great-in-the-clutch Award: Junior strong safety Ahmad Black. Black is third on the team with 27 tackles but first (by my count) when it comes to key stops on third down. This guy is money.

2. Urban Meyer doesn't mind winning ugly.

Give Florida coach Urban Meyer credit for sticking with his No.1 philosophy: Always play to your team's strength. UF's team strengths this season are defense and Tim Tebow. For Meyer, that apparently means getting just enough points to win and then playing conservatively and letting the defense take over. Oh, that Urban Meyer, just look at him turn into such a wise old coach right before our eyes.

3. OK, so we've figured out Florida's offense.

It's basically four running backs, a hybrid tight end and some receivers who know how to block. You know how some teams run the Wildcat every once in awhile? Not at Florida. At Florida, that's the offense. Just one big Wildcat. In fact, it's bigger and better than the Wildcat. It's more like the Thundercat Offense ... Wait, that's it! Henceforth, this blog will no longer refer to UF's offense as the spread-option offense. From now on, it's the Thundercat Offense.  Thundercats, hooooo!

Did anyone watch the NFL masterpiece that was Dolphins 31, Jets 27? After watching that game, no one can tell me with a straight face that Tebow cannot play quarterback in the NFL. The Dolphins' offense is made for a guy like Tim Tebow. Trade Pat White. Draft Tebow. Bring the Thundercat Offense to the NFL!

Lion-o 4. Timmy is the ULTIMATE team player.

Concussion? Who cares. What's that coach? You want me to run the ball more than I throw it? OK, no problem. Tebow is ranked 10th in the SEC in passing six weeks (five games for UF) into his senior season, a senior season that was supposed to include his development as a potential NFL quarterback. Instead, Tebow is ranked 10th in the league in rushing with 309 yards on 72 attempts. (Tebow has had 84 passing attempts. So, technically, he hasn't really ran the ball more than he has thrown it. But it's close.)

[PICTURED: Tim Tebow, leader of the Thundercats!]

5. "Big Game" Brandon Spikes.

Is it just me or does Spikes only show up for big games? Spikes had 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble against LSU. Where you been hiding, Big Game? In Spikes' defense, he played the first four games of the season in pain (inflamed tendonitis of the Achilles) but looked good in Baton Rouge, La. Hopefully Spikes' heel will be healthy for the stretch run. Might just want to sit him until the Bama game.

6. Should Emmanuel Moody have gone to North Carolina?

OK, I'll be the first to write it. Emmanuel Moody is the best running back in the country who hardly ever plays. This guy needs more carries. Did Moody make a mistake in transferring to UF instead of UNC? It's too early to write that (Moody still has one more year to watch Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey steal his carries before that's official) but it did seem kind of silly against LSU when little ol' Demps and Rainey kept getting smothered on runs up the gut with Moody watching from the sideline.

7. Special teams not so special.

With a defense like the one Florida has, you'd think UF's punt block/punt return team would have made more of a difference by now? Brandon James is averaging 1.6 yards a punt (longest return six yards) and UF has only blocked one kick. I'm pretty sure these numbers will improve. If Florida is going to remain conservative on offense all season, special teams is a great place to find some points. Maybe James should focus on offense and Chris Rainey should return punts? Just a thought.

8. Told you so.

Time to be a jerk ... Gator Clause predicted this preseason that UF's tight end would be the team's leading receiver. Well, five games into the season and Aaron Hernandez leads UF with 21 receptions for 268 yards and two touchdowns. Told you.

9. John Brantley tisk, tisk.

Why are people writing about how John Brantley is being a good team player? Dude, Brantley sits the bench behind one of the greatest college football players of all time. Come on.

10. It's a pick party!

Major Wright, two interceptions. Janoris Jenkins, two interceptions. Joe Haden, two interceptions and looking fly. Ahmad Black, one interception. Need we say more.

-jo-

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