GAINESVILLE -- Florida’s offense has scored just 14 touchdowns on 31 red zone attempts -- good for No. 118 in the country (45.16 percent) and 20 percentage points lower than the national average (65 percent).
For a team struggling to generate explosive plays, red zone efficiency is key, and yet the Gators are one of the worst offenses in the country inside opponents’ 20-yard line.
“I think we’ve been good about getting in there. Our percentages show that,” offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. “But we’re not getting there enough. We do need more touchdowns. We get in situations where we settle.”
Or come away with nothing.
Thanks to weekly kicking woes and inconsistent playcalling, the Gators rank last in the SEC -- scoring on just 70.97 percent of trips inside opponents’ 20-yard line.
Florida tallied points on 3-of-4 red zone opportunities in the loss to Georgia last Saturday.
Pease acknowledged the offense’s fear of getting stuck behind the sticks influences his playcalling close to the end zone.
“Sometimes you want the big play. You want to immediately score the touchdown instead of OK, we’ve got to get four yards on this play and keep grinding on them, set up a pass off it,” he said. “Probably trying to hit a big play, but if we don’t get it executed we’re in a bad second down or third down situation.”
Florida has won the coin toss four times this season, deferring possession until the second half every time -- including its current three-game losing streak.
Despite a defense constantly surrendering early leads, coach Will Muschamp detailed his coin flip thought process.
"It's game-to-game first of all. It's not something we always try to do,” said Muschamp on deferring. “Sometimes we don't win the toss and they defer or they take the ball. But it's, the other situation Saturday and the last ballgame [Missouri] I believe there's a wind factor. We wanted the win in the fourth quarter. And sometimes the wind comes through the stadium from the north side back through the south end zone, and we wanted to make sure we had the wind in the fourth quarter Saturday. It's a game-to-game thing.
“No because in the heat of the game a lot of stuff can happen. It’s all a matter of keeping our composure. A lot of the times we will get 15-yard penalties and like I said before, if it’s for a personal foul, like [Jon] Bostic’s hit last year in the Sugar Bowl, I mean that’s a perfect [hit], but that’s a penalty. You can’t take that away from him because I wouldn’t have held up either. I mean, like, or a facemask or something like that, it’s just, in the heat of the moment and you’re going to make a tackle, no telling where you can grab. But if it’s something like shoving after the play or, you know, something extracurricular, that’s stuff that we don’t need. That’s stuff that’s detrimental to the team, you know, but we just gotta play through it and keep our composure.”
-- Junior linebacker Michael Taylor on perception Florida is an undisciplined team
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton