We here at Hail Florida Hail, along with everyone else who writes about Florida football, have pointed out all week the issues Billy Napier’s offense had against Kentucky. As more and more teams get film on the Gators, Napier is going to have to show innovation or risk having even the most vulnerable of defenses be able to slow down Florida.
This week provides a great opportunity for the offense to show growth as everyone Vanderbilt has played this season has been able to score at will.
Florida Football: Same ole Vandy
Pick any defensive metric you want, and Vanderbilt is probably near the bottom of the pack:
- 125th in opponents’ third down conversion percentage
- 114th in opponents’ points per play
- 105th in opponents’ yards per passing attempt
- 103rd in sacks per passing attempt
- 96th in overall defense by Pro Football Focus
- 77th in opponents’ yards per rushing attempt
Seems like a perfect opportunity for Florida football to open it up this week, right?
For all the noise surrounding whether or not Billy Napier’s passing concepts are any good and whether it is a scheme issue or an execution issue, there is one undeniable truth: Florida has taken almost no deep shots down the field.
Among SEC QBs, Graham Mertz is dead last with just 15 attempts over 20 yards. Despite this, he is tied for 6th with nine completions on passes over 20 yards.
Likewise, Mertz is 11th in the SEC with attempts between 10-19 yards, with just 28 attempts. And like his deep attempts, Mertz is still 7th in intermediate completions with 20.
So, against a defense that is bottom 40 in the country against giving up explosive plays when the opposition does complete a pass, it would behoove Florida football to take some shots down the field.
Because if Wake Forest, UNLV, Kentucky, and Missouri can all top 30 points against Vanderbilt, we would like to believe that the Gators are capable of it too.