After what felt like an eternity, Florida football has hired a new defensive line coach. Gerald Chatman was announced by the Gators as the new coach, replacing Sean Spencer.
Chatman has previous stints with the Cincinnati Bengals, LSU, Colorado, and most recently Tulane.
The following are four encouraging stats from Tulane this past season where Chatman was the defensive line coach.
Florida Football Encouraging Stats
Yard per rush against was 10th in the nation
This is obviously a stat that can't be attributed to just the defensive line, and it helped that Tulane had Kam Pedescleaux at safety and Jesus Machado at linebacker to help shut down the run, but it is also a sign that the Green Wave wasn't getting blown off the ball.
Tulane's defensive linemen accounted for 95 tackles on running plays out of 294 total team tackles on run plays. By comparison, though, Florida's defensive linemen accounted for 143 tackles on running plays.
49th in sack percentage
Tulane was able to generate a sack on 6.98% of passing plays they faced. This may not sound elite being 49th in the country, but it was better than the 6.04% sack percentae that Florida generated in 2023.
More impressive is that Tulane was 112th in the nation in this category in 2022 prior to Chatman's arrival.
Tulane had 35 sacks in 2023, 27 of which were from their defensive linemen.
28th best pass rush according to Pro Football Focus
We are well aware that the grades that PFF uses are highly subjective, but it is a positive sign that at least someone thinks they passed the eye test in 2023.
Much like sack percentage, this is an area that wasn't highly regarded in 2022. Tulane was 78th in this category in 2022 and 97th in 2021.
43 more hurries than Florida
One of the narratives that followed Florida's defensive line during the season is that they were able to generate pressure on QBs they just couldn't bring them down. And looking at the number of QB hurries they were credited with, their 129 hurries were in the upper half of the SEC.
Yet Tulane was credited with 172 QB hurries in 2023, more than any SEC team.
Now yes it is not a perfect comparison trying to compare the AAC vs the SEC. But Patrick Jenkins, Keith Cooper Jr., Devean Deal, and Darius Hodges all lived in the backfield of opponents in 2023.