If Florida Football can clean up its tackling, it can clean up its defense in 2024

The Gators were dead last in tackling in the SEC in 2023
Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun / USA TODAY

Early last season it seem like there was hope for Florida Football on the defensive side of the ball. Austin Armstrong brought a renewed sense of energy and the defense wasn't the reason why Florida lost to Utah to open the season.

The cracks started to show as the season progressed and by the end of the season the defense for the Gators was a full blown liability.

New Florida Executive Head Coach Ron Roberts has a vision for how to fix those woes in 2024.

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There were a variety of reasons why the defense collapsed, but one area that was on full display that even a caveman could see was the lack of tackling the Gators employed.

By the time the season was over, Florida was officially the worst tackling team in the SEC.

With a missed tackle rate of 24.73%, the Gators weren't just the worst tackling team in the SEC but they were the worst team with room to spare. Florida was over one standard deviation away from all but three teams and was two standard deviations away from LSU, Alabama, and Georgia.

Roberts touched upon the tackling woes at a press conference earlier this week:

"We’ve got to be great in that category. That’s what the game is about. You do all the all stuff, and you can draw it up, but if you can’t tackle them and get them on the ground, it’s kind of a problem. So, we’ll focus on those basics and those fundamentals and make sure we’re getting better as a group."

Ron Roberts

The bits and pieces we have seen from Spring practice have shown some creative ways to force players to be more physical in 2024.

It should also be noted that for better for worse, the for Gators who made the most missed tackles in 2023 have all since transferred out (Scooby Williams, Jaydon Hill, Miguel Mitchell, and Princely Umanmielen)

Given the restrictions of tackling in practice, it will be tough to gauge whether Florida has actual improvement for a couple of games into 2024. But if the Gators can just bring guy to the ground once they have the ball, it will go a long way in making the defense better for 2024.

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