Weis confident in Florida’s offense but wary of Alabama’s “solid, unusual” defense

By Adam Silverstein
September 28, 2011

The No. 12 Florida Gators offense has undoubtedly seen a resurgence this season, even if most of its success has come on the ground against some weak opponents.

Heading into their tilt with the No. 2/3 Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday, Florida sports the No. 1 scoring offense in the Southeastern Conference at 40.2 points per game and holds the same ranking in total offense (461.8 yards per game) and rushing offense (259.0 yards per game). UF is also No. 9 nationally in running the ball.

Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has not hidden the fact that the Gators will earn their due each week with a solid rushing attack, with running backs senior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Chris Rainey leading the way by combining for 731 yards on 97 attempts (7.54 yards per carry) with six touchdowns so far this year.

“Just like you study the opponent’s personnel, you study your own personnel, and these guys [Chris Rainey] are pretty special,” Weis said on Tuesday. “So it’s only right that the foundation of our offense starts through the middle and starts with them getting a good number of touches each game.”

What has been lacking, however, is the Gators’ passing attack, which ranks 79th in the nation and sixth in the SEC with 202.8 yards per game.

Questioned all season about whether or not he has been holding back some of Florida’s passing game from its first four opponents, Weis has dismissed the fact previously but said there will be absolutely nothing left over after Saturday’s game.

[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]“You have to play sound, fundamental football and you have to go ahead and throw the kitchen sink at them now,” he said of taking on the Crimson Tide. “They’re going to get the kitchen sink. You guys have been writing about holdings things back, well you won’t have to worry about that this week. They’re going to get plenty.”

Not that it is going to be easy for Florida.

Alabama’s defense is as tough as it comes in college football this year. They are only allowing eight points per game (second in the nation) and lead the sec in total defense (184.0 yards per game), rushing defense (45.8 yards per game), passing defense (138.2 yards per game) and passing defense efficiency (74.7 percent).

Weis recognized this fact from the moment he started watching film and expressed how difficult the sledding will be for his unit.

“It’s unique when you come against a defense that is solid at every position. That doesn’t happen very often,” he said. “There’s two things you look at when you’re studying an opponent. Most people look at what they do on defense schematically. I always start with personnel. I always look for weak links in personnel – people that you can attack. This is an unusual group because they really don’t have one.

“You have your work cut out for you. We’ll show up on Saturday. We have a lot of confidence in our own ability and we realize that this will be quite the challenge and we have a lot of respect for both Alabama’s defense and their coaching staff. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves, too.”

And should the Gators’ offense not find too much success running the ball?

“Sometimes when you’re playing football, you have to realize that punting isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Weis said. “We want to score a touchdown every time we get the ball, but what you have to do is, you have to make sure you make good decisions in the game where you don’t make that critical mistake.”[/EXPAND]


  1. Daniel M. says:

    Do we have the ability to pound the ball? If so it would soften up the edge and let Demps and Rainey do their thing. Can’t some combination of those guys and Burton and Joyer run between the tackles and keep ‘Bama honest? I keep seeing pundits say that ‘Bama will force UF to the middle of the field. It would be very encouraging, in our new pro-set offense, if we could force THEM to the middle of the field and allow our two burners to hit the edge for big chunks. I doubt that UF will be able to force their offensive will on bama for four quarters but it will be very exciting to see this if this new regime can do just that and keep the Tide honest over the top as well.

    • jay d says:

      The problem with exclusively runing burton and joyer up the gut is thatt when demps or rainey come in…they know the run will likely lead to the outside edges…weis knows you have to run the speedsters up the middle so they can stay guessing on what type of runing lane demps or rainey will take throughout the game…that’s whaat keeping a defense honest is all about…btw don’t forget demps just broke an 80+ yarder running within the tacckles last game

  2. Goldengator says:

    “It’s unique when you come against a defense that is solid at every position. That doesn’t happen very often,”

    Weis, right now you’re doing a bang up job and I’m certainly grateful you chose to be a Gator, but I hate to break it to you, all around solid defenses are found almost every year in the SEC.

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