GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 10: Trey Burton #8 of the Florida Gators celebrates following a touchdown during a game against the UAB Blazers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
SB Nation Tampa Bay Looks at 5 things we've learned about the Gators after their first two games.
The creampuffs are done and now the Florida Gators will begin their tough SEC schedule. With a 2-0 start against a couple of patsies, you can question what exactly we've learned in these two games.
Well, we'll tell you...in this week's installment of our Five Things We Think We Learned About the Gators...
1. Johnny Brantley Looks Better in Charlie Weis' offense But There's Still Work to Be Done.
You know the old cliche', "Rome wasn't built in a day." Neither are quarterbacks running NFL style offenses. John Brantley looks a lot more comfortable running this offense than he did running Urban Meyer's spread option, but still is struggling at protecting the football. He tossed two interceptions against FAU and has only managed one touchdown pass against two inferior opponents.
2. The Gators Running Game is Scary Good.
Florida averaged 248.5 yards rushing per game in their first two contests and scored 7 rushing touchdowns. The duo of Demps and Rainey seemed to break off long runs at will. After Demps left the UAB game early with an injury, Trey Burton provided a rushing punch.
Gators coach Will Muschamp said Demps "banged up his shoulder a little bit," but didn't give any further details on his availablity for Tennessee.
3. Florida's Run Defense Looks Top Notch
Both FAU and UAB had running backs with decent pedigrees but against the University of Florida, neither could do anything against the Gators superb run defense. Florida held their two opponents to a total of 101 yds rushing (11th best in the nation).
If the Florida defense can continue to stop the run in SEC play, that will bode well for the Gators ability to control opposing offenses and put them in long down and distance situations.
4. The Gators have the top scoring defense in the NCAA
The Gators have allowed 3 points in two games - best in the nation. Florida obviously didn't allow any touchdowns and gave up an average of 174 yds a game (good for 9th in the NCAA).
Muschamp's influence has obviously been felt as Florida registered their first shutout in 5 years.
5. Florida has to get better in their Red Zone offense.
Three times the Gators settled for field goals deep in UAB territory. That's not going to fly against SEC caliber football teams.
Despite their red zone troubles, the Florida offense did put up 80 points in two games (40 pts a game) and rolled up nearly 1000 yards of offense in their first two games.
Florida's next opponent Tennessee is averaging 43 points a game, so the Florida defense will get challenged by a quality offense for the first time this season.
It makes the Gators' red zone efficiency that much more important.