… the reality is he and his team struggled in big games. Losses to Auburn, LSU, Georgia and Michigan all occurred after Tebow’s impact on the game diminished in the second half once teams figured out how to attack the Florida offense.
And the late-game struggles weren’t limited to the losses. Consider these numbers: Tebow’s passer rating in the first quarter last fall was 219.72 — an ungodly number that’s 30-plus points higher than the overall NCAA record. In the fourth quarter, his rating was 126.24 — a below-average mark on the scale. In the first quarter last fall, he completed 80 percent of his passes; in the fourth, 53.1 percent.
By the way, Hayes is wrong about the Auburn game. Tebow engineered two fourth quarter drives to pull his team back into a 17-17 tie with a little more than seven minutes to go in the game. But the stats are of interest, nonetheless.
Hayes believes this is on the radar screen for the Gator coaching staff.
… Some of that can be attributed to Florida’s pathetic running game, and the fact there was little doubt where the offense was going in the fourth quarter. Frankly, what else can you pick at when you’re talking about a guy who had one of the best statistical seasons in NCAA history?
But I can tell you this: The Florida staff is well aware of the fourth-quarter drop-off — and specifically how pressure affected Tebow’s performance. The drop-off could be attributed to protection, but the best way to slow blitz packages is with personnel who win individual matchups in space on quick routes.
Florida had one player (WR Percy Harvin) last year who could do that. Redshirt freshman TB Chris Rainey, who has had a huge spring, could be another.
Basically, 2008 sounds like it could be more of the same for Florida’s offense. Except the Gators will count on another undersized, really fast dude to get the ball to.