A contrarian thought on Florida’s bye week

It’s a popular theme this week – that bye week the Gators are enjoying will give them the opportunity to retool their sputtering offense.

“It’s a little bit more of a mystery than if you had played them before the open date,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “When you have an open date, you do have time to make change, and maybe a little bit more of a radical change, if that’s what you choose to do.

“We’re not 100 percent certain about what we’re going to see, but it’s hard to change everything. We’ll have a basic idea, but I’m sure coach Meyer and his staff are going to have some interesting twists for us to deal with that we probably won’t get a chance to practice a lot because I’m sure it will be some things that will be brand new for us.”

After consecutive losses to Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State, Meyer said he spent the off week evaluating the offense’s execution and making sure his players’ assignments suit their capabilities.

“I’m not going to share much with you, but we have modified quite a bit,” Meyer said Monday. “That’s something I’m not going to obviously say, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do,’ but things are modified…”

Now the smartass in me wants to know why Corch feels the need to rejigger the plays or scheme since you can’t improve upon perfection, and there’s also this quote from his starting quarterback:

Brantley, who ranks 10th in the SEC in passing efficiency, said: “We’re still running the same plays. We’ve got great plays. We just need to execute them.”

So maybe this is all just head games, trying to get Grantham to bite on the play fake, so to speak.  Although the idea that Florida has to resort to something like that to get an edge seems out of character for the mighty Gators, doesn’t it?

“A-ha!”, smart Dawg fans say, though:  “but what about 2005?”  That was the year, you may recall, that saw a tearful Urban Meyer after a remarkable loss to LSU (the Gators lost despite being plus-5 in turnover margin) use the bye week to construct a power formation offense that Florida trotted out for two early scoring drives that were the difference in a 14-10 Georgia loss – the idea being that the bye week changes were responsible for the Gators coming out on top.  (Never mind that Georgia outgained Florida on the day.)

Let me suggest an alternate theory for the crime.  Take a look at this chart I’ve compiled as to the five Cocktail Parties of the Meyer era:

YEAR SCORE P. RATING BYE?
2009 41-17, UF 102.01 N
2008 49-10, UF 113.04 N
2007 42-30, UG 206.27 N
2006 21-14, UF 65.71 Y
2005 14-10, UF 88.44 Y

That’s Georgia’s passer rating and Florida’s bye week status listed there. Anything stand out to you?

For Georgia to have a chance on Saturday, I don’t think Aaron Murray has to play the game of his life.  Just hitting his season average in passer rating will be better than what the Dawgs have gotten out of their quarterbacks in those four losses in the last five years.

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UPDATE: Paul adds some bye week thoughts of his own.

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42 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

42 responses to “A contrarian thought on Florida’s bye week

  1. The Original Cynical in Athens

    Wonder what Charlie Strong doing last week?

    Oh, yeah, he is coaching Louisville.

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  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    Extra time to prepare frequently shows up better on defense. Ask Joe Pa about the 83 and 97 Sugar Bowls. Ask the Zooker how many reps they did against Georgia’s 3rd down plays in 2002. The distinction for Florida this year is that its offense flat reeks, so it has to do something on offense.

    I was not in the proverbial arena, but from a time management, leadership, and teaching point of view, one bye week isn’t enough time to make things substantially different on both sides of the ball. Thus my wild ass guess is that we’ll see something like a fully healthy Jeff Demps or Chris “Day to Day” Rainey running some special plays.

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  3. TennesseeDawg

    Speaking of play fakes, we have bit on nearly every one of them. Look for a lot of fakes from the Gators.

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  4. The Original Cynical in Athens

    Speaking of fakes, does anyone know if Florida’s kicker is playing? If not, I would definitely expect a fake FG, and Meyer also loves to run some fake punts. Special teams better be ready this week.

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  5. JBJ

    I think everyone is overlooking the fact Demps should be 100%. That is a huge game changer for Flahda. Add in Chris “I kill you” Rainey to the mix and the defense could be in for a long day.

    The bigger question is if we can score on them. I hope we can establish Ealey early. This team seems to be coming together. The Offense is exploding, the Defense is getting after it up front, and special teams are finally special again.

    I don’t think I can take another blow out at the hands of the Gayters.

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  6. Corbindawg

    The Florida losses have been a result of the Georgia offense playing poorly (either wetting the bed, having Shockley out or playing against a good Florida defense).

    Look at the points scored in the wins: 31, 42.

    Look at the points scored in the losses: 10, 13, 13, 10, 14, 10, 17.

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    • Ben

      Thanks for mentioning Shockley. When you’re only score against UF is a halfback pass to JTIII, then you’ve got problems.

      If Shockley had been healthy that year…

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    • Mike

      “The Florida losses have been a result of the Georgia offense playing poorly”

      You mean, other than the 41 points Florida put up last year? And the 49 points Florida put up in 2008?

      I think it might be hard for any team to win when their defense allowed those kinds of numbers.

      For example, Florida put up 30 points against UGA in 2007. But lost.

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  7. JasonC

    Maybe corch is finally getting around to finally putting some non-shotgun plays in and working on Tebow’s mechanics, since he assured us earlier that all that was happening.

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  8. Turd Ferguson

    I don’t really understand the worries about Demps and Rainey. I mean, yes, they’re both talented guys who can run very fast. But if either of them puts up impressive numbers against us this Saturday, it’ll be a first.

    I’m still more worried about Brantley going “Beyond Crompton” on us, or Burton taking advantage of a defense that has struggled with mobile QBs.

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  9. Lawrence

    From a Gator perspective, the earlier comment about your scoring is what will determine who wins on Saturday. Off the top of my head, if you score 30, you’ll beat us. The only time a team has gotten over 30 and lost to us was back in 2005 when Cutler went crazy in the Swamp. And even then, we were fortunate to win because of a questionable celebration call.

    I’ve always wondered given the insane talent you guys have why you’re not more aggressive in this game. The one time I can remember aggressive play calling was 2007….42 points. If I’m Georgia I come out throwing hay makers early. And by hay makers I mean that sweet play action pass Richt’s QB’s run to perfection. If we get down, go three and out, our fans start to boo, look out. It should be a great game. Considering that both teams are 4-3 it’s amazing this is an elimination game for the East.

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  10. Mayor of Dawgtown

    No offense but anyone who thinks that having an off week before a game when your opponent does not isn’t an advantage is FOS. Does it mean you are going to win every time? No. Does it give you a leg up? You betcha.

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    • Per his comments on Bulldog Hotline last night, Richt doesn’t want an off week right now:

      … Mike also commented on the open week and thinks we don’t need it. CMR says sometimes those are good but we don’t need one right now. We’re on a roll and we’re pretty healthy. This year our open date is before GT. That’s a good time to have one since what they do is radically different from everything else we see. It’s good to have a couple of extra practices then. CMR said he recently read an article where it’s almost 50-50 coming out of an open date.

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  11. austintwo

    Senator, looking at the chart leads me to the following thoughts.

    In our only win – 2007 – we had a bye week.

    In 2005 and 2006, FU had bye week and won.

    In 2008 and 2009, neither had a bye (IIRC).

    Still think the bye week is big.

    But – because of the way we’re playing, I actually feel better going into FU than I have in the past – I do not expect us to play or coach tight, which I think has been the biggest differentiator in this game.

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  12. austintwo

    Black helmets too, as I recall, hehe.

    I didn’t place much emphasis on analyzing last year’s game as there is nothing that would have given us a chance.

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  13. Jeff

    Senator I would like to see the rushing yards comparsion, I would imagine we won that battle which was a huge reason for the win more so than the QB rating.

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  14. Kobby

    That passer rating stat is misleading.

    2005 – JT3 comes off the bench in his first start. In the end he proved to be a below average quarterback.

    2006 -Stafford back in the starting lineup since early in the season, the 2006 Florida team also had an national championship caliber defense.

    2007 & 2008 Stafford, the No.1 pick the draft was at QB

    2009 Cox put up decent rating numbers all year so that’s not an outlier.

    Bottom line is the passer rating had more to do with who was on defense and who was playing quarterback than it had to do with the bye week.

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    • I think you’re missing my point.

      I don’t think the passer ratings have anything to do with the bye week. I think Georgia’s chances for winning are more dependent upon good QB play than upon the bye week.

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      • austintwo

        That QB play is important is a football truism in general, and is inarguable.

        When I look at the past 5 years, though, the team with the bye won 75% (3 of 4). The game – last year’s – where that didn’t hold, I strongly believe FU would have beaten us if they’d played someone else the day before, nothing would have helped us.

        And also, in our 2007 victory, Tebow played hurt – as Gary Danielsen documented ad nauseum during and after the broadcast of the game – had FU had the bye that year instead of us the game would have been different (though we may still have won).

        I agree with your point, which is another way of saying – with Jeff Dantzler – that we need to score TD’s to win.

        But I want the bye. It clearly matters.

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  15. elderdawg

    We have already taken an off-week. The Colorado game.

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    • Normaltown Mike

      off week?

      Try month.

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      • Brandon

        S. Carolina is 5-2, Arkansas is 5-2, Miss State is 6-2, 2 of those 3 were on the road. Looking back from this point in the season I don’t think it is fair to say we took those weeks off. We lost close games despite the fact our best player was out and we were getting a freshman QB acclimated to the SEC game, sure we COULD have won them if this or that play had been made but I don’t think you can say we SHOULD have won. We were unfortunate to flip the coin on those three games and come up tails all three times. Colorado is the only one of those games we should have won and we win it if Caleb does not fumble in field goal range.

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