As “everyone” knows, Florida lost to Georgia in 2007 because of Tebow’s shoulder injury. From Tony Barnhart’s blog of July 24 (h/t Get the Picture) -
Gators want Tebow healthy for Georgia: It is a fact that in 2007 Florida quarterback Tim Tebow had one of the greatest individual seasons ever (32 touchdowns passing, 23 rushing). But it is also a fact that Florida feels it lost to Georgia (42-30) not because of the motivational lift the Bulldogs got from storming the field, but because Tebow was banged up and nowhere close to 100 percent.
So in a game which the Gators scored 30 points the reason we lost was because Tebow was injured.
Nevermind the fact Georgia scored 42.
It’s wasn’t Tebow’s best day of the year, and from a rushing standpoint it was his worst. But for pure quarterback play it wasn’t as awful a day as is being portrayed. Tebow’s QB ratings last season (best to worst) were –
But a simple glance at the chart above reveals the real problem last year, and it had nothing to do with Tebow. The problem was our worst-in-a-generation defense. Florida lost 3 games in which Tebow and the offense scored 30, 35 and 24 points. The only game in which a better offensive performance should have made a difference was Auburn, the sole game all year in which the Gators scored 20 points or less.
While expecting a healthy Tebow to – just perhaps – be able to pass and run his way 43 points in any given contest, he can’t play both sides of the ball. He didn’t surrender 188 yards to Knowshon Moreno, the Georgia running back’s 2nd best effort in 2007 –
Moreno’s Rushing Yards per Game in 2007
South Carolina 104
Western Carolina 94
Oklahoma State 70
Georgia Tech 45
Moreno is scary good, but we allowed him to look “Troy” good. (Troy had 95th worst rushing defense in the nation last year).
Stafford also had a career day against Florida last year, that despite his 217 yards passing (which was tied for 3rd best for the season), he posted a gaudy QB rating of 206.27, his best of 2007 at 19.38 points better than any other effort. He also threw a season high 3 TD passes on his lowest number of attempts all season. Our hapless DB’s made him look like Tom Brady. Notably, Tebow wasn’t playing that position either.
Offense wasn’t the problem against Georgia last year. The 2007 game was the only game in the venerable history of Florida-Georgia in which both teams scored 30 points or more. Putting our defensive debacle in another light, assume that – going all the way back to 1990 – Florida had scored exactly 30 points in every game against Georgia. How would that have affected the overall 15-3 record since then?
The answer is it wouldn’t – 30 points would have been enough to win every game we won since 1990, and still lose the ones we didn’t. We would have been much closer in the losses of 1997 and 2004 at 37-30 and 31-30 respectively, but would have won every other game – most of them quite comfortably.
Defense was as much, if not more, a responsible factor in the wins as offense over the 18 games leading back to1990. Georgia’s average score in the games we won over that span was 14.13. In the 3 games we lost the Bulldog’s average score was 36.67.
IF it is the mindset of the Florida coaching staff that more offense is the answer to last year’s 9-4 record, get ready for 2008 to look a lot like 2007.