Should Florida Implement an All Hail Mary Offense – a Deeper Dive

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or you’re a Tennessee fan and you’ve gone all Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and erased last week’s game from your memory, then you’ve undoubtedly seen Florida’s miraculous Hail Mary to beat the Vols at the gun:

And while that secured Florida a win over the rivals, got them off to a 1-0 start in the SEC, raised Vols’ head coach Butch Jones’ blood pressure to 300/200, and cashed all Gators -5.5 tickets (easy money!), it also obscured something very troubling for Florida fans- their offense is doo doo poo-poo.

In their opening game against Michigan in Dallas, the Gators’ offense was heinous. Against the Vols at home in the Swamp, it was heinous+. These are Florida’s scoring drives this year:

  • FG
  • TAINT (note- this is from an old Bill Simmons’ (RIP) column about coming up with an alternate phrase than Pick-6. It stands for Touchdown After INT. Plus, it’s much more hilarious to say TAINT)
  • FG
  • FG
  • TD (first offensive TD of the year, after going more than 129+ mins of game time without scoring a TD)
  • TD (Hail Mary)

Anemic to same the least. Furthermore, consider these numbers. Florida has had 24 possessions this year. Of those those 24 possessions, they have run 4 plays or fewer 14 times (58%). They have had only 1 drive that lasted more than 10 plays (15 in the opening drive vs Tennessee). They average 4.75 plays per drive. Take the opening drive against Tennessee out and it drops to 4.30 plays per drive. No matter how good your defense is, those are numbers that after a while even Castle Black couldn’t continue to defend (SPOILER- pre-Ice Dragon, of course).

Throw in the yardage gained, and it’s like grinding pine cones into your eyes, i.e., it will make your eyes hurt. On their 24 drives, the Gators have tallied 532 yards of offense, aka a first quarter’s worth for Oklahoma State. That comes out to a shade over 22 yards per drive. And that includes said Hail Mary. So Florida’s average offensive drive looks like 4 plays, 22 yards. *insert barfing emoji here*

Possible Solutions

Considering that QB Feleipe (sp?) Franks is 6’5″ 227 lbs, Florida could consider trying the unproven King Tommen offense in which Franks would take the hike and simply fall forward, plummeting to his death gaining 2.5 yards per play. If the Gators could do that four times in a row it would be a FIRST DOWN.

Since Florida has trouble blocking the opposing defenses, they could try blocking themselves from blocking the defense. Sort of a negative cancelling out a negative. They’ve implemented it in the past with mixed results:

They could also try the all Hail Mary offense. Just have their receivers streak down the field for 60+ yards, and then have Feleipe (sp?) Franks heave the ball toward the end zone, hoping for a miracle. When operating the Hail Mary offense this season, the Gators have scored a touchdown 100% of the time (1/1). Sure it may be a small sample set, but results are results, man.

Regardless of what they try, the fact is they need to try something. They’re already struggling, and that doesn’t even delve into the fact that their best playmaker on offense, Antonio Callaway, is one of several Gators that is now facing felony charges for scholarship money shenanigans. Long story short- no help is on the way. Perhaps Franks will mature a bit and raise his level of play. Last week will go a ways toward helping that. But the run game is still non-existent at times. And as they visit Kentucky (+1.5) this week, they’re in a dangerous spot. Sure they haven’t lost to Kentucky since Abraham Lincoln played Pop Warner (30 years), but that could change this weekend, if they’re offense fails to get on track. Kentucky is a dangerous team, and with a loss, the Gators could find themselves on the outside looking in of the SEC East. Might be time to send up a prayer or two.