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Florida’s Fall Will Aid Georgia’s Return to Prominence.


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Part 1 is the fall and Part 2 will be why Georgia is ascending.

Here is what you will find on that link:

The Fall (part I)

If you read around this off-season, you will see that just about every college football prognosticator is taking the easy route in predicting the SEC East winner in 2010. Urban Meyer has Florida seemingly running on cruise control as of late and the feeling by the masses is that he can just reload and win another East title. But to say that is to minimize the greatness of the Gators’ two biggest losses this offseason: Charlie Strong and Tim Tebow.

The graduation of Tebow is getting all the ink this offseason but the loss of defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, who took the Louisville head coaching position, is going to be felt in Gainesville.

Let’s take a look at what Strong has done as defensive coordinator over his career:

1999 – South Carolina: His first squad as defensive coordinator ranked 20th nationally in total defense.

2000 – South Carolina: Strong’s unit was ranked 16th nationally in total defense and 1st in the SEC in scoring defense.

2001 – South Carolina: Ranked 27th in total defense and 12th in scoring defense nationally.

2002 – South Carolina: In his final year at SC, the Gamecocks finished 28th nationally in pass defense.

2003 – Florida: Ron Zook brought Strong in and Florida finished 28th in scoring defense nationwide while finishing 2nd in the SEC with 20 interceptions (7th most in Gator history). Florida’s 30 takeaways led the SEC.

2004 – Florida: Improved in the following categories from 2003-2004: scoring defense, rushing yards/attempt, yards rushing/game, average yards/catch, average yards/completion, yards per play, yards per game and sacks.

2005 – Florida: Improved in 14 statistical categories, finished 9th nationally in total defense. 31 forced turnovers led SEC.

2006 – Florida: Led SEC in rushing defense (72.5 yards/game) which was 25 yards better than next best rush defense. Total defense ranked 6th nationally.

2007 – Florida: Led SEC in rushing defense for 2nd straight year. (10th nationally)

2008 – Florida: Ranked in top-20 nationally in 10 statistical categories. 1st in SEC in scoring defense (4th nationally) and turnover margin (2nd nationally).

2009 – Florida: Allowed only 16 offensive TDs (2nd best total since 1996). 4th nationally in total defense and scoring defense.

2010 – Florida: Finished 4th nationally in total defense and scoring defense.

That’s an impressive run of defenses for anyone. For all of the coverage of Florida’s offense over the years under Meyer, his defenses have been just as good or better. Remember, Urban’s first national championship team at Florida struggled to score in the SEC with Chris Leak at quarterback. Strong’s defenses consistently made plays and kept the Gators in games.

And who can forget the job that Strong’s defense did on Oklahoma in the National Championship game in 2009, holding the highest scoring college football team EVER to just 14 points, 40 below their average?

The loss of Charlie Strong will be HUGE for Florida. Strong had a history of taking freshmen and plugging them in without missing a beat. Not many coaches are successful in getting players ready to play immediately in the SEC like Strong has been.

Tebow’s loss will be just as significant to Florida on the offensive end. You can’t call a player arguably one of the best players in the history of college football and not agree that his loss will be significant. That, however, is the card that Florida fans, some experts, and Urban Meyer are playing right now.

There is no need to go over the litany of successes by Tebow during his Florida tenure. His rushing stats, passing stats, win totals and intangibles are more than well documented over the past 3 years. But since everyone seems to be fixated on how John Brantley will bring a different dimension to the Florida attack, a more vertical dimension, let’s take a look at Florida’s scoring the last time they had a more classic drop-back passer in Chris Leak.

Florida’s point totals in 2006, Chris Leak’s senior year and Tebow’s freshman year, with SEC totals in bold:

34, 42, 21, 26, 28, 23, 17, 14 (my edit offense only scored 14 points), 25, 17, 62, 21, 38 and 41.

Now compare the point totals for Florida in 2007, the first year Tim Tebow took over as starting quarterback for the Gators:

49, 59, 59, 30, 17, 24, 45, 30, 49, 51, 59, 45 and 35.

The difference in the two years is staggering, especially in SEC play (bold print). To say that the loss of Tebow will not drastically affect Florida’s offense is bordering on absurd. John Brantley may indeed become a great SEC starting quarterback but Urban Meyer’s offenses work best when the quarterback is a dual-threat in the Florida spread.

When you think of Florida’s offense in the Urban Meyer era, you think of Tim Tebow.

When you think of Florida defense in the 2000s, you think of Charlie Strong.

And when you think of 2010 in the SEC, it’ll be remembered as the year Florida’s dominance in the SEC East came to an end.

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Oh we're falling? Well that sucks. Don't tell that to Brantley and Rainey and Demps and Jenkins and Hill and Bostic and Debose and Gillislee and Thompson and Moore and Pouncey and Johnson, because as of right now I still think they're planning on showing up in full uniform.

Edited by Testasparo
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Well thought out analysis regarding UF and I agree completely. UF may win again, but would not be dominent. Tebow, who I greatly admire, is impossible to replace. Strong always gave us trouble. If either one of them were missing over the past 4 years, UF would not have won the NC. For the first time in many years, I feel that our coaching staffs are sort of evenly matched, with UGA having the advantage in D, even on O, and UF on ST.

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Well thought out analysis regarding UF and I agree completely. UF may win again, but would not be dominent. Tebow, who I greatly admire, is impossible to replace. Strong always gave us trouble. If either one of them were missing over the past 4 years, UF would not have won the NC. For the first time in many years, I feel that our coaching staffs are sort of evenly matched, with UGA having the advantage in D, even on O, and UF on ST.

agreed. their breakdown was great. not sure on who has the advantage and in what areas, but we are very close in a bunch of areas and there will be a step back for uf this coming year. i am interesting in seeing the georgia piece of this as well.

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He does fail to mention is that Charlie Strong was Co defensive coordinator with now Baltimore Ravens DC Greg Mattison. Mattison left after the 06 season. I will also ad that the defensive talent that Strong has had to work with has been the cream of the crop and that with the haul we've had this last year that will continue.

I think this will all come down to Jeff Brantley and how he handles being the man. I for one am very excited having seen this young man in person. He has the ability to be the best passing QB at UF since Danny left.

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That was an interesting article, and he makes a lot of good points. Losing a player the caliber of Tebow (as well as some of the others that either graduated or left early), combined with the loss of an excellent coordinator, you'd have to think there would be some dropoff; regardless of the young talent that is waiting in the wings. Anyone who underestimates the impact of losing Strong (or any good coordinator for that matter - the offense seemed to cool off a little after Mullen left too), is in for a rude awakening. Look at UGA's defense after VanGorder left. The majority of the staff remained intact, but we went from one of the tops in the nation year in, year out, to well, you know. (I'm trying to block 2005-2009 defense out of my mind :lol: )

With that being said, I'm not quite ready to say UF is on the downhill slope. Trust me, I'd love nothing more. I'm so sick of losing down there every year. But with the talent they've got stock-piled down there, and *** is still a great coach.

But, I'm so excited and hopeful by the direction UGA is moving and hope we are on our way back up. I want this series to be competitive again...

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He does fail to mention is that Charlie Strong was Co defensive coordinator with now Baltimore Ravens DC Greg Mattison. Mattison left after the 06 season. I will also ad that the defensive talent that Strong has had to work with has been the cream of the crop and that with the haul we've had this last year that will continue.

I think this will all come down to Jeff Brantley and how he handles being the man. I for one am very excited having seen this young man in person. He has the ability to be the best passing QB at UF since Danny left.

Jeff Driskel, John Brantley. Getting too excited for the future of Florida football are ya?

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I respect Phil Steele's opinion and all but I can't help but say hogwash. I know a ton of people want UF to fall but I just don't see it. Way too much talent and UGA has plenty of questions of its own at this point...

Agreed. Plus Steele's argument is based on years where Zook's recruits were the majority of the roster. It's all Meyer's guys now. Our offense this season could be the best we've seen in a long time.

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Agreed. Plus Steele's argument is based on years where Zook's recruits were the majority of the roster. It's all Meyer's guys now. Our offense this season could be the best we've seen in a long time.

Thank goodness it's just on Steele's site and not a piece he wrote. Tom Posial must be the UGA fluff writer...

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Yeah since Phil has us ranked 7th in his magazine and picked to win the East and go to the Orange Bowl. Not bad on a year where you've fallen off.

lol, I've seen a couple of other people point that out.

10-3, 11-2, 11-3, 12-2...somewhere around there is what I can see for this year.

If that's falling, then I'd love to fall every year.

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I dont see UF falling too far but no way you lose a DC as talented as Strong and one of the best College Football players of all time and not see a dropoff IMO. To what degree will be determined by how the Defense plays I think. You know Urban will put a good Offense on the field but as good as some of his offenses were the last few years he would not have won the championships without those Strong Defenses. Charlie Strong was a very underrated DC in my eyes mostly because Meyers offenses got so much credit for their wins I think but he made great adjustments throughout games and you could see how much his defenses really progressed throughout the course of a season. I am not stating he is irreplaceable but it wont be easy filling his shoes IMO.

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Yeah since Phil has us ranked 7th in his magazine and picked to win the East and go to the Orange Bowl. Not bad on a year where you've fallen off.

you mean the same phil steele that has told everyone who would listen from 790thezone to rivals radio to college football live that uga is one of his picks for a team that can run the table? that phil steele? the one who says florida lost the most points to the nfl draft this past year? anyone who thinks you don't take a step back losing what you guys did is not being reasonable at all with their expectation for this coming year (not saying you are are saying that, but i have seen plenty of gator fans who have said that).

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Can't help but smile at articles like this. :)

It means football season is getting closer and people will again take up their weekly losing of minds, saying unfounded things to stir the pot. :)

Man I love SEC football... :ph34r:

:lol: so true man especially when some good facts are brought up and it doesn't fit their view of their team then it should be dismissed and we will hear how charlie strong wasn't very good and tebow wasn't that impt.. we saw it last year with uga fans.. it's just preseason unreasonable expectations.. :P

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you mean the same phil steele that has told everyone who would listen from 790thezone to rivals radio to college football live that uga is one of his picks for a team that can run the table? that phil steele? the one who says florida lost the most points to the nfl draft this past year? anyone who thinks you don't take a step back losing what you guys did is not being reasonable at all with their expectation for this coming year (not saying you are are saying that, but i have seen plenty of gator fans who have said that).

Yeah that Phil. If hes got so much confidence in those picks then why is he publishing something different? If he belives that we step back and UGA steps up that much then why not just print that? I have no problem with the mans opinions. Hes been right quite a bit but dont put one thing in writing and then come out and say another.

As far as us losing ground we may well. The thing we have going for us though not against us is our schedule. Will we lose at Bama? Yes. UT doesnt scare anyone and we have a very suspect LSU team at home. We also have the bye before UGA and we all know that certainly benefits us and I wont worry about FSU until they show they can play in the same ballpark with us which they havent in years. We still have the most talented team in the East and until I see them not play up to their ability I have no reason to believe that they won't.

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:lol: so true man especially when some good facts are brought up and it doesn't fit their view of their team then it should be dismissed and we will hear how charlie strong wasn't very good and tebow wasn't that impt.. we saw it last year with uga fans.. it's just preseason unreasonable expectations.. :P

And who is saying Strong wasnt very good and Tebow wasnt important? I dont know what your readding elsewhere because I dont visit all these sites anymore because its a waste of time to me to hear the same pointless back and forth flame fest but I certainly dont see anyone saying that here. Every single fanbase has idiots that make stupid claims but I try to keep the conversation within these threads to just this board because I could go anywhere and find quotes by other teams fans that I find absurd.

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And who is saying Strong wasnt very good and Tebow wasnt important? I dont know what your readding elsewhere because I dont visit all these sites anymore because its a waste of time to me to hear the same pointless back and forth flame fest but I certainly dont see anyone saying that here. Every single fanbase has idiots that make stupid claims but I try to keep the conversation within these threads to just this board because I could go anywhere and find quotes by other teams fans that I find absurd.

definately been told by fans who are not fringe fans either that have said losing charlie was not that huge of a loss. charlie strong was very important to the gators and losing him and replacing him with a big unknown which btw is what you have at the dc spot is another reason to look at the gators taking more than just a small step back this year. john brantley hasn't played a meaningful down in his entire college career yet and is an unknown no matter how many practices you have seen with john. you lose more than just tebow's playing ability with john.

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I predict 10-3. I suppose that's falling off, but you can't go 13-1 every year unless you're Boise, and in 2012 they won't even be able to say that.

Tebow is absolutely one of the best players in NCAA history. You can't replace that, and certainly not the very next year. That's like saying Georgia would replace Herschel Walker the next year. It's irrational. But, from everything that I have read and witnessed with my own eyes, John Brantley is more than capable of being a big time college football quarterback. Is he going to win a Heisman and a National Title? Probably not. I don't think anyone expects him to.

Was Charlie Strong one of the best d-coordinators in the country? Absolutely. You lose coordinators when you're a successful program unless you're FSU and can find a great coach like Mickey Andrews who has no desire to accomplish anything more than being a coordinator, it's just how it works. No idea how Austin will do as the DC, but considering the ridiculous embarrassment of riches he has to work with, I imagine it's not going to be the most difficult job in the world to get these guys to play some defense.

Is 10-3 falling off from back to back 13-1 seasons? Considering the Gators are the first team to ever win 13 games in back to back seasons, then yes, it's probably safe to assume that this new crop of Gators aren't going to be able to recreate that kind of dominance.

I just find that WAAAAAAAY too many of you guys have an itchy trigger finger and speaking of "Florida's demise" and the "Fall of the Gators" like we're just gonna disappear from the college football landscape entirely laughable.

This program was top notch before Charlie Strong, and this program was top notch before Tim Tebow. That's not going to change, as much as people like to sit around camp fires and talk about it.

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Yeah that Phil. If hes got so much confidence in those picks then why is he publishing something different? If he belives that we step back and UGA steps up that much then why not just print that? I have no problem with the mans opinions. Hes been right quite a bit but dont put one thing in writing and then come out and say another.

As far as us losing ground we may well. The thing we have going for us though not against us is our schedule. Will we lose at Bama? Yes. UT doesnt scare anyone and we have a very suspect LSU team at home. We also have the bye before UGA and we all know that certainly benefits us and I wont worry about FSU until they show they can play in the same ballpark with us which they havent in years. We still have the most talented team in the East and until I see them not play up to their ability I have no reason to believe that they won't.

phil does indeed put the info he is saying in interviews in his magazine, that is how he gets his wiggle room. we are one of his top sleepers for this coming year. phil steele is indeed very good at what he does and he sees the very stuff in the first post in this thread and he has also done a great job looking at uga's talent without his fan vision on from either side. Losing what you guys have lost you have indeed come back enough to allow uga to compete for the sec east and uga is as talented as uf is in many spots and better in other spots also.

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I predict 10-3. I suppose that's falling off, but you can't go 13-1 every year unless you're Boise, and in 2012 they won't even be able to say that.

Tebow is absolutely one of the best players in NCAA history. You can't replace that, and certainly not the very next year. That's like saying Georgia would replace Herschel Walker the next year. It's irrational. But, from everything that I have read and witnessed with my own eyes, John Brantley is more than capable of being a big time college football quarterback. Is he going to win a Heisman and a National Title? Probably not. I don't think anyone expects him to.

Was Charlie Strong one of the best d-coordinators in the country? Absolutely. You lose coordinators when you're a successful program unless you're FSU and can find a great coach like Mickey Andrews who has no desire to accomplish anything more than being a coordinator, it's just how it works. No idea how Austin will do as the DC, but considering the ridiculous embarrassment of riches he has to work with, I imagine it's not going to be the most difficult job in the world to get these guys to play some defense.

Is 10-3 falling off from back to back 13-1 seasons? Considering the Gators are the first team to ever win 13 games in back to back seasons, then yes, it's probably safe to assume that this new crop of Gators aren't going to be able to recreate that kind of dominance.

I just find that WAAAAAAAY too many of you guys have an itchy trigger finger and speaking of "Florida's demise" and the "Fall of the Gators" like we're just gonna disappear from the college football landscape entirely laughable.

This program was top notch before Charlie Strong, and this program was top notch before Tim Tebow. That's not going to change, as much as people like to sit around camp fires and talk about it.

Basically part of your point is exactly what is being said. 10-3, if that is your record, is enough for uga to win the sec east. You notice no one is saying you are falling off the map or the face of college football, but what is being said is your fall this year will help uga and be enough for them to win the sec east with what we return and what improvement we expect on our team. That is what is being said. No one is saying you guys aren't a very talented team that has a lot to replace so you will stink, but you you guys won't be at that level as in year's past and not one gator fan should reasonably expect that.

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Basically part of your point is exactly what is being said. 10-3, if that is your record, is enough for uga to win the sec east. You notice no one is saying you are falling off the map or the face of college football, but what is being said is your fall this year will help uga and be enough for them to win the sec east with what we return and what improvement we expect on our team. That is what is being said. No one is saying you guys aren't a very talented team that has a lot to replace so you will stink, but you you guys won't be at that level as in year's past and not one gator fan should reasonably expect that.

I'm not gonna sit here and say it's not possible that Georgia is going to win the East with a complete overhaul in philosophy on defense in which this year they don't have the personnel for, new coaches, and a freshman QB; after all, stranger things have surely happened in college football.

But if you're breaking down what Florida returns and what Georgia returns, it's incredibly difficult to convince me that Georgia is "equal to or better than" Florida in any area other than running back and the starting receiver spot. I'm not going to say that UGA's receiving core is better than Florida's simply because you have the best WR in the country. One man does not a core make.

Based on experience within the system and actual playing time, Florida has an advantage in pretty much every single area.

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I'm just so stoked about this upcoming season and seeing how things work themselves out. How does Aaron Murray handle the starting QB position, does he stand out as he did in high school? How good will our running game be? Of course we're bringing back one of the best duos in the game but if we have inconsistency at the line as we have had in the past few seasons it will definitely hurt the running game big time. How does our defense mesh with the new system and who has the break out season? Man I'm excited. I'll let you guys doing the arguing this off season and wait for UGA to prove themselves on the field. Its time for Richt and Co to hand down some beatings.

Edited by Andrew
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