It was only a matter of time before Florida’s offense became a topic of discussion for recruits.
After six games this season, Florida ranks 11th in the SEC in total offense, averaging 323.7 yards per game. Where does that put the Gators in the national rankings? All the way down to No. 96 in the country.
Florida State tops the state rankings coming in at 28th nationally with 439.5 yards per game. Miami is 60th (381), Central Florida is No. 70 (362.2) and Florida International is No. 81 (346.8). Florida does beat out Florida Atlantic, which comes in at No. 108 with just 298.8 yards per game.
Again showing the downfield passing game has been all but scrapped in its offense, Florida mustered just 154 passing yards and no touchdowns in the Gators’ 33-29 loss at home to LSU Saturday. A game that saw a slew of top recruits visit from around the country.
Florida 2012 wide receiver Gators verbal Latroy Pittman was in the south end zone stands with the handful of prospects and certainly noticed the offensive ineptitude.
“Guess it’s the effect of losing a great senior class and trying to find guys to take their place,” the Citra Marion County prospect said of about Florida’s struggles.
A major playmaker for Marion County, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Pittman said watching Florida sputter on offense has turned into a concern for him, but it has also motivated to get on campus. He feels he could be a guy who is heavily relied upon early.
To Pittman, Florida’s offense is close to becoming more explosive, but there are little things hold the Gators back.
“The talent is there, the speed,” he said. “Just about every key thing they need is there, but guys just have to step up.”
With the tools quarterback John Brantley has, Pittman said he thinks he just needs to relax more in certain situations and he’ll start making more consistent plays.
“He’s stressed,” Pittman said. “He stays checking down. It’s as if he is afraid to sling it.”
Pittman, who said he’s still solidly committed to Florida, said the Gators’ failure to consistently execute on offense or make big plays could have a negative impact on recruiting, but he doesn’t think it will be major with so much of the season left to play.
What did help Florida was the energy generated from the fans during the fourth quarter of the LSU game. Pittman described the night as “crazy” and that everything was fun except for the outcome.
He also noticed the heavy amount of boos that rained down from the stands during Florida’s 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive late in the fourth. Pittman said he wasn’t negatively affected by it, but could understand the fans’ frustration.
“They felt the play-calling was not good,” he said. “It just shows the fans want to see more excitement from the offense. You can’t advertise great speed and talent, but never throw deep or have any long runs and not expect the viewers to have question and concern and frustration.”
Though he has more than a year left to go through recruiting and holds a handful of verbal offers from some of the top college programs, Pittman said he currently doesn’t have interest in visiting other schools besides Florida.