Offensively challenged Florida faces stout Bama defense – Gadsden Times
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s Jim McElwain made Southeastern Conference history by becoming the first coach to reach the league’s championship game in his first two seasons.
He’s 13-3 in SEC play, has swept rival Georgia and pushed the Gators to start making strides to improve their football facilities.
It’s hardly enough, at least not in Gainesville.
As the 15th-ranked Gators (8-3) head to Atlanta to face top-ranked Alabama (12-0) for the second straight year, McElwain is getting more criticism than acclaim. Florida looked overmatched in a 31-13 loss at Florida State on Saturday, failing to score an offensive touchdown for the second time in as many years in the series. And McElwain, hired to fix Florida’s floundering offense, has come up well short and offered nothing more than a glimpse of anything resembling Steve Spurrier’s “Fun ‘n’ Gun” that dominated the league throughout most of the 1990s.
The Gators currently rank 114th in the nation in total offense, down two spots from 2015 while averaging a meager 352.7 yards a game. And they easily could drop after facing the Tide’s top-ranked defense this week.
“I don’t look at it as a mismatch at all,” McElwain said Monday. “I look at it as a great opportunity, and you know that’s part of the chess match. … I know this: We’re playing in this game and we’re going to give ourselves every opportunity to be successful.”
Florida somewhat was competitive in last year’s title game.
The Gators returned a punt for a touchdown early and trailed 12-7 at halftime before Alabama pulled away and won 29-15. Florida finished with 180 yards, the fewest of McElwain’s tenure. Quarterback Treon Harris got the brunt of the blame for that stinker, as well as for Florida’s late-season slide.
There haven’t been as many