OU football: Gators get their bite back

By John Helsley Published: January 2, 2009
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All the yards and points produced by the Oklahoma offense, even the Heisman Trophy collected by Sam Bradford, seem to leave the Florida Gators a little bit, well, unimpressed.

Read between the lines in the stories emanating from the Sunshine State and you can almost sense the snickers from the Florida defenders.

OU’s record-setting offense, the theory goes, wouldn’t be throwing up any five-game stretches of 60-point poundings in the SEC.

"It would have been hard, because the teams in this league can play defense,” Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong told Florida Today.

How’s that for some not-so-subtle skepticism?

And the message is hardly subtle in an advance warning to the Sooners: get ready, by gosh, for the SEC champion Gators.

The span of a year has done much to heal the hurting for the Florida defense.

The 2007 Gator unit allowed more points per game – 25.5 – than any defense in school history.



A year ago, Florida averaged 42.46 points per game behind Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow, yet finished 9-4 due to a dud defense.

A return to defensive dominance has returned the Gators to the national title game.

20072008

Total defense 361.8 (41) 279.3 (9)
Scoring defense 25.5 (46) 12.9 (5)
Pass defense 258.5 (98) 174.0 (19)
Pass efficiency defense 128.7 (71) 94.17 (2)
Interceptions 11 (t74) 24 (2)
National ranking in parentheses

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