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Florida vs. Vanderbilt: Breaking down personnel and performance, plus QB comparison

Florida changed up its personnel against Vanderbilt — barely. The more significant development? A growing gulf in performance by QB.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 09 Vanderbilt at Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Another week, another game of almost all 11 personnel. The Florida Gators have not deviated away from this grouping nearly as much as many — myself included — thought they might before the season. Since conference play began, this column has basically turned into a weekly 11 personnel update.

While the personnel grouping numbers will be updated, I believe the numbers by quarterback may be of even more interest. I’ll shed some light on how the offense has performed this season depending on the quarterback in the game.

We’ll start by taking a look at the Vanderbilt game. (These totals do not include the 28-yard fake punt, sweet though it was.)

Florida vs. Vanderbilt: Personnel + Performance

Personnel Plays Yards YPP Rushes Yard YPR Passes Yards YPA
Personnel Plays Yards YPP Rushes Yard YPR Passes Yards YPA
11 41 380 9.27 19 107 5.63 22 273 12.41
12 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
11-AR 19 70 3.68 13 45 3.46 6 25 4.17
61 451 7.39 33 153 4.64 28 298 10.64

11 Personnel

Regardless of who was at quarterback, Florida was in 11 personnel on 60 (98.36%) of 61 snaps. Out of the grouping, the Gators ran the ball 32 times for 152 yards, 4.75 yards per rush. Florida threw the ball 28 times for 298 yards, 10.64 yards per pass attempt.

An interesting split happened with the quarterbacks in this game. When Emory Jones was in the game, Florida threw the ball on 53.66% of snaps. This number does not include called passes that turned into scrambles as well. With Anthony Richardson in the game, the Gators threw the ball on only 31.58% of the time.

Is Dan Mullen holding down Anthony Richardson, like I saw some posting on Twitter? No, he’s not. The discrepancy can be explained by game plan and game stage.

From early in the game, it appeared that the plan was to push the ball a little more vertically and create explosives in the passing game. In the first half, Richardson came in for two series covering four plays. On those four plays, Richardson threw four passes — and one of the reasons he didn’t throw more was an interception that was almost entirely his own fault. (He also had one rush called back by penalty, for the sake of completion.)

When Richardson next entered the game, there were 11 minutes left in the game and the Gators were up 42-0. You are going to see more called runs in that situation than in the normal flow of the game — even if Richardson’s previous appearance against FAU included deep throws late in the game, that was then and is now an outlier against the greater number of drives with games well in hand.

12 Personnel

Hey! A different personnel grouping!

Florida only got into this group for Dameon Pierce’s one-yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game, so it recorded one play, one rush, one yard, and one touchdown. A quite efficient night for 12 personnel.

Florida Personnel + Performance: Year to Date Through Vanderbilt

Personnel Group Total Plays Yards Yards Per Play Total Rushes Run % Rushing Yards Yards Per Rush Total Passes Pass % Passing Yards Yards Per Pass
Personnel Group Total Plays Yards Yards Per Play Total Rushes Run % Rushing Yards Yards Per Rush Total Passes Pass % Passing Yards Yards Per Pass
11 329 2233 6.79 183 56% 1151 6.29 146 44% 1082 7.41
12 22 112 5.09 15 68% 69 4.6 7 32% 43 6.14
13 1 0 0 0 0% 1 100% 0 0
20 6 16 2.67 3 50% -2 -0.67 3 50% 18 6
Emory Total 358 2361 6.59 201 56% 1218 6.06 157 44% 1143 7.28
11-AR 58 557 9.6 41 80% 407 9.93 17 20% 150 8.82
12-AR 1 75 75 0 0% 0 1 100% 75 75
13-AR 2 2 1 2 100% 2 1 0
20-AR 1 1 1 1 100% 1 1 0
AR Total 62 635 10.24 44 73% 410 9.32 18 29% 225 12.5
Total 420 2996 7.13 245 58.33% 1628 6.64 175 41.67% 1368 7.82

11 Personnel

The usage percentage keeps creeping up with this group. Florida has used 11 personnel on over 92% of snaps this season and has averaged 7.21 yards per play. The Gators have run the ball on 57.88% of snaps with an average of 6.96 yards per attempt. Florida has thrown the ball on 42.12% of snaps with an average of 7.56 yards per attempt.

12 Personnel

With its one play this week, 12 personnel maintains its spot as Florida’s second-most-used personnel grouping. This unit has been used on 5.48% of snaps this season and has averaged 8.13 yards per play.

Florida runs the ball out of this group on 65..22% of snaps and averages 4.6 yards per rush. The Gators have thrown out 12 personnel on only 34.78% of snaps for an average of 14.75 yards per pass. That latter number is still being greatly inflated by a Richardson bomb to Jacob Copeland against USF.

13 Personnel

This group has only been used in the low red zone. They have only been on the field thre times and have gained only two yards.

20 Personnel

This group saw its only action in game one against FAU. 20 has only seen the field for seven snaps and has only gained 17 yards.

Quarterback Comparison

Any time you are comparing a starting quarterback to his backup, you are likely to run into some sample size issues.

We saw this early in the season, when Anthony Richardson was an explosive play in human form. His yards per play numbers were astronomical, and made the numbers with Emory Jones in at QB look somewhat pedestrian.

The inverse has happened since Richardson’s return from a hamstring injury.

Florida vs. UK/Vandy + Florida vs. SEC

Period Personnel Plays Yards YPP Rushes Play Call % Yard YPR Passes Play Call % Yards YPA
Period Personnel Plays Yards YPP Rushes Play Call % Yard YPR Passes Play Call % Yards YPA
Kentucky + Vanderbilt 11 103 711 6.9 50 48.54% 235 4.7 53 51.46% 476 8.98
12 1 1 1 1 100.00% 1 1 0 0.00% 0
11-AR 28 121 4.32 21 75.00% 88 4.19 7 25.00% 33 4.71
Total 132 833 6.31 72 54.55% 324 4.5 60 45.45% 509 8.48
Emory Conference 11 231 1593 6.9 127 54.98% 741 5.83 104 45.02% 852 8.19
12 11 63 5.73 7 63.64% 36 5.14 4 36.36% 27 6.75
Total 242 1656 6.84 134 55.37% 777 5.8 108 44.63% 879 8.14

Over the last two weeks, the Florida offense has been much better with Jones in the game than with Richardson at the controls. Again, small sample size warnings and late game stage warnings apply — but Florida has averaged 6.84 yards per play with Jones at quarterback and 4.32 yards per play with Richardson at quarterback.

For context, for the season to date, 6.84 yards per play would rank about 20th nationally. 4.32 yards per play, on the other hand, would rank 125th out of 130 teams nationally.

These are not apples-to-apples comparisons, obviously, but they could give us some hint as to why Mullen continues to prefer Jones.

Earlier this fall, Mullen admitted that he put Jones in some tough spots in the first two games to see how he would respond. That experimentation was reflected in the numbers. In the first two games of the season, the offense with Jones at quarterback averaged 6.08 yards per play and 5.54 yards per pass attempt. Those numbers in the national rankings would be 50th and 124th nationally.

Mullen must have gathered some good information from that, though, because Emory has been greatly improved since conference play started.

The Florida offense has averaged 6.84 yards per play with Emory at quarterback in conference play. Jones has also greatly elevated his passing, going from that abysmal 5.54 yards an attempt to a much more respectable 8.14. He’s gone from the bottom third in the country to the top third in the country.

The frustrating part for the fans is that, even with the improvement, there still seem to be more plays available to be made. Hopefully, Emory will continue to improve as the season goes along. Richardson has shown such remarkable flashes of talent that it is tantalizing to think of what he could do with more opportunities.

The positive for the Gators is that their starter has improved as the schedule has gotten tougher. The next two weeks may be the pivot point for the quarterback position going forward.

If Emory continues to improve his play and the Gators pick up two wins, the position could solidly be his — in the eyes of Gator Nation, as well as the mind of Dan Mullen. If he falters, we may get to see AR-15 pick up a few more of those aforementioned opportunities.