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Florida vs. Georgia: Production, performance, and where the recruiting gap shows up

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Florida’s offense remains one of the nation’s best with Anthony Richardson at the helm. But Georgia’s dominance on Saturday was a flex of its depth.

Syndication: Gainesville Sun Doug Engle / USA TODAY NETWORK

What a difference a year makes.

Last season, Florida whipped Georgia, with an offensive onslaught featuring the wheel route making an early 14-0 lead for the Dawgs totally irrelevant. This year, the only wheels I saw were the ones falling off the Gators’ 2021 season: Florida was thoroughly outclassed in Jacksonville, even though it did win the yardage battle.

From a personnel deployment perspective, the Gators brought back 20 (two backs and zero tight ends) personnel for the first time since Week One, but that was the only real personnel wrinkle that Florida broke out for this game. As ever, this piece will still review the different personnel groupings that Florida used in the game and its year-to-date totals.

After that, though, I wanted to take a different view of personnel. So we’ll take a closer look at recruiting and the widening gap between Florida and Georgia.

Florida vs. Georgia Game Personnel

Florida vs. Georgia: Personnel + Performance

Personnel Plays Yards YPP Rushes % Yards YPR Passes % Yards YPA
Personnel Plays Yards YPP Rushes % Yards YPR Passes % Yards YPA
11 - Richardson 29 120 4.14 14 48.28% 72 5.14 15 51.72% 49 3.27
12 - Richardson 8 49 6.13 4 50.00% 21 5.25 4 50.00% 28 7.00
20 - Richardson 7 19 2.71 5 71.43% 14 2.80 2 28.57% 5 2.50
Richardson Total 44 188 4.27 23 52.27% 107 4.65 21 47.73% 82 3.90
11 - Jones 27 159 5.89 13 48.15% 47 3.62 14 51.85% 112 8.00
20 - Jones 2 8 4.00 2 100.00% 8 4.00 0 0.00% 0 0.00
Jones Total 29 167 5.76 15 51.72% 55 3.67 14 48.28% 112 8.00
Florida Total 73 355 4.86 38 52.05% 162 4.26 35 47.95% 194 5.54

11 Personnel

Florida used 11 personnel on 56 (77%) of their offensive snaps against Georgia.The Gators gained 279 yards or 4.98 yards per play in this personnel. Florida ran the ball on 48% of snaps in 11 personnel, averaging 4.41 yards per carry. The Gators passed the ball on 52% of snaps averaging 5.55 yards per pass attempt.

12 Personnel

The Gators only lined up in 12 personnel when Anthony Richardson was in at quarterback. This personnel grouping had some success averaging 6.13 yards per play. However, Florida only used 12 personnel on eight (11%) of their offensive snaps. Florida had a perfect 50/50 split in terms of play calling with this group. The Gators averaged 5.25 yards per rush on four attempts while averaging 7 yards per pass on four attempts.

20 Personnel

After a long hiatus 20 personnel returned. This was a grouping I expected to see more of this year, but they had only been used in the opening game of the season. The Gators broke it back out this week with minimal success. Florida got in 20 personnel on nine (12%) of their offensive snaps averaging only 3 yards per play. The Gators averaged 3.14 yards per rush on seven attempts. Florida only passed the ball twice in this grouping, averaging only 2.5 yards per attempt.

Season to Date

Florida Personnel + Performance: Year to Date Through Georgia

Personnel Total Plays Yards Yards Per Play Total Rushes Run % Rushing Yards Yards Per Rush Total Passes Pass % Passing Yards Yards Per Pass
Personnel Total Plays Yards Yards Per Play Total Rushes Run % Rushing Yards Yards Per Rush Total Passes Pass % Passing Yards Yards Per Pass
11 - Jones 386 2593 6.72 207 54% 1237 5.98 179 46% 1356 7.58
12 - Jones 25 112 4.48 18 72% 69 3.83 7 28% 43 6.14
13 - Jones 1 0 0.00 0 0% 0 0.00 1 100% 0 0.00
20 - Jones 8 24 3.00 5 63% 6 1.20 3 38% 18 6.00
21 - Jones 4 30 7.50 2 50% 9 4.50 2 50% 21 10.50
Emory Total 424 2759 6.51 232 55% 1321 5.69 192 45% 1438 7.49
11 - AR 115 870 7.57 71 62% 561 7.90 44 38% 310 7.05
12 - AR 13 140 10.77 5 38% 26 5.20 8 62% 114 14.25
13 - AR 2 2 1.00 2 100% 2 1.00 0 0% 0 0.00
20 - AR 8 20 2.50 6 75% 15 2.50 2 25% 5 2.50
21 - AR 6 48 8.00 2 33% 3 1.50 4 67% 45 11.25
AR Total 144 1080 7.50 86 60% 607 7.06 58 40% 474 8.17
Florida Total 568 3839 6.76 318 55.99% 1928 6.06 250 44.01% 1912 7.65

Saturday showed a good bit of the regression that was bound to happen with Anthony Richardson. The offensive numbers had been so good with him in the game that an off day was all but inevitable was bound to happen.

And instead of being the best offense in the country in terms of yards per play with Richardson at the helm, the Gators have plummeted: They’re now, uh, third.

Yeah, we’re still firmly in small sample size alert, but the numbers still look great. Hopefully, we’ll get to see them stay there even as a sample size grows in the coming weeks.

11 Personnel

11 is far and away Florida’s favored personnel group. The Gators have been in the personnel on 88% of snaps this season and have averaged 6.91 yards per play. Florida has run the ball with this group on 55.49% of snaps and averaged 6.47 yards per rush for the season. The Gators are throwing the ball on 44.51% of snaps in 11 personnel. The Gators have averaged 7.47 yards per pass attempt.

12 Personnel

As it has been for most of the season, 12 personnel is Florida’s second most frequently used personnel grouping. The Gators have been in 12 personnel on 6.69% of snaps this season and have averaged 6.63 yards per play. Florida has thrown the ball on 39.47% of snaps in the grouping and has averaged 10.47 yards per throw. This group has been used to take some protected shots down the field and the yards per attempt average shows that. Florida has run the ball on 60.53% of snaps and has averaged 4.13 yards per rush.

20 Personnel

With its reemergence this week, 20 personnel is now Florida’s third most frequently used personnel grouping. The Gators have only used 20 on 2.82% of snaps this season. Florida is only averaging 2.75 yards per play with this group. They have called rushes on 68.75% of snaps and have averaged a paltry 1.91 yards per rush. The passing game hasn’t fared much better, only averaging 4.6 yards per attempt.

21 Personnel

Even though it’s only been seen in one game this year, 21 personnel is the next most popular personnel grouping. Florida has only used this group on 1.76% of snaps but they have averaged 7.8 yards per play in those limited snaps. The Gators have averaged 4 yards per rush in this group on four attempts and 11 yards per pass on six attempts.

13 Personnel

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

On recruiting

The hot topic for much of the past few months, and especially after this week, has been Florida’s recruiting. Florida faced down a recruiting juggernaut this Saturday and got a look at how far away they may be from the elite recruiters. Mullen brushed off the assertion that the gap was large in his Saturday post-game press conference, stating that “We were better last year; they were better this year.”

And when you look at the starters, the gap isn’t massive. Georgia is more talented overall, but Florida has some dudes too.

Talent Tale: Florida Offense vs. Georgia Defense

Position Name 247 Rating Position Name 247 Rating
Position Name 247 Rating Position Name 247 Rating
LT Richard Gouraige 0.9603 DE Travon Walker 0.9901
LG Josh Braun 0.9049 N Jordan Davis 0.8858
C Kingsley Eguakun 0.8689 Tackle Devonte Wyatt 0.9067
RG Stewart Reese 0.8793 Jack Nolan Smith 0.9994
RT Jean Delance 0.9457 MAC Nakobe Dean 0.9908
TE Kemore Gamble 0.8987 MONEY Quay Walker 0.983
RB Malik Davis 0.8765 STAR Latavious Brini 0.8681
WR Justin Shorter 0.9962 SAF Christopher Smith 0.8991
WR Jacob Copeland 0.9651 SAF Lewis Cine 0.9765
WR Xzavier Henderson 0.97 CB Kelee Ringo 0.9976
QB Anthony Richardson 0.9204 CB Derion Kendrick 0.9855
Offense Starters Talent 0.926 Defense Starters Talent 0.953

Talent Tale: Florida Defense vs. Georgia Offense

Position Name 247 Rating Position Name 247 Rating
Position Name 247 Rating Position Name 247 Rating
DL Zach Carter 0.9404 LT Jamaree Salyer 0.9956
DL Gervon Dexter 0.9946 LG Justin Shaffer 0.8828
DL Antonio Valentino 0.8284 C Sedrick Van Prann 0.9713
Buck Brenton Cox 0.9867 RG Warren Ericson 0.907
LB Jeremiah Moon 0.8963 RT Warren Mcclendon 0.9131
LB Mohamoud Diabate 0.951 TE Brock Bowers 0.9533
OLB Khris Bogle 0.9677 TE John Fitzaptrick 0.8975
CB Kaiir Elam 0.9755 RB Zamir White 0.9957
CB Avery Helm 0.8937 WR Ladd Mcconkey 0.8485
S Rashad Torrence 0.895 WR Adonai Mitchell 0.8883
S Trey Dean 0.9222 QB Stetson Bennet 0.8304
Defense Starters Talent 0.932 Offense Starters Talent 0.9167

The gaps between starting units isn’t massive, but depth is also extremely important. Using rosters compiled in the preseason by College Football Winning Edge we can see how the two teams match up in terms of position groups. These rosters include the 247 composite ratings of all players, including transfers.

Talent Tale: Florida vs. Georgia, Full Rosters

Position 247 Average National Rank Position 247 Average National Rank
Position 247 Average National Rank Position 247 Average National Rank
QB 0.9384 6 QB 0.9377 7
RB 0.9361 3 RB 0.9548 2
WR/TE 0.9064 9 WR/TE 0.9266 3
OL 0.8887 15 OL 0.9242 3
Offense 0.9193 5 Offense 0.9366 3
DL 0.9081 7 DL 0.9194 5
LB 0.9008 10 LB 0.9645 1
DB 0.8942 17 DB 0.9256 3
Defense 0.9019 10 Defense 0.9378 2
Team 0.9116 5 Team 0.9372 3

Florida only has a better position group at quarterback, but that is only based on the top three quarterbacks on the roster. If all quarterbacks are included in the average, Georgia edges Florida out there. Florida has some highly rated skill positions, partly bolstered by big name transfers, but there is still no position group that Florida has a superior unit to Georgia: The Bulldogs top the Gators at every spot.

But, still, the gap doesn’t look massive.

I decided to take a look at how the teams stack up in terms of their various classes. I took the same rosters as above, sorted them by class, and then got the average of all the class members. (Due to the COVID year, freshmen and redshirt freshmen are grouped together.)

When using this approach, some more dramatic separation occurs.

Talent Tale: Florida vs. Georgia, Rosters by Class

Class Average 247 Rating Class Average 247 Rating
Class Average 247 Rating Class Average 247 Rating
Freshman/Redshirt Freshman 0.9048 Freshman/Redshirt Freshman 0.9304
Sophomore 0.8987 Sophomore 0.9354
Junior 0.9327 Junior 0.9476
Senior 0.8883 Senior 0.9237

You can see the separation happening over the last couple of seasons. And the junior class for Florida includes three five-star transfers, which helps lift up the average.

For reference, the 247Sports scale has the following ranges: Five-star is 98.0+, four-star is 90-97.99, and three-star is 80-89.99. When using this scale as a rough guide, Georgia’s average player in each class is a mid-level four-star player. Florida’s averages range from high three-star to low four-star. This shows the depth of talent on the Georgia roster — which is where the biggest gap is.

Speaking from experience, it’s a lot easier to win games when you have the better players. Better players do what you expect them to, for the most part: They create bigger holes, they get more open, they win more one-on-ones. When you don’t, you can call the perfect game and it still may not matter.

Most successful coaches at the SEC level can scheme, even if there are still advantages here and there. And while Dan Mullen may think of himself as a chess grandmaster in terms of scheming, he’s also got a couple of decades of wins to back that notion up.

But even the greatest players in history would find it hard to beat a board full of queens. And part of the game in college football is figuring out how to put more of them in play on your side.