Florida Gators offense misses Percy Harvin's output

GAINESVILLE — As Florida cleared the field Saturday, fans chanted the name of a receiver who didn't catch a single ball and wasn't wearing a Gators jersey.

They were calling for Percy Harvin, the former Florida wideout now suiting up for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.

With his new team on a bye, Harvin was checking out his old team on the sideline. The Gators probably wish they could have suited him up in orange and blue.

Florida remained undefeated in unspectacular fashion, beating Vanderbilt 27-3 without any dazzling offensive plays.

"We need big plays," coach Urban Meyer said. "Any offense in the country that gets production needs big plays. It seemed like our tailbacks last year would all of a sudden pull one out. We're just not getting that. I know everyone's pressing to get it done, and we have to get that done with these games coming up."

Last season with Harvin, Florida scored 30 or more points in every SEC game, averaging just fewer than 45 a game in its eight conference contests. This season, the Gators have tallied at least 30 points in only two league games.

"I think a lot of explosive plays are coming from the running backs, instead of the receivers right now," said Harvin, who left Florida early with a 15-game streak of scoring at least one touchdown. "Tim Tebow, he's taking too many hits this year. I don't like seeing that at all."

Tebow had 16 carries for 27 yards vs. Vanderbilt and was sacked four times. As a team, the Gators ran 37 times for 148 yards while Tebow threw the ball 20 times, completing 15 of them.

Florida has had to diversify itself without Harvin. The Gators have scored 18 offensive touchdowns in seven SEC contests, with seven players making it to the end zone.

Last week against Georgia, receiver Riley Cooper had a big day early, catching a TD pass on each of Florida's first two possessions, and he finished the game with four catches for 78 yards.

This time against Vanderbilt, Aaron Hernandez (seven catches) had a career-high 120 receiving yards, and Brandon James had 62 total yards on six touches (four catches and two carries).

But in 10 offensive possessions against the Commodores, the Gators came away with only three TDs, a far cry from the normal offensive explosions of a year ago.

"Yeah, you get frustrated. You would like to put the ball in the end zone more and not have to be patient and kick field goals," Tebow said. "But at the same time, we're going to be happy with being 9-0."

Florida Gators offense misses Percy Harvin's output 11/08/09 [Last modified: Sunday, November 8, 2009 12:31am]

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