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Little bits of spread help Florida Gators offense find end zone

Running out of the wildcat, UF’s Trey Burton reaches the end zone after the offense had settled for mostly field goals.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Running out of the wildcat, UF’s Trey Burton reaches the end zone after the offense had settled for mostly field goals.

GAINESVILLE — Apparently Florida's offense hasn't completely rid itself of the Urban Meyer era.

On an inefficient Saturday evening in the red zone, the Gators turned to an old favorite to break through near the goal line during its 39-0 win against Alabama-Birmingham. Leading 18-0 with less than two minutes left in the first half, sophomore Trey Burton lined up in Florida's wildcat formation.

Burton, who served as a change-of-pace quarterback in Meyer's spread offense last year, took the snap, faked a handoff to Chris Rainey and scooted untouched off right tackle for a score.

"It's pretty big," Burton said of the formation. "We have guys like Rainey and (Jeff) Demps that can sneak around and get in the end zone, and it's hard to defend."

Before Burton's touchdown, the Gators had only managed 16 points on four trips inside UAB's 20-yard line, with three of those drives ending in Caleb Sturgis field goals.

The Gators found themselves 4 yards from the end zone on their opening drive but were stuffed on a couple of runs and an incomplete pass. Field goal.

Florida reached the 16-yard line on its next drive, but Demps was brought down behind the line and quarterback John Brantley missed on a pair of throws. Field goal.

Midway through the second quarter, Florida again got inside the UAB 5-yard line. This time, Burton was stopped, the Gators couldn't get a play off in time, Brantley was forced to throw the ball away and Rainey came up short. Field goal.

"It's demoralizing for an offense to kick field goals in the red zone," Gators coach Will Muschamp said. "You want to leave with points regardless; that's the first thing. But when you get down there, you got to put seven on the scoreboard."

Last week, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was critical of his team's performance against FAU. The Gators scored four times in five trips against the Owls, but only three of those drives ended with touchdowns.

"I don't consider a field goal in the red zone a conversion," he said Tuesday. "That's a win for the defense."

This week, Florida scored all seven times it reached the red zone, including second-half touchdowns from Rainey and Mike Gillislee. But the game was well out of reach at that point.

Freshman Hunter Joyer of Wesley Chapel also scored on his first career carry for UF, a 3-yard run in the first quarter.

Little bits of spread help Florida Gators offense find end zone 09/11/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 11, 2011 12:20am]
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