Turnover numbers making history
Florida is on pace to set a school record for fewest turnovers forced
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The number is so low that even Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn can't help but wince every time he thinks about it.
The Gators forced just 12 turnovers in the regular season. Eight interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
That's it? Just 12? One per game on average? That's kind of hard to believe.
"Man, you're not kidding," Quinn said.
The previous low was 17 in 2002.
It'll be hard to avoid setting the record for futility since the Gators forced just five turnovers in the final eight games of the season.
Quinn said he's stressing turnovers during the bowl practices even more than he did during the season. The practices have been more physical than they were during the season, more of what you'd have in the preseason, and Quinn is hoping that will make a difference.
"It's something that we emphasize hard, OK?" Quinn said. "It's going to have to come through the practice reps first. It starts in the bowl practice and we kind of recognize it and we say, 'OK, let's practice it again.' For us to have the type of talent that I feel like we have on defense and the style [of play], that is not acceptable."
Florida forced just one turnover in October. Cornerback Marcus Roberson's interception of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was the Gators' first turnover in nearly 14 quarters. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins dropped at least five potential interceptions before he got his first against Furman in game No. 11, and several defensive backs also dropped potential interceptions throughout the season.
"I'd say we need to mature a little bit as a team," said Evans, a junior who intercepted one pass. "We were a young team this year, but there's no excuses in the SEC."
Just how historically bad has this season been in terms of forcing turnovers? The Gators had 34 seasons alone in which they forced more than 12 fumbles. They've only picked off fewer than 12 passes in a season eight times.
Just 12 turnovers is an amazingly small number. It needs to get much bigger in 2012.
"A lot," Quinn said.
Michael DiRocco covers University of Florida sports for GatorNation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ESPNdirocco.
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