Last year, Florida had three players with 30 or more catches. In 2007, four Gators had 30 or more receptions.
This season, Hernandez and Cooper have combined for 51 catches for 693 yards and five touchdowns. Starters Brandon James, David Nelson and Deonte Thompson have accumulated 20 catches for 299 yards and four touchdowns — three from Thompson.
Outside of Hernandez (28 catches) and Cooper (23), no other receiver has double-digit catches, and only Thompson has 100 yards (127).
Meyer insists it's not a talent issue and that a few factors have played into the pedestrian numbers by Gator receivers.
For one, Meyer said defenses are causing protection issues for his quarterback. Defenses are giving unexpected looks to Tebow and his line. Players are getting open, but Tebow isn't getting enough time.
Poor protection is also causing Tebow to hold onto the ball a bit longer, causing him to try and make more plays with his feet. Meyer said it can sometimes be an issue to have Tebow hold onto the ball, but he can't blame his quarterback for trying to play smart.
"He’s not a guy that’s going to go take that shot if it’s not there," Meyer said.
Meyer said that while a heavy amount of the passing game has been directed to Hernandez and Cooper, not all those plays have been specifically called for them. They're getting open more because opposing defenses are dictating that.
Tebow took some of the blame for the receivers' numbers, saying his running mentality has caused him to miss open guys. He added that his trust in them isn't a problem.
"In some of those situations it’s me tyring to make a play instead of throwing it away," he said. "I don’t think it’s not having confidence in some of the players," he said. "I have complete confidence in all those guys who are out there playing."
I would add that it's also about trusting the passing pocket. Tebow seemed to often bail it too soon even when he maybe had time to check another receiver.