The Florida Gators defense has been gashed the past two weeks giving up 919 yards of offense and 59 points in two games. That means the defense has given up roughly 43% of their points and 39% of their total yards in just the past two contests.
The defense did fight back against Georgia in the second half, keeping the Bulldogs out of the end zone and off the score board, but the effort was both too little and too late.
With only for games left on the schedule, the homecoming game against Vanderbilt has taken on a new meaning and importance. Sure, every game is important, but this isn’t the old doormat Vanderbilt team of the past. The ‘Dores are a few weeks removed from upsetting Georgia and James Franklin’s team will be ready to play this week.
Defense against Georgia
- Despite picking things up in the second half, the defense was unable to get off the field, as Georgia was able to drain the last eight minutes off the game clock to secure a win. D.J. Durkin spoke about how frustrating it was to not be able to get off the field and give the offense a chance to win the game.
Very frustrating, as you can imagine. Looking back at the drive, too, a lot of those, it came to third down just about every time and all of those third downs were close, inches. And you could go both ways with it.”
- Todd Gurley scored on a 73-yard touchdown on just the second drive of the game for Georgia. Durkin said that the defense got the look that they wanted but that the execution was not there. He didn’t put the blame on any one player and specifically said that it was not Antonio Morrison’s error.
- The player that sticks out most on the Vanderbilt offense is wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Matthews is the all-time receiving leader in the SEC and has 17 receptions for 301 yards the last two times out against Florida.
Obviously, his career, his stats, what he’s done, speaks for itself. He’s been a guy that our guys have gone against now for several years and they have great respect for him. He’s a competitive guy. He’s obviously talented, gifted, his size is really good, he’s got great speed. He presents a challenge. Our guys, they rise up. They understand what they’re going against.”
- Vanderbilt has given up more sacks (26) than any other team in the SEC. Durkin said that the defense won’t change their game plan and that the focus is still more on affecting the quarterback, not necessarily registering a high sack total.
We don’t talk much about sacks as we do about affecting the quarterback. Obviously sacks are great, we love them, but we want to affect the quarterback. That’s our emphasis, whether we do it with 3, 4, 5 guys, whatever we got to do in different situations, that’s what we’ll do.”
- James Franklin has changed the attitude around the football program at Vanderbilt and it’s something that Durkin and the coaching staff have noticed when playing them since Franklin has taken over.
On starting slow
- Florida has given up 62 points in the first quarter alone this season.
I don’t think there’s any one thing, it’s probably a little different every game. I think teams always do some things a little differently, especially early in the game, they can script their plays, and they can practice them and get ready for it. And we’ve definitely given up more early in games than we have in late.”
- Durkin still tries to take a look at the positive in the situation but knows that the team can’t start a game like they did against Georgia.
I think the positive of that is our guys have responded well to making adjustments. I think we’ve made good adjustments in games. We can’t start the game like we did against Georgia. That’s our job, to better prepare our guys for that and maybe be in some simpler looks early on so we can get right, get our eyes right and not give up plays.”
Penalties becoming an issue
- The Gators are now ranked last in the SEC and 105th in the country in terms of penalties committed. Only 13 teams in the entire country have been penalized more than the Gators have this season. Durkin and the staff continue to insist that Florida’s aggressive style of play will lead to some penalties that they can deal with.
There’s aggressive penalties and then there is not smart penalties. Dumb penalties. We’ve got to eliminate those ones. The aggressive ones we’re always going to have. We’re going to play an aggressive style here at all times. That’s going to happen in the game. The ones that are avoidable, that are senseless, we need to continue to alleviate and get rid of.”