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  • Treon Harris, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, Florida

    Treon Harris should get the starting job for the rest of the 2014 season. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie.

Florida Gators Football:
5 things moving forward

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Written by Nick de la Torre, October 22, 2014, 3 Comments,
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The Florida Gators football team is wandering aimlessly through the 2014 season. After back-to-back losses Will Muschamp’s group is all but eliminated from the SEC East race. Sure, if the stars and planets aligned, Florida won out and got a tremendous amount of help from just about every team in the SEC, there is a slim — mathematical — chance the Gators could win the east but not with the team that showed up and was blown out 42-13 on homecoming.

So where do the Gators go from here? How do you suit up the next five games, what do you need to do, what is there to accomplish?

Here are five things that the Gators need to do in order to finish the season out strong.

 

1) Find three wins and make it to a bowl game

The rest of the schedule reads Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Eastern Kentucky and Florida State.

Given the state of the team, the way they have performed the past two weeks and, of course, the Georgia Southern factor, none of these games can be penned into the win column.

We’ll use pencil to give the Gators a win over the worst team not named Florida in the SEC — Vanderbilt — and another against Eastern Kentucky. The Gators have to find one win against Georgia, South Carolina or Florida State.

Wins in any of those games seem a long shot but Florida needs those bowl practices that they missed out on last season.

Sure, you may not want to see the Gators playing in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl but missing out on a bowl game two seasons in a row is unacceptable and the Gators need to get valuable practice in the weeks leading up to a bowl game to help their younger player develop and get ready for next season.

Speaking of next season…

 

2) Build for the future

This season is a wash. It’s time to open things up, give players who have played little this season some more reps to see what you have moving forward. Chris Thompson’s speed was something that as talked about in the spring. Why can’t we see the field when the rest of the receivers are dropping balls at an alarming rate?

The Gators need to get the freshmen that they have recruited, the sophomore and players who will be returning to the tea next season playing time this year.

We hear all the time that the best 11 will play on both side of the ball. Well, you’re “best 11” on both sides of the ball aren’t cutting it. Try something different.

 

3) Treon Harris needs to start

Credit Jeff Driskel. He’s handled a lot of adversity the past two years beginning with a season ending injury and then being called out by fans and the media this season. Driskel has handled everything with class of the field.

With that being said, watching Muschamp and Roper continue to throw Jeff back into the game against Missouri after his confidence was shot and the game was all but over wasn’t fair.

Driskel — a redshirt junior — is not the future of this team. He is not going to turn the Gators around this season or next. Thank Jeff for being a great Gator off the field. He’s a guy who’s never had any issues away from football. He just doesn’t have what it takes to get the job done on the field.

I’m not saying Treon Harris is the savior that will return Florida back to national prominence. I simply continue to contend that you know what you’re going to get from Driskel, it isn’t good enough, so you need to see what else you have behind him.

You’re not going to find out what Harris can do when you stick him into a game, down 14-0 and backed up on the 10-yard line.

Let Treon start. Let him know that this is now his offense and his team. He doesn’t need to be looking over his shoulder the rest of the season.

 

4) Find something to play for.

The coaching staff was dangling the “we have all our goals in front of us carrot” in front of the team before Missouri came and ate that carrot.

This team needs something to play for. They have a lame duck head coach waiting to be fired, they won’t play in Atlanta and even becoming bowl eligible seems like a long shot.

Play for the name on the back of your jersey, play for the name on the side of your helmet, play because you love your coach or just for pride. Whatever the reason, the team needs to find something to play for or they’re doomed to go on another seven game losing streak to end the season.

 

5) Open things up offensively

Florida scoring 65 points against Eastern Michigan seems like it happened in another dimension. How in the world did this Gators offense score 65 points? Given that Eastern Michigan has the 121st ranked defense in the country it kind of makes sense, but given that the Gators have only scored 107 points over their next five games (21.4 points-per-game) it is still baffling to think about.

I believe that part of the reason that Florida’s offense has been so poor is scheme. The coaching staff lacks confidence in the offense’s ability to move the ball and score points. They know that the defense (which is ranked 12th in the country in total defense) can keep Florida in games if the offense doesn’t turn the ball over and give up bad field position, so the offense is being run to protect the defense.

They still can’t manage that.

You can’t play football like that. Open up the offense, throw in some trick plays, change things up and get creative.

Right now the Gators are playing not to lose and doing a terrible job of it.

Take some risks. Take some shots. Put a product on the field that is, at the very least, entertaining to watch.

You’re not winning games by playing conservatively. You’re not even running the up-tempo style of offense that everyone expected Kurt Roper to bring to Gainesville.

Change it up.

What’s the worst thing that can happen? You’ll lose a football game? You’re already doing that anyway.

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. snowprintOctober 22, 2014, 6:17 am

    How can you “open” up the offense? It’s already been tried this season and UF has failed miserably. There is no solution. It’s not the scheme, it’s the lack of talented players, plain and simple.. Is there even one player on offense that is anything more than an average player at best? The receivers are horrible. Even Robinson seems to drop as many as he catches and the rest of them are completely forgettable. The quarterbacks have been bad. Who knows if Harris can play? Leading UF to two scores after the game was over doesn’t mean much. Let’s get real, when you’re down 42-0, that’s is the definition of garbage time. The running backs are not bad, but they’re not great either, they’re pretty average. The offensive line is offensive. They can’t open holes for the running game and can’t protect the quarterback in the passing game. D.J. Humphries is a colossal bust. Why does he keep starting?
    Dirty Harry said; “A man;s got to know his limitations.” There is no scheme, trick plays, or opening up the offense that is a solution. The best thing to do is to do what both LSU and Missouri did, be very conservative and hope the other team will self destruct. Florida is not suddenly going to find magic in a bottle. Like Muschamp says, it is what it is, and Florida doesn’t have good players. We keep hearing about Florida being great on defense, but since 2012, they never stop anyone. not named Kentucky or Tennessee, when it’s needed. The defense is the only hope for UF, they have to actually become a great defense and find ways to score and keep the other team from scoring. To think the offense is going to do anything is a pipe dream.

  2. lurkingator1October 22, 2014, 7:23 am

    For the first time ever I agree with the snow man

  3. UFLawOctober 22, 2014, 11:02 am

    I really feel this is not talent on the field so much as coaching up that talent. We have had top 10 rated class for the past 4 years. There is no excuse these kids are not performing at the same level as other SEC Teams.

    I put this on the coaching staff.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/florida-gators-florida-football-missouri-tigers-homecoming-october-18-2014-the-swamp-super-gallery-florida-gators-quarterback-treon-harris-avoids-diving-tackle-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FeatureFootball ,,,,,,
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The Florida Gators football team is wandering aimlessly through the 2014 season. After back-to-back losses Will Muschamp’s group is all but eliminated from the SEC East race. Sure, if the stars and planets aligned, Florida won out and got a tremendous amount of help from just about every team in the SEC, there is a slim — mathematical — chance the Gators could win the east but not with the team that showed up and was blown out 42-13 on homecoming.

So where do the Gators go from here? How do you suit up the next five games, what do you need to do, what is there to accomplish?

Here are five things that the Gators need to do in order to finish the season out strong.

 

1) Find three wins and make it to a bowl game

The rest of the schedule reads Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Eastern Kentucky and Florida State.

Given the state of the team, the way they have performed the past two weeks and, of course, the Georgia Southern factor, none of these games can be penned into the win column.

We’ll use pencil to give the Gators a win over the worst team not named Florida in the SEC — Vanderbilt — and another against Eastern Kentucky. The Gators have to find one win against Georgia, South Carolina or Florida State.

Wins in any of those games seem a long shot but Florida needs those bowl practices that they missed out on last season.

Sure, you may not want to see the Gators playing in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl but missing out on a bowl game two seasons in a row is unacceptable and the Gators need to get valuable practice in the weeks leading up to a bowl game to help their younger player develop and get ready for next season.

Speaking of next season…

 

2) Build for the future

This season is a wash. It’s time to open things up, give players who have played little this season some more reps to see what you have moving forward. Chris Thompson’s speed was something that as talked about in the spring. Why can’t we see the field when the rest of the receivers are dropping balls at an alarming rate?

The Gators need to get the freshmen that they have recruited, the sophomore and players who will be returning to the tea next season playing time this year.

We hear all the time that the best 11 will play on both side of the ball. Well, you’re “best 11” on both sides of the ball aren’t cutting it. Try something different.

 

3) Treon Harris needs to start

Credit Jeff Driskel. He’s handled a lot of adversity the past two years beginning with a season ending injury and then being called out by fans and the media this season. Driskel has handled everything with class of the field.

With that being said, watching Muschamp and Roper continue to throw Jeff back into the game against Missouri after his confidence was shot and the game was all but over wasn’t fair.

Driskel — a redshirt junior — is not the future of this team. He is not going to turn the Gators around this season or next. Thank Jeff for being a great Gator off the field. He’s a guy who’s never had any issues away from football. He just doesn’t have what it takes to get the job done on the field.

I’m not saying Treon Harris is the savior that will return Florida back to national prominence. I simply continue to contend that you know what you’re going to get from Driskel, it isn’t good enough, so you need to see what else you have behind him.

You’re not going to find out what Harris can do when you stick him into a game, down 14-0 and backed up on the 10-yard line.

Let Treon start. Let him know that this is now his offense and his team. He doesn’t need to be looking over his shoulder the rest of the season.

 

4) Find something to play for.

The coaching staff was dangling the “we have all our goals in front of us carrot” in front of the team before Missouri came and ate that carrot.

This team needs something to play for. They have a lame duck head coach waiting to be fired, they won’t play in Atlanta and even becoming bowl eligible seems like a long shot.

Play for the name on the back of your jersey, play for the name on the side of your helmet, play because you love your coach or just for pride. Whatever the reason, the team needs to find something to play for or they’re doomed to go on another seven game losing streak to end the season.

 

5) Open things up offensively

Florida scoring 65 points against Eastern Michigan seems like it happened in another dimension. How in the world did this Gators offense score 65 points? Given that Eastern Michigan has the 121st ranked defense in the country it kind of makes sense, but given that the Gators have only scored 107 points over their next five games (21.4 points-per-game) it is still baffling to think about.

I believe that part of the reason that Florida’s offense has been so poor is scheme. The coaching staff lacks confidence in the offense’s ability to move the ball and score points. They know that the defense (which is ranked 12th in the country in total defense) can keep Florida in games if the offense doesn’t turn the ball over and give up bad field position, so the offense is being run to protect the defense.

They still can’t manage that.

You can’t play football like that. Open up the offense, throw in some trick plays, change things up and get creative.

Right now the Gators are playing not to lose and doing a terrible job of it.

Take some risks. Take some shots. Put a product on the field that is, at the very least, entertaining to watch.

You’re not winning games by playing conservatively. You’re not even running the up-tempo style of offense that everyone expected Kurt Roper to bring to Gainesville.

Change it up.

What’s the worst thing that can happen? You’ll lose a football game? You’re already doing that anyway.

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