The number of turnovers by the Florida Gators have this season.
It’s five less than the teams’ total amount of touchdowns (21), and is tied for second-highest in the SEC. It has stalled drives, hurt momentum, and been a staple of the offense and something the team didn’t plan on after a sharp performances in training camp.
It’s also hindered the Gators’ search for an identity; one they’re still looking for with six games played thus far.
Florida’s inability to maintain possession was prevalent in their October 18 matchup against Missouri. The Gators turned the ball over a season-high six times, two going for touchdowns. The interceptions and fumbles hindered Florida’s rhythm throughout the game. The team was finally able to move the ball down the field in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns. However, the game was out of hand by then, as the Tigers won 42-13.
The number of turnovers this season has also been a result of Florida’s inconsistent offensive play. In the three wins this season, the Gators have turned the ball over five times, four of those against Tennessee. Florida’s wins against Eastern Michigan and Kentucky not only saw the fewest amount of turnovers this season, but also saw the highest amount of points scored by the team.
With the extra week of practice time, the Gators have worked on cutting down on the lost possessions.
“We have the ball security period every single day that we’ve been doing for two years now, so, we changed up some things we were doing as far as that was concerned, but just continuing taking care of the football,” head coach Will Muschamp said. “You can’t turn it over six times and win. It’s not going to happen.”
While injuries decimated much of the Gators’ starting lineup last year, the team has been much healthier this season and has had some of the best offensive line play in years. However, the 2014 squad already has more turnovers through six games than last year’s squad at the same point in the season (10). Florida is also on pace to have the most turnovers since 2011 (26).
This year’s erratic play has had an effect on the team’s psyche, according to Muschamp.
“For whatever reason we have lost some confidence, whether it’s dropped passes, whether it’s timing, whether it’s forced throws,” Muschamp said. “And we’ve had way too much inconsistency as far as our ball security at the quarterback position, and turnovers.”
Offensive lineman said Max Garcia said Muschamp does give them the right opportunity to win, however, the onus falls on the players to execute when they’re on the field.
“If we come out of the play whether it be positive, negative yards, if we come out with the football then we’re going to be successful,” Garcia said. “But we’ve turned the ball over way too much and that’s something that we definitely have to work on.”
The number of turnovers the Georgia, Florida’s next opponent, has forced this season, tied for third highest in the conference.
Saturday, the Gators will look to avoid adding to that total.