It was another rough loss for the Florida Gators – one that we are used to seeing under Will Muschamp. A close game that had some major fundamental errors that ultimately piled up and cost the Gators a win, and again against a rival. Over the last four years against rivals Tennessee, Miami, LSU, Florida State and Georgia, Will Muschamp is 6-9, and if you take out Tennessee, he is 2-9 – unacceptable.
After watching the game on Sunday (not on Saturday because I was at a Garth Brooks concert), I tried watching the game with a keen eye after reading Twitter after the game. I tried to look for more than just your usual surface level details that one would normally look at during a game because I already knew the outcome.
Hopefully, some of these thoughts below will allow you to think and either agree or debate.
- I am not seeing the same Kurt Roper offense that I did at Duke. Now that can because of a few things: 1) Kurt Roper is being handcuffed. 2) The Duke offense is truly David Cutcliffe’s offense and Roper was just the delivery medium of said offense. 3) Duke had better playmakers than Florida and could run the offense better. I believe that it could be a combination of all three. Roper’s offense at Duke was exceptionally more up-tempo than at Florida, and it still is. Right now Duke runs 76.5 plays to Florida’s 73.4 plays per game, but if you take out Florida’s overtime plays against Kentucky, Florida is only running 70.8 per game only about four more plays than last season.
- Further, the play-calling has been predictable and doesn’t seem to use the best of Florida’s limited playmakers. Florida needs more short routes, crossing routes, wheel routes and plays that rely on players not named Jeff Driskel to make plays. I am seeing the same five packages and the same 15 plays with slight variations. With Florida being very limited at the quarterback position — even with Treon Harris — you need to get the ball out of their hands quickly and allow more proven players to move the ball. Driskel had a 56% completion percentage, which is right about average for his season at 55%. Get the ball out of his hands, and into someone else’s.
- The play-calling at the goal line was bad in the fourth quarter with the Gators down 27-24. First, give the ball to a bigger power running back like Kelvin Taylor, Hunter Joyer, Mark Herndon or Adam Lane, not Brandon Powell. I really like Brandon Powell, but he is not a goal line back and does not have the power to fight like the Gators needed. Everybody knew the Gators would run the ball, why not try with your best physical backs? And why were there two runs up the middle? Be more creative if the box is going to be stacked with eight players.
- One entire practice should be spent on situational third down practice. The Gators are ranked 119th in the country on third down conversions, including a conversion percentage of only 25.81% against SEC teams, and were 2-of-12 against LSU. Florida is atrocious on third down and will continue to not win games unless they improve.
- Also, Will Muschamp is very big on time of possession and that is something that Florida is not doing well with this season. After starting the season controlling the ball for most of the game, the Gators have dropped from first in time of possession after the Kentucky game to 85th in the country – a drop of nearly 15 minutes per game. Sure the competition is tougher, but that kind of drop is debilitating, frustrating, and cuts to the core of what Will Muschamp wants his football team to be – a clock eating offense with a dominating defense. When time of possession drops, big plays against the defense rise – as you can tell this season.
- The call against Florida was correct at the end of the game to reset the clock. Florida very much delayed getting off the ball carrier and the official timeout was the right call. Sorry if you disagree, but it is pretty clear from a neutral stand point.
- I am proud of Andre Debose. He needs to get the ball more often on offense. He is never going to be a great run blocker, so Will Muschamp won’t play him, but he deserves the ball on offense, if only because of how well he does on special teams to keep Florida in the game.
- Why did Tevin Westbrook turn on the catch as if he was going to run up field if he made the catch? Inexperience is the only thing I can think of. Man, the Gators could have used Jake McGee there, or just about anyone other than a converted defense end.
- What happened to the run defense that stopped Jalen Hurd last weekend?
- Florida is doing well in the redzone, 19-of-20 good for 7th in the country, but they need to score much touchdowns, as they are only scoring touchdowns 57% of the time.
- Mike Summers has improved the offensive line greatly, allowing the Gators to average 4.50 yards per rush (nearly .75 yards more than last season) and are only averaging one sack allowed per game (1.25 less than last year). The team is blocking better, finishing blocks and getting to the second level much more often than last season. Job well done, Mr. Summers, you have noticeably improved the Gators in the one area that needed it the most.
- If one team in the SEC had a more inept offense than Florida it would Missouri (Vanderbilt doesn’t count because they are a mess across the board). Besides Vanderbilt, Missouri is the only team in the SEC to be ranked lower than Florida in scoring offense, rushing offense, passing offense and total offense. Now, don’t get me wrong, Missouri can still make some big plays and Maty Mauk is probably not as bad as he has been this season, Florida still needs to be on the lookout. But for the first time in a while, Florida will be playing a more inept offense than themselves and usually that bodes well for the team with a better defense, which is Florida.
- I cannot imagine a situation where Jeff Driskel starts on Saturday – and if he does, he shouldn’t be. He had the chance against LSU to prove the doubters wrong without a chance of being relieved of his duties from Treon Harris – and while he was not as bad as people made him seem to be – he did not prove that he deserved to be starting over Harris. I tweeted on Saturday night that you don’t start Treon Harris over Jeff Driskel because he is better right now, but because he can be. The future of the Gators football program does not lie in the hands of Jeff Driskel but of Treon Harris. If you are going to struggle on offense, struggle helping to grow your future rather than struggle in your current situation.
- I am looking forward to a battle in the trenches. Currently, Florida is ranked 16th in the country for fewest sacks allowed, whereas Missouri ranks 10th in the country in sacks per game. As I stated above, I think Mike Summers has done an exceptional job with the offensive line this season, but this is the toughest battle they will have faced all season.
- Will a team convert on third down? The Gators rank 119th in the country in 3rd down conversions, while, Missouri ranks 103rd. Since the Kentucky game, the Gators have struggled mightily on third down and this week they face a mediocre 3rd down defense, but still one that is ranked better than their own. Whoever can consistently win third down will win the game – unless neither team wins and the field implodes.
- The Gators must win time of possession on Saturday. The Gators rank 85th in the country while Missouri ranks 118th and has struggled to control the clock all season. Win time of possession, win the game. The Gators need to run the ball, not make as many careless mistakes, and force the Missouri offense into third down situations that limit Mauk’s ability to move the ball.
Gators in National Rankings
Matt Jones – Rushing Yards/Game – 66th
Jeff Driskel – Passing Yards/Game – 91st
Demarcus Robinson – Receiving Yards/Game – 23rd
Andre Debose – Punt Return Yards/Game – 1st
Andre Debose – Kick Return Yards/Game – 57th
Frankie Velez – Place Kicking Percentage – 12th
Frankie Velez – PAT Kicking Percentage – 1st
Kyle Christy – Punt Yard Average – 11th
Frankie Velez – Scoring Per Game –49th
Jeff Driskel – Total Offense – 86th
Demarcus Robinson – Yards from Scrimmage – 78th
Bryan Cox, Jr – Sacks/Game – 66th
Alex McCalister – Sacks/Game – 26th
Keanu Neal – Interceptions/Game – 8th
Vernon Hargreaves – Passes Defended/Game – 17th
Keanu Neal – Passes Defended/Game – 60th
Brian Poole – Passes Defended/Game – 9th
Marcus Maye – Fumbles Forced/Game – 86th
Austin Hardin – Kickoff Average – 19th
Dan’s Heisman Trophy Locks of the Week
- Dak Prescott
- Marcus Mariota
- Amari Coooper
- Ameer Abdullah
Must Read Articles of the Week
- Lauren Hilgers | The Kitchen Network
- Buzz Bissinger | The Plane That Fell From The Sky
- Ace Atkins & Michael Fechter | The Spy Who Scammed Us?
Song of the Week
I have began to really try to explore some more under the radar music from some popular artists and I stumbled upon some really great stuff from Kip Moore, who is popular for his raspy voice that his a mix of Bruce Springsteen and Kris Kristofferson. I stumbled upon this goodie last week, I think everyone, even those who don’t like country music, will like this one.