It is often said that a team learns more from wins than it does from losses. So here are five takeaways from Florida’s 17-6 loss last weekend against the LSU Tigers.
No. 1: Communication is key, especially along the offensive line.
Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy was sacked four times on Saturday. Two of those had a common theme.
On the first sack, nobody recognizes that safety Micah Eugene is up in the box to blitz.
Until it’s too late.
On the second, Florida left tackle D.J. Humphries doesn’t block LSU defensive end Jalen Mills.
And Mills gets to Murphy untouched.
The link between these plays is the miscommunication between offensive linemen and the inability to pickup blitzes. Both sacks happened on plays that ended drives. The first one was the third down play of a three-and-out series and the second was the fourth down play that proved to be Florida’s last offensive play of the game.
“Just miscommunication,” Humphries said. “We just weren’t on the same page. Looking at the film the next day, it was simple stuff we could have picked up and communicated and been on the same page.”
As Florida gears up for the Missouri Tigers, they’ll face a team that has a very talented defensive front, and Florida left guard Max Garcia knows it.
“They have some pretty good D-ends, probably the best we’ve seen this year,” Garcia said. “So we’re going to have to do a great job against those guys. They’re going to give us a different look than we’ve seen on defense all year. So it’s all going to come down to preparation and execution.”
No.2: freshman running back Kelvin Taylor, the spark Florida’s running game needed.
It was widely assumed the Taylor would be a game changer when he got more playing time, but the freshman hadn’t seen a significant workload all season. When Matt Jones left the game with what ended up being a season-ending knee injury, Taylor’s role changed immediately. There may be have been issues with Taylor’s blocking in fall camp, but as far as running is concerned Taylor’s 5.2 yards per carry was the second most for any Florida running back in any game this season with at least 10 carries. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease took notice.
“Kelvin did really well,” Pease said “I mean, he ran the ball hard. He made some good vertical cuts and did a good job in space and ran tough. He did well, even in protections. He did his job. So, I think it’s good experience for him. I think he showed us something. And, you know, he really actually gave us a little spark in running the ball there for a while.”
Moving forward, Taylor is now second on the depth chart behind Mack Brown. If he continues to improve he might become the feature back, Pease has said on multiple occasion Florida will ride the hot hand at running back.
No. 3: Uncertainty still reigns supreme about Florida’s kicking situation.
Florida’s automatic weapon at punter last year (Kyle Christy) has been anything but this season and that’s landed him on the bench in lieu of freshman Johnny Townsend. Will Muschamp cited two kicks that should have been downed inside the ten that instead were touchbacks as the final straw for the switch.
Florida’s situation at kicker isn’t anymore certain. Although walk on kicker Frankie Valez made two field goals of 44 and 37 yards respectively in the loss to LSU, but if he’s Florida’s kicker for the long haul, how will he perform in high pressure situations, or after we have more than just this small sample of kicks?
No. 4: Tiger Stadiums intimidating atmosphere was anything but Saturday.
While I had a ton of fun outside Tiger Stadium, inside was a bit of a different story. Though the announced attendance was 92,980 for a stadium that holds 92,542, the place was maybe 90% full at best on Saturday. Fans not showing up to games is a nationwide epidemic these days in college football thanks to the increasing gap between the at-home experience and the in-stadium experience, and LSU isn’t immune. Even though Florida-LSU is a marquee SEC matchup every year, many Tiger fans opted to stay home and beat the heat on this October Saturday.
No.5: The Duck Dynasty link remains.
Offensive coordinator Brent Pease’s love of nature and the A&E TV show Duck Dynasty have been fun aspects of this season’s narrative that add a human element to the football coach that many may only see on game telecasts sitting up in the box calling plays. Pease had some fun with the whole thing before leaving for Louisiana on Friday.
Getting ready to board the plane to Baton Rouge. Missed Duck Dynasty this week…can someone fill me in on what happened?
— Brent Pease (@CoachPease) October 11, 2013
Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson was at the game on the sidelines on Saturday, and it seems Pease isn’t the only Florida coach with a Duck Dynasty connection. Pease said head coach Will Muschamp went over to talk to Robertson before the game, and said that Muschamp and Robertson know each other after playing in a golf tournament together.
Images taken from Libgator video.