It was a disappointing loss at LSU in the Death Valley Saturday. I still get butterflies and tense when I watch the Gators in close games. Sometimes I can’t stand to watch. Maybe I’ll go outside for a minute or switch channels for a second, but I keep coming back.
LSU dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball for most of the game and it didn’t help that we gave them four first downs in the first half due to penalties. Our defense still played well enough for us to win, giving up only 17 points, but they didn’t get a lot of help from the offense.
Einstein’s definition of insanity was, “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It appears that is exactly what we are doing. First down run the counter play weak or the power play strong. Second down another run or perhaps a five-yard pass. I think the Gators lead the nation in third and twos.
There are play action passes off the counter play strong and weak that are very effective. I wish we would incorporate them.
Our pass protection was awful and that’s putting it mildly. Tyler Murphy rarely had time to throw. Given protection I would certainly like to see more deep balls whether they be 9-routes (streaks/go’s) or posts; also pick passes where we can rub off someone underneath and free them up against man coverages.
Where have all the wide receivers gone (other than Solomon Patton). I’m not asking for Carlos Alvarez or Wes Chandler or Chris Collingsworth. Just give me some more Ike Hilliard.
And where is the next Emmit Smith when we need him? It looked like there were some holes that were missed by a lack of patience on the part of our backs.
Our punter, Kyle Christy, threw a nice pass on fourth down, but he continues to struggle kicking the ball for some odd reason. He had a couple of nice kicks, but they were from the 50 and he boomed them into the end zone. Maybe he misses his Muse, Caleb Sturgis. We’re not getting much out of our kickoff and punt returns and that means we continually start with a long field.
All this and yet we still had a chance at the end. I said last week that Tyler needs work on the 15-20 yard crosses and the corner routes. He missed Quinton Dunbar again on a cross and overthrew what should have been an easy touchdown in the end zone. Come on … they’re not that hard to throw!
Late in the game, there we were again going in reverse when we sniff the goal line. First and goal at the eight, down 14-3 and what do we do? Unbalanced right with an extra O-Linemen in, Power play right for one. Duh! You don’t think the defense doesn’t know that’s coming? Then we went fancy with a form of Fumblerooskie to Patton for one. Third and eight, finally we pass and it’s a sack. Not exactly my choice of play calling and it was virtually the same thing last week against Arkansas from the eight.
The good news is we may have found a placekicker. Frankie Velez was hit both his field goals including one from 44 yards. The second one closed the gap to 14-6.
Holding the Gators to a field goal is the kind of thing inspires an offense. LSU answered with a nice drive for a field goal to go up 17-6.
We still had a chance when we drove the ball down the field again but the penalty bug bit again. After two DJ Humphries false starts, he blew an assignment, didn’t block the defensive end and Murphy got sacked for a nine-yard loss, ending any chance the Gators might have had.
So, it’s another loss that takes us to 4-2 halfway through the season. Let’s consider where we are: two losses to ranked opponents, 4-0 vs. teams that really aren’t very good. We get a chance to redeem ourselves this week with 14th-ranked Missouri, which is 6-0. I don’t think they will be any less tough without James Franklin. Matt Mauck is supposed to be the next bit thing up there anyway and he’ll have his chance to show why taking over for Franklin
I’m not sold on Missouri, though, and if we cut down on penalties and get some more offense we have a chance. Then it’s on to Jacksonville to play Georgia. By then Todd Gurley should be back and healthy so that game won’t be easy. We follow that with Vandy and then finish the SEC schedule with South Carolina, which got everybody’s attention with that 52-7 win over Arkansas. We close with Georgia Southern and Florida State.
Let’s get real here. We could be staring down a 6-6 finish and another trip to the Gator Bowl unless there is some sort of metamorphosis.
When I look at recruiting it’s the same old thing: linemen, linebackers, cornerbacks and only a few skill position players. I keep hoping for a repeat of what we did in 1993 when we signed six wide receivers to go with Fred Taylor. We got playmakers and ended up playing for the national title in 1995 and won it in 1996 with those guys making one big play after another.
We need playmakers. This is the University of Florida and we recruit Florida. With the talent here we should always be in or very near the top five. I’m concerned.