Correct me if I’m wrong but the Gators seem to make the critical error at the precise moment in the game. That has become a disturbing trend under the Will Muschamp regime and it can become enough of a psychological problem that you need the football equivalent of an exorcist to break it. Now that the Gators have lost their last three games and the last three seasons to Georgia, you have to wonder where they are psychologically? Can they stand up to the test the rest of the year?
Saturday’s 23-20 loss to Georgia revealed once again that the Gators are a very undisciplined team. After Georgia scored we answer with that long Tyler Murphy to Quinton Dunbar pass for 83 yards to the Georgia 10. We’re third and goal at the 10 when we call an option out of the shotgun, which goes for no gain but there is a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty tacked on which turns an easy field goal into a 40-yarder that we missed. How many times this year have we been on the +10 and come away with no points or just three. And where did that shotgun option play come from? It’s not working.
A mistake like that can become a thing where the team says to itself “here we go again” and that can lead to another critical error that will cause us to lose. I have been on some teams like that and it is sheer misery.
Give credit to the coaches and players for adjusting at halftime to make a game of it. There were some great plays made by some great Gators. However when it came down to the nitty gritty there is Neiron Ball taking off his helmet for a 15-yard penalty that means we’ll have to get two or three first downs instead of one just to get into position for a field goal that can tie the game. And then there was another option play out of the shotgun on a critical third down that came up short. I think we called it three times in crucial situations, all for no or little gain.
Of course, in another crucial situation with third and five late in the fourth quarter we had a false start and an illegal formation that took us all the way back to third and 15. Our timing was brutal.
We did hit a long ball early (hallelujah) but we didn’t try again. We kept trying to throw fades on first down to no avail out of play action, when I was hoping to see 15-yard in routes over the middle. The lone in route we called went for a crucial conversion.
Some positives: What a great play by Leon Orr to scoop up the fumble on that lateral to get us back in the game. Loucheiz Puirfoy came up with another big play on the sack for a safety. Mack Brown made a terrific touchdown run and Murphy made two great runs to get the game close, hurdling over the last defender for a TD! Kelvin Taylor is a good player but doesn’t seem to have the great speed his dad Fred had. That was also an outstanding two-point conversion throw to Clay Burton that got us within three. Tyler made a very good read on that play. I’m not sure Clay was the first choice.
I know I sound negative but it is what it is. I love the Gators as much as anyone and want us to be the best. Sometimes I wonder if the coaches and administration realize how much we care. Am I supposed to be happy that we only lost 23-20? I’m probably not making myself very popular in Gainesville but it is frustrating that for the last three years our offense hasn’t cracked the top 100 in the nation. How can that be?
Maybe we can beat Vanderbilt and Georgia Southern so that our players will be able to go to a bowl game and we’ll get the equivalent of a second spring practice.
We can only hope. I’m tired of venting.
John Reaves QB7