After eight games the Florida offense is sputtering, currently ranking 111th in the country and dead last in the SEC in total offense. Florida is on pace to finish with an offense ranked on the wrong side of the top-100 for the third consecutive season. It’s a problem that should never happen to one of the premier universities in a talent rich state like Florida.
While there were spurts of promise from the offense against Georgia, Florida’s 20 points scored against the Bulldogs was the lowest total of any team that Georgia has faced and that’s a list that includes North Texas.
With more questions than answers on the offensive side of the ball, Brent Pease sat down with the media on Tuesday afternoon and talked a little bit about some positive takeaways from the Georgia game, the wildcat struggles, finding the right offensive line combination and previewed the homecoming game this Saturday against Vanderbilt.
- Even in a loss there were some positives that the Pease took away from the Georgia game.
I think we really had some good flow going at times, and with some of our empty sets, we hit some good runs and Kelvin did a good job in the run game. And the kids, when they got their energy level up, we found something that we could go to. But that’s how we’ve got to play all the time. We can’t expect to kind of have something that forces us into that situation. We’ve got to find that from play one all the way through.”
Finding consistency on the offensive line
- Trenton Brown earned his first start last week against Georgia and the 6’8″, 360-pound offensive lineman played well — minus a poorly timed call from the official where Brown was penalized for lining up in the backfield and a holding penalty.
I think he did a good job in the game. There’s still some things you look at on film and say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to improve here, you’ve got to improve there.’ He had one holding call. But I think the kid went out and competed and was good on his assignments. There are a couple things we’ve got to clean up. I think he’s good now that he’s had some of those been-in-a-game situations. I think he’ll get better.”
- Hunter Joyer caught his first pass of the season last week. Pease said that Joyer doesn’t do a lot of things that show up in the box score but that he is a valuable piece in both pass protection and as a run blocker and helps the offensive line in protections.
He’s done a good job blocking. It’s kind of a role where you get a lot of ‘thank you’s’ from your teammates when they see what you do.”
Halftime adjustments and simplifying the offense
- There was a lot of chatter about simplifying the offense during the bye week. Pease explained that they removed some schemes and the amount of plays that the team normally goes into a game with.
Really what it is, we kind of reduced the amount of run plays, pass plays we have. You can build in different ways from different formations and looks and just try to get the easiest looks for the guys up front. That’s what it is.”
- Pease and the offense were able to make adjustments in the locker room after finding some things that they thought were working and that they could take advantage of in the second half.
- While making halftime adjustments are good, the staff knows that they need to put together a full game and not rely on having to adjust at halftime.
We’ve got to get to where we do that in the first. We had a good drive and we hit the big pass play and we don’t get anything converted out of that. It’s about really still when you look back at ourselves, how do we finish better, how do we capitalize on making plays when we’re down there.”
- For the first time this season, Pease admitted that the wildcat package with Trey Burton hasn’t been as successful as it was last season. Pease spoke specifically about the wildcat call to Burton on first down after the team was driving the ball successfully.
I look at the play and, I mean, we knew we had it in and a lot of the things we’ve done with Trey have been more inside with him carrying it. This gave us an option, what we wanted to do with him hitting it and also getting the ball to Solo. As I look back on it, yeah, I second-guess myself on that play. One thing we do is we go through and say, ‘OK, what plays are good?’ And that’s something we haven’t hit. I think with him it takes some adjustment by a defense to play to him and we hope that’s what they do defensively. If we just designed the run for him, you’re right, those probably haven’t been that great this year. I know they were more effective last year. But that’s why the play was designed more for him to have an option, it’s either him or getting the ball to Solo [Solomon Patton].”
- Vanderbilt returned most of their defense from a year ago and that allows the Commodores to play fast on that side of the ball.
- When you look at the defensive lines that Florida has really struggled with this season (LSU, Missouri) they are lines that like to show multiple, odd fronts. They don’t often attack straight on like Arkansas or Georgia did against Florida. Vanderbilt will show Florida those multiple odd fronts that have given the offensive line trouble in the past.
The thing that they do in their overall scheme is they like to zone pressure you. They got, they’re always coming from angles and they like to really move their front. They’re not going to be straight rushers, which what Georgia was. So, it kinda puts those guys on edges and changes the angles of how you’re blocking and how you’re protecting, so they cause a lot of confusion.”
- Last season Jeff Driskel broke Tim Tebow’s school record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game. Vanderbilt made a conscious effort to shut down Mike Gillislee and the option opened up for Jeff. With uncertainty behind Murphy at quarterback, that might not be a viable option for the offense this season.
You know, you look at it and you say that’s what was good for us. In the same sense, I mean you gotta be careful and protect him [Tyler Murphy] a little bit. So, you know, it’s something we gotta and we’ll just kinda consider in the plan. He did a good job with it last week. So, and you know, you don’t want him, ’cause, the one thing that’s vulnerable when he’s doing that, he’s taking a lot of hits.”