I don’t know about you, but this bye week was refreshing. It was a good weekend to get on the golf course, catch-up with some friends, knockout some chores, and more importantly, separate from the Florida Gators for a week – not because I am tired of the Gators or do not enjoy them anymore, but because watching them has been more and more difficult with each passing week.
Nick de la Torre and I were talking the other day about the state of the Gators program and it is not just that the Gators are bad at offense, but that the team looks apathetic and that the fans are just as, if not even more, apathetic. Sure, fans hate losing, especially hard fought battles, but now fans not only hate that the Gators are losing, but that despise the way they are losing and that hate is no longer just a hate, but a continuous state of apathy, helplessness, and disinterest.
That apathy, however, does not have to last, there is a way to solve it – competency – competency by the coaching staff and offensive personnel. If the Gators show competency and a desire to win football games, the second half of the season could be a lot more enjoyable, even if they only go 3-2.
Competency may not be what saves Will Muschamp’s job, however, but until a final decision has been made the conversation is moot and I will not opine on whom I think are potential candidates for the job.
Here are some thoughts on the week.
Bye Week Thoughts
- Good time for the bye week – if for nothing else, it gave Treon Harris two weeks to prepare. Georgia has the 16th best defense in the country with the 13th best rush defense, so if the Gators are going to win they are going to need Treon to play well. Harris has a good skillset, but he needs to build confidence. Hopefully, two weeks with the starters helped Treon build some of that confidence.
- On that note, the Gators coaching staff should probably play a few of the players that Treon built confidence with playing with the “number two’s”. Players like Andre Debose, Ahmad Fulwood, and CJ Worton should get more playing time than normal. Surround Harris with players he is comfortable with and also realize that the starters at those respective roles, sans Demarcus Robinson, aren’t much better than others behind them.
- Florida must stack the box against Georgia. Georgia has yet to throw more than 202 yards in a game, while the fewest rushing yards they have this season is 207, with a season high of 367 against Troy. Stack the box and force quarterback Hutson Mason to beat you through the air against Florida’s strong pass defense.
- Florida must win the turnover battle. Georgia is ranked 1st in the country in turnover margin, a spot the Gators held for four weeks, but have since plummeted to 59th in the country. Controlling the football and forcing turnovers are the key factor to winning the game.
- Even if Todd Gurley doesn’t play, containing Sony Michel and Nick Chubb will be a tough battle. Chubb averages 5.7 yards per carry on 99 carries this season, while Michel is averaging 9.7 on 23 carries. You control the run by stacking the box and disguising blitz packages. Neiron Ball and Dante Fowler will be targeted for additional blockers, so Alex McCallister, Jonathan Bullard, and Bryan Cox, Jr. will be asked to step up big time in pass rush, while they also need to have Antonio Morrison and Michael Taylor play strong in the middle.
- Expect third down woes to continue. The Gators are 111th in the country on third down conversions and Georgia is 14th in the country in stopping them. The Gators are only converting 29% of their third down conversions versus the SEC and that must improve.
- If UF players feel so strongly about Will Muschamp – play like it and make sure your teammates do too.
- If Florida is going to play Jeff Driskel it better only be because 1. They are utilizing a true two-quarterback system with designed plays for Driskel. Or, 2. Treon Harris is injured. Under no circumstances should Harris be benched for Driskel. Driskel has made his mistakes, now it is Harris’ turn to play and make mistakes without fear that his job is on the line.
- The Gators biggest improvement this season for the Gators is their ability to score in the redzone (95.45% over 69.77% last season), but they need more touchdowns because right now they are only scoring touchdowns 59% of the time, which is 79th in the country.
- Florida needs to continue to limit penalties. To beat Georgia, Florida will need to play a nearly flawless game and that includes continuing to minimalize penalties. They have dropped from 121st in the country after week 3, to 69th, which is a pretty big improvement, but they still must focus on limiting penalties and giving up free yards.
- Give Brandon Powell first quarter carries. He is the running back Harris is probably most comfortable handing off to and he deserves the playing time.
- Create packages and utilize Hunter Joyer. It has been very disappointing to see his lack of playing time this season. He is a physical blocker and can run the ball.
- Will Muschamp keeps his job by going 4-1.
Dan’s Heisman Rankings
- Dak Prescott
- Marcus Mariotta
- Amari Cooper
- Melvin Gordon
Must Read Articles of the Week
- Bryan Schatz | Anywhere But Here
- Rukmini Callimachi | The Horror Before the Beheadings
- Andy Hutchins | Florida vs. Georgia: An absence of belief
- Penny Bailey | The man with the golden blood
- Kelli Stapleton | By Noon They’d Both Be In Heaven
Song of the Week
I am not a huge Kenny Chesney fan, but I do like a good bit of his music. He has a new album that just came out and it has a good number of solid songs. This is my favorite.