The Florida Gators lost their fifth game in a row to the South Carolina Gamecocks 19-14 last Saturday, seriously hurting their chances of going to a bowl game bleak while increasing the vast amount of noise around the program. But as with any game, it wasn’t all bad; some things worked and other things didn’t.
1. THE GAME PLAN: The Gators came into this game a few cards short of a full deck to be certain, and just before the game many suspicions were confirmed when it was officially announced that quarterback Tyler Murphy wouldn’t play. In stepped redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg, making his first college start. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease clearly wasn’t comfortable with Mornhinweg throwing because Florida ran, a lot. In total, the Gators ran 41 of their 55 plays and with less than seven minutes remaining in the game, Mornhinweg had only thrown the ball five times. The game plan was to pound it on the ground, and within the confines of that plan Florida executed well, gashing the Gamecocks for 169 yards in the first half. The problem was in the second half after South Carolina made an adjustment the Gators were simply unable to counter because of a lack of personnel.
2. THE LEFT SIDE OF THE OFFENSIVE LINE: You don’t shut a guy like Jadaveon Clowney down completely, but Florida left tackle Max Garcia as well as a revolving door of chipping running backs and tight end double teams were able to hold the damage No. 7 could do to a minimum. He had five tackles and two tackles for loss but it could have been much worse for a much maligned Florida offensive line. Clowney was also neutralized a bit by Florida’s game plan. All the running made neutralized Clowney’s pass rushing which is his best asset.
3. KELVIN TAYLOR: The youngster continued to impress in Florida’s run first scheme. At times Taylor took direct snaps, which put the ball in his hands quicker, mitigating the handoff exchange. Taylor had two touchdowns and 96 yards on 21 carries. His 15 yards of receiving yards gave him 111 total gave him a game best 115 all-purpose yards, a nice bit of productivity for the talented freshman.
What didn’t work
1. MOTIVATION TACTICS: From all accounts at halftime, head coach Will Muschamp punched a whiteboard injuring a few fingers on his hand.
— Steve Johnson (@journo2go) November 17, 2013
Muschamp was attempting to drive a point home, and light a fire under his guys, but all the motivation in the world couldn’t save the Gators from, among other things, all the calamitous injury luck that has plagued them this season. They were up against a wall against a ranked opponent and led for most of the game but couldn’t finish the job. There wasn’t any type of motivation that could help Florida get over some of its issues.
2. THE TURNOVER BATTLE: For a team with a struggling or one-dimensional offense, forcing turnovers is of paramount importance. Giving Florida’s offense a short field even once could have been the difference in this game, especially given the second half struggles. It wasn’t meant to be however. The Gators were unable to give their offense any gifts. In four of Florida’s five losses this season, they’ve lost the turnover battle.
3. THE TWO-MINUTE DRILL: Forced into a throwing situation, Skyler Mornhinweg actually moved the ball against a soft South Carolina zone late in the game. After three consecutive completions Mornhinweg got greedy however and rolled to his right, throwing an ill-advised ball when he would have been better served to throw the ball out-of-bounds and live to fight another down. The interception effectively ended all chances of a Florida comeback as the Gamecocks were able to assume possession and run the clock almost to triple zeroes.