After empty promises of a physical showdown against Arkansas two weeks ago, normalcy returned to the SEC when Florida and LSU slugged one out down on the Bayou. Florida was no match for the Tigers’ physicality on either line of scrimmage and returned home dazed, like a punch-drunk boxer.
Today we’ll take a look at the tape, like we have in the past, but with a new format. We’ll look at Florida’s scoring drives as well as some of the critical errors and the plays of the game.
Lucky for you, and me, we get to dive right into a drive breakdown as the Gators were able to get points on their very first drive of the game.
1st scoring drive: 14 plays – 60 yards – 7:27 – Field Goal
Are you kidding me? That’s a Will Muschamp drive if I’ve ever seen one. If the Gators would have punched this in for six rather than settling for a field goal the referees might have just stopped the game right here and Gator Nation would have been a much happier bunch.
Brent Pease and the offensive coaching staff must have seen that LSU has struggled to set the edge against the run and they attacked it right off the bat with a toss play to Matt Jones. Jones picked up a solid five-yards on first down and the Gators were off and rolling.
The next play was a sign of things to come with the offensive line. Florida lined up with a seven-man front and ran play-action to Matt Jones before Tyler Murphy rolled out. Florida motioned Solomon Patton from out wide to bunched on the left side of the formation between D.J. Humphries and Quinton Dunbar. This allowed LSU to put nine men in the box. Here’s what the formation looked like before the snap.
Tevin Westbrook and Clay Burton are lined up to the outside of Tyler Moore who is playing right tackle. Westbrook releases on the snap and gets up field and into his route. There’s miscommunication between Burton and Moore, which leaves Jemauria Rasco untouched on his way to the quarterback.
Murphy is able to get the pass off to Patton, who picked up a first down, but this miscommunication would become a theme for the offense the rest of the afternoon.
Jones picked up nine yards on the next two carries and Mack Brown toted the rock for a first down on third and short.
With a new set of downs, Murphy dropped back to pass on first down — Florida only passed on seven of 24 first down attempts – but there was a miscommunication between Murphy and Demarcus Robinson on the play.
We see Murphy motions Robinson across the field before the snap.
Quinton Dunbar (blue) runs a deep route and blocks the safety. Florida also uses him to shield Robinson (yellow) and get the freshman open.
Here is where the miscommunication happens. Murphy expects Robinson to sit in space and delivers the ball. Rather than sitting down in his route, Robinson begins to fade outside, something Murphy was not expecting.
Here you can see Murphy already stepping into his throw and getting ready to deliver the ball to where Robinson is in the snapshot.
By the time Robinson breaks the route, Murphy is already getting ready to release the football to where he expected Robinson to be.
The he result of the play should be an interception but linebacker Lamin Barrow lets the ball bounce off of his hands and hit the ground.
The near interception created a second and long that Florida was able to pick up. For as rough a time as the offensive line had, I wanted to spotlight this play where they gave Murphy a phenomenal pocket.
The Gators line Murphy up in an empty backfield. This is an obvious passing formation and LSU only brings four rushers.
The line protects Murphy well but he is late to throw the pass and lets it sail on him slightly. In the graphic below, this is when Murphy should be releasing the pass and throwing Trey Burton open. As a quarterback, you don’t always throw to receivers but you need to throw to space and trust that your receiver will be where he needs to be.
Murphy has a clean pocket but delivers the ball after Burton breaks rather than before the break. His pass also sails a bit high and doesn’t allow Burton to catch the ball in stride and get yards after the catch.
Following a an eight-yard run on first down from Mack Brown, Murphy did his best Johnny Manziel impression on the next play. Murphy had a man open at the beginning of the play but didn’t see him. Quentin Thomas beat Max Garcia and grabbed Murphy by the ankle. Murphy fought through the 6-3, 290-pounder’s grip and shoveled a pass to Brown in what will probably be the most exciting one-yard gain all season.
The drive stalled after some pretty poor blocking from the offensive line and Frankie Velez was called in to kick a field goal.
Drive Grade: B+
From a number of plays run and time of possession standpoint this drive is everything you want it to be. However, it could have been much more with better execution from the offensive line, to Murphy to the receivers and running backs.
2nd Scoring drive: 11 plays – 41 yards – 5:03 – Field Goal
After a 14-play drive to start the game, Florida went three-and-out on back-to-back drives and punted five times before putting together another scoring drive at the end of the third/beginning of the fourth quarter.
The drive started with a draw play to Kelvin Taylor, who was able to pick up five yards even though Clay Burton got beat up on his block and Gideon Ajagbe gets lost trying to find someone to block.
Pease attacked the boundary again on the next play and Taylor made a great read to pick up 10-yards on second down.
Solomon Patton picked up a first down on an end-around on the following play but it was wiped out due to a holding call on Ajagbe.
Taylor gained most of the lost yardage back on the next play behind some phenomenal blocking from Jonotthan Harrison, Max Garcia and D.J. Humphries.
On this play, Harrison (red) does a great job of climbing to the second level and taking out a linebacker. Garcia turns his man around and pushes him out of the play. Humphries uses Jordan Allen’s momentum against him and pushes him up field, which creates a lane for Taylor that even I could run through.
Murphy hit Dunbar on a quick slant to pick up a first down on the next play, which brought the offense into the fourth quarter.
After three running plays and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty brought the Gators into a goal-to-go situation, Pease dialed up a trick play that made most fans groan, but one that should have worked.
Florida lines up with seven offensive linemen and snaps the ball while the line is still standing up, hoping to catch the LSU defense off guard.
Murphy takes the snap and hands it to Patton between his legs before faking an option with Taylor to the right.
Ian Silberman, Humphries and Garcia all pull to the outside to block for Patton. Humphries gets too far up field and can’t catch up with the play, Silberman whiffs on a block and Garcia hesitates, allowing Danielle Hunter to get around him and blow the play up.
Florida has three blockers out in front of Patton and there are just four Tiger defenders who could make a play. If each linemen takes his man, Patton has just one man to beat on his way to the end zone. They don’t and Patton is wrapped up for a two-yard loss.
On third-and-goal, Taylor – who is obviously still learning the playbook – runs into Patton on the play and doesn’t pick up his responsibility in pass protection. Murphy is able to avoid the sack by throwing the ball away but he did have Westbrook open near the goal line.
Drive Grade: B-
Once again the offense is able to put together a solid drive only to have it unravel because of poor execution. Florida settles for three points rather than punching in a touchdown and turning up the heat on the Tigers.
Critical error: D.J. Humphries two false starts on Florida’s final drive of the game.
Florida got the ball back with just two ticks under eight minutes left in the game. Humphries first false start came on a third-and-four and forced a third-and-long. He was bailed out here thanks to Kyle Christy’s completion to Neiron Ball on a trick play.
His second false start moved the Gators back from a third-and-10 to an even longer third-and-15. He compounded the error by giving up a sack on the next play.
Offensive play of the game: Kyle Christy’s 14-yard pass to Neiron Ball on fourth down.
So what if this isn’t technically the offense. Christy gets passing yards and a fantastic completion percentage in the stat sheet and Ball makes his first career catch.
Jokes aside, this trickery allowed the offense to continue pursuing a score that would have made the game a one-possession affair and breathed life into a Gator offense that was on the verge of passing out.