On an average day, we have over 4,000 new posts on our famous Swamp Gas forums so it’s easy to miss out on some real nuggets. Now and then we’ll highlight some of them for your enjoyment. This time we’ll focus on the more insightful posts discussing the Gators’ loss to Ole Miss.
(Publisher’s note: Gator Country had 6,107 posts on the day of the Ole Miss game—for one reason or another, our forums are more active after a loss than a win.)
Two things Ole Miss did that I do not recall from prior defenses:
1) Try to rip the ball from Percy
They were consciously trying every time they tackled Percy to get the ball out. I don’t recall that before, maybe because most teams fear him escaping too much to try to do anything but get him down.
We should train the OLs to trail the play and protect him when he is held up by hitting defenders
2) Spying Tebow with a small fast LB
Others have done this occasionally, but they did it every play. That spy stayed on the other side of the LOS and only crossed when he tried to escape other pressure. Also they kept TT inside the pocket, as opposed to UM, which came after him but which also let him escape. The spy also watched him on backside runs
One time a DL got stuck with this duty and TT juked him and made his longest scramble down the right side on the next to last scoring drive.
That takes an LB out of coverage, but we are not exploiting it, other than some of the late options like James almost first down and Percy’s score when we caught their LBs inside.
When teams blitz us, they do not commit great numbers, they just overload one side and drop the other side into short zones to stop our short crosses that are hot routes
I think the “book” on us now is to keep pressing TT to ruin rhythm, overstack inside runs and risk the outside stuff. Keep the safeties deep outside against the deep sideline routes, which we have proven we can hit. Watch Percy and the shallow crossing routes and try to strip him when you get him down.
What is left open. Almost any intermediate route, deeper than 8 yards and under 20. Those seem open and the receivers uncovered, but we don’t execute them well. Post routes and deep crosses – Murphy has dropped some deep crosses with the safeties 10 yards behind a 15 yard cross.
Dare I say it- flanker screens and options and the perimiter in general. Those seem undermanned. If the WRs execute the blocks, they pop, unless a LB really reads it early or we mistime the throw/sweep.
If I were OC, I would really work some half rolls, some timing routes at 15 yards, I might also wam some LB in the middle with WRs on interior runs. I would also ensure perimeter success with at least one reverse a game. Even if loses a couple, it will slow back side pursuit. Also, notwithstanding Hernandez’ fumble, the inside out pursuit on perimeter plays is undisciplined, and some of those forgotten shuttle passes should pop
Initial Perspective After Ole Miss
I refer to this as my initial perspective as I have not had the heart, or should I say stomach to watch the replay, so, some of my thoughts may change when, or if I do.
1. We were clearly the more talented team, however, we deserved to lose. They wanted it more than us and refused to quit. I doubt there was a gator in that stadium that thought we could lose when we were up 17-7 at half time and was receiving to start the second half.
2. From early in the first half, the game had the feel of the Auburn game last year. We were clearly out of sync on offense and seemed to be just going through the motions. For the life of me, I can never understand how you cannot get up for every game in the Swamp, no matter the opponent.
3. We were clearly and thoroughly out coached yesterday. Those of you that read my “perspectives” know that I regularly support the coaches and implore us all to “trust the coaches”. That performance yesterday was pathetic. I know it is not the coach’s fault that the players fumble, drop passes or make the wrong reads. However, it is the coach’s job to put the players in the best position to be successful.
4. You do not have to be a football expert or even stay at a Holiday Inn Express to know that if the defense if vacating the middle to blitz its linebackers on nearly every play as Ole Miss did that the quick slant passes, bubble screens and other hot reads will be wide open. Hen we got behind in the fourth quarter we finally started doing it with great success. Why did we wait?
5. I know that winning is the main objective, however, why play this offense close to the vest and keep the opponent close enough that a couple of mistakes can beat you?
6. The reason we scored so many points last year was that we knew we had to out-score the opponent due the weakness of our defense. Why not continue to play that way on offense even though we know the defense is better? The sloppy tackling and the missed assignments that led directly to the last two scores clearly show that while the defense is vastly improved, it is not capable of carrying this team. Don’t get me wrong, for much of the game they played brilliantly, but they are still young and will not make any of us forget the 2006 defense.
7. It is my belief that Tebow should be allowed more freedom to roll out and play his game. He has been told to stay in the pocket so much and go through his progressions that he appears to hesitate and not “go with the flow”. He has “double-clutched” on a number of occasions and threw his timing off resulting in a poor pass or allowing a defender to get into position to make a play.
8. Opponents are keying on him so the designed QB runs on first and second down are resulting in only 1-2 yards. With all of our playmakers, that is a wasted down in my opinion. The way most every defense will play us now, at least until we start burning them, is to blitz with at least one and usually two blitzers every time we go empty backfield. That was the same tactic Nebraska used on SOS in the Fiesta Bowl in 1995. When teams tried it in 1996, Danny would burn them with quick passes to Ike, Reidel or Quezzie.
9. I was also confused why we did not rum Moody more before he got hurt. He made a couple of nice tough runs and immediately got pulled out for Rainey. For my money, Rainey and/or Demps would be most effective in the second half as “fresh legs” to burn a tired defense. I do not see them as “run up the middle” type of runners. Their speed would be better utilized on the perimeter. Isn’t that what we have been told the basic premise of the Spread is, to create mismatches and attack the perimeter?
10. Speaking of the Spread, Tebow is most effective as a short yard runner when we spread the defense out and make the DBs and LBs defend someone rather than just clog the middle. In that case there is a better chance of Timmy finding a gap of overpowering 1-2 defenders and not having to move the entire pile a yard or two.
11. Despite what the stats say, Timmy did not play anywhere near his capability yesterday. Missing three wide-open receivers deep and throwing numerous low passes was uncharacteristic. Perhaps he is too concerned about throwing interceptions. He needs to play with more of a Brett Favre mentality, like he did last year. I feel sure that while the interceptions will occur, they will be greatly outnumbered by TD passes.
12. What is the problem with our tackling? Their yards after contact yesterday were off the charts. We better fix that problem before we face LSU’s Scott or UGA’s Moreno. With our athletes I feel sure the problem can and will be fixed.
13. Why do we not just kick the blasted KO into the end zone. I know all about the statistics that a successful kick inside the five in the corner will usually result in the return team being stopped inside the 15. However, I can live with the opponent starting at the 20. Nothing deflates a defense faster than allowing the opponent to run it back near midfield after you have just scored. This is not a new problem and contributed to the defeat yesterday.
14. All of the above notwithstanding, we can, and I believe we will, have a special season. Although we no longer control our own fate in the MNC race, the SEC race is another story.
15. The real shame about the loss yesterday is that had we won, coupled with UGA’s loss, we could have lost to LSU and still won the East with a win over UGA. Now, our margin for error is gone, however, we still control our own destiny in the SEC. Win out and we are Champs and probably in the MNC game. It is likely that all of the “big boys” will have one loss, with the possible exception of the Ok – Missouri- Texas winner (That assumes that one of those 3 beats the other 2). Win out and we will get the other berth over all of the other one-loss teams.
16. Assuming we can win out and win the SEC Championship:
A. The losers of the OK – Mo – Texas games will drop below us.
B. LSU, Bama and UGA will as well
C. It is doubtful that Penn State, USF, BYU or Texas Tech will go undefeated. Even so, a one-loss SEC Champion would just them.
D. A one-loss UF team would pass USC and OSU as well.
17. I said a couple of perspectives ago that we would lose one game to a team we should probably beat and probably from the West. However, after the UT win I foolishly said we would run the table. I should have stuck with my first impressions. I hope the rest of that prediction is true.
18. I feel sure this loss will cause the tem to refocus and rededicate them for the next stretch of the season. While our injuries are starting to mount, so is everyone else’s. Tartt and Moody being out will hurt, but not be fatal. Tebow, Harvin, Spikes and Haden going down would be another matter. As long as we can avoid significant injuries to our studs, we should be okay.
19. I thought Carl Johnson looked pretty good when he had to come in for Gilbert. I am anxious to see Wilson get some playing time as well. I expect to see Torrey Davis within the next couple of weeks. He could add much needed depth when we take on Scott and LSU in a couple of weeks. I know there are those that are bemoaning the fact that LSU has the week off and we have to play ARK, I am glad we have a game next week to regain our confidence and swagger before the Tigers invade in two weeks. Barring any injuries, the Game at Ark will provide just what the doctor ordered.
20. There were a number of you that laughed at me last week when I suggested that UGA was overrated. What do you think of the Dawgs now? I believe our most difficult game will be LSU in two weeks.
21. Even in defeat, it is still great to be a Florida Gator.
Thoughts on Ole Miss loss
First give Ole Miss credit, they played hard and smart. If anyone cares to look back at last weeks post, I warned of this. Mel Kiper says their LT will one of the first 3 taken in this years draft. Ole Miss could easily be undefeated.
To me, this was just a great weekend for the University of Mississippi. The debates on Friday night went well and I am happy for them.
I got my first hint we were in trouble the first drive when on 3rd aqnd short we had a confusing shift motion thing that was done for a simple inside hand off. Just put another OL in to block. We used a wishbone in the first game that worked great, lets use it in short yard situations.
He who has the best DT’s wins. Ole Miss’s 2 guys were stout and after they blew up Harvin and forced him to fumble we never attemped an inside run the rest of the game. They took away that dimension. Plus they got good push that didn’t allow Tebow to step into his throws. More importantly they made Tebow feel them and that affected his throws and vision. Let’s be honest, his first td pass deflected to Harvin off the Rebel db who cut in for the pick 6. We were lucky. To me the crucial play of the game was TT holding the ball and getting sacked in the 4th. That killed our go ahead drive and control of the game.
Murphy had a case of the drops that hurt. Argueably our 3 most dependable skill players each had a huge fumble. Harvin, Tebow, and Hernandez. Hard to win when that happens. Hopefully this will end the “ it’s Drayton’s fault” crap.
Stop blaming the coaches, that is ridiculous. Mullen called a decent game. Ole Miss took away the inside game but Mullen adjusted well I thought by using the option pitch outside and the crossing patterns. It occurred to me that we have not run a reverse all season.
We have lost a game to the west every year since 1998, under 3 different coaches. Before spewing vile at Meyer, remember we play in, by far, the toughest conference in all of college football. We still control our own destiny and we are a young team. SOS used to say that a loss sometimes can be a good thing, it clear heads and grounds feet.
As I heard on the TV: The meek shall inherit the earth.. but they will not win the SEC.
I’m at a loss.
Hopefully, all of you recognize me as a somewhat reasonable poster (notice the “somewhat”). , so I’d like to give my take on the Gator O, after I have had some time to think about it, and most importantly from a New Orleans perspective, drink about it (obviously):
1. Our most productive O of the season–442 yards, 30 points (should have been 31), all offense, no scores by D, or special teams (including failures by special teams).
2. Passing–Best passing game of season. I would argue we called a great game in terms of passing. Who could argue? We had people running open all day? Tebow kept missing them. You want people stretching the field, for certain Gator fans? We had people stretching the field. Tebow missed them. This was not a conservative gameplan. We should have probably passed the ball more, is my only complaint, they could not cover us, and our OL was giving Tebow just enough time, which is what you ask from a 5-wide and a blitzing D.
3. Harvin–Back to the old Percy. Perhaps his best game as a Gator, or ranked right right up there, except for the fumbles (which cannot be excluded). 185 yards receiving and 82 yards rushing. 1 TD in each. Strange how our best productivity was tied to Percy’s best game.
4. Tebow–I don’t know what to say but he has to make the plays. Right now his legacy is Heisman Trophy and not leading us to victory in a 4th quarter drive. He had a couple of chances to make, really, simple throws at the end Saturday, and didn’t make them.
5. He has made bad play calls but the ultimate view of an OC is not a single play call on a game but overall. This was our best overall game on offense and we lost. People are overlooking that. We scored 30 (should have been 31) without D or special teams points and 442 yards, as well as turnovers. Had Harvin and CERTAINLY Murphy open for TDs at the end (after an Ole Miss TO). Earlier blame on Mullen might have been warrented, this game, I don’t see it.
6. Running game–There is a problem with the running game. It is obvious we need Tarrt in there. This should be obvious to all Gator fans. We are running at a much less productive level than last year. Other than Tarrt, I’m not sure what the answer is, other than a healthy Moody. Honestly, I’m at a loss (and will happily admit it).
So, that’s my take. Hope it makes some sense.
This Isn’t A Video Game
Although I understand people are upset about yesterday’s loss (as I am), I am very disappointed about the tenor of the board. It appears that people seem to equate UF football with EA Sports NCAA Football video games. This isn’t a video game where you can simply turn the game to “easy” and win each week. Nor is it NCAA football in the 70s, 80s or 90s.
Things have changed. This is the SEC. There are many good players and many good coaches. The difference in talent is not that great, and any team can beat any team on any given Saturday. APP State proved that against a good Michigan team last year.
All around the country good teams are losing to. . . other good teams. Limitations in scholarships, together with advances of video processing, sharing of information,and computers taking apart tendencies, are changing the landscape of college football. Where gaps in coaches and players used to be tremendous, the gaps are closing. Where teams would devise a defensive scheme and stick with it every week, teams adapt and change to whatever is strong against that given opponent. College Football is becoming more and more like the NFL – where no team wins every week (other than the ‘72 Dolphins).
The S.E.C. is the home of some of the best coaching and best players in the country. Talented players for lesser teams get stronger and better by playing other great players. You are going to lose in the S.E.C. If you turn the ball over, and are not on top of your game, you will lose. That’s what happened. Disappointing yes, but not a ledge jumping experience.
I can remember a number of years ago when there was a meltdown on Florida Boards because we nearly lost to a Jay Cutler led Vandy team. Same things with an Eli Manning led team. Everyone seemed to think we played poorly. No, they played great. They are great. That’s why they play on Sundays. Just because the name on the helmet doesn’t say LSU doesn’t mean there aren’t great players on the other team. Give these other teams some credit.
Time and again people have criticized Mullen and offensive production. He calls the plays. he does not block, catch or throw. If one of those things fail on a play, the play fails. That means he can call the perfect play, and it doesn’t work because of a mistake. For instance, there were two long passes open yesterday. Tim didn’t hit them. Great play calls. Something broke down.
But because we didn’t win, Mullen has become everyone’s whipping boy. Every one seems to think that Mullen is a bad play calling coach because of this. Give me a break. That’s nonsense. Let’s see. He coached the offense on a national championship team, and coached a Heisman trophy winner. But he’s a bad coach? Not even remotely true.
Its almost as if people think that because it says “Gators” on the side of the helmet we should win every game by 50. We won’t ever do that. No team will do that. USC, which by most accounts is by far the best team in the country got soundly beaten for the exact same reasons. This video game mentality that we always get to win must stop. It doesn’t work like this any more. There is good reason why a 2 loss team won the title last year. College football has changed.
When you look at the game put yourself into the game mode. For instance, you have a QB that has run three times on short yardage and gained 2-3 yards. You have confidence it will run because he has the greatest heart in the world. You call that play. If you don’t, and you get cute and miss the 4 and 1, you get hammered. So you call the call that you have with great success. It doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean you are a bad coach. It just didn’t work. Yes, it insanely frustrating, and very upsetting, but any person who thinks they would have made a different call is fooling themselves. How many times has Tebow been stopped on that? Not too many.
Anyway, sorry for the venting. It’s just that we are all Gators, and its hard to take the negativity. These are good players and good coaches. They lost. This happens to good players and coaches. It happens. Time to move on.
I agree with the criticism, not the reason for it
Our coaches deserve harsh criticism for what happened yesterday, but I also think the criticism should be accurate. Their failure yesterday wasn’t the same playcalling you guys complain about after every single game win or lose, their failure was that they didn’t deliver on the fundamental basis for their program. The coaches have a plan to win, and it includes protecting the ball, not giving up big plays on defense, executing in special teams, and being efficient on offense. WE FAILED IN EVERY ONE OF THOSE RESPECTS. That is why the coaches should be ashamed.
Someone actually said to me, “Yes, those things were bad, but even when those things were great against Tennessee and Miami, something still seemed to be off.” I am dumbfounded by that sort of comment. WE BEAT UM AND UT BY 20+ POINTS! What does that tell you when the thing you’re complaining about it the same but the thing I want to focus on and coach Meyer wants to focus on is the difference between a 20-point win and a humiliating loss?
Anyway, I don’t want to repeat all of my comments on other threads, I just want to let people know that if you want to yell at the coaches, I will yell at them with you, but only for the right reasons. Our football team looked like it was coached by a Ron Zook staff yesterday. They had flash and even some style, but they made mistakes in all the fundamental areas and it all added up to produce a narrow loss. Sound familiar? That is not what we’ve come to expect from Meyer, and it is shameful for Meyer and his staff to put this sort of product on the field. I am sure he is ashamed himself. The very foundation for his coaching philosophy was betrayed on the field yesterday, and that is a horrifying problem. The stakes are too high for him to allow something like that to happen.
So that is why I am very disappointed and very frustrated. I long for the days when we would execute in these fundamental areas and win by 20 points and have everyone complain about the offense but at the end of the day we’d be undefeated. Fighting with you guys about play calling after a win seems like a picnic compared to this situation were there really are grave problems to address that will call into question our victory against anyone in SEC and not just in the fictional match-up with USC you guys want to play out in your heads. It is a sad day, and a sad performance, and I hope that Meyer will get back to the type of performances his built his career upon so that you guys can go back to your same old criticisms and we can go back to winning by twenty each week.
Grading The Gators vs. UM
The Armchair Quarterback grades the Gators on their performance vs. University of Mississippi.
When all was said and done on Saturday the Florida Gators lost to the University of Mississippi 31 – 30 because they didn’t play football the Urban Meyer way. The Gators turned the ball over, played good but not great defense, had mediocre special teams, and were not the toughest team when it mattered most. Not to take anything away from the Mississippi Rebels but Florida shot themselves in the foot too many times to the secure the victory.
Percy Harvin, Janoris Jenkins, Brandon Spikes, Jermaine Cunningham
Defensive line, secondary, linebacking
Offensive line, ball security, third down efficiency, extra point blocking, just about everything based on yesterday could use some work.
The defensive was arguably the most consistent unit of the day. DE Jermaine Cunningham, NT Lawrence Marsh, DE Carlos Dunlap all made significant contributions in limiting Mississippi’s running game for most of the day or at least most of the plays. 68 of the Rebels 140 rushing yards came on two of their 38 rushing plays, otherwise Mississippi average only 2 yards per carry.
MLB Brandon Spikes, WLB Dustin Doe, and SLB A J Jones had 23 tackles and a sack and a half between then collectively. The trio seemed to make play after play, but in the third quarter in which the Rebels offense controlled the clock for almost the entire quarter they wore down. The fatigue allowed Mississippi to break-off a 40-yard touchdown run that gave the Rebels the lead.
A blown coverage that allowed Mississippi to score on an 86-yard pass play in the fourth quarter and some sloppy tackling by some tired defensive backs ion a 40-yard touchdown run in the third quarter marred an otherwise solid performance by the secondary. Janoris Jenkins looks to have secured the cornerback position opposite CB Joe Haden
When Florida’s G Jim Tartt went down at halftime after re-injuring his shoulder the Gators offensive line went down too. Despite a decent first half the Gators offensive line had loads of trouble dealing with the Rebels blitz package in the second half. The Gators allowed 3 sacks, two if not all three in the second half. Additionally, the Gators could not find any room for running inside the tackles as the Rebels clogged the middle forcing the Gators to run to the perimeter.
WR/RB Percy Harvin had more catches, 13, more yards, 186, and more touchdowns, 1, than all the other receivers combined. WR Louis Murphy and TE Aaron Hernandez each had 4 catches for 41 and 52 yards respectively. Dropped balls and confusion or where to line up or what played was called seemed to plague this group all day.
When RB Emmanuel Moody went down with a sprained ankle after gaining 16 yards on three carries, Florida’s inside running game went with it. Florida was forced to use its most consistent running back, Percy Harvin, and a perimeter running game. Harvin held up his end of the bargain, gaining 82 yards on 10 carries with
Tim Tebow maybe Superman, but he is not un-stoppable as Mississippi proved with less than a minute to go and the game on the line. Despite rather gaudy passing statistics, 24 for 38 passing 319 yards, 1 touchdown, Tebow missed several open receivers, particularly in the first half and seemed tentative or undecided when selecting a receiver. That said, with the game on the line there is no one the Gators would rather have with the ball in their hands than Tim Tebow.
An extra point blocked, a fake punt for a first down, weak kickoff coverage, and poor formation and or lack of blocking on the punt team made a for a very frustrating day for special teams.
Despite 443 yards of total offense and 30 points, offensive coordinator Dan Mullen will catch heat for not distributing the ball to more of his players beyond Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin. There should have been enough offense to win the game anyway. Mullen took several shots deep when Mississippi was in man coverage, bludgeoned the Rebels with the drag route underneath when Mississippi showed zone, and got good production from the option and speed sweeps to the outside. Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong had the defense that held Mississippi to just 325 total yards of offense, usually good enough to win, but a tired defense in the third quarter and a busted coverage in the fourth quarter, accounted for 124 yards and 14 points, to undo an otherwise solid effort. Special teams had issues all day and Urban Meyer’s decision to go for it on fourth and 1 versus a 49-yard field goal will be second-guessed for years to come.
GRADE Offensive B Defensive B Special Teams C.
The crowd seemed a little light but was as raucous as ever until the second fumble in the third quarter. After that the Florida faithful rallied with the team, but in the end came up just a little short.
Blame Mullen all you want, but had other players accounted for exactly the same results as Harvin or Tebow had during their 20 of their 38 plays, then you would be bashing Mullen for not giving it to Harvin and Tebow enough. Am I wrong? With the game on the line you want the ball in you best players hands and those players are Tebow and Harvin. No one person, player, coach or unit can be blamed for this, as enough mistakes were made though out the team to loose. Credit Mississippi, they played a great game and deserved to win. The Gators, meanwhile, need to keep their heads up and get back to work to learn from their mistakes, as the season is not over. Remember, this is the SEC and on any given Saturday any team is dangerous.
OVERALL GRADE: C
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