Last Saturday, Baylor scored 71 points while amassing an astounding 714-yards of offense against Big 12 opponent Iowa State. Conversely, the Gators have scored 53 points while gaining 746-yards — in the month of October. I throw that stat at you to prepare you for the next 13 plays that the Gators ran in the second quarter in their 36-17 loss to Missouri.
The Gators gained all of 14 yards.
Now that you’re thoroughly excited about the story, let’s dive in.
1st drive: 5 plays – 6 yards – 3:02 – Punt
We’ll start this breakdown with photographic evidence that the Florida offense actually led Missouri in an offensive category — for a quarter — last Saturday. It happened.
Florida got the drive going — sort of — with a one-yard loss on first down. Kyle Koehne was late on a pull block and Jon Halapio was beaten off the ball allowing two defenders to crash down on Mack Brown in the backfield.
On second and long the Gators came out in an empty set and Murphy found Solomon Patton on an eight-yard dig route. Patton quickly turned up the field and picked up an additional four yards with his feet.
Side note: How about Solomon Patton? What an incredible breakout season for the once seldom-used wide receiver.
With a new set of downs the Gators stayed in the air with a designed screen to Mack Brown out of the backfield.
Here’s what the formation looks like and how the blocking scheme is drawn up. Kyle Koehne and Jonotthan Harrison (both blue) will both chip their defensive linemen to give Murphy time to get the pass off but their chief responsibility is to get out in front of Brown and block. Quinton Dunbar (yellow) runs across the middle of the field to take on a linebacker.
Brown gets slightly too wide in his route and creates too far of a gap between him and Koehne. Koehne does a good job of disengaging from the defensive lineman but he isn’t able to get out in front of Brown who is dropped for no gain.
Not a bad play call, just another case of the execution being off.
Florida ran a power play on second down with Harrison and Moore pulling. Moore whiffed on a block and Harrison wasn’t able to cut his defender. Our theme of poor offensive line play led to a gain of one yard on second and long.
Third and long — an obvious passing down — is not where the Gators want to be. Ever. Not with an offensive line that is struggling. Missouri showed blitz as if it was bringing the heat to Tyler Murphy.
Florida lines up in the “10” or “jets” personnel (1RB, 0TE, 4WR), while Missouri shows blitz with six men.
Mark Herndon is in the backfield and will remain in to pass block. When the ball is snapped, Missouri drops two linebackers back into coverage and brings a four-man pressure. Florida now has six people to block just four defenders.
Despite a significant numbers advantage, Michael Sam blows the play up when he runs around Tyler Moore faster than an excited fourth grader runs out to recess.
There isn’t much Murphy can do about it and he’s dragged down by Sam for a drive-ending sack.
Drive Grade: D
Down a touchdown the Gators were able to eat up some clock on this drive and had a nice pass play to Patton but they were largely ineffective.
2nd Drive: 3 plays – minus 2 yards – 1:38 – Punt
This is a drive that you want to forget.
Kelvin Taylor picked up three yards with exceptional vision on the first play but an incomplete pass on second down set Florida up with another third-and-long.
This kind of thing is what handcuffs a coach. The Gators are so bad in obvious passing downs because of the offensive lines’ inability to create a consistent clean pocket that the staff has to go out of its way to call plays that will hopefully create second and short or third and short scenarios.
An incomplete pass on first down changes the equation because it creates an obvious passing down on second and long. Now, with the Gators in second and long, the defense can pin its ears back and get after the quarterback. The same thing applies for running the ball on first and second downs consecutively.
Blame the play calling, but a more educated, calm-headed assertion is that the answer isn’t black-and-white. The play calling can be more exotic if the offense shows that they can execute the basics. They haven’t done that this year and they certainly didn’t do it last Saturday.
Murphy did an incredible job of scrambling on third-and-seven and even found Trey Burton for a first down. However, Jon Halapio was too far downfield and the Gators are tagged with an ineligible receiver penalty. Bring on third-and-twelve.
Missouri brings just three rushers on third and long, dropping eight into coverage. Murphy can’t find anyone open and forces a pass to Dunbar for an incompletion.
Drive Grade: F
Anytime a drive moves backwards you’re going to get a failing grade. Simple as that.
3rd Drive: 5 plays – 9 yards – 2:42 – Fumble
The Gators had 3:27 left before halftime and started this drive at midfield. Florida attacked the outside with a toss sweep to Brown who was able to pick up nine yards behind solid blocking from Quinton Dunbar, Hunter Joyer and a pulling Jonnothan Harrison. Harrison is going to be a very serviceable guard in the NFL.
Murphy dumped off a ball to Trey Burton who picked up 14 yards for Florida’s first “explosive play” of the game.
As the offense built momentum and drove deeper into Missouri territory, offensive coordinator Brent Pease dialed up the wildcat with Trey Burton at quarterback.
This play isn’t fooling anyone in the stands, at home watching on television or the Missouri defense.
Players and coaches insist that this package brings an added dimension to the offense but it doesn’t. Burton is not a threat to throw the football. Florida hasn’t given him the opportunity to throw this season and after his failed pass to his brother Clay last season, don’t expect to see him throw it anytime soon.
So after two plays picked up 23-yards the wildcat Florida found itself in a devastating second-and-15.
Murphy found Trey Burton for a four-yard pickup, which still left Florida with another third-and-long.
What happens when the Gators get into these scenarios? The defense brings more than they can block.
And Murphy is sacked and fumbles.
Drive Grade: F
The drive ends in a turnover. The wildcat play was called at such an inopportune time here. You get two positive plays and then go to a package that hasn’t worked all season? Why? I’ve defended the play calling before, but I can’t do it here.