The Ephesians Bartley Report: Too many turnovers, mistakes

Just like everyone else I’m pissed off we lost. I still take UF losses just as hard as I did when I played for the Gators, which is to say I’m not exactly good company today and today is a huge improvement over last night.  To make it worse, we had to lose to Miami and I had to honor a stupid Facebook bet by putting up some verbiage I won’t repeat again in life or untimely death.

Turnovers killed us. You just can’t give the ball away five times and expect to win against a decent football team and Miami is not a bad football team. Defensively we played well enough to win minus a few mistakes in the back end. Miami’s up tempo in the first half was successful in spurts, good enough to pull needed bodies off the field which led to minor running success and confusion in the back end that led directly to two UM scores.

UP FRONT: Are you looking for bright spots to soothe an otherwise bad day? Well, we had a RoPo sighting. For three years we have been waiting for the real Ronald Powell to show up and Saturday he did. He looked the part of a guy that was everybody’s #1 recruit in the nation coming out of high school. He came off the ball really well, used his hands and you could simply feel his presence all over the field. Dominique Easley was as undisciplined as he was dominant upfront. Let’s just say he’s a free spirit and leave it at that. He went over, under, through and around and just wooped ass. Miami’s only successful drives were when he took a breather from the pace. His energy was contagious and when he was on the field it affected everyone on the defensive unit. Easley and Powell have to be able to play at that level every game from here on out. What they bring to the team in terms of emotional lift is every bit as important as what they bring in productivity.

LINEBACKERS: I was looking for Anthony Morrison to come back after missing that first game with a headhunter mentality but he was just meh.  Don’t get me wrong. He was good but he didn’t exactly light the stage on fire, now did he? I didn’t agree with reducing his suspension to a single game as I believed his first arrest deserved two games in itself, but If he was going to play then I wanted to see fireworks. Michael Taylor played the run extremely well but you see his limitations when he is in space. Still, he’s a solid linebacker and he doesn’t make the kind of mistakes that hurt you. Neiron Ball and Darrin Kitchens disappeared at times but they both had decent games.

SECONDARY: We can shut down and cover the world at corner with a four deep corner rotation of Loucheiz Purifoy, Marcus Roberson, Jaylen Watkins and VH3 (Vernon Hargreaves III). However, until our safeties improve we are going to be in trouble come SEC time. It’s pretty evident that Matt Elam will be hard to replace. We have to have better production from the last line of defense. I don’t know if it was a coverage bust or not but it looked like Marcus Maye took a bite out of something and the resulting six (52-yard touchdown pass Stephen Morris to Phillip Dorsett) left a poor taste in all our mouths. No matter how fast you are, you never settle or stop your feet on play action. The scary thing is that we haven’t played a team with a good tight end under Will Muschamp that can really attack the seams. We can partially thank Easley for the disruption he causes up front because that sometimes eliminates that second and third read, which would be the tight end. Both teams the Gators have faced so far have chosen to attack the rotated up safety with their third wide receiver and that has turned out to be just as affective.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Hopefully this loss has the affects of pissing this defense off. Coaches have two weeks to make the needed schematic and technical adjustments. I don’t think we have to worry about the fire being stoked under the defensive players by Champ. I just wish we had the same kind of accountability on the offensive side. There just isn’t a lot of smart play going on over there. We can always say – and I certainly have – that the defense played well enough to win but the truth is this is a team game and the scoreboard always makes you wrong.

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Ephesians Bartley
Former Gator linebacker Ephesians “Fee” Bartley defined the 1990 season for the Florida defense when he laid out LSU wide receiver Todd Kinchen near midfield on the West sideline of Florida Field. The entire crowd stood silent as Kinchen lay motionless on the turf. It wasn’t until someone shouted, “He’s alive! I can see the spit bubbles in the corner of his mouth!” that the crowd breathed a sigh of relief. An All-SEC linebacker in 1991 who spent a year in the NFL and a few more in the CFL, Bartley runs a business and tax consulting firm in Jacksonville but he’s never lost his passion for Florida football.