Film study: how Florida’s offense broke through against Michigan

Florida’s offense had one of its best performances of the season against Michigan. The shorthanded Wolverine defense was still one of the best that the Gators went up against in 2018, and they came away with 34 offensive points and a surprisingly large number of explosive plays.

Here are the main ways that they did it.

Follow the template

UF started off the game with a three-and-out, but the offense got itself going on the second drive. The way they did it followed a lot of the things I saw when I scouted the Ohio State offense’s shredding of Michigan.

On the second play, Feleipe Franks kept the ball on an inside zone read. The unblocked edge defender LB Devin Gil crashed in on Lamical Perine instead of Franks, and a good outside block by C’yontai Lewis cleared space for Franks to pick up nine before the safety came down and got him. UM was similarly caught by surprise when Dwayne Haskins kept it on some early option keepers. I thought the defense would be more ready for Franks to keep it since he runs more than Haskins does, but apparently not.

Two plays later, Dan Mullen ran a mesh-style play that isn’t in his normal playbook but that OSU torched Michigan with. Two shallow crossers came from the left and one from the right, but instead of hitting any of them Franks found Perine on a wheel to the left. Shallow crosses and using running backs in the passing game with the wheel route a highlight were two of my big takeaways from Ohio State-Michigan.

The next play was the first tunnel screen to Perine from a set with four wide to one side, something I’ll get into later. The one after that featured Kadarius Toney on a shallow cross, but Franks instead went to Van Jefferson on a deeper route.

Jefferson had a safety lined up on him, so going to the best receiver when matched up on a safety one-on-one is a no brainer. Getting a mismatch on a safety was one of the things I saw Ohio State do on Michigan a couple times, but it had to hit the cutting room floor for that scouting piece so it wouldn’t go on forever.

Another thing that got cut was the fact that OSU had to kick two field goals due to red zone issues. The main issue was that the Buckeyes subbed in backup QB Tate Martell to do quarterback runs when close to the goal line, but the Wolverine defense was ready for it. Mullen also went to the QB run in the red zone on this drive, and it also didn’t work. The Gators had to settle for a field goal, but the offense was in gear.

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David Wunderlich
David Wunderlich is a born-and-raised Gator and a proud Florida alum. He has been writing about Florida and SEC football since 2006. He currently lives in Naples Italy, at least until the Navy stations his wife elsewhere. You can follow him on Twitter @Year2