After a close watch of Florida’s offense against Miami, I am not as concerned about the Gators’ attack this year as I was while watching the game. I think that’s where a lot of other people who cover the team have come down as well. It was an intense game while it happened, and a variety of factors ranging from bad tackling, unusual turnovers, and bad officiating going both ways made it hard to accurately assess what was going on in real time.
Here are my takeaways from the rewatch of the offense.
Florida spent almost the whole game in 11 personnel, meaning one running back and one tight end. They did use some 12 personnel, meaning one back and two tight ends. If I counted correctly, that was only on seven of 53 true offensive plays (the 54th play run was the fake punt).
When Florida did go with two tight ends, it was Kyle Pitts and Lucas Krull each time. They were listed at the top of the depth chart with an OR uniting them, and they fulfilled almost all the duties the whole way. There was one drive I think in the second half where you can see Pitts get poked in the eye while blocking. Kemore Gamble then spelled him for a few plays before he returned.
Pitts was the more versatile of the two, lining up as a receiver outside as well as being an in-line and H-back tight end. Krull almost exclusively had blocking assignments and didn’t split out wide. After the talk early in the offseason about Pitts possibly moving to receiver, he did plenty of things as a tight end and didn’t just function as a wideout with a different title.
The Gators did not use any two back sets. Lamical Perine was clearly the primary guy, while Dameon Pierce and Malik Davis spelled him in about equal quantities. Kadarius Toney did get to line up in the backfield and take a handoff once; on that play, Pierce was out widest of three receivers on the left.
Steps forward, steps back
Naturally, the postgame discussion following a Florida game centered around the quarterback. Did Feleipe Franks regress to his 2017 form? Did he actually have a good game with only a couple of disproportionately bad errors?
The answer is somewhere in the middle. He did have some catastrophic and really inexcusable blunders with the fumbled mesh point and his second interception, and those could’ve cost UF the game against an opponent with a functional offensive line. He sailed a few of his deep passes, including his first interception, and he had a habit of scrambling out of clean pockets from time to time.
He also had the headlining beautiful throw to Josh Hammond and managed a good game in a lot of other respects. Everyone was like that.
I made up a film study video here that goes over the team’s third quarter field goal drive. That series was a pretty good encapsulation of how the night went for Florida.
Franks does a good job of directing traffic on a fourth down conversion, but I think he takes too long making a decision on an RPO that ends up a throwaway. Perine was one of the best Gators on the field, but in this drive he pulls a Toney and tries to juke and then reverse field against a linebacker instead of following good blocking. You’ll hear me ding Chris Bleich a couple of times but also highlight him for a great block on a pull.
It’s a little disappointing that Florida got the ball on the Miami 42 to start, needed to convert a fourth down in order to gain just 33 yards on eight plays, and had to settle for a field goal. However, it’s a credit to Florida’s special teams for pinning the Hurricanes at their own five for the previous drive and to its defense that it got a three-and-out to set up the offense’s great field position.
Miami has a great defense, and it was able to take advantage when only ten Gators did the right thing. And let’s give credit where it’s due: sometimes it was the UM players causing that eleventh Gator to have an issue on a play.