Saying that Florida’s offense is stumbling into Jacksonville may be putting it nicely. The Gators will head to Jacksonville to take on the Bulldogs with the SEC’s worst total offense and 12th ranked rushing, passing and scoring attacks as well.
The SEC is a line of scrimmage league and most of Florida’s struggles on offense can be traced back to the offensive line — a unit that the coaching staff called the strongest unit during fall practice — and how mightily they have struggled this season.
With Florida’s slim chances at reaching Atlanta on the line this week in Jacksonville, Brent Pease and the offense have spent the last two weeks tinkering with the offense to try and turn things around before it’s too late.
Shaking up the offensive line
- Both D.J. Humphries and Tyler Moore have struggled mightily this season. Max Garcia replaced Humphries for a period of time two weeks ago against Missouri and, while Pease wouldn’t tip his hand, it looks like Trenton Brown will replace Tyler Moore on the other side of the line this week.
He [Brown] was taking first-team reps last week, he’s taking first-team reps this week. We’ll go from there. He’s still got to step up to your performance. He’s gotten better, he deserves an opportunity, he’s going to get that.”
- Brown was a staggering 380-pounds when he committed and signed to Florida and worked relentlessly to get his weight down (UF currently lists him at 361) but he still has some work to do.
We always talk about the 350-range, 355.”
- Pease complimented Brown’s ability to withstand a bull rush and said that the staff has been working on helping him deal with speed rush techniques.
- There are still eight or nine players that are getting practice reps along the offensive line and Florida is still looking for a starting five that they can rely on.
- Pease said that the offensive line has room to improve and that it needs to start in practice.
Keeping things simple
- There has been a lot of talk about simplifying the offense during the bye week. Pease went into greater detail about what the staff is doing to make things easier on the players.
You change the protections where you just kind of, you don’t put them in charge of guys, kind of into a gap protection and more area. I’m not giving the whole game plan of everything, but you’ve just got to take off some. You’ve got to change the pocket form a little bit. A set launch point is not the traditional spot where you maybe move the quarterback and help the linemen out with where the spot is they have to protect for the QB. Move him a little bit.”
Kelvin Taylor growing into a new role
- Pease admitted that the team went away from Kelvin Taylor too quickly against Missouri. While Kelvin remained in the game, the offense started to press and didn’t continue letting Taylor run the ball after he sparked the offense with his 20-yard touchdown run.
Looking back on it, when Kelvin came on, he kind of got in a flow. We were still using him. Sometimes he wasn’t in there and he probably should have, because he got us going again.”
- Taylor has shown great ability carrying the ball and continues to show the right attitude and work ethic at practice.
- Taylor has really improved since Matt Jones’ injury and it’s an improvement that the staff has taken notice of.
I think he, it’s hard to see, you know how much he probably would have improved without actually being on the field and having all those reps you can get because do you get the number of touches if Matt’s there? You know, I don’t know.”
- Coincidently, Taylor is seemingly on a very similar track development wise to Jones in his freshman season. It took a while for things to click with Jones but he made an impact down the stretch for the Gators.
It’s kind of like last year when you saw Matt when he kind of took his strides and started showing up in practice and then his carried over to his performance in the games. You kind of seeing that in Kelvin.”
- The inexperience behind Tyler Murphy is limiting the play calling and the situations that the coaching staff is comfortable putting Murphy in to.
You try to protect him a little bit. You don’t lay him out there to take shots and do things with him that makes him vulnerable. It takes certainly plays away, absolutely.”
- The offense has had so many negative plays recently that it’s making them play with less confidence. Pease wants them to get that confidence level back up.
- Kent Taylor has not performed or developed like the coaches would have liked this season.
You got to be able to block in that position and run routes and you gotta see that you can perform and your performance has got to show up. But I don’t know if his development is totally there. And not every kid’s going to be an immediate guy. He’s a kid that’s got to maintain weight to play in that position. He can’t be too light. And sometimes I think in this sport, and at this level, you’ve got to give kids a chance to develop.”