In a poetic twist to college football season, the Florida Gator football offense will look to show something this Saturday in the Show-Me state. After posting a season low 240-yards of total offense against LSU, it seems they have a chip on their shoulder and something to prove. If Florida wants to continue being the master of its own fate this season, the offense will have to show up against the SEC East leading Missouri Tigers.
“Saturday we have to come out scoring,” running back Mack Brown said. “A lot of people are saying the offense isn’t doing good. I feel like we’re going show people this week.”
It will be an uphill battle for the Gators and the running backs against Missouri. The Tigers trail Florida and Alabama in stopping the run, giving up 126.17 yards-per-game.
The running attack won’t have a full deck after losing starter Matt Jones for the season with a torn meniscus. Florida will have to rotate their running backs a little more between Mack Brown, Kelvin Taylor, Mark Herndon and Valdez Showers. While the Gators have the guns to be able to run the ball effectively, they will miss Jones because he excelled in pass protection. Brent Pease admitted that the coaching staff was most comfortable with Jones in protection and after giving up four sacks and five quarterback hurries, protecting Tyler Murphy will be paramount on Saturday.
“Matt’s a smart guy when it comes to football,” Pease said. “He understands the big scheme. That’s one of the things that is his strength, outside of running the football. Has great hands and he knows who he’s responsible for. Now the other guys, they’re good, they’ve gotten better. They’ve gotta make sure they’re seeing the big picture on everything and not just one dimensional in ways.”
Missouri will challenge Florida with an athletic, talented defensive front that ranks second in the Southeastern Conference with 17 sacks on the season. After LSU shredded Florida’s offensive line with blitzes last week, the Gators are expecting to see more of that this Saturday and the rest of the season.
“Probably. I would if I was scheming against us,” Max Garcia said when asked if teams will try to blitz Florida more. “Seeing that we had troubles against the blitz, I’d probably do the same thing. As an offensive line, we’re just going to try to do our best against the blitz in practice and making sure we’re mentally there. Physically, we are there.”
This isn’t how the season was supposed to go. If I had told you that Florida would be playing for their lives in Colombia, you would probably have said, “Yeah, the South Carolina game should be huge this season.” But the Gators now find their SEC lives on the line in Colombia, Missouri rather than South Carolina and much sooner than they would have liked.
A win Saturday keeps the train on the tracks and rolling towards Atlanta. A loss likely means Florida will be out of the running in the East. The defense isn’t the issue and hasn’t been all season.
Now it’s time for the offense to show us something in the Show-Me state.