/L$U Review / Auburn Preview

L$U Review / Auburn Preview

Two blowouts in a row.  First consecutive 28-point or worse losses since 1971.  No real chance given to the offense by a sieve of a run defense.  Another weak running attack by the offense.

Other than that – everything’s good in Gator Nation.  Then again……

The biggest disappointment about this latest debacle is the lack of mental toughness.  Maybe that’s to be expected somewhat by such a young team, but it’s Florida, and the SEC……no real excuse.

There really isn’t much positive to take from this game on offense or defense.  I will say that I’m impressed with Jacoby Brissett.  The kid doesn’t panic.  He CAN run as well…….when necessary. Notice he didn’t just break outside the pocket and into sacks……he stepped up into the pocket.  Also, he seems to have good pocket awareness……pretty deft in avoiding some tacklers.  He also wasn’t afraid to step into some throws with a defender getting ready to pound him.  For a true freshman with ZERO experience……on the road at #1……pretty damn impressive.

Actually, I though Weis was too careful with him and the playcalling. Screw the 2010 Dazzler offense of running Wildcat on 1st and 2nd down, then bringing the kid in on 3rd-and-long.  Maybe Weis was trying to coach Brissett up some on the sideline periodically, but I really think the kid deserves a chance to get into some kind of groove.  That may be especially difficult given the weak running game the past two weeks, but so be it.

The only other plays being made are either by Andre Debose, who’s finally starting to show some consistency at WR, and Rainey, who made some nice runs with second effort.

The failings of the run defense is particularly embarrassing.  Perhaps the front seven isn’t physically ready yet for a 4-quarter slugfest with Alabama or L$U, but that was painful to watch.  Was it technique, physical superiority, or intimidation of a hostile SEC road crowd?  Probably a combination of all 3, but still somewhat surprising.

The staff has to find a way to get through to these kids, or else Florida is headed for a 6-6 season.  It also may be time to seriously consider some drastic changes in personnel either after the upcoming game at Auburn or in the bye week before Georgia.

Ron Powell is completely out of position at DE, and it’s a waste of time to continue that failed experiment.  Let the kid play more stand up LB and in coverage.  Also, it might be time to slide Sharrif Floyd back inside to DT, and move Easley to DE, where he can better utilize his speed and quickness.  TE is a complete mess – Reed runs poor routes and is not a good in-line blocker, and AC Leonard is a penalty waiting to happen.  Quinton Dunbar and Omarius Hines are on the back of milk cartons at WR to date – pretty stunning.

It will be two desperate teams on the Plains this Saturday night, as the loser is out of the SEC race and can start building for 2012.  Auburn has been the more consistent team overall, and has a solid road win in it’s resume at S. Carolina.  However, their offense is plagued by inconsistency in the passing game, and opponents are starting to load up to stop Michael Dyer and Ontario McCalebb.  Emory Blake is a decent WR, but there best offensive weapon is TE Philip Lutzenkirchen.  Follow his blocks to see where the running play is going, and he’s a bad matchup for almost any LB or safety – great player.  He’ll have to be stopped if the Gators have any chance of stealing a win at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The Tiger defense has struggled much of the season, but did show some flashes at S. Carolina two weeks ago, and held up for one half vs. a strong Arkansas offense.  They are searching for leadership after the departure of Nick Fairley to the NFL, and are currently a far cry from the last two defenses the Gators have faced.  Of course, facing a true freshman QB can cure a lot of ills.

The Gator offense will be better this week, and Brissett should have a little more time and be more comfortable. The run game has to become at least functional this week; 120 yards or so should be enough to help out the passing game. Look for some more deep shots to Debose to at least loosen things up, and it’s time to bring back the swing pass……it works.

Not much left to say about Florida’s defense.  It’s obvious to everyone that they have been bitch-slapped the past two weeks, and have not pushed back yet.  They should be able to match up physically with Auburn’s OL, and if they get run over again, there will be serious questions about whether some of these guys are quitting on the season.  Harsh, but true.

What will it take to get the win?  Better special teams play, less stupid penalties, and the defense rising to the challenge – even perhaps getting a turnover or two to help the cause.

I actually think Auburn will be pressing as well to win, and this could benefit the Gators.  Unfortunately, the offense is still limited by a true freshman QB in only his second start, and I can’t see it overcoming another tough road crowd to get a much-needed win.

Prediction – Auburn 27        Florida 17