I expected a letdown after the loss to Georgia, but that was a brutal exhibition on offense, despite the injuries. Once again, the Gator defense was left on an island and had to bail out the Gators and get a closer-than-necessary win at home.
There’s a lot being said about the injuries on the O-Line and how an average unit to begin with is really hampered, but it’s the responsibility of the OC to coach around that, and Brent Pease’s playcalling for a second week in a row left something to be desired. Driskel is still being asked to drop straight back instead of some designed rollouts, too many inside the tackle runs are being called against an 8-man front, and Hines and Burton remain painfully underutilized.
It’s hard to tell if Driskel has regressed the past month because of the poor blocking, but he continues to lock on to his primary receivers, and needs to be allowed to run more often. You have to work with what you have, and the staff has to help the QB out.
The defense rose to the occasion despite a lot of players being weakened by the flu or nagging injuries. The secondary did a great job of defending over 50 passes, holding Missouri to under 50% completions and getting 4 interceptions to hold the lead. Fowler and Bullard played their best game at DE, and are a promising duo for the future. Bostic continues to excel in pass coverage as well.
A lot of fans will now focus on the F$U game 3 weeks from now, and expect 2 easy wins at the Swamp before then. Unfortunately, Louisiana-Lafayette looks like a decent opponent this week, and the Gators may not get the chance to rest and play backups as much as hoped for. Pease has to diversify the run game to take the pressure off of the OL by getting to the edge, and getting the ball in Hines’ and Burton’s hands more often. I expect to see a lot more of the Wild Gator formation this week. The defense will have to generate a few more 3-and-out possessions this week, and the injury to Sturgis hopefully doesn’t prove problematic if Phillips has to perform the placekicking duties this week.
Here’s hoping for a solid win without having to stay with the first-teamers late into the second half, but the way the injuries have piled up and ineffective offense has struggled, it could be another grind this week. Get the win, and hope for no more injuries.
Prediction: Florida 30 ULL 14