By: Dan Hancock (@danhancock1978)
No. The season is not over and there is still a lot to play for in Gainesville. The SEC East is still at stake and chances for a decent bowl game are still alive. However…at this point, the Gators have the ability to play with a “nothing to lose” mentality. Having lost Jeff Driskel, Andre Dubose, and Matt Jones on offense, the Gators have lost their identity. The good news is, that Florida football team has yet to identify their true identity on that side of the ball. Coach Muschamp has been committed to a strong power-running game. Looking at the statistics and, more importantly, watching the games, I can see one thing: Coach Muschamp is very stubborn.
The Gator head coach seems more committed to winning first downs and time of possession, than putting more points on the board. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I may provide some ground-breaking insight that may change the way you look at football games at ALL levels. You need to score more points than the other team to win. Pop Warner coaches, write that down. NFL coaches, put it on the locker room wall. It will change the landscape of football in this decade. Just watch.
A few weeks ago, when Tyler Murphy came in to fill in for the the injured Jeff Driskel, Gator fans everywhere were filled with hope and great expectations for the remainder of the season. The Kentucky game had the Nation thinking Florida was going to steam-roll the rest of their competition. The LSU game, however, reminded Gator nation that their offense has more handcuffs than a Harry Houdini travel case. While it wasn’t as frustrating as the 2012 Georgia game (although that was another TD-free game for the Gators) or this year’s Miami game, the LSU game was another example of Florida’s inability to move the ball. I take that back. The Gators do a fine job moving the ball all the way up to the red zone, then fail to deliver the big payoff. Florida’s first possession was a 14-play, 60 yard drive that led to a 44 yard field goal. Because of the yardage, this was probably the most exciting score of the afternoon. Florida’s “other” 3 points came from a Velez 27-yarder in the 4th quarter. In a word: Woo!!!
The good news is that Florida’s defense is continuing to play extremely well. The bad news is that the offense is not helping them. Florida’s defense, even without Dominique Easley, are holding opponents to lower than normal scores. Again, the problem is that the offense needs to step it up and deliver some points. It’s almost like Muschamp is so defense happy that he wants the game plan to include 2 defensive interceptions returned for touchdowns and hold opponents to less than 200 yards of offense. I just don’t think it’s realistic.
So Brent Pease comes from the high-flying Boise State. I mention this because I don’t think it’d be known unless I said anything. Pease’s offenses have about as much in common as Rick James and Rick Springfield. Both put out some good hits, but they couldn’t be any further apart in their respective musical genres. Rick James would run his offense like a “Brick House,” while Springfield would play with a little more finesse, like “Jesse’s Girl.” What the University of Florida needs to consider for the second half of this football season is playing with more balance. Somewhere in the middle of the two aforementioned Ricks is another musical Richard: Rick Derringer. The Gators need a little more “Rock N Roll Hoochie Koo!”
We’re not looking for a return of the “Fun N Gun,” at least not until Kerwin Bell comes back to Gainesville, but Gator fans are looking for the return of a pass beyond 20 yards. Again, at this point, Florida has little to lose. In the Arkansas game, we saw what Solomon Patton is capable of. Perhaps he and Tyler Murphy can be a good tandem. Here’s another thought: If you take pride in acquiring 5-star recruits, play them. Bishop Kenny High School grads near and far are screaming for more play time for Ahmad Fullwood. Gator-Jaguars fans are looking forward to seeing Fred Taylor’s son Kelvin given a greater share of the workload. No, he doesn’t fit Muschamp’s power running, between the tackles-style of running back. Here’s another observation: Why did you recruit an elusive, scat back-style running back? This isn’t Monopoly. Your job is not to obtain the high price properties just so no one else can. If Boardwalk and Park Place are averaging 9 yards per play, but are only averaging 3 or 4 plays for 36 total yards, I’d look at Indiana Avenue and Illinois Avenue who average 4-5 yards per play, but are getting 75 yards per game. Can Kelvin Taylor be that? I’d like to find out. Perhaps he can be Pennsylvania Avenue, averaging 7 yards per play and work towards 100+ yards per game. When he and Mack Brown aren’t totin’ the rock, open up the pass game. Patton Salomon has shown ability. Fullwood can only benefit from the same opportunity.
This Saturday, versus Missouri, is the perfect opportunity. Without James Franklin, Missouri may not be able to put as many points on the board. Georgia’s weak defense didn’t exploit Franklin’s loss during their game last week. Florida will…hopefully. Open up the offensive playbook. The path to Atlanta will go through Colombia. We just didn’t know it’d be the one in Missouri, not South Carolina necessarily. If the Gators defeat the Tigers, sing it loud and sing it proud. Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo!!!!
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