Ohio State, Florida
- What’s the one thing that goes during bowl preparation, especially with coaching turmoil? Special teams. Ohio State outgained Florida, but two special teams gaffes were the difference.
- Now THAT’S the Florida defense. It was phenomenal against Florida State to close out the regular season, and it dominated the Ohio State offensive line. The quickness and athleticism up front were breathtaking against a decent, but not great, Buckeye front five.
- Under all the pressure, Braxton Miller was still excellent. He missed on a few key throws, but 18-of-23 with no picks was a strong showing.
- But he was bottled up by the Florida defensive front.
- John Brantley might not have closed out his career with a special game, but he got the win and he completed 12-of-16 throws.
- Technically, Will Muschamp is off any sort of a hot seat he would’ve been on had the Gators lost, but he needs to find a stead offense over the next eight months. The defense will be phenomenal, but that might not be enough to win the SEC East.
- Anything less than an SEC East title will be a disappointment. There’s too much talent across the board.
- And so it begins again. Ohio State lost to an SEC team.
- If all goes according to plan, this is the last bowl game Ohio State will play until 2014.
- It’s not like the Buckeye recruiting classes stunk over the last few years. The athletes and talent were in place to win this game.
- By far, this was Florida’s best win this year. For all the problems and all the disappointments, it wasn’t a losing season.
- 7-6 and a Gator Bowl win. Ohio State, this might be what you’re in for a year after Urban is done.
Do not underestimate the meaning of this Gator Bowl victory to Gator fans, who now despise anything associated with Urban Meyer, public enemy No. 1 around Gainesville.
And do not underestimate the meaning of this victory to Gator head coach Will Muschamp, who desperately needed to carry something positive into the offseason. Yeah, small consolation after slogging through a 6-6 regular season, but just think of how bad 6-7 would look right now.
If Ohio State was unable to match the speed of Florida, at least it could win the battles at the point of attack with its bulk, right? Uh-uh. The Buckeyes were no match for the Gators D-line, getting thoroughly abused from wire-to-wire.
For myriad reasons, Florida was never able to fully maximize the explosive speed of backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps during their careers. Someone at the next level, however, will. When used properly, both players possess the kind of unique skill set that’ll make them lethal options when used in the right situations on offense and special teams.
Now that the 2011 season is over, Florida and Ohio State will begin the offseason with one very similar goal—develop the young quarterbacks on the roster. Braxton Miller is set to become the face of the Buckeyes’ attack under Meyer. And now that the John Brantley era has mercifully ended in the Swamp, all eyes will turn to rookies Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel.
By Matt Zemek
In the final analysis, the Gator Bowl is an empty-calories event, largely because of the circular connections one can make in the game’s aftermath. Ohio State can’t view this game as a letdown because, for one thing, this contest didn’t need to be played. If Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith was smart, he would have held his team out of the postseason in much the same way that Miami did. Second, the Buckeyes have Urban Meyer riding into Columbus to recruit the bejeezus out of the Big Ten and restore order after a get-acquainted 2012 season in which pressure will be alleviated by the NCAA’s imposed bowl ban on the program. It’s not as though Ohio State lost something precious by falling to Florida by a touchdown. The future is the thing for OSU, and that future looks incredibly bright. What – you think a Gator Bowl loss is going to cast a long and interesting shadow over the Buckeye Nation? Not quite.
As soon as you finish contemplating life from an Ohio State perspective, then look at the Florida angle. The Gators can only derive so much satisfaction from Monday’s win because… well… Ohio State was a mess of a team and in no position to put its best foot forward. Florida did keep its string of winning seasons intact at 24 with this victory. That’s the kind of stat which matters to longtime fans of a program, but in terms of The Will Muschamp Project, it’s not going to carry a great deal of shelf life. The measure of Florida football will be taken next season. Beating a skeletal Ohio State club isn’t a catapult to dominance.
By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee
- This game was billed as the Urban Meyer Bowl, but in reality, it was a meeting between two teams that were just ready for the season to end...and it showed. The sloppy play proved that both of these teams have a very long way to go, and if I'm Ohio State, I'd be very concerned about Meyer's methods. Florida doesn't have football players, it has a track team - and Meyer is the reason for that. Maybe that will work in the Big Ten, but I wouldn't consider it a guarantee.
- Andre Debose has been more myth than playmaker, but his kickoff return was huge. It quickly gave momentum back to the Gators, and they never relinquished it.
- Will Muschamp's next move his hiring an offensive coordinator, and it's a big move. Gator Nation won't put up with this kind of offensive ineptitude for another year.
- Braxton Miller is going to be solid in Meyer's offense. He can take some punishment and not get rattled.
By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball
- Chris Rainey will end up on a NFL roster next season. While he may not be an every down back, he has excellent hands (led the Gators in catches today), and can play on special teams as both a receiver and punt blocker.
- Brian White deserves serious consideration for the Florida offensive coordinator position. After struggling to move the ball under Charlie Weis’ scheme, White modified the offense during bowl preparation, and it paid off today as the Gators moved the ball against a very solid Buckeye defense. Imagine what he could do with an entire offseason to prepare.
- It’s only fitting that Florida QB John Brantley ends his career on a winning note after all of the criticism that he received as the starting QB.
- Give credit to Will Muschamp for calling the timeout right before Ohio State attempted the onside kick late in the game. With the way the Buckeyes were moving the ball, the Gators had to recover the onside kick. Many veteran coaches would not have had the presence of mind to call the timeout in that situation.
- Shame on the Ohio State coaching for failing to put in enough practice time on special teams. Without the gaffes on special teams, the Buckeyes would have won this game.
- Braxton Miller finally had a breakout game as a passer. With Urban Meyer taking over as the Buckeyes head coach next season, Miller could emerge as one of the Big Ten’s top QBs next season.
- Despite the cheesy sponsorship, there were no taxes getting slayed in this game, but Ohio State was still unable to slay the SEC beast--again.
- Everyone likes to point to speed being the determining factor between the Big Ten and the teams from the south and west. After watching games over the last couple of years, it appears to have more to do with the aggressive play calling tendencies. Both Ohio State and Penn State showed conservative mindsets. Aggressive teams play faster and therefore look faster. This has to change if perceptions are going to change in the Big Ten. Maybe Urban Meyer can bring a step on the neck approach.
- Braxton Miller is a very talented athlete and is more than likely going to have a wonderful career at Ohio State, but he has some serious work to do in his accuracy and touch in the passing game. His inability to make plays in the passing game really handcuffs the game plans that the coaching staff is able to put together.
- As Keith Jackson used to say...special teams, special teams, special teams. Ohio State was outplayed by Florida, but only mainly when it come to the special teams unit. There was the kickoff return for a TD, and then the the blocked punt. Shore those up and this is a different game. Alas, it’s part of the game and give credit to Florida for its superb play in the phase of the game that made all the difference.
- Folks looking at the final score of this game are going to be misled. The Florida offense still struggled, and now that Brantley is moving on, you have to wonder if the play at QB next year will be enough to take the next step in the SEC. Advantage Georgia.
- Did Ohio State give up in this game? It almost seems as though the Buckeyes wanted to cry uncle! on the disastrous season that 2011 was. Despite being behind, the play-calling still tasted very vanilla. Can we at least get a little chocolate swirl served up when behind?
- This game pitted two .500 ball clubs which means Florida can at least wash the bad taste of the season out of its mouth, while OSU is forced to swallow a bitter pill with its first losing season since 1988 when John Cooper put the headsets on.
- Let the Urban Meyer era begin at Ohio State...