CFN Take: Florida Gets No O In Loss To FSU
2013 Florida Gators ... Head Coach: Will Muschamp
Florida State 37, at Florida 7
| 2013 Record: 4-8|
8/31 Toledo W 24-6
9/7 at Miami L 21-16
9/14 OPEN DATE
9/21 Tennessee W 31-17
9/28 at Kentucky W 24-7
10/5 Arkansas W 30-10
10/12 at LSU L 17-6
10/19 at Missouri L 36-17
10/26 OPEN DATE
11/2 Georgia (in Jax)L 23-20
11/9 Vanderbilt L 34-17
11/16 at South Carolina L 19-14
11/23 Georgia Southern L 26-20
11/30 Florida State L 37-7
Basically … Florida State took care of business without a problem as Jameis Winston and Kelvin Benjamin connected on touchdown passes from 45 and 29 yards in the second quarter and on a four-yard play in the third. Devonta Freeman added an 11-yard touchdown run and Robert Aguayo nailed field goals from 49 and 28 yards away. Florida didn’t have any offensive punch, managing just 193 yards and a five-yard Hunter Joyer touchdown in the fourth.
- Florida State QB Jameis Winston completed 19-of-31 passes for 327 yards and three scores with a pick
- Florida QB Skyler Mornhinweg completed 20-of-25 passes for 115 yards and a score.
- Florida converted one of 11 third down plays with just eight first downs.
- Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin caught nine passes for 212 yards and three scores.
Georgia Southern 26, at Florida 20
Basically … A last-gasp pass into the end zone was batted away as Florida came up short in a shocking loss to a mediocre FCS team. Jerick McKinnon gave Georgia Southern the lead on a 14-yard touchdown with just under three minutes to play to stop a late Gator run. Kevin Ellison ran for two touchdowns and Williams Banks added a three-yard score for a 20-10 GSU lead, but Florida pushed back with a 22-yard Francisco Velez field goal and a 46-yard Solomon Patton touchdown catch to tie it late in the fourth before the late drive leading to the McKinnon score.
- Georgia Southern QB Kevin Ellison went 0-3 for 0 yards passing. He ran 15 times for 118 yards and two scores – the Eagles ran for 429 yards. Florida came up with 272 yards of total offense.
- Florida QB Skyler Mornhinweg completed 13-of-22 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
- Georgia Southern RB Jerick McKinnon ran nine times for 125 yards and a touchdown.
- Florida came up with just 15 first downs and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. GSU averaged 7.9 yards per carry.
at South Carolina 19, Florida 14
Basically … South Carolina scored 13 unanswered points in the second half with two of Elliott Fry’s four field goals and a 32-yard Bruce Ellington touchdown catch. Utilizing the Wildcat formation several times, and doing whatever it could to move the ball, Florida came up with a 20-yard Kelvin Taylor touchdown run in the first quarter and a 29-yarder in the second, but drives stalled throughout the final 40 minutes.
- South Carolina RB Shon Carson ran 13 times for 102 yards
- Florida QB Skyler Mornhinweg completed 10-of-13 passes for 107 yards with a pick
- South Carolina QB Connor Shaw completed 14-of-28 passes for 213 yards with a score
- South Carolina outgained Florida 377 yards to 307.
Vanderbilt 34, at Florida 17
Basically … Vanderbilt stunned the Gators with 17 straight points to open the game with touchdown runs from Patton Robinette and Jerron Seymour, who ran for a ten-yard score and added a two-yard touchdown in the third and a one-yard score in the fourth. Florida tried to hang around, getting a fumble recovery for a four-yard score from Kelvin Taylor, and got within 14 on an 11-yard Ahmad Fulwood catch late, but the Commodores controlled the game the whole way.
- Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy completed 30-of-46 passes for 305 yards and a score, but he gave up three picks. The Gators were -4 in turnover margin and committed 11 penalties to Vanderbilt’s eight.
- Vanderbilt came up with just 183 yards of total offense. Patton Robinette threw for just 57 yards.
- The win ended a 22-game Vanderbilt losing streak to Florida. With the loss, Florida falls to 4-5 needing to win two of the last three games against South Carolina, Georgia Southern and Florida State to go bowling.
- Florida averaged 1.1 yards per carry, Vanderbilt 2.9.
Georgia 23, Florida 20, Nov. 2
Basically … Georgia jumped out to a big lead, withstood a furious fourth-quarter rally and held on for a third straight win over rival Florida. The Bulldogs scored the first 20 points, getting two touchdowns from Todd Gurley and two field goals from Marshall Morgan. However, the Gators tallied the final 17 points, keeping Georgia out of the end zone over the final 54 minutes. The Dawgs held the ball for the final 8:17 to put the Cocktail Party on ice.
- Gurley led the Bulldogs in rushing and receiving yards, carrying 17 times for 100 yards and a touchdown, while catching three balls for 87 yards and another score.
- Florida QB Tyler Murphy accounted for neither a touchdown nor an interception through the air, completing 13-of-29 for 174 yards.
- Georgia QB Aaron Murray defeated the Gators for a third straight time, hitting on 16-of-25 passes for 258 yards and the touchdown to Gurley.
- The Gators averaged just 3.5 yards per carry against the Bulldog D.
at LSU 17, Florida 6
Basically … LSU got one-yard touchdown runs from J.C. Copeland and Anthony Jennings in the second, and a 31-yard field goal from Colby Delahoussaye in a tough fight. Jeremy Hill carried the Tigers with 121 yards, but it was the defense that got the job done allowing just two Francisco Velez field goals. LSU outgained Florida 327 yards to 240.
- Every once in a while, an SEC team really does have to get into a defensive slugfest. Zach Mettenberger only completed 9-of-17 passes for 152 yards, but he was helped by Jeremy Hill’s big day on the ground to help pace the attack. The defense never let the game get close – Florida didn’t ever have control.
- Tyler Murphy wasn’t able to break free running the ball, and while he came up with some nice passes, his 115 yards through the air weren’t nearly enough. Mack Brown and Matt Jones never, ever broke free. Brown ran for 56 yards and Jones was held to just 17.
- How is Florida going to get by without its NFL defensive tackle, Dominique Easley, up front? Antonio Morrison and the linebacking corps will do even more. Morrison came up with 12 stops and Michael Taylor made ten tackles, but there wasn’t any pressure whatsoever on Zach Mettenberger.
- Jamauria Rasco came up with a huge game for the Tigers, even if it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. The defensive end made four tackles, but he was providing a constant presence into the backfield. The LSU defense has had a few problems with its consistency, but this might have been its tightest game yet.
at Florida 30, Arkansas 10
Basically … Florida continued to get nice plays from quarterback Tyler Murphy, who threw three touchdown passes including a 51-yarder to Solomon Patton in the second and a 38-yarder to him in the third. The defense held Arkansas to just 275 yards and got a 42-yard pick six from Loucheiz Purifoy on the way to a 24-7 lead. Arkansas scored first on a four-yard Johnathan Williams run in the first quarter, but the offense failed to get back on the board until a Zach Hocker field goal late in the third.
- Not only has the emergence of Tyler Murphy made a huge difference in place of the injured Jeff Driskel, but he’s getting help from Solomon Patton, who caught six passes for 124 yards and two scores. Arkansas focused on stuffing the run, and the Gator passing game came through.
- Brandon Allen completed 17-of-41 passes for 164 yards and a pick, and his throws didn’t go for anything major – the Hog passing game didn’t get it done. Florida held Alex Collins to 54 yards and gave up just 32 to Johnathan Williams, allowing 111 rushing yards in all.
- There was some pop and explosion to the Florida passing game, but for the most part this was an effective and efficient day for the Gators. There wasn’t any drama and there wasn’t anything major to deal with after the first quarter. Going away from Gainesville until November 9th, the team looks as ready as it’s going to be for LSU.
- Arkansas continues to try to be physical, but the hogs aren’t there up front to handle defenses as aggressive and tough as Florida’s. Brandon Allen was coming off a nice performance in the firefight with Texas A&M, but he needs help from the ground game to take the heat off. Florida didn’t do anything funky, relying on the secondary to hold down the Arkansas receiving corps, and the O didn’t go after the first quarter.
Florida 24, at Kentucky 7
Basically … Tyler Murphy filled in fine for Jeff Driskel, throwing a nine-yard touchdown pass to Trey Burton and running for a nine-yard score to give the Gators a 21-7 first half lead. Matt Jones kicked off the scoring for Florida with a two-yard touchdown run, and Austin Hardin put the game away in the fourth with a 33-yard field goal. Kentucky’s only score came on a Joe Mansour 25-yard run in the first.
- It was only one game against the worst team in the SEC, but Tyler Murphy was nearly flawless. He threw a pick, but he completed 15-of-18 passes for 156 yards and a score. He came up with lots and lots of safe throws, but he did what he needed to do. Matt Jones and his 176 rushing yards took the heat off.
- Kentucky was stuffed cold by the Florida defense – it needed more big mistakes from the Gator offense. Maxwell Smith only threw for 90 yards, and while Jalen Whitlow completed 5-of-6 passes, they went for just 35 yards. The quarterbacks were under constant pressure.
- Losing Dominique Easley will eventually be devastating, but not this week against Kentucky. The Florida defense got a nice game from Dante Fowler on the end, coming up with five tackles with two sacks. The D swallowed up the Wildcat ground game.
- Kentucky is going to have big, big problems against decent SEC defensive lines. The Wildcat offensive style isn’t working without the blocking coming from the offensive front – the backfield didn’t have any time to operate.
at Florida 31, Tennessee 17
Basically … Jeff Driskel threw a pick six to Devaun Swafford early in the first quarter for a 7-0 Tennessee lead, but worse yet, the Gator quarterback was lost for the year with a leg injury. The team rallied with 17 straight points, highlighted by a 52-yard pass play to Solomon Patton, and Matt Jones and Tyler Murphy were able to put the game away in the second half with short touchdown runs. The Tennessee offense didn’t get into the end zone until the fourth quarter on an 18-yard Alton Howard catch, but six turnovers proved to be too much to overcome.
- Uh oh. The Gators aren’t exactly deep at quarterback, and now Tyler Murphy has to show he can be the consistent, steady man. He completed 8-of-14 passes for 134 yards and a score, and he ran well with 84 yards and a touchdown, but the downfield passing game that was already a problem will probably be non-existent. Get ready for the focus to be on the Florida O line. Without Driskel, it’s going to be grind, grind, grind. Mack Brown and Matt Jones were effective, but they hardly dominated – now they’re going to have to dominate.
- Tennessee has enough issues without making a ton of mistakes. In the fight for the quarterback job, Nathan Peterman was a complete and utter disaster, completing 4-of-11 passes for five yards with two picks, and Justin Worley completed just 10-of-23 passes for 149 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Florida’s defense is too good for the quarterbacks to be this bad.
- Dante Fowler had a whale of a game for the terrific Gator D. He came up with just three tackles, but they were all behind the line with a sack and a forced fumble. Meanwhile, Vernon Hagreaves and the secondary didn’t allow much of anything.
- The Tennessee defense played good enough potentially win, but it was put in an awful position time and time again. Florida got physical, but considering the problems with the Oregon offense last week, the D, for the most part, did enough to hold its own.
at Miami 21, Florida 16, Sept. 7
Basically … Florida turned the ball over five times to ruin a terrific game from the defense. Miami took advantage of the mistakes with two Stephen Morris touchdown passes, including a 52-yarder to Phillip Dorsett, and Duke Johnson ran for a two-yard score for a 21-9 lead, but the Gators tried to come back. Jeff Driskel led the way to a quick late touchdown drive on a 21-yard touchdown to Solomon Patton with just over two minutes to play, but the offense didn’t do anything with the ball in the final moments deep in its own.
- The formula almost worked. Great defense, check. Miami came up with just 212 yards. Time of possession, check. Florida had the ball for 38:20. Great special teams, check. The Gators came up with a blocked field goal. Power running game, not really, but the offense owned third downs and moved the ball. Turnovers … problem. The five giveaways killed the chances.
- Give the Miami defense credit for holding up well. It got beaten on, but it swarmed around the ball and forced big mistake after big mistake. Matt Jones was held to just 47 yards on 18 carries, and Mack Brown ran for a mere 29 yards on ten runs.
- Jeff Driskel played better than he’ll get credit for. He made two bad decisions – two very, very bad decisions – on picks, but he threw for 291 yards and he kept the offense moving. On the flip side, Miami’s Stephen Morris only completed 12-of-25 throws for 162 yards and two scores with a pick.
- Denzel Perryman had a whale of a game for the Canes with a huge, dramatic forced fumble – blasting the ball out of Matt Jones’ arm – while leading the team with 13 tackles.
at Florida 24, Toledo 6, Aug. 31
Basically … Mack Brown rumbled for two short touchdowns and Jeff Driskel connected with Gideon Ajagbe from four yards out as Florida overcame a plodding offensive day to win easily. The defense was fantastic, holding the high-powered Toledo offense to just 205 yards including 50 on the ground. The Rockets managed just two Jeremiah Detmer field goals.
- THERE’S the Mack Brown everyone has been waiting for. There wasn’t anything flashy or special, but he pounded for 112 yards and two scores on 25 carries, doing what the Gators needed him to do.
- Jeff Driskel didn’t turn the ball over, and he completed 17-of-22 passes, but he didn’t push the ball down the field and the passing game was effective, but not explosive. It was fine, for now, but eventually he’ll have to hit on a deep pass.
- Terrance Owens threw 38 times, but he only cranked out 155 yards with a pick. He didn’t get any room to breathe, and neither did running back David Fluellen. The Rockets had to give up on the run.
- Toledo converted just 1-of-13 third down plays.
What Happened In The Spring Game?
The Gators didn’t come up with a true spring game with several key offensive linemen banged up, so it was a glorified practice open to the public. While the defense dominated and looked like there’s plenty of hope for business as usual up front, part of the reason was because the offense continues to struggle. The passing game hasn’t shown enough pop with the receivers failing to make much noise this offseason.
- The big problem this spring was finding enough offensive linemen to play around with the depth. The coaching staff will have to wait until fall to find the right combination.
- Matt Jones will be the new starting running back. The 6-2, 206-pound sophomore is a pounder who fits the offense almost perfectly. He’ll be the new Mike Gillislee.
- So how is Jeff Driskel doing? The Gator quarterback has been okay this spring, but not sensational, failing to blow the top off the defense and continuing to rely mostly on his running ability.
Why To Be Excited ... The brutal performance against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl might have been the best thing that could’ve happened to the Gators. The team needs to upgrade and improve in several areas, and a dominant win with a 12-1 record might have given a false sense that everything worked – now, motivation won’t be a problem. The talent from some phenomenal recruiting classes is still there with 13 starters returning along with punter Kyle Christy, and now it’s time for some of the prep hype to turn into production. Several key spots are open and there should be a few great battles to form a rotation, but on straight speed and athleticism, few teams in America can match the Gators.
The secondary might have lost safety Matt Elam, but Loucheiz Purifoy is on the NFL radar as one of the nation’s best corners and there’s enough versatility to play around with corner Jaylen Watkins and a few other options. On the other side, yes, Jeff Driskel really is that good and now he should get a chance to open it up a bit, however …
Why To Be Grouchy ... Can the offensive line start to keep Driskel upright? He held on to the ball way too long at times – Exhibit A being the Sugar Bowl loss – but he also didn’t get much help. Tackle Xavier Nixon is gone, but he was a turnstile, and now it’ll be up to the rest of the line to show it can do more than blast away for the ground game. While there are some excellent prospects who haven’t panned out yet in the backfield, losing pounding runner Mike Gillislee will be a problem early on.
Yes, Driskel is good enough to flip a switch and turn into the big-time playmaker and passer many expected him to be coming out of high school, but for that to happen he needs at least one of the disappointing Gator receivers to turn into a productive, reliable target. The leading receiver, tight end Jordan Reed, took off early, and there will be an open casting call this offseason to find wideouts who can make things happen because …
What Needs Working On ... The offense has to find a passing game. Penalties were a consistent bother, and the offensive line has to be far tighter, but more than anything, the SEC’s worst air attack has to start opening up a little bit. Defense, running game and special teams were good enough to get the Gators to the doorstep of the BCS championship, but to take another step further, the O has to start taking a few more risks after hitting the 200 yard mark in passing just twice. Four of the five interceptions thrown came in the two losses, but picks aren’t going to be the end of the world considering the defense will almost always be able to bail the team out. This spring needs to unearth a few surprises at receiver, and now it’s time to start experimenting and start breaking out of the shell.
Team Concerns For 2013: The forward pass has to be rediscovered. Step One is giving Jeff Driskel more time to throw the ball a year after the line had so many problems in pass protection, but it would help if Driskel was able to get the ball out of his hands faster. Considering the overall talent on the defensive front seven, even with a few losses, the pass rush has to be steadier and more of a factor. Overall, the penalties have to stop after sinning a whopping 105 times compared to just 77 from the opponents.
Non-Conference Games: Toledo, at Miami, Georgia Southern
Games Against The West: Alabama, at Mississippi State
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 7-5
Likely Finish: 10-2
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Toledo, at Miami, Tennessee, at Kentucky, Arkansas, at Missouri, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Georgia Southern, Florida State
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at LSU, at South Carolina
Schedule Analysis: The Gators don’t get much time to tune up starting out with a tough game against a good Toledo team with a great offense. Then comes the dogfight with what’s sure to be an emotional fight at Miami against a team looking to make a major statement. With a week off, everything should be ready to go to start the SEC season with Tennessee coming to town. Fortunately, it doesn’t get too much easier in conference play with four of the first five games – Tennessee, at Kentucky, Arkansas and at Missouri – against teams that didn’t go bowling last year. But the fifth game is the bear.
Playing Arkansas from the West isn’t a bad deal, but things quickly change the week after with a trip to LSU to mark the start of a long stretch away from Ben Hill Griffin. Throw in an off week and the Georgia game in Jacksonville and Florida goes from October 5th to November 9th without a home game. Not only are the Georgia and LSU games away from home, but so is the showdown against South Carolina. Georgia Southern is a break before finishing up with Florida State.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive back. Even with a top class full of skill players last season, the Gators were still able to get
running backs Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane to add more flash, and Ahmad Fulwood and Demarcus Robinson to help the receiving corps and JUCO transfer Trenton Brown
to join Trevon Young for the O line. However, the secondary is going to shine with this haul grabbing top corner Vernon Hargreaves III and safeties Marcell Harris, Kanu Neal and Nick Washington good enough to start right away almost anywhere else.
The defensive front is getting some help, too, with linebackers Alex Anzalone, Matt Rolio and Daniel McMillin along with JUCO transfer Darius Cummings for the defensive line
all excellent prospects. The stars came on Signing Day with Jaynard
Bostwick at tackle and JUCO transfer Jarran Reed two big-time gets.
Don't overlook the late signing of punter Johnny Townsend, arguably the
best in the nation.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking:
5. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive firepower. The Gators haven’t had a superior running game in years, and the offense sputtered and coughed throughout last season. QB Jeff Driskel was the star of last year’s class and could be the franchise, but he’ll have to battle for the job and he’ll need more playmakers. However, that’s not coming with this class that’s full of next-level defensive prospects.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 21. That Class Was Heavy On ... Jeff Driskel. The 2010 Florida recruiting class was so phenomenal that there wasn’t anything that Will Muschamp could do, or needed to do, to try to upgrade the overall talent level. However, being Florida, the stars still signed with several terrific defensive backs including safety Marcus Roberson and corner Valdez Showers, a great running back in Mike Blakely, and a top punter in Kyle Christy. But the class will most likely be remembered for anything that top quarterback Jeff Driskel does. While he’s extremely mobile, under the tutelage of Charlie Weis he’s expected to be something special. No one’s
expecting him to be another Tim Tebow, but … let’s just say the expectations are through the roof.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 1. That Class Was
Heavy On ... NFL players.
Yeeeeeeeesh. Everything worked for the terrific
Florida class as Urban Meyer's health concerns
didn't turn out to be a problem in any way.
The Gators got 13 players (but it's probably over
15) that would be the crown jewel in the class of
roughly 110 other programs including Mack Brown, a
lightning fast back who might finally be the one to
give Meyer the feature back he's been searching for.
Chris Dunkley, Adrian Coxson, and Solomon Patton
might have started, or at least would've seen time,
at wide receiver last year and should be key parts
of this year's team, offensive tackles Chaz Green
and Ian Silberman will be starting at the next level
if they can effectively add 20 pounds of muscle, and
Sharrif Floyd out of Philadelphia and Dominique
Easley from New York City might be the nation's two
best defensive line prospects. And then there's the
secondary. Matt Elam and Jonathan Dowling are tall,
talented safeties, and Jaylen Watkins, Joshua Shaw
and Cody Riggs are special corner prospects.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 13. That Class Was
Heavy On ... quality over quantity. While there were a few misfires with the Gators not getting everyone they were hoping for, especially after the national title season, the stars they did get were top-shelf. Xavier Nixon might be the nation’s best offensive tackle prospect, Jelani Jenkins is arguably the top linebacker, Gary Brown is among the best defensive tackles, Nick Alajajian and Jonotthan Harrison are among the best guards, and Andre Debose is a top receiver. There aren’t a lot of prospects for each spot, so if the stars bust, there isn’t a lot to fall back on.