There was lots of hype for this game, and rightly so. You don't get a one-game playoff for the SEC East that often. But, as it turned out, the Gators are who we thought they were: a bad football team.
Saturday night's 36-14 beating at the hands of Steve Spurrier and South Carolina was thorough and complete. Florida was outgained 347-67 through three quarters and allowed the Gamecocks to control possession for 40 of 60 minutes. Andre Debose's touchdown on the opening kickoff return sent a solid crowd in The Swamp into complete bedlam, but that was about it (Ted Ginn anyone?) as far as positives go.
And, as has been the case all season, there weren't many answers after the game. Either Urban Meyer truly doesn't know what's wrong with his team or he doesn't want to share it with reporters. Some of the same excuses popped up: South Carolina blitzed a lot and also dropped eight into coverage, meaning there was apparently no possible way for the Gators to accomplish anything productive. Blitzes and prevent defense aren't automatic game-winning strategies, Florida just isn't good enough to take advantage of opposing defenses.
John Brantley looked bad, and Trey Burton and Jordan Reed weren't really used. I expected the Gators to turn things over to Reed when the game got ugly, but they didn't. Meyer said after the game that Reed doesn't know the offense well enough yet to run it, but it sure looks like Brantley isn't good enough to run it either. South Carolina entered Saturday with the worst pass defense in the SEC, and Brantley had 46 yards and an interception through three quarters.
So, where do the Gators go from here? They said after the game their motivation for the final two games will be sending the seniors out with a win, and they should probably go ahead and start looking for a new offensive coordinator too.
I stand by the fact that firing Steve Addazio wouldn't make much of a difference this season, but something has to be done before next year. I'm a strong believer that new coaches deserve a grace period of around three years, but Addazio has been at Florida, helped recruit these players and has been in this system. He just can't run it well, and someone else has to be brought in.
His play-calling (as well as Brantley's play) was booed tonight, and rightly so. Florida never looked like a threat, and dubious calls like that screen pass on 3rd and 6 to Chris Rainey that lost three yards don't have a place in a program that aspires to win championships.
UF is by no means in shambles because of this loss, but it should at least serve as a wake-up call that changes need to be made. I know you want Addazio fired, but what else would you like to see changed?