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Rewind: UF-UM Further Review

This is a day late, but definitely not short.

Here’s a laundry list of thoughts, stats and highs & lows from Florida’s 21-16 defeat to Miami after rewatching the TV tape...

- The death of ‘Murderball.’ Where was the Gators’ physical rushing attack? Florida averaged just 2.8 y/c against last season’s No. 114 ranked rushing defense. The per carry average isn’t much better even if you discount the negative sack yardage. At times UF faced a stacked box (8), other times it didn’t. Florida’s offensive line simply failed to win the line of scrimmage on most running downs. Tailbacks Matt Jones and Mack Brown didn’t have a ton of holes to hit, but even when there was room they (both) failed to accumulate yards after contact.

- Speaking of Mr. Jones, UF’s sophomore back looked sluggish, tentative and indecisive. Jones rushed for nine yards -- behind Florida’s JUMOBO personnel -- on his first carry of 2013. He totaled just 38 yards on the ground on his next 17 carries. I counted just a single (1) YAC in the second half for Jones. Jones was also confused on multiple plays (see: running the wrong route, earlier turning the wrong way on Jeff Driskel’s first play action pass -- a 22-yard completion to Quinton Dunbar, ironically).

- Hunter Joyer had a rough afternoon. I don’t know if he’s still slowed by a strained hamstring -- the staff insists he’s not -- but the struggles of Florida’s fullback was a big reason why the running game never got going. Joyer whiffed on multiple blocks, while other times he just didn’t block anyone and went to the second level way too quickly.

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(Joyer whiff)

- Florida’s offensive line was a mess at times, yet perfectly adept at others. Overall, it was an uneven performance. UF’s line got minimal push in the run game, but they pass protected fairly well until injuries shook up the whole unit. Left tackle D.J. Humphries exited the game late in the second quarter, moving Max Garcia over from left guard. The transition did not go well. Garcia had little rapport with new left guard Ian Silberman (who also struggled) and allowed at least two sacks -- McCord (sack fumble) and Chickillo (the game-ender). Right tackle Tyler Moore (Nebraska transfer) had a tough afternoon too -- mostly in the second half. Moore was called for two false starts and a pair of holding penalties.

- Resident pariah Quarterback Jeff Driskel has been dissected enough since the loss, so I won’t belabor all the junior’s issues. To me, it’s about confidence. Driskel has all the physical tools, he’s tough as nails and has a big, live arm. But he plays frazzled, afraid to make any mistakes. He has tunnel vision and is too mechanical. He needs to just cut it loose and play.  His best throw of the day was when he stood tall in pocket and delivered a 20-yard strike to Quinton Dunbar as he was tattooed by a UM blitzer. But his accuracy was hit-or-miss (see: missed TD pass to Dunbar one play before the red zone INT), as was his field awareness. Below is just one example of an open wideout, but Driskel never looks his way.

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(Matt Jones will plenty of space. Ball was thrown to behind Demarcus Robinson on the crossing pattern)

- Against solid defenses (see: everyone aside from Tennessee and Kentucky) the WildGator plays are a waste of a down and do little for Driskel’s already waning confidence. Driskel tossed his first INT two plays after a failed Trey Burton run. I have no idea what Driskel saw/was thinking throwing into triple coverage. Upon further review, Trey Burton probably did run the wrong route on Driskel’s second INT, but it didn’t matter because the spot Driskel threw to certainly wasn’t where Burton was supposed to be. Driskel threw the ball too soon and high. 

- Defensively, the Gators played outstanding. Florida allowed just 212 yards to a potent offense -- 87 on two plays.  The Gators were definitely confused by Miami’s tempo in the first quarter. UM called lots of counters and boot-legs on its first couple of drives, but Florida eventually adjusted and played pretty flawlessly after the opening period. Dominique Easley was a monster Saturday and the offical stat sheet does no justice on his impact. The senior had a ridiculous series early in the second quarter: he blew up Duke Johnson (3-yard loss) and forced two straight holding calls. Also of note: This counters Will Muschamp’s postgame “We weren’t playing worth a dang…” and why he decided to go for it on fourth down the very next possession.

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(Johnson's 3-yard loss)

- Antonio Morrison played mad (team-leading seven tackles) and had a strong game.

- UM had five consecutive three-and-outs before Stephen Morris’ 11-yard competition to Clive Walford in the third quarter -- a missed tackle by Marcus Maye.

- On Morris’ beautiful long TD pass to Dorsett: No Easley, Loucheiz Purifoy or Leon Orr (also solid most of the afternoon) in the game. Backup nose tackle Damien Jacobs hesitated on the play action fake, while end Bryon Cox Jr. was totally fooled.

QUICK HITTERS

- Marcus Maye had two missed tackles, had the bad blown coverage and was late on several blitzes.  

- Stephen Morris is no Teddy Bridgewater.

- Vernon Hargreaves III is good. Really good. The freshman outplayed senior Jaylen Watkins (who did nearly collect a pick-six on the goal line) and could be a starter sooner than later. 

- Denzel Perryman. BEAST.

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(That's putting a hat on a ball)

- Driskel averaged 6.6 y/c on read option runs (40 yards and a touchdown on six carries). But only two of those carries came after halftime.

- Florida played Valdez Showers and Matt Jones together in the backfield a lot. Couple notable plays include the 46-yard bomb to Patton and Burton’s red zone fumble.

- Gators eat zebras. Penalties, penalties, penalties. Clay Burton’s late hit was two plays before Jones’ fumble. Easley’s roughing the passer negated a 3rd-and-long situation in the red zone -- aiding in UM’s first score. Speaking of…

- Safety Cody Riggs was slowed by Miami’s quick snap, and Herb Waters torched him outside, easily beating Riggs to the corner of the end zone for the game’s initial touchdown.

- Duke Johnson rushed for 12 yards on a play UF had 12 men on the field. No call. 

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(See Orr (#44) run)

- UM punter Pat O’Donnell recovered really well after his first kick was blocked (more on that in a second). The senior averaged 49 yards (on eight punts), consistently flipping the field position in Miami’s favor.

- Florida’s blocked punt -- of course by special teams extraordinaire Loucheiz Purifoy -- was fantastically designed. I’ve long wondered why others don’t do exactly what UF did: Send two bruisers (in this case Morrison and Michael Taylor) and smash the diamond protectors, allowing your best athlete (i.e. Purifoy) to wiggle inside and block the punt. It worked beautifully.

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- UF’s defense is super talented, but I bet it wishes Tyriq McCord wore orange and blue.

- UF’s botched two-point conversion was poorly blocked (see: Trenton Brown) but it wasn’t an audible at the line as the announcers suggested. K Austin Hardin and LS Kyle Crofoot weren’t even on the field. It was simply a funk formation and a play that wasn’t executed properly.

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(No kicker. No holder)

- Freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis is around the ball a lot on special teams.

- Overall, UF’s receivers -- T. Burton, Q. Dunbar and Patton -- actually had a productive day. However, Florida’s lack of confidence (and rightfully so) in its tight ends is obvious with so many full house (or diamond) formations.

- Clay Burton is not a starting tight end in the SEC.

- Powell is back (and maybe improved), and Muschamp is already utilizing the junior’s versatility. Powell lined up at end, as a stand up edge rusher, a middle linebacker, a rusher over the nose and more. It was very similar to how UGA employed Jarvis Jones last season. Powell’s sack was an impressive display of athleticism, as he went spin-cycle and ate up Seantrel Henderson to the inside. Powell also disrupted a reverse. He finished the game with 3.0 TFL.

- No numbers. Florida’s failed 4th-and-short play was run 8 (Canes) on 6 (Gators). Kyle Koehne, at center, Trip Thurman and Humphries were all destroyed.  

Screen shot 2013-09-10 at 11.32.58 AM
(And actually, at the snap at ninth defender entered the box)

- Dorsett was actually open on Morris’ INT, but UM’s quarterback airmailed the throw -- despite little pressure.

- Dante Fowler Jr. Jekyll and Hyde. The sophomore was invisible during the first half, but was a disruptive force after halftime. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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