GAINESVILLE -- News and notes from the last couple days...
Changes are coming for Florida’s hopeless and "inept" offense.
The Gators (4-3, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) enter their second bye week this year coming off another miserable road defeat, and following Saturday’s 36-17 loss to Missouri, coach Will Muschamp vented his frustrations with the struggling unit.
“We’re inept offensively right now, and we need to make some changes as we move forward,” he said Saturday in Columbia.
The Gators rank dead last in the conference in total offense (336.9 y/g), yards per play (4.94) and explosive plays from scrimmage (defined as 20-plus yards).
“If you continue to do the same things, you're going to get the same results,” Muschamp said. “We have an awful lot to work on in the open week. We need to work on Florida, get better, do some things offensively where we feel like we can consistently move the ball, find out what our kids can do, regain our confidence on defense and continue to improve on special teams.”
Florida -- unranked for the first time since October 2011 -- was without three key defensive contributors against the Tigers and the players’ return dates are uncertain.
Strong-side linebacker Ronald Powell (ankle), defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (head) and linebacker Darrin Kitchens (shoulder) all missed Saturday’s game, while reserve linebacker Jeremi Powell (knee) and starting safety Jaylen Watkins (hand) were banged up in the loss.
TAYLOR BREAKS OUT
As unranked Florida -- hamstrung by injuries and inconsistencies -- searches for answers during its second bye week of the 2013 season, a rare bright spot did emerge in the two humiliating losses: freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor.
Taylor rushed for a career-high 74 yards on 12 carries in UF’s 36-17 loss to Missouri, displaying solid vision and sublime cutback ability.
“Kelvin’s a natural, instinctive runner,” Muschamp said Saturday.
The freshman’s 20-yard touchdown sprint late in the third quarter capped a 70-yard drive and made it a one-score game (23-17) -- with Taylor accounting for 52 yards on the ground.
Puzzlingly, Taylor tallied just a single carry the rest of the day.
In the loss to LSU on Oct. 12, the freshman rushed for 52 yards on 10 carries. With starting tailback Matt Jones sidelined for the season with a knee-injury, Taylor’s role should continue to expand as the Gators are in desperate need for playmaking talent.
MUSCHAMP STILL MIFFED BY TARGETING RULES
The NCAA’s new ejection penalty for targeting was a popular and controversial topic across the college football landscape last weekend.
Three Southeastern Conference players were ejected in the first half of three different league games, including Gators safety Cody Riggs, who was dismissed on the first play against Missouri for leading with his helmet on a sideline tackle against Tigers wideout L’Damian Washington.
Muschamp, who has voiced his displeasure with the new rule several times this season, called Riggs’ ejection “ridiculous.”
“I don't disagree with the call,” Muschamp said Saturday. “I disagree with kicking a kid out of the game in that situation. He wasn't maliciously trying to hurt anybody.”
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