What should have been a blowout win was marred by one of the worst defensive performances by the Gators since maybe 1979. While Kyle Trask and Kye Pitts toyed with the Rebel defense all day, the defense continually looked like a high school unit, embarrassing themselves and forcing the offense to keep it’s starters in well into the 4th quarter to continue scoring and keep a safe lead.
The Florida offense was unstoppable. Trask and Pitts served early notice that they could be in line for some major awards this year, but there were many other contributors. The running backs, led by Dameon Pierce and Malik Davis, ran hard and also were featured more prominently in the passing game. Trevon Grimes, Kedarius Toney, and Jacob Copeland each had their share of big plays in the passing game. The O-line did a solid job, giving Trask plenty of time to scan the field and open running lanes for the RBs. But before anyone gets too excited, remember this was against a young, inexperienced defense with a new coaching staff. There are much tougher tests to come.
The Gator defense was horrific. Even with the offensive expertise of Lane Kiffen’s playcalling, they made Ole Miss look like last year’s LSU offense. Receivers were running unchecked and uncovered all game, and it was never corrected. Despite knowing the Rebel QBs would be looking to run, the pursuit angles were poor and the DEs failed to set the edge.
These breakdowns weren’t attributable to Covid-19 issues, loss of practice time, or inexperienced guys getting extended playing time in the secondary – this was blowing basic football assignments and miscommunication. Just because Shawn Davis was stupid enough to get himself tossed early in the game for targeting and Brad Stewart was serving yet another suspension, this is the SEC……these guys are better than they are being coached. Todd Grantham is on the clock.
Florida returns home to the Swamp to face South Carolina. The Lamecocks put up a fight late against Tennessee, but, as usual, failed to finish the game. Another typical Won’t Misschump performance.
If the Gator O-line can do a serviceable job of run blocking and keep Trask upright, the offense should be able to continue having success. This Carolina defense is not as good as recent vintage, and can be exploited – they actually made Tennessee’s offense look good at times, which is hard to do. Of course, Misschump and DC Travarus Robinson will still have their axe to grind against Florida and do everything they can to spring an upset, so the Gators should expect a motivated defensive opponent.
Sadly, until the Gator defense shows up, nothing is certain. There is too much talent on paper to allow the Lamecocks much success on offense, but I have a serious lack of confidence in Grantham right now. The return of Davis and Stewart at safety hopefully provided a big boost to the secondary, and here’s hoping Kyree Campbell returns at DT to provide more depth and experience. Carolina has a new starting QB in transfer Collin Hill – he was serviceable against Tennessee, but has nowhere near the mobilty the Ole MIss QBs had, which will help the Florida pass rush. His main target is WR Shi Smith – the secondary will have their ficus on him, as they won’t have to worry about as many other threats that the Rebels offered. Misschump still wants to run the ball, but the Lamecock O-line and RBs are retooling, and shouldn’t be as tough to deal with as usual. Of course, the best scenario would be that the Gator offense gets Carolina behind on the scoreboard and forces them into being one-dimensional.
I expect Carolina to play hard, as MIsschump and Trevarus Robinson still have an axe to grind with Florida after getting fired. As long as the Gators don’t implode with turnovers and keep Trask upright, the offense should be able to put up enough points for a comfprtable win – but it likely won’t be decided until sometime in the second half.
S. Carolina 17