Appalachian St. Review / Florida $t. Preview

A workmanlike effort on Senior Day, as the Gators’ superior physicality and depth were too much for the Mountaineers to deal with.

The odd cycle of personnel and play-calling continues, as Florida played more of Reed at QB and actually threw more downfield against an outmanned opponent, while force-feeding Brantley and predictable play-calling against SEC teams.  The defense was not great, but played hard and tackled well.

Despite the lopsided score, there are still the same troubling faults that seemingly can’t be corrected by this staff — poor pass blocking against the blitz, and simply no pass rush of significance.  ASU did move the ball decently and could have scored more points with better execution in the passing game. 

Now it’s on to the regular season finale against the School Out West. 

On defense, the Gators simply have to clamp down and play tight coverage on F$U’s WRs.  None of those guys are breakaway threats.  Jenkins has had an A-A season, and should be able to take away Haulstead, who seems to be Ponder’s go-to guy for big plays.  Brown, Riggs, and Moses Jenkins can handle Reed and the rest.  The Criminole running game is inconsistent at best.  They seem to break a long run with Thompson occasionally, but are not physical or dominating behind the Turnstiles.  The matchup between the Seminole OL and Gator DL is one of mediocrity this year, and one that the Gators have dominated recently — this gives F$U a decent chance to win Saturday.  The key may be the Florida LB corps — a unit that has simply not performed well the entire season.  They have to get proper drops in the passing lanes and tackle well.  The bottom line is aggressiveness from all units all game.

Of course, if the late rumors are true that Jenkins may not play due to a concussion suffered against ASU……all bets are off. 

It’s a crapshoot as to what kind of offensive game plan Florida will have ready.  I have little confidence right now in the ability of the staff to scheme for mismatches in personnel.  I do believe that the Gator OL can physically overpower the F$U DL in a power-running game, especially if Burton and Reed are allowed to mix in some counter-plays and sweeps on their own.  But what happens when Brantley is in to throw?  Will the staff actually give him some extra protection to allow a little time to exploit a poor F$U secondary?  The Gators have the advantage in talent in the matchup between their WR vs. the F$U DBs, but will they get the chance to exploit it?  

With no SECCG to prepare for, there is no reason to hold anything back in this game.  This is a huge game for recruiting ramifications and the perception that UF still is the dominant team.  A lot of what Urban Meyer has established since 2005 can be torn down with a poor showing this week.  I’m hopeful that the defense can get some turnovers to help the offense generate some points and lessen the pressure on them to sustain drives all afternoon.  It’s just a shame that the Gators have actually fallen back to the level of F$U and that they can actually lose this one.

Florida 24        Florida $t. 23