Auburn Review

2012 starts now……

Another exercise in pain and suffering for Gator fans, as Florida threw away a winnable game at Auburn with horrid QB play and unconscionable turnovers on punt returns.  Despite the fact that Brissett and Driskel are true freshmen, are they really so limited in playmaking ability right now that the playcalling is barely above high school level?  Both guys missed a slew of open receivers all evening, even when they had time to throw – troubling.  The running game was marginally better, but Rainey has never broken his habit of giving up yards to bounce to the outside.  Gillislee must really stink in practice, because even after the staff said he would get more touches against Auburn, he remained the milk carton player of the week.  The only positive to come out of the running game was that Demps was held out, so he can try to get healthy again for the rest of the season.

Hammond seems to be the only consistent WR at this point.  Thompson is no factor, and Debose is always hurt……and needs to toughen up mentally if he ever expects to be a contributor.  Jordan Reed is wildly inconsistent as a route runner, cannot set the edge in the running game, and commits too many penalties.

The OL did not play well, despite a better matchup physically than the previous two weeks.  Green is having a rough learning experience at tackle.  Even the interior did not get a consistent push most of the night, which was especially disappointing.

Charlie Weis has to coach up the young QBs on reading defenses, and get them to improve their accuracy in a hurry.  As far as the playcalling, I’m actually OK with running some Wildcat with Burton at QB, as this seems to be the only way for Florida to generate a running game right now.  What I don’t get is not using it in the red zone – instead trying to get the young QBs to make plays that they have shown no ability yet to do.

The defense played hard all evening and hustled.  There is nothing more mentally difficult than trudging out time after time knowing your offense sucks, and that the game is essentially all on your shoulders.  They were valiant to the end, but simply couldn’t generate the big plays needed to steal the road win.  Beware of fool’s gold, though, as Auburn’s QB play was only slightly better, and their OL is mediocre.  What is amazing is the complete lack of turnovers generated by the defense……maybe due to schemes in place to play things safe, but……wow.

Player of the Game?  Matt Elam.  That kid is the real deal and a future all-SEC safety.

Special teams were disastrous.  Rainey was not even allowed to catch punts after the 1st quarter, and the final drop in the 4th quarter sealed Florida’s doom.  Why even allow someone to touch the ball at that point, when that was your last reasonable chance to tie the game?

Now that the Gators have essentially no meaningful goals to fulfill for 2011, it’s time for the staff to start making some difficult and significant decisions as to personnel moves, potential roster changes, and shaping the remainder of the 2012 recruiting class…….and even looking farther ahead to 2013 recruiting as well.  The remaking of the roster to fit the talents desired by the current staff will take a few more years……and will require a lot of patience from Gator fans.

In regards to the current roster……

Ron Powell is a non-factor at this point, and the staff needs to find a position where he can actually contribute to this team.  It may be time to consider a move to the offense.

Xavier Nixon is a great kid, but is simply not physically ready for SEC football.  Maybe move him to TE.

Either Driskel or Brissett have to make a move in practice the rest of the year to stake a claim as the 2012 starter.  Yes, Brantley will return before the end of 2011, but it’s all about the future now.

Sharrif Floyd is out of position at DE, and needs to move back inside to DT.  If this means Easley slides outside to DE for the rest of the season, so be it…..this move could actually benefit both guys right now.  The entire DE position is anemic right now.  If the staff can get some quality recruits in at this position, they are going to have the chance for immediate playing time……which, of course, will be especially painful in the SEC.

The LB play is not functional.  It’s time for Michael Taylor to get major reps, let Bostic and Jenkins fight it out at OLB, and get McCray in full-time at the other OLB spot.  McCray has actually played well this year, but is not a DE, and needs reps at OLB the rest of the season.

The safety position is in shambles.  Evens is not the answer, and Saunders is a freshman who is not an SEC safety, especially physically.  This would mean playing even more inexperienced guys like Shaw and maybe Purifoy the rest of 2011, but the staff has to give them their chance to better evaluate the possibilities for 2012.

Unfortunately, October has played out as many feared, and yes, it likely will get worse, as even Georgia is superior to Florida at this point and could make it a tough weekend in Jacksonville.  The coaches have a tremendously difficult task ahead in terms of keeping the young guys motivated, and getting leadership out of a senior class that might have lost it’s focus.