LSU Review / Mississippi St. Preview

A painful and well-deserved loss at home to LSU now has the Gator Nation no longer grumbling under it’s collective breath, but openly criticizing and questioning the coaching staff……and rightly so.

Maybe the Gators didn’t play well enough to win, but if you aren’t a dominant team, you can still be an efficient and opportunistic one.  Somehow Florida found itself still in the game by taking advantage of LSU turnovers in the first half.  Then, the big-time kickoff return for a TD by Andre Debose, and putting together its best drive of the SEC season to take the lead late.  But once again the coaches did not do their job to help the players close out the game with a win.

It will be discussed ad nauseam, but it was a colossal screw-up by Coach Durkin and Meyer and the special teams not to play a safe defense on a 53-yard FG attempt, allowing LSU to bumble their way to a first down despite a poor lateral.  Hey, even if they make the kick, it’s a tie game and you’re going into overtime with momentum and the crowd on your side.  Instead, Teryl Austin dials up a crazy blitz with zero coverage, and gets burned on a quick slant down to the 3.

And yet……and yet……you can still get to overtime by helping Jeremy Brown be ready for the obvious fade route……TWICE……by giving him safety help inside so he can play outside technique.  Nope.  Gators lose.  Everyone knows that Janoris Jenkins is an A-A candidate, and Brown had better get used to getting a LOT of action his way the rest of the season.

The struggles on offense have glossed over one concern — the Gator defense is allowing some long drives right now, and has to get off the field on 3rd down.  The LB corps has been pretty quiet this year despite the interceptions, and there is still little push from the DL, which is especially disappointing given the depth and talent of that unit.

Now there’s no more room for error, starting with the Homecoming game against MSU.  Dan Mullen comes back to the Swamp to try and ruin any plans the Gators have to get back to Atlanta.

The Bulldogs are not as strong on defense this season, but their offense is slowly improving behind a strong running game.  They still struggle to throw the ball, and Florida’s defense has to let their secondary handle their business man-to-man, and force long-yardage conversion attempts.

I have no real clue as to how the offense will play this week.  While there are some legitimate injury concerns with Brantley and Demps, I’m getting tired of the excuses coming from the staff……coach these guys up, and give them a real chance to be successful.  Hopefully Debose will be allowed more touches now, as he seems to be the only other game-breaker other than Demps.  Gillislee still is underused in the running game, and can take the load off the other guys……if given the chance.

It may be a huge blessing to have a open week after this week’s game in order to re-think the entire offense, and that includes possibly taking the play-calling away from Addazio, because the Dazzler is in way over his head, and has no real clue as to how to scheme and think ahead and “coordinate” an offense.  More damning evidence is the uneven play of the OL, which simply should not happen with so much experience and talent.  Jack-of-some trades, master of none.

Time to survive and advance.  Getting a win will be a boost to the team, and then they have 2 weeks to get ready for UGA and a shot at the East title.

Prediction  – Florida 31        MSU 21