Miami (OH) Review/South Florida Preview

Is it too early to scale back expectations?

Wow – that was the most brutal offense in the Meyer era.  Mike Pouncey was shockingly poor at snapping the ball in the shotgun, the OL blocking was mediocre, no mid-range passing game.  Steve Addazio apparently needs a lot of help from the rest of the offensive staff in devising a game plan, or else Coach Meyer needs to make an executive decision and relieve him of OC duties, as there is no ‘coordination’ of the offense at all.

The OL should improve with Carl Johnson coming back this week at LG, but Xavier Nixon is a huge missing piece right now at LT, and the absence for a few more weeks of Matt Patchan is killing the OT rotation.  The RBs were hard to evaluate, as the OL blocking was so poor.  Jeff Demps showed again how dangerous he can be on any play, and Mike Gillislee, in my opinion, has passed Emmanuel Moody on the depth chart.  The running game has to markedly improve beginning this week.

The passing game was pathetic, mostly due again to the poor snaps and general poor OL play.  I’m glad John Brantley didn’t get injured covering all of those fumbles.  When there was time to read the defense, there were glimpses of solid WR play.  The drop by Deonte Thompson of a potential long TD pass continued his inconsistent pass-catching, but he does get open.  He has to make big plays when given the opportunity.  Omarius Hines is a great player, and has to be utilized more as the competition toughens.  Chris Rainey made no plays in space (what little there was).  Carl Moore was a non-factor.  Also disappointing was the lack of any depth in the rotation.  Will Andre Debose get a chance to contribute?  When will Frankie Hammond be allowed to play?  Right now, there is no contribution from the TE position.  Hopefully Jordan Reed gets healthy soon and gives Brantley another outlet.  Trey Burton looks to be a jack-of-all-trades this season as a receiver and in the shotgun in red zone situations.

Man, if the O stinks it up this week, look out. And the Gators find a way to lose? Wow.

Like it or not, if that happens, someone is gonna take the bullet, and we know ultimately who it has to be.  I’m going to try and remain hopeful for this week’s performance, but hope does not = confidence.  If this doesn’t improve significantly by the end of September, there is NO WAY you can defend Coach A as OC anymore. 

The defense looked good for a first game.  Lots of speed at all positions, some turnovers, and most of the depth chart got some snaps.  The best development was allowing no touchdowns, even when put into extremely bad positions by the offense. 

The DL rotation is the deepest it’s been since Coach Meyer arrived.  Jaye Howard was disruptive at DT, and Omar Hunter occupied blockers and space, as he should.  Sharrif Floyd made a few good plays as well.  The DEs did not apply much pressure, and this will be a concern all season unless some young guys make an impact.  Justin Trattou is solid, but Duke Lemmens is simply not an SEC-caliber DE.  Look for some combination of Ronald Powell, William Green, and perhaps Dominique Easley to see a lot more snaps as the season progresses.

The LBs are fast and can hit.  There were some fundamental mistakes made in pass coverage by the young guys like Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins, but that will be corrected in time.  The secondary was terrific, with Janoris Jenkins and Ahmad Black always in position and also being sound tacklers.  Both of those guys should have all-SEC seasons if they stay healthy.  Josh Evans did a good job filing in for the suspended Will Hill.  The turnovers generated by the defense were not only a promising sign – they were the main reason for the win.  Coach Austin was able to play most of the depth chart, always a good thing with so many new faces to work in.

Janoris Jenkins is definitely a top cover corner who also can hit, Ahmad Black is always in position to make a play, Jaye Howard looks like the real deal at DT, and the young LBs can get to the ball.  Of course, some maturation needs to happen, as there were some mental lapses on the one long drive they allowed at the end of the first half, but that will get corrected with more game experience.

South Florida is talking a big game coming into the Swamp this week.  They obviously feel that the win last season at Florida $tate compares to what they will experience Saturday.  I was of the opinion there was no comparison until the horrid play of the Gator offense last week……looking frighteningly like previous F$U offenses.  Since most of the Bulls’ players are native Floridians, they have extra motivation to prove something this week, and will make some plays.

On offense, BJ Daniels is a mobile QB, and will probably make some plays with his legs.  However, if the Gators apply any pressure on him, he will turn the ball over occasionally.  USF does have a solid rotation at RB and at WR.  The Bulls usually have difficulty sustaining long drives, though, relying on big plays to score.

USF was gutted on defense by the NFL the past 2 seasons, and have a lot of new starters.  With the new coaching regime, there may not be much to gain from looking at last year’s tape.  Having so many in-state players means a fast, aggressive team, though.

It’s easy to say that “if the offense plays that way again, the Gators could lose to USF”.  Can the offense play that badly again?  It was criminal to see so much talent being wasted out there, and I can only hope Coach Meyer does right by the players and improves the coaching and their chances.  I don’t believe that there is a magic cure that will fix everything in just one week.  I need to see proof on the field of improvement across the board.  Getting a few more starters back on the OL will help, and the embarrassment of last week’s performance is a strong motivator.  I would hope that the OL can lean on the undersized USF DL and wear them down.  I fully expect the Bulls to line up guys right over Pouncey to see if the snap problems continue, and a lot of blitzing until the OL proves it can hold up in pass protection

Until the offense proves itself, the Gator defense will need to carry the day.  The quality defensive depth on the roster will be a big advantage in the heat and humidity.  Generating some turnovers again would make things easier all around this week.

Florida 31      S. Florida 17