Miami Review

I came very close to a one word article – Turnovers.  But I know that so many of you are ready to hear the bitter details instead……I could never disappoint you like that!

What a disheartening effort by the offense, essentially giving the game away to scUM, which now opens a Pandora’s box of questions and concerns for this team that the staff has to find answers for.  It wasn’t the true freshmen or inexperienced players that blew this game – guys like Trey Burton, DJ Humphries, Tyler Moore, and to an extent, Jeff Driskel, have to perform better.

3 turnovers inside the 20?!  Stopped on 4th-and-1 at the 25?!  Allowing a sack inside your own 10-yard line, leading to the winning (or losing) score?!  Wow – I’m so glad I was there to witness that disaster…..and to listen to the scUM “fans” brag about how they are “back”……what a freakin’ joke.

The Gator defense, while giving up the one big pass play in the 1st quarter, was heroic.  They absolutely stuffed the ‘Canes after the 1st quarter, and allowed basically nothing the rest of the game.  It must have been hard for those guys to watch the offense time and again blow chances at taking the lead, so the defense could close out the win.  Easley, Powell, and the entire D-Line dominated, and the secondary was money, except for the one mistake by freshman Marcus Maye – but there’s no way anyone can pin this loss on that one play.  If these guys stay healthy, and aren’t worn down trying to bail out an ineffective offense as the season progresses, they could turn out every bit as good overall as 2012.

The running game, while not breaking any big runs, was pushing the scUM defense back slowly and surely and wearing them down……until the implosions in the red zone.  Matt Jones had the unfortunate fumble, but did OK in his first playing time after the viral illness – he will improve with more reps.  Mack Brown is functional as a backup, but has no explosion or breakaway speed – he could have broken off some big chunks of yardage if he had better speed.  Driskel is getting some criticism for his play, but he did throw for 291 yards and hit some deep throws.  Sadly, he missed a sure TD in the 2nd quarter when Dunbar was 20 yards behind the secondary, and still seemed hesitant when reading the defense at times.  Improved – yes, but still a ways to go……if it happens.  Patton certainly played much bigger than his physical stature, making some big plays downfield that have sorely lacking from this offense.  Quinton Dunbar certainly rose to the occasion going home to South Florida – he made some tough catches and ran hard with the ball.  Finally, this team has ZERO play form the TE position.  Clay Burton has earned a seat on the bench with all of his drops and a stupid personal foul penalty that killed the opening drive.  Let one of the young guys, either Taylor or Thompson, get their chance to play.  This position could be so critical in helping out Driskel……but right now there is no production.

Special Teams were very good.  Harden was fine on kicks (when given the chance), although he still is not getting his kickoffs into the end zone.  Kickoff and punt coverage were excellent.  They even generated the first scoring opportunity with Purifoy’s blocked punt.

The coaching and playcalling were strangely inconsistent at times.  Going for 2 was rather Zookish.  Putting Burton in the Wildcat on 1st and goal at the 8, when Driskel had the offense rolling, was poorly timed.  At least Burton could learn to exercise better judgement and hand the ball off on the jet sweep occasionally, where Patton would likely have scored, instead of taking a 2 yard loss……again.  Then he fumbles inside the 10 exercising poor ball security……he needs to refocus……it’s a team game.  The staff not calling a time out before the 4th-and-1 play to give Driskel better options, instead of trying to sneak against a 9-man front, was hugely disappointing.  The second interception, even after calling a time out, was caused by poor execution by the receivers – neither one even was looking back for the quick flat pass.

And best of all……the Gators have a extra week off to hear how bad they played.  I can only hope that the injuries to both OTs aren’t serious, and that both can play against Tennessee.  There is a TON of work to do……starting with getting back to fundamentals.  This team has to get it’s mind right……and fast.

See you next week with my preview of the Tennessee game.  Go Gators!