Missouri Review

From Ripley’s Believe It or Not, to Theater of the Absurd……

It all came crashing down on Will Muschamp, as the Gators completely laid an egg on both offense and special teams in a desultory Homecoming loss.  After that abysmal performance, it looks like he won’t survive as head coach, and another transition period in Florida football may begin……again.

The not-so-special teams got things started on a bad note, allowing Missouri to run the opening kickoff back for a TD to set the tone for a miserable night.  Just to cover all the bases, they also allowed a punt return TD that essentially iced the game at the start of the second half, and had an extra point blocked as well.  This was a perfect example of the inconsistency that has plagued Muschamp’s tenure, as one unit will have a great week (special teams almost won the LSU game), and then turn right around and collapse.

The offense was dysfunctional……again……as neither QB could establish a decent passing game.  To add insult to injury, both Driskel and Harris fumbled inside their own 20-yard line, Driskel’s resulting in a scoop-and-score, and Harris’ in an easy scoring “drive” for the Tigers.  Driskel capped off his lousy evening with a pick 6 that emptied the Swamp, leading to embarrassing television shots of empty stands, further damaging the program.  Harris managed to get the offense moving a little in the 4th quarter, but against Missouri’s backups and with the game out of reach.  Still no sign of the effective running game from earlier in the season.  Matt Jones still isn’t 100%, and the injuries he has suffered throughout his career have noticeably affected him.  Kelvin Taylor has little confidence right now, and his unhappiness with lack of playing time seems to be affecting his game.  But perhaps most disappointing was the glaring lack of touches for Brandon Powell until the 4th quarter.  He showed flashes against LSU of being an effective spread RB – but it’s just another example of poor management of talent on the offensive side of the ball……and falls directly into Muschamp’s lap.  The O-Line and WRs really looked dispirited as well……the strain of the poor QB play has affected their focus (although, to be fair, the WRs have brought a fair share of this on with a ton of drops).

It’s difficult to judge how the Gator defense performed, as the offense and special teams gave Missouri 28 points alone on returns, and a “drive” of less than 20 yards.  Again, how long can you go to that well before those guys finally crack and give in to the negativity flowing from the offense?  And how long before the locker room becomes fractious (again)?  The return of VH3 had a noticeable effect on the secondary, and the front seven looked solid……but admittedly against an offense partially reined in due to the lopsided score.

I’ll end this week’s article with these gems:

> Here’s an incredible statistic – in the past 10 years, teams that have allowed less than 120 yards of offense are 147-2.  The 2 losses?  By Florida, to F$U in 2011 and now to Missouri – BOTH AT HOME!!

> There was a quarterback in Saturday night’s game between Florida and Missouri that completed only 6-of-18 passes for a total of 20 yards — or 1.1 yards per attempt — with no touchdowns and an interception.  That quarterback played for a team that managed only 119 yards of total offense, averaging only 2.4 yards per play, and committed 11 penalties for 74 yards.  That quarterback was Missouri’s Maty Mauk, and his team won by 29 points.

As Paul Harvey used to say, “and that’s the rest of the story”……

We will see what the off week brings as far as the state of the program.  Will Jeremy Foley finally pull the plug?  Is he vainly waiting until the Georgia game to see if the offense shows a pulse with Treon Harris starting?  Can a team with little senior leadership hold it together mentally and put forth a solid effort in Jacksonville?  Will that even matter?  Perhaps Foley has already made his decision privately to jettison Muschamp, but there are pros and cons to announcing it now or waiting until the season ends.  Ironically, if Foley decides to fire Muschamp, and does it now, it could get the offensive recruits excited about coming to Florida.  It’s harder than ever in the modern recruiting cycle to have kids stay patient and wait and see what happens as late as the beginning of December.  It’s crazy, as that’s still 2 full months until National Signing Day.  The mind of an 18-year old football player is a mysterious thing……

See you next week with my preview of the Georgia game.  Hold on……it could be a bumpy ride!