Missouri Review

About the only good thing to come out the trip to Columbia was that the Visor has now attended games at each SEC venue.

Where to begin?

The offense is completely broken.  Every position area has problems.  Tyler Murphy played hurt with a bruised shoulder, and it was apparent on his missed TD throw in the 1st quarter to Burton, and some shaky passes the rest of the game.  He looked tentative and missed some open receivers by not simply pulling the trigger right away – you can see some reasons why he was the backup QB starting to come to light.  Kelvin Taylor showed some promise at RB, and looks like the lead ball carrier going forward.  The fact that he is still learning the playbook and can be a liability in pass protection is outweighed by his playmaking ability.  Mack Brown is an adequate backup, but won’t break off any long runs.  The WRs did not get open often to help Murphy unless it was on short, quick routes, but that leads to the continued crowding of the box by opposing defenses.  But it all comes down to……the (truly) Offensive Line……what a disaster.  This group as it’s constituted simply has failed.  It’s time to move some guys back to their natural positions and stop the square peg/round hole measures.  Tyler Moore either should play OG or sit.  Jon Halapio is just not 100% even though he has bravely soldiered on with his pectoral injury – maybe replace him with Moore.  DJ Humphries has disappointed at LT protecting the blindside – he simply is getting overpowered and lacks the weight needed for the position……maybe move him to RT, and let Max Garcia slide outside.  One sustained drive……unacceptable.  The entire passing game is suffering due to the crap OL play, but even when there is protection, the schemes, routes, and concepts appear weak and too simple to defend……another damning indictment of Pease.

As feared, the defense eventually cracked, and in a big way.  The inability to adjust to the runs to the left side of the Mizzou OL was particularly troubling.  The LB corps was exposed as too small and was pushed around.  Yes, the loss of Dominique Easley is being felt, but Leon Orr is simply a warm body out there, and Darious Cummings isn’t making any plays.  Dante Fowler had some flashes, but could be neutralized with additional blockers while the other defenders were handled – easily.  Jon Bullard is off-and-on, and lacks consistency – he needs to find a permanent home at either DE or DT.  Talk about a portent of things to come……Maty Mauk hits the first play for a long pass completion, and Cody Riggs gets himself tossed for targeting – inexcusable.  The DBs did an OK job on the short routes, but were burned on the corner and slant routes way too often.  Knowing the size of the Tiger WRs should have been an indicator of playing more inside technique – the staff gets a lot of blame for that.  Again, the lack of push from the DL on pass plays was evidenced, and allowed a QB making his freakin’ first-ever start look like an all-SEC player.

There is enough talent and good coaching on Defense to make adjustments to correct some of the problems, but this unit will continue to wear down and become disheartened if the Offense continues to fail.  And where’s the evidence that things will change, from players to schemes to coaching?  Brent Pease should be on immediate notice that he’s gonna get his ass run out of town quickly unless something different is tried – his tenure has been unimpressive.  Will Muschamp looked a little shaken for the first time in his career at Florida on his coach’s show.  He said the right things about change, but we’ll see if he follows through in 2 weeks.  Gator Nation is in an uproar, and for once it’s not all unwarranted.  The offensive staff has failed to date – even with personnel problems, it’s their job to give these kids the best chance of succeeding.  The rest of 2013 will lay the groundwork for 2014 and beyond.  The ineptitude of the Offense is going to affect recruiting, and that can spell the end to any coaching job.  Jeremy Foley won’t do anything rash unless absolutely warranted – Muschamp’s job is safe, but Pease and Tim Davis may have one foot out of the door.  Here’s the rub with coaching staff changes……Muschamp may eventually decide that these guys haven’t worked out, but how will that be perceived by potential new candidates and recruits?  That he’s a guy that has a quick trigger for coaches?  That he simply can’t identify a quality OC?  That he meddles in the offense no matter who the OC is?  Do recruits that play offense see this and choose to stay away?

It’s a sobering situation to have to get consoling words from Missouri fans of all people leaving the game.  The Offense has stunk for the majority of 3 years now.  Florida is just another team on the schedule, with fading national cache.  What should have been a SEC East Division there for the taking is a wasted opportunity.  How much damage is being done to the program?  You could se some arguing on the Gator sideline during the game, and how much longer until the infighting between Offense and Defense fractures the locker room?  It may have already started.

These are dicey times for Will Muschamp and Gator Football in general.  There is so much negativity swirling around the program right now it’s a challenge just to focus on helping the players and preparing for the next game.  Sadly, expectations are really low for the rest of 2013 – 5 or 6 losses are a real possibility.  I mentioned in my season preview that there was a good chance that this year’s record likely would fall behind 2012, but no one saw this abomination on Offense coming.  Some of the disappointment can be tempered by the staggering amount of season-ending injuries to key players across the board, but there are signs of cracks in the foundation of the program in coaching and player development (or lack thereof) on the offensive side of the ball that are troubling and that cannot be masked or ignored.

We’ll see if a nothing-to-lose attitude takes over, and whether a fresh start after a week off helps the team going forward.  It’s tragic to have it come to this for the Florida program.

I’ll be back next week with my preview of the Georgia game – it’s still great to be a Florida Gator, and especially not a mangy ‘ol Puppy.