The South Carolina Gamecocks defeated the Florida Gators in the most un-Spurrier way possible.
Eat clock with long drives, change field position, and punt.
Against the anemic Gators, though, the Gamecocks could have taken a knee on every play and still won.
Because the Gamecocks were far from perfect themselves. In fact, they tried to give the Gators a free football game, but being the nice guys they are, Will Muschamp’s crew refused to take it Maybe Muschamp wants his boys to win, and not allow the other guys to lose.
How did it happen?
Well, once again, let’s start with penalties. The Gamecocks actually committed far more than Florida, but the Gators’ came at the worst possible times- like 3rd and goal and 4th and 3. Again, these are the procedural pre-snap penalties that drive any coach out of his mind. The pass interference and late hits are more costly, true, but they also show that your player is hustling and playing with emotion. So that’s at least a trade off.
I’m starting to lose faith in Weis. It hurts to say, but I really am. The play-calling looked so much like it did a year ago with Addazio- dive left, dive right, occasional sweep, fumble, sack, two yard out pattern… with the same results. To Weis’ credit, though, I’m not so sure he has any other option. The offensive line is comically bad, and by now it’s pretty obvious that Brantley’s confidence is permanently and irreversibly messed up. Sure, there’s all this talk about him being a tough guy for coming back, and while I applaud his efforts, it doesn’t translate into results.
I will not call for Muschmp’s firing, or Weis’s… yet. The schedule is a nightmare, granted, but the Gators could be 8-2 right now. If they catch all the punts against Auburn, don’t commit 16 penalties against Georgia- many of them on third down- and convert in the red zone against South Carolina… guess what? This Gators team is 8-2, off to Atlanta, and maybe ranked in the top 10.
But no. We’re the Florida Gators. We tease our fan base by playing well for awhile against the great teams- see the touchdown to Andre Debose against Alabama, the 17-3 lead against Georgia, etc.- and THEN we choose to screw ourselves with authority, so hard that we cause the second big bang.
Give Muschamp time. Let him and Weis recruit guys for their style, and see how it works. I just think that being left with Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps is more than enough to work with to have success. The offensive line issues, however are Urban Meyer’s fault. He was too busy napping along with Steve Addazio to even sense that the line was horrendous. So for that, yes, Urban Meyer did leave the cupboard bare.
I’m sick of this. But I will tolerate it. Again, this is not last year. Last year our offense was just offensive to the minds of real football fans. Steve Addazio committed genocide on people’s brain cells both by running killer dive plays and then explaining to the poor peasants of Gainesville how the play works, interspersed with telling people that “everything’s gonna be OK”.
This year, we are left to clean up the mess that Addazio started. It happens in politics all the time- I’m not getting into what party I am or anything, just saying that when a new President comes in, he often doesn’t like what his predecessor has done with something and will try to fix it. But it sometimes gets worse before it gets better (in his eyes), and in the long run, improvement will be made. So I am giving Muschamp two more seasons (2012, 2013, this season’s been shot in the head multiple times) to get this team to Atlanta. There are some positive signs already- the team has played three ranked teams really tough. They just gave the games away because they’re not used to that spotlight.
For next year, here are the problems that MUST be fixed. I’ve been hammering on them all year, and the Gators haven’t seemed to have made any adjustment or commitment to fixing them. Maybe by putting them in bold will help. We can start next week against Furman, and then continue to work on them against FSU and if we make a bowl game (no sure thing) then we’ll work on them there:
Good thing Jessamen Dunker, DJ Humphries and Omari Phillips are on the way. Charlie Weis would be better off playing offensive line all on his own than sticking the current starters back out there to wreck another QB’s confidence. The trio of big baddies all rank as top 15 offensive linemen. I don’t expect them to be Michael Ohers in their first game, but by 2013, after a year of learning the SEC game, these guys should be primed and ready for war. Good protection can mean the difference between a win and a loss on even one play.
Deep receiving threats
I haven’t really touched on this because it’s far down the line of problems the Gator have, but UF has sorely lacked a dependable deep receiver. It’s safe to say now that Deonte Thompson has been a bust. We need another Louis Murphy-type receiver, or an Aaron Hernandez type tight end. We’ll be getting both in Latroy Pittman, Kent Taylor and Colin Thompson. In Taylor and Thompson we have arguably the nation’s two best tight ends, and Pittman is a speed demon.
Cut the penalties
Watching the Gators get flagged repeatedly for the same pre snap infractions makes me want to strangle small animals so they can let out some freakish cries that my own throat cannot make in order to express my utter disdain. I’m kidding. I love animals. I am not kidding, however, when I say the Gators get so many flags thrown at them you could collect them all and start a new continent. The penalties just gotta go, along with the lazy attitude that some of the players have when they simply ignore Muschamp’s tongue lashing and do it again. If the penalties stay, the wins will continue to fly away.
Here is where Urban Meyer left the cupboard stacked. At least, if you believe ESPN, scout and rivals. Ronald Powell, Jonathan Bostic and Dominique Easley have silently done great jobs but the rest of the defense just isn’t living up to their billing. Of course, that’s hard to do when your billing is the greatest recruiting class in recent memory, but then the top-ranked senior class of 2009 (Tim Tebow’s class) reached their potential and beyond. Muschamp is known to recruit and coach great defense, so I have some confidence this will be the first issue fixed. It’s not really bad to begin with right now, but it’s not at championship level, and all of these goals are what Florida needs to do to get to Atlanta. The defense will get there first.
The QB position isn’t really as important. Sure, it’s nice to have a Tim Tebow or a Tom Brady, but it’s not necessary. All we need is a Doug Johnson, and you can consistently win 10 games and get to Atlanta with Doug Johnson. That would be the last position that needs an improvement. Look at how LSU and Alabama are doing without a great QB. One loss between them and it came against each other in overtime. It’s defense that wins championships, and our coach is Will Muschamp.
So one day we’ll return to glory again.