Andreu’s analysis: Gators one step forward, two steps back

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In this Nov. 19, 2016, file photo, Florida players celebrate after stopping LSU at the goal line on the final play of the game in Baton Rouge, La. Florida won 16-10. Hurricane Matthew's football fallout concludes today in a game that was switched from Baton Rouge to Gainesville. [Gerald Herbert/Associated Press/File)

What’s happened over the past two weeks to the Florida offense is a microcosm of what’s been going on for the last eight years.

The Gators finally find who they think is the right fit at quarterback to spark the offense, and Luke Del Rio gets hurt in the first half of his start and is out for the rest of the season.

With the strong-armed Feleipe Franks returning after Del Rio’s injury last week against Vanderbilt, the Gators’ big-play wide receiver, Tyrie Cleveland, came back into play and caught a deep pass to set up a field goal late in the first half. But, in the fourth quarter a Vandy defender rolled up on Cleveland’s right leg and he sustained a high ankle sprain that could keep him out for several weeks.

So, here we go again with the offense: one step forward and two steps back. It’s a bad-luck rut the Gators can’t seem to escape.

Losing Cleveland is big, especially for this game with LSU. He is UF’s only proven deep threat, and with him out of the lineup, the Tigers are going to condense the field by playing 11 men fairly close to the line of scrimmage. That’s why the Gators need to take a deep shot early, maybe even on their first offensive play, just to establish they will try and stretch the field. If the Gators come out throwing screen passes to Brandon Powell and Kadarius Toney, the offense is going to be in for a long, frustrating afternoon against an LSU defense that is finally getting healthy for the first time this season.

I know the Gators are going to want to establish the run early with the three-headed tailback, led by true freshman Malik Davis. The best way to do that might be to come out throwing against a young LSU secondary that has had some breakdowns. If UF has some early success throwing the ball, it will create opportunities in the ground game.

The offense has shown steady improvement since the loss to Michigan, and it was encouraging the way Franks managed the game last Saturday. The Gators were highly efficient in the second half, showing excellent balance. Now, can the offense continue to progress with its biggest playmaker on the sideline in a walking boot? Chances are good the offense will take a step back on Saturday against a fast defense.

As for the Florida defense, it has become a huge concern coming off the porous performance last Saturday. LSU has been inconsistent on offense, but the Tigers are capable of making the same kind of plays Vandy made in the passing game. And the Tigers will test that shaky secondary early. Then, of course, you have to worry about a healthy Derrius Guice running the football.

It’s going to be a tough game all the way around for the Gators. They’re facing a wounded LSU team that will be jacked up and determined to start turning around the Tigers’ season.

Just like the Tennessee and Kentucky games, this one could come down to the final play. So, hold on.

Prediction: Florida 21, LSU 20.

 

22 COMMENTS

  1. If your best QB is a third string former walk-on…you have problems. This is the new normal for UF. It has been YEARS. Poor quarterback play, injuries, and celebration of mediocrity has become the running theme. The football program consistently underachieves. It has become both predictable and difficult to watch.

    • CMez. “New normal” is a Mike Winter phrase he uses often. It must be difficult to watch the FSU offense this year. But congrats on that big win, a real nail biter at that, over Wake Forest. And winning 14 SEC East titles, 8 SEC titles, and 3 national titles since 1990 is hardly consistently underachieving. And winning the SEC East the last two years can certainly be categorized as consistently overachieving. And how much does your FSU QB weight, anyway? Is it 160 or 165 lbs?

    • I think losing Cleveland is 2 steps back. Maybe 2 steps forward and 2 steps back, but Cleveland is really the only receiver threat on this team. Everyone else has gotten their receiving yards with short catches, maybe catch and runs, but he’s the only one that has, on purpose, caught more than a couple balls more than 10 yards down the field. I think that the talent is there for the rest of the WR’s, but the rapport Franks has w/ Cleveland is another immeasurable.

  2. Whatever you think Nuss should do, expect the exact opposite. When everyone and their mother knows he should call a passing play a running play is called 100% of the time.

  3. Negative Robbie is at it again. Failed to mention the Gators’ offense was HUMMING in the 2nd Half with Franks at the helm, and the defense completely shut down Ralph Webb. Sure, Shurmur was throwing all over the defense early on, but we settled in and started getting stops when it mattered. LSU’s greatest strength is their run game, and we just shut down one of the SEC’s best RB’s. Not to mention, Florida almost had 500+ yards of offense. This is a team gaining momentum and experience, not the opposite.

    • I agree. The tight ends are sneaking up (see Stevens). Toney and Powell are playmakers. Expect more Swain.
      The issue will be wether the Gators can pressure Etling into mistakes.

  4. Still stunned that Dre Massey, who was talked up so much in the pre-season, is nowhere to be found. He is listed as 3rd string in the slot. I thought this guy was a world beater. What happened?

  5. I think Robbie Andreu is right on the mark with his analysis, except that I believe that we will have more success with the passing game than he suggested, which should open up the running game (somewhat). I expect a better performance by our defense than what we have seen so far. My prediction is 27-23, UF.

  6. My prediction, Franks gets a hangnail early in the game and cannot finish. He will be back next week though. Gators in a romp, 46-5.

  7. And my crystal ball says………………………………….

    (all I know is that the team that scores the most point always wins, except for when they don’t)

  8. Kind of nervous because lsu has something to prove but i feel like franks will show growth and yes massey and swain as well as the tight end play finally gets going fla 17 lsu 14

  9. And the beauty of technology is we’ll get to read ”Andreu’s Answers” later today, too (well said, Robbie). I’m no Robbie, but this much I know, U.F. better get their game face on! This L.S.U., A&M, U.G.A trifecta will make or break this Florida season, regarding the ”S.E.C. EAST CHAMPIONSHIP”.

  10. Robbie I have been a Gator fan way before you, back when ” Gator Ray ” was our coach. I have seen alot of great coaches & then the other’s. Now do you really see a 5 or 6 win season for 2017 ? After watching Chump for 4 years, he should have been fired after the GSU, historial game for them. I never thought much of him as a Div. 1 coach, maybe a Div. 2 coach. Now comes Coach Mac & after 2 + years, I see no changes in offensive game plan or the playbook, it looks like he brought the CSU playbook & not the BAMA or at least SOS playbook who is right next door to his office. SOS still has a WEALTH of info & probably has tape of all his great games, including the first year we beat Bama at Bama, 9/15/90 17-13 to Launch SOS into the SEC fights. We have been spoiled by having some of the greatest coaches WITH SOME EXCITEMENT to say the least. Now with a 5-6 win season the big donors, The Bulls, the great supporting fans have been shortchanged since Chump. With a 5-6 win THERE WILL BE CHANGES & FAST. What I don’t understand about Coach Mac & Nussy are they going to live & die with what is a predictable offense for the last 2-6 + years, if they do THEY WILL BOTH BE GONE IN 1 DAY. Now recently I knew the media was going to blame Franks, but when you do it comes back to ALL THE COACHES & of course the play calling. Mac wanted Franks as his QB & we had 2-3 temp. QB’s. We have alot of great talent some are in the wrong position & some are still on the bench. We now are forced to playing EVERYONE to see what we really have & then run the correct plays, Have some EXCITEMENT, which I see very little. Now these kids who are no longer on the Gator team will NEVER WEAR THE ORANGE & BLUE & if they play should play in another conference & wait 1 year for what they THOUGHT THEY’D GET AWAY WITH & those people who were in charge of the credit cards SHOULD ALL BE FIRED, FINED & maybe even jail time. Now to get back to what’s left of our season I have a message for Coach Mac, IF YOU CONTINUE TO RUN THOSE CSU or looks like POOR HIGH SCHOOL PLAYS, YOU WILL GET EXACTLY WHAT YOU WISH FOR & NOT WHAT THE GATOR PEOPLE WANT YOU TO DO & that is at a minimum a 2 or 3 loss maybe better every year you are here, & I really had HIGH HOPES for Coach Mac coming to UF, but from what we all have seen, IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN… STAND YOUR GROUND ===GATORS… My only team is the Gators but we are in this funk right now.. Thanks for your time Robbie maybe Mac will see this note for you & him to take heed !!!!! Steve Whitlow a great & long time GATOR fan & supporter…..

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