Andreu’s Analysis: This looks familiar

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South Carolina running back A.J. Turner runs the ball against Florida cornerback Marco Wilson during the first half in Columbia, S.C., in last year's game. South Carolina defeated Florida 28-20. [Associated Press]

I’m not exactly sure what happened during Florida’s bye week three weeks ago, but the Gators have come out of it looking and playing a whole lot like last year’s 4-7 team.

Poor quarterback play. Inconsistent on offense. Can’t convert third downs and stay on the field. Can’t produce big, game-changing plays. On defense, too many explosive plays, too many failures on third down, too few turnovers and big plays.

This is exactly what the Gators have become. It’s exactly what they were in the back-to-back blowout losses to Georgia and Missouri.

So, are they going to stay here the rest of the way, stuck in 2017? If they do, the Gators will win only one more game (Idaho) and once again lose to arch-rival Florida State to end the season at 7-5. That record would have looked OK before the start of the season. But not now, not after the 6-1 start that put Florida in the top 10.

The reality is, 7-5 is looking probable right now, based on what the Gators have shown on the field in the past two games.

South Carolina certainly is capable of doing the same things Missouri did last Saturday. The Gamecocks are explosive on offense, solid on defense. The Gators had a tough time competing against that combination in the past two games.

The Florida players say they have refocused this week and are putting in the same tough, physical work in practice that helped turn the season around after the early loss to Kentucky.

We’ll see if that works again, or if it’s just talk now that there’s not a whole lot to play for.

I just have a strong feeling that this team is what it is now — which is a lot like last year’s team. And that’s not good.

Prediction: South Carolina 31, Florida 20.

 

39 COMMENTS

  1. I hope you’re wrong Robbie…..but I suspect you may well be exactly right. I think the difference COULD be… character. If these guys suddenly find something deep inside that leads them to mentally and physically put in much better effort, then this is a very winnable game. They have the talent. The question is…do they have the character to rise above? We’ll know in about 24 hours.

    • I said it before, Rog — deja vu all over again. But you’re right, if they can find the character they had thru Sep-Oct again, no reason at all not to win out on the final stretch. If they really want to, which is the only thing in question right now.

      • Six, they lost their heart. Not sure what happened but Mullen has everything they need. But they the players have to have heart. That Lion king simba moment. Losing to UGA may have started it. But there is always that moment you have to teach deep down in your own soul a bring that drive, that heart to the task at hand. They are pointing at each other when they should be looking in the mirror.

        • Excellent analysis, 65. I’ve said all season that it’s a matter of character (heart), and that can work both ways. It’ll end, I suspect, the way it is supposed to end, but at the same time I’m a big believer in influencing the action about you and your own destiny. You and I have seen it too many times — giving up can be overcome before it’s too late. It will be a shame to wind up 7-5! It doesn’t HAVE to be that way.

  2. The Gamecocks may well outlast the Gators tomorrow, Robbie, but they’re not “solid on defense.” South Carolina’s SEC opponents have averaged well above 200 yards a game running the ball and the Cocks’ two best defensive players are doubtful. Their secondary has two safeties out, the top seven in that secondary includes four freshmen. Don’t be enamored by the Gamies hanging 48 points in hapless Mississippi. Watch the Gators to prevail by about 24-21.

    • I’m pretty sure most of our fan base knew this wasn’t going to be a 1 year fix. Anyone who expected a huge turnaround was fooling themselves. Personally all I care about now is beating FSU and having a strong bowl game to create momentum for next season.

      • That’s exactly where I am too, Joe. Funny (odd) because I started out saying in the pre-season that 8-4 and a good bowl win would be a reasonable definition of first year success. Got pretty excited about what I was seeing, but then of course had to face reality again and now I’m right back where I started. If they “must” lose to Muschamp, so be it — they don’t “have to” — but so be it anyway. Just beat FSU, win the bowl game, and have a great recruiting season to top it all off! I’m really easy to satisfy.

        • After 6 – 1, and the way we showed we were capable of WINNING competitive football games, 7 – 5 would be a HUGE disappointment because you know in your heart they are better than the lack luster last two weeks. USC should not be able to stay in the game for 4 quarters IF this team pulls out A heart from somewhere, (doesn’t have to be their heart) they can run the table. I think if we mix up all three remaining QB’s in this game and keep the gamecocks off balance we can win it. I think it will actually help out the O-line as well. Defense should be soooo embarrassed about what they put on tape, it should be no question how they play tomorrow. LIGHTS OUT!!!

      • “most of our fan base knew this wasn’t going to be a 1 year fix”
        Sorry, but the team that beat LSU was not the team that took the field the last 2 weeks. Nobody, not even you, could have predicted that they would have lost whatever they had, this quickly! We all thought they were this after the UK loss, but once they eeked out a win over MSSt and then beat LSU it was clear they had another gear, had taken a huge step and no one could have predicted that they would be Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde after that! Most teams play pretty consistently except for an occasional letdown, they have an identity that you can count on. This team has NO identity, and no one could have known this until the team showed it with their lack of performance the last 2 weeks. This isnt a weak team that played superior talent and got exposed, this is a team that beat a top team in the nation and then lost miserably to another top team and then a bottom dweller. No consistency, we dont know who will show up saturday! It could go anywhere from another blowout loss to a blowout win, totally unpredictable, and thats rare for a team thats beaten top talent! So, hogwash to the comment!

  3. You can bet Coach Mullen has been working overtime to develop a solid game plan and has given it his all to get the players in a fighting mood. He’s a smart cookie who doesn’t want the noise in the system to grow any louder. But he needs to get the qb Albatross from around his neck, and he has to get the dbs playing better man coverage so Grantham’s attacking defense can work right. Who really knows whether the dbs are really up to that task after all the injuries sustained? At least SC is having similar difficulties in their backfield.
    …..Tony and Jones could help out at qb if Franks fails to spark the offense. I hope that’s part of the game plan. The Gators have a ton of talent at the skill positions and on special teams. SC should have their hands full in The Swamp where the noise factor will be a good thing for the Gators who need to send Champ’s Banty Roosters back home losers.
    Go 🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊🐊

  4. talk about manic! picking losses 3 weeks in advance, before injury reports and momentum switches…i dont see us losing to south carolina, but if we do, thats really bad for the program, particularly with the number one recruit in the country coming to the game.
    what do we have to sell to a recruit anyway? we have to sell not just great coaching, greatish fans, nice place, but also the very best in training equipment, nutrition, recovery, injury treatment, counseling and fun for the players. we do have that imo,
    i acknowledge weve not fully recovered from the damage champ did to the program. we really may have to soon put some tarps over the east side top rows and other spots in the stadium until we get the program back. but i dont see us losing to champ. i see franks having a good rebound, and having a little more time to throw. i see the defense growing up and realizing it has to win games, and not be heartbroken when the offense cant. i see mullen making sure that gator fans are reminded he should have been picked over champ the first time, the second time, and now, and in the future.
    this is a huge game. waiting till next year is great when your young, me, well, every year is to be treasured. this one too, were not done yet imo.

  5. I’m concerned about whether this Gator team has already checked out for the remainder of the season. Hopefully, they have some pride and competitive spirit that motivate them to play with intensity. I’m also concerned that Mullen may have made a mistake by raising the issue of attendance at games after the Mizzou loss. This seems to make the narrative about what the fans can do to motivate the players rather than what the players can do to motivate themselves. That sounds like the narrative of a losing team to me.

  6. If you don’t have faith in the leader of anything it will be disarray. I think the team realized they weren’t going anywhere with Frank’s behind center. Mullen did his best to change that, I give him up most credit, but when a defense is daring your QB to make reads and beat them the running backs and the online better be excellent.

  7. You know it seems this team character change occurred during the Georgia game. I wonder if these young men got mad Coach Mullen and decided to go back to their old style? Possibly from the suspension of a player. I would like to be a fly on the wall in one of those meetings. Truly do hope that the offensive and Franks find a rhythm and the defense shows up. I do think this game has the chance to get ugly. I hope Coach Mullen solves this issue soon.

  8. I’ve thought about this game and my old brain keeps channeling back to October 31, 1970. John Reeves threw 9 interceptions, that’s right NINE, and Auburn edged what the year before was Ray Graves Super Sophs 63-14 in Gainesville. Now, I don’t know if that will be the results but after watching the last 2 weeks I think anything is possible. It’s extremely possible that the score will be worse than the last two games.

  9. Calm down everyone. If CJ stays healthy, gators likely beat UGA. The touchdowns went against his very much weaker replacement. Missouri was just a bad matchup, and Grantham got out coached by not adjusting to the quick throws by a great QB. SC is banged up, not as talented, and not as well coached. Vegas knows what it’s doing and Gators easily cover, even with Franks and all his weaknesses.

    • Vegas knows? Yea, like they “knew” about Mo.? Vegas sets a line and it adjusts quickly according to the betting to keep both sides equal. “Vegas” and the bettors had that one very wrong! In fact each week they both have alot wrong, but as long as the bettors are about equal they dont care! If “vegas” was so right, everybody would be rich and betting would be a cinch! Go ahead bet the moneyline down the ticket and see how rich you get! …See you in the poorhouse!

  10. Win or lose, Mullen is going to learn a lot about these players tomorrow and over the remainder of the season. He’s going to find out who he can count on, who plays hard, who fights no matter the situation, and he’s going to find out who belongs on the bench. “Sports do not build character. They reveal it.” I would say the same for adversity. The Missouri game revealed a lot about some of these players. A whole lot.

  11. What pitiful lives most of you must lead. If things aren’t perfect, it’s the end of the world. Not a single one of you expected a playoff bound team this year considering it’s year one of a several year rebuilding process. Our Gators have gotten better each week under CDM with the exception of last week’s loss to Missouri which was bound to happen after such a disappointment to GA. Think about it for a second…Georgia is at it’s peak of performance/expectation in 25 or 30 years, while the Gators are at our lowest of performance/expectation in the same 25 or 30 years. Given that fact, isn’t it awesome that we were ahead in the 3rd qtr, and down only 6 midway thru the 4th? Just think what’s going to happen after CDM has a couple years here. It’s gonna be awesome! Sit tight, and don’t go jumping off any rooftops just yet. Calm down, and Go Gators!