Penalties continue to plague UF

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp on the sidelines against the Bowling Green Flacons during the first half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012 in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Bowling Green 27-14.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 9:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 9:53 p.m.

Florida coach Will Muschamp was at a loss for words to explain another penalty-filled performance from the Gators.

“That’s something we have worked on and I addressed that with the team after the game,” Muschamp said. “Believe me, we’ve exhausted every measure I know. We’re going to continue to do so.”

The Gators finished with 14 penalties for 106 yards in their 27-14 win over Bowling Green. The penalties stalled drives on offense and aided both of Bowling Green’s touchdown drives.

“We gotta clean them up,” Florida senior receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. said. “There were way too many penalties and that’s something we can control. Offsides, whether it be holding, pass interference, all those things we can control and that’s just being disciplined as a team.”

The discipline was lacking, particularly early. Florida had four penalties in the first quarter and 11 by halftime.

Two false-start penalties stalled UF’s first offensive possession, which ended with a punt. Tight ends Jordan Reed and Tevin Westbrook were each whistled for the penalties.

“Penalties are definitely momentum stoppers,” Florida sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel said. “They will kill drives. I think that if we didn’t have those penalties we would have had a couple of more longer drives. I gotta be louder on my cadences. I’ll take some of (the blame for) that.”

More mental mistakes hurt the Gators throughout the game. On a third-and-six, Florida senior Lerentee McCray was called for a roughing the passer on Bowling Green quarterback Matt Schilz. The penalty tacked 15 yards onto a completion, moving the ball down to the UF 15-yard line. Six plays later, Bowling Green scored a touchdown to tie the score at 7.

In the third quarter, Florida receiver Andre Debose was called for a late hit out of bounds after Bowling Green punter Brian Schmiedebusch converted a first down on a run during a fake. The penalty moved the ball down to the UF 27. Five plays later, Bowling Green scored a TD to tie the score at 14.

The Gators were the highest penalized team in the Southeastern Conference last season and were among the most penalized the nation. The Gators finished 2011 averaging 59.5 yards in penalties on 7.8 penalties per game.

Muschamp said cleaning up penalties was a priority coming into his second season.

“We gotta look at the tape and obviously make some changes with guys that can’t stay onside,” Muschamp said.

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