UF heads into bye week dropped from top 25
Published: Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 5:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 11:05 p.m.
For the second time this season, Florida goes into a bye week coming off a road loss.
What: Florida (4-3) vs. Georgia (4-3)
When: 3:30 p.m., Nov. 2
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville
The Gators desperately need a break following Saturday's 36-17 beatdown at Missouri, which dropped them out of the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches' polls.
UF has been decimated by injuries this season and dominated on both lines of scrimmage in the last two games.
As bad as Florida's defensive unit played against the Tigers (500 yards allowed), it still ranks first in total defense in the SEC.
The No. 1 problem for the Gators continues to be their offense, which ranks 106th nationally after Saturday's output (151 total yards).
“We're inept offensively right now, and we need to make some changes as we move forward,” UF coach Will Muschamp said on his Sunday television show. “We have an open week to do that, to improve some things we're doing and look at some things we can do well.”
Muschamp reiterated that offensive line play is the biggest issue, and his staff will be shuffling guys around during the bye week in search of the best lineup.
“We have not been productive up front,” Muschamp said. “We have to do a better job in the run game, and, obviously, do a better job in protection.”
The Gators will also work on getting the ball to their playmakers more, with Solomon Patton being the top priority. The senior wideout leads UF in receiving touchdowns (four), receiving yards (426) and yards per catch (15.2).
“He's probably been our best player all season. A guy that's been very productive in special teams and on offense,” Muschamp said of Patton, who returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown Saturday.
True freshman running back Kelvin Taylor is another player who should see his touches increase. He had 12 carries for 74 yards (6.2 average) against Missouri, 53 of which came on Florida's third-quarter scoring drive that was capped by his 20-yard touchdown run.
After that series, however, Taylor only rushed the ball once the rest of the game.
“He's a natural runner,” Muschamp said. “He has great running instincts. We're very proud of where he is right now.”
With the way Florida's offensive line is struggling, the production may not improve no matter what changes the coaches make before the Georgia game Nov. 2. But Muschamp knows they have to do something differently.
“If you continue to do the same things, you're going to get the same results,” he said. “We have an awful lot to work on in the open week. We need to work on Florida, get better, do some things offensively where we feel like we can consistently move the ball, find out what our kids can do, regain our confidence on defense and continue to improve on special teams.”