Gators out to protect Murphy

Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) is sacked against Missouri during the second half at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo., Saturday, October 19, 2013.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013 at 2:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 1, 2013 at 2:39 p.m.

Saturday's Florida-Georgia game will feature two coordinators who could be coaching for their jobs.

The Gators rank last in the SEC in total offense, while the Dawgs have allowed more points than any other defense in the league.

Both UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease and UGA defensive coordinator Todd Grantham are under fire from fans following back-to-back losses where their units played poorly.

Over the past two weeks, Florida coach Will Muschamp said Pease and his assistants have tried to “needle down” what the offensive players are successful with.

“In the open week, when you've had two offensive performances that were subpar by our standards at the University of Florida, you go back and when I say simplify, rep the things that we know how to do well,” Muschamp said on his radio show Thursday.

“That's really what we've tried to do, and I've been very pleased with how we responded through the open week and the first practices of this week. I think you'll see a confident, fast football team on Saturday.”

Once again, Muschamp pointed to the struggles up front as the root of Florida's offensive problems.

“That's where we've underperformed,” he said. “We've had moving parts, but at the end of the day we need to play better.

“It all starts on the line of scrimmage, and our struggles in the last two games have been up front. We don't give Tyler (Murphy) much of a chance and our run game has not gotten started.”

One area UF appears to have made adjustments is in protection. On several occasions against Missouri, the offense lined up in empty sets with five receivers and no additional blockers to help the offensive line protect Murphy.

Look for the Gators to use their tailbacks, fullbacks and tight ends much more in protection against Georgia.

“We need to be able to throw it better, but in order to throw it you have to protect better, and that's been an issue,” Muschamp said. “We've studied ourselves on what we can do better to help our offensive line in some situations, scale back some of the things we're asking them to do so we can give the quarterback more time.

“Again, we've had some moving parts and it's been tough in some situations for us as coaches and our players. So you pull some things, figure out what you do well and rep those things 1,000 times to get really good so you can block all the looks in the run game and in the pass game.”

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