Andreu's answers: Empty seats


Georgia Southern Eagles fullback William Banks (32) is tackled during the second half against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville Saturday, November 23, 2013. (Doug Finger/Staff photographer)

The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 7:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 23, 2013 at 7:32 p.m.

Before every game, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here’s Week 11:

1. Will Florida fans show up, or will The Swamp be half empty?

Two hours before kickoff, there were signs that maybe Florida Field would end up less than half empty. There were hundreds of open parking spaces in the O’Connell Center parking lot across the street and there were not a whole lot of fans gathered outside the stadium (or in the nearby neighborhoods). But come 2 p.m., most of the west stands were filled, an indication the alumni have not given up on this team. It’s a different story for the students, who didn’t show up for this one. There were thousands of empty seats where the students were supposed to be. Overall, The Swamp was probably about three-quarters full. The announced attendance was 82,459 (capacity is 88,548).

2. With only a week to prepare, how much will the UF defense struggle trying to slow down Georgia Southern’s triple-option offense?

Like most defenses with a limited time to prepare for the triple-option, the Gators had major issues that turned into game-losing issues. Not only did the Gators get gutted some on the dive play, they lost the edge numerous times, giving up big play after big play on the outside. From the second quarter on, the defense was clueless in its attempt to get the Eagles’ offense off the field. On the rare occasion the offense gained some momentum, the defense threw it right away like it so often has in this losing season.

3. Whoever starts at quarterback (probably Skyler Mornhinweg), will the Gators shed their conservative cloak and throw the football downfield?

The offense was again ultra conservative with the inexperienced Mornhinweg making his second start behind a patchwork offensive line that has become deplorable in pass protection. Mornhinweg did not even attempt to get the ball downfield until the Gators had no choice but to go that route trailing in the fourth quarter. So, the fans were treated to yet another bland, run-it-up-the-middle approach that ultimately had no chance of succeeding against all those defenders in the box.

4. Will Kelvin Taylor have a second consecutive big game now that he’s established himself as a playmaker at tailback?

With a 33-yard run on the game’s first offensive series, he got off to a quick start. But that didn’t last against a Georgia Southern defense that stacked the line of scrimmage knowing the Gators likely would not throw the ball, especially down the field. Taylor ended up with a solid performance — 92 yards rushing on 22 carries — but it was nothing special. He is, however, the best thing this inept offense has going for it at the moment.

5. With the UF defense focusing on stopping the run, will the Eagles hit some big plays in the passing game?

Georgia Southern hit so many big plays in the running game that the Eagles were able to pull off the monumental upset without having to complete a single pass. Kevin Ellison attempted only three passes, coming close on none, but that didn’t really matter, not with the Gators giving up runs of 66, 53 and 45 yards — and 11 double-digit runs for the game. Overall, the Gators were gashed and slashed for 429 yards on the ground.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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