Can Gators get untracked vs. Seminoles?
Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 3:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 4:50 p.m.
Florida’s stumbling, staggering, stagnant offense is desperately looking to somehow, some way find the energy to get up and start moving — make some plays and score some points.
“I don’t know, we’re searching, so we’re looking at different options and things we can do,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “It’s just been tough, you know. But it is what it is.
“Solomon Patton’s been a good playmaker for us and we’re trying to get him the ball more. Trey (Burton) can do some different things. Quinton Dunbar has been consistent.
“But as far as changing things, I mean you change some things for some moving parts up front so you’ve got to be careful as far as some of those things we try and ask these guys to do.”
This is a search the Gators might want to call off until next spring, when things have settled down and all the injured players are back — and Florida State’s menacing, playmaking defense is a safe distance away in Tallahassee.
The reality is, the injury-depleted Gators have pretty much run out of offensive options heading into Saturday’s game against the powerful Seminoles.
They’re down to their third-string quarterback (redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg), the patchwork offensive line is missing its top three tackles and can’t protect, the tight end position is producing nothing and the Gators have shown almost zero ability to create any dynamic, big plays down the field.
The offense has become an epic failure. Maybe that’s why no one blinked when Muschamp said after Saturday’s loss to Georgia Southern that the poor play of the offense has infected the rest of the team.
It’s hard to compete, it’s hard to stay interested, it’s hard to win games when you can’t score — and that’s the situation the Gators find themselves in. Florida’s anemic offense is last in the SEC in points per game (19.9) and yards per game (327.9).
“We’ve got to do a better job,” said Mornhinweg, who is expected to make his third start Saturday in place of the injured Tyler Murphy. “We’ve got to go out, execute and put points on the board. That’s on us. That’s on me. I’ve got to do a better job executing. We’ve got to do a better job putting points on the board. It’s as simple as that. We have to execute that.
“Football is a tough sport. We’ve played some pretty good teams. But there are no excuses. It’s all on us. It’s on me. I’ve got to execute better. We have to put ourselves in a better position to make plays.”
Sounds simple enough, but expecting to do it this week, against FSU’s dominant defense, may be unrealistic.
The Seminoles are fifth in the nation in total defense. They’ve intercepted 23 passes, scored a school-record eight touchdowns, are allowing only 3.1 yards a carry, have given up only four rushing touchdowns and are surrendering a mere 10.3 points and 278.1 yards a game.
That adds up to only more potential misery for Florida’s comatose offense.
“I think the thing that jumps out at you is 23 interceptions and eight scores on defense,” Muschamp said. “They do a good job of attacking the football. A lot of situations have been presented when they’ve been up in games and they’ve created some (pressure-free) situations for their team. The ball is in the air more. They’ve got more opportunities for that. That’ a credit to their team.”
For the Florida offense, finding solutions this late in the season, against one the nation’s best defenses, probably isn’t going to happen.
But the search will begin in earnest after Saturday’s game when the Gators start focusing on the offseason and the start of spring practice.
Muschamp said he will evaluate the offense, starting with his own offensive philosophy.
“Obviously, the first person you look at is yourself,” Muschamp said. “That’s what you’ve got to be able to do and see where we are. I think as a coach, you’ve got to do what your players can do. That’s something I’m looking at.
“We need to evaluate. I think in all situation as coaches it’s your job to evaluate your players and what they can do. And we ask them to do the right things. There have been some obvious things that have been very difficult for us to deal with as far as where we’re headed with things. That’s something I’ll evaluate and deal with.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.