Dooley Grades Gators: Poor showing on line of scrimmage

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Florida long snapper Ryan Farr walks off the field after Kentucky defeated the Gators to end the 31-year losing streak. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Offense D

First half: Florida again struggled to get anything going with the running game, but it could have been a more productive half if the line had given Feleipe Franks more time on one deep throw in the first quarter and if he had put more touch on a third-down pass to Tyrie Cleveland.

Second half: The 99-yard drive was pretty impressive and at least gave Florida a chance. Florida was able to move the ball, but couldn’t get the big plays.

For the game: The inability to run the ball effectively was a problem all night. Franks threw his first interception of the season and Florida had some big dropped passes in the game.

Defense F

First half: Kentucky’s offense had a streetball look with athletes just running around making plays. And it was effective except for the two big turnovers the defense came up with. The Gators’ tackling was hardly first-rate.

Second half: Kentucky scored touchdowns on its first two possessions on beautiful passes that were aided by a lack of a pass rush by Florida. The 20-yard run on third down late in the game by Benny Snell Jr. was a killer.

For the game: The Gators didn’t have a three-and-out the entire game. They had little pass rush. Losing Marco Wilson on the second play of the game was a blow, but Florida did not respond.

Special teams C

First half: Tommy Townsend had a nice punt downed at the Kentucky 9-yard line and Freddie Swain had a sweet 25-yard punt return that started UF’s only touchdown drive.

Second half: Whether he missed it or not is up for debate (remember, you always have to play around officials), but Evan McPherson’s missed field goal was a big deal.

For the game: There were some good moments, some not so good. Overall, the special teams didn’t really play a big part in the Florida loss.

Overall D

Kentucky is a good team. Not a great team. But neither is Florida. The Wildcats made just enough plays and left Gator fans wondering why they are so porous again on the offensive line. In a line of scrimmage league, the better one came away with the win.

69 COMMENTS

    • It’s completely comprehensible when you understand that this Gator team is still largely the same team that McElwain built. Things aren’t going to change very much until they’ve been shown the door and Mullen has his players in place. The missed FG didn’t change the game much if any. The Gators smelled before, during and after the FG call.

  1. I hate to admit this, but Kentucky was the better team. Our defense was as undisciplined as I ever remember seeing, seemed like a hundred missed tackles, did not fill gaps, no edge control, ends seemed to be constantly edge rushing a running QB. UK was masterful at holding w/o being called for it often. You could have called holding on every single play. Terrible play calling. We seemed to miss every back shoulder throw, yet continued to call it. The middle of the field open all night, yet we only hit it twice. Running the same slow developing counter all night with little to no success. We could run left with some success, yet didn’t call it more. Almost no zone reads. Our offense looks nothing like MSU. It is going to be a long season and an even longer rebuild. For all the hype on the strength program, we got pushed around like little girls… Sad day for Gators…

    • That’s one of the best analyses I’ve read yet. Agree with all of that. Add that Toney is our best offensive player and we failed to consistently get him the ball. Also, Franks, like so many strong-armed QB’s, needs to learn that not every pass needs to be a line drive bullet. Put some air under it, lead your elite-athlete receivers, and let them run under the ball . .give’em a chance to catch it for Pete’s sake. Still, Mullen will turn this thing around . . but he is going to need time.

  2. Snell ran through the Gator defense like a knife going through butter. All reports Nick Savage;s conditioning program was to make the team stronger. They looked like wimps on defense and the offensive line. Outside of the wide receiver skill positions there is not any Gator player good enough to play in the rotation of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State or Oklahoma right now.

  3. Different year same result. This line needs to be shaken up. The guards get manhandled and Ivey is too slow for agile DEs. My solution. Move Ivey back to Guard. Move Heggie into the rotation. If McCoy is ready he takes back the center position. Franks is better than last year, but we aren’t going to beat quality teams passing. We need to get the running game going. We also need to be smarter. Lollgaging in the 4th quarter getting to the line, 12 men on the field, offensive pass interference penalties and muffing the last kick return inexcusable. Last observation, after our last score on our last kick off. That ball is live. With all of the Kentucky players 10 yards from the line of scrimmage why not pooch it 40 yards and try to recover it?

    • That would have been a brilliant special teams move. I can’t for the life of me understand why they wouldn’t pooch kick that kickoff. I’d think that they would have a better chance of recovering one like that since the KY players would be turning and running after our KO team already had a running start. And I don’t know what the rule is in that case but could a Gator player pick the ball up and run it in for a score?

    • I was at the game and the exact same thought immediately jumped into my head. Totally baffled by why we didn’t do that . . pooch it and recover it . . bad call by Stoops but worse no-call by our special teams coach . . and I am a BIG Mullen fan and I know he is a smart dude, but that one still has me scratching my head.

  4. I’m sure Franks is a good kid, great athlete even a good student but he’s not a QB for a big time college program. We can put the kid gloves on all we want and yes he didn’t have much pass blocking but it’s painful watching him be oblivious to wide open guys waving their arms or throwing fastballs at receivers six yards away plus play after play try and squeeze a ball into a guy that’s completely covered. Just a painful night.

  5. The good thing is it took more than three decades to lose to Kentucky. I hope it’s a lot longer than that before I see UK come into the Swamp and dominate our team so completely.

    In retrospective is it that surprising? Mark Stoops has put his soul into bringing UK to that next level. Today was a very big victory for him and the Wildcat program.

  6. Before the season started I was hoping a QB would step up as #1 or a combination of Franks, Trask, or Jones would be sufficient for the season. After this game, a QB that is going to bring this program back to prominence may not be on campus yet. Martez Ivey commented that they didnt compete like they should of at practice, sounds like the team was looking past Kentucky. The team will need to prepare and focus one game at a time if they want to beat the teams they are suppose to beat and keep it competitive agaisnt the better teams. Last weekend we were on a high, this weekend we are on a low, lets see how we bounce back next weekend.

  7. Before it is to0 late, we need to replace Franks, he can throw a long ball but no vision and quick decisions.Even the Tv commentators kept sating, throwing to wrong [place, too hard and not accurate and stares down where he is going to throw. Trask or Jones will bring a new direction to our offense

  8. Don’t take anything away from UK, they are a good team. Stoops has building that program for years. All the players are his recruits, the staff has been intact for a while. Just a seasoned football program. They were eventually going to end the streak under his leadership. Heck, we have been getting the all lucky breaks in the past few years. But, I believe in Mullen, he has a proven track record, just look at the MSU game yesterday. His former players competed all 4 quarters and beat KSU. Its gonna take a longer that I expected, first they have to dissolve the freaking mindset that has plague this program since, really the last season of Urban Meyer. It starts with each player winning their individual battle every play on the field. Compete at the highest level until the whistle is blown after each play and keep your head in the game until the last second ticks off the game clock. Bad attitude is like a flat tire, it ain’t going anywhere…

  9. Losing is a habit, and it is one too many of these players have internalized right down to their bone-marrow. I thought Mullen could change it fast, but I certainly was wrong. What happens when people habituate losing is they develop a cop-out mindset– “Nah, I wasn’t even really trying” so they can tell themselves they COULD have won if they really wanted to, but they are too cool for school. Mullen wanted a challenge, and he has gotten his wish! I do believe he will win titles here, but I would now say it looks like at least a 4 year rebuilding project.

    • This is a big problem with programs that have had past success. We see the same thing happening at Texas, Michigan and USC. Players who come to these programs are thinking of terms of how it will boost their chances of getting into the NFL, they aren’t interested in being part of a team, they aren’t willing to do whatever it takes for the team.

      Now why does Saban win? Because he makes it clear from Day One, if you aren’t for the team, you will not last at Alabama.

  10. If this team was looking past Kentucky then that’s a coaching issue. They and the media have been blowing smoke up these guys butts since Mullen got here about how strong they are and how improved they are and Franks in particular. He’s as bad as ever once it means something. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Start rebuilding NOW. Let Emory Jones take the reigns it would be impossible to put out a worse product. Get rid of the O line. Everybody including Ivey, he’s not that good and regularly gets beat. The play calling was horrendous . What happened to the tempo from the week before? It would be ok to lose putting out a different product but to lose doing the same old thing is insanity. No way Mullen gets 3-5 yrs. if he doesn’t try to do what he was hired to do and that was to CHANGE the offense. as for the defense? They are living in the past. The CB’s are not very good . This product was in no way better than what Mcelwein put out there. Please do something different anything would suffice.

  11. Fans need to give Mullen a mulligan and have some patience. It isn’t his fault he inherited a team completely and utterly devoid of any upperclassmen leadership. Kentucky had veteran leaders and it showed in their will to win. Whoever thought that Florida would win over Kentucky every year needs to get a grip on reality. Yeah it sucks big time. Chris Doering called it that it was real possibility for Kentucky to beat Florida this year. The talent gap the last few years didn’t exist anymore. Kentucky should have won last year. If they had broken the streak in Lexington we would have been watching their fans tear down the goal posts.

    It’s going to take recruiting leaders and player development to right the ship. It isn’t going to happen the first year under Mullen. Let’s see how the players respond and if any leaders step forward. As much as we like to think players play for their school and alumni they play for their fellow players and their coaches. Hopefully David Reese gets back soon. He appears to be the only leader on defense who calls out fellow players. There appears to be no leadership on offense. I would be willing to accept losing with players who showed effort and heart than with the current upperclassmen who show none of those traits.

    • Mexigator, I agree and would also like to say that Franks was not the problem. He didn’t help his case by taking a sack on their goal line instead of throwing the ball 10 rows up in the end zone. I was very disappointed in our line play D- and O-. I was most disappointed in the overall play and effort of the defense. It’s hard to expect that we would continue the streak, but being dominated by Ky on both lines was especially hard. This is still the legacy of the McElwain regime and it will likely take longer than a couple of years to fix.

  12. Bad football loses before good football wins… They looked lost, they looked like year 1 of the rebuild. They do not know the scheme, were confused, and played slow… It will get better, but it is going to take time…looking like quite a while, actually…

  13. The mess that Meyer left was certainly exeracerbated by Foley’s poor choices hiring head coaches. However, having said that, Muschamp may have stood a chanc e to be successful had Meyer not left such an effing mess. What with the number of arrests and the whole athlete entitlement thing going on. One thing was certain, Muschamp would have continued to recruit at a high level. It was his recruits that made McElwain look so good those first couple of years.

    We now have an AD that gets it and hired Mullen. Mullen will get the recruits he needs to be successful, but it will take a couple of years. The program has not been successful for several years, give it a few years and it will come back.

  14. I don’t see it as a strength and conditioning issue as much as a mental issue. you have to have the “fire in the belly” mentality and also have the intelligence to know who to block and what your assignments are on every play. also,you have to have heart,period. for me its simple,its time for these guys to MAN-UP and act like warriors. call them out for the puss in boots they are! get them to play pissed,pissed at themselves and every opponent they face from here on. if they can’t do this put in the players who will. GO GATORS!

  15. Dan Mullen is a football coach, not a miracle worker. How can anyone expect him to turn the team 180 degrees in just one summer with just a few of his players? I said back in 2013 after the Georgia Southern fiasco that the Gators were no longer feared by anyone. I got crucified. Now Coach Mullen is trying to build the program back to respectability after 4 more years of the same inept coaching from Muschamp and McElwain and some are already wanting him fired. This is stupidity of epic proportions. Gator fans have suffered embarrassing losses for almost 10 years now so why not give the man a chance? Oh, I almost forgot. Has anyone checked on Chip Kelly and Jim Harbaugh lately? You know, the two miracle workers that got away?

  16. We will see how this team rebounds. I read another article about how the team did not practice well this week. How do you not practice well for only the second game of the season? How does that happen? One of the things the team needs to do to rebound is for the coaches to make some player personell changes. I think we have seen enough of some offensive linemen to know they are not very good. I would bench Fred Johnson and Martez Ivey this week and put them third on the depth chart. I have seen enough of Ivey to put him in the Sabelhous category. Seems like a good kid and probably works pretty hard. but he was plagued by a goofy ass rating system that overrated him .The defensive line looked like the O line, with a different name. Kentucky raped our line of scrimmage –both sides. Instead of X rays, some of these guys need pregnancy tests. Franks played like he needs laser surgery on his eyes.I hope for the team these guys get better and play faster. We were slower than Kentucky. I am counting on coach and we need to be patient. Probably too hard on the players in this post, but I’m frustrated. I’ll cool off as the week goes along. It just seems like I’m watching the same bad B movie over and over again.

  17. NONE of what happened Saturday night should be any reflection on Dan Mullen. This is an inherited team. And you simply don’t change the mindset or culture in a few months. Our players are soft and do not have a killer instinct. I watched the UGA-SC game and I hate to admit it, but UGA plays like it wants and expects to not only win, but dominate. The Gators do not.

    Recruiting will (can) fix that but much of this roster is just of a different mindset, thanks to what has happened the last 9 years. This is going to take time. But I believe we have the right coach in place to make it happen, if we can just give him the time and let him do it. Did you even think, even from day one, that Jim McElwain was going to take us back to top tier competitive football? I didn’t. Now I didn’t see it playing out the way it did, but I never thought he was the second coming of Steve Spurrier or Urban Meyer. I do see Coach Mullen being very, very successful here.

    I think it starts with the offensive line. What a train wreck. Until we get that unit fixed, nothing else matters. I’d also take a look at Kyle Trask, possibly letting him start this week. Even with less mobility (which could be harmful with this offensive line), I think his more accurate passing and presumed decision making would be more helpful that what we saw Saturday.

    Defensively….again, what a train wreck. But that too will only improve when the line play improves. Maybe having Cece back will help but I suspect we are a long way from truly competing.

    This guys, is all about culture. And that can’t be fixed in a few months.

  18. The good news is that now we see what we actually are…an average to poor team in complete rebuild mode, which starts in the trenches. The Dline in particular was surprising weak…very disappointed in that. CDM…you have more work to do brother…hopefully you will get a reasonable amount of time from our fan base.

    Also agree with some of the other posters, it’s probably time to get a look at someone else behind center.

  19. MY grade O line D- , D line D-, running backs?, Receivers D-, QB D, D backs D- linebackers D, Special teams C , coaches D-. If you add all that up you get a lose WE LOST! I had to check the TV to be sure yellow teeth was not there. Coaches sid up tempo, O line was better I did not see that!