After Feleipe Franks threw an interception in the end zone early in the third quarter last Saturday in the win over LSU, the Florida offense did almost nothing for the rest of the quarter.
UF coach Dan Mullen admitted Monday that he became too conservative in his play calling, mostly due to poor field position, he said.
“I got conservative,” he said. “The next three possessions we seemed to be back to the wall and I got conservative, and that’s a real bad combination for the offense. For the offense, you’re already backed way up near your own goal-line, and now I got conservative with my play calling.
“We go three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out and now you sit there and yell, ‘Boy, that’s terrible.’ I thought it was a lack of consistency, too, but it’s a lack of consistency on my part as much as our execution of the guys on the field.
“We’re always striving. I want to score every time we have the ball and I don’t want us to give up a yard. As you draw it up, that’s probably real unrealistic, though.”
More on Feleipe’s pick
Speaking of the momentum-killing interception, Mullen said Franks was trying to throw the ball away out of the back of the end zone, but could not get enough on the throw because he was getting hit by an LSU rusher.
“It was bad protection to start with,” Mullen said. “The second he put his foot in the ground, he’s got somebody hitting him right in the chest. So it starts with bad protection, then it goes to I guess bad decision-making in what he was trying to accomplish once he realized he was about to get hit and couldn’t put anything on the throw.
“If you look at the throw, Moral (Stephens) breaks open. He’s about to get hit, and instead of trying to rifle it into Moral as Moral was open right there in front of the DB, he tried to throw it away and couldn’t get enough on it because he was going backwards on his back.”
Mullen said Franks should have taken the sack.
“Best in that situation is just hold onto the ball,” he said. “We’ll just play the next play. We’ll find a way. We’re in the red zone. You at least want to definitely get points.”
Mullen said it was a good teaching moment.
“Absolutely, yeah,” he said. “Every play of the game right now for a lot of our guys experience-wise is a teaching moment.”
Stiner strikes again
For the second week in a row, sophomore safety Donovan Stiner produced the game-ending defensive play for the Gators.
Against Mississippi State, it was his big fourth-down sack of quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. In the win over LSU, it was his fourth-down interception in the closing seconds.
He was asked which is his favorite.
“I can’t really decide,” he said. “It’s too hard.”
Mullen said he would have preferred that Stiner bat the ball down rather than catch it in that situation.
“I was just focused on not letting the receiver get it,” Stiner said. “Once I knew I could catch it, I just caught it and went down. I knew it was fourth down, so I knew we could just kneel the ball and it would be over.”