Dooley At The Half: UF’s offensive line is struggling

Florida running back Lamical Perine runs through an opening in the Kentucky line as Kentucky nose tackle Quinton Bohanna (95) closes in during the first half Saturday in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Sun sportswriter Pat Dooley takes a look at the first half of the Florida-Kentucky game Saturday night:

  • The turnover bug returned for Feleipe Franks after a near perfect game last week against UT Martin. The interception on the first drive was an awful throw up for grabs when he should have just thrown it out of bounds. The second came in the second quarter when he had the ball knocked out of his hands before he could get off a pass. Both turnovers were on first down. Those are just killers.
  • So are holding penalties on touchdowns. Franks ran a pair in — from five and 21 yards out0— but holding penalties on Keon Zipperer and Jean Delance nullified both scores. There was also the issue of the offensive line creating running room for Lamical Perine, which did not happen. This offensive line is struggling to run block. Perine only had 11 yards rushing in the half.
  • Obviously not having injured cornerback CJ Henderson didn’t help, but Florida got torched by back-up Kentucky quarterback Sawyer Smith. He completed his first nine passes and didn’t throw an incompletion until there was 1:59 to go in the half. And these weren’t a bunch of bubble screens. Smith threw for 128 yards for the half. Florida’s pass rush really didn’t cause him a lot of trouble, getting only one sack.
  • You know it’s a bad day when Evan McPherson misses a short field goal. McPherson has missed three field goals in his career and two have been against Kentucky (although the one last year is debatable). 



    • They’re not stronger, Joe, but clearly they are better. And that’s from an SEC team picked to finish in the bottom half — it’ll become even more apparent when we get to the likes of Auburn, LSU, and Georgia. Even Mizzou will give us the business……unless, as you pointed out, the remaining work to be done becomes a priority and is taken seriously. If not, I can see an 8-4 season coming at best, maybe even a 7-5, with the Belk Bowl suddenly looking pretty good. A lot rides on “remaining work”, to be sure.

  1. What is up with Perine? 14 carries for 27 yards for 1.9 yards per carry. If you take away his longest run of 8 yards which came from the Trask pitch he was it was 13 carries for 19 yards at the line of scrimmage for 1.4 yards per carry. I realize the O-Line sucked but did you see him tip toeing up to the line all night? Pierce had 2 carries for 8 yards which was actually one 8 yard run. I do not understand why Mullins was not playing Pierce, Davis or Clement more. Just wait till we play Auburn, LSU and UGA defensive lines, we are in a heap of trouble if somebody doesn’t start making holes instead of looking for hole that do not exist.

    • doc, I think you answered your own question in your post. The OL play was very poor. You mention that Pierce gained 8 yards on two carries with all the yardage coming on one carry. If you analyze his carries like you did for Perine, by taking away his longest carry, then Pierce averaged 0 yards per carry! I don’t care which of those guys you put in the game, and they’re all very good backs, you’re not going to have much of a ground game if the OL doesn’t open some holes. In the absence of the OL opening holes, the best option for the ground game might be to put Jones at QB, call pass plays every down, and hope he can extend the plays until the D gets so spread out that it opens running lanes for him. Then you have to hope he doesn’t get injured from the repeated pounding of asking him to run so much. Another option would be to hope that Trask could pick apart the opponent’s secondary with his passing which would force the D to drop more into coverage and give the RB’s more room. The key word here seems to be “hope”. Short of improved OL play, it’ll take some scheming and/or trickeration to get things going on the ground.