'D' needs some work now


Now that Florida has successfully tweaked its offense with the no-huddle, hurry-up attack, the Gators need to turn their attention to a defense that seems to be growing more susceptible with each game.

“Obviously, if there are issues, we try to get them cleaned up immediately,” UF coach Urban Meyer said. “We have very good coaches. We just have to clean up a few things because at times, we play outstanding defense. But it’s getting off the field that has been kind of a situation for us.”

The biggest problem appears to be one that’s difficult to fix. The Gators are getting almost zero pass rush from their defensive front four. In eight games, the defensive line has been credited with only eight of UF’s 15 sacks. That’s not good.

To get any pressure at all, new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has had to throw a variety of blitzes at opposing offenses, including some from the defensive backs. The problem with that is whenever the Gators send linebackers and defensive backs at the quarterback, the back seven is put in a tough position to cover receivers. Too many times this season, the Gators have been burned when they’ve blitzed.

The blitzes almost seem predictable at times (at least that’s the way it looked when UF was picked apart in recent games). Quarterbacks see the pressure coming and have a way of finding open receivers. Georgia tight end Orson Charles was so open at times last Saturday that there was no defender within several yards of him. Those were some easy throws for redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray in a high-pressure rivalry game.

Heading into the season, the biggest concern on defense was whether the Florida line (especially those undersized ends) could produce a steady pass rush. We pretty much know the answer now: it can’t.

Austin and his staff will have their hands full trying to find a way to tighten things up on defense.

There’s not a whole lot of time, because you-know-who (the guy with the visor) is heading to The Swamp in a little more than a week in a game that could be for the Eastern Division title.

If LSU, Mississippi State and Georgia were able to find the holes in the Florida defense, you know Steve Spurrier will find them (and maybe even some new ones) as well.


  1. I dread that very thing. I see no way out of relying on the Offense to out score them, frankly–a scary thought unto itself!
    Well, I guess it’s the same here as with our situation at QB:
    We’ll just have to make do until we get new guys in and up to speed.
    (Hey–weren’t we supposed to have all those “great new defensive players” in that last recruiting class? Are any of them even getting any game experience? I know there is some aversion to putting freshmen out there, but “when needs must…” It begins to seem that the characteristic most in evidence at the top of the coaching staff is inflexibility.)

  2. Like most of football, your problems and successes start on the line of scrimmage. I would not say our D-line is a complete bust, but they do not dominate. Remember the Mississippi State game? It was painful to watch our D-line get pushed around all night long. The D-line problem is compounded by a young, inexperienced linebacker corps. The linebackers have a chance to get better with more game experience. But the D-line is not a new group, they have been around for a while now, they just do not dominate, even when they are fresh in the first quarter. Watch for Spurrier to pound us on the ground early, and then throw deep over the top late. Given our recent “turmoil” at corner back, it could be a long game. That Jeffery is a man among boys!

    @Robbie- You do not know me, but please accept my condolences regarding your Dad. I get worked up, too much, over Gator football, and we all forget we are talking to and about real people. Keep your chin up and keep up the excellent writing, just the way your Dad wants you to.

  3. It’s a perfect time to let our stud freshman defensive ends, take over more of the load to generate a stronger pass rush. The Vandy game would be a perfect starting point for them followed by Appalachian State. They could learn and get better. They would then be ready for the big games against SC, FSU, and in the SEC Champuionship game.
    These frosh are bigger, stronger and faster than our seniors and are the future. They need more playing time and should produce better QB sack and pressure results in these upcoming big games. Their learning will also be important for next year.
    Lakeland GatorNaught

  4. The D would have looked better had the officials called more than just one of the 7 or 8 holds UGA’s OL got away with in this game. Multiple uncalled blocks in the back on punt and KO returns, multiple uncalled unsportsmanlike conducts, and a pair of vicious personal fouls by the UGA defense against UF’s Omarius Hines and John Brantley to boot. The officiating was absolutely criminal in this game IMO. I swear, I believe the Florida Gator DL should get a medal after every season for being the most HELD defensive line in CFB. All that said, we knoew coming into this season that the Gator D was going to have some “youthful” moments, and they have. The offense was supposed to be explosive and carry the load, but only now are we seeing the glimpses of the UF offense coming into it’s own. Also, DC Teryl Austin is not familiar with our seasonal opponents like Charlie Strong was, so he got a good feel for what UGA likes to do. The same with every team we’ve played this season. The D will get better as Austin adapts to the SEC schedule and CFB in general. I was encouraged how our D shut down UGA’s run-game and by the forced turnovers though. It was good to see them again. We just have to be patient.

  5. So Baxley, how many screen-names do you appear under on these blog message boards? Just from word usage, content, and other similarities, you’ve been in here as a fan of several other teams weekly to talk the talk. Strangely enough, you tend to disappear when you’re wrong. LOL! Flame bait like this is weak, playground stuff. How old are you btw? Ten?

  6. Floyd is a serious force in the middle….reminds me of Warren Sapp. Hunter is playing pretty well and he and Floyd in the middle can be a force. We need some more speed and athletics off the edge at end. Powell needs to be back at end and it would be great to see big Jay healthy and at the other end. That’s my fearsome foursome. p.s. Powell at right end, not left end. Put these guys in together and let them crank it up and see what you get! I think it would be good!

  7. Where have some of you guys been? The freshmen have played a lot! Powell has been moved to play a stand up LB, because his size has been an issue! You guys need to pay attention!

    Yes! Georgia was holding on just about every pass play. They realized they were getting away with it! Go back and watch the tape! Even the DB’s were holding our receivers! Meyer needs to get in the officials’ ears when they start seeing a pattern of no-calls! One other thing, our DL were playing right in to the blocks, most of the time, instead of going around by stunting and/or basic, fundamental techniques! They can’t be trying to out-muscle the OL!

  8. Yo, Ocala Gator, Powell is 6′ 4″ and weighs 250 as a freshman….not a size issue. This guy is an athlete and the #1 propspect in the country. I like him at right defensive end. We need pressure on the QB from the backside.

  9. The key to this season has to be beating SC next week.
    We should take advantage of the Vandy game to better our prospects vs. SC.
    Specifically, I recommend we be strategic about how we use our dinged up and injured players:
    1. I would limit the # of plays at Vandy for the following:
    Carl Johnson
    Rationale: Give them a chance to play but more importantly to heal up for SC. Chris Rainey, Trey Burton and Reed can pound the rock on offense.
    2. I would rest the following 3 players and not play them at all at Vandy:
    Jaye Howard
    Rationale: We absolutely need a pass rush vs. SC and Howard is it. We need DeBose’s big play ability vs. SC. Neither of these guys are essential to a win at Vandy.
    Let’s be smart!
    Lakeland GatorNaught

  10. I consider South Carolina as a “dangerous” team, but not a world-beater either. When they beat Bama, they were playing WAY over their heads emotionally and had the home-field advantage too. Pretty much everything went right for them that game. O.k., so I’m wrong then because Bama beat UF? Wel,, UF took Kentucky apart and USC lost to the Wildcats! The thing here about USC is that they certainly deserve respect, no doubt about that, but as a road team, they’ve not unbeatable, and we have them in The Swamp. After we’ve played Vandy I’ll be able to really tell what we’ll do v.s. South Carolina, but lets understand that they;re not some untoppable juggernaut either. They can beat, per their win/loss record this year.

  11. It’s funny how many coaches come to this blog. Why don’t we let Urban make the decisions. He IS the one with the 100+ wins and 2 rings, right? Have faith fellas. Urban said it best just last week. “Hindsight is 20-20”