Sunday Blog: UF defense being handled

Florida defensive back Marco Wilson (3) tackles Georgia wide receiver Lawrence Cager during Saturday's game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville.[Matt Pendleton/Correspondent]

The Sunday Blog comes at you after a fairly incident free Florida-Georgia game and I hope it was for you as well. We all know how crazy that place can get.

  1. If nothing else, Florida is consistent in its losses. There have only been two, but there have been common themes:

* The opponent’s offensive line stifles the Florida pass rush.

* Kyle Pitts disappears in the second half (zero catches after four in the first half).

* The opposing quarterback is remarkably accurate.

* The defense gives up way too many chunk plays (nine of 15 yards or more against Georgia).

* The Gators can’t get off the field on defense.

  1. There were dozens of plays to point to as keys to the Florida loss and coach Dan Mullen thought the biggest was when the booth and Birmingham failed to overturn a catch on third down. But these two plays stood out to me as evidence of Florida’s lack of physicality on the offensive line:

* On fourth-and-1 on Florida’s first drive, the Gators went empty and threw an incompletion. I have had readers complain that Florida should have used Kyle Trask on a sneak, but if you can’t get any movement, it’s difficult to commit to a play like that.

* Florida had a third-and-34 in the third quarter. The Gators split four receivers left and Georgia was playing soft because of the situation. Florida ran Lamical Perine off right tackle for two yards. I didn’t have a problem with the play call because you are not going to usually pick up 3rd-and-34. But you should at least be able to run the ball for something reasonable.

  1. There wasn’t a lot of movement in my rankings for the Associated Press Sunday except that I dropped Florida to 12th, just ahead of Auburn. This week is really going to shake things out. It should be fun to vote next Sunday, even if the poll’s value is diminished by the first College Football Playoff rankings coming out Tuesday night between basketball games.
  2. It is getting loud again in Tallahassee after an embarrassing loss to Miami, 27-10. The thing that has to be embarrassing for FSU fans is the lack of discipline on that team. And now Boston College has found its offense making this week’s game at BC even more difficult, as the Semis try to get bowl eligible.


  1. And don’t forget the Kyle Trask up-the-middle run in q4 that went nowhere. Baffling, particularly given the clock winding down. That said, Mullen isn’t perfect but I’ll easily take him over everyone else we’ve had since Meyer. Got recruit that OL hard. And that DL as well. And get some playmaker LBs. And while I’m ranting, can we make daylight savings time permanent so that it’s not twilight at 5pm, for pete’s sakes?!?! Okay, I’m going to go take a nap so I can be rested to later yell at the neighbor’s kids to keep their ball out of my yard and gripe to my kids about how today’s music is garbage… Definitely a mood hangover from the world’s largest cocktail party…

    • Like your post and totally agree with everything you said. Dan Mullen is my coach and wouldnt trade him for anybody. Sure he is going to make some knuckleheaded calls as we all do in life, so what, I certainly couldnt do what he can. I really blame the soft secondary coverage for Ga’s success on passing. Grantham did the same against LSU and its baffling. Their WR’s were running free with coverage yards away most of the time. Thats a grantham failure, NOT a lack of talent as some think. Wilson and henderson are talented enough but if you playing that far off a WR a good QB is going to make you pay. The difference in that game was the return of cager. For the last 4 games he’s been out and Ga couldnt score past 20 points on average teams, losing one game to SC. He was a game changer putting up most of their passing yards himself. Without him thats 132 yrds less and we could have covered the rest of their average receivers much better as ND, SC and Uk did. When Mullen finally went to a pass heavy offense we drove right down and scored twice but too little too late. I can only hope he sees the light from this game and realizes that’s the offense we have and need to follow.

  2. The Gator DL disappearing against LSU and UGA is more evidence of the Gators’ past deficiency recruiting top shelf talent at the line of scrimmage. With the SEC being a LOS league that lack of top shelf talent will show up when playing top shelf competitors like LSU, UGA and Alabama.

    With BOTH Miami and FSU having down seasons, the battle the Gators and LSU are in over OT Marcus Dummerville bears watching. Marcus is from South Florida and attends St. Thomas Aquinas High, which has recently sent us Brian Cox Jr. and Trevon Grimes. All other things being equal, that kid should not leave the state to play SEC football and prepa

  3. Not only does UF need big strong offensive and defensive linemen, but I think they need a true full back to block and occasionally take the ball. Florida’s backs are n’t big enough to power through a small hole. Clearly the defensive backs need to be upgraded as well. Not enough good coverage. Mullen needs two more years of good recruiting to get his guys in pace and ready for the SEC. Muschamp and Mcelwain didn’t recruit well at all especially on the offensive side of the ball. Go Gators!

  4. Wonder what the losing fans of the LSU-Bama game will be saying afterward? We need to recruit better? We need to coach better? We need better strength and conditioning? We need to execute better? We need better facilities? All of the above? It’s the nature of fans to be critical after a loss, and I’m certainly guilty. But the loser of that game is still an elite team.

    I realize that those two teams are a step ahead of our Gators at the moment. Still, I think we’re not that far behind UGA. I agree that both lines definitely need improvement

    • but that’s achievable, and we’re good right now. We just have to get better.

      Sometimes you can have enough talent in place, but you just get beat, because someone has to lose. Sometimes you lose, because the other team is better. I think we’re somewhere in between right now, but Mullen has us on the path to elite.

      • You’re absolutely right, Joe. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Or as my very first platoon sergeant used to say when I was a very young pup of an MP in a very nasty place where things didn’t always make sense, “Son, sometimes shyt just be’s that a way”.

        Very wise man that SSG Leotus Johnson, and a hell of an NCO. I see a lot of him in Dan Mullen.

  5. Isn’t it time to recognize Kyle Trask as an elite QB? He plays behind a weak offensive line with no rushing attack and still completes passes all over the place. He sees the field better than any QB the Gators have had in the last 20 years (Tebow included, remember Tebow had an offensive line). He is accurate and long. I cannot believe that he won’t be the starter next year unless Mullen has a mental meltdown and I wouldn’t be surprised if Trask gets into the NFL and stays there. He is certainly better than Brissett. Perhaps someone might remember that Tom Brady was not a starter in high school (I seem to remember), had a tough time finding a college that would offer him and didn’t start in college until his senior year. Sound like anyone we know? I bet that no one within 100 miles of Griffin Stadium ever predicted that Trask would be anywhere as close as he is to very good.

    • G, I said at least two years ago that Trask is a stud. And, I might add, a lesson in humility and perseverance that doesn’t come around but every so often. Had he been recruited by an AAC team more intensely, he would have probably been a headliner some time ago. But I’m glad that Mac, despite whatever other faults one might enumerate, took a chance on him. I’m even more glad that the youngster stayed with the Gators.

      All of which leads me to reiterate a point about glamor and 5-star athletes — sure, they are for the most part a good focus and usually a good bet — but we have a coach who seems to be able to discern a lot more about who he wants here by looking beyond the ratings handed out by the so called experts. Maybe that was an acquired ability at MSU, maybe not …… but it’s certainly the right track to be on to get us to our next national championship in the next few years.

  6. Hey Pat, you stated in your most recent podcast ”this is a game that will change perceptions.”
    Well, my ”perception,” perspective, whatever, has not changed much after the showdown in J’ville.
    D.C. Grantham is getting out coached by better teams, like L.S.U. and U.G.A. And the only perception that changed for me, after getting crapped on by bulldogs again, is that Swift can be contained. But at the cost of making Fromm look like a Heisman candidate… yet again. THANKS ”D.B.U.”!
    Go Gators! Just win 10, again, baby!