Whitley Grades The Gators: Florida turns into the F Troop

David Whitley
Gator Sports

Gators Offense F

The running game was supposed to be Florida’s identity, and rush defense was one of many South Carolina weaknesses. The Gamecocks stacked the line, so the Gators came out winging it. That worked early, but the passing game isn’t good enough to rely on for 60 minutes, especially when opponent is getting pressure on Emory Jones. When the Gators’ tried to run – which wasn’t often – they got stuffed. Florida had 18 yards rushing in the first half. In short, Florida couldn’t run. It couldn’t pass consistently. It could commit two turnovers. To the extent the offense still has an identity, it’s not one that will win many games.

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Gators Defense F

Let’s see, South Carolina was starting a third-team quarterback and was averaging 15.6 points against SEC opponents. Jason Brown looked like an All-SEC candidate and the Gamecocks had 30 points at halftime. One score came on a turnover, but that hardly mattered. Todd Grantham’s up-and-down defense went down the elevator shaft. South Carolina’s 106th-ranked rushing attack had 284 yards against a soft defensive line. The simple counter play was again kryptonite for the Gators, who weren’t exactly Supermen to begin with. The Gamecocks scored on their first five possessions. Everyone thought Florida’s defense couldn’t get any worse than last season. Time to rethink.

Gators Special Teams C-

This was hardly the problem Saturday night. But as it’s been all season, special teams have hardly been part of the solution. Five kickoff returns averaged 19.5 yards, and one punt return went for minus-4 yards. Big plays have been almost non-existent this year, other than one fake punt against Vanderbilt. And eight games into the season, field goals are still a total guessing game. After Jace Christmann missed two field goals against Georgia, Chris Howard is apparently back in the coaching staff’s good graces. He made his one attempt from 30 yards. If that’s your special teams highlight, you’ve got issues.