Florida football: 3 things learned from Florida's 30-3 loss to No. 16 Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl
Three things Florida football learned from its 30-3 loss to No. 16 Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium on Saturday:
Jack Miller may not be the answer at QB
Miller was under duress for most of the game, but his arm strength appeared ordinary at best. He made some short and intermediate throws but wound up a pedestrian 13 of 22 for 180 yards. An Ohio State transfer, Miller will be pushed by incoming freshman four-star recruit Jalen Rashada for the starting job this spring. Of course, Florida may have an eye on a quarterback or two in the transfer portal. Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz, who was up and down in two seasons as a starter in the Big Ten with the Badgers, visited the Florida campus earlier this month.
The OL looked ordinary without All-American O'Cyrus Torrence
Florida had allowed just 13 sacks in the regular season with Torrence starting 11 of 12 games at right guard. But without Torrence, the Gators surrendered four sacks against the Beavers. Left tackle Austin Barber was beaten on one of the sacks. Florida also couldn't get anything going on the ground without Torrence opening holes as Florida managed just 39 rushes on 33 carries. Florida coach Billy Napier said the Gators were burned in pass protection by blitzes as well and didn't put all the onus on the offensive line. Without Torrence and backup Richie Leonard IV, sophomore Kamryn Waites made his first of four starts at right guard and drew one of four Florida procedural penalties on the offensive line with a false start. "We lived in third in long today as a result of inefficiency, missed opportunities, penalties," Napier said. "When you live in third long, your percentages of having success are not good, right, and that’s when sacks happen. So, I think some of that is protection and it’s not always the offensive line, that’s what I would tell you. I think everybody contributes, every play, it could be the running back, the tight end, the receiver and certainly the quarterback so those are team situations, all players contribute to a sack.”
Special teams remain a problem
In the third quarter, Florida allowed Oregon State to convert a fake punt. Then, on its ensuing possession, Florida punter Jeremy Crawshaw had a punt blocked. The two miscues led to 13 OSU points, which extended its 10-0 halftime lead to 23-0 by the end of the third quarter. Florida cornerback Jordan Young did block a field goal to end of the first half, but even on that play, the Gators incurred a personal foul penalty on the return, which set them back 15 yards on the kickoff to start the third quarter. Florida will need to clean up those mistakes going into next season.