ULL vs. Florida: Squeaker over Ragin' Cajuns Proves Gators Aren't Back
Florida rolled to a 7-0 record and a No. 2 ranking this season despite the worst passing offense in the SEC. Thanks to a dynamic running game and stout defense, head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease didn't have to give quarterback Jeff Driskel much of the offense.
However, that weakness jumped up and bit the Gators two weeks ago in the 17-9 loss to Georgia in Jacksonville and nearly did again in the Gators' 27-20 win over the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns at the Swamp on Saturday afternoon.
What's the lesson?
You can't be one-dimensional and expect to win football games at any level.
Championship-caliber teams don't need to resort to a blocked punt at the end of regulation to avoid overtime against a 5-3 Sun Belt team that came in as a 26.5-point underdog.
Driskel may shoulder most of the blame, but after 10 games, it's clear that the shine is off Pease in his first year on the Florida staff. This offense looks nothing like the ones that Pease was known for during his time at Boise State.
It's vanilla and unimaginative, which was expected early in the season, but can't succeed long term unless the play-calling changes. In other words, the Gators are overrated.
Florida shouldn't be held to 311 yards by the nation's 91st-ranked defense—not with the athletes who are on the Gators roster.
Can Florida win an SEC championship with this kind of offense?
Against ULL, running back Mike Gillislee only rushed for 3.2 yards per carry, the Gators offensive line was getting pushed around in the second half and Driskel was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury late in the third quarter.
Had the Ragin' Cajuns held on, Florida would have lost any chance at securing that at-large BCS bid. While the Sugar Bowl may still be in play, this team is far from BCS-worthy.
Prior to Florida's loss to Georgia, you could make the argument that the Gators were purposefully one-dimensional because it was working. Now, it's clear that it was out of necessity.
Florida is not back, unless "back" means a stagnant, one-dimensional offense that can't get things cranked up in any game, big or small.
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