Florida Football: 10 Things We Learned from the Gators' Week 12 Win
Just one year ago Florida was 6-5 heading into their season finale against FSU. What a difference one year can make. Florida's 23-0 shutout win of Jacksonville State moved the Gators to 10-1 on the season as they head into Florida State week.
As they have for most of the season, Florida's offense struggled to get in a rhythm but the defense was able to pick them up and earn their second shutout of the season.
As always, every game is an opportunity to learn a little more about a football team. What did the Gators show us this week? Let's take a look at 10 things we learned from Florida's win over Jacksonville State.
10. Jeff Driskel Is Not the Reason Florida Has Struggled Offensively
We've heard that he doesn't throw the ball away, can't go through his reads quickly, misses open receivers and doesn't know when to throw or tuck it and run. For all his faults, Jeff Driskel is not the reason that Florida's offense has been on vacation since beating LSU.
After scoring a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, Florida's offense was held out of the end zone for the rest of the game. The Gators defense got into the end zone as many times as the offense did.
Florida was 2-of-11 on third down, their second worst third down conversion percentage of the season.
Florida's offense is broken, but Jeff Driskel isn't the reason.
9. Florida's Defense Is Still Making a Case as One of the Best in the SEC
Florida's defense continues to impress this season.
The unit gave up 242 yards today while keeping the Gamecocks off the scoreboard. The shut out was the second of the season for the Gators and Florida held a good rushing offense to just 1.7 yards per carry.
Florida's defense has carried the offense for much of the season and continue to prove on a week-to-week basis that they are one of the best units in the SEC and in the country.
8. Andre Debose and De'Ante Saunders Are in Will Muschamp's Dog House
Rumors swirled around Gainesville all week long that a couple of players were going to be suspended for this game and possibly the rest of the season. De'Ante Saunders and Andre Debose weren't seen before the game warming up with the team and were on the sidelines in street clothes during the game.
Will Muschamp has said that Debose has been out with an "injury" and that Saunders will be out the rest of the season with an "injury". I'm all for dealing with things in-house, but c'mon coach, nobody is buying that Saunders is injured.
7. The Swamp, Where Only Gators Get out Alive
On Saturday the Gators accomplished something only two other teams in school history have accomplished; finish a perfect 7-0 at home.
Florida took back the Swamp in 2012 and brought meaning back to the phrase "Only Gators get out alive".
6. Jack Crowe Is a Great Football Coach
Give credit to Jack Crowe for preparing his team this week. The Gamecocks played great football defensively and were able to move the ball on offense. After a bad personal foul in the fourth quarter, Crowe was seen on TV letting the offending player hear about it. His team was down 23-0 but Crowe was still coaching his team like it was a tie game.
Crowe has spent the past 13 season at Jacksonville State and has led the Gamecocks to nine straight winning season.
5. Florida Has a Long Way to Go Offensively
No matter how you slice it, or what kind of spin you put on it, Florida's offense has been terrible for most of the season.
The offensive line and wide receivers are filled with former 4-star and 5-star players that have underperformed and failed to live up to their expectations. It doesn't help that the offensive line has been riddled with injuries for a second straight season but Florida wasn't getting the job done offensively even when they were healthy.
With FSU and their No. 2 ranked defense in the country up next for the Gators, Brent Pease will have to come up with one heck of an offensive game plan if the Gators want to keep it competitive next week in Tallahassee.
4. Matt Jones Is Good
Gator fans are excited about Kelvin Taylor and for good reason. Taylor is the son of former Gator great, Fred Taylor, and broke Emmitt Smith's career rushing record as a junior in high school. Taylor is a great player and he will be a great addition to the team but don't overlook another player on the roster.
Matt Jones is Will Muschamp's kind of running back. Jones is a one-cut, north-south runner. He doesn't waste time dancing around in the backfield or try to bounce runs outside for more yards. When Jones takes the handoff he finds the hole, puts his head down and gains positive yards.
It's fine to be excited about incoming freshmen, Muschamp is putting together another great class, but don't forget about the players that are returning. The starting running back job will be Jones' to lose and he won't be giving up that spot easily.
3. The Seniors Go out on a High Note
Last season Florida State ruined senior night for the Gators. This season, the seniors made sure they wouldn't suffer the same fate.
In their last home game, Mike Gillislee, Jon Bostic and Caleb Sturgis accounted for all 23 points and went out in style.
Florida's senior class is comprised of players from the 2007, 2008 and 2009 recruiting classes. Those recruiting classes came after the most successful stretch of football in Florida history. While they were unable to carry the torch and keep Florida a national title contender, they did leave a positive mark on the football program.
2. Dante Fowler and Jonathan Bullard Continue to Impress
We've said it before and we'll say it again, Gator fans need to get excited about the future of Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler.
These two will be wreaking havoc on SEC offensive lines for years to come.
1. It's Been Ugly, but the Gators Are 10-1
Who needs style points?
Florida is 10-1 and, although their style of football leads to low scores and ugly wins, the Gators are getting the job done.
Give credit to Will Muschamp, his coaching staff and the players for rebounding from a very disappointing 7-6 season and making Florida relevant on the national landscape again.