Florida vs. Missouri: 10 Things We Learned in the Gators' Loss
Another week, another loss for the Gators. This one was particularly ugly, as Missouri dominated Florida in nearly every aspect of the game en route to a 36-17 trouncing.
There were few, if any, bright spots to pick out from this one. Both the offense and defense were exposed in a variety of ways, and Florida's SEC hopes basically vanished as a result.
Tyler Murphy Is Not the Answer
Much of Tyler Murphy's struggles were not his fault, but he still had a few moments of poor execution.
He severely overthrew a pass to Trey Burton in the first quarter that would have resulted in a touchdown. After that, a number of his passes were batted down at the line of scrimmage. Furthermore, he is very lucky that only one of his passes was picked off.
Worst of all was his ball protection. Two fumbles on sacks are a crippling blow, no matter the situation.
Murphy certainly doesn't look like the same player that came in against Tennessee and looked confident enough to do whatever he wanted.
The Offensive Line Is a Liability
Perhaps a better term would be "mess."
Tyler Moore had two false starts on the same drive at one point, but he's certainly not the only problem.
The entire line could not pass block today. Murphy had all of one second to read the defense and find a man before he was forced to run for his life.
The running game was pretty bad as well. Aside from one drive in the third quarter, Mack Brown and Kelvin Taylor had little to work with.
Florida had no opportunity to get into a rhythm offensively because the line performed so badly. It was a disastrous afternoon.
Kelvin Taylor Is the Real Deal
Taylor, meanwhile, had his breakout drive during that aforementioned third-quarter possession.
He rushed for 8, 9, 14 and 20 yards on the drive, the last of which resulted in a big touchdown that made the game much tighter. It was the only drive of the game during which the Gators could pound the rock and establish any sort of consistency.
The freshman ran with good vision and toughness. He was arguably the lone bright spot for the Gators in this game, and that's a good sign now that Matt Jones is out for the season.
Solomon Patton Is the Only Offensive Weapon Left
Solomon Patton's kickoff return to open the second half was the only big play the Gators could muster during the game. He was also the only dependable receiver and is quickly becoming the only reliable offensive weapon.
His 63 offensive yards were second on the team, behind only Taylor. He now has 426 receiving yards on the season, which puts him well ahead of Jordan Reed's pace last season.
He has shown breakaway speed on both his routes and his ability to eat up yards after the catch. On a team that can't seem to find any consistent weapon, his performance has been a valuable asset.
Brent Pease Needs to Go
Brent Pease has drawn the ire of many Gator fans lately for his questionable calls. But today, some of his calls were more than questionable. They were downright incorrect.
After Taylor's impressive drive, the Gators came out and threw three straight passes that went nowhere. Did he not see that Murphy had no time to throw the ball throughout the game? The Gators finally established a ground attack, and they ditched it.
And the two Wildcat plays with Trey Burton. Really? Not a single Wildcat play has worked all season.
The Gator offense will never open up unless Pease has a drastic change in philosophy or leaves the team. Right now, the latter appears to be the likelier scenario.
Screen Passes Are No Longer Easy
In addition to the Wildcat plays, a number of screen passes turned out to be a complete waste.
With Patton's speed and the skills of Taylor and Brown, screens should equal easy yards. However, Murphy couldn't even get the ball past the line of scrimmage. Plus, the blocks on the outside were poorly thrown and sometimes complete misses.
With no consistent deep threats on the team, plays like these should always have a positive outcome. But they were not at all successful during today's game.
Johnny Townsend Can Punt
He wasn't spectacular, but Johnny Townsend played well for a player making his first start.
He nearly pinned the Tigers inside their own one-yard line on one occasion, and the Tigers had a punt return yardage total of -7 yards. Not to mention, Florida got three of its points following a high punt that was likely lost in the sun and subsequently dropped by Missouri.
It's amazing to think that Kyle Christy can go from a Ray Guy finalist to a bench player, but then again anything seems possible this season.
Injuries Are Taking Their Toll
Ronald Powell was just the latest Gator to be sidelined with an injury. At this point in the season, all the physical ailments are starting to derail the Gators' chances.
Losing Dominique Easley was bad enough. However, having no Powell and no Damien Jacobs completely changes the dynamic of the Gator front seven.
On offense, Matt Jones is a huge loss. Additionally, the overall depth is lacking at wide receiver and on the line as well.
The Gators are depleted, and it's showing. There's no other way of saying it.
The Defense Is No Longer Dominant
Even though the Florida offense was really bad last week, the defense at least played well. Today was an absolute train wreck.
Dante Fowler was the only one able to apply pressure to Maty Mauk. The redshirt freshman repeatedly had plenty of time to look for a target and throw the ball. On his late touchdown run, he was basically untouched.
Meanwhile, Henry Josey was able to do whatever he wanted. He could run up the middle, outside—anywhere, really.
Tackling was a problem throughout the game, and the defensive backs were once again overly aggressive.
For a unit that had been so dominant all season, today was about a three-step regression. The Tigers were unimpeded when they had the ball.
A Bowl Game Is Questionable
Seriously. At this rate, there will be a legitimate possibility that Florida does not make a bowl game.
Look at the schedule. The game against Georgia Southern is very winnable, but the rest are a challenge. This does not look like a team that can beat South Carolina, Georgia or Florida State. After today, Vanderbilt should also be looked at as a legitimate challenge.
There's a chance the Gators can lose four of those five games and wind up 5-7. That would be devastating for the Gator faithful, and it would put all coaches on the chopping block.