What the Florida Gators Must Do Better in Week 2 Vs. South Florida
Is it possible to call a "mulligan" in college football?
If so, then the Gator Nation would definitely ask for one.
The Gators won their season opener, but concerns on the offensive side of the ball and coaching staff emerged.
Perhaps the Miami RedHawks were a much better team than the Gators or Gator Nation anticipated.
No. The Gators were just plain sloppy and unprepared.
That being said, there are several areas that the Gators must address in order to get back on track and be ready for the South Florida Bulls.
Let's analyze the greatest areas of opportunity for the Florida Gators.
Opportunity No. 1: The Center-QB Exchange
Mike Pouncey replaced his departed twin brother Maurkice at center, and John Brantley has the unenviable task of replacing arguably the greatest college football quarterback in history, Tim Tebow.
No one thought that they would have to be concerned with Brantley getting the snap from Pouncey consistently.
Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, also the offensive line coach and assistant head coach, clearly needs to figure out why there were 13 faulty snaps or replace Pouncey with backup redshirt sophomore Sam Robey.
Opportunity No. 2: The O-Line Must Improve Its Perimeter and Run Blocking
Granted, the offensive line Florida fielded on opening day was not what coach Urban Meyer had planned. Suspended senior lineman Carl Johnson will return from suspension, but Matt Patchan is still out with a fractured wrist and will remain missed.
Up until RB Jeff Demps' monster 72-yard scamper for a TD, Miami held the Gators to 81 rushing yards. Quite often the RedHawks penetrated deep into Florida's backfield, stuffing several rushing attempts.
Coach Meyer pointed out in his Monday press conference that perimeter blocking was another issue that prevented some huge potential plays in the first quarter.
The Gators are a run-first team, and in order to get Brantley comfortable initiating the passing attack, Florida must be successful early running the ball.
Opportunity No. 3: Protect the Rock
The Gators fumbled the ball eight times and lost possession on three. Coach Meyer felt that the heat and humidity played a huge part; maybe so, but conventional wisdom leads one to believe that fundamentals on ball protection may need to be coached up, too.
If that doesn't work, then have plenty of towels or new sets of gloves for the offense.
Opportunity No. 4: Rotate More Wide Receivers (i.e. Where Is Andre Debose?)
To the surprise of coach Urban Meyer, WRs Deonte Thompson and Omarius Hines were in on almost every offensive play. "That's the first time that's ever happened here at Florida," said Meyer.
Where were all the backup receivers, especially redshirt freshman Andre Debose?
"We didn't feel they were ready to go, and that's not fair to our starters. So we have to get that fixed on offense," replied Coach Meyer.
Please, Coach, do the Gator Nation and team a favor: Find a way to get Debose ready to play. Thompson continues to disappoint, and it won't be long before Debose replaces Thompson as a starter at WR.
Opportunity No. 5: The Play Calling on Offense
Coach Steve Addazio was questioned back in 2009 for his play calling after taking over those duties following former OC Dan Mullen accepting the Mississippi State gig.
It's 2010, and so far it's the same old situation.
Again, it was the first game of the season, and to expect Addazio to reveal his entire playbook on Miami of Ohio is unreasonable. However, Ben & Jerry's wished they had a vanilla flavoring better than that of last week's Gator offense. The plays were boring and predictable.
Coach Meyer and Coach Addazio will not make decisions based on the wishes of the fanbase, but they have to admit that something must change if they are going to get John Brantley and other newcomers comfortable before they travel to Knoxville to face the Volunteers.
Opportunity No. 6: Raise the Sense of Urgency
The 2010 Florida Gators showed the world how to simply go through the paces. Now it's time to pump up the volume and raise the sense of urgency.
The Gators fell from fourth to eighth in the AP Poll and from third to sixth in the USA Today Coaches' Poll. That alone should serve as a wake-up call.
Yes, what really matters is the BCS poll, and that doesn't come out until October. Regardless, if the Florida Gators continue to play like they did against Miami of Ohio, they can forget about a BCS championship.
For that matter, they can forget about a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship in early December too.