With another big win under their belt, the Florida Gators ended conference play with a 7-1 SEC record and 8-1 overall. Who in their right mind had this team pegged for that record when the season began? Definitely not the Monday Morning Quarterback. I expected a final record of 7-5 or 8-4, never was 8-1 at this point even in my thought process.
However, as great as the record is, there still is something left to be desired in their play. Something is missing, they’re still not clicking on all cylinders. So what is it? What can they do to improve their play on the field? What’s up with the Gator offense?
For starters, the offense needs more consistent and cohesive execution. The play of this offense is jagged. One play they look like a machine, the next they can’t even lineup right or get the snap count. It’s not just on the line either the whole offense has breakdowns that stifle offensive continuity.
The line has their issues, where one guy will miss an assignment and potentially good plays are blownup before they get started. At times they will get silly penalties which stop big plays or put them behind in the down and distance. It seems like every game they have a big pass play called back due to penalty. This team is not poised to overcome penalties nor missed opportunities.
With a young, inexperienced quarterback and a receiving corps with little depth and, arguably, even less talent, it’s imperative the offensive line play well consistently so that they can take advantage of opportunities when they are there.
The receiving corps is the weak link of the offense. Too often they just do not get open. Being a receiver is more than just running routes and catching footballs. It’s about field awareness and recognizing coverages, about using proper techniques, and about finding the open spaces.
A good receiver recognizes where the defenders are and where the coverage is coming from in regards to the route he’s running. Where the defender is going to be is as important as where the receiver is going to be. It doesn’t really matter how good the route is that you run if the defender runs the same route just as well.
Using proper technique is paramount to being a good receiver. Beating a guy to the inside on the quick slant, beating a guy to the outside on the fade, beating the guy to the ball on a high throw, there are so many times that technique is key to getting open particularly in conference games where the receiver-defender matchups are so close.
Finally, it’s all about finding the open spaces. Period. Whatever it takes. No excuses. Find the open space in the zone, beat your guy to the spot, win your one-on-one matchup. It’s about will, it’s about aggressiveness, it’s about the desire to make the play.
While the Gator receivers have made plays this year, there are too many times they just don’t get open, are too passive on contested throws, or simply drop passes. This unit is not going to get a ton of touches in this offense, but when they get them they have to make plays more consistently.
Another area of concern is at quarterback. Jeff Driskel being a first year starter has played well and has been efficient, but certainly has been inconsistent. Sometimes he holds the ball too long and takes sacks, sometimes he tries to make a play with his arm when he should simply tuck and run, sometimes he puts a pass in the wrong place when he has a play.
He’s got to do a better job making reads, making decisions, and making good passes. A team only gets so many plays a game, and this offense only requires a handful of plays that the quarterback has to make so he certainly needs to make the most of them, particularly on third down.
Overall the offense hasn’t played as bad as it seems. The running game, take away the Georgia game, has been effective. The passing game, while not lighting up the world, has been efficient. What’s really wrong is not necessarily the scheme or the play-calling, it’s the inconsistent play across the board. A lineman misses a block or jumps offsides, Driskel overthrows an open receiver, a receiver drops a pass on 3rd down. It’s different things at different times but they all combine to stop drives, depress scoring, and keep games close.
They will really need to work on their offensive consistency and cohesiveness in the next two weeks as they play lesser opponents. With FSU looming on the horizon, it’s important that they get the inconsistencies worked out as they will need to running on all cylinders if they hope to compete against them.
I’m the Monday Morning Quarterback and I’m out!