Photo: Nay’Quan Wright and Austin Barber; Credit: Alex Shepherd
That was an evening to neglect for Florida.
The Florida Gators escaped a near-catastrophic loss to USF on Saturday, using the inflow of late sport miscues by the Bulls to beat their in-state opponent by a three-point margin.
Participating of their third shut sport in a row towards an opponent many anticipated to be a chance for Florida to “get-right” towards, the play and final result supplied little solutions for the Gators shifting ahead. In truth, extra questions are current now than earlier than.
Following the second tough efficiency in a row for UF, All Gators takes a have a look at the good, the unhealthy and the ugly from the unfulfilling victory over the Bulls.
Good: Gators speeding assault
The Gators speeding sport continued to be a power for Florida regardless of their restricted use of the backfield.
On the most profitable drives of the contest, Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne featured as the focus of the group.
Johnson broke off a 62-yard landing run to offer the Gators their first rating of the sport and take a 10-7 lead. Etienne was the characteristic again on a 4 play, 28-yard drive after a late turnover by USF en path to his eventual sport profitable TD run. The duo produced 159 of the complete 217 yards on the floor, combining for 2 scores.
Fellow again Nay’Quan Wright added 37 yards and received into the finish zone as effectively, putting a cherry on prime of an uber-productive unit that noticed simply 20 touches on the night time.
However, it wasn’t simply the backs that shone. The Gators offensive line rebounded from a middling efficiency towards Kentucky to create appreciable push in run blocking, releasing up big lanes. Florida averaged 7.2 yards per carry largely resulting from the unit’s efforts.
Moving ahead, Florida ought to lean into its identification as a speeding workforce to take strain off its struggling quarterback with greater than 14 mixed rushes between the prime two backs with not a single ball service incomes double digit carries.
The Gators will hope to proceed the speeding success with elevated quantity (no less than there must be) in week 4 towards Tennessee, as controlling the clock and conserving an explosive Volunteers offense off the subject might be crucial to the last final result.
Bad: Anthony Richardson
For the second time in as many weeks, Anthony Richardson didn’t put Florida ready to win. It’s led to a panic from the fan base concerning the quarterback spot shifting ahead.
Some have even thrown out the concept of benching Richardson resulting from his poor efficiency. To that, I say: Relax. You say it will possibly’t worsen. It can all the time worsen.
However, there are crimson flags in his play that may very well be detrimental to the groups success in the event that they proceed.
The numbers from his efficiency at 10 for 18, 112 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions are one factor. His lapses in determination making in a number of aspects, on the different hand, are one other.
In a way, Richardson’s insecurity is main him to carry out as a 2021 starter Emory Jones did for Florida a season in the past. Playing with timidly no anticipation throwing the soccer, Richardson is crumbling beneath the strain of being the man at UF.
He had a number of alternatives to push the ball downfield towards USF, however hesitated, ready guys out of throwing home windows earlier than being pressured to scramble or attempting to make a throw that is not there anymore.
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Namely, on his first interception, Richardson scanned the subject from proper to left. Wide receiver Ricky Pearsall ran free over the intermediate center of the subject, about 15-20 yards previous the line of scrimmage. Instead of firing the ball into Pearsall at first look, Richardson hitched earlier than trying the move anyway. The slight hesitation allowed Dwayne Boyles Jr. to maneuver into the passing lane, the place Richardson put it in his chest earlier than returning it to the UF 18-yard line.
The Bulls scored off the turnover.
Then once more, on his second interception of the night time, Richardson evidently checked out of a referred to as run play close to the objective line after seeing the field was stacked towards him. It’s a freedom he has in the offense, and a learn Napier stated he supported.
However, in choosing fade path to Justin Shorter in one-on-one protection, Richardson had the proper concept however didn’t execute.
Instead of permitting the 6-foot-4, 225-pound wideout to go up over the prime of his defender, he threw a line drive ball meant for Shorter’s again shoulder. It was undercut consequently to squander a scoring alternative for Florida to take the lead.
Richardson has the Gators nickel cornerback Tre’Vez Johnson to thank for getting the ball again a number of performs later with a diving interception in placing distance.
Napier was requested what the course of appears like when Richardson comes again to the sideline after a few of these performs
“You attempt to preserve it technical,” he stated. “I believe it is necessary that he has the course of and that he understands what occurred and why it occurred. The good factor is, he does. I believe you simply attempt to create an surroundings the place a man can study and can proceed to develop and develop as a participant.
Given the high-level expertise he possesses, one can solely hope that the flip switches mentally for Richardson in the close to future — particularly as soon as you’ve got talked to him off the subject.
He’s straightforward to root for.
However, his final two performances and a zero-to-four touchdown-interception ratio counsel appreciable room for enchancment mentally earlier than he arrives as a constant, profitable quarterback at the SEC stage.
Luckily for Richardson, he wasn’t the worst side of Florida’s workforce this week. The defensive unit protected him from a second straight look in the ugly class.
Ugly: Run Defense
Last week, the protection was the vibrant spot in a loss to No. 20 Kentucky. This week, it low-lighted an throughout poor efficiency by Florida.
The lack of center linebacker Ventrell Miller was evident as Florida struggled to defend the speeding assault all through the total contest. In the first half, the Bulls ranked up over 200 yards and 9 yards per carry, gashing the Florida protection in anyway they happy.
The second half was a special story, however didn’t reconcile the abysmal efforts in the first half-hour. USF completed with 286 yards and 6.2 yards per carry.
Florida didn’t precisely fill run gaps up the center, set the edge on the outdoors or deal with the ball service when these issues had been accomplished appropriately. The Gators missed 11 complete tackles, in keeping with PFF, though it appeared like extra to maintain USF afloat in a sport that ought to’ve been over by halftime.
Scooby Williams and Amari Burney catalyzed these woes with their hole integrity, whereas freshman Shemar James additionally noticed how tough life may very well be with out Miller on the rotation. Meanwhile, the line of defense creates little push regardless of the anticipated edge in expertise in the trenches in comparison with the Bulls.
Luckily for Florida, their subsequent opponent doesn’t current a dominant speeding assault that may exploit their evident holes in the entrance seven. Then once more, neither did USF.
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