The Florida Gators suffered a 21-16 defeat at the hands of the in-state rival Miami Hurricanes on Saturday, and to say Florida’s offensive performance was underwhelming would be quite the understatement.
When looking at some of the numbers, it may not seem so bad. For instance, the offense totaled 413 total yards, including a career-high 291 yards passing from quarterback Jeff Driskel. Florida dominated time of possession, 38:20 to 21:40, and the Gators had 22 first downs, compared to just 10 for the Hurricanes. However, despite the seemingly strong performance, a closer look would show just how terrible the offense truly was. The Gators were (-4) in the turnover battle and were abysmal 2-for-6 in the red zone. Not really a great recipe for winning.
The Gators’ defense on the other hand was dominant for the most part. After allowing two first quarter touchdowns, the defense put on a near perfect performance. The Gators gave up 136 yards in the first quarter, but allowed just 76 yards the rest of the game. Florida held Miami to just 1-for-11 on third downs and forced nine Hurricane punts. Duke Johnson, Miami’s star running back, was held to 59 yards on 21 carries (2.8 avg.) after a 186 yard outburst the week before.
After the game Florida linebacker Mike Taylor said, “If they [Miami] don’t score. They don’t win. It’s as simple as that. If we’ve got to hold them to zero, we’ve got to hold them to zero. We’re a team. We’re not an offense. We’re not a defense. We’re a team.”
It’s always nice to say ‘we win as a team, we lose as a team,’ but the Gators’ defense deserved to win and the offense let them down.
All offseason it looked like the offense would take the next step and while there have been improvements, so far it looks pretty similar to last year’s unit. In his second year in offensive coordinator Brent Pease’s system, the general thought was that Driskel would take steps forward. But after two games, he still seems to hold the ball for too long and appears to be indecisive at times. Everything looks like it is a struggle.
Perhaps with running back Matt Jones still working his way into football shape, and guard Jon Halapio expected to return for the Tennessee game, the offense will receive a much-needed boost. And, on the bright side, it is still early in the season, and Florida can still accomplish everything it set out to do at the beginning of the season. If they can run the table in the SEC East, a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship is still within their grasp.
Hopefully the bye week will be just what the offense needs, because the defense deserves better.