Small Mistakes Led to Alabama Points

The margin of error for the Florida defense was small. Against an offense with playmakers the caliber of Alabama, one missed tackle or missed assignment created multiple issues. The problems for the Florida defense didn't center around one quick fix. As Florida safety Ahmad Black saw, they continued to happen throughout the first half.

"We self-destructed," Ahmad Black said. "We shot ourselves in the foot a couple times."

To shut down a running game with talents like Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson is a lot to ask. The two combined for only 110 yards on 22 carries.

That's a total the Gators would normally be happy with. However, the total should have been lower. The Florida defense missed tackles that could have resulted in negative yardage. Even when they did bottle up one of the running backs, they snuck ahead for a few extra yards.

"In order to beat a great team like Alabama, we can't do that," Black said. "We have to play our best, and we didn't do that tonight. We have to do a better job tackling."

The Florida defense wasn't caught off guard by trick plays or anything Alabama hasn't used to be successful in the past. They ran screens to running backs and wide receiver, exactly like they did when they torched the Gators in the SEC Championship Game last season.

A second-quarter touchdown pass from the wildcat formation was the only trickery they used. After running from the wildcat all night with Richardson and Ingram, they lined wide receiver Marquis Maze up in the formation, and he connected with tight end Michael Williams for a 19-yard touchdown that stretched the lead to 24-0.

Black admitted after the game that the Crimson Tide did "everything we expected them to do" on offense. They lined up and called the same plays that have made Alabama successful in recent years, and the Gators just couldn't stop them.

The Florida offense didn't help the cause, either. Their inability to score kept pressure on the defense to keep Alabama out of the end zone. In the end, both sides had plenty of reason for blame.

"It's small things," Black said. "When we get in the red zone, we've got to score, no questions asked. We can't trade field goals for touchdowns."

The beat down by Alabama in last year's SEC Championship Game was on the mind of Florida players throughout the summer. This was the game that offered their chance at revenge. Even though this Florida team featured a roster heavy with players who didn't play in Atlanta last year, this game was important.

However, the seniors realize all of the goals for Florida's season are still in tact. They can win out and still play in the SEC Championship Game this season.

"We dedicated our offseason to getting to Atlanta," Black said. "We'll take one game at a time, like we do every week. We still can win the East. That's our goal, to just keep winning out from here. We have to overcome an obstacle, and this is an obstacle."

The challenge for the Florida upperclassmen is now about forgetting the loss to Alabama. They will preach to the young players about the importance of moving on, because a good week of practice is important with LSU coming to town next weekend.

"We've got a game next week and a great team coming into Gainesville," Black said. "We can't let this linger too much."
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