Mistakes Plagued Gator Defense

The mistakes on the defensive side of the ball for the Gators were puzzling to coordinator Teryl Austin. The defense was out of position and gave up long plays because of it. When they were in position, missed tackles crept in and caused problems.

"I don't think it's physical because we've got a lot of great players here," Teryl Austin said. "As a coach, I've got to do a better job of getting these guys in position to make plays so they can feel confident and feel good in what they're doing. We have to play better. That was not winning football."

The Tigers were balanced on offense. They threw for 194 yards while rushing for 163. Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson split time at quarterback, going 15-for-21. Lee, the passer of the duo, threw for touchdowns. Jefferson, the better runner, ran for two.

"They did a great job of running the ball," Austin said. "There was a throw game that had a few big plays, and a couple short ones that turned into big ones. You can't let that happen."

The one positive the defense was able to take from the loss at Alabama was the lack of missed tackles. The coaches spoke all week about how they missed only six tackles against an elusive tandem of running backs.

Against LSU, that wasn't the case. Players slipped tackles, often on their way to extending a drive on a crucial down.

"That was something we didn't do well all night, allowing them to keep drives alive," Austin said.

LSU receivers drug the Florida defensive backs for extra yards, and that's when the secondary even made contact with the ball carrier.

"If it's a five-yard pass, it should be a five-yard gain," Austin said.

Blown coverages and missed tackles have been an issue for safety Will Hill since he returned to the team after a two-game suspension to start the season. For a player with ideal size and speed for a free safety, Hill hasn't made many big plays. He forced a fumble at Tennessee, but since then, he hasn't been heard from.

"I think physically Will is really gifted," Austin said. "He has to play better. I want to see some impact plays from him, and that's what I'm really looking for. We're pressing him, and the reason we press a guy like that is because he has the ability to do it."

Just as they did after the loss at Alabama, the Florida players and coaches realize their goals are still possible to be reached. South Carolina beating the Crimson Tide gives Florida little room for error the rest of the season, but a berth in the SEC Championship Game is still possible.

"All of our goals are still in front of us," Austin said. "In the SEC East, we still control our fate. Obviously, we have to win."
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