Florida Defense On the Field Too Much

Holding a team to 10 points and none in the second half is usually a recipe for success. The Florida Gators needed more from their defense than that on Saturday and in the end the defense was on the field too long and gave up too much for the likes of Florida defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Mississippi State scored a 10-7 win in The Swamp and amassed 212 rushing yards in the process.

The Bulldogs ran the ball 49 of 58 plays on the night and 29 of 29 plays in the second half were runs. Without scoring in the second half, they managed three drives of nine, eight, and nine plays that ate up almost half of the second half.

"They did a good job running the ball and they ate some clock," Austin told the Florida media contingent after the game. "It's too much. We really want to stop the run. We have to go back as coaches and see what we can do better to put our guys in position.

The Gators certainly were faced with great adversity in the game and seemed to show up and make a play on defense when their backs were against the wall.

"I am really proud of our guys, they really battled and we had some injuries early," Austin said because of injuries to starting defensive tackle Jaye Howard (returned) and starting linebacker Jelani Jenkins. "We kept plugging away and gave ourselves a chance to take the game in overtime and possibly win it. I am really proud of our guy's effort tonight."

The Bulldogs were overloading the line of scrimmage at times, trying to bring more blockers than someone can defend and creating gaps and turmoil at the point of attack.

"We just have to do a better job when they have an extra blocker and had a plus one, we had an extra man in the box and he did a good job of running through some tackles there," Austin said.

"I think you have to do a great job of keying and recognizing that the linebackers have to scrape the defensive linemen and make sure they aren't getting out of their gap. They gap scheme and try to wall you off. We have to look at the film and see where we can get better."

Before he has a chance to watch film, Austin thinks that the success the Bulldogs had was a lot of times because of the organized chaos they created with their overloading linemen.

"We loaded the box and did some things in the second half," Austin said of the defensive plan. "We got in there and made some hits and then all of a sudden it got really jumbled up. Then a back would squirt through."

That back was Vick Ballard that ran for 98 yards on 20 carries on the night. As a team the Bulldogs ran for an average of 4.3 yards per carry. Too much for a team that ran the ball 49 times.
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