Offensive Execution a Concern for the Gators

Rhythm and ball movement have deserted the Florida offense. Plays aren't being finished, and the quality of each shot has been affected. It's not the unselfishness that Billy Donovan expects out of his offense, especially when his starting lineup boasts four upperclassmen.

"It's not one guy. It's our whole entire team," Donovan said. "It's the decision to shoot the ball when they are. As freshman, you understand that the most difficult thing from high school to college is knowing when to shoot and when not to shoot. We've got older guys now that need to be more in tune."

In 64 possessions during the UCF game, the Gators have 14 turnovers. In the remaining 50 possessions, Donovan counted 20 bad shots on film. Only 30 of the 64 possessions ended with a shot the coaches approved of.

Instead of seeing a play through to its end, many of these possessions have ended with a player taking a contested jump shot. The impatience on offense has caused players to force shots and change the rhythm of the offense.

"We never know when a shot is going up," Donovan said. "It could be one pass and a guy thinks he's open. It could be where we're running actions and a guy decides to break the action and go do something. Before you know it, it bleeds and seeps into the team."

The struggles on offense have caused the improved defense to be ignored. The 75 points scored by Ohio State were the most Florida has given up this season. Florida Atlantic was the only other team to score more than 60 points against the Gators this season.

"Our defense has picked up since the Ohio State game," Donovan said. "We're holding teams down in terms of shooting percentage and total points, but we've got to score more than 54 points to win a game. Our offense played a major factor in that."

Donovan didn't use any names or put the blame on any player's shoulders. He even put some of the blame for the offensive struggles on the coaching staff. There was a team meeting on Thursday to discuss necessary improvements on both sides, and the team got back to work at practice on Friday.

"A lot of times, you're always trying to get to the core of what you're getting better at as a coach," Donovan said. "It's not about the blame as much as it's about us teaching and explaining better. We have good kids who want to win."

The key player who hasn't gotten things going on offense has been small forward Chandler Parsons. Despite numerous preseason accolades, Parsons is averaging only 10.4 points. He is shooting 26.3% for three and only 47.6% from the free throw line, including an 0-6 performance in Wednesday's loss to UCF.

"It's a fine line," Donovan said. "It's a lot more difficult to deal and handle success. When you mature and have that kind of success, it's easy to think, "Okay, I've got this figured out right now." How you handle those things are critical for himself, our team and his role."

Parsons' is pressing offensively for the same reason the Florida offense is. He is forcing shots instead of being patient and let the open shots come to him like he did during his junior season. Donovan has always raved about Parsons' intelligence on the court, so he is optimistic about his chances to turn it around this season.

"Chandler is taking some shots right now that just aren't good shots for him or our team," Donovan said. "He's not making the right decisions, and he's as smart of a guy as I've coached. He plays really hard and gives me everything he has. I've seen this before with David Lee and others, where you're a senior and it's coming to an end, so you start thinking more about what I need to do instead of letting the game come to me."
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