The last two games, the defense has played great only to wilt again in the fourth quarter where Auburn and Georgia were both able to just run at will. There have been issues with defensive backs making plays when the ball is in the air, but the guys are always in position to make those plays. First time players all over the secondary means they will get beat for the ball and that is what was happening. These kids will; grow into it and when they do this defense will start winning those turnovers.
My issues like most everyone else are with the offense. I get it that there are injuries, some really debilitating injuries and totally understand the quarterback situation could lead to blowout losses to the top two teams in the country. Making that situation worse are the injuries in the backfield to both Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey at times. And more trouble with some injuries on the offensive line.
All of these things can and have led to a crippling effect on the offense. The fact that all of your other options at quarterback are freshmen limits what you can do at the position when the starter isn't in there. However, like I have stated, the freshmen quarterbacks just have to be better prepared. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has not shied away from taking blame for them not being ready, but placing the blame doesn't solve the problem.
Here is the first thing I want to do...
With all the love I have for Trey Burton and what he does and has done for Florida, him being the option as the "Wildcat" quarterback is not working out for the most part. The biggest issue is that Burton is not a real passing threat. The defenses, especially Georgia's, have collapsed on the offensive front and often times make it a nine man front. This totally negates the advantage the offense is supposed to receive when the quarterback is an option to run the ball by taking away the extra man in the box.
If John Brantley is still fighting injury and needs a break, I think you prepare Jacoby Brissett as the backup (what they have been saying for three weeks), but you allow Jeff Driskel to be your "Wildcat" quarterback.
We all know of Driskel's exploits as a dual threat quarterback in high school. He ran for more than 1300 yards as a senior. But the fact is, Driskel has a great arm and he can make all the throws for this level of football. He is a true threat to throw the ball and to anywhere on the field. That, in turn, opens up the extra man to block, the key for running the "Wildcat" formation. It also allows some tremendous play action possibilities.
Thing number two…
We all know they have numbers issues at tight end. Maybe a small package with Ronald Powell as a tight end, especially in short yardage, could get his juices flowing ad allow his strengths as an athlete to materialize on the field. I am not saying switch Powell to offense, but anyone that watched him play in high school knows he is a real talent at the position and showed up well at Friday Night Lights when he came into camp. I realize this is kind of a shot in the dark, but may be worth a real try given the issues at tight end right now.
Thing number three…
This may be the most important thing I can see from this offense moving forward. Get Andre Debose the ball at least ten times a game. When given the chance, the kid has shown he can do things with the ball. If he gets it ten times a game, he scores twice and that would be more than the offense has scored in any one game over the last four.
I realize there may be issues with him knowing the full offense. But, I don't care if he has to self-hike it and run a fumble-rooski. He needs to tote the rock one way or another and let him try and make something happen.
I think the kickoff return against Georgia was proof enough of what he can do. After getting the ball as the up receiver Debose cut across field. At least five defenders were in position to tackle him as he cut across and yet he made them all miss to get to the far sideline and eventually have a huge return.
I don't care how it happens, just make it happen.
Thing number four…
How about some misdirection? One thing we have is speed. As much as most of the skill players on offense don't seem to make people miss or will go up and get the ball against a defender, a lot of them can really run. So, use it.
With the injury issues at offensive tackle and the quality of line play down as well, make defenses have to guess and use the things you do have to make things go your way. You get the linebackers guessing enough, they aren't so fast to fill the holes and lanes anymore as they look for someone coming from the opposite direction to take the ball.
Again, this is simplistic in nature. There are obviously underlying things going on that prevent a lot of what we would like to see on the field. But, for this old quality control hack, I'd give some of these a try.