Protecting the ball

Four lost fumbles and six total turnovers should've played a part in Florida getting run off the field on Saturday. That didn't happen. The Gators were still in the game, driving to tie it late in the fourth quarter before a fumble ended it. It's impossible to ignore what Florida could've done against Georgia if it took better care of the ball. The turnovers will be a focus this week in practice.

"The turnovers were the killer in the game," Will Muschamp said on Monday morning. "When you turn the ball over six times, you're going to have a hard time beating anyone — just inconsistent offensively. We've got to be more consistent, whether we're running it or throwing it, to create some continuity offensively. The inconsistencies and then the turnovers were really doomsday for us offensively."

The close game besides the amount of turnovers was a credit to what the Florida defense did. The Gators gave Georgia good field position multiple times with turnovers, but the Bulldogs couldn't take care of the ball either. Quarterback Aaron Murray threw three ugly interceptions that wiped out scoring opportunities.

The six Florida turnovers produced just ten points.

"Six turnovers, you should've walked out of there losing by four touchdowns, honestly," Muschamp said. "It says a lot about the character on our football team and what we've got going on in that locker room. It's not the results we wanted, and I'm disappointed and that falls on my shoulders.

"I told the staff yesterday and today again, obviously there were some things we did well in the game, there were some things we need to have corrected. And that's what we'll do. We'll focus on us and what we need to do to get better."

The one thing that stood out of the film to the coaching staff was the effort. The execution wasn't pretty at any point of the game, but the intensity and effort level was something that Muschamp was happy about.

"Disappointed with the results, but not the effort. Our guys played hard," Muschamp said. "That's very evident as you watch the film. We played hard. We played extremely hard in the game. We laid a lot on the field out there on the field. We have a very resilient group of young men in the locker room.

"You turn the ball over six times, you face a lot of adversity in the game, and we're driving to win the game on the last drive of the game. That says a lot about our football team."

After the Florida defense cleaned up some early issues in the running game, the unit played well. Even when Georgia had the ball in Florida territory during a large part of the game because of turnovers, the unit played well to hold them to field goals or force punts.

"Defensively, disappointed with some of the first-half run fits. I thought we missed some things we don't normally miss," Muschamp said. "We got those things cleaned up, then the last drive, obviously, had an opportunity to win the game and don't get it done. But our red zone defense, third down defense, really in the second half up until the last drive was really pretty solid."

INJURY REPORT: Wide receiver Solomon Patton (broke arm) is out for the season after suffering the injury on Saturday. Defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (hip) is expected back at practice on Tuesday. Lerentee McCray (ankle) is probable. James Wilson and Xavier Nixon (knee) are both expected to practice on Tuesday.

LOOKING AT Missouri: With the fumbling problems against Georgia, the Gators are in for a fight this weekend, as Missouri leads the country in fumbles forced. It will be the focus in practice this week.

"We need to do a better job," Muschamp said. "We had four turnovers coming into this game. We need to do a much better job of being more cognizant of ball security in that situation. We've done a good job of that in the previous seven games. It's not been a reoccurring issue throughout the year."

The Tigers are also fourth in the country in tackles for a loss. Defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson leads the team with 57 tackles and has totaled 7.5 for a loss.

The offensive is a spread attack. The Tigers returned James Franklin to quarterback in their first SEC win over Kentucky on Saturday.

"They've gone to a spread attack and be very different to what a lot of people have seen in The Swamp as far as the empty and the one-back and the exotic formations and the things they do," Muschamp said. "They do a really nice job.

"James Franklin is a dual-threat guy, can run and throw. They've got him back. He came in last week against Kentucky to finish and win the game for them. Kendial Lawrence is an outstanding back, has got some good top-end speed. A guy that they create a lot of space plays, you must tackle well in this game because of the space plays they're going to create in the one-on-ones."


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