To top it off, the offense list their starting quarterback and running back and one of those two were probably the leader of that side. While on defense, the loss of Dominique Easley was huge not only on the field, but in the locker room and away from play as well with his leadership.
Tyler Murphy can be that guy. Despite a tough game last week where he played injured and really couldn't get anything going on offense with blocking and protection issues, Murphy has been a boost in the arm with his inspired play for most of the season as a backup with no experience in throwing the ball as a Gator until an injury occurred.
That inspired play is and was not lost on his teammates, on both sides of the ball.
The fact is Murphy is well respected among his peers on offense and defense and he can take that respect and channel it for the good of a team that is having so many issues on the field.
Teams can become fractured, especially when one side of the ball has succeeded while the other has not. Murphy seems like the right guy right now to calm this aspect of the team, regardless of what happens on the field the rest of the way. His ability to do so, could go a long way to decide what next year will look like for himself.
Right now, he knows he and his offensive teammates just need to concentrate on beating Georgia, a team they haven't beaten in two years. A win here will help his role as a team leader tremendously.
"We just have to focus on ourselves, individually, make sure everybody is doing their job," Murphy told the Florida media on Monday. "Try to do our jobs to our best ability. The guys in the bye week really pushed each other to do their job correctly and efficiently. Guys spent time after practice to correct themselves and do what they need to do and help contribute as a whole to the offense."
Will Muschamp put it on the offensive staff to simplify things this week. He wants the offense to play faster and without having to think too much. For the most part, the guys aren't getting beat physically when they lose a battle. They are losing it mentally and getting slow starts to their assignment on any particular play. The idea is to have them reacting faster to play their assignment and they will start winning more up front.
"I wouldn't say there's a fundamental breakdown," Murphy said. "We just have to continue to be consistent. We do something well one play and the next play something happens. Be consistent and not make mistakes. That comes from focus and pushing yourself to be better in practice."
Freshman running back Kelvin Taylor should get his first start of the year and he has shown flashes of brilliance so far this season. With more of a load on his shoulders, we hope to see more, but for the most part, the offense is going to be the same cast of characters with a few wrinkles thrown in.
"Personnel wise, I mean we're going to go with the guys we have who we can be very successful with," Murphy said. "We haven't changed much personnel wise. Schematic wise, we're going to continue to try and do what we do best. We tweaked some things, but we do that each and every week. We just have to be consistent. We have not been consistent."
The Georgia game is first and foremost on their minds. The Gators have an outside chance of making it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship, but to do that they have to win each and every game in front of them. Murphy and his team still believe in themselves as a unit, and that is part of his leadership rubbing off.
"You know, guys — we never really lost belief," he said. "We decided we just got to really focus and take it one game at a time. We said that throughout the whole season and we haven't been successful the last two weeks, but we're kind of just focusing on beating Georgia. If we win out and things play out where we can win the East we'll be very happy, but we're just focused on beating Georgia. We're not thinking about the East; we have to beat Georgia."