The bad news for Florida is that most of the holes have been evident through most of the season.
SECONDARY: This unit looked much better in Knoxville. Florida faced a deep group of Tennessee receivers and held them down. The same thing happened in the first half of last night’s game. It’s not fair to judge this group’s entire game by one play, but the busted coverage was a huge deal and ultimately played a big part in Florida’s loss on Saturday.
From what we’ve seen this season, the Florida secondary is a completely different unit when it can use Brian Poole at the nickel. That didn’t happen much during the first three games and was a problem against Kentucky and Alabama. The coaches used the bye week to correct it, move Poole inside to nickel and start freshman Jalen Tabor at cornerback.
That was the plan again on Saturday against LSU, but it changed when Vernon Hargreaves III was injured late in the first half and didn’t return. That forced Poole back outside to cornerback, and the busted coverage happened between him and safety Keanu Neal, just as it did when Florida played Kentucky.
Florida coach Will Muschamp downplayed Hargreaves’ injury after the game and said he should be fine for next week’s game against Missouri, but what does Florida do in the future if Hargreaves or Tabor has to come off the field? Putting Poole outside at corner has become a clear weakness for this unit and is allowing big plays. Maybe it’s time to give Quincy Wilson more snaps at cornerback. Whatever the fix is, the Gators need to prepare for a different alternative if Hargreaves or Tabor has to come off the field.
QUARTERBACK: As always, it’s easy to pin a loss on the quarterback position. Jeff Driskel did not have his best game on Saturday against LSU, but as usual, the help around him didn’t do much to make life easier on the fourth-year junior. Drops continued to plague the Florida pass catchers, including a big one by tight end Tevin Westbrook late in the fourth quarter.
But Driskel still has to play better. He missed multiple deep throws down the field. In the first half, he underthrew two of them and one ended up as an interception.
This week, the questions will start. Freshman Treon Harris has rejoined the team and will be on the practice field with the Gators this week. Muschamp went into last week saying that Driskel and Harris would battle it out in practice to see who earned the start, and that’s likely going to be the case again this week. Even with the fan frustration, it’s not crazy to think Driskel gets the start after he made some nice throws in the second half -- a deep ball and a touchdown throw to Demarcus Robinson. Whoever gets the start, it seems like there’s a good chance both quarterbacks see the field against Missouri.
WIDE RECEIVER: The Florida receivers struggled with drops again on Saturday. Quinton Dunbar had one on the first drive, and his streak of consecutive games with a catch ended at 32, putting him second place in school history behind Ike Hilliard.
Only two Florida receivers caught passes on Saturday. Demarcus Robinson caught five for 104 yards and one touchdown. Latroy Pittman caught one pass but it went two yards backwards. No other Florida receiver caught a pass on Saturday.
The Gators simply need more production at this position. Ahmad Fulwood was supposed to get more involved this week during the game, and while he picked up a pass interference down the field, that was his only target. C.J. Worton was another player that was supposed to get involved, but he dropped a pass on his only target.TAILGATER Wooden Ice Chest Giveaway