Kan Li / Scout

Breaking down Gators’ passing game: Tennessee

Here is a thorough look at the Gators’ passing game from the 28-27 win over Tennessee. I break down each play and comment on them, talking about who was the biggest issue on the plays that didn’t work.

1st Series

1st &10 – first play of the game, tight formation and Tennessee playing eight in the box. Nice pocket on the play and Grier hurries the throw on an open skinny post to Callaway that could have had pretty big yardage. (Negative Play)

3rd &6 – It would have been mentally tough, but David Sharpe did his job and pushed the fast rushing end off the left side of the O-Line around Grier, but he thought it was too much and tucked and ran with the ball. If he stayed right there in the pocket he would have been fine, and he could have just thrown the ball away. As it was he got it back to the line of scrimmage anyway, but there could have been a play there is he just sat in the pocket. (Negative Play)

2nd Series

1st &10 – Naked bootleg roll out right and McGee’s defender leaves him to go after Grier who lays it in there nicely to McGee for (+14). (Positive Play)

3rd Series

2nd &3 – You can see before the ball is snapped that Grier knows he wants to go to Worton on the crosser because he motions to Worton about the coverage. Worton isn’t looking when the ball comes his way, so he missed the communication and Grier hits him in the helmet. That ball should have been caught.  (Negative Play)

3rd &3 – Grier doesn’t trust himself on an option route to Callaway and double-clutches the ball and it is thrown behind Callaway.  Trust is a key word in this game and something that needs to grow as the season goes along. (Negative Play)

4th Series

1st &10 – Quick out to Callaway for (+11) yards. Easy pitch and catch with defender playing way off. (Positive Play)

2nd &15 – Drop back, great protection. Grier waited and hit his 2nd or 3rd progression which was Powell on the crosser for (+12). Great protection on the play. (Positive Play)

5th Series

1st &10 – Drop back pass. & in the box on defense, so good passing down. Demarcus Robinson’s defender playing way off, so Grier goes right at Robinson on the left outside for (+9). (Positive Play)

2nd &1 – Tennessee comes up to blitz before the snap so Grier changes the call. The Vols change the call as well, but Grier makes a nice quick throw to Callaway on the left outside for an easy (+9). (Positive Play)

1st &10 – Grier feeling a little heat in front of him on his right side, hurries a throw to Callaway at the right hash and just about 5 yards down field, but the ball should have been caught and went through Callaway’s hands. (Negative Play)

2nd &10 – Grier recognizes five man rush and gets it out quick to McGee on the left side. (Positive Play)

6th Series

1st &10 – 7 in the box again time to throw. UT rushes four and Gators with great protection. Grier anticipates Callaway on a Dig route and getting just past the linebackers and in front of the safeties. Play is good for (+11). (Positive Play)

1st &10 – 7 in the box, gonna throw. Callaway with a stair climbing route across the field. Defender makes a nice play and bats the ball away about 15 yards down the field. Good protection on the play where UT only rushed four. (Negative Play)

3rd &12 – Three man rush with two spies for Grier running. He sits in the pocket and gets it outside to Powell on the right side who runs a stop route at about 7 yards. Powell makes a move and gets three more but short of the first down. (Negative Play)

4th &2 – play action bootleg right and McGee comes from all the way across the formation and behind the line of scrimmage like a counter blocker but releases on an outside route Grier finds him wide open for a (+13) gain. (Positive Play)

1st &10 – Double pass play and Kelvin Taylor was well covered. Nice play by Tennessee defense. (Negative Play)

2nd &10 – Grier was looking for a post corner route from Callaway and he cut it way short on the route. Again very good protection.  (Negative Play)

3rd &10 – Grier getting heat from his backside throws right to McGee but too hard and in front of the senior tight end. (Negative Play)

7th Series

1st &10 – Beautiful back shoulder throw and catch to Callaway for (+16) yards. Good protection, but Grier threw it quickly anyway.  (Positive Play)

1st &10 – Grier drops back. 4 man rush. Has time to make decision. Can’t find anything so he heads outside and then finally tries to get up field, but as was most of the game they had a spy on him and he gets just (+1) yard. (Negative Play)

2nd &9 – Worst throw of the game by far. Vols blitz with six. Cover one deep safety and Grier just lofted the ball up high and the safety ran under it. (Negative Play)

2nd HALF

8th Series

2nd &7 – Grier under pressure as Trip Thurman was beat inside. He throws quickly after standing in there and hits Demarcus Robinson on a 3-yard stop route. Robinson spins and gets three more and (+6) on the play. (Positive Play)

1st &10 – Tennessee stayed home on a play action naked boot leg. Combine that with his outlet McGee being covered and he is sacked. He should have thrown it away but was running hard with guys in pursuit. Nice play by Tennessee.  (Negative Play)

2nd &18 – Drop back with 4 man rush. Grier has time to look for 2 receivers then gets heat from the left side of his line. He takes off and makes the spy miss and then scrambles for (+12). Not sure that play could have worked out any better. (Positive Play)

3rd &7 – Three man rush and Grier has time to look at first and second progression. Finally the overload on the right side gets through and he is forced to run and is sacked for (-2).  Really should have thrown the ball with enough time in the pocket. (Negative Play)

9th Series

1st &10 - Tunnel screen to Callaway and Grier throws it entirely too hard and away from Callaway who can’t make the grab. He just rushed the ball there. (Negative Play)

3rd &6 – Anticipating the rush too much, Grier gets a little happy feet and throws an out of bounds pass off of his back foot. Again he had a nice pocket, could have stepped up there and just thrown it. (Negative Play)

4th &6 – Things got real tight in the pocket, but Grier stood in and made the throw to Powell on an arrow route where he heads outside, waits for the middle of the field to clear, then cuts back inside to wide open spaces. Gets (+21) on the play. (Positive Play)

10th Series

1st &10 – 5-wide set when Taylor splits out wide. 4 man rush and Grier stands in the pocket and fires a bullet to Demarcus Robinson on a seam route, but the pas was just a bit out front and Robinson couldn’t get there. Nice protection, nice play call, and nice recognition by Grier, just missed on the throw. (Negative Play)

3rd &9 – Three man rush with a spy. D-Line stunts on the right side of the Oline and Halter does an okay job but his man hurries Grier out of the pocket. This time he can’t get anything when the spy runs him down and he throws it away. (Negative Play)

11th Series

1st &10 – 4-man rush. Good protection but Grier fires it off quick on a 3 yard stop route to Robinson who is able to get (+5) on the play. (Positive Play)

3rd &3 – Grier sits back and waits for Robinson on the crosser and he turns it up field for (+11). (Positive Play)

1st &10 – Goolsby comes across the formation on the snap and releases. Grier short pass and Goolsby has to make defender miss almost upon catching the ball. He does and gets (+6). (Positive Play)

2nd &4 – 7 in the box. Defender playing way off of Robinson and Grier gets it out there quick where Robinson does the rest for a (+15) yard gain. (Positive Play)

1st &10 – 7 man protection. Only 4 rushing. Grier couldn’t spot anyone open and throws it to Callaway who couldn’t get separation on the left side deep. Incomplete. (Negative Play)

3rd &10 – Grier drops back but is hurried when Antonio Riles is beat up front. He manages a hard three yards on the play. (Negative Play)

4th &7 – 4 man rush. Decent protection, every man accounted for. Grier on his back foot hits McGee on the right side for (+10). (Positive Play)

1st &10 – Grier can’t find anyone open and throws it away on the left sideline. (Negative Play)

2nd &10 – Vols bring 5 and Kelvin Taylor comes across the formation to get the biggest threat. Grier heads outside with the heat coming and on the run and superb throw to McGee for first down and (+12) on the play.  (Positive Play)

1st &10 – Thurman gave up his man too quick and Grier forced to really just throw the ball away deep with the fast pressure. (Negative Play)

2nd – 10 – Mason Halter whiffs up front on his guy and Grier is forced to throw quick and short to Robinson running a slow crosser. Good to get just two yards. (Negative Play)

3rd &8 – Good protection on 4-man rush. Grier throws off his back foot and the ball is short to Powell who may have had a chance to go get one thrown out in front of him. (Negative Play)

4th &8 – Three man rush and there is time, bu Grier gets frisky. He makes a move to run but Powell from a stop route heads to open space and in front of Grier who softly hits him for (+16). (Positive Play)

1st &5 – Looks like a quick slant pass to Callaway that was tipped by defender and incomplete. (Negative Play)

2nd &5 – Powell on a little 4 yard out route gets it and takes it in for the quick score. Kind of a rub type play but there was never any contact.  (Positive Play)

12th Series…

1st &10 – Screen pass with Trip Thurman not getting out to help at all on the best player on Vols defense who makes a tackle on Taylor for (-4). (Negative Play)

2nd &14 – 10 yard comeback and quick throw with his defender playing way off and Demarcus Robinson drops the ball. (Negative Play)

3rd &14 – Halter outmatched by Barnett on the offensive right side of the ball and Barnett blows right by. Taylor just stares it down and doesn’t react. Grier forced to throw the ball away. (Negative Play)

4th &14 – Do I need to write anything here?  You guys have probably seen it 100 times. Will say that UT only rushed three but doubled over on the right side of O-Line to force halter one on one again. He held his own beautifully. With just three rushing they still had a spy on Grier even though there was 14 yards to get on the play. Grier had all day and enough time for Callaway to run a 18 yard hook and receiver the ball. A huge part of the play was Powell who had been injured coming back to literally take out three defenders and not allow them to make a play on Callaway as he scores on (+63) yard touchdown. (Positive Play)

By the Numbers: 49 pass plays. 43 Passes. 23 completions. 283 yard. 2 Touchdowns. 3 sacks. 21 positive plays. 28 negative plays. (Definition: positive play is 4 yards or more on 1st &10, half the distance to first down on other 1st downs and 2nd downs, getting first down on 3rd down, or success on 4th down.)

Trust is key:  Early in the game, Grier wasn’t trusting his receivers, his OLine, or himself in different situations. As the game wore on, he knew he had to in order to win and his game got better. There were at least three drops by receivers (Worton, Robinson, and Callaway), so it could have been an even better day.

Reasons for individual play failure: Adding them up, I give the responsibility for 10 if the passing plays failure to Grier. I give credit to the Tennessee defense for 8 of them. I think Callaway was responsible for 2 miscues. Worton gets 1 Robinson gets 2. Halter gets 3. Riles gets 1. Thurman gets 1.

Comment on the running game: Florida ran an unbalanced line a few times and ran that way, but Tennessee did a much better job of actually lining up against it than Kentucky did where it was very successful.  Kentucky also played with more players in the box than previous teams, prompting several audibles to passes and more passing in general. I think there were a few other times when they should have thrown the ball instead as well.

Overall Thoughts: Pass protection wise I faulted the offensive line for only five of the bad plays listed above, pretty good for a team that called 49 pass plays and has the issues on the line that Florida does. When Grier sets his feet he can make any throw. See the trust opinion above. The gators are lacking those third gear receivers that can get separation. A little more calm play from Grier early and the offense likely would have been cranking a lot more. Kelvin Taylor is night and day better at pass protection than a year ago.

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