Florida 20 FAU 14
After getting a couple of first downs on a screen play to Kelvin Taylor and a quick pass to Jake McGee, the drive stalls when left guard Martez Ivey gets beat twice inside resulting in two sacks of Treon Harris.
After getting nothing on 1st down on inside zone run to the left, Harris hits McGee quickly over the middle for (+14) and a first down. Then Taylor rips off (+8) on 1st down on another inside zone, they blocked well up front on this one. Taylor drives ahead for (+5) and another 1st down on decent blocking up front again. Harris gets pressure after Trip Thurman whiffed on a block but lays out a perfect bomb to Demarcus Robinson that he drops at the goal line. Ivey misses again and his man makes the tackle on Taylor in the backfield for (-1). Screen inside and Brandon Powell doesn’t block anyone and Antonio Callaway tackled for no gain.
1st down was nice protection up front and Harris went deep to Callaway. It wasn’t a bad throw but Callaway couldn’t come down with it. Both Ivey and center Cam Dillard miss their blocks up front and Taylor goes for (-5). Treon takes a QB draw for 14.5 yards and just short of the 1st down.
After McElwain chews the offensive line’s butts, he wants to see them do something up front. Both Ivey and Thurman get no movement on 1st down and so Taylor gets (0) yards. Twins tight formation and McGee can’t seal his guy outside causing Taylor to have to cut back in on an outside run left and he gets just (+3) yards. On 3rd &7 Harris gets decent protection and didn’t anticipate a throw to McGee on a post route and overthrows. He could have taken off there and maybe scored.
Roll out to the right on 1st down and Treon rolls right into two defenders covering that side and is sacked for (-11). QB draw on 2nd &21 and Harris gets (+14) back. On 3rd &7 Quick out pass to Alvin Bailey who should have had the 1st down and stumbles to get one yard shy.
David Sharpe can’t get to his man and so Ivey gets a double team and is pushed back not allowing Taylor any room to run and he gets (+1). On 2nd &9 too many men in the box and Gators want to run it right inside and just can’t do it on the left side again. On 3rd &9 Harris takes a QB draw for (+4).
Two major things stood out to me in the first half. The interior offensive line was horrible and I thought the staff was trying to make a point too much with the run game, trying to force it down the throat of FAU and was very unsuccessful. Of course the second point was a product of the first point inevitably.
Ivey really struggled in this first half. He was more harm than good in the passing game and he really wasn’t effective getting out in front of his man in the run game either. But he wasn’t the only one. Both Thurman and Dillard struggled to match up with their man a lot in the half.
As far as the play calling goes, trying to prove a point to their players hasn’t been the M.O. for this staff for most of the year. They have been more of a chess match staff trying to outflank the other defense. I imagine if it wasn’t FAU on the other side of the ball they wouldn’t have quite had this mindset. I wish they would have opened things up a little more and spread that defense out more, regardless of the pass protection issues.
After a silly penalty on 1st down, Taylor takes an inside zone on 1st &15 for (+19) yards. This time Ivey had a heck of a double block and helped spring Taylor on the run. Thurman still got beat inside and almost pushed his guy into Taylor on the run. Ivey completely whiffs again on his man and the defensive tackle unimpeded runs down Taylor who is slowed looking for a crease to run up field on the right side and loses (-1). Harris drops back and gets good protection on 2nd &11 and he floats the ball too far outside for Robinson and out of bounds. 3rd &11 Harris gets decent protection and all his receivers are covered. He doesn’t see Taylor cut back against the grain and get open at the last second and runs out of bounds.
Just two yards to go and Ivey completely whiffs again on his man who gets to the backfield too fast not allowing Taylor to run behind the push of the rest of the line. Taylor makes two guys miss and somehow miraculously manages a yard on the play. 2nd &1 Ivey pulls and misses his block, but Bryan Cox slams home inside and backs his man up a yard into the end zone. Taylor follows Cox into the end zone before Ivey’s guy could make a difference.
Tyler Jordan inserted up front on this series. They pulled Ivey and moved Thurman to left guard (his natural spot) and Jordan played right guard. Thurman had a hell of a block on first down and Taylor managed (+3) yards behind him. The box was stacked again, definitely pass situation in my opinion. The Gators draw pass interference on 2nd down. Jordan helps out on his first combo block but misses his second level guy who makes the tackle, but by then Taylor had (+5) as everyone did their job at the line of scrimmage. On a blitz Harris gets rid of it quick with the flare pass to Cronkrite who rumbles off (+17) yards. 7-man protection on the (+53) yard TD strike and just a beautiful pocket, beautiful throw, and a beautiful catch and finish by Callaway.
Snap through the hands of Harris and Gators lose (-14) yards. Backed up close to the end zone the Gators have a tight twins formation and run right. There were just too many defenders in the box here and safeties playing way up. Taylor does manage to take the toss for (+10). Drop back and the whole middle opens up for Harris who takes off and gets (+25) but hurt on the play. Josh Grady in at QB and he tosses it quickly to Taylor who gets a nice lead block from right tackle Mason Halter and manages (+7) on the play. Nice seal block by Jordan and Halter on the right side and Taylor rumbles for (+16). Robinson made an initial block on his man, if he follows through it might have been a 50 yard touchdown for Taylor. Good protection on a play action pass. Jordan almost loses his guy but does slow him down enough for Harris to step up. He sights Robinson one on one but underthrows it by about a foot and a safety runs from underneath to pick it off in the end zone.
Interior offensive line did a great job on 1st down, especially Jordan and Dillard who sealed their guys in different directions and Taylor ran right behind that block for (+6) yards. Taylor heading too far outside when he had some push in the middle of the line again and he can’t get the edge and is held for just (+1). On 3rd &3, Sharpe can’t get to his second level assignment and the linebacker he missed makes the tackle for no gain.
Zone stretch left and blocked pretty well and Jordan Scarlett picks up (+6) yards on the play. Harris actually has a good pocket. He sits in there for a couple of seconds before bailing right. Sharpe did his job and pushed his man real wide, but Harris not knowing that ran pretty much right in front of the defensive end who swiped at his arm and forced the fumble for a touchdown. It was a bang-bang play and if there is fault it lies with Harris who just has to be better aware of where he is at on the field and not take any chances laterally with the ball.
On first down Gators just had no options as they rolled out and FAU just had too many guys that were up close and not biting on the fake the other direction. Harris is forced to throw out of bounds. On 2nd &10 the Oline with more push again up front and especially in the middle and Taylor just followed the blocking for (+6). 5-man protection and FAU brings six on a blitz. It really happened too fast to do anything but he had a couple of underneath guys he probably could have gotten first downs from. Give that one up to FAU.
Inside zone and Dillard whiffs on his block causing Taylor to head outside right and he weaves his way with a stiff arm for (+5). Thurman and McGee pull from left to right and Taylor runs behind and gets (+4). All 11 defenders right at the line of scrimmage and Taylor runs behind Jordan for the (+1) and 1st down. Jet sweep with Callaway and Sharpe combo blocks with Thurman on left side but needed to get to the second level and the linebacker he didn’t block made the tackle for just (+2). Sharpe missed another block, whiffed on DT that gets up field too much on a power run by Taylor and he gets (+1). Harris has Powell on a short out route but throws it too wide.
On 1st down, Taylor runs an inside zone that was slow moving. If he heads to the left A-gap he has a huge hole to run through. On the right side, Jordan gets an initial leverage on his guy but slips and Taylor headed that direction and was forced to move the other way and ended up with just (+1). On 2nd &9, Thurman and Sharpe both block horribly on a double team and their man is the one that breaks through and applies the pressure on Harris who has to eventually throw it away. Harris has time with a 3-man rush, but everyone was covered and they had spies and he threw it away.
QB Draw and Harris gets (+9) when he should have had 5. Jordan with the combo block then the extra block on second level defender to free Taylor for (+4) yards. Rollout throw back pass to McGee. Great play call, not a great throw but he caught it for positive yards and then did the rest himself.
SECOND HALF AND FINAL THOUGHTS
The line play was a lot better in the second half, especially when Jordan was inserted for Ivey. I know Ivey had the injury, but not sure if it got worse during the game, but his issues were not mental, it was more technique and just physically missing blocks. I watched Jordan closely after he was inserted and I saw really one and a half misses out of him. He plays intelligently and he keeps his feet, not completely missing his guys like many did in the game.
No other lineman was quite as bad as Ivey on the day, but all the others except Mason Halter had several miscues. There were times in the second half where they also all played well. There were just too many mistakes for an offense that needs them not to.
With the line playing that bad, McElwain is right, Treon didn’t have much of a chance back there. He wasn’t helped out with play calls a lot, but constantly dodging defenders that come in almost unimpeded is not fair to the kid.
There were really two throws I really didn’t like. The interception where he was a little careless and the short out pass to Powell that he threw ahead of him and incomplete and it would have kept a drive alive in the second half.
He was close on a Robinson deep ball on the outside and the same on Callaway which actually could have been Callaway’s fault. Robinson dropped the touchdown pass as well. He is partly to blame on the McGee post pass in the end zone, but he was rushed by a missed block just enough to overthrow it. He can be blamed for not anticipating that throw sooner though.
Give him the Robinson drop and just one of those outside passes to Callaway or Robinson and we are talking a whole different ball game. Give him more time, I think the same thing.
As far as the receiver, Robinson has to make that catch. Bailey can’t fall down on a sure first down. And we are still back to Callaway and Powell along with Robinson being the only three that has been able to really make any kind of difference this year.
The close ball game turned into the Kelvin Taylor show again with the young guys not getting much work, which is disappointing. They all ran hard when given the chance. Can’t see any fault in anything they did.
McGee has been the man outside of Callaway as far as catching the ball. He continues to be a team leader and playing well.
As far as coaching, they were more successful in the second half, but they went way conservative. Despite the blocking issues, and one silly throw from Harris, FAU was begging to give them the big play by playing their safeties up. That is what this staff is all about, taking advantage of what the defense gives you, and I thought they went away from that in the first half to try and prove a point and in the second half as they got tight. They need to fix that train of thought in this man’s opinion.