However, quarterback Chris Leak had trouble hooking up with receivers when they were open. It is obvious that his shoulder and his confidence are suffering. He is not the same player that beat Tennessee, and destroyed Kentucky last month. Since the victory over the Wildcats, Leak has thrown one touchdown pass. He finished today's game 11 of 30 (37%) for 107 yards.
How bad was the offense?
In the first half, Florida did not have a play from scrimmage go for more than nine yards. LSU had four different receivers who had catches of more than 10 yards and Addai also had a 30 yard run.
The Gators offensive woes go much deeper than Leak.
Florida's receivers struggled (at times) to separate from the LSU secondary. It appears that Leak and the receivers are not on the same page. There is a misread somewhere there. Furthermore, poor pass protection continue to hinder the Gators efforts. The line suffered at other times when the numbers were clearly on the Tigers side as they blitzed. There were other times the numbers matched up, yet the line play was still a mess.
The one constant was a stingy Florida defense, who held on and kept the Gators in the game throughout. Once again, they gave up a few big plays courtesy of the safety. Jarvis Herring failed to get over in coverage as LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell found speedster Bennie Brazell wide open on a streak route for a 44 yard touchdown pass early in the game. Kyle Jackson also misplayed a couple of key passes by taking bad angles and getting over late. But, when you force five turnovers, you should win.
The defense desperately needed a drive or score by the Florida offense. It didn't happen. The defense seemingly tired a little in the third and fourth (early) quarters allowed the Tigers to mount a pair of drives which totaled 15:11.
The Florida defense created big plays in the form of five turnovers. Losing a game when the opponent commits five turnovers and 11 penalties for 103 yards is simply unacceptable.
Converting turnovers The Gators picked up just 17 points off of those five turnovers. Maybe the defense should stay on the field and try to convert those opportunities? Seriously, Leak now has two weeks to rest that sore shoulder and get on the same page with the receivers. The Florida coaches have to figure out how to inject a little juice into this system.
Joe Cohen, Jeremy Mincey, Marcus Thomas, and Jarvis Moss were sensational. They did a tremendous job of keeping Russell from hanging out and finding the Tigers speed demons. They also did solid work against a very talented running back in Joseph Addai. Yes, Addai picked up 156 yards, but other than the 30 yard run, he didn't hit the home run against Florida. Those were tough yards that Florida could have overcome had they taken advantage of Addai's forced fumbles.
Missed opportunity LSU went into the half with a jolt of momentum when the Gators failed to capitalize on a potential field goal opportunity that would have cut the deficit to 14-10 when Leak was sacked by linebacker Ali Highsmith.
Leak and the passing game
Problems- injuries, poor protection, reads, routes, and overthrows. The result is an offense where the confidence is shaken and stirred. I understand that new systems take time to install, but this was game seven. It looks more like week one…of the spring.
Tebow, Snead, Fayson, Hornsby, and Young You can bet these guys are watching and understand that there is a place for them to make an immediate impact.
There were several calls that warranted the festival of flags that took place during the game. For a crew that managed to see so many penalties, what ghostly apparition must you have seen when Vernell Brown was –signaling for a fair catch? Jemalle Cornelius' catch –that wasn't- late in the fourth quarter? The bourbon must have been flowing in the replay booth for their failure in overturning the call on the field. Call the obvious and let the kids determine the outcome of the game
Time of possession
A defense is outstanding, but needs a rest. The 15:11 that the Tigers controlled the ball in throughout the third and early fourth quarter stripped the Gators of any momentum. Florida's offensive line threw a few sound punches in the direction of the LSU defensive front, but they failed to capitalize on the golden opportunity to utilize play action.
Eric Wilbur had another phenomenal effort. The Winter Park native got Florida in the field position game and with the assistance from the coverage teams to corral one of the country's most dangerous return men in Skyler Green to a minimum.