10/8: Florida at LSU post-game notes, quotes

By Adam Silverstein
October 8, 2011

The No. 17/18 Florida Gators (4-2, 2-2 SEC) fell on the road on Saturday, dropping a 41-11 decision to the No. 1/2 LSU Tigers (6-0, 3-0 SEC). OGGOA takes a look at some of the notable occurrences before, during and after Saturday’s game with notes and quotes from both head coach Will Muschamp and the players.

MUSCHAMP’s GAME RECAP

Early in his post-game media availability, Muschamp provides his own quick recap of the game as he sees it from offense, defense and special teams.

“I’m obviously disappointed in the game. Defensively [there were] too many big plays. Penalties killed us in the game. We’ve got to get better on the line of scrimmage. We wore out as the game wore on. No forced turnovers for us and we committed two. We just got to play better on the line of scrimmage and big plays. We gave up some big plays trying to load the box in the run game. We gave up some big plays. [I’m] disappointed in the game. We’ve got to get better.”

INJURIES AND ABSENCES

In addition to redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (lower leg) and freshman QB Jeff Driskel (ankle) not dressing for the game, two notable absences from the field were junior left tackle Xavier Nixon and redshirt freshman wide receiver Quinton Dunbar During the game, sophomore Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (neck) and junior safety Josh Evans (arm) were injured, and senior running back Jeff Demps (ankle) came in for a play or two but quickly exited and was unable to continue.

Muschamp explained after the game that freshman Jacoby Brissett got the start at quarterback because Driskel’s health prevented him from taking the reigns of the team. “He practiced this week,” Muschamp said of Driskel. “We came to the conclusion Wednesday night that we just didn’t feel like he was healthy enough to go and play in that environment. We tried to rep him throughout the week and it wasn’t fair to him. It wasn’t fair to us.”

He continued, “[Driskel]’s more experienced and he’s played. So as far as the packages, you look at the number of reps that Jeff’s gotten through spring and into fall camp, obviously he’s gotten a lot more turns. That’s part of the game. You’re not going to hear me talk about youth or injuries. That’s pretty obvious with our teams.”

Muschamp said the staff with “reevaluate where Jeff is” before the Auburn game because Driskel may be able to return but said Brantley will “be out for the game more than likely.” He did not give a timetable for Brantley’s return (Georgia game would be the earliest) but said the coaching staff needed to “evaluate where we are on the offensive side of the ball and what we need to do to be successful” going forward.

DOOMED BY A LACK OF DISCIPLINE
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]Florida committed 12 penalties for 90 yards on Saturday, their second-highest total of the year. And that’s not counting lost yardage on plays that were called back. It was also the fourth time in 2011 that the Gators had nine or more penalties called against them in a single game. Florida kept two (in particular) LSU drives alive due to their penalties and even had consecutive offside calls on a possession that ended in a touchdown for the Tigers. The Gators also had a great run by senior running back Chris Rainey negated due to a holding call well behind the play.

“There’s aggressive penalties that are judgment situations and then there are penalties that shouldn’t happen. We got a 30-yard run in the first quarter and we’re blocking 20 yards behind the ball. That’s not very smart,” Muschamp said. “It’s something that’s been talked about 100 times and it needs to be talked about 200. We’re going to talk about it 200 times this week because that’s not very smart. We’re going to talk about it 205-12-15, something like that, to see if we can do a little better.”

Another area that UF proved to be undisciplined was in tackling. For the second straight game, Florida had the opportunity to wrap up runs and short passes on the first level but failed by taking bad angles and using their arms instead of their bodies and legs. Muschamp was obviously none-too-pleased with that fact after the game.

“Tackling is ‘want to’ to me,” he said. “You either want to do it or you don’t. I’ll find guys who want to tackle.”

BRISSETT PROVES HE CAN HANG

It is a rough situation to start a freshman QB against a SEC opponent, especially when that opponent is LSU, the game is at Tiger Stadium, and the signal caller has never taken a collegiate snap before. With all that being said, Brissett performed admirably on Saturday, finishing 8/14 for 94 yards with a 65-yard touchdown pass to Andre Debose. He also threw two interceptions in the game – one down the middle of the field that should not have been thrown and another to Debose in the end zone that Tigers cornerback Tyrann Mathieu made a great play on.

Brissett worked well off the play action, had decent vision down field, stepped up in the pocket on occasion, showed he could be mobile and proved that he indeed has a big arm. “I thought he was solid under the circumstances against a good football team defensively,” Muschamp said. “I think he’s going to be a really good football player for us. We’ve got to play better around him in some spots and create some more situations in the run game.”

The Gators tried to do that by giving sophomore Trey Burton multiple snaps at the quarterback position. Burton mostly handed the ball off and was used more than anything because Brissett had a limited package of plays that he was prepared for heading into the game.

“[We did that] just to take the pressure off of Jacoby. We felt like we had a package for him that we could execute and execute well,” Muschamp said. “I thought, for the most part, [Burton] did a nice job. I was very pleased with that. Trey’s package, we got the ball moving in the second half with that package and it was effective for us.”

THE DEFENSE IS OFFENSIVE

With a questionable offense heading into the season and a defense that was one of the best in the country against the run heading into last week’s game against Alabama, Florida looked to have at least one area of their team completely figured out. Wrong.

The Gators have allowed their last two opponents to rush for 226 and 238 yards, respectively, which equates to an average of 5.04 yards per carry. Muschamp is obviously aware of this and continues to say it will be a point of emphasis in practice this week.

“I thought we would play better than we did in the last two ball games. Again, we’ve got to come up with some ways to stop the run game better than we’re doing at this point, and that’s been disappointing because I did think we would play the fronts better,” he said. “We’re not tackling well when we’ve got the ball on the perimeter in some spots. It’s just a collective effort. It’s not one area.”

One reason he gave for why UF may be failing in this area is its lack of depth up front. “We’re really playing three or four guys inside and three guys at end,” Muschamp said. “We just got to do a better job of getting off the field earlier in the game in those situations.”

PLAYMAKERS PROVE THEY SHOULD GET MORE LOOKS

Debose was put on the spot this week to replicate his performance from last Saturday and he did just that with a mirror image 65-yard touchdown reception. He did not catch another ball in this week’s game but was open on occasion and had an early jump on Mathieu on a ball that was eventually intercepted.

Seeing increased playing time for the injured Demps, junior RB Mike Gillislee again proved that he can be effective with the ball in his hands. Gillislee carried the rock nine times for a team-high 56 yards and was integral on Florida’s sole scoring drive in the first half. “Mike was very effective in the game,” Muschamp said afterward. “He runs hard; he runs with his pads down. He does a nice job in the run game. He’s done a better job with protections. He’s got to continue working on catching the ball out of the backfield.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Florida has been outscored 79-21 over their last two games. The Gators’ 41-11 loss Saturday was their worst since the 1996 Fiesta Bowl (62-24 to Nebraska), and the team has not fallen so badly in consecutive games since dropping back-to-back decisions to Auburn (40-7) and Georgia (49-7) in 1971.

» On failing to properly cover the fake punt: “We had two guys assigned for the punt that didn’t do their job. We’ll move on with that. That’s coaching. We had two guys assigned to do their job that didn’t do it. They did what they wanted to do. And those guys aren’t going to play in our program anymore, guys that do what they want to do when they want to do it. It’s undisciplined football and that’s my fault and nobody else’s.

» On if he took any positives away from the game: “Not a whole lot. Not a whole lot.”

» On running the fake punt early in the first half: “We came here to win the game. And I felt like in that situation we were backed up. Worst thing we could do was punt again into the wind. The ball’s going to be at midfield. We had a hard time with the wind in the first quarter, so I felt like we had to get the first down. The fake punt we felt like was there. We hit it tighter than we wanted to. We felt like it was there, and I would call it again.”

» On deciding to kick the field goal in the first half: “We needed points at that time. It was a three-score game and we needed points. I didn’t want to come out without points.”

» On how he will handle consecutive losses against top -three opponents: “A loss is a loss regardless of how it looks. We just got to look at the film, evaluate where we are as a football team and that’s what we’re going to do to move forward with the guys that are willing to do the things we need to do to be successful. That’s what we plan on doing. We got a bunch of guys in that locker room who are hurting right now, as well as us, and we just need to get better.”[/EXPAND]

24 Comments

  1. Z says:

    I don’t care about the loss because we all knew this was going to be an ugly year. However, THESE PENALTIES ARE PISSING ME OFF!!!!!!!!! If they can’t stay onside, bench their ass

    • Aligator says:

      As well as the poor tackling?? What up with that??? Maybe we have just had a rough couple of weeks and we will be back on top of things. Our team is young…..

  2. John S says:

    Well it is what it is. The defense is where I’m most concerned, we have talented players at all positions on the defense, and few injuries. There is no excuse for getting run over. Based on my limited review, we gave up more yards to LSU than anyone else they’ve faced including Northwestern State. We can not win with performances like that against anybody left on our schedule (excluding mighty Furman). This defense needs to attack or stay home. This is the SEC expect competition. Muschamp and Quinn you have a lot of work ahead of you, adapt your strategy to reality, these are not yet NFL players.

    Also good job Brissett, sorry the defense couldn’t make this respectable.

  3. GatorsAlumLA says:

    Do y’all want cheese with that whine?

    Florida will beat Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State. Make travel arrangements for Atlanta – December 3rd.

    It’s Great to be a Florida Gator!

    • g8ter27 says:

      don’t know what you are smoking but i will take some!

    • GatorMac22 says:

      That’s what I’m talkin bout!! Go Gators!!

    • BobG says:

      If you want to blow smoke, that is fine. But, keep it internal; don’t blow it up mine.

      I don’t see any whining. Discussing the state of the program in realistic terms is not whining.

  4. Len says:

    How can the players be discipline when the coach is not? He is running up and the sidelines screaming and yelling. He need to learn from Phil Jackson. I know he will and the team will get better. go Gators

  5. BobG says:

    Adam,

    Nixon was missing? When and how? CBS was typically non-committal. I only noticed later in the game that Patchen was at LT.

    I did not see Pop Saunders on the field. Did he play at all? During the week the Champ said he would be available.

    Any details on personnel status would be greatly appreciated.

    • Mr2Bits says:

      Yes, Pop played. He blew two coverages which led to the big passing TD’s and missed a handful of tackles.

  6. gatorade says:

    This team is not good enough to focus more than one week at a time. We could end up 5-7 or 10-2. Not sure another game versus either LSU or Bama (in Atlanta) is what the doctor ordered unless we show major improvement.

  7. Andy says:

    Gators alum you are delusional. This wasn’t just losses to two great teams. This was complete and utter failure on both lines of scrimmage. We lose against auburn Georgia fsu and south Carolina allowing that to happen. I hate mike bianchi but he is right. We have a hell of a track team, not a football team. Our defense is soft. Mikey Marotti is overrated I guess, because we have been tosssed around like little girls. You’re blind if you think this is a two game abboration.

    • Tractorr says:

      I think that the remainder of the schedule is what will show us what this team is made of. Florida went from a rebuilding year to a transition year and they just played against probably the two best teams in the country. If we look like we did yesterday against anyone else on the schedule I will be concerned. This is not to say that we will beat every team but there is no one left on the schedule that is so talented we can’t hang with them.

  8. Tampa Gator Girl says:

    I expected going into this season that it would be hard to beat Bama and LSU. And with our top 2 QBs injured as well as Demps for both of them, its even harder to win against them.

    However, I do question Bama’s tactics and coaching against our players and others. I find it hard to believe that it is JUST a coincidence that our top 2 QBs got leg injuries last week and Vandy’s top QB got a leg injury this week against Bama as well. It seems to me that Bama coaches are teaching their defense to play dirty… take them down AND injure them. Adam – do you have any insight into the SEC or NCAA taking a look into this?

    • BobG says:

      Tampa Girl, if you watch the tape of the two QBs, it was pure fluke. There was no intent to injure at all. They just got caught in awkward positions. You gotta block for your QB and at least one Olineman completely blew it.

      Demps was a pretty rough slam down, and ended awkwardly. If it had been a QB treated that way, I am sure there would have been a flag–but a running back, no. I certainly would not term it dirty.

    • Tractorr says:

      The Brantley injury was a clean hit. It was not late and it was not low. I have not been able to find video from the Driskel hit but from what I remember it was the same. I have not seen the Vanderbilt hit so I cannot comment on that .

    • Ken (CA) says:

      The only thing dirty about the Bama hits was the dirt on our offensive line’s trousers as they got blown past and knocked over on the way to the tackle…

  9. collegeballdude says:

    four words “BRING BACK THE PIT”……when the players admit “we were soft out there” something is wrong. maybe these NFL experienced coaches treat the players like NFL prima donnas……they DO appear soft and lacking discipline…..some players seem to quit on plays….AND THE PENALTIES!…..the talent is better than what is being displayed…..that said i am not a fair weather fan…SO …GO GATORS!

  10. Tampa Gator Girl says:

    BobG and Tractorr – the hit on JB may have been clean, but in my opinion you can see that their intent is to injure than to just tackle with how Upshaw finished the play. What about the horse collar-type grab around the neck at the end of the hit? That was definitely not “clean” in my opinion. And then, Vandy’s QB gets a leg injury this past Saturday. That is 3 QBs injured in 2 weeks. Not just pure coincidence in my opinion, sorry.

  11. aziatic41 says:

    LSU and Alabama are two very very good teams. But our effort in the past two losses has been horrible. We have just been blown out of the water the last two weeks. I mean it has been ugly! Also Muschamp needs to be less vocal on the sidelines. When the players see him blow up and complain to refs, then that makes them feel like its the refs fault and not theirs. Its just not positive for the players to see him lose his cool early in games like that.

    As I’ve stated in my earlier replies are defensive line is overrated! They are very soft and not physical at all. The supposedly 5-star guys Urban brought in from the north have just not panned out. Easley, Floyd, and Jenkins are not physical at all. We need big strong southern players like Alabama and LSU to compete with them. We have no Barrons, Hightowers, Upshaws, or Mathieus on our roster.

    Our defensive line has been shredded by running backs the last two weeks. And I hate to say it but Dyer from Auburn is a helluva running back and he may eclipse 200 yards against us next week. Our line is horrible right now!

    I’m looking at our schedule right now and its looking very likely that we will finish 6-6 this year. We will prolly beat Vandy and Furman but thats about it..

  12. UGADawg says:

    GatorsAlumLA your outside your mind. UF will lose against 3/4 of those opponents you mentioned. Cancel you travel plans… 10-29-11 be there…

  13. Joe says:

    Games like Alabama, LSU, Georgia and South Caroling are not won or lost on Saturdays. They are won or lost during the summer when the team is supposedly going through strength and conditioning. Miss State, LSU and South Caroling ran right through us last year and Muschamp came in saying he wanted to be physical but yet nothing happend, we are still soft. If Muschamp really wants to change the culture of this football team, Micky needs to go.

  14. npgator says:

    Getting caught with our pants down on that fake punt was inexcusable!

  15. Tim says:

    We have an issue at linebacker. And what is the deal with AC Leonard? The kid is a penalty making machine.

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