What we learned: Florida brings out boo birds with loss to Texas A&M

By Adam Silverstein
October 15, 2017
What we learned: Florida brings out boo birds with loss to Texas A&M
Football

Image Credit: @GatorsFB / Twitter

Fans headed for the exits in the fourth quarter before the game was even over. It was that obvious that the Florida Gators would lose their third home game in head coach Jim McElwain‘s tenure when the Texas A&M Aggies once again drove the ball deep for a go-ahead field goal that would lead to a 19-17 win at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

OnlyGators.com breaks down UF’s loss below.


It was over when: Redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks had one last chance to drive Florida down the field for at least a game-winning field goal attempt but threw an interception on the first play of his series with under a minute to play. The game was actually over after Texas A&M star playmaker Christian Kirk returned a punt — booted right at him by redshirt senior Johnny Townsend — 43 yards to the UF 39 with 4:20 remaining. It was obvious TAMU would at least net a field goal and take a 19-17 lead, putting the onus back on the Gators to score in a one-minute drill.

Exceptional efforts: The running backs were once again the stars for Florida with freshman Malik Davis (18 carries, 97 yards) and sophomore Lamichal Perine (13 carries, 54 yards, touchdown) basically consisting of the entire offense. Florida rushed for 242 of its 371 total yards with Franks notching an incredible zig-zag 79-yard run — the longest for a UF player since the program started keeping track in 1996. Redshirt junior defensive tackle Taven Bryan was also a beast for the Gators with seven tackles (three solo) and 1.5 sacks, though he seemed involved on every quarterback pressure on Saturday night.

Important injuries: It would not be a Florida game without someone going down. Redshirt senior defensive end Jordan Sherit, arguably the defense’s best player, went down late with a hip injury and did not return. McElwain said after the game he will need surgery, presumably of the season-ending variety. Redshirt senior wide receiver Brandon Powell also hurt his shin in the game and was noticeably hobbled late in the contest.

Odds and ends: Saturday was the 4th time since 2010 that Florida lost back-to-back games in The Swamp; it had not previously happened since 1988 before that … UF went 1-2 on its homestand with its losses coming by a combined three points … the Gators outrushed the Aggies 242-83, dropping their first game when outrushing an opponent under McElwain (16-1) … UF is now 18-3 against unranked opponents with consecutive losses in such games … Florida ran 41 plays in the first half and just 27 in the second half … the Gators are now 5-11 under McElwain when an opponent scores more than 14 points in a game … Saturday was UF’s first night game in The Swamp against an SEC opponent since Oct. 3, 2015 … McElwain is now 13-3 in The Swamp with consecutive losses … the Gators wore a uniform color other than blue, orange or white for the first time in program history

What it means: Franks is not the answer — at least in 2017; he simply does not have the instinct necessary to start at quarterback in this level but maybe (or maybe not) in another year … Florida’s special teams is only getting worse, top to bottom, and the poor play is now affecting specialists who have been bright spots for the Gators; neither Townsend nor redshirt junior kicker Eddy Pineiro had stellar nights as usual with Townsend struggling outside a 67-yard boot … the injuries and suspensions are taking a massive toll on Florida, but it’s not an excuse for some mind-numbing play calling and clock management issues on offense … the coaching decisions are hurting the Gators, but they’re not an excuse for legitimate failed execution and mind-numbing penalties … Florida is an absolute mess right now with plenty of blame to go around — too much blame for a third-year coach to be absorbing midway through a season despite any obstacles he is facing

25 Comments

  1. Marc says:

    Just curious about your last sentence. It’s a bit ambiguous. Are you saying (1) that the blame is more than Mac should be absorbing because he should have been able to put the team in a better position by now; or (2) that the blame is disproportionally being placed on the head coach but it should be directed to others as well?

    • Sick of armchair coaches says:

      Program had way more problems than Mac could of known about! But that don’t matter to the coaches of arm chair University! I love how everyone knows what it takes to be a coach at that level! Cause all of you are retired College Coaches right! Lol

      • Michael L. Jones says:

        I always laugh when somebody insists that the only people allowed to make comments on a comment board are “retired college coaches.” I think they should also have to be retired English teachers.

  2. james says:

    When a once successful company begins to miss its sales targets the VP Marketing hires a new sales manager. If the failure continues the CEO finds a new VP Marketing. If the slump continues, the board of directors finds a new CEO. Nobody wants to hear about I hired this guy, I trained this guy, I supervise this guy and this guy fu%ks up but it’s got nothing to do with me? The SEC ain’t the Mountain West and UF ain’t CSU. FIRERONZOOOK.COM ….. remember? Jim?

  3. JGL says:

    This is an average team, poorly coached in all phases, and a program headed in the wrong direction. Time for Stricklin to start a HC search.

  4. john says:

    I don’t agree with the “Fire the Coach!” crowd. No one is happy with the losses — but the man is 13 – 3 at the Swamp which is respectable. We need changes and Mac needs to be a little less stubborn and more creative, but firing him now would set us back years. When you keep firing Coaches with winning records after 2-3 years then who is going to want to come and be Head Coach here?

    • Wayne says:

      I agree a lot with what you are saying but we are not keeping up with the sec east…we have been lucky the past two years only because everyone else sucked…it is honestly embarrassing to watch our offense they really look like they have no idea what the hell is going on…thank goodness for coach Shannon and the defense

      • Michael L. Jones says:

        I actually agree with both you and John except the part about Coach Shannon and the defense. . which also sucked Saturday night. I think that maybe the QB keeper would have been a good thing for the defense to adjust to, don’t you? It was torture watching something be successful over and over again that everybody in the stadium knew AM was going to run except for evidently Coach Shannon.

    • G2 says:

      Yes but who has he played in the Swamp? We beat up on the lower end teams but get waxed when we play a real team? We are light years away from beating the Bama’s etc.
      I guess Mac gets a pass this year with all the suspensions but like with Muschamp we seem to be getting worse.

      The offense is anemic, the defense has taken 3 steps back, special teams (excluding kickers) suck. Not sure who we can beat left on the schedule. We are headed back into a dumpster fire category I’m afraid.

  5. betty says:

    Florida is fast becoming the Tennessee of the SEC. You know a once great program that has been mediocre for several seasons to now becoming just plain horrible.

  6. Randall says:

    I am a Gator alumni living in Dallas. Embarassing loss again. If the coach is a quarterback whisperer, what is he whispering to the quarterbacks?

  7. Shaun graham says:

    Idk guys i was all for coach mac and supported him despite the piss poor offense that he was hired to fix and thought “well we have to give him time”…..but cmon man its been the same shit year in and out with him the last 3 yrs regardless of his record as a winning coach when we did win we looked absolutely horrible doing it hes the only coach at florida in recent history that went into ot with a team like fau and is still there hes not the answer guys he shows no fire he cant handle the stress of the job and u can tell its wearing on him its no longer a situation where he can blame this bullshit coaching on young guys missing assignments…..at times this offense rolls down the field and makes shit look easy others they run 3 pass plays when ur rbs are getting 10 yds a carry thats coaching thats playcalling…..the pieces are there already for us to be running shit like we did in the 90s that raw talent showed in this last game but in the 2nd half we went from an up tempo 42 plays in the first half to a molasses styled 26 in the 2nd and wonder why our guys cant score after hlaftime i guarantee u get rid of mac hire sum1 like dan mullen and that very first yr we will be on a national title hunt those 2 rbs we have are beast and franks isnt bad along with a decent o line its vanilla play calling and failure to work with qbs the correct way

    • Michael L. Jones says:

      I can’t believe someone else on this comment board has the sense to know that Dan Mullen–with UF resources and UF recruits–would come in here and kick butt. We would be perennial National Championship contenders if Mullen had the resources and recruits here that he will never have at Miss St. I agree 100%. He is fearless, classy, innovative, and would run circles around either Muschamp or McElwain.

      • Andrew says:

        Omg! Now we want Mullen to save us? I guess times have gotten so bad we’ve blocked out that we practically had to run him out of town just a few years back for a putrid offense. No thanks, we’re not MissSt….yet.

        • Michael Jones says:

          What? lol. Dude, check your facts. What we would give to have an offense like the one he ran here. We’ve haven’t been as good since he left. And he wasn’t “run out of town.” He was offered a HC job.

        • 1974Gator says:

          We asked Mullen back before we brought in Muschamp and he said “hell no!” We treated him pretty bad while he was here. We treat all our OCs, DCs and head coaches like sh%t. Even Spurrier got tired of our continuous bitching about why anything except winning SEC titles and National championships happened. We need to all shut our pie holes and let the pros do what needs to be done. That means, when the AD thinks the HC needs replacing he’ll tell us AND when the HC thinks the OC or DC need to be replaced he’ll let us know. Our only decisions should be whether we buy tickets, watch the games on tv or decide to not do either.

            • 1974Gator says:

              What part?

              • John says:

                Well I for one disagree that we should be mindless and accept whatever the AD and HC does. I disagree that my only decision is whether or not to buy or ticket or watch!

                Having said that I believe it is inaccurate that we “asked Mullen back before we brought in Muschamp.”

                Nor do I believe that Mullen said “Hell No” to UF because I don’t believe that we offered him anything.

                What I have seen reported was that Mullen did not have a very strong relationship with AD Foley and that his personality may not have meshed with others when he was here under Coach Meyer.

  8. J Paul Davis says:

    Hey Steve, remember the “free shoes university ” commentary? Perhaps we can now call UF ” The University of Fraudada”!

  9. pete malarkey says:

    fire the fans. you guys are classic whiners. happy holidays!

    • Michael Jones says:

      Ha ha. Welcome to Gator Nation.

    • MAR says:

      Some fans.
      I’m with these Gators. I see them playing hard. 2 losses by 3 points total. D-line is playing as good as I’ve seen in years. Linebackers and secondary are young and improving. The future is bright in those areas. I’ve seen steady improvement in the O-line and running game.
      I believe QB will come around. I hope Franks starts the rest of the year so we can see if he figures out how to feel and see the field.
      If he doesn’t, then that probably means that he just doesn’t have it between the ears.
      Coach Mac is recruiting well and I think he has good seasons to come. He’s doing a pretty damn good job given the circumstances.
      I think we surprise UGA. I like the effort and will I am seeing and feel this team couldve adult folded by now. They’ve not, they have fight.
      I believe! Go Gators!

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