Florida coach Jim McElwain absurdly puts onus on players for lack of execution vs. Texas A&M

By Adam Silverstein
October 14, 2017
Florida coach Jim McElwain absurdly puts onus on players for lack of execution vs. Texas A&M

Image Credit: ESPN Images

Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain did not mince words Saturday night after his team was held scoreless in the fourth quarter as the Texas A&M Aggies scored nine unanswered points to pick up a 19-17 win at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

“The plan is good. The execution piece needs to get better,” McElwain said of Florida’s offense when asked why the Gators failed to convert on third down and extend drives in the second half.

In a way, he’s right.

It is well known by now that redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks locks on his primary target and does not generally go through his progressions. The offense line too often lets rushers into Franks’ pocket, forcing him off his spot and on the run where he’s made a couple plays but not enough. The wide receivers — those remaining that are still healthy and eligible to play — do not get the kind of separation needed for Franks to make easy passes in such situations.

But in a larger way, McElwain could not be more wrong.

You see, it is McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier who call this offense. It is that duo that chose not to allow star freshman running back Malik Davis or talented sophomore RB Lamichal Perine to touch the ball at midfield while calling three consecutive pass plays — two play actions — in the second half. None of the plays gained a single yard; Davis was averaging 7.6 yards per touch, while Perine was averaging 4.8 yards per carry at the time.

It is McElwain and Nussmeier who recruited the team’s offensive linemen and playmakers — both the talented ones not on the field as well as the ones providing depth that have been unable to step up and fill those shoes over the last two games. And it’s not like the Gators’ offense was exactly running on all cylinders when nearly full strength (sans the two suspended starters) most of the season.

Florida ran 41 plays in the first half but just 27 in the second. Texas A&M was able to put together 24 plays to UF’s 10 in the fourth quarter. Outside of the Gators’ first series of the game, which utilized well-timed tempo but only resulted in a field goal, the offense was not equipped to keep the Aggies off balance the rest of the contest. What good is all of that work, then, if it’s only going to last 13 plays and result in three points?

To be fair, Franks is missing wide open receivers. Redshirt junior tight end C’yontai Lewis was uncovered on the other side of the field when Franks threw his first interception of the evening into the end zone. On a play later in the contest, redshirt senior wide receiver Brandon Powell was so open he was waving his arms while Franks was forced to roll to the other side of the field.

In other words, it’s all bad Florida’s offense right now. But to claim player execution is primarily to blame is an absurd statement when you are consistently outcoached in the second half of nearly every game you play — whether the result is victory or loss.

Ultimately, the execution of the players is the responsibility of the coaches, and the ones on the sideline and in the box for the Gators on offense — and on special teams, but we’ll get to that another time — are not getting more than one phase of their job done right now.


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