The one mortal lock on the Gators offense was supposed to be Mike Pouncey. Moving from defensive line (remember that?) to guard to center, Pouncey was going to be a star, like his twin. Florida would pick up a solid center and Pouncey would boost his NFL stock.
All of that might still happen, but the first act wasn't very good. Pouncey's performance on Saturday was so bad that it submarined the Gators' hope for any rhythm, while being mentioned any time there was a bad snap in the Saturday night games. But it was one of 12 games. This wasn't the end of the world.
However, as sports fans, we are all amateur psychologists and color commentators. As such, there are plenty of reasons why Pouncey struggled so much on Saturday; he was nervous, the ball was slipping, he missed his brother, he was too worried about pulling to block, or he wasn't focused.
When Pouncey held out his hands and looked to the sky in the fourth quarter after his holding call, it made me think that he had a mental lock. This is a proud man, and no way does he do that unless he is really frustrated. There could have been a lot of factors, but focus was not one of them.
My concern, and I think Florida's concern, has to be that this is a game time situation. If Pouncey is fine in practice, but can't hit John Brantley in the chest with 99% of the shotgun snaps in games, he can't play center. The Gators rely on timing and a poor snap impacts the entire play. If that means Sam Robey plays majority of the USF game, then that is what UF has to do. No one wants to see a senior benched, but UF can't allow a player to work through the yips either.
We have seen in baseball and golf how players suddenly breakdown when they can't throw or swing a club. Once that happens, they are never again successful. Chuck Knoblauch was moved from second base to left field, David Duval never regained his form, and Rick Ankiel went from promising pitcher to fourth outfielder. If Pouncey struggles again on Saturday, he has to be removed immediately, for his own well being and the team's. I hope that is not the case, but we won't know what to do until Saturday.