FanPost

Quick notes and first impressions from the TAM game

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A few random thoughts and observations entirely off the cuff just based on my impressions from watching the game.

- I have always maintained that the thing that makes Billy Donovan a Hall of Fame coach is not just his ability to recruit good players or his ability to develop top tier talent from less than top tier recruits – Chandler Parsons perhaps being the best example of this – or even his ability to make basketball relevant at a school where football is and always will be king. It is his ability go into a half after a less then inspiring performance and make just the right adjustments, just the right tweaks needed to own the second half.

Between last week and especially this week, I am starting to see this from Will and his team. In the first half Florida, only managed 118 yards and 10 points while allowing 270 yards and 17 points. In the second half, we all but doubled the offensive yardage with 220 yards, though with the same 10 point outcome (skewed somewhat by running out the clock on the 49-yard final drive instead of kicking a FG) but only allowed 49 total yards and zero points from TAM. While the narrative might point to TAM blowing yet another 2nd half lead, the truth here is that the Gators dominated the 2nd half. The only reason it seems as close as it is was is because of the hole Florida fell into in the first half.

- Jeff Driskel has all the tools needed to be a highly successful QB in the SEC. He finished 13 of 16 for 162 yards with a 10.1 yard per completion average. No TD’s – though he likely had one dropped in the end zone by Frankie Hammond – but no INT’s either. He ran well enough to finish up 8 yards on the day despite having 8 sacks.

Decision-making is still a serious issue though, especially when it comes time to give up on a play. I chalk it up to a mix of the rookie learning curve, the road environment, the belief that he needs to be amazing when they are down, and continued nerves over the QB competition. Muschamp did him no favors with his half-hearted approval when he named him starter, hopefully his comment after the game that he didn’t learn anything about Driskel from the game because “he knew it already” puts this to rest.

- Wide receiver remains a problem. Of the 9 completed throws, 9 went to players generally considered tight ends or utility players (Reed, Hines, Burton), two went to running backs (Gillislee, Jones) and only three went to true wide receivers, two to Hammond and one to Dunbar. While I am fine with the tight end position leading in receptions – all three are excellent athletes, especially Reed and Hines – the non-factor of the wide receivers remains a concern.

- While the sweep with Patton is not ideal against some of the teams we face, LSU and potentially Alabama especially, it is good to see that we have it in the playbook and can execute it when circumstances allow it.

- We seem to have taken the best parts of running back by committee – eight different players ran the ball in the game – while still finding and using a featured back. Gillislee is not the fastest player we have had running it, or the most elusive, nor is he the biggest and best between the tackle downhill runner we have had. Instead, he managed to combine the right parts of both north-south and east-west running while being an incredibly tough player. Like his contemporary up at South Carolina, Marcus Lattimore, him running well alone will not win the division but the Gators do not have a chance if he does not run well.




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