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How Florida failed to make the most of its opportunities against Georgia

Florida was not without chances against Georgia. But the Gators came away empty-handed too often.

Georgia v Florida Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

As Omar Little famously said, “You come at the king, you best not miss.”

He did not say “Come at the king, and, well, it’s all right if you miss a few. You’ll have plenty of opportunities at the king. Don’t fret.”

Last Saturday, Florida was playing the reigning kings of college football in the Georgia Bulldogs. The Gators had some opportunities in the game — even after going into halftime trailing 28-3 — but they missed way too often to pull an upset.

In the preview of the game, I mentioned that Florida would need to win the turnover margin and hope to win in the red zone. Georgia’s close games this season both involved the Dawgs losing the turnover battle and having to settle for field goals in the red zone.

The Gators were able to get one piece of the puzzle on Saturday, forcing three Bulldog turnovers. Unfortunately, Florida lost the red zone battle: Georgia got into the redzone four times, scoring a touchdown each time, while Florida was only able to come up with 10 points from its own four trips.

It sounds strange to say after giving up 42 points, but the defense seemed to play a little better than they have at times this season. Or, well, at least it did in the passing game. Georgia was able to do what they wanted for the most part in the run game, but I think that’s more of a function of personnel than scheme.

Against the pass, Florida looked a little more comfortable in the scheme than in previous weeks. They did not go crazy high-variance like I thought could be possible. They did not play press man and blitz every play, either; their blitz percentage was about on par with their season long average, and according to friend of the program J. Bud Davis, Florida played a little more zone than usual according to tracking data.

Watching back through the game, Florida cycled through a lot of coverages. It appeared that they even played some variations of quarters coverage that involved corners playing man and the inside defenders getting favorable matchups — three on two or two on one. Either way, the coverage seemed tighter than previous weeks and the Gators were maybe a bit unlucky, ending up in pretty good position on some balls that were caught. Georgia has some unique matchup players and they are going to get theirs — though, of course, a ball somehow going from Ventrell Miller’s PBU to Brock Bowers’s long touchdown catch-and-run is a frustrating way for getting theirs to transpire.

Offensively, Florida couldn’t handle Georgia up front and that caused a lot of issues. For the most part, the run game was toast. Some plays looked great pre-snap, but the Bulldogs won individual matchups in the trenches to blow things up.

Additionally, there were multiple instances of schemed-up shots that Florida couldn’t protect long enough to attempt. (And a few of those involved seven-man protections, too.) Florida can take some solace in the fact that receivers were able to get open and that they won’t see a front as good as Georgia’s again this year.

In this week’s video review, I take a closer look at both sides of the ball from the Georgia game. Defensively, I tried to break down some of the positives from the game. On the offensive side, I look at some of the successful plays and some of the missed opportunities from Saturday. Check it out below.