A win’s a win, right? Right?
Unfortunately, when you come into a game as 24.5-point favorites against a team that has routinely disappointed in big games recently and you only win by three, it doesn’t quite hit the same as beating Utah. A lot of people expected Florida to be 2-1 at this point in the season, and that record has come to fruition — but the way the Gators have gotten there hasn’t been expected.
Florida has been quite inconsistent in their three games thus far. The defense has gone from bad to good to bad, while the offense has gone from great to bad to meh. There have been some struggles adjusting the current roster to the new system, and dawning understandings that you can only add so much in the transfer portal. This Florida team is somewhat flawed, but it can still win games. And it probably should have performed better on Saturday night.
It wasn’t all bad on Saturday though. There were some bright spots sprinkled in there. Let’s take a look back at the bright spots and the problems from Saturday’s game.
For the third straight week, the Gators’ run game was great. It has been the one consistent element of this team through three games, and now sits fifth in the country in yards per carry, averaging 6.42 yards a rush.
Florida started with an intent to run the ball at USF, coming out with two tight ends to open the game.
I think Florida was in 12 on every play of that first drive. Jet sweep got busted, but you sometimes run jet to make the opponent respect it for later in the game.— Seth Varnadore (@SethVarnadore) September 17, 2022
In the game, the Gators ran the ball on 62.5% of snaps and averaged 7.23 yards per carry. Unfortunately, due to third down issues on offense and a multitude of struggles on defense, Florida only ran 48 plays in the game.
The lack of a passing game contributed to some of those third down issues, as Florida was consistently in third and long situations. The Gators went 3-for-8 on third downs against what was one of the worst third down defenses in the country up to that point.
On the flip side, the Florida defense allowed one of the worst third down offenses in the nation to go 8-for-15 on the crucial down. (USF was also a perfect 2-for-2 on fourth down.) This allowed USF to hold the ball and determine the tempo of the game.
The Bulls had the Gators out of sorts early with some new wrinkles and a great gameplan. It seemed like USF was particularly determined to attack the boundary. In fact, a vast majority of their runs went to the short side of the field.
Going back and re-watching the game, about 75% of USF runs in the game went to the boundary. A lot of those involved a read element, but the Bulls definitely saw some deficiency in the Gators defense to the short side. https://t.co/LxCcuig7po— Seth Varnadore (@SethVarnadore) September 19, 2022
Without Ventrell Miller, Florida appeared to lack consistent communication when needing to adjust to USF’s use of motion. There was too much freelancing and confusion for the Florida defense on the night.
In the video below, I take a closer look at the game from the schematic side. I look at the Florida run game, the Gators defensive struggles and end talking about the struggling passing game. Check it out.