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September 18, 2012

In-depth Florida - Tennessee Breakdown



After re-watching the tape, here's a laundry list of thoughts, stats and highs/low from #14 Florida's rousing 37-20 comeback win over Tennessee:

Disclaimer: All kicking plays and victory formation snaps are not included in final totals. Also, these stats are hardly 100% scientific. Without the coaches tape, I can't see everything and the TV tape oftentimes cuts away before/after play.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN
UF's offensive spike: (putting game in perspective) - total offense - 555 yards, against Bowling Green and TAMU combined - 672.

Last week I admitted I was wrong about Florida's Wildcat success, and this week Brent Pease really showed me up: Florida ran the wildcat just three times, averaging 30.3 yards/play.

1. Trey Burton's 14-yard TD run -- A beautifully designed play. The wide receiver came in motion right, forcing the defensive back to follow and then right guard Jon Halapio pulled and engaged Tennessee's Curt Maggitt, leaving the edge totally uncontained.
2. Burton's 80-yard TD scamper -- James Wilson and Hunter Joyer with the big blocks.
3. Burton for a 3-yard loss on second down, one play before Frankie Hammond Jr.'s 75-yard catch-and-run quick six.

Shifts/Motions: 52.45% (or 32-of-61) of the offensive plays. It was nearly identical to the TAMU game (52 %, 32-of-62).

Five-wide/empty sets: Watching the game live, it seemed like Jeff Driskel was having variable success when running spread-like formations/plays. Total snaps with an empty backfield: 10 total -
* Throws: 3-of-5 for 32 yards. The two in-completions: Quinton Dunbar's alligator-armed attempt after umpire undercut the route, and an Omarius Hines' ball that hit the ground.
* Driskel also rushed for 30 yards in empty sets.

Missed tackles: Two, but one was negated by a UT penalty -- (against TAMU - 11).

Blitzes: Full disclosure: re-watching the game, I was actually less impressed with Florida's second-half pass rush vs. UT than I was vs. TAMU. Truly, only Dominique Easley -- who, aside from an asinine personal foul, played really well -- and Lerentee McCray (earned a well deserved game ball) could get pressure when the Gators just rushed the down four. Sharrif Floyd and Omar Hunter did a nice job in run support, especially as the game wore on, but nearly all of their penetration was against the run and not pressuring the quarterback.

However, the Gators did have AMPLE success blitzing Tyler Bray. The book on the talented UT quarterback is bring backside/middle pressure and drop the safeties deep, and Bray struggles making sound decisions and taking care of the ball… Voila! Welcome to Dan Quinn/Will Muschamp's game plan. Florida blitzed (five or more) 13 times on Saturday (just less than 20% of defensive snaps). The stats are skewed a tad because the Gators stopped blitzing once they took a large lead, but the results tell the story.

Florida recorded just a single sack (Matt Elam), but its blitzes caused the following outcomes:
* Bostic clean blitz up the middle, should've been an interception but was dropped.
* McCray's pick was a complex play design because UF brought 5 but it looked like six until McCray dropped out and played the middle zone.
* Multiple poor/hurried throws, resulting in in-completions.
* Intentional ground call.
* Elam's interception. Florida brought five, and McCray was left 1-on-1 on the edge against the Volunteers tight end. The senior ran right through Mychal Rivera and nailed Bray as the ball was released.

By my count, the Gators brought seven defenders just twice.

Final note on pass rush: Todd Blackledge astutely observed/commented Florida was rotating defensive linemen all game to keep guys like Easley and McCray fresh for the fourth quarter. Although Earl Okine, Leon Orr and Jonathan Bullard didn't play as well as they did against TAMU, they did assist wearing down UT's line. The Gators stunted a ton, and while it wasn't overly effective, it will give linemen something else to think about down the road.

Two things that most impressed me about McCray were his leverage and relentless motor. Aside from McCray, I thought Elam was Florida's best defensive player on Saturday. Yes, Rivera got him a couple of times on third down, but Elam tackled much better than he had in the first two games, and he was a disruptive force off the edge when the Gators brought pressure. He dropped the hammer on several guys.

OTHER DEFENSIVE OBSERVSTIONS/STATS
Gators played 4-2-5 most of the game, but they also utilized multiple other fronts including a 4-3 and a 3-2-6.

On Tennessee's first TD Drive, it never faced a third down, but the Vols converted three third-downs (and one fourth) on their 16 play, 76-yard TD drive. On the Vols' final two TD drives, they were 5-of-6 on 3rd down. They were 1-of-10 the rest of the game.

Tennessee gained 20 rushing yards on its first play from scrimmage - the Vols gained just 63 yards on the ground the rest of the game.

With the Volunteers gassed -- both emotionally and physically -- the Gators forced three straight three-and-outs to end the game, and didn't allow a single first down in the fourth quarter.

UT wide outs dropped 4 passes -- all for first downs and/or huge plays.

Kyle Christy had a fantastic performance -- with a new long snapper too. Three snaps were high (both in UF's endzone) and another low, but Christy caught the ball well, and just boomed unreturnable punts pretty much all night.

Josh Evans bad angle of the week: Pick one.

PENALTIES/OFFICATING
I don't want to get into this subject to much, but frankly, the Gators are an undisciplined team. They have a bunch of heart, toughness and resiliency, but no one will ever confuse them with being smart.

Cue the tape to the midway mark in the third quarter when UF was called for 12 men in the huddle, then burned a time out because only 10 men where on the field and then Xavier Nixon had a facemask penalty declined on 3rd-and-nine scramble. Rough series.

Muschamp said after the game many of the penalties were "bang-bang" plays.

Maybe a couple were, most notably, the pass interference call on Jaylen Watkins. But the calls on Marcus Roberson? Correct. On Easley? Every time.

The real issue Saturday was just how inconsistent the referees were -- replacement officials anyone?

Several egregiously blown calls:

* Hunter nearly ripping off Roberson's head on the near interception.
* On long throw to Hunter, Easley was obviously held.
* The phantom fumble by Patterson.
* A.J. Johnson's late hit on Driskel (UF's opening drive in the second half, red zone play).

* The touchdown call on Driskel's final run. He ran out of bounds three times and the refs missed it!

RIP Marquis Teague
I would have to guess that it was one hell of a rough film session for Mr. Teague. The UT defensive back may be haunted for the rest of his life after Saturday's performance. Prominent mistakes included: whiffing for the ball when Andre Debose fumbled at the three-yard line, a 15-yard personal foul, stiff-armed by Burton and then completely burned in footrace for 80-yard TD run and a blown assignment/coverage on the Hammond TD. Also, Dunbar put him on the deck with a nice downfield block to boot.

QUICK OFFENSIVE OBSERVATIONS
because this is getting longer than a Faulkner novel:

* The Debose fumble was a bizarre call, especially in context of the situation and previous two games: UF was on its own 10 yard line with a freshman tailback, a new right tackle (Kyle Koehne) and a wide out who rarely played in the first two weeks. To me, that's Pease getting too fancy too early.

* Honestly unsure why Tevin Westbrook barely ever sees the field. Clay Burton is no stud, but he at least attempts to block a man. The preseason hype on Westbrook appears ludicrous at this point. Backed up inside their own five, Westbrook missed sealing the edge and Gillislee was drilled at the LOS. In Florida's opening drive of the second half, Jacques Smith ran right past Westbrook for a near sack, drilling Driskel and forcing the Gators to settle for a FG.

* Driskel's game has been meticulously examined, so I wont beat a dead horse. He was good, quite good. He outplayed a future NFL signal-caller. He only had one really poor throw (deep ball that should've been picked) but otherwise he took care of the ball. For the second straight week, he led an impressive two-minute drive to get a late FG and enter halftime with a semblance of momentum. Driskel made too really nice plays on the final drive, including the strike to Dunbar -- Jordan Reed was first option but he was jammed at the line and Driskel's eyes immediately moved and found an open receiver -- and the 17-yard toss to Solomon Patton along the sideline. Driskel was flushed right away, but again, he kept his eyes down the field and completed a nice throw. … Tennessee was totally confused on his fantastic read-and-throw to Hammond. When the ball was snapped, Teague, the blitzer and the safety were still shouting instructions.

* Joyer was stoned twice on the goal line, but otherwise, it was a solid day for UF's fullback.

* Halapio had a Jekyll-and-Hyde type game. Whenever UT (or Daniel McCullers) had penetration, often times, it was Halapio's fault. The short-yardage plays on the goal line: no good. However, Halapio was also responsible for creating several gaping holes, helping spring UF's monster rushing attack in the second half. On Gillislee's 45-yard run, Halapio (and Wilson) dominated his man so badly, Florida's team bus could've drove through untouched. … Jonotthan Harrison battled all night, eventually outlasting Mount McCullers and Co.

* True freshmen wide outs Latroy Pittman and Raphael Andrades played a few snaps, but by my count, Florida never passed the ball when they were in the game.

* Gators had nice success with their full-house -- two fullbacks, one tailback -- formation.

Check back each week for Simonton Says: In-Depth Game Breakdown


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