GAME : #14 FLORIDA vs #12 LSU
LOCATION: BEN HILL GRIFFIN STADIUM a.k.a THE SWAMP
WHERE CAN I WATCH?: ESPN @ 7:30pm
The Gators face LSU in what became a “must win” game after getting trounced on national prime time television last week by the Crimson Tide. Florida can ill afford a second SEC loss with Georgia, Mississippi St and South Carolina remaining on the schedule.
Florida is looking to bounce back from a horrible offensive output in Alabama, which totaled 4 turnovers and a measly 2 field goals. Florida fans are raging with the inefficient offense that is constantly boggled down by bad snaps and a monotonous game plan that many consider too predictable. Gator fans might want to look the other way because we can expect much of the same from O.C. Steve Adazzio on Saturday.
When asked about the problems at center, where Mike Pouncey has made more bad snaps than I care to count, Coach Addazio said there was “no problem” with the center-quarterback exchange. Plain and simple. When asked if he had considered moving Pouncey back to his natural Guard position, Addazio replied “Absolutely not, are you kidding me? Unequivocally never even entered the realm of possibility”. This is very perplexing and aggravating to Gator fans for 2 reasons. 1) Mike Pouncey is a stud lineman who has played at an All-SEC level at guard throughout his career and 2) back up Center, Sam Robey, we were told by coaches, was already at SEC caliber last year and was 1st in line to replace brother Maurkice Pouncey if ever he went down. Thus many are wondering why the Gators insist on this experiment of playing Mike at center, when even CBS’ Gary Danielson can see he is a poor center, but an all American lineman. My question is, “Really Coach A, are you really that stubborn?”, followed by “ Coach Meyer, when are you going to do something about this?”
If that is not enough to piss off Gator fans, Coach A outdid himself when talking about the poor results of the option play. It is no mystery that QB John Brantley is not a running quarterback, yet the Gators keep calling for option plays and dive plays that simply do not work without the threat of a running QB. When asked about this, Addazio simply answered, “We are averaging 5 yards a carry with John Brantley on the option play, you need to know that, that is a fact.” The offensive calls will remain the same going forward. Now I do not know if he meant 5 yards AVG when Brantley carries the ball, which would be surprising, or when he pitches it, or both. Either way I would be surprised if Florida’s option play has averaged 5 yards a pop, but I will give Coach A the benefit of the doubt. However, it is obvious to anyone who has watched the Gators play, that the QB option and RB dive play, when run with Brantley, always faces a stacked defense that is waiting for it.
Also I would like to bring up some more facts that Coach A “needs to know”, as he would say. The Gators are 60th in the Nation in scoring offense, 78th in passing offense, 52nd in rushing offense, 84th in total offense. Keep in mind that it was only a few months ago, before the season, that Coach Addazio said his group of O-linemen was easily one of the top groups in the nation, if not THE top group. So Coach A, are those the rankings of an offense that is lead by one of the top offensive lines in the country? Those numbers are totally unacceptable at Florida and the offense needs to ditch whatever is not working and open things up. John Brantley is a gunslinger, not an option quarterback, adjust accordingly or Florida will lose again this year, possibly more than once.
I am certainly not calling for Addazio’s head, at least not yet, but I must inform the readers that Steve Addazio is both the offensive line coach AND the offensive coordinator, a rare double title in football. Both units are performing nearly as bad as I have ever witnessed, and I’ve been watching Florida football religiously since 1991. That to me is very alarming.
Back to the game of the week though, in case there’s any lingering doubt, this will not be a shootout by any stretch of the imagination. Both offenses are inept and both defenses are stout. Florida will continue to do what it has done all year on offense and that should be enough to get past an LSU team that looked awful last week at home vs Tennessee. LSU should be able to stop the Gator run and will force Florida to throw more, something Gator fans will welcome. Barring too many turnovers, Florida should win this one simply because LSU will not be able to score more than 10 to 14 pts. I expect to see a close, grind it out game, with Florida ultimately coming out on top by about 10pts.
Final score prediction: Florida 23-LSU 13
QB John Brantley sat out a couple of practices early in the week after suffering a rib injury against Alabama. He has returned to practice and will start for Florida. RB Mike Gillislee, who bruised his foot against Alabama and left the game, was “full go” at practice yesterday. Starting RB Jeff Demps however, was not full go this week, also with a bruised foot, but should play this week, if not start outright.
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Written by The Gator Great