My Apologies for this post being a bit late, I had to get back into town and then yesterday was opening weekend for the NFL, you know how that goes.
Anyway, for the second straight week we put up a decent looking score against a weak opponent, and dropped in the rankings. This weekend’s USF game was a tale of two halves. The first half saw more of the same on offense, minus the snap debacles of week 1, of course. It looked like our Mighty Gators would be shut out in the first half before the defense saved the day and forced a turnover deep in USF territory that the offense was able to capitalize on for their only score of the first half.
The grumblings around the stadium in the 1st half could be heard in their silence. Fortunately the half was not a screen-fest like week 1, but many of the same issues were still there with the playcalling. Demps up the middle, Moody to the outside. We took some shots downfield, but the routes were no better than before. A particular 3rd and 7 or so comes to mind where we had Hines running a short hitch out of the left slot and our receiver out wide left running a streak. The pass was dropped of to Hines who was tackled well short of the 1st down, and it just left me wondering, what was the point of those routes? They don’t beat any defense. If the defense is playing cover 2 then the dimeback has Hines and the safety has the receiver out wide left. If the defense is playing cover 3 (which if I recall, they were) then the dimeback has Hines and the CB has the receiver running the go. Cover 4 and its the same, as is man. If the receiver out wide left were to run a deep in route, then that dimeback suddenly has to choose between him and Hines. If he jumps up on Hines, then the deep in is open. If he drops back to cover the in, then maybe he’s back far enough that Hines can turn and pick up the first down after catching the hitch.
Anyway, luckily for us football is a four quarter game, and things got much better in the 2nd half. Addazio finally started using guys to their strengths better (Gillislee and Moody out of the I, up the middle, and Demps to the outside which led to a long touchdown). From their, we really wore South Florida, who was clearly not as deep as us, down. The only major mistake of the half came on a goaline play that nearly went for six the other way, which would have gotten USF back into the game. On the play, the right slot and wide receivers both ran outs, and didn’t get nearly enough spacing between them, as they ended up in almost the same place nearly costing us a 14 point swing. Luckily, the pick was dropped and we survived it unscathed.
In the end, Florida finished with 420 yards on offense, a huge improvement over week 1. The offense put up 31 points, but really only had one legit scoring drive to go along with a big run (which we can’t discount, since we live on those). The rest of the points came on “drives” that started deep in USF territory after a turnover over long kick return. Brantley put up 172yards passing on 31 attempts, which still leaves him down around 5ypa on the year. That number that has to rise, especially given the competition in these first two games (Tebow averaged over 9ypa every year), and they’re going to have to start hitting some of those big plays to the WRs to stay in it with SEC teams and keep them honest, because we won’t be able to wear them down like we did USF.
In the end, I give the offensive performance a grade somewhere in the C- range, a huge improvement over week 1′s F-. We’re headed into the heart of our schedule now though, and near shutout halves and pounding a weaker team with the same basic plays out of the I-form aren’t going to cut it anymore. Hopefully Addazio will spend this week putting together some passing plays from sets under center to keep these SEC defenses honest.