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Gators still trying to find, fill void after 10 games

Florida
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Florida coach Urban Meyer says there's a void in his team. (Orlando Sentinel photo)

It seems that 10 games into the season, the Gators are still searching for the answer to what’s wrong with the team. The options through the course of the season have been many.

First, it was the snaps. Botched snaps and 13 fumbles in the season opener sent the criticism to center Mike Pouncey and QB John Brantley.

A week later, those weren’t totally under control and concerns about John Brantley’s passing blossomed. But the Jeff Demps-led offense was enough to make up for those and some early indications that the Gators might have trouble stopping the run.

Then came the Tennessee win, a slow-starting game that the Gators took thanks to Demps’ 26 carries and the run defense’s best performance of the season.

Beating Kentucky a week later, it seemed to come together. Trey Burton had six touchdowns, Brantley threw better and it was enough for arguably the best win of the season.

Then came a string of three losses – at Alabama and home to LSU and Mississippi State. No Demps meant no big run plays. Protection became an issue. With a total of three sacks allowed in the first five games, the Gators have allowed at least three in each of the past five.

By the bye week, the problem was execution, players and coaches said, ad nauseum. The plays weren’t bad. The players just weren’t doing it.

With a n0-huddle, up-tempo, three-quarterback approach, the Gators won their next two. A turnaround kept them in a position for an SEC Eastern Division title.

But it turns out, the issues didn’t go away. They were just covered up by mediocre-to-bad opponents.

South Carolina forced Florida to reveal what the Gators (hopefully) knew all season – something is missing, and it’s not just Tim Tebow.

“There’s a void in our team right now, somewhere. That’s what I’m trying to figure out what it is. Whether it be energy level, chemistry. There’s a bit of a void,” said coach Urban Meyer. “We’ve got to recruit to it, develop it and coach the mess out of it.”

Instead of execution, it’s now a lack of energy. Seniors say they should have spent more time with the freshman. Pouncey said some players “drift away” during games when things aren’t going so great.

With two remaining games plus a bowl, the Gators are hoping for a strong finish. Meyer said he’s not looking ahead to next season now that the goal of Atlanta is off the table.

But, now that this season can officially be considered a rebuilding year, Meyer and his staff need to pinpoint the void and correct them.

“These next two weeks and then after that, our whole focus is on, I don’t want to use the word rebuild, but we gotta get this place back to where we need to get it.


 




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