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Things Go From Bad To Worse For Florida’s Muschamp

NCAA Football: Jacksonville State at FloridaThird-year Florida coach Will Muschamp managed to hold onto his job following an injury-riddled 4-8 campaign.  The unstated goal is pretty clear: Fix the offense and show big improvement next year.

That might not be as easy as Muschamp would hope.

Gator quarterback Tyler Murphy — who filled in for the injured Jeff Driskel before succumbing to injury himself — has decided to transfer.  Murphy had been rumored to be leaving all week, but he denied those stories to his coach… before the dropping the bomb.  As a graduate, he can transfer and play immediately elsewhere.

Freshman quarterback Max Staver is also transferring from Gainesville.  Add ‘em up and it means Florida’s offense will have Driskel back and up-until-now third-stringer Skyler Mornhinweg as scholarship signal-callers in 2014.  UF is also expected to sign blue-chip prospect Will Grier, but at this point, who knows?

Since the end of the regular season, Murphy, Staver, fullback Rhaheim Ledbetter, tight end Kent Taylor and offensive linemen Quinteze Williams, Trevon Young and Ian Silberman have all made the decision to leave the Gator program.  Muschamp also fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis.

All those departures open up room for signees in this year’s class, but in a back-to-the-wall season, the last thing a coach needs is inexperienced youth combined with a brand spanking new O-coordinator teaching a new system.  Muschamp will get his chance to turn things around.  But the odds of him actually doing so are growing longer.

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Might RB Taylor Be The Star Skill Player Florida’s Been Longing For

NCAA Football: Florida-Spring PracticeReaders of this site know that we’ve been pointing to Florida’s lack of skill players since Tim Tebow left Gainesville.  It’s become a trendy topic this year, but we’ve been pointing to it in semi-defense of guys like John Brantley, Jeff Driskel and Tyler Murphy.  The problem isn’t new.  The Gators haven’t had dependable, scary, every-down playmakers on offense in several seasons.

Ah, but might they have finally found their man?  Someone to take some of the heat off of their quarterback?

Offensive coordinator Brent Pease seems to think freshman running back Kelvin Taylor has the potential to be that guy:

 

“Kelvin has improved tremendously.  I’m not sure how you guys view it, but I’m excited about Kelvin.  I think he’s really come on with the game experience.  When you go back and look at the film, there’s still spots you say, ‘Here’s what you need to do, here what you need to understand more.’  But in the same sense, he’s getting all these things.

And he’ll get better and better.  I want to see him in his third or fourth year.  He’s going to probably be outstanding.”

 

You can bet Pease would like to see him in his third or fourth year.  Most feel that Pease will be pushed overboard by Muschamp this offseason.

Taylor’s workload has increased as the season has worn on, culminating in a 96-yard effort last week at South Carolina (when everyone in Williams-Brice Stadium knew Florida had decided to run, run, run and run some more).

 

  Opponent   Attempts   Yards   Avg/Att   TDs
  Toledo   5   43   8.60   0
  Miami (FL)   DNP   DNP   DNP   DNP
  Tennessee   1   3   3.00   0
  Kentucky   DNP   DNP   DNP   DNP
  Arkansas   DNP   DNP   DNP   DNP
  LSU   10   52   5.20   0
  Missouri   12   74   6.17   1
  Georgia   20   76   3.80   0
  Vanderbilt   14   47   3.36   1
  S. Carolina   21   96   4.57   4

 

Look, Taylor’s numbers don’t exactly put him in the Heisman race.  But considering the fact opposing defenses know that Florida will run the vast majority of the time, Taylor’s play over the last four games has been a positive development.

In a season with very few positive developments in Gainesville.

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SEC Gameday Links: Afternoon Delights 11/2/2013

gameday-links-150x150Mississippi State at South Carolina

1, After a big comeback victory over Missouri, does South Carolina face a hangover? “Our coaches don’t give us the opportunity to have a hangover,”

2. South Carolina going for a program record-tying 15th straight home victory.

3. Can Mississippi State receiver Jameon Lewis be an effective weapon against the South Carolina defense? ”He’s just so shifty and a real weapon when he gets the football…”

4. Mississippi State is 0-13 vs ranked teams since beating Florida back in 2010.

Georgia vs Florida

5. Last Georgia quarterback to win three in a row against Florida?  Buck Belue.  Aaron Murray can equal that streak with a win today.

6. Turnovers a big reason why Florida has lost the last two in this series.

7. Can Georgia get pressure on Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy?  Gators have allowed 10 sacks last two games.

8. How important is Tyler Murphy to Florida?  Gary Danielson: “They can’t afford to get him hurt.”

9. With both sides decimated by injuries, this marks just the second time since 1979 that neither team is ranked entering this game.

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Richt Sees A Lot Of Similarities Between His Georgia Team And Florida; Talks Up Gators

gfx - they said itThis weekend Georgia will attempt to win its third in a row over longtime rival Florida.  If the Bulldogs are successful it will mark the first streak of that length from the Dawgs since they topped the Gators in 1987, ’88 and ’89.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s matchup, Mark Richt sees some obvious similarities between the two teams.  “Both of us lost a game out of conference and then lost the last two games,” UGA’s coach said.  “Both teams have had a lot of injury issues an both are fighting to try to stay in the race for the East.  There are a lot of similarities in that regard.”

As any good coach would, Richt also took some time to talk up Saturday’s foe:

 

“They are very good on special teams, they’ve been tremendous on defense and offensively they are kind of a smashmouth team that will take their shots on you.  They are just a very good football team.  We are looking forward to going to Jacksonville.  I’m not quite sure what the weather hold.  As of right now it’s supposed to be rainy and windy, so we’ll see how that affects the game if that happens.”

 

Currently there’s a 50% chance of showers during the game.

Richt isn’t the only one who sees similarities between the two squads.  Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy weighed in on the topic as well.  “Both teams probably expected to be undefeated or have a better record coming into this game.  But both teams still have high hops of finishing the season off well.  It’s kind of like a one-game playoff.”

 

 

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LSU’s Defense Shuts Down Florida

postgame-links-150x1501LSU 17 – Florida 6

1. LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.: “The defense did a phenomenal job.” Florida managed only 240 yards of offense.

2. LSU’s running game was dominant against a Florida defense that had previously shutdown each opponent it had faced.

3. It was an old-fashioned, SEC-style win for LSU.

4. Florida’s offensive line struggled to protect quarterback Tyler Murphy, who averaged only 4.3 yards per attempt.

5. Florida’s offense received an “F” from Pat Dooley. The Gators’ overall grade: D.

6. Florida’s defense struggled to get stops to help its offense. “We’ve got to be more consistent,” coach Will Muschamp said.

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Will Florida’s Offense Improve With New QB Murphy?

tyler-murphy-game-shotOver the weekend, Florida starting quarterback Jeff Driskel suffered a broken fibula in a 31-17 over Tennessee.  Following the game, Will Muschamp said of his starter: “I hurt for him.  I hurt for us because Jeff’s a good player.  It’s going to hurt us.”

According to Matt Hayes of The Sporting News: “I’m not buying it.”

Hayes believes that backup Tyler Murphy will come to the rescue of a long-dormant Florida offense.  Why?  His legs.

 

“When was the last time Florida was dynamic on offense?  When was the last time the Gators had a quarterbacks who pressed defenses and forced adjustments? 

When was the last time the Gators were exciting on offense: when they had a dynamic threat at the most important position on the field? 

The guy’s name was (Tim) Tebow and the year was 2009.”

 

For the Gators’ sake, here’s hoping Hayes isn’t being a little — OK, a lot — premature in his Murphy/Tebow comparison. UF’s offense has been lackluster for several seasons and to be honest, the Gators’ offense even in 2009 was almost all-Tebow.  If they could develop an offense to go with their fast/strong defense, the Gators could be scary good.

But let’s tap the brakes on the whole Murphy as Tebow thing.  One needs to keep in mind that Murphy’s numbers as a backup on Saturday (8-of-14 passing for 134 yards, one passing TD, 84 yards rushing and one TD on the ground) were similar to the numbers Driskel put up against the very same Tennessee team a year ago (14-of-20 passing for 219 yards, two passing TDs, and 81 yards rushing).  Driskel looked just as dynamic against Tennessee a year ago as Murphy did on Saturday.

This isn’t to say that Murphy didn’t come into his own during Saturday’s second half.  Nor is it impossible for him to elevate Brent Pease’s offense to another level.  But if one game against an outgunned Tennessee defense were a true measuring stick, then Driskel should have gone on to be Tebow II because he looked every bit as good and — to be frank — better than Murphy versus the Volunteers in 2012.

Murphy is a redshirt junior whose last action before 2013 was as a wide receiver versus South Carolina last year.  Sure, he may play Lou Gehrig to Driskel’s Wally Pipp, but three quarters of action doesn’t provide enough evidence to make that call.

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Florida Quarterback Jeff Driskel Has Broken Fibula, Done For The Season

Florida beat Tennessee Saturday but lost its quarterback for the season. The injury to Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel came in the first quarter. Hit on a pass that turned into a pick six interception for Tennessee, the initial word was that Driskel suffered a broken tibia.  Coach Will Muschamp later clarified that it was a broken fibula, the smaller bone in the lower leg.

Muschamp said the injury would require surgery and Driskel was done for the year.

Behind backup quarterback Tyler Murphy, Florida won the game 31-17.

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Florida Scrapping Multi-QB System

Last season, Florida’s coaches couldn’t find the right replacement for Tim Tebow.  Jeff Brantley was their passer, but he wasn’t a running threat in Urban Meyer’s spread system (and his passing suffered as the offense sputtered).  Jordan Reed and Trey Burton were more option types, but on the whole they were just as ineffective as Brantley.

Well Charlie Weis — as expected — is scrapping last year’s mess altogether.  His depth chart at quarterback lists Brantley #1 with Tyler Murphy and true freshman Jeff Driskel serving as his backups.

Burton is moving to “a hybrid ‘F’ position” according to ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach.  Reed is moving to tight end, even though Weis says “he can sling it.”  UF’s new offensive coordinator says Reed “sees himself as a tight end.”

As for that “F” position, Weis says defenses aren’t going to wonder whether or not Burton will be on the field, but rather “what he’s going to do.”

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