Grading the Florida Gators vs. Miss. State game

By Adam Silverstein
October 18, 2010

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. With basketball beginning practice last week and so much to discuss following the game, we unfortunately had to skip over our grades for the LSU Tigers game. However, this week, we are back with grades as we take a look at how the Gators fared against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the seventh game of the 2010-11 season, which took place on homecoming at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Florida scored seven points on Saturday. Seven. Against Mississippi State. At home. On homecoming. After losing back-to-back games. Yet with all of those statements taken into account, how is the unit not graded out as “Failing?” Let us explain.

The Gators possessed the ball on 10 occasions against the Bulldogs, giving it away organically four times on punts and once on a failed fourth-down conversion. On four of the other five possessions, a combination of turnovers, poor execution and inefficiency doomed the team. Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley was picked off on the Mississippi State 34 during a six-play, 38-yard drive; senior punter Chas Henry missed a 38-yard field goal to end a 15-play, 59-yard drive; junior running back Jeff Demps fumbled while trying to make a play on the MSU 17 to conclude a seven-play, 60-yard drive; and Henry missed a game-tying 42-yard field goal after UF drove the ball 71 yards from their own four on 14 plays.

Florida actually only touched the ball four times in the second half because its defense failed to get Mississippi State off the field. The Bulldogs posted rush-only drives of nine plays, eight plays and nine plays that took 5:20, 4:04 and 5:50 off the clock in that half alone. The Gators offense, which was anemic to start the game, put together three strong drives on four possessions that half but only came away with points once.

The offensive line played terribly in the first half, showing a consistent inability to pick up the blitz. Brantley was sacked three times before halftime but did receive significantly improved protection in the second half that allowed him to captain two of those three long drives (the other was all freshman QB Trey Burton). Florida’s offense also suffered with a significant lack of proven talent throughout the evening as Demps and sophomore RB Mike Gillislee were severely limited and playmaker redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose was injured early on a kickoff return.

The Gators ended up having to rely on the stone hands of redshirt junior WR Deonte Thompson (four drops), Burton, redshirt sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. and sophomore WR Omarius Hines to make whatever plays they could. With such a severe lack of starters available due to injuries, limited second half opportunities and miscues from the kicking game on otherwise solid drives, it is tough to grade this unit below a “D.”

For the third straight week the defense got off to a rough start giving up a seven-play, 54-yard field goal drive and 11-play, 64-yard touchdown drive before the first quarter concluded. Spotting Mississippi State 10 points, the unit was stout the rest of the way from a scoring perspective, though the Bulldogs did miss a 39-yard field goal at the start of the fourth quarter.

The problem when it comes to the defense’s performance was its sheer inability to get MSU off of the field when it mattered. Mississippi State ran the ball on 27 of 28 second half plays and gained positive yardage all but once. With Florida’s offense down three to start the fourth quarter, the defense allowed its opponent to complete an eight-play, 28-yard drive and nine-play, 31-yard drive that took a total of 10 minutes off the clock. Subsequently, the Gators received the ball on their own four with two minutes to drive it down the field and attempt a tying field goal or game-winning touchdown. Unacceptable.

MSU’s insistence on running the ball negated the effectiveness of UF’s strongest defensive unit – the secondary – while it simultaneously attacked its weakest – the defensive line. Smart game planning on the part of Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen.

A future NFL punter, Henry seemed to be able to do anything as far as the kicking game was concerned after nailing two field goals against Alabama. Ever since that sterling performance he has missed all four of his attempts (one negated by penalty) including two against Mississippi State. Henry’s punting (four attempts for 188 yards with a long of 67 and average of 47) continues to be stellar, but as a field goal kicker he just doesn’t make the grade. Coverage-wise Florida got back to its bread and butter by not allowing a single punt return yard. And while the field goal kicking job is junior starter Caleb Sturgis’ and Henry is doing the best he can, performance has to be taken into account.


  1. cline says:

    Rough Month Gators. Lets get it done in JAX.

  2. PFA Gators says:

    I think your being to nice to the Offense —7 points @ home vs. Mississippi St. is not only an “F” it is an embarrassing joke, that isn’t very funny…changes have to be made the offense, its not improving it is regressing, and UGA has definitely started to play better, so 4 in a row isn’t out of the question, if some changes aren’t made. I’m not going to pretend to know more than Coach Meyer and suggest what changes need to be made, that’s his job he’s the one making 4 million per year. And, I for one don’t want to lose to a 3-4 UGA Leghumpers team. GO GATORS

  3. travis ritch says:

    guess who’s sitting undefeated atop the FCS.

  4. PFA Gators says:

    I don’t even want to think about the possibility of losing that game, but after last Saturday, who knows?

  5. HJUF79 says:

    By the looks of things offensively, I guess it is a good thing they did NOT get the ball more than four times in the second half, or they certainly would have gotten a “F”. Also, no grading for coaching ?? Maybe it’s me or maybe Coach Meyer’s medication, but he sure looks and acts pretty lethargic on the sideline.

  6. npgator says:

    We will beat Vandy and possibly Appalachain State and that is it for this year.

  7. HJUF – No grades for coaching because I’m working on a separate piece and did not want it to be repetitive. We’ll see how it comes out and if I decide to publish it.

  8. brlgator says:

    I have rallied the fire steve addazio call as loud as anyone but as i watch more and more games I agree with Adam. As bad as our play calling has been it is at best our 4th biggest issue.

    1. Execution execution execution. This is D1 football and the gators claim to play at the highest level but the amount of dropped balls, fumbles and missed blocking assignments is completely unnacceptable (and those are just the main complaints from this game nevermind the fake fg for a first down vs lsu or the fake fg that led to a td vs kentucky)

    2. Oline. How can we have 4 seniors all with starting expeirence and nixon who started last year and end up with PATHETIC play i ve seen from our line. As much as i get on addazio for his play calling, the play of the o line is an even bigger failure on his part. I honestly thought this would be the strongest unit on our entire football team and save for maybe the WRs its been our biggest disappoinment

    3. Lack of playmakers especially at reciever, Besides carl moore every one else has been a disappointment especially deonte thompson who s dropped balls cost us the game. debose has played better lately but still i expect this production much earlier and thought he d be further along by now

    other disappointments include: Will Hill wow what happened to him, ahmad black in coverage, jon bostic first step (wrong direction atleast 50% of the time), janoris jenkins cover skills as good as he s looked at times he still gets burned atleast once a game it looks like a concentration thing but still, pass rush do we even have one?

    done complaining….i feel better already

    we better beat Georgia

  9. John S says:

    If it makes you feel any better Oklahoma was 8-5 last year.

  10. John S says:

    Unfortunately I agree with the grades. If I were Meyer I would focus on building for the FSU game. Get an assistant coach to focus on nothing but that. We’ll have a lot of recruits likely now leaning toward FSU at that game, and it will give momentum to the bowl game. Plus we actually match up real well. UGA is a toss up, and USC is going to eat us up, but we’ll still be above water.

  11. Mr2Bits says:

    Like I said the other night, MSU is a good team, actually ranked in the top 25 now. This is not like us losing to MSU of 2004, times have changed in Starkeville. We can still turn it around this year and make it to Atlanta. FSU got exposed this past weekend from BC and USC has started their year end collapse like they always do. Georgia will always be Georgia which makes them our porta-potty. Everyone needs to take their foot off the “were not going to make a bowl brake”. We may very well lose 5 but it is what it is.

    I dislike Addazio’s play calling as much as the next guy but as I posted on the other thread, I think it’s the O-lines fault for lack of protection and Adazzio not knowing what to do and more importantly Brantley’s fear of throwing down the field. He fails to look at wide open receivers to always hit his check down guy as he just isn’t where he needs to be on his reads yet. Adazzio’s problem is his lack of creativity to adjust for this. If he can find a way to do that and beef up the )-line, everyone can chill out.

  12. g8ter27 says:

    Well I just got back to the west coast where I live now after having the unfortunate chance to see the game first hand at the swamp. I said this on an older post and will say it again, it has become painfully obvious that Brantley cannot run our offense, It is not going to work! Our coaches know the spread, our o-line knows the spread (or at least they did) and John cannot run the spread, period! It is not all his fault, he has been put into a system that he is not suited to run. We had nearly 8 months to adapt our offense to his abilities and failed. Our line can no more pass block that Henry can kick 45 yard field goals…again, not his fault either, he is a punter. The coaching staff has to realize that Brantley cannot run this offense, so Burton should be the starter. What else can we do Adam? If you were a blue chip receiver recruit woud you consider Florida? Seeing the game live, John missed missed wide open receivers time and time again, one streaking into the end zone with nobody within 20 yards of him (although it was Thompson so that could explain it). He is scared to death back there and with our stellar line, who can blame him. I am worried about our recruiting after this game.

  13. Mr2Bits says:

    On a side note and I forgot to mention that everyone should pray for Eric LeGrand and his family at Rutgers as he was paralyzed this weekend from the neck down on a tackle. Hate to see peoples lives changed at the blink of an eye like this.

  14. harvin757 says:

    I think we have a talented team but the fact is that we have terrible offensive line play and have a VERY vanilla offence. BOTH are which coached by addazio….i know this seems harsh but as soooon as he is fired i do believe we will go back to winning games. Ever since mullen left it has been a struggle and the analyst are always saying its bcuz we have no weapons at WR and TE. Last year they said we stuggled bcuz we ONLY had tebow……..i tune in on sundays to see that Hernandez is the best rookie TE in the NFL, Nelson not only made the Bills but starts and makes catches every week and Cooper has caught passes for the eagles so Not having weapons is a load of crap. can sum1 please explain to me how this man is still the coordinator at florida????????????

  15. harvin757 says:

    does any1 else think we should buil towards the future??? its time to put Powell at END put easley and floyd at tackle..alll i heard about was how we have the greatest recruiting class in the history of football and it was a “video game” recruiting class.. well they cant do much worse than wats goin on right now so i say we give em a shot

  16. harvin757 says:

    the MAN is not an offensive coordinator so why does he have that job?? can sum1 please explain to me why we run the sprinter an 180 pound demps up the middle???? and then we counter that with the 220 pound slowest back on the team moody running to the outside??? that blows my mind that he can be that dumb

  17. Escambia94 says:

    After seeing our own offense used against us it is hard to say that the dive and Demps-sized runner is our problem. MSU essentially ran 24 straight dives at us with Relf, Bumphis and Ballard and gained 100+ yards in 2 minutes. Bumphis is about the same size as Demps. Ballard is about the size of Moooody. It’s all about execution. They executed our own offense better than us, probably because of the superior o-line. We really need to fix that o-line, and we need to be more disciplined in execution before we call for Addazio or Meyer to be demoted or fired. The coaches can work on discipline in 2 weeks of practice. For the o-line, what can we do? Throw in the freshmen? I do think it is officially time to work in freshmen at receiver and running back, and work more Burton in. I would consider shifting Demps to receiver if the o-line cannot make a crease for him. Maybe line up in the I with Brantley if we can work in more fullbacks and frosh receivers. Little things we can do within the constraints of existing personnel and coaching.

  18. says:

    To brigator,
    I have to disagree with you about Ahmad Black #35 , He is the only player that come to plays every game(60) Tackler. He try to get the ball away from MSU, I have to agree about Will Hill is in another world and just need to be back on the sideline again, It’s sad a Safety got more tackler than any LineBacker. Ahmad black should be the next First Teams All-America after the season get over with, Great Job Ahmad Black #35,You can’t win without a Offense.

    PS: Ahmad has 10 Tackler against MSU, Against LSU (13) Tackler

  19. montanagator says:

    Lots of good points above about the poor quality of play but unfortunately it all comes back to the coaches. No way a gator team should fall this far from one year to the next no matter how many guys left. we have some very good players and just need to utilize them better to take our best shots at our enemies. ive yet to see burton stopped on an end run although i havent seen every play. Addazio should go period and i hate to say it but maybe things are different for urban after his acid reflux related brush with death last year. this team has to be causing him a lot of stress and if hes not well or not into it the way he used to be he should let foley know sooner than later for both his healths sake and the gators future, just going thru the motions doesnt cut it in the sec or elsewhere in college football these days no matter how good your record and rep is and once u start goin down its a slippery slope, visavie the post 96 teams for about 10 years. he definitely doesnt look like the same guy and im only seein him a few hours a week. id really like to know how his handling of the assistant coaches and players during the weeks compares to previous years, the same intensity and focus and plan to win or less? this group of guys especially seniors and juniors certainly doesnt show the same intensity or motivation or refuse to lose attitude as the past years teams did, but then again maybe that was more tim than urban? good luck gators, your gonna need it or else its going to be a very long embarrasing reaminder of the year and then how does anything look better for next year with the same coaching staff in place. aggg. i hope im wrong. Go Gators, its gut check time.

  20. Gatorsfanla says:

    All I want this season is a win, where we dominate in all three facets of the game.

    Go Gators!

  21. Mitch Katros says:

    How many football teams have one coach that has two jobs? Steve addazio is a good offensive line coach and that is what he needs to concentrate on. The first half against Miss State was an perfect analysis, no adjustments to counter the multiple blitzs. Steve Addazio said we had the best offensive lines in America but they need coaching. We need a offensive co-ordinater or Urben Myers to call the plays with a little imagination?

  22. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I agree with most points made but overall the offense has to be graded an F and I think the defense giving up only 10 points isn’t worthy of a D and didn’t play great but cetainly played well enough for us that we should have won…I agree Amad Black is the stud of the defense….I think Howard has also played extremely well this season and hopefully he will get back full speed against UG…harvin757 also makes some great points about last year and how the offense severely underachieved considering the NFL cailber talent all over the field…sure we missed Harvin but we clearly missed Mullen a whole lot more….move Addazio back to O-line coach and bring in a real OC!!!!!

  23. Escambia94 says:

    @Drew 4 Orange & Blue: Originally I thought it was us missing Mullen for the play calling. Now I think we miss him as a disciplinary force in the locker room and on the field. MSU showed us that whether we like it or not, a team can win games with the boring aspects of the spread-option, the dive and similar plays. They executed those same few plays much better. Execution comes from practice and discipline. I have to assume that we practice plays, but it is apparent that we do not practice discipline. I noticed the lackadaisical attitude in pre-game warm-ups compared to MSU’s pre-game. They looked like they wanted to win; we looked like we expected the win to be handed to us. With that attitude, even if we move Addazio to OL and bring in Bill Belichik from the New England Patriots as our OC, we will still lose a couple more games.

  24. HardToKillGtr says:

    Coaches that make 6 and 7 fgures a year should be held accountable. They are not volunteering their services. Coach Meyer is still kind of young to be where he is and I doubt he has coached through a season where his crops have failed. His public relation skills aren’t that good. He let expectations get way too high. We are going to find out how good a coach he is, a leader he is, a motivator and if he can create a new personality that will allow him to win without ruining his health. I hope he can do it.

  25. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    Probably very true Escambia…last year you had Tebow still there and he would never accept lack of discipline and the spread was good enough to beat everybody but Bama….now we have lack of leadership and play calling woes…Brantley is laid back so I guess the leaderships falls to Pouncey who is too busy trying to figure out how to snap a football for crying out loud!!!!

  26. Escambia94 says:

    Yep. We need a leader on the field. Pouncey cannot lead if he cannot snap a ball better than a Pop Warner center. Defense? Special teams? Coaching staff? We need leaders to guide execution from these tremendous athletes.

  27. John S says:

    Any chance Kerwin Bell could be brought over as OC? The guy produces on offense, and seems to be any excellent recruiter and talent evaluator. Granted it’s not SEC level, but it’s impressive. Is he more interested in a Head coaching job?

  28. Jesse C says:

    John – Your suggestion for OC is brillant…. Kerwin is a perfect choice. Didn’t Brantley break Tebow’s records under the tutiledge of Mr. Bell? He is also obviously a former gator QB and has strong ties to the State of Florida recruiting bed. I believe he would be an excellent choice for Urban and Foley. But would he take the job?

  29. John S says:

    Jesse, I’m not sure what Kerwin’s relationship is to Meyer. From what I’ve heard he has a good relationship with UF. I would think it would be an upgrade and would give him a chance at a SEC head coaching job if he’s successful. Maybe wishful thinking though.

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