The offensive line is a strength for the Florida Gators football team.
At least, that’s what we’ve heard from Jim McElwain since spring camp.
However, in the season opening loss to Michigan on Saturday the offensive line looked anything but the part.
Michigan was in the backfield for an astonishing 71 percent of Gators QB dropbacks.
No doubt, Michigan brought blitz after blitz after blitz. The biggest issue is that the Gators coaching staff failed to adjust. Florida kept sending receivers deep while hoping for a prayer to be answered.
It is beyond me that Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier or McElwain wouldn’t have used more quick hitting plays.
There was a noticeable absence of designed screens, slants, crossing patterns, quick ins, and quick outs. Each of these plays are designed to have the ball out of the quarterback’s hand much quicker than anything the coaching staff called.
Also missing was the use of the tight end. Both De’Andre Goolsby and C’yontai Lewis are very capable tight ends with possible NFL futures. Neither made an impact in the game. Florida coaches didn’t utilize the tight end in the blocking game for the most part, and also didn’t attempt to involve them in the short passing game.
Instead, redshirt freshman QB Feleipe Franks and senior QB Malik Zaire were left running for their lives in hopes that someone could get open downfield.
The sad truth is Florida had a chance in this game long into the fourth quarter. If appropriate adjustments had been made by the offensive coaches, the result could have been much different.
That doesn’t excuse the porous offensive line play. It doesn’t change the fact that Florida ran the ball for a whopping eleven! yards. It doesn’t put all the problems to bed, but a simple adjustment could have changed 0-1 to 1-0.
Now, Florida will prepare for the home opener against Norther Colorado. The Bears are an FCS team that should pose no threat to the Gators. That also means that there won’t be clarity on the offensive side of the ball until the following week against SEC rival Tennessee.