There was a lot of hope for the Florida Gators going into the 2017 season, with a lot of build up around their offensive line. That wasn’t the case for week one. The 11th ranked Michigan Wolverines complete manhandled the 17th ranked Florida Gators. The offensive line looked worse than it did the last two seasons and they were no playmakers to be found. Is Michigan just that good or are the Florida Gators in for a very long season? Were the suspensions too much of a distraction and the Gators weren’t mentally prepared for the Wolverines? Whatever the deal is, it needs to be fixed. Here are a few adjustments the Gators need to make for next week.
Let McElwain call the plays
Florida’s play calling was absolutely horrendous. Outside of the first drive, the Florida offense couldn’t put points on the board even when the momentum was on their side. It was a very vanilla game plan that was so easy to figure out. The Michigan defense knew exactly what Florida was going to do and Florida’s offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier was badly outcoached. The only scoring drive Florida had, came from the scripted plays, which are usually orchestrated by coach Jim McElwain. With that said, it’s time for Jim McElwain to call the plays and let him run the offense. McElwain made a name for himself when he was the offensive coordinator at Alabama. Nussmeier might not be leading Florida’s offense in the right direction.
Offensive line doesn’t look like a “strength”
One of the biggest issues Florida had in their loss to Michigan was how bad their offensive line got beat. This was supposed to be the year Florida’s offensive line finally becomes a strength on the offense and give time for the quarterback to make plays. That was most certainly not the case. The Michigan defensive line bullied Florida’s offensive line just like they did two years ago. Almost every offensive play the Gators quarterbacks were running away from the Michigan defensive pressure, deep into Florida’s backfield. It will be a very long season if Franks and Zaire are running for their lives, if Florida’s offensive line can’t hold their blocks for more than two seconds. Something needs to change and fast. before either QB gets hurt. For all we know, Michigan’s defensive line might be better than most expected. Whatever the case is, Florida’s O-line needs to play much better and quick.
Keep Feleipe Franks at QB
In the middle of third quarter, redshirt-freshman Feleipe Franks was pulled from the game and Malik Zaire came in. Not only did Franks sit the rest of the game, Zaire looked much worse than Franks. You could see it in the players face how frustrated they were when Malik came in the game. The players around him looked like they gave up as Franks was pulled from the game. The question is why was Franks completely taken out of the game? I can understand a drive or two to give Michigan a different look than Franks but not the entire game. Franks actually looks pretty decent. His numbers don’t say that but he looked like he could run the offense if his offensive line could give him time. At this point, you run with Franks and make him the starter. The offense seemed more efficient with him under center.
Get the ball to your playmakers
During spring and fall camp, Jim McElwain raved how many playmakers they have and how the “Florida speed” is back. The playmakers he would name were Dre Massey, Kadarius Toney and few others. The playmakers were a no show as the Florida’s offense couldn’t get anything going and one of the main reasons for that is because there playmakers didn’t get many touches. Dre Massey only had one catch for two yards on a stand pass and Kadarius Toney had two receptions for 27 yards. If those guys are playmakers, why aren’t they getting the ball? Florida should do whatever it takes to get the ball in their hands. They are a talented bunch but if you can’t get them the ball, you have a serious issue. Get the ball in your playmakers hands in space and watch them go to work.