The Florida Gators were back in the win column last Saturday as they defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 38-27. This matchup had trap game written all over for the Florida Gators. Most expected Florida to win but still thought South Carolina would give Florida a good game. The Gamecocks were actually leading going into the fourth quarter 20-17. The Gators were able to scored 21 unanswered points and beat the Gamecocks on the road. Kyle Trask played pretty well in wet conditions as he threw for a career-high four touchdown passes. The Gators defense was also without both of their top defensive lineman in Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga. Here are the five takeaways from the Florida Gators Week 8 win versus the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Florida’s defense has deficiencies against the run
In the past two games, the Florida defense has given 235 rushing yards against LSU and South Carolina. The Gators defense has much better than that but are starting to given a lot of long runs. Their defensive tackles and linebackers aren’t doing a good enough job of clogging up holes. LSU’s running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire had two explosive touchdowns and both were untouched. South Carolina’s offense relied on their rushing attack to move the ball and hit some for explosive plays. Florida’s next game is against the Georgia Bulldogs. The Georgia offense relies on their ground game. If Florida can’t stop Georgia’s rushing attack, it might be a long game for the Gators come November 2nd.
The offensive line has shown improvement
The Florida Gators offensive line has been their biggest weaknesses on offense this season. They’ve looked really bad early in the season but is starting to make some progress. The coaching staff did make some changes to the offensive line which might be the reason Florida’s offensive line is improving. Redshirt-freshman Richard Gouraige has been very productive since starting at left guard. With Gouraige at left guard, Brett Heggie moves to right guard and Chris Bleich moves to second team. The pass protection has always been pretty solid for the Gators but now they’re trying to run block better. Dameon Pierce broke off a 75-yard rushing touchdown as he had a huge running lanes thanks to his O-line. The only offensive line that hasn’t progressed is right tackle Jean Delance. The former Texas transfer has been disappointing considering he was an All-American out of high school.
Khris Bogle and Mohamoud Diabate have bright futures at Florida
With Jon Greenard and Jabari Zuniga out, Florida’s defense had to count on some of their underclassmen. True freshman Khris Bogle made his first career start as a Gator with Jeremiah Moon on the other side. Another true freshman in Mohamoud Diabate got a lot of playing time as put some pressure on the quarterback. Diabate and Bogle both only had one tackle in the game but they were able to make Ryan Hilinski uncomfortable in the pocket. If it wasn’t for two missed holding calls, Diabate might have recorded a sack in the game. Both freshmen were top recruits in their respective position. Greenard and Zuniga should be back for the Georgia game so they’ll likely play a smaller role but both of those players will be gone next season. Bogle and Diabate are going to be key defensive player for Florida in the future.
Jacob Copeland might have had his coming out party
Jacob Copeland was one of Florida’s prized recruits in Dan Mullen’s first recruiting class. The Under Armour All-American redshirted his first year due to an injury. Copeland has been healthy this season but also has been getting a lot of playing time. A big reason for that is because Florida’s recruiting core is filled with very talented seniors. Copeland has played more since Kadarius Toney went down with a shoulder injury. Copeland’s productive has slowly increased with more experience and getting a better understanding of the playbook. Talent wasn’t the reason Copeland’s lack of playing time. Copeland needed to show signs of grow and he has recently. In the South Carolina game, Copeland finally put it all together with three receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown. Copeland might not be a star at Florida this season but he’ll be counted on next season with four receivers graduating.
Kyle Pitts continues to produce
In the first half of the South Carolina game, sophomore tight end Kyle Pitts was a no-show. The Pennsylvania native didn’t have a reception until the third quarter. Will Muschamp and the South Carolina defense did a very good job of covering Pitts. Kyle Trask and the Florida offense found ways to get him the ball. Pitts had two critically catches in the fourth quarter. The first catch was to extend their first fourth quarter drive. It was 4th and 3 at South Carolina’s 34. Mullen went for it and Pitts came open to late and got a nine-yard reception. Florida took the lead the next play as Trask threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Swain. The second big catch in the fourth quarter was in their second fourth quarter drive. Pitts caught a five-yard touchdown pass on first and goal to put the game on ice.