Saturday, October 06, 2007

Observations on tonight's loss

First of all, yes. I'm very disappointed. We lost a winnable game against the top ranked team in the country, at their crib. The big disappointment is with the defense that for two consecutive games has allowed the opponent to march down the field and consume huge chunks of time in the 4th quarter. We knew the defense was going to be the weakness of this team and so far it has. We simply couldn't get a stop on 3rd and short or 4th and short.

But what really upsets me is that for the first time I can honestly say that Urban Meyer made a serious coaching mistake. Gary Danielson articulated exactly what was going through my mind when I saw LSU deep in the red zone with 2 minutes to go. We needed to call time outs to preserve enough time to drive down the field on the final possession of the game As Danielson pointed out, we let 30 seconds slip away before we called a time out on that drive. The next play was a touchdown. We needed those 30 seconds. We needed them badly. In the pros you need to keep your time outs to burn on offense. In college with the stoppages for first downs and the ability to kill the clock with a spike play you don't need time outs to mount a drive, you need time. We needed a touchdown anyway so it wasn't like you needed a time out to get the field goal unit out there. This was a monumental error in my book. To dominate the game for 58 and half minutes only to walk away empty-handed. Total suckage.

And the loss hurts because, despite the fact that we knew this team could not repeat the feats of last year's, there's always that dream, that hope that you might catch lightning in a bottle. Now Florida's picture becomes real clear. Win out, and hope Tennessee loses along the way, to get another crack at LSU and spoil their bid for a BCS crown. I thought we'd lose two SEC games this year although I predicted it would be Tennessee and LSU, not Auburn and LSU. In any case, I thought two losses would keep us out of the SEC Championship game. But right now wins over Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina could still put the Gators in Atlanta in December.

Oh well. I think I'll go imbibe.


ESMjr. said...

I agree the 30 second delay in calling the TO was questionable, but in my mind the real reason we lost were the consecutive turnovers when we had the lead. If we're able to sustain drives on either one of those possessions, even if we don't score, we probably walk out of Tiger Stadium with a win.

CFB is all about momentum, and every time we managed to get it (either on our own or through an LSU screwup) we gave it back in a matter of seconds. Their crowd fed their players' intensity, and there was no way they were going to be denied on that last drive. If you want to win an SEC road game against a team with more experience and arguably more talent, you make sure that drive doesn't happen.

I think UF still has an excellent chance to make it to Atlanta, but they're going to have to put together complete games (4Q ToP something like 12:00-3:00) and cut down on the mental errors (PI on Haden, James attempting to field that kickoff instead of letting it go out, various dropped balls by WRs, esp. Caldwell) to run the table from here on out.

It still seems that a 3-4 loss season is a likelihood, and that next year is going to be the Gators' real opportunity to make some noise. Who is going to beat UT on their schedule, with the way they looked today?

esmjr. said...

i realize that last comment is extremely self-contradictory, which is about how i feel at the moment. i don't know what to think anymore.

i'm going to bed.

Jason said...

One good showing out of Tenn does not a SEC championship bound team make.

Let's just focus on going out and winning the rest of our games, and I would not at all be the slightest bit surprised to see a rematch and a shot at the sugar bowl in the future.

Anonymous said...

Let's not talk about winning a rematch with LSU just yet. It's been my experience that in rematch situations in which Team A barely won the first game, they get motivated and pissed off by media talk all week before the rematch about how they just got lucky, how Team B gave the game away and will kick their ass this time around, etc. and Team A almost always winds up winning the second game much more convincingly. I still remember the 40-39 loss to Bama back in the day (2000 I think) and how in the SEC title game rematch everybody, including me, was just SO sure the Gators would right the wrong of the earlier game, and instead got punked.

Right now I'm just worried about facing that Spurrier guy's team. You know, the one that beat the Gators in '05 and were a blocked kick away from doing it again last year.

Gator Boys said...

I agree with the article. I cant believe Meyer did that... Theres NO reason not to call a T.O. there

Anonymous said...

I'll take Urban at his word at the post-game presser about needing to give the defense a chance to catch their breath and at least have a shot at making the play. So there went those 30 seconds. The stat to pay attention to is LSU had the ball 22 minutes in the second half and the won the turnover battle. Any defense would have struggled under those circumstances.

Frankly I don't care about the result. I ended up very proud of the defense who took every shot LSU had and didnt give up. We got beat ... by a better team, but we made them pay for it.

It will be interesting to see just how many LSU guys came out injured from this game.

Anonymous said...

Our defense looked better than they did against Auburn. I am concerned about our offense. Tim Tebow is a superman but he can't do it all. He needs to use his receivers more. He can run it so he tends to do when he doesn't see someone open (or open to his liking). He also holds onto the ball too long. The offensive line held more this time and prevented him getting sacked as often. He is still a human and his body can only take so much. He looked very worn down last night. I heard the crowds booed Chris Leak but he delivered in the passing game. The Leak/Tebow combo was very powerful.

I feel very bummed today. But, the Gators always come back. I've been watching them for many, many years.

I'd worry about "the old ball coach" too. I thought Coach Meyer almost looked disinterested the last two games (losses). I was hoping we would wipe that smirk off Coach Miles face. I hope some team is able too. But, if the Gators don't make it to the BCS game, I hope LSU does. After all, they are part of the SEC, the very best conference. I now live in Big Ten land, in fact, in Columbus, OH. The Buckeyes may just make it to the "big bowl" at the end. But, not having any serious challengers in their regular schedule may yield the same result this year.

Just remember, we are still the University of Florida Gators, the University of Chompions!!!

Henry Gomez said...

Two comments. One in defense of Meyer and one critical of him. First the criticism. That answer, if that's what he said at the presser, is weak. You take a time out precisely to give your guys a breather. Those extra 30 seconds are nice but they would have been a lot nicer for the offense to have. We weren't stopping them. We had to assume they were going to score and we needed to preserve clock. We didn't do it and it severely limited our chances of winning the game.

And in his defense I don't know how anyone can say "he looked disinterested". What does disinterested look like? How do you know that his expression was disinterest and nothing else like "concern". That's the kind of thing I really try to avoid in my writing on this blog. There's a bunch of people that believe Spurrier was "disinterested" in has last couple of years at Florida with no evidence to back it.

Let's keep it on what happened on the field.

Gator Boys said...

If thats what Meyer said, he's retarded. If he wanted to give them more rest and he really thought they were gonna stop them he should have called TWO timeouts. At that point 30 seconds is worth more than a timeout. The good news is I cant remember the offense getting a false start penalty all game

Anonymous said...

Perhaps "disinterested" was not a good description. Coach Meyer typically does not show a lot of emotion. What I was trying to convey is that he is usually fired up, talking to the players, talking to the coaches. When the camera was on him toward the end he seemed to me (and aren't these blogs just our perceptions) that he was less active and had a look on his face like we had already lost. I normally do not blog so I don't know the protocol if there is one. However, having been a loyal Gator fan forever I believe I have the right to say what I think. I'm just sorry we lost this one. Oh, well. Go Gators!

Henry Gomez said...

You have a right to say whatever you want. And obviously any views expressed by those that leave comments don't reflect our views as the blog authors. My point is that that's the kind of thing you hear on sports radio. And something that can be neither proved nor disproved. It's purely speculative opinion. You have a right to say it but I'm just not buying it. I'm not a big believer in the "intangibles". I believe in the tangibles. There's plenty to criticize in this loss without getting to "he looked disinterested". These guys were BCS champs last year. They knew what was at stake. They had just had their "wake up call" (another sports radio cliche) against Auburn.

Gator Blogger said...

Gee Henry - You sound like a real A-hole. Leave the fan alone. All your talk about "tangible" and "intangible" seems pretty sophmoric which, by the way, is how you look in your picture. Perhaps you should imbibe some more. You might get in a better mood . . . or not.

Henry Gomez said...

Gator Blogger? Where's your blog. Get lost.

Anonymous said...

If somebody needs to shoulder the blame for the loss, it's Tim Tebow. That interception was his fault as he forced the play, and also that intentional grounding was STUPID on his part.

Anonymous said...

If Meyer was "disinterested" the loss would have been much greater than 4 points. If the Zooker was coaching this team the consequences would have been much worse, trust me. These kids gave it their best shot and played three solid quarters of football until the turnovers in the 4th unraveled everything. That's not Meyer's fault, those turnovers were caused by the players themselves.

I will say that Miles' challenge of that play be Brandon James was bullshit, and the booth overruling the call on the field was wrong. He didn't step out of bounds, and that was clearly evident on the replay that was run.

The 4th quarter turnovers were costly to the Gators and caused momentum to turn in the favor of LSU, especially that one play where Tebow forced the pass resulting in an interception. That right there was the nail in the coffin.

As Kestahn Moore said, this team needs to stay together, regroup and look ahead to Kentucky on 10/20, and he's right. They need to learn from their mistakes and keep moving forward; they're developing into a much stronger team and hopefully these two losses to Auburn and LSU will make them tighter and tougher. As fans, we need to keep the faith and continue to support these kids.

UF Gator DMD said...

Hindsight is 20/20. I agree that having that extra time would have been nice, but it's water under the bridge. Hopefully the coaching staff learns from it and the mistake is never made again.

Overall it was a hard fought game and the team with more experienced talent won. The Gators certainly had their shot, but late turnovers coupled with a bend and then break defense just didn't get it done.

Hopefully the team comes back and shows up for all 60 min against the rest of the SEC...that should be enough to get into the SECCG.