Home / Gator Football / COMMENTARY: Were Gators Prepared For Sugar Bowl?

COMMENTARY: Were Gators Prepared For Sugar Bowl?

In the aftermath of Florida’s 33-23 loss Wednesday in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans to former Gator defensive coordinator Charlie Strong and his Louisville Cardinals, many Gator fans are wondering this…

What happened?

If you listened to ESPN College Game Day’s crew and specifically Kirk Herbstreit, he believes that Florida was not well prepared to play this game, thinking that the Gators took Louisville too lightly.

You be the judge.

Gator coach Will Muschamp looked bewildered and befuddled when addressing the media after the game and said his team was outcoached and outplayed.   If you know anything about Muschamp, he will not call out specific players for things they did wrong; he takes the blame when things don’t go well and he is to be respected for that.

But the question is still there…were the players looking past Louisville, a double digit underdog, or is Louisville better than advertised?

The answer for me is complicated.   I think Florida was ready to play this game, but certainly the first play from scrimmage when quarterback Jeff Driskel threw the pick six gave the Cardinals a huge jolt of confidence and conversely Florida seemed to never quite fully recover from that poor play.

We all know Florida has started slowly in games on offense all year long, so that shouldn’t have been a surprise, but that pick six seemed to really shake Florida’s confidence, to throw them off their projected course.    And it took too long to get back on track.

And on defense, the Gators seemed more intent on sending messages to Louisville’s players than to play fundamental football.   The hit that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took early knocked his helmet off but it also resulted in a Gator personal foul call.   Running back Jeremy Wright took a vicious hit too.   But to the Cardinals credit, they were not intimidated and Bridgewater and company made plays and made a proud Gator defense look very ordinary as Florida missed tackles and left receivers open all night.

And of course, there is the onside kick disaster to start the second half.   Florida got two 15 yard penalties and a player ejected and that lack of discipline came back to bite the Gators big time when the Cardinals went right in and scored.   Lack of discipline, in my view, has been a problem all year long for this team, and we all know the problem Florida has had all year long with penalties and on this night, there were nine more of them for 98 yards.

Florida lost to a team that lost to Connecticut and Syracuse.   But credit Louisville for being well prepared, led by a quarterback who as a junior next year will be a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender to start the season.

The shame of this is that this loss ruins what was a very surprisingly successful season for Gator football.   But now, as next year looms, Florida must find ways to vastly improve its offensive production and replace a bunch of defensive players who either graduate or who are leaving early in the case of Sharrif Floyd and Matt Elam.

Was Florida prepared for this game?   Yes, but it was NOT prepared for Louisville to jump on them the way it did.   The script Florida had written for this game got revised by Louisville players and their coaches, led of course, by former Gator assistant Charlie Strong.

11-2 is certainly a nice year, but at least today, it doesn’t seem as good as it should.

About Steve Russell

Check Also

LIVE THREAD: National Signing Day

Here’s an updated thread of all the recruits who picked the Gator hat today! RB …

AFC Divisional Round Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers

During last weekend’s NFL Wild Card round, the Steelers made a statement by handing the Dolphins a …

Houston Looking For an Upset in Foxborough

The saying has always been “it’s hard to beat a good team twice,” and in …

Blue Jackets vs. Lightning Tonight

The Columbus Blue Jackets and the Tampa Bay Lightning will be facing each other once …

Possible Additions to McElwain’s Recruiting Class Visiting this Weekend

With National Signing Day less than three weeks away, the Gators are hosting several talented …

Florida Gymnastics Prepares for Season Opener

GAINESVILLE, FL – The Florida Gator gymnastics team will kick off their season this Sunday …

Surprised Gators Promote Randy Shannon To Defensive Coordinator? You Shouldn’t Be

Florida’s head coach, Jim McElwain, announced Friday morning that Randy Shannon would be making the …

Quarterbacks in Spotlight for NFL Wild Card Weekend

The NFL Wild Card kicks off Saturday and the quarterback situations could not be any more different. On …

College Football Playoff Shakes Up Schedule

The College Football Playoff was a success in its first year. Yet, that doesn’t stop …

Michael Jordan Speaks out about Shootings, Police Officers

NBA great Michael Jordan opened up about his thoughts about shootings of African-Americans and the …

Treon Harris to Transfer

With the college football season approaching, the Florida Gators have announced that former starting QB …

USA Basketball Wins Second Exhibition Game

Just a few short days after their big win over Argentina, team USA won its …

Charlotte Is No Longer The Home Of The 2017 NBA All-Star Game

The House Bill 2 came between Charlotte, North Carolina and the 2017 All-Star Game. The …

Tampa Bay Rays Continue Series Against Oakland

The Tampa Bay Rays are continuing their three-game winning streak. The Rays defeated the Oakland …

MLB Preview Tonight

It’s summer time—the best time to go to a baseball game and experience the atmosphere. …

Braves Begin Series With Rockies

The Atlanta Braves (33-62) open up a four-game road series with the Rockies (43-51) tonight …

Marlins To Close Out Series With The Phillies

The Miami Marlins are in the middle of a crucial ten game span against NL East …

Rays Crush Rockies 11-3, Face A’s Next

In the midst of a terrible season that has seen the Tampa Bay Rays (37-57) …

American League Second Half Outlook

The second half of the baseball season is in full swing which translates to? Pennant races. Teams …

National League Evening Preview

Tonight is a busy night for the National League in the MLB. Starting with the …

Big 12 Looks To Expand

Following a Tuesday meeting between Big 12 presidents, Oklahoma president David Boren announced that the …

LSU Looks To Capitalize On Its Opportunity

The Louisiana State University Tigers will enter the 2016 college football season with high expectations, …

Muschamp Helps Close Out SEC Media Days 2016

It wasn’t Will Muschamps first SEC Media Days experience, but 2016 marked the first time …

Phil Mickelson Leads British Open After First Day

The 145th annual 2016 British Open is underway at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. The …

Missouri’s Football Crisis: Rebuilding A Program

On the final day of SEC Media Days, Barry Odom took the stand as Missouri’s head …

Second Half Of MLB Season Begins

The All-Star Break is a good time for teams to rest up and reform themselves …

British Open Underway

The 145th Open Championship is already underway at the Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland. Welcome …

Florida Baseball Named No. 3 Overall Seed Heading into NCAA Tournament

The Florida Gator baseball team has officially been named the No. 3 overall seed heading …