After a 20-13 fall against Kentucky last week, the Florida Gators dropped two of its first three SEC matchups since 2003.
Kentucky upsets No. 10 Florida, beating the Gators at home for the first time since 1986. pic.twitter.com/HiZlAuYtqV
— ESPN (@espn) October 3, 2021
The Gators dropped 1-2 in conference play following the game, prompting many fans and coaching staff to evaluate the issues presented before returning home to take on Vandy.
Problems in Lexington
Penalties were the main issue. They committed 15, losing 115 yards. Eight of those penalties involved false starts.
#Gators coach Dan Mullen on 15 penalties (8 false starts): "That's on me to make sure we're playing at a disciplined level. … It really is [on me]. I take it personally."
— OnlyGators.com: Florida Gators news (@onlygators) October 4, 2021
The Gators have been struggling with getting penalties under control since the beginning of the season. At the season opener against Florida Atlantic, they tallied in 17 penalties for 157 yards.
Aside from penalties, quarterback Emory Jones had issues taking leadership on the field. In his first SEC road start, Jones completed 7 of 17 passes. He also threw an interception that led to an opponent touchdown. Leading up to this game, Jones had pretty decent numbers, even completing 21 of 27 attempts for 209 yards against Tennessee. It must have been the change of scenery, but something was off. Even the usual backbone of the team, the offensive line, seemed to lack focus.
Despite the offensive issues, the defense has definitely improved. They allowed 224 yards of offense and held Kentucky to 1/9 on third-down conversions.
At the last meet-up between both teams, Florida Gator’s Kyle Trask led his team to their 16th win in Lexington.
With this loss, in addition to Alabama, the Gators’ chances are slim in winning the Eastern Division, however, the coaching staff is not yet giving up on seeing Florida through to the playoffs.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham explains that a season is all about getting better each week, so he expects Florida to come out even stronger during the next matchup.
Grantham comments on the defensive effort.
Both of Florida’s next two matchups will be noon kickoffs. They travel back home to the Swamp for homecoming to take on Vanderbilt, before hitting the road to take on LSU on the 16th.