Florida vs Georgia Film Review: Defense

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Time to look at the defensive film of the Florida vs Georgia game, and considering the circumstances, I don’t imagine I will be very kind in this review.

3rd and 14 vs an offense like Georgia’s, regardless of the up and down play from Fromm this year should not result in an easy first down. Florida is playing zone here, but after South Carolina and Kentucky showed them walking up and playing physical with Georgia’s wide receivers threw their passing game off, Florida immediately opens up the first third down of the game with giving cushions across the board and bringing nothing but a basic 4 man rush vs the best offensive line in college football.

The next third down of the game results in an even bigger cushion than 3rd and 14, this time Florida brings pressure and plays man across the board.

Watch this GIF multiple times and watch Fromm. He stares down his receiver; he sees the cushion, he locates the worst corner on the field in Trey Dean, Georgia knows Dean can’t cover the out route so Fromm has no issue never taking his eye off the prize here and just waiting for the route to develop.

To be fair to the defense, it wasn’t entirely awful on the day, the 3-4 look Grantham went to with 2 linebackers on the line of scrimmage gave Georgia issues in their run blocking scheme and there were several plays like this where Florida could beat Georgia off the snap and get into the backfield quickly.

Sometimes I’m not sure that words can accurately describe my disdain of Todd Grantham and the mistake Dan Mullen made when he hired him. I fully understand now why Georgia fans will never let their hatred of him go, you replace Grantham with just about any other coordinator during the years he was at Georgia and they probably go to a national championship in 2012 and beat Notre Dame at the very bare minimum.

I state this because his blitz schemes are progressively getting worse. Reese is a terrible pass rusher, Moon gets easily blocked by a smaller RB, for a reason I will never know he asks Kyree Campbell to drop back into a spy position on a QB who only runs when option A to Z fails, and would I shock you to tell you that Florida is once again in zone on third down? And for some reason two defenders are on the underneath receiver, I get the sense if I had all-22 to use, the middle opened up because of this unneccessary double team.

I’m not 100% sure on whether or not this is zone, I believe it is; the corners tell me its zone, and if Fromm throws this accurately, it’s a first down. I’m mixed on how much credit to give Grantham here because I believe the corner blitz keeps Fromm fully driving the ball.

Another third-down conversion, this time Florida is in man but once again Coley just calls the right call at the right time. Florida’s corners are lining up just beyond the first down marker and Georgia has two clear out routes combined with two routes that go to the first down marker. The clear-out routes combined with Florida corners playing off make this an easy completion for Fromm.

I am not showing this play to upset you, because this was 100% a drop, I’m showing this because it is the second time on this drive that CJ Henderson just doesn’t play smart defense. His ball skills are not up to par for a supposed elite level corner who some team is going to mistakenly draft in the first two days of the NFL draft.  I don’t even know if he knows where the ball is until after he turns around and the play is stopped.

In the next play, I will break down in two parts then provide a GIF. It doesn’t help that the drop wasn’t over turned into an actual drop and put Florida into this position, but that play is in the past and now you have to stop throwing a pity party and step up and play defense. Marco Wilson doesn’t here. He is as much of a disappointment as CJ Henderson has been this year.

The first image is where Marco is in relation to the point in the play Fromm will throw it to the flat. I’m not upset at Marco here because the WR in front of him is still an option, so he has to think and make the right decision here.

This is where I now have an issue with Marco. This is the point where he decides he wants to fully commit and run down the target Fromm is throwing to. It’s still a footrace to the end zone but if he committed even half a second sooner, this may not be a TD.

Why is this such an issue for me? Because look at the GIF and tell me that if Wilson doesn’t hesitate for a second longer that he can’t get to the receiver earlier? He gets to the receiver before he gets to the end zone but the tackle attempt is awful, Florida’s corners may have never spent a day in their life learning how to tackle properly because I don’t understand what Marco is doing once he meets the receiver. So in conclusion on this play, if he doesn’t hesitate and tries to make a wrap-up leg tackle, this is probably now a 6-0 game.

I’ve heard from a couple of Georgia fans that if you see noticeable adjustments to their offense, it’s probably from Kirby or someone other than Coley, I don’t know who made the adjustment I’m about to point out, all I know is an adjustment was made in the second quarter that opened up Georgia’s running game more. That adjustment would be consistently running out of a 4 receiver look (either three WR and one TE or four WRs, doesn’t matter, it still worked).  This forced Florida into a man look and moved either Reese or Miller to line up over a TE outside of the tackle box, which is smart because neither Miller nor Reese are good from these OLB positions.

Another third and long conversion, this time Florida is in man, but Georgia get Brian Herrien, a RB, matched up on Reese. Again, a good call by Coley taking advantage of the fact that Reese is poor in coverage.

David Reese in coverage ladies and gentlemen. Somehow he runs himself out of bounds, the RB makes a circus catch here that maybe he doesn’t make if Reese just continues running with him and shields off his vision to the ball.

This is a mixture of bad personnel by Georgia and Reese staying disciplined in coverage and making a play. I state personnel by Georgia because if you replace a TE here with a RB or a WR, then you probably give yourself a better shot vs Reese. I also have no idea if Reese stays on the field if Georgia makes some personnel changes here, I can only assume. The safety blitz also seems to give Fromm happy feet though Georgia picks up the pressure across the board pretty well (there is some pressure on the left side).

The pass rush isn’t as bad as I thought it was in first watch, Fromm does a good job sidestepping or stepping up away from traffic, but this is also on the embarrassing side that guys like Greenard could never take advantage of opportunities like this. And Miller again shows that he just doesn’t have a clue how to take proper angles to whoever has the ball at the moment for the opposing team.

This secondary is just not well-coached, specifically the safeties. This is especially surprising from Shawn Davis because he’s been the only safety consistently worth talking positively about this season. I believe it’s zone; it doesn’t really matter, Davis has to see Cager crossing him right here, I’m not Davis so I’m not going to pretend to know what’s going through his head, but this is awful on his part.

Second, I want to point out the jet motion; I stated in my game preview that the odds are good that Florida’s safeties would get sucked in on this when Georgia used it. The jet sweep pulls Taylor down, that opens up the deep middle of the field, Davis bites twice here, he moves with the jet sweep, then bites hard on the play-action, then despite Cager crossing his face, he turns his back to run in the middle of the field as a last-ditch effort to do……something? I do not understand. If Davis just immediately runs with Cager, who knows how this plays out, but at the very bare minimum we’re not dealing with a wide-open WR and a walk-in TD.

Would you be surprised if I told you that the receiver gained 7 yards from this point? Classic Florida defense angle to the ball and poor tackling that you get under Grantham and this entire defensive staff.

Eli Wolf had 9 receptions coming into this game from the TE spot. Here he is lining up in the slot on a crucial third-down with Brad Stewart lined up over him. The out route just seems to be a route no defensive back on this team can cover consistently. There is no excuse for Stewart to get worked this bad on this down and situation by a guy who had 9 receptions coming into this game, and to provide even further context for how bad Stewart was in this situation? Eli Wolf was a two-star recruit. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how poorly coached Florida is on defense in 2019.

Conclusion

Depending on who you talk to, Georgia got lucky that Florida didn’t win this game. I don’t agree with that. Sure, one touchdown shouldn’t have happened because of a poor officiating review that didn’t overturn a clear drop. But Florida had a chance to make a stand, it was 3rd and goal, and Wilson did not make an open-field tackle. Fromm also missed a couple throws he normally makes that if he makes probably lead to additional points for Georgia. I hate playing the would of, could have game in sports, it’s impossible to keep track of all the scenarios, but at the end of the day, Florida’s defense just wasn’t good.

The pass rush was non-existent for 90% of the game, if not more. On that 10% or less of the chances they actually got through and had a chance, they didn’t even touch Fromm. That’s awful and it falls in line with how poor the defensive line play has been in the passing game for a while now. That Miami game really led the media and fans into believing that Florida had an elite defensive line, the reality is almost entirely opposite of elite.

The linebackers on this team are not good. Florida needs a severe talent upgrade across the board at the linebacker spot. Reese is terrible in coverage, Miller routinely takes poor angles to the ball carrier and he is an inexcusably awful tackler for a linebacker in the SEC, Houston nearly never flashes on tape except for when he’s chasing down a ball carrier who has already gained 10 yards, Burney has potential because of his speed but he’s not a traditional linebacker and with this staff? Never will be.

Moving onto the secondary, CJ Henderson will make a mistake when he declares for the NFL draft. If Marco Wilson follows, it will be a bad decision for Marco. Neither of these two guys are ready for the NFL. Marco Wilson is soft, he can’t tackle, he’s easily blocked out of plays in the screen game and he seems unsure of himself in zone. CJ Henderson still flashes some potential and traits scouts loved in the off-season but for every highlight of him making a play on the ball there are two or three of him getting because he never looks for the ball and gets lost guessing. Trey Dean? I will never know what has led to Dean becoming arguably the worst starter on defense (only Miller has an argument for being worse right now), but he is bad. The safeties are fine in run support right now, but I do not understand what these guys are doing in the passing game.

And the worst for last. Todd Grantham and this defensive staff. Florida is now 73rd in the country in 3rd down defense, Florida was 40th coming into this game, to give you an idea of just how awful Florida was on 3rd down in the biggest game of the season. Todd Grantham needs to be fired immediately, but sadly he won’t be. One of my concerns with Dan Mullen running this program is that I get the sense he’s too nice. I have zero faith in Mullen fixing the problem he created when he mistakenly thought Todd Grantham was the best defensive coordinator to run Florida’s defense. I get asked who I think is a better coordinator, close your eyes, come up with 40 names, and you found 40 defensive coordinators who would have this defense playing better right now.

I understand that Florida’s talent level isn’t great on that side of the ball, as I went over in a couple paragraphs above, but Grantham isn’t helping with the position he is putting guys in. CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson are still above average, if not just good cover corners (and this will infuriate the DBU portion of the fan base), but asking them to play zone as much as they do isn’t playing to their strengths. I don’t know if this is a fact or not because I have no way of confirming, but I believe Florida was more aggressive a year ago in terms of percentage of plays Grantham blitzed 5 or more defenders, and I’m not sure why Grantham has regressed into a zone heavy coordinator when this defense has consistently shown over the last month that they aren’t good in zone defense.

I’ll end it on this paragraph, not only do I believe that Todd Grantham should go, I strongly feel that Mullen can upgrade on multiple assistants on the defensive side of the ball. Grantham can go, David Turner, the defensive line coach, can go, Ron English, the safeties coach, can go, and I know this won’t go over well, but I wouldn’t complain if you removed Christian Robinson from his duties as linebackers coach. None of those positions show any progress on defense and most, if not all of them, are showing regression when you consider the fact you should not see a regression in year two. The only reason I didn’t list Gray despite my disappointment in Wilson, Henderson, and Dean is that he hasn’t even been at Florida for 365 days, so I’m willing to give him another year. But everyone else on defense? Goodbye.

 

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