Florida vs. Missouri – Film Review – Defense

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Marco Wilson has not had the year I expected him to have coming into this season, especially as a run defender, an area I thought he was better than CJ Henderson at in the off-season.

Early in the game, he makes a great open-field tackle, a fundamentally sound tackle where he doesn’t lead with his shoulder, an area he’s been poor at this season.

This is one way to blow up a read-option call by the offense.  Greenard gets into the backfield in a hurry, the pulling TE/H-Back can’t get to Greenard in time and Kelly Bryant has to quickly pull the ball from the backs gut.

Slaton is another guy I had high hopes for this season and he has not lived up to the potential I pegged for him. He hasn’t been awful, but for a guy who, depending on who you believe, weighs between 350-360, should be a dominant tackle. I believe he’s still a bit raw, but the last two games he’s been sticking out in a more positive manner on film. Here, he completely blows up the LG and gets into the backfield. A guy of Slatons size should not miss this tackle, but Greenards sack happens because Slaton got into the backfield in such a hurry.

CJ Henderson has been a huge disappointment for me. He’s been a huge disappointment for several in the twitter draft community who spent a lot of time in the off-season talking up Henderson as an elite corner who can be the first corner taken. There is likely zero chance of Henderson being the first corner taken and I doubt he goes day one at all. If Trey Dean doesn’t lead the team in most long completions allowed, it’s Henderson who leads that category.

I do not understand what he’s doing here. I get that the ball is under thrown, but he’s out of position and seems shocked that the ball was even thrown in his direction.

I was waiting for a couple of third-down plays to occur before I mentioned anything about Grantham’s aggressiveness in this game, but this is far more similar to the Georgia game than the Vanderbilt game. Spent a lot of time so far showing pressure and backing out. The difference is that Kelly Bryant is not Jake Fromm and Bryant never made Florida pay for routinely bringing only 3 or 4 on a pass rush.

And going back to the first quarter, show six coming, drop three, ends up forcing a punt.

I did not notice this during the game on Saturday, but I noticed it on the first drive as I started this review but wanted to see if Grantham stuck with this change for more than a few plays. Marco is not the STAR and Dean has moved back to his more natural position. I said this during my film review sessions on InAllKindsOfWeather.com that I thought either CJ or Marco needed to move inside with Dean going back outside. We’ll see how this works vs FSU, but Marco just looks more comfortable than Dean playing in the nickel spot. It’s a shame it took this long for the adjustment to happen.

Greenard is excellent as a run defender, it’s no surprise the run defense has been better with him on the field. When he returned from his injury, I wasn’t sure how much of an impact he would have on the run game, and that was ridiculous of me because Greenard is an elite level run defender from the edge position. He quickly changes direction here to kill this fake toss keeper by Bryant.

Zachary Carter’s progression over the last month is a great development for Florida, as is Slaton’s, and it makes me regret saying Turner has not done a good job with this line, I was dead wrong there. Florida will lose both Zuniga and Greenard after this season, Carter has shown enough progress that you can trust him to be a reliable starter next year on the edge. Gets under the RT here and tips the ball.

Grantham shows some of his classic cover zero pressure here, bringing six. Florida ends up allowing the first down from the only route I pointed out, Marco Wilson is in coverage. I’m not sure why Grantham is comfortable asking the outside corners to play up on the WR’s here with Marco playing off, this has been a common occurrence with Grantham, regardless of who is playing in the slot.

This play ultimately results in a sack, but my biggest issue on the day was how many missed sacks Florida left on the field. Bryant escapes here, three defenders surrounding him.

He also escapes here, before gaining a couple of yards and being brought down by Slaton.

Greenard again. I’m not sure how often or rare it is for a defensive end to win awards purely for his ability as a run defender, but that is absolutely why Greenard won some more awards this week/.

Conclusion

This was an easier film to breakdown than the Vanderbilt game, mostly because Missouri has given Florida issues over the last several years and their offense is better than Vanderbilt’s in terms of talent and statistical rankings, so holding Missouri to six points at home is arguably more impressive than shutting down a horrible Vanderbilt team in Gainesville.

Greenard had a more impactful game today than he did a week ago vs. Vanderbilt, and I don’t disagree with him winning any specific award. He was a menace against the run and blew up several plays, his only sack on the day came because of Slaton creating the pressure, but Greenard still had success getting to the QB, forcing one a holding penalty called against him and also forced an intentional grounding penalty against Bryant.

I’m not sure why it took so long to swap Wilson and Dean, I called for this change in the first month, and I realize I am just some armchair scout from Twitter but I figured the change was obvious, and it only became more obvious with each game that passed. Thankfully, the change came though, late or not, and so far it’s paying off. I assume Marco Wilson returns next year, and when Henderson declares for the draft, I don’t think Florida will have much of an issue replacing him with Elam or Hill while Marco stays in the STAR role and Dean gets comfortable with his natural position as an outside corner.

I have noticed two games in a row now that the safeties have played the best they have played all season. Stiner specifically has made noticeable strides across the board. The secondary has made progress regarding their tackling. I’m seeing far less missed tackles from the corners and safeties than we saw even a month ago, that’s two games now that Wilson and Henderson haven’t tried tackling by leading with their shoulder. I don’t know if this is a product of playing Vanderbilt and Missouri, or if there has been a focus in practice, we’ll find out more when Florida plays Florida State, if this theme continues, we’ll have the answer.

The linebackers didn’t stick out to me today; they weren’t bad, they weren’t great. Per cfbstats.com the linebackers only had two combined tackles for loss on the day, so no one stood out in run support but no one got burned in the passing game.

That’s it. Enjoy.

 

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