10 Things We Learned in Gators' Loss

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IINovember 3, 2013

10 Things We Learned in Gators' Loss

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    As if the season couldn't be any worse for the Florida Gators, fans can now count a third straight loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.

    The Gators fell to the Bulldogs, 23-20, although they did make a game of it in the second half.

    In the end, it was a sluggish first half that cost the Gators as they are now 4-4 on the year and 3-3 in the SEC.

    Here's a look at 10 things we learned in the Gators' loss.

The Gators May Be onto Something

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    Some of the biggest successes the Gators had on offense was when quarterback Tyler Murphy used his legs to make plays.

    He did so on a third-down play in the second quarter and then again in the fourth quarter. It was in the fourth where his legs made the biggest difference.

    On two straight plays, Murphy tucked the ball and ran. The second was a 14-yard run for a touchdown.

    Could the Gators be onto something moving forward? If they can move the line to go with Murphy and give him a run-pass option, the Gators could still affect some games.

Will Muschamp Has to Recruit an Elite Quarterback

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    Despite the decent play from Tyler Murphy, Will Muschamp has to recruit himself an elite quarterback. Until he does that, Florida is going to continue to struggle on offense.

    Could that player be 4-star dual-threat quarterback Will Grier? Grier is the No. 2-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the country, according to Rivals.com.

    The Gators need a playmaker in the backfield. Murphy showed signs of being a playmaker, but he still looked like a freshman throughout most of the game.

The Kicking Game Cost the Gators

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    The Gators lost by three points. They missed field goals of 40 and 47 yards. Had they made those, this would have been a different game with the way the Bulldogs struggled in the second half.

    While Florida can't do much about it this season, it does need to go out and recruit players who can consistently kick field goals of more than 40 yards. 

    If nobody is available, then the Gators need to have an open tryout, because the three players the Gators have used this year simply aren't cutting it. 

    As far as the rest of this year, if the kick is 40 yards or more, the Gators might as well go for it on fourth down. They have just about as good of a chance converting that as they do a field goal.

Florida Has No Discipline

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    The Gators officially had seven penalties for 70 yards, but the number of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties was truly abysmal.

    The emotion of the Georgia-Florida game was no doubt there. But there's a difference is showcasing that emotion in a good way and showcasing it in a stupid way.

    The biggest example came when the game was already decided and Georgia was kneeling down to run out the clock. There is no reason why the Gators need to get a shot in to feel like they accomplished something. All it did was create unneeded drama and took away from the game.

    One stupid penalty that ended up hurting the Gators was one play earlier when a personal-foul penalty was called on Darious Commings. Illegal hands to the face was the call, and it's one the officials got right.

    Had the penalty not happened, Florida had Todd Gurley stopped on a third-down run, and Georgia was going to have to think about going for it on fourth down or kicking the field goal.

    Let's also not forget the personal-foul penalty on Solomon Patton after a 3rd-and-goal on the Gators' first drive. Without that penalty, the Gators have an easier field-goal attempt than a 40-yarder. Instead, the field goal was missed.

    Now, I'm not saying the Gators would have won, but they would have at least had a chance to let the play on the field decide the outcome as opposed to a penalty.

Injuries Are Hard to Overcome

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    When you look at all of the players the Gators have out with injury, it makes you wonder how they have still been able to win four games.

    Like Georgia, Florida has been bitten by the injury bug, but some of the injuries have been the season-ending type.

    Left tackle D.J. Humphries was added to the injury report for this game, as he accompanies wide receiver Andre Debose, right tackle Chaz Green, quarterback Jeff Driskel and running back Matt Jones on the list.

    It's no wonder the offense has struggled. Having a healthy team is key to competing in the SEC. And when you don't have a healthy team, these are the results you get.

Gators Know How to Control the Clock

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    The key to controlling the clock is converting third downs. And the Gators didn't do half bad in that area, converting eight of their 18 third downs.

    Those conversions helped the Gators control the clock and win the time of possession over the Bulldogs, 33:34-26:26.

    Florida knows how to run time off the clock, now all it has to do is turn those conversions into points. 

Gators Have to Start Scoring in First Quarter

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    Part of Florida's problem has been that it's only scored 29 points in the first quarter this year. 

    Of those 29 points, 17 came in wins. That means in Florida's four losses, only three points per game have been scored in the first quarter.

    That's not a way to get things going.

    Florida got down 14-0 after the first quarter against Georgia and struggled to come back. While the Gators did have their chances, imagine how different things would have been had they had at least a field goal in the first quarter.

    The Gators have to work on coming out of the gate firing on all cylinders. There's no time to get into the flow of the game.

Will Muschamp's Seat Is Officially Hot

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    Will Muschamp hasn't had a great three years at Florida.

    In his first season, the Gators were 7-6. Last year, they were 11-2 but lost in the Sugar Bowl to Louisville. This year, the Gators are 4-4 with games against South Carolina and Florida State still to go.

    If the Gators don't beat Vanderbilt next Saturday, they might not be eligible for a bowl game.

    Regardless of whether they make it to a bowl game or not, Muschamp is officially on the hot seat. 

    Ron Zook was 23-14 in three seasons at Florida, and he was ousted for subpar seasons. Muschamp is 22-12. If he's not on the hot seat this season, he'll definitely enter the 2014 season on it.

It's Time to Shake Things Up on Offense

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    The Florida offense is going nowhere. It has stunk for most of the year, and it's time for the coaching staff to shake things up.

    Whether it's giving other players opportunities to start or doing something different in terms of plays, every team can figure out what Florida is going to do by watching film.

    Very rarely do you see the Gators throwing the ball downfield. And when they do, a penalty calls the play back.

    The season is lost for the Gators. They might as well try to ruin the seasons of South Carolina and Florida State. And the only way they can do that is by making some changes on offense.

Defensive Line Is Solid

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    Some people will point to the Gators allowing a few long runs to Georgia running backs, but for the most part, the defensive line held its own against one of the best running backs in the country.

    Todd Gurley was limited to 100 yards on 17 rushes. But 55 of those yards came on two rushes. That means, of the 15 other rushes, the Gators held Gurley to three yards per carry. If you would've asked Gators fans heading into the game, they would have taken that mark in a heartbeat.

    What helped in that success was the Gators getting a push on the offensive line and not allowing Gurley to get much on plays.

    Of course, Gurley was absent for part of the game due to the wind being knocked out of him, as noted in multiple tweets. But for a player who hasn't played in a live game in a month, that's something you might expect to see.