Good, Bad and Ugly: What’s left to say about Florida football after Saturday’s loss?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Gator Nation is reeling after a devastating road loss for the football team against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday, putting the program’s postseason plans in peril as the end of the regular-season schedule nears. What was supposed to be a relatively easy win for Florida turned out to be an embarrassing rout at the hands of a team that barely beat Vanderbilt, getting blown out by a score of 40-17.

The flame under head coach Dan Mullen‘s hot seat grew exponentially after the lackluster showing by his team, which has become too common of a trend over the 2021 campaign. With the carnage now in the rearview mirror, the Gators Wire staff presents its post mortem of the carcass that remains after the brutal defeat.

Adam Dubbin - Managing Editor

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

GOOD: This segment gets harder and harder to answer each week, and this time around I find myself grasping at straws. It was nice seeing Justin Shorter finally get some significant targets and Marcus Burke‘s mini-breakout was fun, but still, Jacob Copeland continues to find himself neglected as the primary receiver coming into this season.

BAD: Where do I start? Everything from the play calling on the sidelines to the effort seen on the field was demoralizing to watch as a fan. Dan Mullen was feeling the heat coming into the game and in response served up one of the biggest turds of his tenure, allowing an inferior team to look like a CFP candidate.

UGLY: The Gators were more than a 20-point favorite in this game and ended up losing by more than 20 points. The defense got trampled again by the same running play and the quarterbacks continue to cough up the ball at the most inopportune times. The strip-six of Emory Jones was reminiscent of last week’s close to the first half and, much like against Georgia, was one of the first major nails in the coffin.

Tyler Nettuno - Assistant Editor/Writer

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun

GOOD: That Marcus Burke catch was pretty cool, right? The true freshman from Jacksonville made the first catch of his career on a 61-yard bomb, and he somehow came away with the ball in triple coverage. Aside from that? Um, Justin Shorter almost had 100 yards, I guess. The cupboard is pretty bare here.

BAD: The fact that Dameon Pierce only had six carries, the fact that Florida’s offense only managed 17 points against a middling defense, the fact South Carolina’s putrid offense outgained the Gators and ran for nearly 300 yards, the fact that an FCS transfer quarterback making his first start picked this defense apart. Pick your poison, all of these are quite embarrassing.

UGLY: The current state of the program. Dan Mullen is 2-8 in his last 10 Power Five games and 4-8 in his last 12 overall. Florida could easily miss a bowl game this year, and it’s going to finish toward the bottom of the SEC East standings. Mind you, this is one year removed from underachieving with a historic offense. Getting dominated by a South Carolina team whose only SEC win heading into this contest came by one point over Vandy is a new low.

Pat Dooley - Staff Writer

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

GOOD: We may be here a while. Justin Shorter continues to be Florida’s best receiver and it was nice to see a big play by freshman receiver Marcus Burke. And the gators didn’t have a kicking snafu. Yay!

BAD: It has to be the defense. There were issues with players missing time because of the flu and losing Daquan Newkirk in the first quarter certainly did not help. But to get gashed by the same counterplay over and over again is weak coaching and lack of effort. To allow 316 first-half yards to a team that was near the bottom of the country in offense is just ridiculous.

UGLY: Emory Jones knew it was all him and it was made more difficult with the running game taken away. But even though he was finally allowed to throw some deep balls, he turned it over twice and once was devastating — the fumble where the ball was not tucked and resulted in a South Carolina touchdown.

David Rosenberg - Staff Writer

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

GOOD: There’s not much light that shines through when you’ve hit rock bottom, but true freshman Marcus Burke hauled in his first career reception on Saturday and it was a doozy. Emory Jones found him for 61 yards and Burke bumped past a few defenders to add a few extra. It’s about that point in the season where we start looking ahead, and Burke looks like he’ll be a valuable asset for the Gators over the next few years.

BAD: The defense. Oh, the defense. Even with the excuse of the flu affecting 20 to 30 Gators against South Carolina, the defense looked like it didn’t want to be on the field at times. Once again, Florida couldn’t figure out how to stop a mediocre running team from trampling over them. Remember in Week 2 when we thought the Gators’ defense had improved from last year?

UGLY: I’m not going to call Dan Mullen a bad coach. Every bit of evidence in his career other than this season says otherwise. But the effort put forward by his team in a must-win game has me thinking he’s lost the locker room. Maybe it was just a really bad flu going around, but I think it’s more likely that this team is demoralized by a down season and uninspired by their leader. The “I didn’t see the band” line is something you might hear from an inept coach on a tv show, not the sixth-highest paid guy in college football. Losing isn’t the worst thing in the world, but losing your pride might be. There’s not a lot of pride in being a Florida Gator fan right now.

[listicle id=60190]

[listicle id=60204]

Follow us @GatorsWire on Twitter and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Florida Gators news, notes and opinions.

1

1