Unless Bowling Green has a much better football team than I think it does, this will be another dreary season for the Gators. The current forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of rain – as in tears falling from the eyes of Gator fans.
Other than the fact the Gators won their season opener, 27-14, and showed a solid running game, there wasn’t much to cheer about for Florida fans.
The passing game was lousy even though Bowling Green dared the Gators to pass by playing an 8-man front. Quarterback Jeff Driskel missed open receivers, who had trouble getting open. The defense had tackling problems, particularly in the secondary.
The team looked unprepared, confused and nervous. The Gators were flagged for 14 penalties, and that reflects badly on Coach Will Muschamp and his staff.
If Bowling Green had a competent placekicker and hadn’t had several dropped passes . . . well, you get the picture.
Perhaps nothing illustrates the Gators’ problems more than the quarterback situation. While I’m not one who argues that the two-quarterback system is doomed to fail, it seems obvious that Muschamp’s dilemma is a lack of confidence in both quarterbacks, Driskel and Jacoby Brissett. Even against what should be an outmanned opponent and against a defense geared to stop the run, Muschamp chose to pass the ball only 21 times.
Unless Driskel shows considerable improvement you have to expect Muschamp to give him the hook and go with Brissett. It isn’t a pretty situation.
To add to the Gators’ woes is the fact there were thousands of empty seats. You can argue Bowling Green isn’t a big draw, but it was the season opener. There was a time in the recent past when all the Gators had to do was suit up and The Swamp would be packed with 90,000-plus fans. Until the Gators start playing a lot better, you can expect less than sellout crowds except for Florida’s biggest games. And there aren’t many of those on this year’s home schedule, which consists of Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina, Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State. For the record, the Gators’ ticket office is open and looking for business.
Up next: a trip to Texas A&M, which I’m betting is a better team than Bowling Green. The forecast could get worse before it gets better.