Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Defensive adjustments help Florida Gators earn victory

End Dominique Easley grabs A&M’s Johnny Manziel, who had 182 yards of offense in the first half but 69 in the second.

Getty Images

End Dominique Easley grabs A&M’s Johnny Manziel, who had 182 yards of offense in the first half but 69 in the second.

College Station, Texas — Florida coach Will Muschamp wasn't pleased with the performance of his defense during the first half of Saturday's 20-17 win at Texas A&M.

They were trying too hard.

"It was all correctable," Muschamp said.

After allowing redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel to complete 16 of 20 passes for 141 yards and run for 41 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, the Gators' trailed 17-10.

Muschamp had one message for his team.

"Just do your job," he said.

Muschamp said the defense was too eager to make big plays in the backfield and was over-pursuing. That left the line of scrimmage undermanned, which resulted in gaping running lanes.

At halftime, he stressed to his players to stay at home.

"We have a very aggressive front, and (the Aggies) had a good plan coming in with a quarterback that has legs," Muschamp said. "So they were going to invite us around the field, and they were going to hit run creases with him.

"Finally, our guys at halftime, I told them, 'I'm firing you if you run up the field again. Sit on the line of scrimmage, squeeze blocks inside and quit running up the field. That's what they want you to do.' "

The result was a complete turnaround.

After giving up 269 yards on 46 plays, an average of 5.8, and 18 first downs in the first half, the Gators held the Aggies to just 65 yards on 23 plays, an average of 2.8, and three first downs (two during the final drive) in the second.

The adjustments paid off most on third down. In the first half, Texas A&M went 4-of-8. In the second: 0-for-6.

Entering the game, the Gators had no film of the Aggies, whose opener was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac. As a result, they did not know what to expect from Manziel, who made his first start.

"We figured out, 'Hey this guy can run. We've got to keep our rush lanes contained,' " Florida senior linebacker Jon Bostic said. "Muschamp said they recruited him at Texas to play safety.

"That's all we really knew about him."

Manziel accumulated just 69 yards of offense in the second half. And after a final stop by the defense, Florida's offense held onto the ball for the final 3:13.

"We want to go win it in the fourth quarter," Bostic said. "Give it back to the offense; let them grind the ball out."

Defensive adjustments help Florida Gators earn victory 09/08/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 8, 2012 10:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs safety Chris Conte became a father during Sunday's loss at Arizona

    Bucs

    Chris Conte attempts to tackle Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]
  2. Time to break out the Bucs fan's emergency kit?

    Bucs

    A fan in a throwback jersey waits for the start of a game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
  3. Lightning approaches decision time for Mikhail Sergachev

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev had dinner with his host family from juniors Monday.

    The Lightning has to decide, as early as this weekend whether Mikhail Sergachev will stick in the NHL or return to juniors for another season. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  4. Quarterbacks, head coach targeting Vernon Hargreaves; 'I'm not producing,' he says

    Bucs

    Eli Manning gathered his receivers together during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and informed them of the weakest link of the secondary he planned to target that afternoon.

    Quarterbacks this season have a 128.7 rating when targeting Vernon Hargreaves. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. J.T. Brown won't raise fist, but plans to do more in community

    Blogs

    Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer be raising his first as a silent protest during the national anthem.

    J.T. Brown plans to do more in the community to create awareness and understanding for key issues of police brutality and racial inequality.