After an impressive performance against Ole Miss, Florida comes into Missouri rolling, led by the impressive Will Grier and a tough defense. Can a Missouri offense that looked improved against South Carolina move the ball against a D that shut down Ole Miss? There’s not a ton of holes in the Gator defense, but here are a couple things that Mizzou has done this year that should be able to move the ball.
Florida vs the Run-Screen combo
Something Mizzou had success with early on in Drew Lock’s appearances was combining run plays with screen passes on the backside. When Florida’s cornerbacks are playing soft coverage, this can be a good way to pick up easy yards with a safe play on the edges.
If the run game can build on the improvements it made against South Carolina, this could be a crucial part of the offense, assuming Lock makes the correct reads. If the edge defender goes to defend the run, Lock should pull and throw the ball. Eventually, the edge defender will start focusing on the screen, potentially opening up bigger running lanes for Hansbrough, Witter, or (hopefully) Hunt.
Take advantage of the TE
Florida defending the TE
While starter Sean Culkin may be out, Jason Reese has shown flashes of being a solid receiving option, out of both a classic tight end position and H-back. With good size and athleticism, there’s the potential for a mismatch over the middle.
With an upgrade in the accuracy of underneath throws, I expect Reese and Clayton Echard to be important parts of the offense against the Gators.
With Lock’s better-than-expected running ability and seemingly consistent reads, the zone read could potentially be an option in the offense for the first time since James Franklin manned the QB position. While you don’t want to expose a young quarterback to too many hits, an offense needs to run anything that can be successful against a team the quality of Florida.
After an impressive first week as a starter, Drew Lock should feel more comfortable leading an offense. But Florida’s defense will be a tougher challenge than that of the Gamecocks. With a good gameplan and smart decision-making, Lock should be able to lead the Tigers down the field, and hopefully score enough points to come away with a win.