It is Monday Morning and the Armchair Quarterback grades the Gators on their performance vs. University of Troy.
The University of Florida Gators played a near flawless first half to take a 49 – 7 halftime lead on Saturday at the Swamp. Unfortunately, they also played the second half, which included a fairly inept third quarter and made the final 59 –31 Gator victory seem much closer than it really was. Such is the nature of youthful teams which can’t always maintain focus for a full game.
IMPRESSIVE: Just about everything that happened in the first half
SOLID: See above and below.
NEEDS WORK: Just about everything that happened in the second half
DEFENSIVE LINE: Redshirt freshman Lawrence Marsh saw his first action of the year. Justin Trattou turned in the play of the day when tipped a pass and then made the interception in the second quarter. The Gators again used multiple combinations of defensive linemen. Still not enough pass rush up the middle. GRADE B-
LINEBACKERS: Brandon Spikes and Dustin Doe played well with each player record 9 tackles to lead the Gators. Sophomore Ryan Stamper saw extensive action and had some nice plays from his linebacker position (4 tackles), but was a little overeager when he committed a late hit out of bounds. Still needs work in pass coverage. GRADE B
DEFENSIVE BACKS: The first half looked vastly improved over last week while the second half looked a lot like last week. Communication problems and confusion causing coverage breakdowns, missed tackles, and youthful inexperience still prevails. The first half gives hope that unit is moving in right direction. Also, Junior safety John Curtis stood out. GRADE C
OFFENSIVE LINE: Offensive line played pretty well. 264 yards on the ground and 5 rushing touchdowns with just 2 sacks, one of which looked more of a coverage sack than an offensive line breakdown, and only a couple of penalties explains why this is one of the most consistent units. Freshman Maurkice Pouncey continues to look solid at left guard. GRADE B+
RECEIVERS: Percy Harvin, Jared Fayson, and Cornelius Ingram all had a touchdown catch and Andre Caldwell had a rushing touchdown. Ingram and Louis Murphy did most of the dirty work underneath the Trojans’ zone defense. Ingram had 7 catches for 105 yards, while Murphy caught 6 passes for 78 yards. Harvin added 56 yards on 4 carries to go along with 3 catches for 42 yards. Almost all of those stats were racked up in the first half. Florida’s inability to get open in the second half was perplexing GRADE A-
RUNNING BACKS: Florida has essentially only one real running back and his name is Kestahn Moore. Moore was solid running between the tackles, scoring two touchdowns and averaging over 5-yards per carry. Thus far, Moore seems vastly improved over prior seasons. GRADE A
QUARTERBACK: Whether passing the football (25 attempts, 18 completions, 236 yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions) or running the football (17 carries, 93 yards, 2 touchdowns), Florida quarterback Tim Tebow can do it all. Once Tebow learns to manage the game better and find his receivers more consistently, both of which seemed to be issues in the second quarter of Saturday’s game, he will become something really special. Tebow’s ability to rally the team as he did in the 4th quarter of the Troy game when he led Florida’s final touchdown drive cannot be underestimated. GRADE A-
KICKING/SPECIALTY: The return of Sophomore Brandon James from a one game suspension sparked a return game that produced 244 return yards of which 158 was produced by James himself. Two blocked punts and a solid kicking game from place kicker Joey Ijjas—he made all his kicks including his first career field goal. After James left with an injury in the third quarter return teams suffered. GRADE With James A+ Without James B+
COACHING: Offensive coordinator Dan Mullen’s continued to spread the ball around, taking advantage of weaknesses in the Troy defenses without really showing too much, as 6 different players scored in the first half. Florida’s sluggish start to start the third quarter, an apparent holdover problem from last year, needs correcting. Defensive coordinators Charlie Strong and Greg Mattison continued to protect their young and inexperienced defense by playing zone almost exclusively. Urban Meyer’s special teams were dominant until Brandon James went down with an injury. GRADE Offensive B+ Defensive B Special Teams A
FANS: The fans worked out the opening game blues from last week and begin in earnest to get ready for next weeks UT game. Nice job! GRADE A-
Brandon James makes the return game electric—here is hoping his injury is not severe. Penalties are still a problem, another apparent holdover from last year. Troy was a lot better than Western Kentucky. This offense could be scary good. The defense could be just scary. No more tune-ups—now is the time for the real thing. Bring on Tennessee! Now things get interesting. OVERALL GRADE: B+
Randy Platt The Armchair Quarterback Later GATORS, after while the rest!