It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. The Florida Gators defeated the
University of Kentucky Wildcats 26 – 7 on Saturday night in the SWAMP and
before a national television audience. The Gators used a stellar second
half by the defense, while avoiding shooting themselves in the foot on time
to many times to put away a Wildcat team that made things interesting in the
Florida was clearly the better team, but made two many mistakes to turn the game into a rout.
IMPRESSIVE: The defensive line, Brandon Siler, Dallas Baker, Tony Joiner
SOLID: The quarterbacks, the receivers, the offensive line, running backs, the secondary
NEED WORK: One big thing, kicking extra points and field goals, and lots of little things like turnovers, penalties, and defending the short passing game.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Despite not having Marcus Thomas at defensive tackle, the defensive line completely dominated the Wildcats. Florida gave up just 39 rushing yards, while registering six sacks and 3 quarterback hurries. Defensive end Derrick Harvey got his first start of the season and had 2 sacks and one hurry, Ray McDonald slid over to defensive tackle to replace Thomas and had two sacks, while racking up 5 tackles. Defensive and Jarvis Moss and defensive tackle Clint McMillan each picked up a sack, with Moss recording 2 hurries and a tackle for loss. GRADE A+
LINEBACKERS: Despite having some trouble covering the short passing game, the linebackers acquitted themselves pretty well. Brandon Siler led all Florida tacklers with eight tackles. Siler also forced a fumble, had one tackle for loss, and a quarterback hurry. Earl Everett contributed 5 tackles, two of which were behind the line of scrimmage, and also had a hurry. Brian Crum contributed a nice play from his strong-side linebacker position and was solid if not special. GRADE B+
DEFENSIVE BACKS: In the first half only safety Tony Joiner looked ready to play. Joiner registered 7 tackles, all in the first half, as Florida gave up 159 passing yards to Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson. In the second half the defensive secondary found their game and clamped down on the Wildcat receivers as Woodson finished with just 210 yards passing. Woodson completed over 70% of his passes, none longer than 18 yards, as Florida’s secondary made sure work of the tackle. GRADE B
OFFENSIVE LINE: This group is getting better and better each week. The offensive line’s run blocking was pretty impressive all night. Florida ran for 239 yards and two touchdowns. Several times Gator running backs were into the secondary before they were even touched. Pass protection was adequate as the Gators gave up 3 sacks because they still have problems picking up the blitz. Clean up some false start penalties and the blitz protection and these guys may start to be a dominant force. GRADE B+
RECEIVERS: Dallas Baker set a career high for yardage in a game with 148 yards on 7 catches, many of the yards coming after the catch thanks to some fine downfield blocking from his receiver teammates, to lead the receiving corps. Jermalle Cornelius added 74 yards on 4 catches, which included a 33-yard touchdown catch. Cornelius Ingram had two receptions and a touchdown, while senior Kenneth Tookes contributed two receptions, both of which went for first downs. This group is so deep and versatile, that backup receiver Jarred Fayson took one snap from the quarterback position and rushed 10 yards for a first down. GRADE A
RUNNING BACKS: DeShawn Wynn showed no signs of relinquishing his hold on the starting tailback spot with a 14 carry, 104 yard, one touchdown performance on Saturday night. Wynn’s seems to have found his stride, using his unique combination of power and speed to average 7.4 yards a carry. Kestahn Moore added another 54 yards on 8 carries that included a 4-yard touchdown run. Billy Lasko was Johnny-on-the-spot to recover Wynn’s fumble in the third quarter to keep Florida’s touchdown drive alive. GRADE B
QUARTERBACK: Chris Leak became Florida’s all-time leader in pass attempts and completions, passing Shane Mathews. Leak suffered a couple of drops from his receivers, a couple ugly passes, and a inopportune pass interception in the endzone to post 15 completions on 26 attempts for 267 yards and 2 touchdowns. Leak looked superb leading the Gators on a 78 yard 1 minute 37 second touchdown drive with just 1 minute 59 seconds to go in the first half. Leak was 5 for 5 for 61-yards. Tim Tebow brought electricity to the stadium when he entered the game late in the third quarter. Tebow rushed three consecutive times, albeit one was a scramble, for 61 yards to setup Florida first and goal at the Kentucky six-yard line. Tebow finished with 73 yards on six carries and did complete one pass for 12-yards. GRADE A-
KICKING/SPECIALTY: Florida’s kicking woes continued as the Gators missed two extra points. The Gators decision to fake a field goal rather than attempt a 39-yard kick seemed odd. Several penalties on return teams didn’t help those units. Kick coverage was acceptable and punter Eric Wilbur averaged 52-yards on just 2 kicks. GRADE C-
COACHING: Offensive Coordinator Dan Mullen showed a couple of wrinkles, the double reverse pass, Tim Tebow passing Jarred Fason at quarterback, without showing much otherwise. Florida pretty much ran its’ base offense, and when it didn ’t shoot its’ self in the foot with penalties, turnovers, and poor execution, was more than a match for Wildcats defense. Offensively, Kentucky used Florida’s speed on defense against the Gators if the first half. Using a variety of screens, draws, and quick passes the Wildcats had some success in the first half. Once co-defensive coordinators Charlie Strong and Greg Mattson made the necessary adjustments the Wildcats offense was virtually shutdown in the second half. Confidence in the placekicking is becoming a real issue GRADE Offense B, Defense A, Head Coaching D
FANS: Surely, the fans were booing the decision to replace Tebow after leading the Gators down to the Kentucky six-yard line rather than quarterback Chris Leak. Just don’t understand booing in either case. GRADE C
Is Dallas Baker left-handed? Baker’s left-handed lateral to Chris Leak on Florida’s first touchdown play was a thing of beauty, nice adjustment by Baker. How about Jermalle Cornelius’s imitation of the “Maytag repairman” on the same play was pretty cool too! Florida’s defensive line is fast, strong, and deep, same thing could be said for the receiving corps. Did all the fans stay in Gainesville of Saturday night, it only took me 40 minutes to get from the stadium to the interstate after the game, where was all the traffic? 1/3 of the season has passed and the Gators are 4 – 0, the next four games over the next five weeks are as tough a stretch of football as anyone could imagine, time to find out just how good this team can be. OVERALL GRADE B
The Armchair Quarterback
Later GATORS, after while the rest!