Each week, former Gator football player and now sports talk radio host Brady Ackerman will answer your questions about the Florida Gators. Whether it’s this week’s game or the game just played, no question is too hot for Brady to handle.
Brady: What did you think of the Gator offensive game plan and the job Dan Mullen did against the Vols?
First I thought UF had a bunch of real good offensive plays on Saturday night. The poise and composure of the offense on the last two scoring drives to get the win showed the confidence the players have in Mullen. First, I thought the way he got the young players involved early was a good and creative idea. I think the plan took a hit after the Percy Harvin injury but Mullen stuck to his guns and forced Wynn down the Vols’ throat and it paid off. The best thing Mullen did on Saturday night was calling the touchdown to Baker after they hit Cornelius earlier in the game on the same play. How many times have you left a game wondering why a team does not go back to a play that worked earlier? The sign of a good coordinator is making someone defend the play twice or until they stop it. Mullen did a good job and probably should have had a four touchdown night.
Ack: How did you think the defense did and are you concerned about the corners vs LSU and Auburn?
The defense only gave up one legitimate drive all night and that was in the third quarter to make it 17-7. UF flat out dominated the line of scrimmage and the only way Tennessee could move the ball was either on a trick play (for a touchdown) or in the quick passing game. I thought the corners played a bit timidly after seeing the size and the speed of the Vol receivers early in the game. Florida did not want to give up the big play and other than the drive and the crossing route to Swain they pretty much held the Vols down The run defense was as dominant as any I saw on Saturday in college football and it may have been the best game I have seen Earl Everett play in a Gator uniform.
Brady: How big is the road win for the Gators and can they possibly make a run at a National Title?
This was a big win because really Florida caught only one break the entire night and that was the late hit on Chris Leak which erased an interception for a touchdown. The Vols had every call go there way and most of them were terrible. That kind of stuff happens in Knoxville and it was starting to remind me of 1998 game for awhile — Florida dominated the game and left with a loss. But UF won and it will give them confidence when they go to Auburn in October. The key to a National Title is taking care of business at home. Urban Meyer has not lost at home and I think it’s possible that Florida could make a run or certainly be in the discussion if you are looking at 11-1 teams in December to play for the National Title.
Ack: How do you think Leak and Tebow played?
Chris was very solid on Saturday night but he did have three plays that he needs to correct in the next big game. First, the interception was a momentum killer and let Tennessee into the game. He made his mind up before the snap that he was going to throw the ball to Harvin and he should have made the read and thrown it away. Secondly, on third and 15 he cannot take a sack and force a long field goal. The coaches must remind him but he is a senior and should know that a field goal is a possibility. Finally the slide on third and six is something I think most people will remember about Chris. At a young age he must have watched so much football that he always reacts that way in a situation. I would be surprised if on third and six at Auburn if Leak doesn’t dive and get the first down but we will see. Overall he was very good, solid and got the win. Tebow did what was asked of him which is no surprise to me because I have always said he is a “move the chains guy” since UF signed him. He will need to expand his package as the season goes but give him credit on fourth and one.
Ack: Who was the unsung hero against Tennesee?
DeShawn Wynn had the first 100-yard game against Tennessee since Cadillac Williams did it back in 2004 (14 games). But give credit to the entire Gator offensive line. This young group did a great job run blocking and has only given up five sacks through three games as compared to 14 at this time last year. The Gators have outrushed 13 of 15 opponents under Urban Meyer, which is impressive considering the competition.
Brady: What are your early thoughts on the SEC and Kentucky?
Well, first up are the Wildcats whose offense under Randy Sanders looks much improved. Defensively they are still below average but if UF has an emotional let down it could be one of those Kentucky games that is not as easy as it should be. LSU and Auburn played the most exciting 7-3 game I have ever seen. Both teams are real good (like Florida) on defense but I think UF is better on offense than both teams with a healthy Percy Harvin. Georgia has a good young quarterback to go with a good defense and Alabama is sound on defense once again. The Gator schedule is still very tough with regards to defenses and personnel. I think the SEC is clearly the best conference in the country with the Big Ten behind them.
Check out College Kickoff this weekend on Sun Sports at 7 p.m. Friday. Go to http://www.sunsportstv.com for more information. Also you can catch my radio show on ESPN Radio Gainesville and Ocala Monday-Friday 7-10 a.m. (http://www.floridasporstalk.com).