Grading The Gators vs. AU

The Florida Gators were once again reminded how tough playing in the SEC really is when they dropped a 20 – 17 decision Saturday night in the SWAMP. The Gators made too many mistakes against a determined Auburn Tiger football team that played significantly better than their pre-game record of 2 – 2 would indicate. Florida, on the other hand, will be second-guessing itself over many different areas where the Gators could’ve, should’ve, or would’ve made a difference.


IMPRESSIVE: The Fans, Derrick Harvey, Linebackers

SOLID: Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Major Wright, receivers, defensive line

NEED WORK: Secondary, Offensive line, Special teams, Running backs, offensive play calling, penalties


DEFENSIVE LINE: Derrick Harvey had a huge game, recording 6 tackles including 2 sacks, as the defensive line turned its’ best performance to date this season. Javier Estopinan and Jermaine Cunningham also played pretty well as the Gators collectively recorded a total of 4 sacks while allowing just 99 yards rushing. GRADE B

LINEBACKERS: Brandon Spikes, Dustin Doe, A J Jones and Ryan Stamper were everywhere. The linebackers collective had 25 tackles including 5 tackles for losses. The linebackers also got in to pass coverage better than any previous game as reaction to the play action pass looked significantly better. GRADE B

DEFENSIVE BACKS: As with any young secondary there were some good plays and there were some bad plays, unfortunately there just wasn’t enough of the good plays. Safeties Major Wright and Tony Joiner had solid nights recording 7 tackles each and Wright’s fourth quarter tackle forced a fumble, which Florida converted into a touchdown. Cornerback Joe Hayden had a nice two play series in which he batted down a pass on the corner blitz and defended a pass on the next play. Unfortunately, particularly in the first half the cornerbacks seemed to play too soft in the zone defense allowing Auburn to move the ball effectively with the pass. GRADE C

OFFENSIVE LINE: Florida’s offensive line, considered one of the strength of the team and the one unit with significant experience, was ineffective on the run block against Auburn’s defensive line. Despite not allowing a sack, Florida was stymied in the running game, as Auburn got penetration into the Florida backfield on several occasions especially in the first half. GRADE D

RECEIVERS: Percy Harvin had his obligatory 100 yards receiving and a spectacular catch to set up Florida’s tying score. Cornelius Ingram had a touchdown reception, as Florida’s receivers were solid throughout the night. Harvin didn’t help matters when he took a six yard loss on the first play on Florida’s final possession. Credit Auburn’s tackling in the open field, as Florida’s playmaking wide receivers could not generate much in the way of yards after catch. GRADE B-

RUNNING BACKS: How do you grade a position that had 3 carries for seven yards? I don’t know either. GRADE I

QUARTERBACK: Quarterback Tim Tebow got his first real taste of playing quarterback against a first rate SEC defense. Despite having a solid statistical night, Tebow struggled in the first half. Tebow seemed to lock in on Harvin preventing him finding other receivers. Auburn clearly very conscious of Tebow’s running ability, hammer the quarterback on every carry limiting Tebow’s effectiveness a runner. GRADE C

KICKING/SPECIALTY: It was not special teams night. A running in to the kicker penalty, kept alive Auburn’s first scoring drive, after the Gator defense had produced a three and out was a huge early momentum swing. A missed field goal didn’t help momentum either. Another penalty thwarted a successful fake punt attempt. A shanked punt allowed Auburn great field position on their game winning drive to end the game. GRADE D

COACHING: Offensive coordinator Dan Mullen didn’t have his best day, but I guess it was better than Friday when he had an emergency appendectomy. Mullen was unable to find effective adjustments to get the offense moving in the first half when it was apparent that Auburn was keying on Tebow and Harvin. Why Kestahn Moore wasn’t used in the running game and some curious play calling on Florida’s last possession will require some explanation. Co-defensive coordinators Charlie Strong and Chris Mattison used variety of zone packages and relied on their front four to provide most of the pressure, in the first half. Once, Auburn exploited the zones with two long and time consuming first half scoring drives, Strong and Mattison relied on more blitzes and man to man coverages in the second half to slow down Auburn, for the most part it was successful. Coach Meyer’s special team units weren’t very special for reasons that are a mystery. GRADE Offense C, Defense C+, Special Teams D

FANS: Well at least somebody showed up with their A game. GRADE A+


On a positive note was the fact that the team did not quit and rallied to tie the score in the fourth quarter. This is the SEC where the margin for error is very slim. Hopefully, Auburn taught this young Gator team a valuable lesson, if you execute sound fundamental football with a solid game plan, any team can win in this league. The Gators will be well served to remember this lesson when they travel to Baton Rouge on Saturday OVERALL GRADE: C

Randy Platt

The Armchair Quarterback

Later GATORS, after while the rest!