Grading The Gators vs. UCF

The University of Florida Gators used a 27 point second quarter to put away
an undermanned a University of Central Florida Golden Knights’ team. The
final score of 42 – 0 understated how completely dominant the Gators were.
If this had been a prizefight, they would have stopped the game at half.

Florida was clearly the superior team as they rolled over 600 yards of offense, while allowing under 200 yards to the Golden Knights, as the Gators set the stage for their SEC opener next week against Tennessee.


IMPRESSIVE: Marcus Thomas, Tony Joiner, Chris Leak, just how many playmakers Florida have on offense, the downfield blocking of the receivers

SOLID: Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell and the receivers, offensive line, linebackers, the secondary, running backs, defensive line

NEED WORK: Penalties, special teams, and ball security


DEFENSIVE LINE: Senior defensive tackle Marcus Thomas announced his return from a one game suspension by recording two sacks to lead a defensive line, which limited UCF to just 21 rushing yards for the night. With defensive ends Jarvis Moss, Ray McDonald, and Derrick Harvey providing a solid pass rush from the outside, the UCF quarterback had no place to go but forward into the waiting arms of Thomas. Meanwhile, Thomas, Joe Cohen, and Steve Harris, also returning from a one game suspension were like immovable objects clogging up the middle against the run. GRADE A

LINEBACKERS: The linebacking starters of Brandon Siler, Earl Everett, and Brian Crum didn ’t get a whole lot of work on Saturday, mainly because by the time any of them got to the seen of the action, the action was over. Thanks to the solid play of the other defensive units there just weren’t’t many opportunities to make a play for the starters. If fact, backups Dustin Doe, Ryan Stamper, and Brandon Spike had only one less tackle than the starters. GRADE B+

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Tony Joiner led a defensive secondary that allowed just 137 yards passing on the night. About 50 of those yards came on UCF’s first possession and another 50 came late in the fourth quarter against the backups, in between UCF got zip, nada, nothing. Joiner also recorded a safety while leading the Gators in tackles with 5. When not called upon to do their imitation of a blanket, the secondary was providing quarterback pressure from the safety or cornerback blitz. GRADE A

OFFENSIVE LINE: Not sure, if it was the quality of the opponent or the offensive line improved, but the results were better. The offensive line was able to open enough holes for the running game to rush for 210 yards, while allowing zero sacks. In fact, Florida quarterbacks had plenty of time to find open receivers; the offensive line didn’t even allow a quarterback hurry. The only real negative was an illegal block, which called back a 58-yard Percy Harvin run. GRADE B+

RECEIVERS: The Gators displayed the strength of their team as 10 different receivers caught 24 passes for 421 yards and 4 touchdowns (Dallas Baker, Percy Harvin, Andre Caldwell (2)), while rushing 6 times for 39 yards. No receiver had more than 4 catches (Baker, Harvin, Caldwell) or over a hundred yards. Harvin had the play of the day, a 6-yard completion, Harvin turned into a 58-yard touchdown thanks to some key downfield blocks by his receiver brethren. The receivers were most impressive in there blocking, throwing key downfield blocks throughout the contest. Except for a fumble and drop by Harvin and a couple of drops by Caldwell the receivers were all but perfect. GRADE A

RUNNING BACKS: The running backs had only 18 carries between them and DeShawn Wynn carried nine of those. Wynn ran hard and strong to collect 51 yards and a touchdown and did nothing change his status as Florida’s number one tailback. Kestahn Moore had 3 rushes, two of which produced zero yards, but the third was a nice 28-yard touchdown jaunt. Marcus Manson and true freshman Mon Williams got some carries in mop-up duty but nothing to write home about. GRADE B

QUARTERBACK: Chris Leak had one his finest days as the quarterback and demonstrated why he is Florida number one quarterback. Leak had complete command of the offense throwing for 352 yards, a career single game record, Leak would have had over 400 had his receivers not dropped some passes, and four touchdowns with just one interception. Leak even showed some running skills rushing for 16 yards on several designed plays and not sliding once. Tim Tebow got plenty of work on Saturday, showing many why he is the quarterback of the future and reminding the rest why he is still only a freshman. Tebow entered the game in the second quarter with the first line unit and immediately drove the Gators 77-yards for a touchdown, which was highlighted by 3 Tebow carries including a nice 29-yard gallop. Tebow finished the game with 9 rushes and led all Gators runners with 61 yards. Tebow also completed 6 passes for 81 yards. Unfortunately, Tebow also suffered an interception, fumbled once, and looked a little unsure in several situations. GRADE Leak A+, Tebow B

KICKING/SPECIALTY: The good news is true freshman Brandon James looked pretty solid as a kick returner and the coverage teams were adequate. The bad news is the Gators missed two extra points and the punt return teams couldn’t keep the gunners off the returners. Punter Eric Wilbur averaged 42 yards on just two punts. GRADE C

COACHING: If offensive coordinator Dan Mullen’s game plan was to spread the ball around amongst his playmakers on his team, consider it mission accomplished. Florida’s offense produced 637 yards of offense, scored 40 points, and pretty much let every potential playmaker touch the ball at least once. Defensive coordinators Charlie Strong and Greg Mattison created an impenetrable defense which allowed UCF just 71 yards in the first half, 132 yards for the game, allowed the Golden Knights to convert only 3 of 16 third down attempts, all three were on the first series. The Golden Knights went 3 and out five consecutive times to end the first half. Urban Meyer’s special teams need work, particularly the extra point exchange between center and holder. Punt returns need and upgrade as well. GRADE Offensive A Defensive A Special Teams C.

FANS: The fans were ready to see improvement over the previous week and responded early with a solid performance, contributing to a couple of false start penalties by UCF. Unfortunately, when the Gators broke open the game in the second quarter the fans lost interest and some even headed for home. GRADE B-

FINAL THOUGHTS: Marcus Thomas makes a huge difference on defense. Percy Harvin may have the best combination of moves and speed since a guy named Wes Chandler played at Florida. Chris Leak is a whole lot better than Tim Tebow. The future at quarterback looks very exciting. I like the way we tended to business on Saturday, now it is time to go play in the SEC, bring on the Vols. OVERALL GRADE: A-

Randy Platt

The Armchair Quarterback

Later GATORS, after while the rest!