Grading The Gators vs. UT

The Florida Gators served notice with a 59 – 20 victory over the University of Tennessee, that despite their youth, the Gators will be factor when deciding the SEC champion, if not the National Champion. Florida scored on offense, defense, and special teams in handing the Vols their worst defeat in 26 years and the worst at the hands of the Gators ever. Put simply, Florida was better than Tennessee in every facet of the game.


IMPRESSIVE: Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Brandon James, just about everybody on the defense, the offensive line, the rest of the receivers

SOLID: Running backs, coverage teams, punting, the number 2’s

NEED WORK: How to avoid the big head, playing on the road


DEFENSIVE LINE: Defensive tackles Javier Estopinan and Clint McMillan have been maligned for not getting much of a push up the middle and on Saturday they didn’t get much of a push either, but they didn’t give up any ground either. In holding their own in the middle Estopinan and McMillan blunted the feared Vol rushing attack. Along with defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Jermaine Cunningham, Florida’s defensive line help to hold Tennessee to just 37 yards rushing. Harvey and Cunningham didn’t record a sack, but each had a tackle for loss, Cunningham’s coming when he played his position on a reverse and tackled the runner for a yard loss. GRADE A

LINEBACKERS: Brandon Spikes was again a team leader in tackles, Dustin Doe again had the big play, and A J Jones played his best to date. Dustin Doe 18-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown was the game changing play of the day in the third quarter. Jerimy Finch picked up an interception in a reserve role, but maybe lost for the season with an injury sustained on the play. GRADE A

DEFENSIVE BACKS: What a difference three weeks make. Florida’s young secondary played like grizzled veterans in holding UT’s Erik Ainge to just 246 yards passing and allowing just one touchdown pass. Marklhe Anderson returned to lineup against the Vols and recorded the Gators first interception of the day to thwart a Tennessee drive at the Florida 11-yard line in the first quarter. Starting corners Joe Hayden and Wondy Pierre-Louis, along with reserve Jacques Rickerson played more man to man defense than in the first two games and despite giving up some completions were solid in tackling, with Hayden tying Spikes for team high honors. True freshman Major Wright is becoming a force at free safety. GRADE A

OFFENSIVE LINE: Despite replacing true freshman Maurkice Pouncey, with redshirt freshman Maurice Hurt, when Pouncey sustained an injury in the first quarter, Florida ’s offensive line allowed no sacks and totally dominated Tennessee’s defensive line in route to pounding out 255 yards rushing. What else could you ask for? GRADE A+

RECEIVERS: Percy Harvin continued to show why he is one of the best young players in America. Harvin caught 4 passes for 120 yards the highlight of which was a

49-yard finger tip grab to get Florida out of a hole in the third quarter. Harvin Later on the same drive Harvin had a highlight reel 18-yard touchdown run. Harvin finished with 9 carries for 75 yards and the one touchdown. Cornelius Ingram and Riley Cooper each hauled in a touchdown pass. GRADE A+

RUNNING BACKS: Kestahn Moore provided the bulk of what little assistance was needed from the running back position. Eric Rutledge continued his solid play as the blocking back. Otherwise the running back position wasn’t called upon to do too much on Saturday. GRADE A-

QUARTERBACK: Tim Tebow finally threw an interception, Tebow said it was his fault, Coach Meyer said it was the receivers fault, either way it was about the only thing that went wrong for Tebow in his first SEC start. Tebow threw for two touchdowns and ran for two touchdowns. Tebow accounted for 360 yards of total offense, 299 yards passing and 61 yards running. Cam Newton engineered a nice drive, capped by Newton’s 11-yard touchdown run, in a reserve roll. GRADE A

KICKING/SPECIALTY: Brandon James jumped started the scoring with an electrifying 83–yard punt return for a touchdown on his first attempt. James amassed 185 return yards on 8 returns. Kicker Joey Ijjas made all his kicks. Punting and coverage units were solid at best. GRADE A-

COACHING: Offensive coordinator Dan Mullen continues to spread the ball around, using eight different rushers and six different receivers. Mullen used a variety of plays to kept Tennessee off-balance in amassing 554 yards of total offense and 45 offensive points. Co-defensive coordinators Charlie Strong and Greg Mattison decided to mix the defense up a little more than in the first two games, with some blitzes and man-to-man coverage packages. Strong and Mattison had the secondary keep the receivers in front and relied on sure tackling to limit the yards after catch. Florida’s secondary came up Aces with their best tackling of the season so far. Coach Meyer’s special team units were once again key in setting the tone for the day GRADE Defense A, Offense A+, Special Teams A-

FANS: It appeared as if almost all of the Florida faithful got the memo from Coach Meyer wanting the fans to wear blue as the Swamp had a definitive blue hue. The fans were really loud too. GRADE A


Percy Harvin has moves that would make Wes Chandler blush. Brandon James makes kickoff and punt returns a must see event, he is electric. For all of you complaining about Florida’s 3rd quarter swoon of late, Tennessee had the ball for all of 27 seconds in the 3rd quarter on Saturday. This may not be Tennessee’s best team of recent years, but anytime you can lay a 39-point butt whooping on the Vols, you’ve done something. This team may turn out to be better than I first thought. OVERALL GRADE: A+

Randy Platt

The Armchair Quarterback

Later GATORS, after while the rest!