Grading The Gators vs. LSU

The Florida Gators found out how far they have come and how far they have to go after dropping a 28 – 24 decision to the LSU Tigers on Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Florida found out it can go on the road to a hostile environment and stand toe to toe with a national title contender. It also found out that it takes an almost perfect performance to win, two turnovers and allowing a perfect 5 for 5 fourth down conversions percentage are not indicative of a near flawless performance.


IMPRESSIVE: Tim Tebow, Joe Haden, Derrick Harvey, Jermaine Cunningham, Jim Tartt and the offensive line

SOLID: Linebackers, receivers, special teams, secondary, running backs

NEED WORK: Stopping the run, 4th down defense, finishing the game


DEFENSIVE LINE: Despite monster performances by defensive ends Jermaine Cunningham and Derrick Harvey and decent play from the defensive tackles, the Gators couldn ’t stop the run, giving up 247 yards on the ground.  Especially disheartening were the Tigers 4 fourth down conversions in which LSU simply out-muscled the Gators along the line of scrimmage. GRADE C

LINEBACKERS: With the linebackers determined to stop the run, LSU was able to exploit the slants patterns off play action.  Brandon Spikes, Dustin Doe, Ryan Stamper, and A J Jones racked up plenty of tackles but couldn’t stop the LSU offense when it mattered most. GRADE C+

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Cornerback Joe Haden recorded his first interception to lead a Gator secondary that played perhaps its’ best game of the season.  In an effort to avoid the big play Florida’s secondary kept the Tiger receivers in front of them all night.  Strong tackling limited the Tigers to just 144 yards through the air.  Safety Major Wright had a strong night in run support GRADE A-

OFFENSIVE LINE: Offensive guard Jim Tartt made LSU’s All-American defensive tackle Glen Dorsey a non-factor.  One week after a sub-par performance against Auburn the offensive line was outstanding against, arguably, one of the best defensive fronts in the country.  Florida was able to run effectively throughout the game, churning out 156 yards on the ground, while allowing just 2 sacks. GRADE A

RECEIVERS: Percy Harvin, Cornelius Ingram, Louis Murphy, and Andre Caldwell saw all the action for the receivers.  Ingram had a nice touchdown reception when he got loose behind the LSU defense.  Dropped passes plagued the Gator receivers early in the game, limiting the receiver’s effectiveness. GRADE C+

RUNNING BACKS: Kestahn Moore was on his way to a very good night, when things went wrong. Moore rushed for a 6.6 yard per carry average and had a sweet reception off a less than stellar throw to record Florida’s first touchdown. Unfortunately, his fumble to end the third quarter was a momentum changer. GRADE B

QUARTERBACK: Tim Tebow did all he could in leading the Gators.  Passing, running or just managing the offense, Tebow was impressive.  Tebow posted 158 yards passing and another 67 yards on the ground.  Tebow scored on a 9-yard scramble and threw two touchdowns passes against just one interception.  Passing numbers would have been higher had the receivers not suffered from the drops and his interception occurred when the ball ricocheted off Cornelius Ingram’s helmet into the arms of the LSU defender. GRADE A

KICKING/SPECIALTY: Special teams and the kicking game were fine, except for a successful fake field goal attempt that kept an LSU drive alive that eventually resulted in a Tiger touchdown.  The Gators still have not given up a punt return. GRADE B-

COACHING: Offensive coordinator Dan Mullen’s offense game plan had LSU off balance for three quarters.  Taking what the defense would give them Florida had three scoring drives in the first half of 10 plays or more. Co-defensive coordinators Greg Mattison and Charlie Strong stayed with their bend but don ’t break defensive scheme against LSU.  For the 3 quarters the plan looked good as Florida held LSU to just 14 points despite moving up and down the field.  Unfortunately, the first three quarters caught up to the Gators in the forth quarter, when Florida’s defense ran out of gas.  Coach Meyer should have had the special teams ready for a fake field goal attempt. GRADE Offense A, Defense B, Special Teams C+

FANS: I was not at the game, but television was kind to the Gators, the Gators came across well on television.  Death Valley is a tough place for opposing fans, I find it hard to believe the television, and so, I will go with the usual. GRADE I


Give credit to LSU, they proved why they are ranked #1 in the country, when they needed to make a play they made it.  There is no disgrace for loosing to a better team and LSU is the better team right now.  Florida is a very young football team, but they are a pretty good football team.  The Gator’s time is not now, but games like Saturday will be the foundation for the Gators’ time in the future.  Good time for a break to regroup for the second half of the season.  Talk with ya’ll in two weeks. OVERALL GRADE: B-

Randy Platt

The Armchair Quarterback

Later GATORS, after while the rest!