Grading The Gators vs. UK

The Florida Gators outscored The Kentucky Wildcats 45 – 37 on Saturday in Lexington, KY. The Gators got just enough defense in the first half to build a 21 – 19 lead, then matched scores in the second half to hang on for the victory. Florida’s victory along with a loss by Tennessee to Alabama on Saturday gives the Gators control on their own destiny in the race for the SEC East divisional title. Victories the next three weeks against Georgia, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina will give the Gators their second consecutive SEC Eastern division title.


IMPRESSIVE: Tim Tebow, Brandon James, Dan Mullen, the defensive line

SOLID: The receivers, the offensive line, running backs, linebackers

NEED WORK: The secondary, fourth down defense


DEFENSIVE LINE: Derrick Harvey and Jermaine Cunningham lead a pretty impressive performance by the defensive line.  Holding the Wildcats to just 97 yards rushing, the defensive line recorded 6 sacks.  Cunningham had 2 and a half sacks, Harvey 1 and a half sacks, while Javier Estopinan and Justin Trattou each had a sack.  True freshman defensive tackle Torrey Davis was effective filling in for an injured Clint McMillan. GRADE B+

LINEBACKERS: Florida’s linebackers spent most of the day chasing Wildcat receivers on underneath routes.  Brandon Spikes and Dustin Doe recorded plenty of tackles from their linebacker positions; most of the tackles coming after a 5 to 10 yard pass completion.  Seemed like the linebackers didn’t have their best day tackling after missing a few too many tackles, especially in the first half. GRADE C

DEFENSIVE BACKS: True freshman Joe Hayden lead all tacklers with 13 tackles because he refused to allow the Wildcats receivers to get behind him, of course, having to make 13 tackles also means that the Kentucky offense was continually picking on Hayden.  At least Hayden could make the tackle, redshirt freshman Jacques Rickerson didn’t fair so well as he was beat deep several times in coverage.  Safeties Tony Joiner and Dorian Munroe made a lot of tackles after catches as Florida secondary was torched for 415 yards and 5 touchdowns. GRADE D

OFFENSIVE LINE: The offensive line did a solid job as the Gators rushed for 171 yards while allowing just one sack.  Not sure, but don’t think the offensive line was called for a penalty all night. GRADE A

RECEIVERS: If it weren’t for some drops, the receivers would have had a very impressive outing.  Andre Caldwell, Percy Harvin, Louis Murphy and Cornelius Ingram all contributed as the receivers record 233 yards receiving with Caldwell, Murphy and Ingram catching touchdowns.  Harvin, Caldwell contributed 66 yards on the ground with Harvin scoring on a 24-yard scoring scamper. Freshman tight end Aaron Hernandez recorded his first touchdown reception on a 1-yard jump pass from Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. GRADE B+

RUNNING BACKS: The story for the running backs was Eric Rutledge’s blocking which was pretty impressive.  Otherwise the running backs didn’t get many touches. Kestahn Moore had 6 carries, Jared Fayson had 3 carries, Moore had 2 catches and James Brandon had one catch.  Total yards for the running backs both running and receiving, 48.  Moore and Fayson each dropped a pass. GRADE B

QUARTERBACK: Tim Tebow played per haps his best game as a Gator to date.  Tebow’s passing numbers would have been even better than the 18 for 26, 256 yards, 4 touchdowns he posted had his receivers not dropped several passes.  Tebow’s 76 yards rushing made the play action very effective as Tebow hit Louis Murphy on a 66-yard bomb off the play action as well as the aforementioned jump pass to tight-end Aaron Hernandez.  Tebow’s fourth quarter touchdown marked the eighth consecutive game Tebow has recorded a rushing touchdown. A couple of missed reads of the option series was about all that can be quibbles about. GRADE A

KICKING/SPECIALTY: Brandon James was very impressive in the return game.  Two of James’s returns gave the Gators excellent field position that provided the catalysis for two of Florida’s touchdowns.  Punter Chas Henry had one of his best days punting 3 times for a 45.7-yard average.  The Gators allowed their first and second punt returns for the year, the first was for 9 yards the second for 5 yards. GRADE A

COACHING: Offensive Coordinator Dan Mullen made use of all his weapons, which kept Kentucky off balance throughout the day.  The highlight came with the Gators protecting a seven-point lead late in the fourth quarter.  Off the play action, Tebow hit Harvin for a 49-yard completion to the Wildcat 2-yard line to setup Florida’s final score.  Co-defensive coordinators Charlie Strong and Greg Mattson used just about everything in the book in an effort to stop the Kentucky offense.  Zone coverage, man-to man coverage, linebacker blitzes, safety blitzes, corner blitzes didn’t make any difference, as the Gators were ineffective at stopping the Wildcats.  Special teams did their part in securing the Gator victory. GRADE Offense A, Defense C, Special Teams A

FANS: Television game GRADE I


A healthy Andre Caldwell sure seems to make the offense better.  Knew there would be a game in which the offense had to outscore the opponent to win. Torrey Davis is going to be a force at defensive tackle.  Jermaine Cunningham has made the loss of Jarvis Moss a non-factor.  Time for the annual trip to play the mangy mutts in Jacksonville, somebody explain to the youngsters why us old farts hate Georgia so much. OVERALL GRADE B

Randy Platt

The Armchair Quarterback

Later GATORS, after while the rest!