The consensus is that Chris Leak played a great game. He did perform very well for a freshman. He can still play better, which is exciting for Gator fans. Leak played smarter by taking sacks and not throwing the ball up for grabs or in to double coverage. He really only made one throw that should have been intercepted. He also missed a couple of throws, mostly to Ben Troupe that he will make when he is on. Finally, he went the wrong way a couple of times and UF still won the game. Leak has shown the ability to get better but the growth that he made from the Ole Miss game was his "value of the football". By hanging on to the ball in difficult situations he did not allow the Tigers to get any momentum at home.
Offensively Ciatrick Fason stepped up late in the game to rush for 92 yards. Fason, out of Jacksonville, was really questioning his standing with the team the prior week. When given the opportunity on Saturday he stepped up and may get the start Saturday in Fayetteville. O.J. Small also had a big day with seven receptions. Small's biggest asset is that he plays faster than he is and runs precise routes. The defensive front UF faced last Saturday is much better than Arkansas and the offensive line responded even without Max Starks. The Gators will continue to use some packages with Leak under center to establish the run game and the play action this week.
Defensively, the input of Channing Crowder to the front seven solidifies the Gator attack. But the front four is progressing, especially the defensive tackles which really played their gap assignments well. This is important because it allows the linebackers to make there reads quicker and more effectively. Crowder is probably the biggest "Zook-Guy" on this team and with Crowder playing good things happen. Look at the Kentucky game winning interception and the first half against Miami. He's a warrior and will really be up against it this week with the Razorback ground game. Arkansas will be a tough team to man up this week because of some elements of option in their running game. One thing UF did a better job last week was playing zone coverage especially the underneath guys led by Crowder.
The Razorbacks are 31-6 at home since 1998, which is the best record in the SEC. Both Arkansas and Florida were picked third in their respective divisions by the media at the SEC gathering in Birmingham. Last week Auburn held Cedric Cobbs below 100 yards for the first time this season. One thing Arkansas is good at is field position because they have been solid on defense and good in the special teams area they have the best starting field position in the conference at the 36 yard line. This is the fourth top 12 opponent the Gators have faced this season and the record for ranked teams played in a season is six. That was by the 1987 and 1991 teams.
The Gators are coming off their best time of possession game of the season by holding the ball for 30:20 vs LSU. Chris Leak did a nice job of clock management down the stretch milking the clock. The Gators continue to have success running the ball on 1st down with 118 yards at 6.2 per carry last week. The key will be Arkansas running game, which was contained last week by Auburn's talented defense. This year the Razorbacks have gone over the 200-yard mark three times. For those who follow half-time adjustments, Houston Nutt is 6-19 when trailing at the break. That being noted he has 43 wins the most of any school in the West during his tenure. Cedric Cobbs is a big play threat when he runs the football. He has six runs of 20 yards or more and had a 69-yarder called back last week due to a holding penalty.
Arkansas is 4-1 and 1-1 in the SEC they have big wins over Texas and Alabama on the road. Their team is led by an athletic quarterback in Matt Jones, who at 6'5", out ran the entire speedy Texas defense earlier in the season. Cedric Cobbs is having a huge senior season and offensive tackle Shawn Andrews is the best in the country. Defensively, there secondary is the fastest in the country and they are led by Tony Bua with 45 tackles. They are mostly a "I" Pro Style attack which uses some one back formation on offense. Defensively they are an eight-man front with the new 4-2-5 scheme which employs a weakside safety. The Hogs are 16-6 under Houston Nutt at Fayetteville.
Stat of the Week:
(3) The Gator defense has not allowed a touchdown in three of the seven games this season.