Chris Leak etched his name into Florida/Georgia History with his 66 yard drive for the winning field goal but what about the others? We already mentioned Eric Wilbur, so how about the 15 tackles produced by Channing Crowder, then there's the two receptions for 56 yards by Dallas Baker and the 44 yards rushing by Deshawn Wynn. The impact of the Gator youth will be felt for many seasons to come in this rivalry.
Snippetts and Tidbits:
The move of Keiwan Ratliff to wide receiver in the spring has helped him become a better cornerback. First the biggest knock on Ratliff was that he wasn't physical enough. At wide receiver in the spring, he took a lot of shots over the middle and that has toughened him. His summer workout schedule that included morning workouts with the offense and afternoon with the defense has helped his football IQ and he is an All-American candidate. He understands the game and new coordinator Charlie Strong has allowed him to use that knowledge and take chances. Ratliff has what every corner longs for, confidence.
Chris Leak has only thrown one interception in his last 87 attempts. He is still not seeing everything but he's becoming very efficient. Leak has a great calm about him and as he watches "himself" on film and learns from his own mistakes he will get better and better. The Gator offensive line did not create many running holes but they did protect Chris Leak and gave up only one sack. When the Gators needed protection on the final series and they delivered in the clutch. The Gator offense managed 324 yards of offense while Georgia, who was the number one defense coming in giving up only 243 yards. The offense continues to struggle to get touchdowns in the redzone and was very conservative on the play calling with the game 10-3. Fans would like to see the Gators be more aggressive in that situation and certainly a touchdown would have really been a blow to the Bulldogs. The reason UF took a conservative approach was the fact that Georgia was very good defensively in the redzone. Up until the game Saturday only 14 trips were even made by Dog opponents. Only five had scored points (2 TDs, 3 FGg's) and the Dogs had created five turnovers. The Gators wanted to make sure it got points and it did and they were victorious.
Darrell Lee did a good job stepping up without Bobby McCray with 3 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also sacked Greene and caused a fumble that did not get called late in a miss by the officials. Speaking of defense, the Gators will not statistically be ranked ahead of many teams in the SEC but the stats that matter most to Charlie Strong is points against (17.4) and turnovers caused (24). The Gator defense is very good in the middle part of football games holding opponents to an average of 6.5 points during those two quarters.
Speaking of numbers the Gator offense is averaging 9 points per game in the fourth quarter. Kudos to Matt Leach, who was named SEC Player of the Week for his performance. He was widely criticized last season and held tough and has reaped the benefits.
Jarvis Moss and David Kenner appear to be headed for redshirts due to injuries occurred earlier in the season. Johnny Dingle who would have been in the two deep rotation at defensive end continues to work locally and try to get himself eligible for spring practice.
Recruiting: Of course this is not my area of expertise but my old high school in Jacksonville has one of the best safety prospects in the country in Kyle Jackson at Fletcher. With Guss Scott and Daryl Dixon leaving my sources say it is a good bet that Mr.Jackson could follow me and C-4 to Gainesville.
Scouting Report: Vanderbilt 1-8 (0-5)
The Commodores are a running team led by tailback Kwone Doster, who was the freshman of the year last season. He has 351 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jay Cutler returns at quarterback and in his last game he was 27-35 for 319 yards and 3 TDs. Most teams like to run the ball on the smallish defense for the Commodores. Vandy's best defensive lineman is Jovan Haye, who has six sacks. Vandy sacked Georgia QB David Greene six times and played the Dogs very tough in Nashville. The Gators lead the series 25-9-2 and barely won last year 21-17. It is Homecoming for UF, which is 56-20-1 in these games.
Much is being made of the possible three-way tie in the East. Tennessee's remaining opponents are 2-12 in the conference. The Vols are 19-0 in November since 1995. Georgia has a week off until a game with Auburn that could still be very important for the Tigers. The key will be the moral of the Dog team following the Gator game. The next game after Vandy is the South Carolina game and it's at 12:30 in Columbia. The Gators must root for Georgia to win out in the conference and they play that afternoon at 3:30 versus Auburn. The tiebreaker may come down to these three games for the East race. Tennessee at Miami this weekend and FSU at Florida and Georgia at Georgia Tech. How ironic is the FSU game could decide the Gator fate in the SEC and the Noles fate in the BCS title game.
Stat of the Week: 5
That's the schedule strength ranking of Florida in this week's BCS Standings.