FOOTBALL: Swamped in a sea of disappointment

"We will find out what we are made of," Coach Ron Zook said. "We got a big game next week and we will find out what we are made of." This statement came fresh from the field that Zook stood on following a 38-31 loss to the formerly 1-5 Bulldogs. Read that last sentence again.

The Gators entered Saturday afternoon's game with hope, but what was left out in Mississippi was frustration. It's not hard to assess where this UF team is at, because everyone has already seen what they are made of. Facing an opponent that isn't even good enough to be deemed worthy of the phrase "trap game," the defense couldn't figure out arguably one of the worst offenses in the Southeastern Conference.

Run left, run right or run right up the middle, the mediocre Bulldogs offense dominated the Gator front seven that was so highly touted preseason.

"I'm at a loss at what's happening to us on defense," Zook said. "I felt like we were making progress, but that was ugly today."

For the football team to not trounce the doormat of the SEC West is ugly, but when you lose in such a helpless way can't be typed in words that kids may read.

The bright spots were few on Black Saturday. Channing Crowder had a great game showing he actually knew how to tackle and read a running game, something the rest of the line-backing core failed to do. Chad Jackson had 2 TD's, but managed to install disappointment with his punt return incompetence. How about Dee Webb returning punts? Anyone opposed? Fason was great, but he should have had the ball even more.

It is too late for the closed-door meetings led by senior leaders. Georgia, Vanderbilt, South Carolina and FSU all lie on the horizon and every team there is light years ahead of where Mississippi State is.

Will an orange and blue clad riot at 50-yard line of Florida Field calling for Zook's head solve anything? The answer of course is No. The goal was set at the beginning of the year of a trip to Atlanta on December 4th. The problem doesn't lie in the fact that it wasn't achieved, but rather how thousands of Gator alumni, fans and students are sitting on their couches on October 23rd well aware that this team is on the decline.

Potential has yielded results for the wide receivers I wrote earlier this year, but the defense has been an absolute debacle. The talent is there with Jeremy Mincey, Marcus Thomas and Dee Webb coming into their own. Couple that with monsters like Channing Crowder and Ray Macdonald and you have a solid defensive foundation. The staff has failed to produce the results and unfortunately for Gator fans and players, it IS to late to find out what this team is made of.

Sunshine Network Broadcast contributed to this article.


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