Today the University of Florida held the annual spring Orange and Blue game, and for the most part it was an entertaining affair as fans got to see what changes the new coaching staff has implemented. It was a beautiful day in Gainesville, sunny and warm for the spring game with a record breaking attendance of 39,500 people.
Everything today was like a dress rehersal for the fall. From warm ups to the National Anthem, a gameday flavor was definitely present. The usual "Swamp" video was played and Jim Finch's trade mark "Here come the Gators" was still there, though sadly in a recording. But his voice will always be around. New announcer Jack O'Brien was good, but it still felt strange to not hear Finch's unique style.
Onto The Game
The Orange opened up on offense with Rex Grossman under center. There were no major shakeups in the usual starters from the spring except at WR, where the top 3 was Taylor Jacobs, O.J. Small and Kelvin Kight. That may change in the fall due to a poor day by Kight and a very strong day from Blue WR Reggie Vickers. Marquis Westbrook intercepted Grossman down the sideline on an underthrown ball to end the drive and give the Blue it's first shot on offense.
Blue took advantage and marched down the field, with the highlight play being a 50 yard catch and run by Reggie Vickers, 40 of it on the ground as he weaved his way down the sideline. He had a very strong day and should be a factor in the fall. The Orange defense stiffened and held the Blue to a 28 yard Jeff Whitaker field goal.
The Orange would return fire and score 2 TD's in the 2nd quarter for a 14-3 lead. The first was a 5 yard Earnest Graham run and the 2nd was a 6 yard TD pass from Grossman to Matt Jackson with 4 seconds remaining in the half.
After half time awards were handed out, and some players switched sides.
The Blue pulled back in the game in the 3rd with a 5 yard Ralph Townsend run.
The orange added 2 Matt Leach field goals to ice the game 20-10 in the 4th.
-CB Keiwan Ratliff saw time at WR today, catching one pass for 21 yards.
-Kelvin Kight had a poor day. He did have a few nice catches but twice Rex Grossman evaded pressure and threw it to Kight, who both times had the ball hit him in the hands and then dropping it.
-Reggie Vickers had a great day, leading all WR's with 3 catches for 77 yards including the previously mentioned weaving catch and run. He's a spitting image of Reidel Anthony on the field.
-OJ Small had a nice day as well, and is developing into a good possesion WR. He's big enough to go over the middle and seems to have sure hands.
-The defense didn't show much. There was very little blitzing compared to what they have done in practice. This mean there was not much to show for their efforts as far as sacks and such go.
-Taylor Jacobs and Reid Fleming both left the game with what was addressed as minor injuries. Both should be fine.
-Ingle Martin was very solid. He's improved light years this spring to the point that it's not Doomsday if Grossman goes down. However, all Gators are still praying that that doesn't happen. He looks like he could come in and not lose a game for us if he had to.
"Overall I was really excited the way it ended up," UF head coach Ron Zook said of the game. "We felt like it was really important to get something out of this practice. We felt like we got some things accomplished and we've been through about everything. We tried to hit on everything we possibly could, right down to the pre-game meal and pre-game warm-ups. As minute as that might sound, come August 31st, there are going to be a lot of nerves for all of us. I think it's important that they've been through it before and that they know what the schedule is. And the way the game turned out, we've learned some lessons in that game. There were a lot, a lot of good things. We told them before the game to not worry about mistakes, play and have fun, fly around and make some things happen. As you saw the game progress, in my eyes, it felt like they [players] relaxed and started playing."
McBeth Award - Andra Davis
Best Effort Offense - Taylor Jacobs
Best Effort Defense - Vernell Brown
Most Improved Offense - Mike Degory
Most Improved Defense - Arpedge Rolle
Most Improved Walk-on Offense - Dewayne DuBose
Most Improved Walk-on Defense - Johnny Lamar
Greg See Most Couragous Award - Kenny Parker
President's GPA Award - Todd McCullough
Bryant Student Athltete Award - Ian Scott
OFFICIAL STATS FROM GATORZONE
First Downs 16 9
Rushes-Net Yards 80 67
Passing-Comp-Att-Yds 21-34-274 15-27-182
Total Offense 354 249
Penalties-Yards 2-14 5-30
Turnovers (Fum-INT) 2 1
Time of Possession* 26:32 21:28
*Played with 12-minute quarters instead of 15
Orange: Graham (10-46-1), Grossman (2-6-0), Kight (1-2-0), Ratliff (1-1-0)
Blue: Carthon (18-77-0), Martin (4-39-0), Hatch (3-3-0), Snell (3-1-0), Creveling (1-3-0), Townsend (1-5-0)
Orange: Grossman (17-29-257-1-1)
Blue: Martin (14-20-145-0-0), Creveling (5-12-57-0-1)
Orange: Walker (3-64-0), Kight (3-63-0), Small (3-50-0), Graham (2-17-0), Jackson (3-23-1), Jacobs (1-10), Ratliff (1-21)
Blue: Stone (5-57-0), Vickers (3-77-0), Sharp (2-11-0), Troupe (1-6-0), Perez (1-14-0), Carthon 2-16-0)
Leading Tacklers (Total tackles-Sacks)
Orange: Rolle (4-1), Johnson (4-0), I. Scott (3-0), G.Scott (3-0), Lamar (3-0)
Blue: McCullough (6-0), Norwood (5-0), T. Harris (5-0), Westbrook (4-0), Kendrick (3-0)