Once again I thought the run defense was terrific. The Gators created a new line of scrimmage against the Bulldogs and for two weeks look very improved. This week will be the measuring stick with the Tennessee Vols coming to town. UF got three interceptions and I thought Reggie Nelson and Joe Cohen looked the best they have this season. The Gators need to go with Wynn and Manson which looks to be the best two backs. I would say it could be a thunder and lightning combo and give UF the balance it needs in the running game. One other thing is time of possession in which the Gators dominated for the second consecutive week. I can't remember a two game stretch where UF dominated (16 plus minutes) like the first two games. Because of that the defense was only on the field for 58 snaps. This is the second consecutive week UF was on the field less than 60 snaps.
What did Florida not do so well against Louisiana Tech?
I thought special teams looked very undisciplined which was surprising to me. The penalties hurt the team especially the Tate Casey infraction which set UF back on third down. The Gators need to be more focused on third down conversions. UF was at the top of the conference last year and is off to a slow start. I also thought Leak threw two or three passes right to the defenders. These balls will be picked off in league play.
Will we see the entire offense this week against Tennessee?
We knew Meyer wanted to focus on the run (49 attempts) last week and I even predicted 50 attempts. I do think running the ball eight of the first 10 plays and 22 times in the first half kept Chris Leak from ever getting started in a good rhythm. I don't think UF can beat Tennessee without Leak getting in a rhythm early and without Bubba Caldwell getting more than one catch.
Florida has shown it will go down the field on offense and blitz on defense and those are two things that will help them this week against the Volunteers. I think you will see more diversity in the Gator offense this week .
Did Florida develop any depth in the first two games?
I think the first two games were telling on who can play right now for UF. In the secondary Reggie Lewis and Reggie Nelson along with Avery Atkins gives the Gators some depth. Tony Joiner saw his first action and will bolster the safety position. Joe Cohen, Derrick Harvey and Clint McMillan look like they can play on the defensive line. Offensively the number two line got some good work these first two games and the running back situation seems to have at least two playmakers. The receiving corps could use some more guys but Dallas Baker looks improved as the third guy. Josh Portis who got in the game in the second and third quarters before mop up duty is the second quarterback and brings and exciting run element to the offense.
Who were your players of the game?
Reggie Nelson, Vernell Brown, Deshawn Wynn and Marcus Manson. Nelson and Brown led the team in tackles while the running backs energized the rushing attack.
What are some early key match-ups for this week's big game with Tennessee?
First of all the lines of scrimmage are always a key. Can UF's new improved defense slow down the physical Tennessee rushing attack? The Gator offensive line has not been overly impressive the first two weeks and they face one of the best fronts in the SEC. Special Teams are always important in this game with the Vols kicking a field goal to win last year's game and the game in 1998. One other thing to look at is turnovers. UF is in good shape in the turnover margin but has put the ball on the ground several times the first two weeks. Emotion is a big factor in this series and the team who can handle the early surges and play with a level head could be the winner.
Any thoughts on the SEC through two weeks?
What a great win for the fans of LSU this past weekend and for Vanderbilt. The Commodores are 1-0 in the SEC for the first time since 1990. Houston Nutt at Arkansas could be in real trouble after sniffing at all these jobs the last few years. LSU's win was exciting but their pass defense must get better when they face UF. Alabama cannot seem to win impressively but they are a better team with Brodie Croyle in the lineup. South Carolina should have beaten Georgia but missed an extra point and a field goal. Spurrier needs to find some weapons on offense to get him more points. Also D.J. Shockley took a step back after a huge first week against Boise State.
Brady Ackerman can be heard on ESPN radio Gainesville-Ocala on AM 900 and AM 1230. Brady's website is http://www.bradyackerman.com