FOOTBALL: Grading The Gators vs. UK

It is Monday Morning and the Armchair Quarterback grades the Gators on their performance vs. University of Kentucky.

The Florida Gators defeated the University of Kentucky Wildcats 49 - 28 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington Kentucky on Saturday. The game was not nearly as close as the score might indicate, as the game was a case of two halves. In the first half the Gators completely dominated the Wildcats 49 - 7, it was no contest after Florida spotted Kentucky a 7 - 0 lead, the Gators scored 49 points on seven consecutive possessions to put the game away. In the second half, Coach Urban Meyer emptied the bench, the backups allowed the Wildcats to score 21 points to make the final score more respectable.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS

IMPRESSIVE:

Jermalle Cornelius, Chris Leak, the first team defense

SOLID:
Chris Jackson, the first team offensive line, Deshawn Wynn and the rest of the running backs.

NEED WORK:
Special teams, anybody who is not a starter

THE GRADES

DEFENSIVE LINE:
Led by defensive end Jeremy Mincey the first team defense completely out manned the Kentucky offensive line. The Gators were able to push Kentucky around in the first half helping to limit the Wildcats to just 66 total yards in the first half. In the second half the second team defensive line was able to get decent pressure on the Wildcats, redshirt freshman Jarvis Moss had his first career sack, but had trouble against the run and containing the mobile Kentucky quarterback. GRADE 1st team A Backups B-

LINEBACKERS:
The starters were solid, led by Earl Everett's two pass interception which setup two of Florida's first half scores. Brandon Siler had 3 tackles, with Everett and Todd McCullough adding two tackles each in just under a half's worth of work. Backup Brian Crum had five tackles and true freshman Jon Demps four tackles in the second half, but were making tackles well past the line of scrimmage and seemed out of place on both rushing and passing plays. GRADE 1st team A- Backups C

DEFENSIVE BACKS:
Once again the starters completely dominated the first half. Starting cornerbacks Vernell Brown Dee Webb, who caused a fumble to set up a score, along with starting safeties Jarvis Herring and Kyle Jackson allowed virtually nothing through the air. Reggie Nelson had an interception and a sack as well as solid coverage to complete his best game to date. Reserve safety Tony Joiner had a solid game in a backup role recording six tackles and a pass interception. Backup corners Avery Adkins and Tremaine McCollum struggle in coverage in the second half. GRADE 1st team A Backups C

OFFENSIVE LINE:
On the positive side is the fact the first team line only allowed one sack. On the negative side is the fact that the Kentucky defensive line isn't very good. Florida rushed for 187 yards on 42 attempts, however, 5 rushes accounted for 91 of the 187 yards. The backups allowed one sack, but like the starters were very inconsistent against a marginal Kentucky squad. GRADE C

RECEIVERS:
Jermalle Cornelius had a career day as a replacement for Andre Caldwell. Cornelius finished with 8 catches for 138 yards, both career highs. Chad Jackson had 9 catches for 105 yards and two scores, but dropped a couple that appeared to be catchable. The rest of the receivers contributed only six other receptions, with freshman Nyan Boateng recording his first career reception in the third quarter and Dallas Baker hauling in his first touchdown reception of the season in the second quarter. GRADE A-

RUNNING BACKS:
Running back by committee was the word of the day. Florida running backs accounted for 103 yards on 23 carries on the ground, while adding another 50 yards on 5 catches. DeShawn Wynn did all the scoring for the running backs with 3 rushing touchdowns and 1 receiving touchdown. Wynn, Skyler Thornton and Kestahn Moore each had a run of 13 yards or better, but with a team high carries of 10 by Wynn, no one got very many chances. GRADE A

QUARTERBACK:
Chris Leak was virtually flawless on Saturday night. Leak completed 25 passes on 32 attempts for 319 yards, with 4 touchdowns against zero interceptions. Given time, which Leak had an abundance of; Leak picked the Wildcat's secondary apart. Leak looked sharp in his decision making on the option run. Backup freshman Josh Portis got plenty of playing time this week, producing 3 receptions on 4 attempts for 31 yards and led all Florida rushers with 59 yards on just 8 attempts. Portis looked like the freshman he is. Portis didn't look as comfortable running the option. Although he did have a nice 26-yard run on his first play from scrimmage, he carried the ball like a loaf of bread and was immediately sent to the bench. Portis also had a fumble deep in Kentucky territory to end a drive in the third quarter GRADE Leak A+, Portis C

KICKING/SPECIALTY:
Chris Hetland made all of his extra point attempts. Other than that there was much good coming from the special teams and the kicking gain. Florida attempted only four punts and had the first one blocked to set up the Wildcats first score. Kentucky recovered and onside kick and Florida allowed an average of 25 return yards on 5 kickoff returns. One week you are the hero the next week you are the goat. GRADE D

COACHING:
Offensively Florida wanted to get their spread option offense untracked and find a replacement for the injured Andre Caldwell. Mission accomplished. The offense was a juggernaut throughout the first half, rolling up huge chunks of yardage, converting 9 of 10 third down opportunities and scoring on seven consecutive series after failing to score on their first series. Defensively, the Gators manhandled the Wildcats when the starters were in the game in the first half. Coach Meyer's charges on special teams weren't very special, but weren't really needed. Meyer's decision to clear the bench to start the second half seemed appropriate. GRADE Offense A, Defense B, Head Coaching A

FANS:
I noticed a contingent of Orange and Blue during the second half as most of the Kentucky fans had already gone home. But since I watched the game on television that is about all I could tell. GRADE I

FINAL THOUGHTS


The Gator's starters can beat the tar out of a team as weak as Kentucky, but the backups have a long to go before they can say that. The quality of our backups may become a concern if injuries begin to mount up. Jermalle Cornelius may make us say Andre Caldwell who. I am not sure our offensive line or running game proved much against a team the quality of the Wildcats, next weeks game against Alabama may prove to be a better test. Hope we don't flunk. Shame the stellar play of the first team defense will suffer statistically because of the poor second half.
OVERALL GRADE: Fist half A+ Second half C-

Randy Platt
The Armchair Quarterback
Later GATORS, after while the rest!

Fightin Gators Top Stories