So, what was your pleasure? Mental mistakes, big plays, Brandon James, field goals, missed field goals, field possession, turnovers, officials blunders, and a hard hitting defense provided Southeastern Conference football fans with plenty of excitement.
Florida football desperately needed this game to find out about themselves and a bevy of questions were answered with the victory.
- The 2006 Florida football team has developed the necessary mental toughness to cope with mental mistakes and temporary disasters in a hostile environment. They were pounding the Vols early, yet failed to dominate in the one area they needed the most- the scoreboard. However, they continued to battle with the understanding that their efforts would pay off rather than allow their emotions to get the best of them.
- This defense is going to be incredibly tough to run on. The biggest key is that in a hard hitting, rough and tumble battle- Ray McDonald, Marcus Thomas, and Joe Cohen showed no ill effect from injuries that have plagued them.
- DeShawn Wynn demonstrated…desire. He doesn't have breakaway speed. In fact, he doesn't have much speed to speak of, but he has an element that Florida desperately needed. Admit it, at times Wynn reminded you of Travis Henry who bulled through the Gators defense a few years ago. Wynn finished with 22 rushes for 104 yards.
- The Florida offensive line has proven that they can pas protect and run block against the big boys. Furthermore, given additional time to improve they will compete at a high level.
- "Brandon James on the return"
- Quarterback Chris Leak had a few meltdowns, but was resilient in leading his team.
- The relationship between Leak and Tim Tebow is obvious- even to Stevie Wonder and Ronnie Milsap. The Florida quarterbacks coexist perfectly fine, because they share a united desire- Winning a championship through unselfishness and teamwork.
- Outside linebacker Brian Crum can handle the strongside
- If tight end Cornelius Ingram gets the ball in the open field- Florida has another big playmaker.
- Coaches believing in players and players believing in each other.
There were plenty of mistakes and items to correct in this game as well. But, overcoming those mistakes is probably the best thing to happen to the Gators. The way this game played out provides Florida with a huge spike in confidence, enthusiasm, and unity. It appeared that the Gators might have just as easily jumped out to a commanding lead before the half.
However, their own mistakes coupled with some assists by those loveable Southeastern Conference officials and a reenergized fight by the Tennessee Volunteers put that to bed. There were opportunities aplenty for the Gators to self-destruct, but they fought through and seemingly learned a lot more about themselves. From my perspective, this was exactly what the Gators needed.