The Good & Bad of Last Night

The Ron Zook era began just like the Steve Spurrier one ended, with Rex Grossman and Taylor Jacobs stealing the show. One remarkable difference was the balance provided by a determined running game and Florida wins it's 13 straight season opening game 51-3. Grossman went over 300 yards again and Earnest Graham had a career high 182 yds as the Gators brushed aside the Blazers.

What went right:
The entire story could be about what went right but first and foremost the record breaking performance of Taylor Jacobs.  He was left one on one twice and Rex Grossman knew it and found Taylor on streak routes.  Both times Rex did a nice job of looking off any possible safety help.  Jacobs had 8 catches for 246yds and 2 touchdowns.  The yardage is an all-time single game record, breaking the 33 year old record of Carlos Alvarez. The offensive line was as physical as I have seen since 1985.  Earnest Graham show great vision on several runs and looked a lot like Emmitt Smith.  One difference in the run game is that the receivers all tried to block down field, something we have not seen a whole lot of in recent years.  Mike Degory gets high marks for his first performance.  Rex did involve several receivers as Kelvin Kight and Carlos Perez made nice catches.  The offense really "big-played" UAB who really did not have very good linebacker play.  Defensively they pitched a shutout in the first half and did not allow a touchdown.  I don't know if this system has a "Vanilla" defense, but that sure was not the whole arsenal and rightfully so.  Mike Nattiel, Guss Scott and Bam Hardman made a bunch of  plays, including one of the best hits in the Swamp in a long time with Scott's hit before the end of the first half.  UAB was a tough team to prepare for but for the most part the pressure was good from the front.  The results were not because the quarterbacks were able to scramble out and avoid sacks. Bobby McCray and Darrell Lee really got after it in the second half .

What went wrong:
Typical first game stuff but nothing major. Special Teams had some penalties and a missed extra point. Penalties should  be expected because it is the first real action with referees for the special teams. The defense gave up some plays on first down and only caused one turnover. I expect that emphasis will change next week. Offensively 3 sacks given up two on the tackles, but they ran very well.

Final thoughts:
The team was pretty polished for the first game and avoided any key injuries before next week's showdown with Miami. Four backs scored touchdowns and the first three in the game were rushing which is something we have not seen in a while. I really believe the defense held back, and I also think we will see Tron Lafavor and Bobby McCray in the lineup for the Canes. Overall a good performance for the Gators and new coach Ron Zook.

What's next?
The number one Miami Hurricanes. They bring in a balanced run-pass attack led by Heisman candidate Ken Dorsey.  Can Rex get Taylor one on one versus the young cane secondary? Will the offensive line protect and open holes for Earnest Graham?  Can the defense stuff on first down against a team that dominates the first down yardage against opponents?

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