For the record, Miami is the best team in college football, and for them to lose they have to be out of "focus" for an opponent and then they still may not lose. The game was won at the lines of scrimmage without question. Miami also capitalized on field position and turnovers while Florida mustered only 3 points. The first quarter and a half went exactly how I thought it would and then Miami turned up the heat and Florida made a special teams mistake and the 'Canes had control of the game. All is not lost for Florida, and remember when sizing up the Gators, it was their second game under a new coach with new systems against the best team they will play this year.
Quarterback: C Rex Grossman had his worst day statistically as a Gator and made the one crucial interception that sealed the Gators fate. He also was hit an awful lot and showed great courage in the game. This was the first time he looked helpless on the field when trying to find open receivers to get UF back in the game.
Running Backs: B Earnest Graham plays hard and runs hard. Maybe he should have gotten the ball three straight times at 27-16 but his touchdown run in the second quarter was exactly what Florida needs to get out of their defense. Ran Carthon made some nice plays as well.
Receivers: D Taylor Jacobs played well while being bracketed all day and the tight ends really stepped up on some nice catches. Carlos Perez, Kelvin Kight,and others are unable to separate in Zaunbreaker's offense and must really bounce back with a good week this week.
Offensive Line: C You may be saying C!!! Well, they did rush for 150 yards, and only gave up one sack officially (biggest misleading stat in history) but too much pressure on Rex. Jonathan Colon struggled at right tackle and David Jorgensen really did not adjust well to line switches and the size of Miami. Hard to give a failing grade when some guys did play pretty decent and Miami is that good.
Defensive Line: D No help for Ian Scott and Brett Romberg out played him. Clint Mitchell started strong but wore down like many others. It did hurt not having Darrell Lee's size and the only passing grade I would give would be to Tron Lafavor who did make some plays. UF's defensive line- zero tackles for a loss.
Linebackers: C This is elevated by the play of Bam Hardman, who is the best playmaker on the team right now. He caused a fumble, had an interception for a touchdown and recorded the only sack. Matt Farrior was over matched playing too high in the middle and Reid Fleming is limited but did stick his head up in there. Mike Nattiel did not make as many plays as you would have thought.
Secondary: C Todd Johnson's two interceptions and a blocked punt helps but too soft on the corners for the Gators and especially Keiwan Ratliff. This was his stage and he got burned in the redzone on a post corner move by Andre Johnson. Guss Scott and Johnson missed tackles in the second half after wearing down. This was reminiscent of the Tennessee game last year.
Special Teams: D One blocked punt as we thought they might do resulted in only a field goal. A missed field goal after an impressive opening drive, a missed extra point that could have proved big if Rex sticks it in at 27-16 and the botched punt that put Florida down 10 at the half.
Snippets and Tidbits....
Obviously, Coach Zook will work on special teams and getting the right personnel on the field especially for punt protection. Jason Hunter will have to re-compete for his job this week although Zook really likes him. Will Matt Leach or even Ingle Martin get a look? As a kicker Leach may be all they have. Randy Hand will work some right tackle and move Colon inside. Colon is bigger than Jorgensen and Hand seems comfortable in the passing game. Mo Mitchell is the big disappointment and really needs to mix it up and get in there. Reggie Lewis who does create separation will get a chance at receiver. Kight just does not seem comfortable in this offense and Vernell Brown has only been at receiver for a month, so keep an eye on that spot. Also maybe moving Matt Jackson over to the other wide receiver in the three man set. Perez is going to be the slot guy for now with O.J.Small. UF needs another outside guy who can get off the ball and separate. Travis Harris will get a look at "Mike" and maybe good against the run. His problem has been mental and maybe they will simplify things with him in there. I mentioned last week that lines of scrimmage and turnovers would decide this game and certainly it played out that way, I just thought it would go in Florida's favor. In Miami's first 15 drives in which they started 1st and 10 they gained 4 or more yards 12 times. The other three were 0-incomplete pass,+2yards by McGahee and the sack by Hardman. UF did not win first down on defense and conversely caved in to the 'Cane running attack. Ohio is up next and they are not very good. They run the option so it will be a lot of teaching on defense this week but I do think UF will bounce back and look much better on a national stage in two weeks in Rocky Top.