WKU Odds and Ends

A few minor observations from Saturday's game, including the new kicking rule and Chris Rainey's shoes. Also, Maurkice Pouncey's impressions after becoming the first true freshman to ever start at offensive guard, and what is it with Riley Cooper and directional schools?

After all the buildup to the season talking about the potentially huge effect of the new rule placing kickoffs five yards farther back, it made little impact in Florida's game with Western Kentucky. The Gators never had a return, with the Hilltoppers only kickoff attempt being a touchback. Florida kicked off plenty, but the start positions for Western Kentucky were not notably improved from a typical game last season.

WKU began their first drive at their own 28 after some poor Gator tackling, but could easily have been inside their 20. The next two drives opened at the WKU 11 and 1, but then Florida's Joey Ijjas kicked his fourth attempt of the day out of bounds. After that, the Gator staff appeared to settle for higher, shorter kicks by design to see what impact that would have. Those possessions began at Western's 40, 27 and 22. This new rule may turn out to matter as much as the coaches thought it would, but it didn't Saturday.

It's got to be the shoes

True freshman running back Chris Rainey's only time with the ball in his hand came on a punt return during the fourth quarter, but he made an impression. Rainey's 22-yard return was better than any of the five done previously by Jarred Fayson and featured Rainey running out of both his shoes while making moves at different points during the return.

Florida's usual punt returner Brandon James is expected back for next week's game against Troy, but Rainey looks like he may be the better option than Fayson should a backup be needed again. Fayson allowed several punts to bounce and attempted to go side to side too much, while Rainey immediately headed upfield.

Not all quiet on the Western Front for Cooper

Sophomore Riley Cooper seems to thrive against teams with Western in their name. His day featuring two touchdowns and 122 yards receiving follows last year's three touchdown effort against Western Carolina last season. All but one of his career catches have come in those two games. Urban Meyer is a master motivator, so Cooper's scouting in two weeks may be specially labeled as Florida against Western Tennessee.

You never forget your first time

For true freshman right guard Maurkice Pouncey, getting to start right away was more than he imagined.

According to Pouncey, "It was just amazing. I've never been in anything like that but it went well so I'm happy."

He credits the guys on either side of him, center Drew Miller and right tackle Carlton Medder, for helping him succeed.

"It's great to have good communication on the line, and that's what we had so it made it a lot easier out there today."

Miller was impressed with the youngster's debut, saying "He did great. All we asked him was to keep high tempo like he does in practice. He knows what he's doing."

Who was that guy?

When the Gators went to the three back power formation near the end zone, an unfamiliar number trotted out with the Gator personnel. No. 53, Jamaal Deveaux, threw several good blocks as Florida converted those scoring opportunities against Western Kentucky. But the redshirt sophomore from Port St Lucie is listed as a linebacker - so how did he wind up on offense?

According to wide receiver Andre Caldwell, "In practice, he's a big time hitter. He runs through people all day. After a while the coaches said we might as well put him on the goal line package and let him hit somebody."

Big House Blues

Like most fans, the Gator players were stunned by Michigan's upset loss to Appalachian State. The Mountaineers appear to have done some of Urban Meyer's motivational work for next week's game for him.

According to senior center Drew Miller, "It just shows you can't take any game less than serious. Next week with Troy, anything could happen. Once you see a powerhouse like Michigan lost, you sit there and think we've got to make sure we don't slip up like that."


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