VETTEL: Gators Accomplish Most Goals

The Florida Gators had a number of things they hoped to get done in their game with Florida Atlantic and for the most part they were successful. The Gators continued their prodigious offensive production reaching the end zone pretty much every time a drive didn't die from a self-inflicted wound. They stayed healthy throughout the afternoon and picked up their eighth win to maintain momentum.

What the Gators didn't do was play any defense.

Florida stumbled through one of the worst quarters I can remember in the second period of this one as FAU scored four times and hit a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the first half to put the ball at the 5-yard line. Florida seemed to pick it up after intermission after apparently getting a memo that pressuring FAU quarterback Rusty Smith was not illegal.

But the biggest thing the Gators failed to do is get maximum playing time for some of their down the line players. Florida led 49-20 after three periods and recovered a fumble deep in FAU territory. Inexplicably the Gators kept Tim Tebow and Andre Caldwell in the game rather than give Cameron Newton and some other receivers a chance to put the ball in the end zone. Keep in mind Florida's Heisman Trophy favorite had already thrown for a season high 334 yards, run for another 31 and had a hand in four touchdowns. Newton did get in at the 11:13 mark, but there was no reason for Tebow to take that last possession.

Defensive Concerns Revived

Coming into the game it was known that FAU was a pretty good passing team and the Florida secondary would face a pretty good challenge. But in the second quarter the Gator defense seemed completely out of it and FAU was not being the least bit challenged. Smith threw for 197 yards in that period and only a drop or two kept the Owls from scoring touchdowns on all four scoring opportunities. You could almost hear the Head Ball Coach circa 1994; "Yeah, it looks like our best defense is the dropped pass".

The regression of the Florida secondary in the past two weeks is not a good sign heading into the FSU game, although the Noles may not be all that well equipped to take advantage of it. On Saturday in The Swamp, Florida once again looked like as group that was unwilling or unable to cover opposing receivers. Florida didn't mount any pass rush until the third quarter and the tackling as once again substandard.

Still, wining is always good and this team is one away from positioning itself quite well for a possible BCS invitation. We'll examine that situation in the days ahead.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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