Ack's Insights - 11/11/02

This week's edition includes grades, statitudes, an injury report and a peek at this week's opponent: South Carolina.

Running off at the keypad...

Florida's win over Vanderbilt was not overly impressive but it was a win. This is not a team that is going to go rout anyone or at least not when we expect it. The team did get the ground game going and did not turn the ball over. The Gators have positioned themselves for an improbable trip to Atlanta with a win over South Carolina and an Auburn win at home versus Georgia. Considering everything that has happened this season that sets up for an exciting weekend.

Quarterback: B. Rex was 17-32 170yds and was not asked to do much in the passing game. The screen passes were not quite as effective because of press coverage and the ground game was mostly effective. He needs a little more freedom but if you look at the three losses (Miami, Ole Miss, LSU) all those games he through game changing touchdowns as interceptions. I think the staff has curtailed too much although he has only 2 interceptions in this three game win streak.

Running Backs: A
. Earnest finally went over 100yds again and Ran Carthon had his best day as a Gator. The run by Fason at fullback is a glimpse of the offensive future. Graham with a bum ankle for most of the season can still reach 1,00yds with a strong finish. The one thing they both need to do better is create more missed tackles after the initial cut.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: C. The passing game struggled and the only real threat was Aaron Walker who had a touchdown called back. Kight and Perez struggled to get open and Vandy limited the short passing game. The high ankle sprain is significant for Troupe who's one catch totaled 20yds.Ratliff may have to develop into a deep threat depending on Jacobs status. This unit was big against Georgia but was very average on Saturday.

Offensive Line: B. The unit only gave up one sack and they did run for 223 yards. I thought Dowdy did a nice job as well as Randy Hand when they were in there. The unit needs to get to the second level better on run plays but overall pretty good job. Penalties though hurt the performance especially the one on Max Starks to bring back Walker's touchdown.

Defensive Line: B. They had the one lapse on the opening drive of the second half but Clint Mitchell and Tron Lafavor were two of the top three tacklers this week. They also only had 2 sacks which seemed like it would be more with 26 Vandy pass attempts. They did however as a unit record 7 tackles for loss.

Linebackers: C. Hardman was fourth in tackles and did not dominate like he did against Georgia. Florida played a lot of nickel which allowed the safeties to be very active.

Secondary: B. Ratliff and Guss Scott played very well and each had 6 tackles. For the second week in a row the unit had a game changing interception when Cory Bailey returned one to the one yard line. Guss also had an interception to go with one tackle for loss. Todd Johnson had two pass breakups as well.

Special Teams: F. What can you say? Florida was minus 75 on punting versus Vandy each had 6 attempts. The Gators missed two field goals and gave up a 65 yard punt return to set up a touchdown and kicked off out of bounds to set up a field goal.

Snippets and Tidbits...

Ben Troupe has a high ankle sprain and could miss this week's game...The game is set for 6 pm on ESPN and it is Homecoming...I think Taylor Jacobs will play this week, he was running pretty well on the field on Saturday before the game...UF is 7-3 and 5-2 in the conference despite a minus -4 in the turnover margin category...UF's 223 yards rushing was the most for the Gators in an SEC game since 1999 when they ran for 224 vs. Kentucky...The Gator defense has held four of the last six opponents under 300 yards...After throwing 14 interceptions in the first 7 games he has thrown just 2 in the last 3...Florida did not commit a turnover for the second time in three games...Opponents are 7-39 on third down in the last 3 games...Three Gator opponents have thrown for less than 100 yds this season including Vanderbilt.

Florida's next opponent, South Carolina, has averaged just 8 points per game over their current three game losing streak...The Gamecocks are 5-5 and need a win over Florida or in their season finale against Clemson to become bowl eligible...Finally this will be an interesting match up with South Carolina's Defensive Coordinator Charlie Strong facing former co-worker Ron Zook. Charlie was the defensive line coach with Zook in '91-94 .

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