Hollywood Bob: Likes and Dislikes

Another Saturday, another blowout. Yet again, there was so much good to be seen from this 2008 version of the Florida Gators and not much to complain about. I want to take the time to share my thoughts on the live view of the game and perceptions I gathered directly after the game. A 70-19 win over The Citadel was fun to watch, lets talk about some of the finer points.

What I Liked...

Scoring spree...

The Gators scored early and often in the game Saturday. The Gators scored touchdowns on their first seven drives of the first half of the game. On five of those drives, they scored in one minute and 29 seconds or less. They scored 49 points in only 32 plays to start the game. Their seven touchdown drives to start consisted of drives of 6, 5, 5, 5, 1, 3, and 7 plays.

The Gators current six game streak of scoring 42 points or more is the longest current streak in the country. They of course accomplished this again in the first half of play.

Depth and production at receiver...

Don't look now, but over the last few weeks or so freshman receiver Deonte Thompson and junior receiver David Nelson have become reliable receivers and targets for the quarterbacks. In Saturdays game, Thompson caught his third touchdown of the season after starting half the season with out a touchdown reception or being thrown to much at all. Thompson and Nelson led all receivers on Saturday with three catches. Thompson finished with 56 yards while Nelson had 53 yards and a touchdown of his own.

What is noticeable is that both are becoming viable targets for both quarterbacks now and both look very comfortable when the ball is thrown to them.

Big play day...

The Gators completed 17 passes on the day and 13 of those passes resulted in plays of 10 yards or more. The Gators have a goal of five explosive plays a game (20 or more yards) which includes running or passing. They had four pass plays alone over 20 yards before half time and five for the game. Tim Tebow and John Brantley threw passes of 23, 29, 231, 43, and 53 yards on the day.

Not to be out done by the passing game, the running game had its share of big plays as well. The running game had 11 plays of 10 yards or more on the day. The running game also accounted for six explosive plays of its own with runs of 20, 24, 27, 40, and 73 yards on the day. This was all with the Gators top running back, freshman Jeff Demps, sitting for most of the game so he didn't get injured.

Tebow was crisp and Heisman-esque...

Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Tim Tebow was 9-of-11 for 201 yards and three touchdowns passing the ball on Saturday. Of his two missed passes, one was dropped by Aaron Hernandez and the other miss was on the bomb on the first play from scrimmage where he barely overthrew Louis Murphy some 50 yards down field.

Tebow has now thrown multiple touchdowns in seven straight games, the longest streak of his career. Watch it carefully, I think Aaron Hernandez went out of bounds on purpose inside the one on the first drive of the second half. One play later, Senior Javier Estopinan scored his first touchdown of his career.

Emmanuel Moody ran hard...

Sophomore running back Emmanuel Moody ran 13 times for 117 yards (8.9 avg.) in my opinion, his were the toughest yards of any of the backs. He seemed to get less blocking for some reason when he was in there and made more of it with less blocking. I am sure this will show on tape if true and win points in the eyes of the staff for his tough running.

Spikes to the backfield...

I think it is evident that junior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes not only is the Gators best defensive player, he is also the Gators best pass rusher. Spikes is always forcing a pass or two early in games from quarterbacks. Even though he was only credited with one quarterback hurry in the stats just following the game, he was very disruptive once again in the backfield of the opposition.

Will is still a thrill...

We have seen the big plays for several games now from freshman safety Will Hill. He had his second interception of the season Saturday and a nice run back after the catch. He also forced the quarterback into another interception when he rushed from the outside. This is the second time that has happened this season as well. Hill is starting to look like a real natural back there and is going to start really making it hard to keep him off the field during crucial situations.

Jaye Howard played very well...

Urban Meyer was singing his praises before the South Carolina game and Saturday Howard was inserted early and played well and aggressively from his nose tackle position. Howard came to Florida as a speed rushing defensive end last season and found it difficult to maintain his weight and keep his speed for the position. His transition is actually not slow, and now he seems ready to start making a contribution late in his redshirt freshman season. With a few injuries on the defensive line, this may be a great time for Howard to emerge.

New linebackers lead the team in tackles...

With the blow out starting early in the second quarter some key reserves got some valuable playing time in the game against The Citadel. Sophomore linebackers Lorenzo Edwards and John Jones both saw early and extensive playing time. Edwards ended up leading the Gators in tackles Saturday, while Jones finished second. Both were noticeably active on the field.

What I didn't like...

Injuries on the defensive line...

This is the biggest concern coming away from the game. Urban Meyer didn't seem overly worried about the injuries and minimized them, but we really won't know until they look again tomorrow. Staring sophomore nose tackle Lawrence Marsh went down with an MCL sprain on the very first defensive play of the game. Freshman defensive tackle Matt Patchan, who was running with the first unit three weeks ago, also left with a sprained knee. Both should be back soon, but too many more hits on the defensive line isn't a good thing.

Not big holes from Offensive Line...

This is actually more indicative of the defense that The Citadel played than anything else. They really stuffed the box and took away as much of the running game as they could. This made the passing game really easy on the quarterbacks, but the holes were clogged at the line of scrimmage. Luckily for the Gators, they have a group of skilled athletes that really know how to change direction and make something out of nothing. Percy Harvin had a spectacular touchdown run from 12 yards out when he headed right on a sweep only to find it stuffed. He then paused, and jetted back left for a touchdown out racing everyone else for the touchdown.

Chris Rainey had his 73 yard run in much the same fashion. There were several runs similar during the day and most a result of the Bulldogs really stacking the box. Carl Moore drop

Second team secondary...

Florida was burned a couple of times to start the second half as The Citadel drove down to score. Markihe Anderson was burned on a fade route that went 20 yards. Two plays later, the Bulldog quarterback sprinted right, only to halt and throw the ball back to the left for another 20 yards down to the Florida one yard line. It was a slow developing play and there was no safety there to cover. This will be good film room work for the back ups and should help them get better in time.

Fourth quarter starters...

I just don't see any reason why starting defensive end Justin Trattou was getting a sack in the fourth quarter of play. With the injuries already on the line, it was scout team time in my opinion.

Brandon James not an exceptional night...

We are spoiled for sure with Mr. James and give him credit for the one return that was called back as another electric play by the dynamo. However, he did struggle Saturday and for whatever reason he was not able to break a lot of first tackles or even elude them like he usually does. It was odd seeing James go down with the gunners flying back there.

A Look Ahead to the next Two Big Games

FSU's quick defensive front...

The Gator offense will have it's hands full with the defensive front of Florida State. FSU leads the nation in tackles for loss and they will bring pressure form ever which angle. Their defensive ends are very quick and they get a very fast push up field. The Gator offensive tackles are going to have to play well Saturday. I think the Gators can push around the interior line a bit, but the outside rush and the linebackers are going to make it difficult to run wide on the fast FSU defense. Hit them in the middle and hit them hard, is what I think the Gators should try and do.

Injuries on the Gators defensive line...

The injuries to Lawrence marsh and Matt Patchan would normally be very alarming. Fortunately for the Gators they have used a variety of defensive fronts and defensive line coach Dan McCarney has really platooned a lot of players in and out of the lineup since the beginning of the season. The emergence of Jaye Howard can help and Torrey Davis also played a great deal against The Citadel.

I understand that the Seminole offensive line is much improved, but they still haven't played SEC football for 12 weeks and they are still a young bunch. Meyer didn't seem pessimistic about Marsh and Patchan's injuries and intimated they will likely be back soon, but if they aren't I expect the Gators to be alright on that side of the line of scrimmage against FSU.


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