Unbeaten, No. 1 and Plenty of Concerns

When you win two BCS Titles in three years your fans can get a little, what's the word? Oh yeah, greedy. When you are ranked No. 1 in the nation and undefeated it often seems like nit picking to harp on the shortcomings, but that's not the case here. The Florida Gators are the top team in the nation, but there are some serious concerns about this team moving forward as it tries to run the table.

Brandon Spikes ---- You saw first hand in the Arkansas game what it's like when No. 51 isn't on the field. Spikes' groin injury weakened the Florida defense and contributed mightily to the 357 yards and 20 points Arkansas put on the board. Florida just isn't all that strong at the other LB positions and it showed against a diverse Arkansas attack. In fact the top six tacklers for the Gators were two linemen and four DB. That's not good. Getting him healthy and keeping him healthy for the second half of the season is a huge priority.

Defensive Tackle ---- Omar Hunter had his best game as a Gator with six tackles and two of them for losses. It seemed like he and Terron Sanders were out there for just about every play when Florida wasn't in its "joker" package. This team desperately needs Lawrence Marsh and Jaye Howard to be part of the mix going forward. Marsh in particular is a key to what the Gators want to do up front.

Downfield Passing ---- The good news is that Tim Tebow and Deonte Thompson combined on a 77-yard pass play against Arkansas. The bad news is that it was Thompson's only catch of the day. 13 of Florida's 17 completions went to Riley Cooper or Aaron Hernandez. David Nelson was the only other WR to catch a pass and he caught just one. Florida's receivers have got to do more or the Gators will continue to see eight in the box as they did against the Razorbacks.

Pass Protection ---- Tebow was sacked six times by Arkansas and we all know what happened against Kentucky. Florida seems to be in love with the "empty" formation with five potential receivers spread out, but when you go empty you can not make mistakes in protection and the QB cannot hold on to the ball for any length of time. Florida appeared to do both on Saturday and the result was not pretty. Last season Tebow did a much better job of taking the short throw to a RB than he has this year. Florida also has to take advantage of the numbers and throw more WR screens.

Kick Coverage ---- After doing a terrific job on LSU's Trindon Holliday the Gators were awful against Arkansas return man Dennis Johnson. He took his first kick back to the 30, then the 37, 41 and the 43 after that. The Gators covered the final deep kickoff well, but others did not get the job done.

Red Zone Offense ---- A year after being an outstanding team in scoring territory the Gators have become mediocre. Saturday against Arkansas the Gators were 3-for-6 in the red zone with two of the scores being field goals. They also turned it over twice. On the season Florida has ventured into the red zone (opponents 25-yard line) 30 times and come away with points on 24 of those occasions (80 percent). That may look good on the surface, but nine of those scores are field goals. The Gators have just 15 TD in 30 red zone opportunities which is not good at all. Last year Florida was 91 percent in scoring and 75 percent with TD. For this team to get to 75 percent TD in the red zone it would have to scorer a TD on its next 30 opportunities.

Ball Protection ---- Florida has already lost nine fumbles this season which is one more than all of last year and just one less than the most for any Urban Meyer Gator team (10 in '06). Tebow, Brandon James, Chris Rainey and Aaron Hernandez all put the ball on the ground against Arkansas. If Emmanuel Moody had done so we might never have seen him again. Still this has got to stop. Florida overcame a ridiculous minus-four Saturday night but you can't count on doing that again.

Florida is a work in progress and when you are 6-0 you are doing a lot of things right. But this team has much room for improvement and it needs to stat making those strides before its shortcomings cost them a game.


Fightin Gators Top Stories