Odds and Ends: No Spikes, No Problem

Florida played without linebacker Brandon Spikes against Vanderbilt (although he got more face time on ESPN2's broadcast then he normally does when he plays). Despite his absence as well as Brandon Hicks being out with an injury, the Gator defense kept the Commodores largely in check. Vanderbilt never reached the end zone and mustered just 199 yards of offense for the game.

Urban Meyer praised the performance of veteran linebackers Ryan Stamper and Dustin Doe as the reason Florida was able to avoid any dropoff without their defensive leader.  

"Ryan Stamper is a great leader and player," said Meyer. "When you pull a senior out and you are able to have two guys play like that, Doe and Stamper, it's very impressive."  

Stamper had an interception for the second consecutive game, while Doe was credited with a team high eleven tackles in the victory.  


While the hope was that the Gator attack had turned a corner in their win over Georgia, Florida's offense seemed to bog down again against Vanderbilt. For the night the Gators had just two plays of 25 yards or more, with one of those a 64 yard completion from Tim Tebow to Aaron Hernandez on the final play before Tebow left the game.  

"We have to get a little more production out of the offense," said Meyer. "We're working on it."  

Tebow was sacked four times, and according to Meyer some of those sacks came on plays where the plan was to take a shot down the field. Tebow felt that Vanderbilt's defensive approach took away those kind of opportunities, saying they played "fire zones" that made quicker throws to the outside more effective.  


Meyer singled out some young players as having shown enough that they were earning more time as the season goes on. Wide receiver Omarius Hines was mentioned - while he didn't have a catch, Hines did continue coming strong on kickoff coverage even when his helmet had been dislodged from his head. Wide receiver Frankie Hammond also saw some action and caught a pass for six yards. Dee Finley earned a mention for his work on defense and saw time late as well.  


Alabama clinched the West division championship with their win over LSU, meaning the SEC Championship game matchup with them and Florida is now set. Players asked about the eventual showdown downplayed any thoughts on the subject right now, since they have three games still to play.  

The next game for Florida is South Carolina, and Emmanuel Moody proved he's telling the truth about only concentrating on each individual week's opponent. When asked about the Gamecocks, Moody said, "We can't worry about them right now, we've got to be thinking about Florida International." When told the South Carolina trip was actually before the FIU game, Moody's response was "They are? Oh. Well, we'll have to focus on them then."

Fightin Gators Top Stories