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Gators Report Card: Good teams win in the 4th

GAINESVILLE -- We're looking back one final time (we think) at Florida's 26-3 win against Miami. Overall it was an excellent effort by the Gators, who held Miami to 140 yards of total offense, forced a safety on special teams and scored 17 points in the fourth quarter.

Good football teams win games in the fourth quarter. OK, on to the report card.

This preseason, Florida coach Urban Meyer called his offensive line the Gators' best unit. It sure didn't look that way against Miami, which held Florida's running backs to 34 yards combined. The Hurricanes' blitz packages also disrupted UF quarterback Tim Tebow, who only had 150 yards passing entering the fourth quarter.

Tebow led the Gators in rushing. A receiver, Percy Harvin, out gained the Gators' traditional running backs and Harvin only had 27 yards on five carries. Running backs Chris Rainey, Jeffrey Demps and Kestahn Moore combined for seven yards on nine carries. Anyone see Emmanuel Moody lately?

Without Tebow, Florida might have lost this game. The junior completed 21-of-35 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 55 yards on 13 carries and Mr. Heisman was at his best in the fourth quarter.

Florida coach Urban Meyer chuckled on Monday when he announced that redshirt sophomore Terron Sanders had the best game of his career. Yes, it was that kind of game for the Gators' D-line, which held Miami running backs to 1.6 yards per carry. Defensive end Jermaine Cunningham had nine tackles and a sack. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap had two sacks.

MLB Brandon Spikes led the Gators in tackles with 11 and reserve linebacker Ryan Stamper had five tackles despite a broken hand. Special teams dynamo Brandon Hicks earned playing time against Miami and had three tackles. WLB Dustin Doe was limited with a groin injury.

Two impressive games in a row for the Gators' secondary. And to think this unit was one of the worst in the SEC last season. It seemed Miami's offensive coordinator was so intimidated by Florida's cornerbacks and safeties that he only chose to throw downfield a few times. UF free safety Major Wright only had to make two tackles and Gators strong safety Ahmad Black held his own against Miami's athletic receivers and running backs.

Punter Chas Henry netted an average of 40 yards on seven kicks and freshman Jeffrey Demps forced a Miami safety with a blocked punt in the end zone. Florida return specialist Brandon James led the Gators in all-purpose yards with 49 yards on punt returns, 82 yards on kickoff returns and 30 yards receiving.

Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney is proving to be an excellent offseason hire. Florida's offensive coaches made the proper adjustments in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 points. Had to cringe a little bit when the Gators threw for the end zone late in the fourth quarter with an insurmountable lead. Would hate to see someone injured in a situation like that.

Much to the chagrin of UM coach Randy Shannon, Florida's 26-3 win showcased the best of Florida football for about 75 recruits.

Florida's sports information staff was quick to respond to Miami's claim that the Hurricanes were the younger team on Saturday. The Gators sent out this text message to beat writers and reporters who cover the Gators: "Interesting nugget about UF youth -- 60 of 85 players are frosh or soph and we started 10 jr/sr and Miami started 13."

Here's what I think: College football programs must think high school recruits are stupid. Are they? Football teams try to make such a big deal about playing young players. The reason football teams do this is to make high school recruits believe they have a chance at playing time as freshmen. Here's the funny thing about that: If a team plays a bunch of young players one season, doesn't that mean that the next season those same young players will still be starting, meaning it will actually be harder for incoming freshmen to get playing time?

WLB Dustin Doe has an injured groin muscle and will miss practice this week. Receiver Carl Moore will miss practice this week due to the hip injury he suffered against Miami. Walk-on safety Cody Worton of Miami Homestead tore a knee ligament against Miami and will miss the rest of the season.



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I hope there is full article on the gators youth coming to dispel the cane propaganda. Its not the players, but what you do with them is important and the gators proved they could coach 'em up.

"College football programs must think high school recruits are stupid. Are they?"


C+ for the O-line, but D- for the running backs? I'd have given a worse grade to the O-Line. The running backs weren't any good, but you can't get water out of a stone. There was no running room. They were getting eaten up before they even reached the line of scrimmage. Agree with all the grades other than those two, except coaching. But coaching is tough cuz you've got to separate it.

I'd give the O-Line a D, the running backs an Incomplete (never had much of an opportunity), and the offensive play-calling (I'm looking at you, Mullen) a D-.

Youth?? I think what Miami is trying to say is that they have two freshmen QB's which makes them young. If you were to remove Tebow from this team and start a freshman how would they look? Glad we have Tebow!


A 'D-' for Mullen, wow! What about the 95-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter? It took all of five plays and essentially iced the game. The O-line gets a C+ because Tebow accounted for 311 offensive yards (passing and rushing/scrambling).


Can you please get some info on Moody? He missed a block in the UH game and i haven't seen him since. Also, has Mon Williams left G-ville? This lack of a rushing attack worries me for the upcoming season. i expect the entire league to put together some lavish blitz packages.

Fair enough on your explanations, but your reference to the 95 yard touchdown drive is exactly why I'd give Mullen such a poor grade. It took him 3 quarters to figure out how to attack a blitzing defense. I don't want to take credit away from the Canes -- they played very good defense for 3 quarters. But at the end of the day, they're not the defensive world-beaters we made them look like. We were leaving Tebow in the backfield unprotected and asking him to take 5 and 7 step drops while the Canes blitzed 7. There were a million ways to counter what the Canes were doing, and Mullen didn't tap any of them until the fourth quarter. As for the O-Line, I guess the offense did have some success, so it's hard to trash them. But I'd say most of that success came despite them, not because of them. Tebow just refused to lose that game.

Luckily we were playing a mediocre team with zero offensive ability, so we slid by without really scoring through the first three quarters. But against a really good team, we'd have been dead in the water. Mullen needs to get it together. You can't be a great playcaller 80% of the time. You need to be consistently great. The way D-1 football works, you can't afford to have offensive brainfarts like we had against Auburn last year and Miami this year.


Already working on it. I asked Tebow about Moody at length on Monday and Tebow made it seem like Moody still wasn't practicing at "full speed." When asked about Moody, Coach Meyer only said that Moody will be more involved. Will do more reporting today.


Thanks Jo. BTW i'm still waiting on your predicted Wondy Perry interception. i hope he's sving it for UT.

LOL! Wondy...

How about Harvin? Does anyone have any idea when he will be fully back? Miami was lucky he just had a few touches and Florida is bringing him back slowly. Harvin is the best player in college football.

How about that 2007 recruiting class! Just take a look at the names on there and how many real contributors we have that year compared to other years and other teams. I used to think the Tebow and Harvin class was gold but look at that 2007 class. WOW!

I expect to see a fully functional Percy Harvin against Tennessee. He needs to touch the ball at least 15 times a game.


i didn't see a grade for the wideouts?

Jo, correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't most of Miami's blitz packages targeting the middle of the O'Line? This is where all the youngsters are; i.e., Gilbert, a red-shirt Sophomore back-up that hadn't started until this year (due to Tartt injury) and is actually a tackle playing the guard spot, Maurkice Pouncy, a true So. starting in a different, more demanding position this year, & Michael Pouncy, another true So. (duh, his twin) starting on O'Line for the first time this year (did start on D'Line for the last 3-games last year). So three underclassmen, two with very limited game experience and one learning a new position & trying to direct them are supposed to pick-up all of those mis-direction blitz packages. I think that they did a great job preventing Tebow from getting sacked, hurried, etc., more than he did. All this new game experience against a very good & speedy defense (coupled with some film study of the game) will only make them that much better. Then what happens when Tartt returns from his sore shoulder? You now have a third 5th year Senior (same class as Trautwein & Watkins) back with the Pouncy twins sandwhiched between all that experience (the original Meyer O'Line strength line-up). Also, Gilbert can now ably sub at tackle or guard and we haven't even mentioned any of the other offensive linemen on the 2nd & 3rd strings yet. I only hope that the reserves are getting some decent playing time when they give the starters occasional breaks. I must admit, with all the new speed merchants that Florida is playing or rotating in at the "glamour positions", I have been trying to assess who's in those spots on a play-by-play basis and have not been keeping track of the "trench" substitutions. Any thoughts on O'Line back-up experience through the 1st two games?

I think one of the reasons why Miami is trying to fool everyone by saying they are so young is to disguise any losses that are sure to come...last year their excuse was that guys were playing more for themselves then for the team.....this year, putting the marketing machine in full press they want people thinking that they are young which in some way excuses the mistakes and losses...only the foolish cant see through this scam....


Florida's depth along the offensive line was lacking against Miami. Maurice Hurt was injured and James Wilson and Carl Johnson didn't see any action.

As for Miami's blitz packages, Tebow said on Monday that he was picking up the blitz just fine but was having a hard time relaying the message to his teammates.


So Rivals must be wrong in listing the Gator roster at 26 freshman and 25 sophomores? That would only give you 51 combined.

U2cane, the roster vs. who is playing in the game (i.e., the 2-deep & 3-deep depth charts at each position) are different entities. While Miami has about 18 Freshmen on their team's 2-deep chart, most are back-ups. The real Florida Sports Information Staff stat that should be looked at was the starting Junior/Senior #'s of the two squads (yielding a higher # of underclassmen on Florida's starting line-up). That said, I agree with you that this stat can sometimes be mis-leading in that eligibility-wise (or a player's actual game-time experience during a season) a true Sophmore can be considered a red-shirt Freshman (and so on). As for your numbers, I did a quick scan of the Florida roster on Rivals & on Gatorbait.com (a Rivals offiliate) and came up with many more on Rivals & a minimum of 11 more on the latter site so I don't know where you were looking. Even the Scout.com eligibility table had close to 60 and that contains "offered" athletes only.

More bs from UF here is the link so you know it not even close. UF did not start 10 juniors and seniors but 11.

Jim Taritt did not play.

Counting the special team it is 15. LOL funny as hell

Here is um numbers..

which is also 15 so someone is not getting there facts right..


Yeah a nole giving us a link to the nole rival website to report on the Florida Gators. Give me a break, lol go worry about your own team. You'll lose to both FLA and Miami so deal with that. What a joke.

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