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REPORT CARD: After further review, everyone is to blame except Brandon Spikes

GAINESVILLE -- As most of you know, we here at Gator Clause like to wait a few days after a game to hand out our weekly report card. One reason, we like to watch the game's replay a few times. (Talk about dedication. It was tough to watch Ole Miss 31, UF 30 the first time around.) Another reason, fewer knee-jerk reactions.

A few examples of a knee-jerk reactions have been filling up my inbox. Some are demanding that Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen be fired or demoted. (Check out this website.) Some want UF quarterback Tim Tebow to be benched. Others think redshirt freshman running back Chris Rainey and redshirt freshman receiver Deonte Thompson should both transfer.

Step away from the edge of the cliff, Gators fans. This loss was not unprecedented. Florida has never gone undefeated in the history of the program. No. 12 Florida (3-1) can still win the SEC East and still play for the SEC championship.

Now, I understand why Florida fans are upset. The Gators lost on Saturday to an Ole Miss team that hadn't won an SEC game since November of 2006. What I don't understand, why so much lack of faith in the Gators' offense? Florida gained 443 yards of total offense and did it despite three turnovers and only converting 1-of-11 third-down attempts. That's pretty remarkable.

Of course, that stat was only one of the confusing numbers produced from Saturday's upset. The most bizarre: Ole Miss beat the No.4 team in the country despite accumulating just as many penalties (10) as first downs.

ANYWAY, before we get to the report card, there is an injury report for today.

INJURIES
Running back Emmanuel Moody (high-ankle sprain) is doubtful for Saturday's game against Arkansas and so are left guards Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and Jim Tartt (shoulder). Carl Johnson is the projected starter at left guard for Saturday's game followed on the depth chart by James Wilson and Ronnie Wilson.

REPORT CARD
QUARTERBACKS
C
Tim Tebow passed for a season high (319 yards) and led two impressive touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. The quarterback loses points for his fumble in the third quarter and a half dozen poor passes.

RUNNING BACKS C
Percy Harvin averaged 8.2 yards per carry (10-82) and rushed for a brilliant 15-yard score in the fourth quarter. His fumble in the third quarter tempered his excellence, though. Emmanuel Moody left the game earlier with an injury (high-ankle sprain). Chris Rainey had three carries for nine yards. Kestahn Moore had a pair of impressive blocks but didn't do much else.

WIDE RECEIVERS B-
Harvin had a career day with 13 catches for 186 yards and a score. Louis Murphy only had four receptions. Aaron Hernandez's fumble hurt the overall grade. Deonte Thompson and Carl Moore didn't factor into the offense.

OFFENSIVE LINE C
Guards Jim Tartt and Marcus Gilbert left the game with injuries. Ole Miss' talented defensive linemen pressured Tebow consistently and sacked him three times.

PLAY CALLING
C-
Florida only converted 1-of-11 third-down chances. I'm no football coach, but that seems like a direct reflection of poor play calling. The coaching booth did well calling plays during the Gators' two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, but on the final drive of the game the decisions were questionable. Tebow was clearly off on his deep passes and by the time the final minute of the game rolled around, the Gators' coaches should have recognized this. Instead, Tebow missed Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin deep and the poor play calling put Florida in a difficult situation, third down-and-10. Rushing Tebow on fourth-and-1 with 55 seconds left was the correct call, by the way. Of course, Arkansas never would have seen the jump pass coming...Err, good thing I'm no coach.

DEFENSIVE LINE
B
Ends Jermaine Cunningham and Carlos Dunlap continue to impress. Both players had sacks. Lawrence Marsh had five tackles. Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead completed just 9-of-20 attempts.

LINEBACKERS
A
Middle linebacker Brandon Spikes might be the best player on the team. He had 13 tackles and stuffed Ole Miss twice on third-and-short opportunities. His pressure of Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead forced an interception.

SECONDARY
D
One bad play ruined it all.

SPECIAL TEAMS
F
Florida should have kicked a field goal in the first quarter instead of going for it on fourth-and-3 from the Ole Miss 30. Why not give kicker Jonathan Phillips a shot from 47 yards? He hasn't missed a field goal this season. The Gators also allowed Ole Miss to convert a 15-yard fake punt, which extended a drive. UF punter Chas Henry was off his game. Lineman Phil Trautwein missed a blocking assignment late in the fourth quarter, allowing Ole Miss' Kentrell Lockett to block Phillips' extra-point attempt.

-jo-

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check the all time stats... the rebels are 12-10-1 all time against the gators. Do we need to look at three of the last four meetings?

Looks like my old report card. LoL

Wow, last week you were talking about this team having the best O in FB now after one loss everyone wants to blame somebody. Blame only your head coach, he runs a Gimmick O that depends on the QB running 80% of the time. Recruiting is suffering because the top players want to go to pros and playing for a college team that runs this type of O doesn't help them. Zooks players have left and now we are seeing Meyers recruits stink up the place.

Still think UF has one of the best offenses -- and teams -- in the country. I've written that already.

-jo-

Here is the voice of reason:

I will never understand NOT kicking FG when you are within FG range of your kicker (typically anything up to 55 yards for most kickers). Why would you want to do anything else when you are leading, when you are tied, when you are even behind in the 1st 3 quarters.
The obvious exceptions are in the 2nd half when you are down by 4 TD's etc... or in the last 5 minutes of game when you need a TD ot tie or take the lead, or maybe when you are on the 1 yard line and your defense is great (and you know its great by how it has played for the last 10+ games and you really feel you have got to have the TD (to tie or take the lead).
What I don't understand is how you don't kick the FG in 1st half (from 47 yards) and even more important to "WIN" the game in the last minute of the game (from 49 yards).
How many times has FLA been beat by teams who opted to kick the FG rather than play stupid and go for a 4th down conversion (how about last year vs AUB)?

Here is another voice of reason point:

How many teams rely on their QB to run (who is not fast or elusive) as much as we rely on Tebow? Answer: NONE or NONE that will win a championship.
Let's see: Last year we lost to Aub(who was their slow-footed senior starting QB who beat us in the swamp with maybe a run or two)?
Let's see: Last year we lost to LSU (who was their decent moving qb - Matt Flynn - who maybe ran 3-4 times in the game)?
Let's see: Last year we lost to GA (who was the average moving qb - Matt Stafford who ran 3-4 times in the game)?
Lets's see: Last year we lost to MI (who was the somewhat immobile qb who beat us in Bowl who maybe ran 3-4 times)?
So here is the quiz class: If FLA can lose 4 times in one year to teams who have QB's who hardly ever run and who most everyone would say don't have the athletic ability of Tebow, exactly how important is it that Mullen calls plays that has Tebow running 10-15 times/game???
What a CROC!!!

Jo--

UF has the best offensive players in the country, but a very poor offensive scheme..there's a big difference.

GumbyGator,

I disagree only because the stats tell a different story. Florida lost to Ole Miss but still gained nearly 450 yards of total offense. The week before, the Ole Miss defense held Vanderbilt to 202 total yards of offense but lost to the 'Dores 23-17. Why did this happen? Because Ole Miss turned the ball over six times against Vandy. The roles were reversed on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida out gained Ole Miss considerably and lost 31-30. Why? Three turnovers had a lot to do with it.

Florida avoids one of those two second-half turnovers and I'm writing this week about how Percy is a Heisman candidate and Tim Tebow led the first fourth-quarter comeback of his career.

-jo-

Davey,

Tebow wears Crocs, but I don't think it's a croc that he runs the ball. Personally, I think Tebow needs to run the ball more now that Moody is injured (high-ankle sprain). Expect plenty of carries from Tebow against Arkansas.

-jo-

Total yards aren't the only stat to look at. What about 1 for 11 on 3rd down conversions?

i don't think tebow running more is a good idea, but i agree that is probably going to happen going forward. i think defeneses are not worried about tebow running b/c its 2-3 yards and LB's can easily pony up on him...honestly, I think he's kinda slow from what I see on TV. Also, if the Oline can't block well for a RB, how can they block well for Tebow runs? I've said it a couple times now, but the problem with the spread is the blocking schemes are too complicated for the Olineman. Do you think Tratwein, Watkins, and 2 Pounceys are untalented chopped liver? we were told this year's line was best in class. why are they giving up so many sacks and running plays getting blown up when they are so talented? Blocking schemes are too complicated and zone blocking is too hard to learn when you only get 20 practice hours per week.

The O-line practices together all summer, so I'm assuming they know the blocking schemes. They're down to a fourth-string guard this week. That's a weakness. Also, Ole Miss respected the run enough last Saturday to leave UF's receivers in man coverage many times. Tebow just missed his receivers every time he went over the top.

-jo-

You just got the Deadspin bump Goody. Way to break stories man. You and Deadspin are tabbed next to each other on my browser.

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