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REPORT CARD: Gators grade out at 91.8 percent

Changing up the weekly grades a bit. I'm sure everyone will enjoy...

GAINESVILLE -- Florida junior Brandon James is Gator Clause's player of the week for his contributions against Arkansas. James had a two-yard touchdown catch, executed a fake punt for a first down and recovered a fumble on special teams. And, if not for a blocking penalty, James would have also had a punt return for a touchdown. Player of the week runners up include sophomore strong safety Ahmad Black (blocked field goal), sophomore cornerback Joe Haden (interception), freshman running back Jeffrey Demps (two touchdowns).

QUARTERBACKS 90 percent
Junior quarterback Tim Tebow, competing with a sore back, tossed his first interception of the season in the third quarter against Arkansas. He made up for the error, however by leading an impressive touchdown drive to begin the fourth quarter. Tebow has missed on a few deep passes the past two games but he leads the SEC in passing efficiency with a league-best completion percentage of 61.7 percent. He also has the highest quarterback rating in the SEC (148) and leads the league in touchdown-to-interception ratio (plus-seven).

RUNNING BACKS 94 percent
Underclassmen running backs Chris Rainey and Jeffrey Demps combined for 206 yards rushing. Demps scored a 36-yard touchdown on first down-and-30 in the second quarter, bailing out his penalty-prone offensive line. He also scored with a minute left in the game. Rainey rushed for a 75-yard score in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Some say Rainey and Demps rushing yards were deceiving because many of the yards came in the fourth quarter. Another way to view it, these speedy backs are serious weapons in any fourth quarter when opposing defenses are slower.

RECEIVERS 92 percent
Senior Louis Murphy (five catches, 70 yards) turned in his best game of the season and junior Percy Harvin had a touchdown catch. Junior Carl Moore and redshirt freshman Deonte Thompson got involved. They had two receptions each for a 68 yards combined.

OFFENSIVE LINE 89 percent
Take away the penalties and Florida coach Urban Meyer said on Monday that the offensive line played its best game of the season. Florida had two 100-yard rushers for the first time since 1997. Eight penalties and one sack subtract from the total.

PLAY CALLING 94 percent
Florida scored every time it reached the red zone (3-for-3) and scored a touchdown on a first down-and-30 situation. Also, the Gators converted 3-of-3 fourth-down chances.

SPECIAL TEAMS 97 percent
Aside from the blocking penalty on Brandon James' would-be punt return for a touchdown, the Gators were at their best on special teams. Chas Henry averaged 46 yards per punt and placed two inside the Arkansas 20. James successfully faked a punt and also recovered a fumble on punt defense. Ahmad Black blocked a field goal.

DEFENSIVE LINE 88 percent
The Gators registered four sacks but allowed Arkansas running back Michael Smith to gain 133 yards on 20 carries (an average of 6.7 yards per carry). UF freshman Matt Patchan recorded his first career sack.

LINEBACKERS 89 percent
Arkansas' crossing patterns caught the Gators' linebackers by surprise as Arkansas quarterback Casey Dick threw for 220 yards. A.J. Jones forced a fumble and Brandon Hicks, making his first career start, had six tackles.

SECONDARY 93 percent
Defensive backs Major Wright and Joe Haden led the Gators in tackles (11 each). Haden had an interception at the goal line to end a scoring threat. Ahmad Black made several touchdown-saving tackles.

OVERALL 91.8 percent
These days the Florida Gators' toughest critics are their own fans. But despite what you might read on a message board, Florida is playing like one of the best teams in the Southeastern Conference. No.11 Florida (4-1, 2-1 in SEC) is leading the league in scoring average (36 points) and is ranked third in average scoring defense (11.4 points). The Gators played above both of those averages against Arkansas.

-jo-

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I like your positive vibe, it's refreshing. I remember what Meyer said about the offense the past few weeks, "AWFUL" were his words.
He said that since they were 1-11 on 3rd down vs. Ole Miss and at one point they were 2-9 vs. Arkansas. 3-20 total. That tells me the offense is very inconsistent despite a Heisman winning trophy winner at QB and with tons of weapons at his disposal.That 3-20 on third down wasn't against elite teams either we are talking Ole Miss and Arkansas. I'm not saying there horrible but they are no where near the LSU's or Georgia or Bama's caliber. Seems like the offensive firepower is all there just not sure how to put it all together. I'm hopeful Meyer and Mullin and figure it out.

That's a good stat, Rich. Usually, when the Gators' offense is really clicking, it seems they're never faced with a third down. Against a defense like LSU's, one would think that the Gators' home run capabilities will be limited and the offense will need to sustain a drive or two.

-jo-

Tebow with a sore back?

Are you sure about this?

Jo, is it me or has Damn Mullen thrown one of our most productive plays the WR screen out the play book? Kentucky ran it to perfection against Bama and it brought back memories. At times it seems like the WR are the best blockers on the field. Anything on Spikes? He didn't play like a 1st rounder saturday, he has to be lights out Saturday night. BTW,keep up the good work Jo.

gaGator,

Spikes was caught in some mismatches against Arkansas and rest assured LSU was watching. I'd look for LSU to attack Florida in a similar fashion (high-low crossing routes).

As for the receiver screen pass, using this play too much would allow defenses to recognize it. Overuse could result in an interception for a touchdown. Just my thoughts, playing devil's advocate.

As for Tebow's sore back ... yep, it was a little tender last Saturday but nothing serious.

-jo-

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