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Gator Grades: Murderball 2.0

Before I re-watch the tape of No. 10 Florida's 24-6 victory, here are some rapid reaction grades. ICYMI: Check out my gamer on UF's 24th straight season opening win too.  

OFFENSE - C+

Esteemed SB Nation college football writer Bill Connelly labeled Florida's ugly, yet effective ground-n-pound offense 'murderball' in his 2013 season preview. 

Perfect description. 

Although the Gators flashed potential improvements in the passing game -- QB Jeff Driskel started the game 10-of-11 -- the explosive plays still weren't there. UF again played to its identity: downhill running. The Return of the Mack (Brown) led the way (114 yards, two TDs), but Mark Herndon and Kelvin Taylor chipped in too. 

Driskel & Co. struggled in the second half, but they still controlled the clock/tempo (Will Muschamp's main goal) and ultimately forced the Rockets to say 'Uncle'. 

There's still a lot to be desired here, but bright spots (Brown, Valdez Showers, Gideon Ajagbe) emerged. 

Brent Pease called a vanilla game and got a vanilla result. We'll see just how many bullets he held next week versus Miami. 

Eas
(Dominique Easley)

DEFENSE - A

Florida was missing two of its best players (Antonio Morrison & Loucheiz Purifoy) and its top pass rusher had a quite afternoon (Dante Fowler Jr.), yet the Gators held last season's No. 32 ranked offense to 205 total yards, six points and just a single third-down conversion (1-of-13). 

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley propelled a nasty front-four, leading the team (along with Ronald Powell) with three quarterback hurries. 

Toledo's tempo caused some problems in the second half, but the Gators avoided any back-breaking plays. Speedy slot wideout Bernard Reedy talked lots of trash before the game, yet he was largly held in check by UF's deep secondary. 

Overall, Florida's young defense -- replacing seven starters from last season's unit -- played well against a formidable offense. 

SPECIAL TEAMS - B-

Redshirt freshman kicker Austin Hardin was 1-of-2 on field goal attempts, connecting on a 24-yarder while pushing a 39-yard attempt wide left. 

Marcus Roberson had several nice punt returns (a long of 38 yards), but All-American punter Kyle Christy struggled a bit, averaging just 38.3 yards on four kicks.

Florida's coverage units were solid, with freshman safety Keanu Neal really standing out. Dude was a missile on kickoff returns.   

Now it's your turn. Thoughts? Comments? Have at it. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Comments

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Good summary Jesse. I would say that Christy had a below average game but should bounce back nicely, I'm more concerned with Hardin not being able to hit from 39 yards.
The return and coverage units look just fine.

Defense looks to be the strength of the team again and scary thing is that it should only get better with the return of Morrison and Purifoy

The offense gets an incomplete. While the running game appears not to have missed a beat, the passing game still needs improvement.
Mack Brown had a solid game. Taylor had some nice runs at the end. Showers and Ajagbe are a welcome change of pace. And our best RB is still yet to play. Needless to say the RB position seems loaded with depth.
The passing game looked serviceable but without any flashy and exiting deep throws.
How much of that was by design to rely on the run or to hide any big time plays from the next opponent remains to be seen.
The O line was solid. The one busted play by Humphries led to Driskel's second fumble. Besides that they did pretty good.

We come in into this next game with a big advantage having played a 12 Noon game already in the heat against an up tempo/no huddle type offense. None of our guys seemed gassed or tired and we rotated our players without a problem. Yes Brown was tired after the second TD but we had no problem substituting for him for a few plays after that.

Good solid start to the season.
Go Gators!

I like easleys shirt. the gators are alien to Home and Home.

I sure hoope pease isnt using this same game plan for Miami next week. The Miami D looks better than last year and we cant afford to play like this in an OOCaway game. We need Mike Leach in here. He can bring the fun back to floridas Offense. How does toledos D get to our QB that much? We need to focus on recruiting Offensive players that arent overrated.

Gators look solid. Actually, we looked a lot like last year's team. On defense, that is excellent. On offense, eh, not so much. The running game was great, and Driskel looked much improved in the pocket. His passes were beautiful and with so much touch! My only complaint is that not enough downfield passing plays were called. In fact, hardly any.

All that being said, we have a strong, hungry team, with a lot of young talent and enough seasoned vets to lead the way.

Can't wait for Saturday. Home game for the Gators right here in my hometown!

Sucyco, did u watch the game? They had 1 returning starter on D. Anyone is gonna look good against that team. If Missouri scores more than we did then we are in trouble. We will be lucky to score 14 points next week. I sure hope our D shows up because Miamis D is better than last years and may be enough to allow their offense to win that game. Defense doesnt win championships if the offense cant score.

suicyco, nice one Jlo. No downfield passing because those lame receivers could not get open against Toledo, Toledo! Miami will swallow up that one dimensional offense and force driskell to pass which as you say his passes were beautiful, rigghttt.

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