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REPORT CARD: Don't knock Mullen; Play calling grades an 'A'

GAINESVILLE -- I've decided to post my weekly Gators' report card on Tuesday. I know most reporters and websites do this right after the game, but I like to watch the replay on Monday night, eat a plate of nachos and then give my full opinion on the game. I feel like this way the review will be more complete. And we won't forget to leave out the receivers this time.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow had one of his puniest games statistically on Saturday in the Gators' 30-6 win against Tennessee. Cause for concern? Of course not. This is a different Tebow this year, folks. Get used to it. He's bulked up a bit this season, he's a step slower and he's being asked to play a different role. (At least so far.) Tebow completed just 8-of-15 passes for 96 yards and rushed for 26 carries on 12 attempts on Saturday but he did toss two touchdowns and, for the third game, didn't throw an interception or lose a fumble. He didn't get an 'A' because some of his rushes could have been passes and he didn't see a wide open Percy Harvin in the third quarter. It would have been a touchdown.

Emmanuel Moody averaged 6.1 yards per carry and was a much better back than Tennessee's Arian Foster. I spoke wth Moody on Monday and he told me his playing weight is up five pounds this season (to 205) in order to take the pounding from SEC defenses. Moody got a taste of what SEC defenses are like on Saturday. He wouldn't exactly say that Tennessee's defense played dirty, but Moody did say there were plenty of extra-curricular activities going on at the bottom of the dog piles. Chris Rainey ran well at times but missed a few reads. Percy Harvin looked like his usual explosive self.

Paging Louis Murphy. Louis Murphy where are you? Tight end Aaron Hernandez seems to be Tebow's favorite target these days. And what was up with that shovel pass to Hernandez on the first drive of the game? It worked, but I wouldn't call that play very often.

Those option plays didn't go so smoothly. Other than that, the O-line played well. Tebow was pressured a few times but wasn't harassed. Jim Tartt played looked good in his return to the starting line-up.

Everyone needs to lay off Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen. What's the problem, folks? Ever watch a football game? When your team goes up 20-0 at the half against a team as bad as Tennessee, the last thing you want to do is help that bad team score points. Florida didn't throw the ball downfield much. It was a shrewd decision. Why? Because that kept the ball far away from the one Volunteer who could have changed the game quickly, Tennessee safety Eric Berry. Mullen was wise in letting Moody, Tebow, Harvin and Rainey rush the ball and get the game over with as quickly as possible. Sometimes less is the correct call.

Sophomore defensive end Carlos Dunlap is gradually improving. He had five tackles, recovered a fumble and deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage. Junior defensive end Jermaine Cunningham was limited by a knee injury. Did anyone see Terron Sanders chase down Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton. Gotta be embarrassing for that guy.

Florida's best unit on Saturday. Brandon Spikes talked a big game and backed it up with 10 tackles (seven solo). A.J. Jones had seven tackles and a pass break-up. He might be the defenses most improved player. Ryan Stamper shined as well with five tackles, a tackle for a loss and a fumble recovery.

Janoris Jenkins was excellent. The true freshman had an interception and also forced a fumble. Those were game-changing plays. Joe Haden is playing like an all-SEC corner. He had eight tackles and a pass break-up. Wondy Pierre-Louis missed tackles and just looked out of place among Florida's other defenders.

Major Wright had eight tackles and a pass break-up. Ahmad Black continues to impress. He assisted on four tackles and also broke up a pass. Will Hill is Florida's special teams dynamo.

Brandon James scored a touchdown and returned the opening kickoff more than 50 yards. Chas Henry had one punt for 57 yards. Major Wright had an incredible play on punt coverage. Kicker Jonathan Phillips made 3-of-3 field goals.





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