Grading the Florida Gators vs. Miami (OH) game

By Adam Silverstein
September 6, 2010

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive grades the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Miami (OH) RedHawks in the first game of the 2010-11 season, which took place at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

QUARTERBACKS: C+
Starting off with perhaps the most difficult position to grade after Saturday, we have redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, who did some things right but also had a role in a number of miscues throughout the game in regard to the team’s snapping issues. If you look strictly at his numbers, going 17-of-25 for 113 yards and two touchdowns is a pretty solid day, but a few of his incompletions were bad misses and his second touchdown was basically a wounded duck he threw up on a fourth down that was luckily brought down by redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey in the end zone. Though it is tough to tell not being on the field, Brantley did not seem to show much leadership and even mishandled some bad snaps that he certainly could have corralled in. The offensive play calling did not help him either.

RUNNING BACKS: B-
Speaking of not getting a lot of help, the offensive line seemed unable to open up a single hole for the running backs at the start of the game. Aside from his 72-yard TD run, junior Jeff Demps carried the ball seven times 26 yards. The same goes for sophomore Mike Gillislee, who only notched 14 yards on five carries if you take away his 41-yard breakaway. But the truth is, both players did have those nice long runs and the rushers showed flashes as the game went on. We will also include freshman QB Trey Burton’s Wildcat snaps here, one of which went for a TD. Overall, the unit could have played better, but you have to give them some credit for putting the game out of reach.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the season opener after the jump…

WIDE RECEIVERS: D+
Aside from sophomore Omarius Hines, the Gators’ receivers just played downright bad. Redshir junior Deonte Thompson, trying to prove to everyone that his propensity for dropping the ball was a myth, proved his critics right once again mishandling a perfectly thrown deep touchdown toss by Brantley to start the game. Rainey was used the most out of the bunch on screen passes but managed to fumble a ball away early on. And redshirt senior Carl Moore was held catchless. Once again, the offensive play calling did not do this unit many favors – there were rarely opportunities to move the ball down field, but we have to grade the position based on what was called…and their performance was simply not very good.

TIGHT ENDS: C+
Without a single true tight end on the field Saturday, it was decently impressive what those called on to play the position were able to accomplish. Sure, Hines is WR playing the hybrid role and sure, Burton is not much of a TE after only playing the position for a few practices, but in the stead of converted redshirt freshman Jordan Reed, each performed fine in their particular assignments. With Reed coming back for the South Florida game, those who filled in will see less snaps there – which will ultimately be a good thing.

OFFENSIVE LINE: D-
Senior center Mike Pouncey delivered poor snaps 13 times, redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson was held out of the game due to a team suspension, both starting left tackles were out with injuries and redshirt junior right guard James Wilson (who started on the left side) went down with an injury of his own. Nevertheless, with guys playing out of position and the unit being as much of a patchwork as has been seen in years at Florida, they played terrible as a group. There is a reason that senior right tackle Marcus Gilbert (who played LT Saturday), was the only one in the unit who graded out as a Champion. Aside from the two nice holes opened up at the end of the game and the decent pass blocking that Brantley received when the Gators actually decided to throw it a bit down field, no unit on the team played worse as a whole than this one. Period.

DEFENSIVE LINE: A-
The exact opposite could be said for the Gators’ defensive line, which performed admirably and at times even dominated Miami (OH). The RedHawks’ leading rusher carried the ball five times for 19 yards and the team, as a whole, was only credited with four rush yards on the game. Redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard, the Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week, notched two sacks and five tackles. However, it was surprising to see Miami QB Zac Dysert with a good amount of time in the pocket on occasion.

LINEBACKERS: B+
No linebacker stood out more to us Saturday than sophomore Jon Bostic, who earned the starting role, was tackling all over the field and even nabbed an athletic interception at the start of the game. Redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins, redshirt senior A.J. Jones and senior Lorenzo Edwards also played well, but none did anything that spectacular to warrant a higher grade for the unit overall.

SECONDARY: A
Junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins was beastly all game – even if you forget about his big-time 67-yard interception return for a TD. Jenkins was a tackling machine and swatted balls in a Joe Haden-like manner. Senior CB Moses Jenkins had been playing admirably until he hyperextended his elbow, an injury that brought redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown (who otherwise may have sat with a sprained ankle) into the game. What did Brown do for you? He corralled an impressive interception (making sure to get his feet down in the process) to close the game. Of course there was also freshman Matt Elam, who played nickel corner rather than his natural safety position; all he did was break-up a pass in the end zone and notch four tackles.

And then there are the safeties. Senior Ahmad Black – with a team-high 12 tackles and a 40-yard interception return – was truly the leader of the unit like he had hoped to be all summer and fall. Redshirt freshman Josh Evans, filling in for suspended junior Will Hill, was not that impactful and is one of the reasons why RedHawks’ receiver Armand Robinson notched 111 yards on the Gators’ defense Saturday. Nevertheless, the unit as a whole was impressive and collected three interceptions.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-
Return-wise, Demps and Gillislee played fine, totaling 121 yards on four Miami kickoffs. Senior Chas Henry’s one punt – a 27-yarder – was OK as well, but junior Caleb Sturgis missing his lone 44-yard field goal (badly) and shanking one of five extra points (in what was a closer game than it should have been) was simply unacceptable. A easily-forgotten punt pressure early on could have been a momentum-changer, but the Gators failed to capitalize. We decided to grade the returners out at an A, which along with the pressure on the first miffed punt, is the only thing that helped the grade here appear respectable.

COACHING: C-
Defensively, it did not look like Florida missed a beat, even after losing their defensive coordinator, secondary coach and four of their best players to the NFL. New DC Teryl Austin seemed to have the Gators primed and ready to attack, calling some nice blitzes and knowing when to throw a few extra guys in the secondary. Offensively, no one can be questioned as much as offensive coordinator Steve Addazio. Also the offensive line coach, Addazio’s position players simply did not play well – even as a patchwork unit. If Pouncey did not exhibit snapping problems in practice, then you cannot blame Addazio for that, but the rest of the group should have been better prepared at their respective positions. Play calling, while done with the input of QB coach Scot Loeffler and WR coach Zach Azzanni, is left up to Addazio in the end and it was, for lack of a better word, bland. Florida hoped to get the ball in the hands of its playmakers – that much was obvious – but seemingly refused to spread the field and give Thompson and Moore additional opportunities to catch the ball for serious chunks of yardage. Then again, perhaps some of Pouncey’s fumbles negated plays that otherwise would have gone down the field – we just don’t know. And then you have head coach Urban Meyer saying that Azzanni simply forgot to play redshirt freshman WR Andre Debose? Meyer’s depressed and enraged looks on the sideline were certainly understandable, but even after he took Brantley aside for a one-on-one talk, nothing seemed to be fixed. The Gators were lucky to get out of there alive.

OVERALL: D+
As much as you want to give Florida the benefit of the doubt about their performance Saturday, you have to look at what was actually accomplished on the field and compare that to what the team is capable of doing. There is no question that the defense played well and, without such a strong performance, there is a legitimate shot that Florida could have been upset. However, the offense’s ineptitude – Meyer called it incompetent – was the glaring problem. The Gators can and will play better this season, but it is up to them how much improvement is made before next Saturday against South Florida.

17 Comments

  1. g8ter27 says:

    I thought during the game I was seeing things and that Pouncey was just choking at his new position But then I saw the play back and yep…they are asking Mike it appears to pull on every play. So of course Mike is pulling out before he snaps the ball as he did last year at guard..but of course this is diferent when you are in charge of getting the ball to Brantley…plain and simple…that does not work, it will not work and if Addazio keeps trying it we will lose 5 games this year with a team that should lose maybe 1. The play calling has sucked, no imagination at all….everyone sees this, he must change it now or ese Urban needs to change the calling duties. We got by last year with this bc of Tim and our defense, but this is getting old. Way too much talent out there to play like this..hope that line is back to ful strength this week.

  2. Tim says:

    Not much to argue with here. I would probably give the special teams a C instead of a B-.

  3. Dan R. says:

    From my view in the Touchdown Terrace it looked like the defender got his hand in on Deonte’s “drop”.
    Here’s some video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC25G9DgZeQ&feature=player_embedded

  4. Preston C. says:

    Just wanted to comment, at the game it was easy to blame Addazio for the poor production of offense, however, after checking out the drive-chart for the game, it is clear that the fumbles were the issue.

    http://www.ufoffense.blogspot.com

    Check out how fumbles killed every drive.

    Preston C.

  5. scooterp says:

    My first reaction was that your assessment was way to kind. Looking at it now, the defensive performance somewhat off-set the offensive side of the ball. It’s tough to put any blame on Brantley since he had no idea where the ball was going to be snapped from one play to the next; and he sure did throw impressive bubble screens all game long. Not taking care of the football and the coaches unwilling to address it was the ultimate failure for Saturday’s chaos. You would think that maybe after the 4th time a snap squibbed past Brantley’s feet Dazz would have shuffled the line around, but I watched into the 3rd Qtr as bad snap #9 bounced off Brantley’s shoe laces, then #11 sailed over his head. NOTHING CHANGED.
    To summarize I feel most (if not all) of this, falls on the coaching from the offensive side of the ball.

  6. Patrick Telan says:

    I agree that Addazio’s playcalling is about as imaginative as the engineers who came up with the Honda element (box car)….However, I can understand to some degree keeping the playbook simple for this first game so as to not show off our “new offense” to the SEC foes….hmmmmm….However, I would have thought that a HUGE priority in this game would have been to build confidence for our QB and it would have made sense after 3 “kickball pitch” type snaps, to have moved him under center….It also would have made sense to open up our passing playbook to something other than the long ball to Deonte (which has about a 1 in 10 chance of succeeding based on past results) or the swing pass to Demps in the flats (which we run about 60% of all of our pass plays)…..Yes, I am busting on Addazio because his playcalling has been incredibly predictable the past 2 seasons and the mere fact alone that Ohio held our offense to minus 16 yards through 3 Quarters at the Swamp should have caused him to come out publicly and apologize to the players and Gator Nation for putting such a crummy product on the field. The snap problems with Pouncey could not have been just a fluke development on Sept 4th……I truly hope that Addazio can utilize the tools he has while allowing RB’s to get into a flow….changing them up every play seems a bit much…..I almost feel like I am venting after a loss but hopefully Addazio can bounce back…I know that our players can and will.

  7. John Shanks says:

    Great summary, thank you. I still have on my rose colored glasses. The defense was much better than I thought. It rarely looked confused and I didn’t see a lot of missed tackles or blown assignments. They looked ready, which is a great reflection on Coach Austin. Addazio was bad, it seemed like he was reading off last years probability charts. The option with Brantley is stupid, the linebackers barely even look at him and he carries himself too poorly for it, he’ll get leveled.

    I was hoping this year we would actually run the spread because the Tebow crutch was gone. Maybe next week.

  8. Mike says:

    Addazio needs to be fired. There really is no other solution.

  9. Phuq werner says:

    Brantley running the option is seriously tempting fate, no defense fears Brantley running the ball two guys are gonna key on Demps, and one guy is going to de-cleat Brantley, and our season will be virtually over…with Burton or Reed as the QB

  10. Oscar says:

    Agree. Addazio’s play calling is just terrible. This is a team that we should have beaten by 40 points, they were that bad last year. Playcalling was extremely conservative, this is supposed to be when you fine tune your offense for the tougher games ahead. The whole idea of we don’t want to show everything the offense can do is BS in my opinion. Addazio looks lost, his unit looks lost, and we have all witnessed his ineffectiveness as offensive coordinator last year. He needs to figure out how to use the weapons he has, strong-armed, accurate quarterback, fast receivers. The sweeps and options will be more effective once we prove we can pass the ball with some consistency.

  11. Timmy T says:

    Fix the snap nonsense, and all should be well. No kind of rythym (sp) can be accomplished with the crap we saw Saturday. Don’t go in the tank yet, Gator Nation, Trust me, we are gonna be tough to beat.

  12. Timmy T says:

    Mike, Addazio may need to be relieved of the play calling duties, but he is an excellent O-line guy, and as shown this off-season, a valuable asset to the team as an assistant head coach. Firing him would be silly.

  13. Aligator says:

    People, We are not saving anything for other games, this is imaginative as Addazio will get. He has been around this system for a while and he is steeped in the Big Ten grind it out and get an ugly win mentality. He does not know how to stretch it out or play to win and it is going to kill us while this offense gets it legs. Our Defense and special teams is going to save our butts week in and week out while the offense looks like they are sputtering along all season.

    We sputtered along last season with amazing talent, this season is going to be ugly unless Meyer wakes up.

  14. SC Gator says:

    Our play calling is always bland the first two games. It remains to be seen if Addazio will open up the playbook after that.

    Then, given how poorly we executed the bland plays…

  15. swampbabe says:

    Has anyone heard a word about moving Pouncey? No. WTH? How bad is Roby if we would rather risk old butterfingers at center? Guy’s too busy trying to do his old job to do his new one. Frankly, I am stunned that he was allowed to play all game at center. Brantley totally got shafted in his first attempt to take control of the team. He should have been set up to put on a show, instead he was set up to be ringmaster of a three ring circus.

    We played better last year when 2/3 of our team had the damn flu.

  16. gsogator says:

    I agree with your grading although the special teams may have been high because of the kicking.

  17. Kurt says:

    Disagree with the A rating for the defensive line. The Defensive Tackles definitely graded out as A, but the DE position was a C plus at best. No consistent rush or pressure from the DE positiion. Needs to improve for the Gators as season progresses, as DE’s were not even playing against SEC caliber Offensive Tackles or competition.

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