Grading the Florida at South Carolina game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will grade the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the South Carolina Gamecocks Saturday afternoon on the road in Columbia, SC.

QUARTERBACK: B
Grading Tim Tebow week-in and week-out has proven to be a difficult task. He was good for 199 yards passing and two touchdowns, including a deep bomb to wide receiver Riley Cooper and a record-breaking run. Tebow had Cooper open in the end zone on two other occasions; once he slightly overthrew the ball, but the second one have been caught by the receiver. On the ground, he averaged only 1.6 yards on 16 carries, the second consecutive game he has totaled less than two yards per carry on average. That is worrisome. I originally had Tebow graded a little lower but gave him a little boost for what could should have been. He still needs to get the ball out sooner, especially with the offensive line struggling in protection (two more sacks).

RUNNING BACKS: B-
Why does Emmanuel Moody continue to get single-digit carries each week? This game he received three which were turned into 35 yards and a touchdown on an 11.7 average. Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey were less impressive, averaging 3.6 and 4.6 yards respectively while gaining a combined 85 yards. Running backs need to get into a rhythm. Short dive plays (which are easily being schemed against) and limited attempts impede that from happening. Moody is adoubtful this week with an ankle injury.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the South Carolina game after the jump…
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Week 11: No. 1 Florida Gators at South Carolina

Location: Williams-Brice Stadium – Columbia, SC [Capacity: 80,250]
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: 75°F – Partly Sunny

TV: CBS / CBSHD
Online: CBSSports.com.
Sirius: 218; XM: 200

Florida Gators South Carolina Gamecocks
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Steve Spurrier
Record: 9-0 (7-0) Record: 6-4 (3-4)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -17.5, O/U 43.5
Head-to-Head Stats: Gainesville Sun

KEEP AN EYE ON…
- Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow…who has rushed for nine touchdowns this season, bringing him to 52 for his career, breaking the all-time SEC record held by Herschel Walker (Georgia, 1980-82). Tebow broke Walker’s record two weeks ago with a 23-yard score against Georgia. He has also set the SEC career record for rushing yards by a quarterback, passing Matt Jones (Arkansas, 2001-04).
- South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier…who is taking over play calling duties for the first time all season.
- Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes…who returns to action this week following a one-game suspension for attempting to gouge the eyes of Georgia Bulldogs running back Washaun Ealey two weeks ago. Spikes has missed three of the last four games, two of them due to injury.
- Special camouflage jerseys…which will be worn by the Gamecocks as part of the Wounded Warrior Project to honor military veterans.
- Florida’s 2009 senior class…who go into Saturday’s game with a 44-6 SEC record and have a chance to becoming the winningest class in conference history. The SEC record of 45 wins is shared by the 1996 Gators, 1994 Alabama Crimson Tide, 1998 Tennessee Volunteers and 2005 Georgia Bulldogs.

STREAKS:
- The Gators are in the middle of the longest winning streak in school history with 19 consecutive victories. They also hold the longest active winning streak in the NCAA and the best in the SEC in the past 15 years since the Auburn Tigers won 20 straight from 1993-94. 18 of Florida’s 19 wins have been by a double digit margin.
- Florida has won 11 straight games against Eastern Division opponents and three straight against South Carolina.
- The Gators have won 17 of its last 18 games against the Gamecocks, with its last loss coming in Columbia four years ago. Spurrier is 1-3 against his former team while Florida is 22-4-3 all-time against South Carolina.
- The Gators lead the SEC in rushing offense (240.7) and third-down efficiency (.451). They also come in No. 2 in total offense (438.7) and scoring offense (35.0).
- On defense, the Gators have only surrendered eight touchdowns all season (fewest of any team in the nation) and average 10.1 points per game (No. 1 in the nation). The defense has also only allowed 12 field goals for a total of 91 points and has recorded eight interceptions over the past three weeks (best in the nation).
- South Carolina is on a seven-game home winning streak, though they have never defeated the No. 1 team in the nation.

Read OGGOA’s complete Florida vs. South Carolina preview after the jump…

Continue Reading » Week 11: No. 1 Florida Gators at South Carolina

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FOUR BITS: Meyer/Spurrier, Matthews practices, Kiper’s Big Board, Scripps Heisman poll

1 » One Southeastern Conference coaching relationship that is surprisingly both polite and friendly is that between Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer and South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier. Both spoke to the media on Wednesday and exchanged pleasant comments about their respective opponents. Meyer said he respects the appreciation Gators fans have for Spurrier and still sees his success all over The Swamp. “It’s always going to be there,” Meyer said. “Just walk out of the stadium and look on the wall at a bunch of great stuff Coach has done. I think it’s still there, and it should be.” Spurrier said he still roots for Florida when he is not going head-to-head with the Gators and thinks that the team is playing perfectly fine. “Sometimes they were so good last year, maybe [they] haven’t been quite as proficient I guess, scoring as many points,” he said. “They score when they have to and they’ve won all their close games.”

2 » Another tidbit Spurrier dropped on the media Wednesday was that injured defensive end Cliff Matthews, who had previously been ruled out with a shoulder injury, could return to face Florida on Saturday. Matthews was running around at practice on Monday; if he does play, it would allow South Carolina to revert back to the 4-3 formation that it has gotten away from since he initially got hurt.

3 » Junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap continues to skyrocket up ESPN analyst Mel Kiper’s NFL Draft Big Board. Moving up from No. 7 last week to No. 4 on Wednesday, Dunlap’s “physical tools are off the charts” and he is potentially filled with “unlimited upside,” according to Kiper. [OGGOA has long held that Dunlap will easily be a top five selection and potentially the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.] Also on the list are junior cornerback Joe Haden, who held down the No. 11 spot for a second consecutive week, and senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, who dropped one spot to No. 25. Kiper believes Haden is a “polished cover corner with tackling ability to match,” while he says Spikes is a “complete MLB, solid in all areas.”

4 » Following a less than stellar performance against the Vanderbilt Commodores, Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow once again lost the top spot in the Scripps Howard Heisman Trophy poll. Though he accounted for two touchdowns in the game, Tebow fell to No. 3 on the list, earning three first-place votes. Ahead of Tebow were Alabama Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram (4) and Houston Cougars QB Case Keenum (3), while Texas Longhorns QB Colt McCoy (0) and Stanford Cardinal RB Toby Gerhart (0) rounded out the top five. Voting tabulations are made on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, with each voter ranking a top five.

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Noah, Stamper, soccer/NCAA

1 » Not a lot of news came out of Monday’s weekly press conferences with head coach Urban Meyer and senior quarterback Tim Tebow, hence the absence of OGGOA‘s weekly post. One point Tebow did make to the press yesterday was that he is as healthy as can be. “I actually feel the best physically that I’ve felt in any season this late in the season,” Tebow said. “[My] body feels good and I feel refreshed, so that’s exciting going down the stretch.” Not receiving any more injections or special treatments is a testament to the work of strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti, whom Tebow credits for his health. “He did a really good job of just training me to be able to go out there and take hits. I felt like when I came into this season, I was in the best shape of my life.”

2 » Nick Friedell of the new ESPNChicago.com sat down with former Florida Gators forward/center Joakim Noah, now of the Chicago Bulls, for a wide-ranging interview on Monday. Noah touched on NBA fans hating him, making the playoffs with the Bulls, how he improved his game over the summer, the popularity of Tebow and his passion, respect and love for the University of Florida. “I felt like I was lucky enough to play on a team where guys really played for the right things,” Noah said of his time at Florida. “It wasn’t a question of who was scoring the ball or who was getting all the shots or anything like that. It was just all about winning.” He continued, “I think I went back [to Gainesville] three times this summer. I go back for a football game, and I go back for the elite camp for Coach [Billy] Donovan. And I think that’s something I’m going to do every year because I want to give back.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Tebow, Noah, Stamper, soccer/NCAA

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Grading the Florida vs. Vanderbilt game

Each week following a Florida Gators game, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive will grade the team position-by-position based on each unit’s performance. This week, we look at how the Gators fared against the Vanderbilt Commodores Saturday night at home in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

QUARTERBACK: C+
After two consecutive weeks of below-average play, Tim Tebow came back big against the Georgia Bulldogs last week in Jacksonville, FL. Back in The Swamp, Tebow still contributed to the victory but struggled mightily in the process. His numbers of 15-for-20 for 208 yards and a touchdown are misleading, considering 64 yards came on a meaningless late catch-and-run by tight end Aaron Hernandez, and his sole score through the air was on a tipped pass that wound up in the hands of wide receiver David Nelson. Sacked four times mostly because of his inability to get rid of the ball when under pressure, Tebow also struggled on the ground averaging 1.7 yards per carry on 16 attempts (27 yards). In mop-up duty, back-up John Brantley went 3-for-3 for 19 yards. For his two touchdowns (he also punched one in on the ground), Tebow gets a plus, but his performance was extremely average.

RUNNING BACKS: B+
Last week, I mentioned that “it is tough to expect this unit to make an impact when the three main players combined for 16 total attempts.” This week, Jeff Demps, Emmanuel Moody and Chris Rainey combined for 19 carries, though their averages were much better. Gaining 8.1, 4.3 and 3.0 yards per carry, respectively, the trio combined for 103 yards on the ground. In other words, they did the best they could with the limited attempts provided to them. For avoiding mistakes and contributing when given the opportunity, these guys played just fine.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the Vanderbilt game after the jump…
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Poll Reviews: Basketball, MVP, Spikes and Meyer

This week, OGGOA asked you five poll questions and responses were a plenty. Ranging from whether or not Florida Gators basketball should be in the preseason Top 25 polls to senior linebacker Brandon Spikes’ punishments, responses were both varied and interesting. So let’s stop wasting time and get straight to the results.

See the results of all five polls and a summary after the jump…
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SIX BITS: Wrapping up Florida vs. Vanderbilt

1 » Florida Gators linebackers have accounted for seven of the team’s last eight interceptions. That’s scary for opposing offenses considering the Gators secondary is so strong. Throw it short or throw it long, Florida looks to have a good chance to come up with a turnover. A.J. Jones had two against the Georgia Bulldogs and one vs. the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Brandon Spikes grabbed one of his own against Georgia, Ryan Stamper took one away from Georgia and another this week against the Vanderbilt Commodores, and Dustin Doe picked one off at Mississippi State.

2 » Winning streaks, touchdown records and overall solid play have been the toast of the Gators this season. But one of the most overlooked accomplishments has been that of punter Chas Henry and the special teams unit. Having previously not allowed a single punt return yard all season, Henry and the special teams finally let up, allowing Commodores returner Alex Washington to gain six yards on Henry’s 58-yard punt in the first quarter. Six yards? We’ll let that go. Just don’t let it happen again.

FOUR more BITS including Urban Meyer on the offense, tight end Aaron Hernandez’s dominance and the Gators’ ravenous defense AFTER THE JUMP…
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Florida breezes by Vanderbilt 27-3 in The Swamp

Looking to rebound from a week full of criticism and questions, the No. 1 Florida Gators (9-0, 6-0 SEC) did little to quiet their critics even though they rolled to a 27-3 victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores (2-8, 0-6 SEC) Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida extended its winning streak to a nation-high 19 games but continued to struggle on offense even through all of their personnel were healthy and active.

Senior quarterback Tim Tebow scored the 52nd rushing touchdown of his career in the third quarter and threw one that was tipped by senior wide receiver Riley Cooper to redshirt senior David Nelson with 9:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. Tebow ran 16 times for only 27 yards and went 15-for-20 for 208 yards through the air, including a 64-yard catch-and-run by sophomore tight end Aaron Hernandez in the fourth quarter. The Gators also scored on a 25-yard run by sophomore Jeff Demps in the first quarter and two field goals by sophomore kicker Caleb Sturgis of 27 and 45 yards in the first half.

Florida’s defense did not lose a step without senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, giving up only 199 yards of total offense to the Commodores. Redshirt senior linebacker Ryan Stamper grabbed an interception in Spikes’ stead. The special teams, however, did allow Vanderbilt’s senior punt returner Alex Washington to gain the first return yards on junior punter Chas Henry all season.

One week after finally showing signs of life by putting up 41 points on the Georgia Bulldogs, the Gators offense once again looked anemic, just as it did four of the five weeks prior. Along with Spikes, Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin and Oakland Raiders WR Louis Murphy watched from the sideline as both are on their team’s respective bye weeks.

Florida goes on the road to Columbia, SC, next week for its final Southeastern Conference regular season game this year against the South Carolina Gamecocks (6-4, 3-4 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 14. Full coverage will be available throughout the week here on OGGOA.

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