Grading the Florida vs. Alabama game (+ FSU)

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 Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2009 SEC Championship in Atlanta, GA. Following those grades, OGGOA has provided its overlooked grades (without explanations) for the Florida State Seminoles game.

QUARTERBACKS: B
Florida seemingly decided to put the entire offense on senior quarterback Tim Tebow’s shoulders. How else could you explain the 35 passing attempts and team-high 10 carries? On the ground, Tebow rushed for 63 yards. Through the air, he completed 57 percent of his passes for 247 yards and a touchdown. But he also threw a costly interception into the end zone and came up short on numerous occasions. Like the strategy or not, Tebow was responsible for almost every offensive snap of an offense that failed to get the job done against a stout Alabama defense.

RUNNING BACKS: I
Inexplicably, Florida’s running backs touched the ball a total of three times on Saturday. Three. In the Gators’ first 12 games, sophomore Jeff Demps averaged eight carries (7.7 yards), redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey averaged seven touches (6.4 yards) and redshirt junior transfer Emmanuel Moody averaged five rushes (7.3 yards). That is a total of 20 running plays and well over 100 yards of rushing that were not part of Florida’s offensive game plan. The only possible grade for this unit is “incomplete.”

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the SEC Championship after the jump…
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Grading the Florida vs. Florida Intl. 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 Florida International Golden Panthers on Saturday afternoon in The Swamp.

QUARTERBACKS: A+
While his 17-of-25 completion numbers do leave something to be desired, it is tough to dock any points from senior Tim Tebow for his performance on Saturday. Piling up 102 yards on the ground including a career-long 55-yard touchdown run as well as 215 yards and two more touchdowns through the air, Tebow was his old self. Then again, he was playing against FIU. More impressive on Saturday was redshirt sophomore back-up John Brantley, who went 9-for-13 for 146 yards and three touchdowns. Tebow and Brantley combined to spread the ball around to nine receivers, seven of whom had more than one catch on the day.

RUNNING BACKS: B
Redshirt junior transfer Emmanuel Moody sat out the game, though his classmate Christopher Scott got to see action late in the game. Sophomore Jeff Demps and redshirt sophmore Chris Rainey started. Even so, there were only 22 carries dished out between the three, with Demps getting nine for 46 yards (5.1 average), Rainey taking four for 30 yards and a touchdown (7.5 average) and Scott running nine for 26 yards (2.9 average). Rainey, however, added 61 yards and a touchdown in the receiving game. Nothing too impressive or surprising overall against a porous FIU defense.

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the FIU game after the jump…
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UF trounces FIU, senior class sets SEC record

Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes ran an interception back 41 yards for a touchdown, senior quarterback Tim Tebow took off on a career-long 55-yard touchdown run and there was still 9:18 left in the first quarter. That was how Saturday started for the No. 1 Florida Gators (11-0, 8-0 SEC), who defeated the Florida International Golden Panthers (3-8, 3-4 Sunbelt) 62-3 in a game that was a showcase for the Gators’ record-breaking senior class and lengthened the longest winning streak in school history and currently in the nation to 21 consecutive victories.

Running onto Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for the second-to-last time in their Florida careers, the group ended the game as the winningest all-time Southeastern Conference senior class with a record of 46-5. Tebow would take seven caries for 102 total yards on the ground while accounting for 215 more with two touchdowns through the air on 17-for-25 passing. It was the fifth time in his career that Tebow rushed for more than 100 yards. Redshirt sophomore QB John Brantley took over for Tebow early in the third quarter, compiling 146 yards passing and three touchdowns as well as 23 yards on three carries.

Redshirt sophomore running back Chris Rainey had a monster game of his own, carrying four times for 30 yards and a touchdown while also reeling in three receptions for 61 yards and a score. Both of Rainey’s touchdowns came in the second quarter, putting the Gators up 28-0 with 9:41 left in the first half. Fellow redshirt sophomore wide receiver Deonte Thompson led the Gators in both receptions (5 – career high) and receiving yards (66). Nine Florida players had receptions on Saturday, seven with more than one including seniors Riley Cooper (48 yards, touchdown), redshirt David Nelson (45 yards) and Brandon James (15 yards) as well as redshirt freshmen Omarius Hines (50 yards, touchdown) and Frankie Hammond, Jr. (38 yards, touchdown).

Defensively for the Gators, redshirt sophomore Jaye Howard recorded a team-high seven tackles, senior linebackers Ryan Stamper and Dustin Doe each recorded a sack and redshirt junior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh split another with Howard. Spikes’ interception at 13:10 in the first quarter was the sole turnover of the game for either team. Florida’s defense held FIU to only 189 total offensive yards (most of which came against the second and third units), while only allowing the Golden Panthers to convert 4-of-15 third-down attempts.

Sophomore kicker Caleb Sturgis continued to struggle, missing his fourth consecutive field goal attempt – this time a 53-yarder. Sturgis, however, made all eight of his extra points while redshirt senior Jonathan Phillips had his sole attempt blocked in the fourth quarter. James was silent in the return game, bringing back two kickoffs for 53 yards and four punts for 25 yards. Coverage teams allowed FIU an average of 24.9 yards per return on seven chances.

Florida finishes its 2009 regular season against the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles on Nov. 28 at 3:30 p.m. The Gators will wear special Nike Pro Combat jerseys for the game, which will feature an appearance from ESPN College GameDay and is also the last in The Swamp for the 2009 senior class.

Game Notes:
- Junior tight end Aaron Hernandez missed the first quarter on a coach’s decision. Head coach Urban Meyer would not elaborate.
- Redshirt junior linebacker A.J. Jones injured his MCL during the game. He is out for FSU, after that to be determined.
- Redshirt junior left guard Carl Johnson (ankle) and junior center Maurkice Pouncey (bone bruise) were both injured in the game but will most likely be able to play next week.

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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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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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Week 10: No. 1 Florida Gators vs. Vanderbilt

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Time: 7:15 p.m. (EST)
Weather Forecast: 83°F – Partly Sunny

TV: ESPN2 / ESPN2HD
Online: ESPN360.com.
Sirius: 220; XM: 200

Florida Gators Vanderbilt Commodores
Head Coach: Urban Meyer Head Coach: Bobby Johnson
Record: 8-0 (6-0) Record: 2-7 (0-5)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC East
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -35, O/U 48
Head-to-Head Stats: Gainesville Sun

KEEP AN EYE ON…
- Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow…who has rushed for eight touchdowns this season, bringing him to 51 for his career, breaking the all-time SEC record held by Herschel Walker (Georgia, 1980-82). Tebow broke Walker’s record last week with a 23-yard score against Georgia. He also set the SEC career record for rushing yards by a quarterback last week, amassing 2,588 and passing Matt Jones (Arkansas, 2001-04).
- Vanderbilt Commodores quarterback Mackenzi Adams…he is filling in for starter Larry Smith who is out for the season with a torn hamstring.
- Defensive ends junior Carlos Dunlap and senior Jermaine Cunningham…who lead the team with six and five sacks, respectively. Terrors on the line, each could have career days while feasting on a weak Vanderbilt front.
- Running backs sophomore Jeff Demps and redshirt sophomore Chris Rainey…who are ranked No. 1 and No. 2-T among SEC running backs and top five nationally in yards per touch. Rainey is returning from a shoulder injury last week.
- Redshirt senior linebacker Ryan Stamper…who is replacing suspended team captain Brandon Spikes in the middle. Stamper has 45 tackles, as well as a sack, forced fumble and interception on the season.
- Freshman kick returner Warren Norman…who is already only the second player in SEC history to record three touchdowns on kickoffs in a season. Warren can break the SEC all-time single-season kickoff return yardage mark with 51 more Saturday.

STREAKS:
- The Gators are in the middle of the longest winning streak in school history with 18 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. 17 of Florida’s 18 wins have been by a double digit margin.
- Florida has won 10 straight games against Eastern Division opponents and is on an 18-game winning streak against Vanderbilt. The Gators lead the all-time series 30-9-2 and are 17-1-1 in The Swamp against the Commodores.
- Florida leads the SEC in total offense (446.6), rushing offense (252.3), scoring offense (36.0) and third-down efficiency (.470).
- On defense, the Gators have only surrendered eight touchdowns all season (fewest of any team in the nation) and average 11 points per game (No. 2 in the nation). The defense has also recorded 16 sacks over the past four games.
- Florida’s special teams have yet to give up a single punt return yard on the season, the only team in the nation to accomplish this feat.

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

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Gator Bites for Friday, November 6th

From time to time, OGGOA will come across tidbits and small news items we want to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

- Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer has yet to hear from the Southeastern Conference regarding comments he made on Wednesday.

- No. 8 Gators soccer takes on No. 15 South Carolina Gamecocks Friday at 8:30 p.m. in the second round of the SEC Championship Tournament.

- The Gainesville Sun is reporting that junior cornerback Moses Jenkins, who OGGOA has covered extensively (here, here and here), has attempted to return to the field a couple of times this season. Meyer suggests he will play again this year, though OGGOA does not believe that is anytime soon (if at all).

- Running backs Chris Rainey (shoulder) and Mike Gillislee (hamstring) and wide receiver Deonte Thompson (ribs) will play against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday night in The Swamp.

- Offensive lineman Xavier Nixon, who was rumored to be given major playing time last week, will be in the rotation at left tackle against Vanderbilt.

- I have read four articles in The Birmingham News over the past two days absolutely slamming Meyer. I’ve heard of blatant homerism, but what goes on in the state of Alabama is ridiculous.

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Tues. injury update, more punishment for Spikes?

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer met with the media Tuesday after practice and shared a few notes on the injury status of two offensive players. Redshirt sophomore running back Chris Rainey, who re-injured his shoulder during Saturday’s game against the Georgia Bulldogs, returned to practice on a limited basis and has been upgraded from questionable (50%) to probable (75%) for this weekend’s game against the Vanderbilt Commodores. The news was a little more confusing for redshirt sophomore wide receiver Deonte Thompson who has only totaled nine receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Meyer said Thompson practiced with a “chip on the rib” and did not provide any details.

In what is further proof of media and college football fans overreacting to something without learning the full story, senior wide receive David Nelson insinuated to the press Tuesday that fellow senior linebacker Brandon Spikes has received more punishment than just a half-game suspension. “Coach Meyer did what he thought was right,” Nelson said, “and he’s also doing some other stuff in house that nobody knows about.” When team business is taken care of “in house,” that can often include things like wind sprints, stadiums, up-downs, extreme weight training before and after practice and a variety of other punishments as well. Meyer has not been as light on Spikes as is being advertised.

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