Grading the Florida Gators vs. South Florida game

By Adam Silverstein
September 14, 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 South Florida Bulls in the second game of the 2010-11 season, which took place at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley played better Saturday than he did last week against Miami (OH), so why only a half-grade improvement? Following up a performance in which he completed 68 percent of his passes, Brantley’s accuracy fell 10 percent even though he gained almost 60 more yards through the air and once again passed for two scores. Brantley did do a better job finding open pass catchers and spread the ball around a bit more, but he has plenty to improve on in the coming weeks.

As a team, the Gators rushed for 267 yards on Saturday, and three running backs with multiple attempts averaged over 7.3 yards per carry. Junior Jeff Demps was the star of the game, rushing 11 times for 139 yards and a touchdown with a long of 62 and average of 12.6. Take away his breakaway run, and Demps still averaged 7.7 YPC. Redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody put on a respectable performance (especially in the second half) with 14 carries for 54 yards (3.9 average), sophomore Mike Gillislee had four powerful carries for 29 yards (7.3 average) and a score, and freshman Mack Brown even saw some action with three rushes for 23 yards (7.7 average).

Read the rest of Florida’s grades from the USF game after the jump…

Suffering with a D+ grade last week, Florida’s pass catchers had plenty of improvement to make this time around. Freshman Andre Debose finally saw the field (but was held catchless on two looks), and classmate Robert Clark took off on a nice 15-yard gain in place of injured redshirt junior Chris Rainey (concussion). But where this group shined was with its two primary targets – redshirt junior Deonte Thompson and redshirt senior Carl Moore. Sure, each had their share of down moments, but the duo combined for 11 catches that resulted in 123 yards and a touchdown for Moore. A nice rebound after a really bad week that is something to build upon from this point forward.

One week after playing without a single true tight end, the Gators got redshirt freshman Jordan Reed back. Though he played most of the game, Reed was limited to one catch, which he took for a touchdown. However, he also contributed nicely as a pass blocker and helped Demps significantly on his 62-yard touchdown run. Sophomore WR Omarius Hines and freshman QB Trey Burton also saw time at the position, catching a total of four balls for 11 yards.

The biggest difference from last week to this week was the performance of the offensive line, specifically that of senior center Mike Pouncey, who got his snapping problems under control. After delivering more than a dozen errant snaps against Miami (OH), Pouncey settled down even though he had a somewhat shaky first series against South Florida. As a group, the rest of the line settled in to their roles, and getting redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson backed truly helped with the running game. Edge blocking was better and players were staying on blocks longer, opening up lanes for Demps, Moody and Gillislee. It should be no surprise that three starters on the five-man unit were honored as Champions by head coach Urban Meyer on Monday.

After limiting Miami (OH) to four rushing yards as a team, Florida’s defensive line was handled enough to allow the Bulls to rack up 244 yards on the ground including 107 from QB B.J. Daniels and 62 (with a touchdown) from primary RB Demetris Murray. Though many of Daniels’ runs came on the edges where the linebackers should have helped pick him up, the line was porous enough to allow plenty of penetration during the game. While the defensive tackles struggled a bit, defensive ends seniors Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens and junior William Green played well. Trattou scored on a pick-six, Lemmens had a great tackle for loss and fumble recovery on separate plays, and Green had an eight-yard TFL. After one solid game from the tackles and another from the ends, the entire unit will have to solidify next week against Tennessee.

Sophomore Jon Bostic was the man of the match last week, but redshirt senior A.J. Jones was all over the field on Saturday with seven tackles (four solo). Bostic and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins (six tackles) followed suit, and sophomore Lorenzo Edwards showed flashes as well. Like the defensive line, the linebackers had some problems stopping the run at the next level, but they did do a nice job in intermediate pass coverage – Daniels couldn’t find anything over the middle.

For the second straight week, the Gators secondary pulled in three interceptions. Senior safety Ahmad Black led the team with eight tackles (four solo) and two picks, and junior cornerback Janoris Jenkins added one grab of his own. That makes five combined interceptions from the unit’s two best players in a two-game span. Filling in for senior CB Moses Jenkins (hyperextended elbow), redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown had been playing admirably until going down with a strained hamstring. In his stead, freshmen Cody Riggs, Jaylen Watkins and Josh Shaw all played decently with Riggs standing out the most. Sophomore Josh Evans once again filled in for junior Will Hill (team decision) at free safety, and freshman Matt Elam continued his development with a nice pass breakup while playing nickle corner (negated by a pass interference call).

Florida’s “third unit” was a mixed bag Saturday when you consider the three facets it encompasses: returning, kicking/punting and coverage. Demps, with two kickoff returns for 95 yards, and Ja. Jenkins, with one punt return for 30 yards, certainly earned an A+ for their efforts. Junior kicker Caleb Sturgis, missing his second field goal (39 yards) in as many games, is a cause for concern – even after hitting a 22 yarder. Senior punter Chas Henry, with four kicks for 174 yards (43.5 average) and two dropped inside the 20, played well but not his best. In coverage, the Gators allowed one 39-yard kickoff return but once again held opposing punt returners to little yards (one). All-in-all, it was a very good showing for the special teams, but Sturgis’ miscues are a growing issue.

We were rough on the coaches last week, grading them out at a D+ due mostly to the offense’s ineptitude. Meyer looked dejected on the sideline against Miami (OH), and the Gators just did not seem to have an answer at halftime for what ailed them. This week was exactly the opposite. Though the first half was once again a struggle, Florida’s offense picked up the pace after a rough first series and really turned it on coming out of the locker rooms after the break. The defense continues to shine under new coordinator Teryl Austin, offensive coordinator Steve Addazio appeared to open up the playbook a bit, and Meyer’s cheerleading on the sideline was a nice change of pace.

As much as the Gators deserve credit for a stellar second half, the first portion of the game was once concerning. Truthfully, the team graded out at a C+ as what was done on the field Saturday was quite average. However, considering the leap that was made from week one to week two, we decided to slightly bump up the overall grade as, in certain cases, supreme effort needs to be rewarded just as much as performance.


  1. Aligator says:

    Let’s hope that Addozzio does not revert back to his dumbass self.

  2. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Good post Adam. I agree with most of the grades you gave.
    The only one I disagreed with was you giving the D-line a c+. Yeah they gave up a good chunk of rushing yards, but they made some great plays that changed the tide of the game. And they helped to hold the Bulls offense to only 14 points.
    I would have given the D-line a B-, IMO.

  3. brlgator says:

    Funny how people see things so different Gatorbuc I thought Adam was overly generous with the Dline. 244 yards is inexcusable vs anyone let alone USF. Although I am impressed with the strides the interior dline men have taken i felt as if our DTs should have been more disruptive.

    If this team is gonna compete at the highest level i see them more like our 06 team then our 08 team. Dominate in the trenches.

  4. As brl said, I was generous with the DL grade. Was impressed with Trattou and Lemmens in the second half.

  5. SC Gator says:

    According to what they were saying during the game at least Sturgis was kicking despite having wrenched his back. I’m not particularly worried yet.

  6. brlgator says:

    its tough job adam but someones gotta do it plus grading the Dends at a b+ and the Dts at a D+ would average out to your c+

  7. Gatorbuc15 says:

    You know guys, I wasn’t saying that the D-line played fenominaly. I know that they should have played a lot better. I was just trying to say that it could have been worse.
    So please Adam, don’t act like I said that the D-line did great on Saturday, because that’s not what I’m saying at all.

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