Somewhere out there, medals of valor are waiting for those who are actually brave enough to say that the Gators are ready for the Volunteers next week.
Simply put, the Florida Gators were awful last night in spite of recording their first shutout since they kept Western Carolina scoreless in 2006 (62-0).
Penalties were once again littering the field. Will Muschamp should have rewritten “Crime and Punishment” last night because the refs threw enough flags at the Gators to cover the entire field. With the way the Gators d-line tried to pass off neutral zone infractions as “chill out brah, ref’s on crack” you could swear they lettered at Attica.
And these weren’t the hustle penalties a coach can handle- hitting a player the second they go out of bounds, a runner juking right into the line of trajectory of a defender’s helmet, grabbing anything you could and that anything just so happens to be a facemask.
No, The Swamp looked like the beach at Okinawa because of false starts, illegal shifts, encroachments, delay of games, and other equally dumb mistakes.
Two things worked in the Gators’ favor- UAB made a similar number of errors (dropped snap on a punt in the end zone, followed by shanked free kick, a penalty negating a TD throw) and Chris Rainey may just be the best player in the country.
Then there was the blunderful execution in the Dread Zone. I mean, the wonderful execution in the red zone- a wonderful job of going nowhere. Stalling inside an opponent’s 20 is inexcusable with all the speed and strength advantages the Gators have over UAB. What are we gonna do against Tennessee if we cannot get any push up front?
What amazes me most is that the red zone collapse was a total team effort. Everything went to pieces at the same time. The epitome of this was how the offensive line, which for the most part did well, got owned for some unfathomable reason once they crossed UAB’s 20. Everywhere else they did fine- but not inside the red zone.
I know, the Gators won 39-0 and I’m picking this team to shreds. So it’s time for a bright spot- John Brantley.
I won’t tell you a story about how he proved everybody who ever doubted him wrong by throwing for 400 yards and 3 touchdowns last night, because that’s not exactly the way it happened. But Brantley did have a few very impressive throws. Now, does this mean he will make them 10 out of 10 times against SEC teams? No, it does not. But at least we know he is capable of making a “wow” throw. His footwork was good, and his passes were (for the most part) accurate. He also did not throw either a pick (good sign) or a touchdown (bad sign).
Now, let’s look ahead to next week. The Gators get monster tackle Nick Fairley 2011 back, which should make the defensive front 7 even better than it was the last couple of weeks. The Gators didn’t get as much pressure against UAB as I would have liked, but the Blazers have a great offensive line and have moved the ball very well against SEC teams, so… wait, NICK FAIRLEY 2011?
Yep. Because Sharrif Floyd means that much to us. Nobody knows about him yet though, so that gives UF the element of surprise.
Speaking of element of surprise, I cannot wait to see Charlie Weis open up the playbook even more. We did see Brantley throw a lot more deep this week, but expect even more next week.
You’ll get my full thoughts about the Tennessee game later in the week, but here’s a little preview of my preview:
Tennessee is an SEC team, but they’re by no means a great one, and all a team with Florida’s talent has to do to win is to not beat themselves. The Vols can’t beat the Gators, so if the Gators don’t beat the Gators, the Gators will beat the Volunteers.
Let’s just say this: Muschamp’s got some work to do disciplining his boys. And he is definitely capable of doing it. He just needs to do it, and the Gators should be fine.