Pat Dooley Grades the Gators


Published: Friday, January 2, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 2, 2004 at 1:24 a.m.

The offense: D

RUNNING GAME: You look at the yards per carry for Ran Carthon and Ciatrick Fason (4.8) and they aren't bad. But Florida basically had to abandon the running game in the second half.

PASSING GAME: The 70-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Kight was a beauty, but little else went right for Chris Leak. He threw way too often into double coverage and could not find Ben Troupe.

BOTTOM LINE: The offense went back to the inconsistent ways of the early part of the season.

Defense: F

AGAINST THE RUN: Florida had no answer for Fred Russell. His 150 rushing yards were the most against the Gators this season. The defensive line was pushed around with ease by Iowa blockers.

AGAINST THE PASS: Keiwan Ratliff and Guss Scott missed most of the first quarter for missing curfew, but when they did get in there it didn't get any better. Nathan Chandler gave Iowa the balance it needed by throwing for 170 yards and one touchdown.

BOTTOM LINE: This was Florida's worst performance of the year on defense. Gators were outschemed and outplayed.

Special teams: D

KICKING: Eric Wilbur didn't have one of his better games even though his average was 44.8. Not only did he have a punt blocked, but he whiffed on trying to kick it out of the end zone. Matt Leach made his only field-goal try.

KICK RETURNS: Andre Caldwell said this week it was going to be his breakout game, but he had trouble getting the handle on two kickoffs and averaged a dismal 9.5 yards on four kickoff returns. Punt returns were unremarkable.

BOTTOM LINE: After improvement this year, special teams looked a lot like last year.

Coaching: D

PLAY-CALLING: Florida threw the ball deep twice. One resulted in a touchdown and the other in a touchdown that was called back. Leak played poorly but was asked to throw too many dink and dunk passes again.

DECISION-MAKING: Kicking a 48-yard field goal down 20 points in the third quarter was a questionable call, especially because the defense was playing so poorly. Suspending Scott and Ratliff was the right thing to do, just as it was two years ago with Rex Grossman.

BOTTOM LINE: Gators weren't ready to play, and that is the responsibility of the coaching staff.

Overall: F

It wasn't the way to end a season that showed such promise. The bottom line is that 8-5 is 8-5.

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