Dooley Grades The Gators: Good outing against SEC rival

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Florida quarterback Kyle Trask and head coach Dan Mullen talk with an ESPN reporter Saturday after the Gators routed Tennessee at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Matt Pendleton/Correspondent]

OFFENSE B+

First half: The fast start was most needed for a team with a new quarterback, but Florida made way too many mistakes. Obviously, the touchdown on the last play of the half was huge.

Second half: The running game finally made some noise in the fourth quarter when Florida was simply trying to run out the clock. Emory Jones in the game seemed to change the dynamics of the running backs.

For the game: Kyle Trask could have reached 300 yards in his first start and that’s a good sign for Florida. Florida only averaged 3.8 yards a rush in the game.

DEFENSE A-

First half: The Gators shut down the run and didn’t let Tennessee take advantage of turnovers as they extended their scoreless run to three quarters and six quarters at home.

Second half: The first drive was not the way Florida wanted to start the second half, but the Gators held the Vols to a field goal. Jon Greenard was an absolute beast the whole game.

For the game: Tennessee is not very good. That said, the Vols had put up some nice numbers offensively going into this game. Florida allowed only the three points, 12 first downs and turned Tennessee over three times.

SPECIAL TEAMS B

First half: Freddie Swain had a nice punt return, but stumbled and it came back anyway because of a penalty. Great job by Evan McPherson and the art of the touchback on the kickoff.

Second half: McPherson finished off another good day with another field goal. Other than that, special teams were not called on for much more than fielding punts.

For the game: Five of McPherson’s six kickoffs went into the end zone and that’s exactly what they want him to do. Tommy Townsend’s one punt was solid. Special teams kind of had most of the day off.

OVERALL B+

They were still a lot of mistakes and a busted coverage almost hurt Florida badly early in the game (it was overthrown), but any time Florida beats a rival 34-3 (even if it doesn’t seem like a rival anymore), it’s a pretty good afternoon for the Gators. Even the weather cooperated.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Trask played well, and threw some beautiful passes. Wish Copeland had hung on to that easy TD. Pitts made a great catch on the first TD. The Kyle to Kyle (K2K) connection may become something to watch. Pitts is a great target.

    He made a few mistakes, too, so there’s room for improvement. Gotta tuck the ball when you know you’re about to get sacked. Also had an open field to the left for about a 10-15 yard gain, but held the ball too long and took the sack (I think).

    Hard to complain about 293 yards, 2 TD’s (and should’ve been 3), and a 31 point victory, though. Go Gators!

  2. Overlooked in the euphoria of the win is the fact that Mullen did not call a good game. He seems to be ignoring the fact that, while his O line is competent, perhaps even good in pass blocking, their run blocking is not yet up to snuff. They could not run against Kentucky and they couldn’t run against Tennessee. By calling the run on all of the downs when they were within ten yards of the end zone, twice in the first half, he gave up two touchdowns, only getting one field goal. The only run that succeeded was Pierce’s TD. But, if he is going to be “old school,” as he says, and likes to run the ball, perhaps he might try more misdirection in his runs and not simply have the runners go inside the tackles as much. That hasn’t been working and until his O line improves a great deal with their run blocking, won’t.

  3. If we evaluate the running game, it helps to look at the box score. Against UK, the running game averaged 2.4 yards per carry without the 76 yard TD run by Hammond. Against UT, there was no long TD run to skew the average. The longest run was 13 yards by Perine, followed by a 12 yard run by Pierce. For the game, the Gators averaged 3.5 yards per carry. A definite improvement over last week, but the UT DL isn’t as good as UK’s.

    For those insisting that the answer is Pierce, he averaged 3.5 yards on 11 carries, while Perine averaged 4.4 on 14 carries. I don’t know if we can make a definitive conclusion from that, but in the words of Jon Lovitz in “A League of Their Own”, “Well then, that would be more wouldn’t it?” On the season, Perine is averaging 3.8 to Pierce’s 3.5 yards per carry. Almost no difference, but Perine’s average is more.

    Perine is the better receiver and clearly the better blocker picking up the blitz. Perine has missed some holes, but still has the better stats. Pierce is very good, he runs hard, and I like him, too, but for now, Perine is the better all-around back. Until the OL gets better at sustaining blocks and opening holes, the Gator RB’s are going to struggle to average 4 yards per carry.

    • So Joe, I concede. I have been hoping for more carries by Pierce thinking he might be the answer to our running woes but it does not seem to be. BTW, the Lovitz reference is great. His character in “A League of Their Own” is one of my favorites.

      I am now in Mr. (I know it is a bit sexist to presume “Mr.”) Barnett’s camp, miss-direction more please.

      • No need to concede, David. Perine has been my man since I saw him as a freshman, and while I think he’s the best all-around back we have, he has missed a few holes. He also cut the wrong way around his blocker with a screen pass against UK that should’ve gone for a long gain and, possibly, a TD. I love Pierce, too, and I think he’s just as good a runner, just not quite as well rounded, yet. I’m hopeful that the OL will continue to get better, so all three RB’s can be successful as the season progresses. I’m sure CDM will use EJ, some jet sweeps, maybe some wildcat (wild gator?) with Copeland or a healthy Toney, and maybe some misdirection to help get the running game going.

        I’m not a big movie buff, but that line and Lovitz’s delivery made me lol. It’s still one of the funniest I’ve heard.