College football: Whitley grades the Gators
Gainesville Sun sports columnist David Whitley passes out unit grades for Florida's contest Saturday vs. Vanderbilt, a 42-0 win at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium:
Gators Offense: A-
The Gators had a pedestrian (for them) 181 yards rushing, but that was because they were determined to get their passing attack out of first gear. Emory Jones came in averaging 6.5 yards per reception. That popped to 19.5 yards against Vandy, which is the kind of team you can experiment with. Jones overthrew a wide-open Ricky Wells one time, but he had five passes cover 25 yards or more. A banged-up line gave him plenty of time to throw, though the Gators are still having trouble with the seemingly simple task of getting plays off. And remember the quarterback controversy with Jones and Anthony Richardson? Well, forget it. Jones’ ability to read coverages firmly establishes him as the No. 1 QB.
More:Whitley: Gators it half-right
Gators Defense: A-
Shutouts usually warrant an A+, but this wasn’t a typical shutout. Vanderbilt had three nice drives in the first half, but missed two field goals and couldn’t convert a 4th-and-goal from the 2. The defense deserved credit for making the stops, but how did it allow Vandy to control the ball almost 20 minutes in the first half? The Gators were dominant in the second half, especially considering Kaiir Elam was still out and Tre’Vez Johnson was ejected in the first quarter for targeting. In the last 10 quarters, UF’s defense has allowed only 20 points.
More:Florida takeaways: Gators rout Vandy behind Jones' career day, defensive shutout
Gator Special Teams: A
This unit has also been running low on big plays, but Jeremy Crawshaw provided one of the day’s bigger plays when he gained 26 yards on a fake punt. When he did boot the ball, Crawshaw averaged 50.0 yards on four punts. Pretty impressive considering he shanked one that went only 22 yards. Xzavier Henderson had a 24-yard punt return, the coverage teams were good and only one of Jace Christmann’s seven kickoffs were returned.