Grading the Gators: Florida vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
Finally! A win! Florida’s four game losing streak is over and the sky might not still be falling in Gainesville. Had they lost to Vanderbilt, looting and pillaging would abound through the streets in Gainesville. Instead, the Gators won for the 21st time and firewillmuschamp.com is getting some rest this week.
Quarterback John Brantley is the key to this offense. When he can play in rhythm and have time to throw the ball, it opens up all of Florida’s strengths on offense. The Gators also found a running game this week in the form of Jeff Demps. It seems like, since the first two games of the season, Chris Rainey and Demps haven’t been on the field at the same time. Neither can stay healthy enough to do what offensive coodinator Charlie Weis wants. Florida overall had 197 yards rushing, including 158 from Demps. Brantley had an efficient day, throwing for 173 yards, but it was the fact he was on the field, and a lot healthier than last week, that made the offense look like it did in September. Demps was explosive, averaging 6.9 yards per carry and breaking off a 52 yard touchdown run. Jacoby Brissett also scored his first TD as a Gator, albeit a rushing TD. Congrats to Jacoby and I hope for many more. He seems to have taken over Driskel for second on the depth chart.
The defense did a lot of good things, but they also did a lot of bad things. They cut down their penalties, which is a big plus. but they also gave up nearly 300 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air. But they did a pretty good job on the Commodores biggest playmaker RB Zac Stacy, holding him to 49 yards on 13 carries. No turnovers for this defense once again. For this defense to become elite in the next season or two, it needs to learn to take the ball away. That’s what’s really holding this unit back. There have been opportunities, but they have been squandered.
Special Teams: B
It’s great to have K Caleb Sturgis back as he went 2-for-3 on field goals with a long of 55 yards. P Kyle Christy did OK, booting two for an average of 37 yards. No major kick or punt returns either. Average day for the special teams.
This team was by no means great, and there’s a ton to work on, but they did what they needed to against an up and coming Vanderbilt team to put them in the win column and one win away from bowl eligible. It’s tough to grade less than a B- when the Gators win.