Theater of Operations, Florida Vs. Georgia: Reviewing The Gators' Defensive Performance

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 29: Jelani Jenkins #3 of the Florida Gators attempts to tackle Aaron Murray #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the game at EverBank Field on October 29, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

By all accounts, the Florida Gators' defense played well in Florida's 24-20 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs this past weekend. Things could always be better, I guess, but for a young defense, the performances of the last two games have to be encouraging.

Probably the most encouraging aspect of the defensive play against Georgia was the growth of the defensive line. Yeah, I know it got ran over for the go-ahead touchdown, but it was put in such bad positions all game long by the offense that you just knew it was going to happen sooner or later.

Jaye Howard, Sharrif Floyd, Ronald Powell, Dominique Easley and Omar Hunter combined for 23 tackles (four and half for loss), and two sacks. Howard and Floyd combined for 16 of those tackles. It appears that Sharrif Floyd is finally becoming comfortable as a member of the Gators.

Anyway, after the jump, the defensive breakdown for the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

Play No. 1: Jelani Jenkins' tackle for loss:

Jelani1_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Jelani Jenkins (yellow circle) is about to get into the backfield untouched. Nobody even puts a hand on him. This is a prime example of bad blitz pick-up by an offensive line.

Jelani2_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

You can barely tell from this angle, but there is about a two-yard hole that Jelani is running through.

Jelani3_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell has absolutely nowhere to go.

Jelani4_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Jenkins does a great job of finishing the play. That's something that this defense has lacked the past month or so.

Play No. 2: Ronald Powell's sack on Aaron Murray:

Ropo1_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Welcome, Ronald Powell, and nice to meet you. Georgia is going to attempt a play-action bootleg to the right. Powell recognizes it just in time and covers it perfectly.

Ropo2_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

You can see that at the exact moment of the fake handoff, that Powell is in a "wait and see" type of mode. Because the play isn't in his direction, he has that luxury. Two Gators defenders (not circled) actually bite on the fake. But Jon Bostic (yellow circle) realizes that his assigned man (green circle) is in motion and heading out into the flat.

Ropo3_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

At this point, because Bostic is covering the flat, Powell is free to come at the quarterback. Which he does.

Ropo4_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

At this point, Powell is committed to getting to the quarterback. Please note that Dominique Easley (yellow circle) is heading towards the play as back-up. I love that about him: He's always moving towards the ball, because you never know. 

Ropo5_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

But, in the end, Powell gets his man without any help. Very nice to see from Ronald Powell.

Play No. 3: Georgia's touchdown pass against De'Ante Saunders:

Pop1_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Talk about one of your all-time mismatches. "Pop" Saunders, who is 5'8", will be covering Georgia wideout Michael Bennett, who is 6'3". Without help. How will this go?

Pop2_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

What is really impressive here is that Murray does a pump fake and Saunders doesn't bite at all.

Pop3_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

The ball is in the air and Saunders is staying with him at this point.

Pop4_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

The ball is now in Bennett's hands. Saunders is in mid-air, doing the best he can to knock the ball out.

Pop5_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Bennett ends up holding on to the ball for the touchdown. Saunders actually had great coverage on the play; it was more a matter of height mattering more, and, well, Saunders is at more than half a foot of a disadvantage. There can be absolutely no blaming of Saunders on this play.

Play No. 4: Georgia's touchdown pass against Jaylen Watkins:

Jay1_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Georgia will have a height advantage on this play, too, though it will be a much smaller one. Tavarres King is 6'1" and Jaylen Watkins is 6'0"; while that is relatively even, there is still an advantage there for Georgia. It should also be noted at this point that the only reason why Watkins is in man coverage is because Cody Riggs hurt his wrist and was out for the rest of the game.

Jay2_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

You can't really tell all that much from the picture, but King and another Georgia wideout (both green circles) both do a quick stop and stutter-step move.

Jay3_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

The ball is nearly there and Watkins is right there with King.

Jay4_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Look at that coverage! Once again, a Georgia wideout makes a stellar play.

Jay5_medium

(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Watkins fights to knock the ball loose the entire way down, but to no avail.

On both of Georgia's passing touchdowns, there is absolutely nothing more you could have asked for out of Saunders and Watkins. Did they both get beat on the play? Sure. But they played the ball exactly how they were taught and it just didn't work out. I can't and won't ever blame either of them on those plays. I don't think that would be fair to them at all.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Alligator Army

You must be a member of Alligator Army to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Alligator Army. You should read them.

Join Alligator Army

You must be a member of Alligator Army to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Alligator Army. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker