Theater of Operations, Florida Vs. Vanderbilt: Reviewing The Gators' Defensive Preformance

Ronald Powell. He's getting better. Quick.

Theater of Operations continues with the post-Vanderbilt escapades. This time, looking at the defense against the Vanderbilt offense.

I don't know much, but I do know this: It seems like the last turnover the Gators recorded on defense was Ahmad Black's bowl game interception return for a touchdown. At this point, it's just ridiculous. The Gators defense as a whole, allowed 377 yards against a Vanderbilt offense that did absolutely nothing in the first half. And barring an 80-yard touchdown drive by Vanderbilt in what was borderline garbage-time, the defense played very well.

Ronald Powell and Jaye Howard each had a sack, Matt Elam lead the way with three tackles for loss and Michael Taylor stepped up big time to fill the void at linebacker left by Jelani Jenkins and Lerentee McCray. All things considered (read: missing pieces), it was arguably Jaye Howard's best game this season. And Elam ... yeah, at this point I'm pretty much using a Sharpie to write him in as the defensive most valuable player of the year award winner. I don't even know if anyone (Dominique Easley, maybe?) is even really all that close to Elam's value to the defense.

Play No. 1: Jaye Howard's sack of Jordan Rodgers:

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

I know that Jaye Howard gets credit for the sack here, but if there was ever a time in which an entire defense should get credit, this was it. Just a great defensive play by everyone involved.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Good downfield coverage by the defensive backs and linebackers here. Where quarterback Jordan Rodgers is looking, there isn't any place to go with the ball.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

The first player to break through the line is Sharrif Floyd (yellow circle). Note where Howard (yellow square) is at the moment. There are four Vanderbilt blockers within half a yard of him.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Sharrif Floyd ends up missing the tackle, but now Jaye Howard along with Dominique Easley and Ronald Powell, are free as well.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Jordan Rodgers has nowhere to go. Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd are now on the outside, and Jaye Howard and Ronald Powell are to the inside.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Jaye Howard gets to him first. The quick pressure by the line, and the great coverage down the field led to this sack.

Play No. 2: Ronald Powell sacks Jordan Rodgers:

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

This sack, is the second game in a row (click here for last week's sack against Georgia), in which Ronald Powell has chased down a quarterback to complete the sack. There is just no escaping the man.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

At this point, Ronald Powell has already beaten his blocker. The only way he doesn't get through, is if he is held. Which of course doesn't happen.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Yeah, it's pretty much a scramble at this point for Jordan Rodgers. Also, for good measure, Earl Okine (yellow circle with no directional line) is also in pursuit.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Ronald Powell gets the sack. There was also a penalty on this play for intentional grounding. But don't worry, the penalty was for zero yards, and Powell gets credit for the sack.

Play No. 3: Jordan Rodgers rushes for a touchdown:

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Rodgers (double green circle) does exactly what we talked about in the Vanderbilt preview edition of Theater of Operations. It is an option read play, and Rodgers will keep the ball, get a key block, and run for an easy touchdown.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

At the moment of the read, Zac Stacy is covered, so Rodgers has no choice but to keep the ball. Also, he gets a good block (yellow square) at the beginning of the play.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

There are two excellent blocks (yellow squares) by Vanderbilt right here. The Gators defense as a result, has no chance to prevent the touchdown.

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Yeah, not quite fast enough.

Bonus pictures of Dominique Easley dancing and talking trash after Jaye Howard's sack!

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Any guesses as to the song he is singing to himself, if any?

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(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Trash-talking. To Vanderbilt. Is this the first time ever?

Overall, it was a very nice game by the defense. Yeah, they slowed down the second half again, but in what game since Florida Atlantic haven't they? Kentucky?

Now if we could just get that turnover...

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