The 2011 Florida Gators football season is underway!
The pomp and circumstance was typical in regards to what one would expect at a spring game. This year was extra special though because statues were unveiled of the three Heisman winners (Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel and Steve Spurrier) at halftime.
After the jump, I'll attempt (albeit probably poorly) to breakdown the Orange and Blue game, along with many of my worthless comments, thoughts and failed jokes.
To keep myself focused and not confused, I said "forget it" when it came to the teams and just decided to focus on the individual players.
QB Tyler Murphy started out pretty good. I will however question his decision making because at times he threw the ball a little late (lead to an almost interception) but on one or two occasions, A.C. Leonard made up for it. One really nice play was when a rolling Murphy hit a wide open Leonard for a first down.
DT Sharrif Floyd has become a beast in the middle of the defensive line. While he was in the game, it didn't look like the offensive line could get anything accomplished, and Floyd himself had a few tackles for loss and even batted down a pass.
RB Malcolm Jones who is a walk-on from Fleming Island was one of the primary running backs. He looked good, especially running the draw play. He sort of looks like a Demps 2.0 type, but he is filler type player and is so far slated to play CB and/or RB so anything could happen.
WR Stephen Alli had a couple of nice catches including one which he broke for an excellent run after the catch.
RB Chris Rainey still has the speed to get to the edge. He accounted for at least two nice runs in the first half.
QB John Branley was the John Brantley that we all know. Overthrowing the ball, trying to check down too much and just looked out of place. Almost every single one of his throws in the first half seemed to be too high.
DE William Green looked fantastic. He recorded a sack.
LB Darrin Kitchens played solid defense and made sure that every single tackle was a success.
FS Tim Clark made a very nice open 3rd down tackle inside the 10 yard line on A.C. Leonard denying what would turn out to be the best chance of a touchdown by either team in the first half.
DE Chris Martin recorded a sack on 3rd down very early on in the game.
TE Jordan Reed did what he does best, and that is making the catch and getting the first down by running over someone.
S Josh Evans made a nice hit to break up a pass. He is vying for a starting job so his performance will be closely monitored by the coaching staff.
DT Dominique Easley broke through the offensive line many times and disrupted the quarterback.
CB Moses Jenkins dropped an interception.
WR Quinton Dunbar made a nice leaping catch on a high throw from John Brantley.
CB Cody Riggs had the lone interception of the first half on a deflected pass attempt.
K Caleb Sturgis appears to be healthy as he was 2-2 on field goal attempts in the first half.
The theme of the second half to me anyway, was the play-action, the draw play and taking shots deep down the field. The defense is definitely ahead of the offense at this point in time, though that is not to be unexpected.
K Caleb Sturgis makes yet another field goal. He is really going to be the anchor of the special teams unit this year if he can remain healthy.
RB Malcolm Jones breaks what was probably the longest (and nicest) run of the day on a draw play. Showed great patience and vision in finding the hole which allowed him to break into the secondary.
LB Darrin Kitchens continues to impress.
DT Dominique Easley gets injured but it doesn't look to be too serious. Maybe just a cramp or even a sprained ankle at the worst.
QB Jeff Driskel makes his much anticipated debut but it wasn't a storybook beginning by any means. He overthrew the ball quite a bit (including a wide open Frankie Hammond Jr. in the endzone). But he did have a nice pass to Quinton Dunbar who made a great move after the catch to break it down the field.
DT Sharrif Floyd was again a difference maker on defense. He is going to be a handful for a lot of people this season. He reminds me of Albert Haynesworth when Albert was a Vol.
WR Omarius Hines also had a great down field block on the same Driskel run as Dunbar.
QB Tyler Murphy looked the same as in the first half. He appears to want to run the ball a little too much though.
RB Deandre Goins broke a very nice and powerful run. He will have to learn how to make the safety miss in the open field if he wants to play this fall though.
WR Deonte Thompson fumbled what was an interesting reverse call. But Deonte dropping the ball isn't anything new.
RB Ben Sams scored a touchdown on a very nice pass in the flat from Murphy who was rolling out off a bootleg play-action call. Very well executed by both players.
WR Robert Clark had a touchdown catch.
QB Christian Provancha threw a touchdown pass to Robert Clark.
AFTER THE GAME THOUGHTS:
As I mentioned early, the defense is well ahead on the learning curve than the offense. But that is to be expected when it comes to the learning of a new system. John Brantley's struggles continue to concern me. I just don't know if he has the mentality it is going to take. Hopefully he improves a lot once fall practice comes around. Throwing the ball a lot to his wide-outs this summer isn't that bad of an idea either.
Overall though, I thought the offense did okay. If a few of the throws aren't too high, I think the offense looks great. But those throws will be taken care of once everyone becomes more familiar with one-another and the system. I like the play-action playcalls and I think those will work quite well in the regular season. The draw plays however aren't the best of ideas. We don't seem to have a running back (healthy or not) that can run like that.
The defense though is another story all together. The defense looked to be just as we would have expected it to look. Playmakers all over the field. This defense has the chance to be very special and based upon what I saw today, I see no reason why they shouldn't be.
For complete stats check out the box score at Gatorzone.com.