Theater of Operations, Florida Vs. Florida Atlantic: Revewing Defense, Special Teams

The Friday version of Theater of Operations is generally reserved for the Gators' upcoming opponent the following Saturday. However, in the event that there is no game film (as UAB hasn't played yet) or the Gators are entering their bye week, this space will be used to focus on other aspects not originally covered.

There is no mistaking it: The Florida Gators defense and special teams units played some outstanding football against Florida Atlantic last week. After the dust settled, the Gators' defense and special teams had recorded three sacks, blocked a punt, and scored a touchdown.

Yeah, that's pretty dang good.

Here's Ronald Powell's second quarter sack:

Ronaldpowellsack_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Ronald Powell is the top circle on the defensive line. After the linebacker and other rusher make contact with the running back in the backfield, taking themselves out of the play, Powell is free to make the sack. The reason Powell wasn't there first is that the right tackle actually did a decent job of blocking on the play.

Ronaldpowelsackresult_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

And there is your sack. Ronald Powell (yellow circle with line) finishes off the play.

This next play is credited as a sack to the team (by ESPN) but other sources (including GatorZone) count the play as a rush with a loss of eight yards. You can decide for yourself:

Teamsack_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Jaye Howard and company completely blow up the line of scrimmage. Push back three offensive linemen and....

Teamsackresult_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

...FAU quarterback Dan Kooi falls flat on his face. While he did trip over one of the linemen, he wouldn't have if it wasn't for the great pressure brought by the defensive line. Just look at that photo: FAU has players strewn about on the ground.

Jaye Howard's third quarter sack:

Jayehowardsackformation_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

What makes this play most impressive is this...

Howardsackprogress_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Howard is currently sandwiched between two offensive linemen.

Howardsackresult_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Yes, those are Howard's feet flying in the air. Because he is currently in the process of spinning the quarterback (Graham Wilbert, this time) to the ground. Though the quarterback would stay up for a second or two, he never regained his balance after the spin-hit from Howard and would eventually fall just before another defender touches him.

Solomon Patton's blocked punt and the subsequent Chris Rainey touchdown:

Pattonblockedpuntformation_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Solomon Patton gets to the punter unblocked. I mean, nobody even came close to touching him. It was like they didn't even see him.

Pattonblockprogress_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As you can see, nobody is paying Patton any attention. Rainey (also circled at the top) is in prime position to scoop up the ball and return it for the touchdown.

Pattonblockresult_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Rainey could have walked into the endzone for the touchdown if he wanted to.

I will point out that the game was against FAU and it would have been a disappointment if the defense (and special teams) hadn't been so dominant. This sort of thing was expected. But these Gators backed up those expectations with about as good of a performance as one could want.

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