I love talking football, especially Gator football, but I find it extremely tough to chat about a football game when there is really no competition to bring out any reasonable assessments. I left the Swamp on Saturday with nothing on my mind regarding what I just watched, as I had a tough time finding anything to discuss following a game against a 2-8 division 1AA team.
Anyways, the Gators 62-0 win over the Western Carolina Catamounts could be considered one of the most boring gamedays in the last 15-20 years of Florida football. The only saving grace for this game was the fact that we as fans got to see some fresh faces in the game and see a glimpse of what the future of the program holds in terms of athletes on the field. Most of these performances by the youngsters came when the game was really already out of reach against the terribly overmatched Western Carolina squad.
First things first, it was Senior day in the Swamp, meaning that it was the last game for notable players such as QB Chris Leak, WRs Dallas Baker and Jemalle Cornelius, RB DeShawn Wynn and DT Joe Cohen. It was also senior day for walk-on WR Tim Higgins, who provided what Andy Staples called a "Rudy Moment" in Gainesville on Saturday:
Higgins' previous claim to fame? He finished 22nd in the 1999 National Spelling Bee.
"I've always had two problems in football," Higgins said. "I've been really small and really slow."
I had never really heard of him until Saturday.
Anyways, back to football - there were several very notable performances from younger players on the roster Saturday in mop-up duty for the Gators. Here is a list of some stats from the guys who will be holding the roster together in years to come:
FR QB Tim Tebow: 10/12, 200 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 6 rushes, 47 yds
FR QB/WR Jarred Fayson: 7 rushes, 77 yds
FR WR Riley Cooper: 3 catches, 82 yds, 3 TDs
FR RB Mon Williams: 9 rushes, 95 yds
FR RB Brandon James: Punt return for TD
FR LB Brandon Spikes: 6 total tackles
A couple thoughts from these performances:
- Brandon Spikes was all over the field. I remember seeing the same type of performance from a young Brandon Siler, who continually was in on plays coming from all angles. He seems to have very good field awareness and a nose for the football.
- Riley Cooper dropped an initial pass that should have been a touchdown, got a procedure penalty, and then followed this up with 3 TD catches. Pretty good way to redeem yourself after a bad start.
- Running Back Mon Williams was amazingly impressive. He really reminded me of Ciatrick Fason with his upright running style and explosiveness out of the backfield. I think he has a bright future at UF...as his star rises, Markus Manson star falls, as his lack of carries in this one should pretty much signal the end of his playing career for the Gators. Shame, shame.
- Brandon James finally returned a punt that wasn't called back. Good to see. He is going to continually be a very dangerous return man, something we haven't seen since the days of Lito.
One more thing: Dallas Baker is probable for FSU after spraining his MCL on the first play from scrimmage.