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

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As covered here, Theater of Operations continues on, but with a slight change in schedule for this week.

I was right about one thing: the Gators did in fact, record a turnover. It was only one, and I was actually thinking that they would get at least one more, but at this point I'll take it. Overall, it was exactly the type of performance that I expected to see. The defensive line is coming along nicely, and the linebackers and secondary continuing to play as they have all season.

The highlights were, without question, De'Ante Saunders' interception and Matt Elam's sack. Also, Jaye Howard and Ronald Powell each had one tackle for loss, so, yeah, excellent. Forgive me if I don't sound very enthused with Jaye Howard's and Ronald Powell's tackles for loss, but those kind of stats should be the norm for them, not a highlight.

Anyway, on to the breakdown after the jump.

Play No. 1: De'Ante Saunders' interception:


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

The entire play isn't visible, but this catch (read: interception) by Saunders is fantastic.

Play No. 2: Jaye Howard's five-yard tackle for loss:


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Just a flat-out bull rush from Howard (yellow circle) here. He does get some help from his teammates as they bring pressure from the outside, causing South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw to move up into the pocket.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Howard (yellow circle), like everyone else on the defensive line, has yet to shed his block.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

At the moment that Howard (double yellow circle) beats his block, Shaw (green circle) is forced up into the pocket by Sharrif Floyd (single yellow circle), who has also beaten his block.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Howard has gotten to Shaw (yellow square) and Floyd (yellow circle) is on the way for good measure.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Yeah, how this wasn't credited as a sack baffles me as well.

Play No. 3:  Brandon Wilds' 20-yard run:


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

This is just a pitch to Marcus Lattimore's replacement, Brandon Wilds (green circle).


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Wilds (green circle) takes advantage of some tremendous blocks (yellow squares), including one block (top yellow square) in which one player takes out two Gator defenders.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

The problems here are slips (top yellow circle) and bad angles (bottom yellow circles). The never-ending cycle continues.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Wilds makes it all the way to the 15-yard line.

Play No. 4: Connor Shaw's 10-yard touchdown run:


(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

Connor Shaw (green circle) is going to look to pass first. But great down the field coverage by the Gators secondary, forces Shaw to run toward the goal line.


(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

At this moment, Shaw (green circle) realizes that he has no one to throw the ball to. But seriously, look at the wall of blockers. Literally, they actually form a wall.


(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

Shaw (green circle) breaks free, and there is only one man with a chance to stop him. That man is none other than Josh "Bad Angles" Evans (yellow circle) who lives up to his well-deserved nickname on this play.


(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

And there is the result of the bad angle taken by Evans (yellow circle). He now has to play catch-up in a very short distance.


(Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

Well, as we all know, Evans isn't fast enough (yellow square) and Shaw beats him to the pylon.

But did he actually make it?


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Yes, yes he did.

Play No. 5: Connor Shaw's 46-yard pass to Ace Sanders:


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

Here we have Jaylen Watkins (yellow circle) going against Ace Sanders (green circle).


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

At this point, it is pretty good coverage by Watkins.


(Photo courtesy of the SEC Digital Network)

While it is solid coverage by Watkins, in the end, it is just a better catch by Sanders. I'm not going to fault Watkins on this play at all. There isn't much he or any other corner could do.

Overall, this was a very decent game by the defense. While they didn't play their best game, it wasn't nearly their worst. I still believe that his defense can and will get better. They're still young and their best days are ahead of them. I have no doubt.