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Theater of Operations, Florida Gators Season Review: The Wide Receivers, Part Two

Previous Season Review editions of Theater of Operations: Quarterbacks (parts one, two, three), running backs (parts one, two, three), tight ends (one part) and wide receivers (part one).

Looking back at how things unfolded, I actually feel quite bad for Deonte Thompson. I mean, he started his career as a role player on the Gators' 2008 BCS National Championship team and ends his career not catching a touchdown his senior season until his final game. I guess going out with a bang was a good thing, but it was far from ideal.

Just imagine if Deonte had held on to make just a few more catches. He would have probably gone down as the best Gators wide receiver the last four years. Wait, is he the best wide receiver over the last four years regardless?

Quinton Dunbar on the other hand, wasn't expected to make an impact until his breakout performance in the 2011 Orange and Blue Debut game played last April. As a result, great things were expected of him, but he (along with many others) failed to meet those expectations. I don't really think that fourteen receptions for two hundred and sixteen yards was what anyone had in mind.

Play No. 1: Thompson's 17-yard touchdown reception against Ohio State:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Thompson (yellow circle) is in one-on-one coverage, but at least it was an extremely soft coverage as the defender (green circle) is roughly 10-yards off.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

A few yards before Thompson (yellow circle) begins his inside-cut maneuver, the defender is still 5 or 6-yards off of him. Also, notice the protection that Brantley is getting. It's pretty good, isn't it?


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Because the defender was playing such soft coverage, Thompson is able to easily get inside position and beat him to the ball (yellow square). Meanwhile, the safety (double green circle) is late helping out on the play.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Just before the ball (red circle) gets there, you can see that Thompson has roughly a yard of separation between himself and each defender (yellow square).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Thompson makes the catch (yellow square).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Thompson does a great job of holding onto the ball despite some pretty decent contact (yellow square).

Play No. 2: Dunbar's 29-yard touchdown reception against Furman:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Dunbar (yellow circle) is just going to run an out-route against, yep, you guessed it, man coverage (green circle).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

5-yards into the play, the defender (green circle) has moved roughly a yard. As a result, Dunbar (yellow circle) has the advantage.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As they reach the twenty yard line (yellow square), both Dunbar and the defender are even. But, Dunbar is running at full speed while the defender is running at three-quarters speed at best.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

That speed difference, plus the you know, natural difference in their speed, creates the separation (yellow square).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As Dunbar reaches the goal line, the defender is at the two yard line (yellow square).


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Dunbar makes a great catch and shows excellent concentration to make sure he keeps his feet in bounds for the touchdown (yellow square).

Play No. 3. Dunbar's 6-yard touchdown reception against Florida State:


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

The play that saved the shut-out.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

As soon as Dunbar (yellow square) gets about a yard inside the endzone, you can see that he has turned towards Jacoby Brissett and is waiting for the throw.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Dunbar makes the catch (yellow square) in the air and is concentrating on getting his feet down in bounds, yet again. Just to say it one more time, what a throw by Brissett.


(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Yes, yes he did get his feet down in bounds (yellow square). Excellent play all around.

Heading into 2012, the wide receiver position is pretty much wide open. The only player that really separated himself from the pack was Andre Debose. But hey, with a new offensive coordinator, for the third year in a row (and four out of five), anything can happen.