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November 10, 2010Every week, InsidetheGators.net will review game tape of the previous week's opponent.
We'll do our best to analyze it and point out some interesting things that stood out on film. We'll pay special attention to things happening off the ball, players who performed well, players who disappointed and statistical trends forming based on personnel groupings.
Today we go back over Saturday's game against Vanderbilt and report our findings.
It seemed that Florida might once again come out without any punch in the first half, but thanks to a terrific special teams performance by Chris Rainey, the Gators were finally able to put up points in bunches in the first half.
Still, there were issues offensively early on. Most of those came in the form of protection breakdowns when quarterback John Brantley was in the game.
For whatever reason, the Gators still struggle to block well for Brantley and blitz pickup has not improved much over the course of the season when Brantley is taking the snaps.
That said, the offense as a whole improved tremendously against Vanderbilt. Thanks in large part to the contributions of Jordan Reed at quarterback, the Gators were able to keep Vanderbilt on its heels for most of the game.
Reed offered the Gators a rare blend of running and passing ability from the quarterback spot, something that Florida fans have yet to see extensively this year.
Even better, Reed's passing was crisp for the most part. He did throw a few high passes, and he needs to learn when to take a little off his throws, but he had an impressive performance for a guy who likely hasn't practiced much as a quarterback.
His role in the offense should expand in the future, though it may not increase drastically over the remainder of the season. Don't be surprised if Reed gets significantly less reps at quarterback at South Carolina, as Florida puts the ball in their more experienced quarterback's hands during crunch time.
Having running backs Emmanuel Moody and Mike Gillislee back made a noticeable difference.
Gillislee continues to prove that he's the most complete back on the roster, and his 43-yard touchdown run was a real thing of beauty. He has the best blend of speed, power and vision of Florida's running backs.
In addition, Rainey looks more comfortable than ever running the ball. For the second straight game he showed a physical component to his game that we'd never seen before his return from suspension. On one play, he leveled a Vanderbilt defender.
Defensively, things also seemed much improved for the Gators. Much of that was due to Vanderbilt's inability to throw, but Florida played fundamentally sound and didn't miss many tackles.
The emergence of Sharrif Floyd in the middle of the defensive line made a big difference in the play of the entire line. More on that when we get to the standout player on film.
Linebacker Jelani Jenkins had arguably his best game of the year. He flew all over the field and made several excellent tackles.
The secondary capitalized on a few Vanderbilt mistakes and was extremely close to at least two more interceptions in the game.
Stopping the run might still be an issue, but it was hard to tell against the Commodores, who were extremely thin at the running back spot by the end of the game.
STANDOUT PLAYER ON FILM
This week's standout player on film was an obvious choice: true freshman defensive tackle Floyd.
Floyd wreaked havoc on the Vanderbilt offensive line, and it was clear from the outset that the Commodores had no one who could contain him up front.
While statistically his performance might not have been that impressive, he created numerous opportunities for other players on the defensive line with his ability to collapse the pocket and force the quarterback to scramble around.
His pursuit is also amazing to watch. On one play, he chased down a Vanderbilt running back that had at least five yards on him and brought him down near the sideline for just a one-yard gain.
Honorable Mention: RB/WR Rainey
DISAPPOINTING PLAYER ON FILM
Left tackle Marcus Gilbert continues to struggle, despite being Florida's best and most consistent linemen through the first half of the season.
His blitz pickup has stood out as one of his key weaknesses over the past few games. He was exposed a few times more on Saturday.
On one play, he opted to block an interior defensive lineman that was lined up between he and Maurice Hurt. His choice of block left Hurt in no-man's land with no one to block as a linebacker blitzed right where Gilbert had been and came clean through on Brantley for a big hit and a big loss.
If it's an assignment issue and that's who he was supposed to block, then the blocking scheme for that play was poorly designed. It certainly looked as if Gilbert simply blocked the wrong man, though.
He's also not getting out in front of the running backs much to provide blocks on sweeps to his side.
FACTS, FIGURES & NOTES
* True freshman wide receiver Solomon Patton, who we thought was one of the top freshman performer in the spring, saw his first real action of the season. He was impressive on both special teams and offense. He had a few nice catches and has a knack for turning up the field quickly to get yardage after the catch.
* Patton also made a very heads-up play on Rainey's second blocked punt, putting himself in perfect position to scoop it up and race in for the score.
* On that second punt block, Rainey put an absolutely crushing block on a Vanderbilt player after blocking the punt and getting up quickly.
* One thing that Reed needs to work on with his passing is his touch on longer throws down the field. He seemed to be slinging everything 100 miles per hour on a rope to his receiver. For some of those throws, he would have been better off with a little more loft.
* Reed's ability to throw on the run is extremely impressive. Several times he rolled out and delivered a perfect strike 10 to 15 yards down the field.
* Linebacker Jon Bostic seems to be getting less and less playing time as the season goes on. Brandon Hicks has played well and Jelani Jenkins has also come on strong. Bostic, on the other hand, seems to be missing a lot of tackles because he's over-pursuing.
* True freshman cornerback Cody Riggs had a good day. He was frequently in great position and anticipated tackles extremely well. He had nearly perfect coverage on Vanderbilt's second touchdown; he was only beaten by a phenomenal catch by the Vanderbilt receiver.
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