The Swamp is back, The Florida Gators improved to 6-0 on the season following a dominant defensive performance against Auburn Tigers.
Entering the game with a lot of questions, the Gators ended the day Saturday by proving that they can win against some of the best teams in the country.
Todd Grantham: The season is half over and Todd Grantham has had his best eleven together as a unit for a combined total of zero snaps. Despite this, his defense has given up seventeen total points through the first half of the season. Despite a 24-13 final score the defense can’t be at fault for any of the points. Two long fumble recoveries left the Tigers in great field position to get field goals. While a baffling fake punt led to a quick, one play, 32 yard touchdown strike. Auburn never had a prayer in Hell. Bo Nix got crushed by Jonathan Greenard on the first snap of the game and it was all downhill from there. Grantham’s defense forced the true freshman Quarterback to throw three interceptions, sacked Nix twice, and limited him on the ground for most of the game. It was the best game Todd Grantham has called in his time at the University of Florida and is well deserving of a big FYMF.
The Wide Receivers: Seriously It's impossible to stress enough how good this room is. The Senior Leadership of Freddie Swain, Josh Hammond, Tyrie Cleveland, and Van Jefferson is incredible. The willingness to play special teams by Cleve and Van is vital while the other two are labeled ”Mr Reliable” by almost the entire fanbase. Swain and Hammond had a combined 8 catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns. While Kyle Pitts added an 8 catch 65 yards to the room’s performance.
The Future in the Caravan: When I went on the GatorMaven Pod Thursday I said that if Florida wants to win they need at least three points on a drive led by Emory Jones. That was spoken into existence however the injury of Kyle Trask allowed us to see Emory with the full playbook opened up. He only had 3 carries for 13 tough yards and went 5-7 for 28 yards through the air. However one incompletion was a very well thrown deep ball which Freddie Swain admitted he should’ve caught. The Future of the position is bright with Emory leading the room.
Gainesville: That crowd was the best crowd in years. The city of Gainesville was electric from Friday night at midtown all the way through Sunday afternoon. I have attended the biggest home game each of the last six years and there has never been a crowd this big or an atmosphere as loud as Saturday. When Freddie Swain Scored on the second play it was louder than Stew’s pick 6 last year and Callaway’s famous 4th and 14. The crowd gave Auburn hell the entire afternoon from a communication standpoint causing delay of games, false starts, and forcing Auburn to use timeouts to cope with the noise. Dan Mullen has single handedly made the Swamp a place where teams are miserable playing again and Florida fans can’t thank him enough.
Questionable Decisions: There really isn’t much to complain when you beat a top ten team at home by double digits. However, some of the play calls were head scratchers. With Auburn on the ropes, the fake punt on 4th down that everybody could see coming was suboptimal. Having a QB with a banged up knee run a dive on third and one vs the best DL in America is baffling. If these are the only two bad things from a scheme perspective there are to complain about after a game like this every Gator fan will gladly take it.
The Safety Rotation: Death, Taxes, and this topic finding its way here. Shawn Davis is living up to the hype he got out of fall camp with another incredible interception while Brad Stewart is doing all the little things well this season. The rotation is still mind boggling when you take the best safety out of the game after a monster interception. Donovan Stiner redeemed himself on an interception in the end zone after almost single handedly letting Auburn drive down the field. With a trip to Baton Rouge next week we can only hope Brad Stewart goes bananas again in his home state and that he and Shawn Davis stay on the field as much as possible.
The Offensive Line: Putting it Bluntly: It’s That Bad.
Not a single combination Coach Hev throws out works. That’s saying something because he has turned water into wine before. This unit isn’t going to take leaps and bounds like it did last year simply because there isn’t the talent in the room. If you had told me 10 months ago that Nick Buchanan would be our best one, I would’ve said we are screwed.
And now, we are screwed.
With how bad the O-line was it was somewhat impressive that Auburn never had control in a game where their all world defensive line forced: Four sacks, Three fumbles, Seven TFL’s, Two Quarterback hurries, and only allowing one carry longer than eight yards the entire game.
This was the best front the unit will go against the entire season, however with a trip to Death Valley for a night game on deck and Georgia looming, the offensive line has to improve. With just an average line this is at WORST an eleven win football team. Given the fact that it has already cost Felipe Franks his season and it damn near almost ended Kyle Trask’s on Saturday, it seriously could derail the season.
Pocket Awareness: The phrase “Slow Feet don’t eat” usually doesn’t apply to Quarterbacks. However, with Kyle Trask it does. The line in front of him doesn’t help his cause. However, his lack of pocket movement and inability to know when to throw the ball away aren’t great either. Some of his best plays of the day were made on a thrown away pass, a step up in the pocket to hit a check down, and just getting the ball out quickly. He’s a solid game manager but if he can improve his pocket awareness, Florida has a chance to take the next step.
Overall it was a game Florida had to have to earn the National respect. What a damn win.
See y’all in Baton Rouge on Saturday, Bring it on LSU.
Via: Harrison Tenzer
(Above photo: AP Photo/John Raoux)