Florida Gator Follies: Why Fans From the Swamp Should Be Concerned
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On opening week of the college football season, high expectations surrounded the Florida Gators. The Tim Tebow era was complete, but Gator fans still came out in massive numbers for the first game of the season against the Miami of Ohio RedHawks in The Swamp.
Junior quarterback John Brantley led the Florida offense on to the field, ready to show what the high-powered Gator attack would hold in store for the 2010 season.
Apparently, not much.
Although Florida won the contest 34 to 12, the offensive effort was, at best, mediocre.
The Gators and RedHawks each gained 212 yards of total offense. This statistic should be utterly embarrassing for Florida.
Last season, the RedHawks won just one game. And Florida could not muster more offensive firepower than a one-win team?
However, the follies of the Gators go deeper than purely numbers.
To get the full effect of the problems of Florida, let's go through the game drive-by-drive.
Miami of Ohio opened up the game with the ball and would ultimately punt. On Florida's first drive, the Gators ran two plays. The third play resulted in a John Brantley fumble, giving the RedHawks the football on the Gator 24-yard line.
On the next possession, the Gators would fumble once again, giving them two turnovers in a five minute span.
However, Florida would bounce back on the RedHawks' next possession, intercepting a pass from quarterback Zac Dysert. Jonathan Bostic barely moved to bring down the pick, showing poor decision-making from the Miami of Ohio signal caller.
The Gators would then drive down the field into RedHawk territory, where another fumble was coughed up. Although Florida recovered, it resulted in a turnover on downs, ending the first quarter of play with Miami of Ohio leading the mighty Florida Gators, 3-0.
Then, the Gators' luck began to turn after Dysert threw an interception into the waiting arms of Janoris Jenkins, who returned the pass 70 yards for a touchdown, giving Florida a 7-3 lead.
On the next possession, Miami of Ohio attempted to run a fake punt on their own 21-yard line, a play that had worked earlier in the game. However, this time, the Gators snuffed it out, ultimately leading to another Florida touchdown.
Dysert continued his rough second quarter by throwing yet another interception to a wide open Ahmad Black, who returned the pick to the RedHawk two-yard line. The Gators would score again, extending their lead to 21-3.
At this point, let's look at the three Gator scores. They required a total of 23 offensive yards, and one was due to a poor coaching decision by Miami of Ohio.
The RedHawks would respond, driving down the field for nearly eight minutes to add on a 31-yard field goal with only a few seconds remaining in the first half. At the half, Florida led 21-6.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Gators turned the ball over on downs once again, but would get it back after a Miami of Ohio three-and-out.
Next, the Gators would have two straight bad snaps right past John Brantley, driving them all the way back to their own one-yard line. Brantley would follow up with a pass to Chris Rainey that somehow got out of the end zone, although I found the call very questionable.
After the Gator punt, Miami of Ohio would tack on a field goal, bringing the score to 21-9.
A big return on the ensuing kickoff placed Florida in RedHawk territory. However, they could do little. Caleb Sturgis would miss a 44-yard field goal, ending the Gator drive.
The RedHawks would drive down the field once again for nearly five minutes, but would only get a field goal in the red zone once again, making it 21-12 in favor of the Gators.
It would take Florida just two plays to find the end zone on their next drive, thanks to a 72-yard touchdown scamper by Jeffery Demps. A missed extra point put the score at 27-12.
After a Miami of Ohio punt, Florida put together a solid drive, making their way into the red zone. But the football was coughed up once again, giving the RedHawks another chance.
A big run by Mike Gillislee allowed John Brantley to find Chris Rainey in the end zone from 25 yards out, sealing the deal on a mediocre effort by the Gators.
Highly touted quarterback John Brantley had just 113 yards passing and failed to give the Florida offense any clout whatsoever.
In addition, the Gators lost three fumbles in the game. Plus, Miami of Ohio had four drives that lasted longer than three minutes, thirty seconds. Florida had just one drive of that length.
Ultimately, the RedHawks had a nine minute advantage in time of possession. All of these problems point to a troublesome season for the Gators. Miami of Ohio was 1-11 last season. What will happen to Florida when they face off against the tough teams of the SEC?
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