ARMCHAIR QB: Grading the Gators vs. LSU

ARMCHAIR QB: Grading the Gators vs. LSU

The Florida Gators chances at an SEC East crown took a serious detour on Saturday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana when the Gators lost 21 - 17 to the LSU Tigers. Defense and special teams could not overcome an inadequate offense as the Gators where able to produce just 206 yards of total offense. Despite forcing five turnovers and recording five sacks in a game LSU tried to give away, the Gators said no thanks.

Any hopes Florida had of returning to the SEC championship will now depend on the charities of others, as the Gators must defeat the Georgia Bulldogs in two weeks and then hope Georgia loses one of it remaining games against Arkansas, Auburn, or Kentucky.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

IMPRESSIVE: Eric Wilbur, Marcus Thomas, Jeremy Mincey, Joe Cohen, Jarvis Moss, Steven Harris, Earl Everett, Brandon Siler, and Jarvis Herring

SOLID: The secondary, DeShawn Wynn and the running backs

NEED WORK: Chris Leak, pass blocking, receivers, Dan Mullen

THE GRADES

DEFENSIVE LINE: Almost every member of the defensive line had at least one highlight play as the defensive line as a unit more than held their own again LSU. Defensive end Jeremy Mincey led the way with 10 tackles including a sack, defensive tackle Marcus Thomas was second with 9 tackles including a half a sack and a forced fumble. Defensive tackle Steven Harris and defensive end Joe Cohen combine for an interception when Harris tipped a ball, which Cohen came down with. Meanwhile backup defensive end Jarvis Moss had a breakout game recording 3 sacks and caused a fumble he recovered himself. Unfortunately, these guys don't play on offense. GRADE A-

LINEBACKERS: Earl Everett and Brandon Siler covered just about everything the defensive line missed. Everett recorded 14 tackles, while Siler was credited with 9 tackles, recovered a fumble and had a quarterback hurry. Unfortunately, with Everett and Siler concentrating on the run, they could not help the pass defense, allowing LSU to have success on the intermediate routes. GRADE B+

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Jarvis Herring and Vernell Brown led a secondary that played well enough for the most part. Herring record an interception and recovered a fumble, while Brown was credited with 7 tackles. The secondary gave up only three pass plays of significance but all three were costly. A 43 yard touchdown reception and a 23 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter and a 31 yard pass reception for first down on third and nine in the fourth quarter which allowed the Tigers to continue on their game winning touchdown drive. GRADE C

OFFENSIVE LINE: The offensive line actually blocked pretty well for the running game, helping the Gators produce 130 yards from the running backs. The problems came when the Gators had to pass as once again the offensive line had trouble with the odd man front, allowing LSU to sack Florida quarterback 4 time for a minus 52 yards. When the Tigers couldn't get a sack, they got plenty of pressure as the Gators found themselves trying to block more rushers than they had blockers. GRADE D

RECEIVERS: When the passing game produces only 107 yards, you can pretty much guess the receivers didn't have one of their best days. Chad Jackson, Dallas Baker, and Jermalle Cornelius combined for 10 catches for just 87 yards. Baker had a nice block to help spring Kestahn Moore on his touchdown run, but when that is the highlight of the day you know the receivers had problems. Florida's receivers could not get off the line of scrimmage, particularly in the five receiver set, as LSU took away most of the short routes. GRADE D

RUNNING BACKS: DeShawn Wynn had a nice day running and receiving, while freshman Kestahn Moore got the scoring started for the Gators on a 32-yard touchdown run. Make no mistake Wynn was the star of the running game. Wynn's 20-yard reception on the screen pass setup Florida's field goal and his 36-yard scamper in the third quarter helped setup his one-yard plunge to put the Gators ahead 17 - 14. In the fourth quarter Wynn did a respectable job trying to hold back the onslaught of LSU pass rush but there were just to many Tigers to block. GRADE B

QUARTERBACK: Chris Leak can't take all the blame for his poor play on Saturday he had lots of help. With his line unable to hold off the LSU pass rush and his receivers unable to get open, Leak spent most of the day running for his life. Yet when he did have time he couldn't connect, Leak overthrew several receivers. Leak finished one of his worst days as Florida's quarterback completing just 11 passes out of 30 attempts for just 107 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. You have to give Leak some credit for effort, but you have to get results. On Saturday positive results were hard to come by. GRADE F

KICKING/SPECIALTY: Once again the special teams and kicking game did their part to ensure a victory. Eric Wilbur used the running punt, it looks kind of like a running rugby kick, to keep LSU's return man extraordinaire Tyler Green from returning but one punt for 1-yard on 10 punts, while averaging 43 yards a punt with three punts downed inside the Tigers' 20-yard line. The rest of the kicking game was solid as kicker Chris Hetland made all his kicks. Coverage on kickoffs was adequate. Florida's punt return team still continues to struggle. GRADE B

COACHING: Whatever, offensive coordinator Dan Mullen's offense game plan was it didn't work. Furthermore, Mullen appeared to have no adjustments or solutions to the problems, as Florida was unable to mount a consistent offensive attack throughout the contest. Despite giving Florida the middle of the field, Mullen could not take advantage. Meanwhile, co-defensive coordinators Greg Mattison and Charlie Strong had a plan that produced 5 turnovers, five sacks, while giving up just 361 yards of total offense to LSU. A feast or famine defense, which feature heavy blitzing and a lot of man to man coverages, just ran out of gas as the game wore on. Coach Meyer got another does of SEC football and has some serious questions to answer about the offense and its inability to move the football. GRADE Offense F, Defense B, Head Coaching D

FANS: As it was an away game, I will give the usual.

GRADE I

FINAL THOUGHTS

Coach Meyer needs to spend some time trying to find a solution for his offense. Why didn't Florida use the middle of the field, use screens, swing passes and draws to slow down the Tiger pass rush? How can the best offense in the SEC last year be reduced to this? Does Chris Leak know he has other receivers besides Jackson, Baker and Cornelius? Lots of questions, very few answers. Time for Coach Meyer to start earning the salary and find some solutions. If solutions aren't found in the next two weeks, I am going to have to use up my season supple of Jack Daniels to get through the Georgia game. This season is fast becoming a repeat of the last three. OVERALL GRADE: D

Randy Platt
The Armchair Quarterback
Later GATORS, after while the rest!

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