Sunday, September 9, 2007

Gators Win, but Questions Remain

The Gators defense looked like last years national championship defense in the first half against Troy, but they remembered they were freshman and sophomores in the second half. The defense held a pretty talented offensive Troy team to 3 points in the first half, but then promptly gave up 17 in third, while scoring none of their own.

The lack of pressure on the quarterback by the front line is very evident and will cost this team if the don't fix it. The secondary also played out of position at times and allowed Troy to move the ball methodically down the field. The bright spot was again the linebackers who were flying around the ball and making plays. Brandon Spikes and Dustin Doe were put in a tough spot having to replace to All-Americans in Brandon Siler and Earl Everrett, but have responded to the challenge. The rest of the defense will need to step it up if they want to win games in the SEC.

The Gators may want to make some moves with their defense before the Tennessee game to maximize the defense and be ready for the Vols high powered offense. Major Wright should start at safety opposite of Tony Joiner. Kyle Jackson has had time to show he could become the recruit he was made out to be, but has looked good. Wright has impressed teammates and the staff in practice and has looked good while getting time in the games. Wright is more athletic than Jackson and will be able to help make plays against the Vols offense. The Gators may also want to shake up the the defensive line so they can get some pressure on Erik Ainge. If the Gators do not get pressure on Ainge, it will be a long day for that defense.

The offense looked good again for the second week, racking up 500 yards of total offense. The offense was once again lead by Tim Tebow who threw for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns, while running for 108 yards and 2 scores. Cornelius Ingram, who came to UF as a QB and than moved to TE, has moved out to wide out and had a great game. Ingram had over a 100 yards for the first time in his career and gave Troy some match up problems.

The Gators will need some wide outs like Ingram to step up because it looks like they may be without captain Andre "Bubba" Caldwell for a while, and maybe the whole season. Caldwell was injured his knee in the second half of the game and doctors said it is his MCL. Urban Meyer is not to optimistic saying, "That's a major, major deal." This is a terrible blow for the Gators and for Caldwell, who came back for his senior season to improve his draft status. Caldwell missed all of the 2005 season after breaking his leg returning a kick in the Tennessee game. Hopefully the injury is not as bad as it seems and Caldwell can return to the Gators. Sophomore sensation Percy Harvin will have to take over as the Gators number 1 wide out, but will have some big shoes to fill.

The Gators preseason is now officially over and they start the meat of their schedule beginning with rival Tennessee at home. The Vols offense looked outstanding against Cal in the opening game of the season, but like the Gators they have questions on the defensive side of the ball. This game will be more high scoring than past Gator/Vol games and the Gators will need to play well to win it. The winner of this game will have the heads up in winning the SEC East and the loser may well be out of that hunt.

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