Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Orange and Blue and Rate's Debut

Hey everyone, I'm a new contributor here at TSFF, going to be covering mostly football for the Dolphins and Gators. Shoot me an e-mail sometime if you wanna know more about me, otherwise, lets get to the important stuff.

Here's a couple of game notes I put together for the first half of the Gators Orange and Blue Debut. Just some quick observations, I might do a little better writeup/analysis later, since these notes assume that you've seen the game.

-I LOVED the TD run from Mon Williams on the opening drive where he literally carried 4 defenders into the endzone. Mon is a guy we've been looking for some production out of for awhile now, one of those "potential" guys. Hopefully we can see some more out of him this year.

-Cam Newton may have dispelled any rumors that the Gators will return to a dual-QB system. He still shows his flashes of greatness, but overall his play was very sub-par. I still have some hopes for him, but I'm willing to bet that Brantley will be our backup QB this year once he gets healthy again.

-First play of Blue's second drive. Tebow jukes the defender in the backfield, and still manages to get off the option pitch. Stuff like that shows why people talk so much about Tebow being a spread QB, Leak couldn't of done that.

-Kudos again to Tebow on the play that his first interception happened. He drops the ball and picks it up to continue the play, and made a great pass. He made the play, and that's what we want to see. Rowley just juggled the pass. The second interception wasn't his fault, either.

-Kestahn Moore is really a good kid, and a hard worker. He's improved his ball handling, but when he runs the ball, he still lacks that killer instinct that I like to see in a running back. I'd really like to see him hit the holes a little faster if he's going to be the guy.

-Carlos Dunlap is a BEAST. I was really excited to see him come in last year, and after he's had a year to improve, he really impressed in this game. Remember, Dunlap is the guy who was starting defensive end and kick returner for his high school team.

-The Gators are ridiculously deep at Wide receiver. Just look at players like Justin Williams, who's probably our 5th or 6th string receiver.

-I wonder if the Gators can make it the entire season without a single punt return yard this season? Remember, all season, we only had 5 punts returned... for 22 yards. Brandon James has 5 punt returns for MORE then 20 yards. The combination of Chas Henry's leg and Brandon James' return skills are going to help the Gators win a lot of field position battles this year.

-Chris Rainey is going to make a lot of big plays this year. They say that speed kills in football, and with the combination of Percy, Rainey, and Deonte, we have speed that will make greased lightning look slow.

-People want to talk about our troubles in the secondary, but if we can improve our pash rush, then it will help our corners tremendously. Haden and Pierre-Louis are going to be solid corners this year either way with the experience they gained last year, but with a strong enough pass rush, they could be All-SEC'ers.

-One thing that does concern me is the play of the offensive line. Now, a few factors comes into this. For one, the first and second team was split between the two teams, so the line wasn't at it's best. But it does show that we have holes in our depth. Another thing to remember is that the position that is the most effected by a lack of consistent game-time is the offensive line. Look at the bowl games, after 2-3 week layoffs, teams normally let up more sacks in their bowl games then any other time in the season. Need more proof? Look at how the Giants beat the Pats. As we get into the season, our offensive line will really solidify themselves, but, I'm still a little worried about our depth there. We have to stay healthy.

-Sturgis looks really, really impressive. He hit the 47 and 52, and only barely missed the 57, and the 62 was only BARELY short. He's got a serious leg, and we finally have a kicker.

-Poor Major Wright. Because of the red shirt rules Major couldn't really hit Tebow, but Tebow levels the poor guy anyways. And for a guy that really takes a lot of pride in being a hard hitter, that's especially gotta hurt.

-I love the play of our linebackers. There were a few busted coverages that will need to be improved, but they were hitting hard and hitting fast, with good wrap-up and tackling technique. And I don't care what anyone says about QBs, a good football team begins and ends with solid blocking and tackling.

-Another player that I'm excited to see develop is Aaron Hernandez. He's still a little raw and needs more work, but I feel like he could be an All-SEC TE by his senior season. He definitely has the size and hands.

-WOW at that jump into the endzone for Rainey. The guy is the size of Carlos Dunlap's leg, but he has no fear. I love the kid already.

-I really want to see more out of Emmanuel Moody. I've heard that he did better in the second half, but we also didn't play a lot of starters in the second half. I'll reserve judgement for now.

Overall, I gotta say that I'm really excited about this coming season. After watching "The Rain Man's" performance, if you aren't excited too, you probably don't have a pulse. I also think we have a ton of depth at linebacker now (Hey, how about a 3-4?), our secondary is improving to be at least decent now, and the defensive line looks COMPLETELY different then it did last year, which is a very, very good thing. We still have some depth issues on the offensive line, and I still don't know if we have our elusive 1,000 yard running back, but at the very least Tebow shouldn't have to run as much next season.

So then, what's the answer to the big question? Are the Gators a championship team? Maybe. I think we have some of the pieces to be national champions, but not all of them, and the pieces that we do have aren't all working together perfectly, either. Not to mention how tough the SEC is, and how good Georgia is looking as well. It's still just the spring though, and we have a long way to go.

This writer's prediction? Circle Saturday November 1st on your calender, because it could very well be a #1 vs #2 matchup.

1 comment:

ASponge said...

Excellent first post, Rate. Keep up the fantastic commentary.