Florida Review 2011
Padawan (pa-duh-wan). 1. An apprentice who undergoes intensive training under a learned Jedi Knight. In most cases, the padawan cannot hold the Jedi Knight’s jock. Saturday night was most cases. One day, Will “BOOM MF” Muschamp will field a team at Florida that will be able to be competitive with Jedi Saban but Saturday was not that day. Florida’s “kitchen sink” (my goodness, Charlie Weiss certainly knows his way around the kitchen doesn’t he – he’s so fat they had to grease the sides of the tunnel and place a twinkie at midfield just to get him onto the field) offense amounted to “go deep” on the first play and that’s about all they had to offer. Meanwhile, Muschamp’s forte of masterminding a defense was the equivalent of a stunned Gator looking into the headlights of a Sherman tank. In big boy SEC football, which we know has won the last five national championships, games are won and lost in the trenches, so when you look at these numbers it’s no wonder these Gators were roadkill. Honestly, these numbers are mind numbing:
- Rushing: Bama – 226 yards. UF – 15 (Florida came into the game averaging 259 on the ground)
- Rushing 1stDowns: Bama – 14. UF – 1.
- Sacks: Bama – 3. UF – 0.
- QBs Maimed: Bama – 0. UF – 2 (yeah, we hurt Driskell, too)
Honestly, this game could be summed up by the fact that our kicker, Cade Foster (who incidentally is built like a brick house) injured Florida’s top running back, Demps, by making a solo tackle by playing a little Gator toss along the sidelines. Seriously. We need to make bumper stickers that say “Our kicker can beat up your best RB”. When our killer kicker wasn’t making himself an alligator jock strap, the actual defense was holding the vaunted duo of Rainey and Demps to a COMBINED 8 yards!!!! THIS is what Weiss meant by throwing the kitchen sink at Alabama? It looked more like he threw in the kitchen towel because, after the first quarter, Florida could only mount one legit threat on offense. In fact, the one last time Florida entered Alabama territory, it resulted in a Watkins sack and a fumble that would have been and should have been allowed to be a touchdown had it not been for an inadvertent whistle. Then, on the next play, Courtney “The wrecking ball” Upshaw pretzled John Brantley’s leg with another sack that, combined with the Watkins sack on the previous down, moved Florida from the Bama 12 to the Bama 35. When Florida missed the subsequent field goal it was all over but the shouting because after the Upshaw sack, Florida only mustered 46 more yards (after gaining 176 in the first two quarters).
So, Alabama now sits with a perfect record of 5-0 and has shut down the conference’s best passing team in Arkansas and the best running team in Florida. Meanwhile the running game has begun to click with some of the best blocking we’ve seen since the illustrious Hogs in Washington. Honestly, now that we’ve settled on Five Guys who love Burgers and Fries, we are blowing thru D-lines like a 40 year old’s colon getting prepped for a colonoscopy. And, given the pictures of Muschamp on the sidelines, I think he probably felt like he’d been given a rectal exam when Saturday night concluded. Bend over and BOOM, MF! And, with that, it’s time for the NOTES…….you rectum?
This story begins and ends with big #3. Last week I told you that the worst place to be on Saturday would be one on one with Trent Richardson and this past Saturday night is a testament to that. On Trent’s 36 yard TD run the Florida safety conveniently “took a bad angle” that allowed TR to scamper untouched into the end zone. Why would he do that? Because Trent gouged the UF defense for 181 rushing yards and another 27 receiving yards. But, by my personal count (yes, I actually hit pause, rewind, slow mo and came up with this number) Trent had 98 yards AFTER CONTACT! As I watched him move pile after pile after pile, I realized that whether he had a crease or not, the young man was going to go as far as he could go on every carry. YAC. Yards after contact. Yards after collision. Or, in Florida terms, Your Ass Contracts, because every time you see big #3 coming at you, you know you pucker up for a good belt right in the kisser. After this performance, the much maligned line & backfield now ranks #1 in the SEC and #13 in the country in rushing (229.8 avg). That’s the attack I think we all envisioned coming into the season and, after watching the line work as a unit against Arky and UF, I think we’re gellin like a felon, fellas.
I was surprised that we didn’t continue with the no huddle that we employed against Arkansas, as that’s been Saban’s M.O. against defensive teams that he felt they could not manhandle up front. So, I think that tells you all that needs to be said about his thoughts coming into this game. Nick knew he could pound UF into submission. However, Alabama threw a TON on first down including our first four first downs and fourteen overall. That’s a lot of throws on first down. The results were mixed as AJ went a modest 7 of 14 on first down and 5 of 11 on his other throws. To the good, the OL was just as good at pass protecting as they were at road grading as AJ was never sacked and only hit one time (which resulted in a roughing the passer penalty – still don’t know how he got that one to Trent). Once again, though, AJ’s downfield passing left a lot to be desired as he wrong-shouldered some wide open throws or just flat out missed open receivers. However, his best pass came on third and 8 from his own 10. I was surprised Saban even let AJ attempt a pass given that he was up 14 points and deep in his own territory so that speaks of the amount of trust Saban has for AJ. Maze made a ridiculous catch along the sidelines that resulted in a critical first down and helped drive the final nail in the coffin as Bama scored a TD on that drive to make it 31-10.
OHHH Line: That’s the “When Harry Met Sally” ohhh, by the way. The offensive line did a spectacular job of opening holes for the backs and, as I mentioned above, they gave up ZERO sacks. On the road. ZERO. Their team blocking and their assignments were stellar. On TR’s 36 yard jaunt to the end zone, he was untouched as Warmack and Steen blew a hole so wide and devastating that Fluker was just standing there with no one to block. Time and time again Vlachos, Warmack and Steen were creating such a surge that TR was at full gallop five or more yards downfield before being bumped. You began to see this against Arkansas and the Florida game was just further proof. Our OL is Stout, and I think they’ve taken to the teachings of new OL coach Jeff Stoutland.
Boom Boom, Ackalacka Boom Boom: Was Not Was? Anyone? Walk the Dinosaur? Anyway, the opening offensive remarks about Trent sum this up but it bears repeating. 98 yards gained after contact. 181 rushing. 27 receiving. He even sprung the key block on Maze’s bubble screen that ended at the Florida 1 yard line! BTW – if you still have the game recorded, look at the 3rd and 14 play late in the first quarter. Watch the design. TR throws the lead block by releasing like a banshee out of the backfield. Key block on a bubble screen. Think about how far that is. And, he waxed that dude…
Wild Boys, Wild Boys: Alabama unveiled the Wildcat for the first time this season and while it gained 26 yards in only three carries, it was interesting in HOW and WHEN they used it. The last three plays Trent was in on, he ran the Wildcat and then they took him out of the game. Just a little sumpin for teams to chew on – they showed it only to show it and make teams worry about it. Funny gamesmanship for the future.
Short People Got No Reason: Nice to see us bang in a couple of 3rd and 1s and a first and goal from the one yard line. AJ scored again (yes, I said again b/c he was in last week!) on the QB sneak. Nice to see us not throw the ball there – no reason to throw. In fact, it was refreshing to see us line up and bang out a couple of third and threes!
Jukebox Hero: No songs will ever be sung about Chris Underwood but I’m gonna give the kid a shout out here. Do you even know who he is? What position? Number? I doubt you went three for three on those questions. Underwood found himself as a lead blocker several times as an H back or a FB and each time he delivered critical blocks for Trent. Outstanding job by a no name kid who’s worked hard to get himself some PT.
Yeah, I should have led with this group given their ability to absolutely remove Florida’s manhood in this game. This bears repeating. Florida came in AVERAGING 259 yards on the ground. They gained a total of 15 yards. After shutting down the high powered passing attack of Arkansas, Bama throttled the rushing attack of the “mighty” Gators. It was a no lo contendere for the entire evening on the ground. Meanwhile, Jabba the Weiss’ kitchen sink offense amounted to “go long” and little else. Early on, UF was able to isolate speedy WRs on our safeties but Smart outsmarted UF and switched to a nasty little zone. Of course, when Upshaw & friends crashed into and upset the kitchen table, all was lost for Florida.
Cody Mandell was solid punting the football against one of the nation’s most electric returners. Mandell averaged 39.8 yards on five punts, all of which landed inside the 20-yard line.
four solo tackles. Three were for a loss, and his one sack knocked Florida quarterback John Brantley out for the game.
But the biggest play Upshaw made wasn’t a tackle or a sack. Upshaw put the Crimson Tide on top when he intercepted a John Brantley pass and took it 45 yards for the touchdown. It was Upshaw’s first career interception, and second career touchdown. He recovered a fumble for a touchdown against Kentucky in 2009.
Half of the points Alabama’s defense has given up this season have been in the first quarter
Before Upshaw’s interception Florida was averaging 9.3 yards per offensive play. Afterward it managed only 2.2.
Last week the Crimson Tide faced the SEC’s top passing offense as Arkansas was averaging 346.7 yards, followed by the No. 1 rushing team, Florida (259.0). The Razorbacks threw for 209 yards and the Gators ran for 15 while Alabama won by nearly the identical score (38-14, 38-10). Also, the longest carry by a Florida running back was 7 yards.
of Florida’s 29 rushing plays 11 resulted in negative yards
Statistical comparison: Richardson running out of the wildcat reminded some of the way Mark Ingram did in his statement game against South Carolina en route to winning the Heisman Trophy. Here’s how Richardson’s numbers this season size up against Ingram’s first five games of 2009 (although It should be noted that Ingram had 172 rushing yards and 246 in weeks 6 and 7).
Opponent, rushing yards, receiving yards, offensive yards, TDs
Virginia Tech 150, 35, 185, 2
Fla. International 56, 47, 103, 1
North Texas 91, 38, 129, 2
Arkansas 50, 21,71, 2
Kentucky 140, 6, 146, 2
Averages 97.4, 29.4, 126.8, 1.8
Season 118.4, 23.9, 142.3, 1.4
Opponent, rushing yards, receiving yards, total yards, TDs
Kent State 37, 16, 53, 3
Penn State 111, 19, 130, 2
North Texas 167, 1, 168, 3
Arkansas 126, 85 211, 1
Florida 181, 32, 213, 2
Averages 124.4, 29.6, 154, 2.2