We waited seven months to hear...a hiccup. At least on the offensive side of the ball, the Gator's debut under Urban Meyer's explosive spread option was less an explosion than an involuntary spasm of the esophagus. The Cowboys played well despite having the uniform color closest to actual feces in the NCAA, making things hard on a Florida team clearly in the process of grasping new schemes and concepts.
Good things. Bad things. We got 'em all.
GOLD STARS: Chris Leak, the passer. Efficient, not prone to floating passes, aware of the whole field--Meyer's passing offense asks Leak to make a lot more on-the field decisions than he used to. He responded brilliantly, breaking the UF record for consecutive completions (17) and dismantling the Wyoming secondary.
Vernell Brown, the midget corner. Mighty mite Brown roamed the defensive backfield with the jerky speed of a malicious cursor, speedballing through tackles, defending passes, and generally being 165 pounds of hot mess for anyone who got near him. Meyer called him "the face of Florida football;" Brown lived up to the name against the Cowboys.
Chad Jackson: no brainer for his threefour-td performance and the mayhem he caused in coverages. Less celebrated for his savvy choice of white, Rick James style braids to tip his gangsta braids with.
The whole defense: their attacking scheme and wire to wire aggression gives weight to conspiracy theorists' claim that c0-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong had been handcuffed by Zook's grandmotherly play-calling the past three years.
Chris Leak, the runner: no one on the Cowboys' D believed in Leak's ability to gain yards on the ground. We're doubting the hounds of the Tennessee defense will buy it, either. The run offense, playing without troubled wunderkind DeShawn Wynn (out due to violation of team rules), went nowhere until Josh Portis took the controls in the fourth quarter. Look to Meyer to use him as the run threat in key situations throughout the rest of the season.
Special teams: the one unit that doesn't seem to have shaken its case of the Zook-induced matador tackles. Gave up a long return and a blocked punt. Meyer no doubt went home, punted the family dog, and went to work devising their long, painful, "pit of despair" week of practice.
Hey, they looked like they knew what they were doing most of the time and where they were supposed to be. Three thousand percent improvement in that department. The defense played like mad assholes, and the offense can pass at will. The one jittery element of this offense thus far is the run game, which is key to all the option/draw play action fakes they like to run. And what was up with uber-center Mike Degory fucking up three shotgun snaps? Outright Zookery on his part.
That said, they are still a very promising work in progress. Underwhelming, at times? Yup. Promising? Boundlessly so.