Game of the Week Review: Florida vs. LSU
Full marks to LSU and in particular, their defensive line, who controlled the game and made Florida’s offense struggle all day. The Tigers definitely proved me wrong. However, at the same time I give praise to the LSU defensive line, I have to criticize Urban Meyer for being unprepared, unwilling to change and producing overrated recruiting classes.
Unprepared: How could be possibly not be ready for the fake field goal near the end of the game? It was unlikely that the Tigers were going to kick a 53 yard field goal even with LSU having one of the best kickers in the country in Josh Jasper. Additionally, Les Miles had called a similar play against South Carolina in 2007. I even called the fake field goal and I am no Div. 1 head coach.
Unwilling to change: Clearly John Brantley is not Tim Tebow, cannot run this offense and I am unsure if he can run any offense for that matter because he has looked shaky all year. But a head coach needs to change his offense based upon the personal running it. John Brantley is a pocket passer who (at least based upon the LSU game) is a statue back there. Therefore, if Brantley is going to be your QB 80% of the time, you need an offense designed around his skill set or why both playing him?
Overrated recruiting classes: As I watched the game I started to think to myself, where is the talent on this team? I understand that they were without Demps, but this is Florida. They should have depth at nearly every position. From what I see, they have a quarterback who can’t run their offense (I do not think he is even NFL practice roster material at this point), a no name defensive line and linebacking corps, a small but talented cover corner and a late first round center/guard. This is all the talent in one of the top 3 football programs in the country?
While one lackluster year should not put a two time national championship coach on the hot seat, it should certainly open the door to more criticism for Meyer and the Gator program.
Patrick Peterson – I can definitely see the talent. Possesses great size (6-1, 222 lbs), quickness, excellent recovery speed, exhibits flexibility and balance in his backpedal and in his transition’s while keeping his legs under him the whole time. One of the most talented corners I have seen in college football and a guaranteed top 10 pick in the 2011 draft. As one scout mentioned, Prince Amukamara is a little more refined at this point with his footwork, hand placement and understanding of the position. However, in my opinion, Peterson may have more upside, more athleticism and he is a top level returner as well. Both guys are exceptional corners though and if pressed, I am not sure who I would choose.
Steven Ridley – The thing I like about Ridley the most is he understands who he is and where his strengths lie. A power back with a thick lower half, Ridley is built low to the ground and is a guy who runs hard, maintains good pad level, keeps his legs moving all the time and is more effective trying to run through people than around them. He shows good vision and anticipation of where the holes are and will not give up negative yards. Ridley does not possess the athleticism and speed to be a featured back on the next level but I could see him in a backup role used to control the clock and to wear down a defense.
Mike Pouncey – Watching him, I was most impressed with his athleticism. As I saw on many of the Gators runs, he exhibited the ability to pull down the line, reach his target and move his defender back with some explosion. Additionally, he possesses the ability to mirror well in pass protection, shows bend and flexibility while sitting in his stance and is able to anchor on contact. However, in my mind, he still needs to do a better job in pass protection of recognizing which defender to take (should have been helping on Nevis all night) and at least on Saturday night he lacked explosion and physicality while in pass blocking. Simply put, while in pass protection he was overpowered and not quick enough to handle the LSU defensive front, particularly Drake Nevis. He is still a first round pick but Saturday’s game did nothing to help improve his draft stock.
Janoris Jenkins – Why all the hype? For a guy who I have heard being talked up for the last month, I was not impressed. Toliver absolutely dominated him especially from a physical standpoint. Jenkins allowed Toliver way too much separation throughout the game and even lost him in space, which for a guy like Jenkins who is supposed to rely on his quickness and speed, I just do not understand it. While Toliver is a bad matchup for him, I also think that Jenkins is going to be facing ‘Tolivers’ every single game in the NFL and must learn to handle big, physical receivers better than he did.
Others who impressed me
Drake Nevis, played like a man possessed on Saturday night and much bigger than his 6-1, 292 frame. The knocks on him are that he is undersized, inconsistent with his pad level and therefore plays too upright, and exhibits poor technique, especially with his hands. I definitely agree he is too small to be an every down guy on the next level and will be pushed around by much bigger beef. But I think he has improved his draft stock and should be on an NFL roster next year. I will be interested to see him the rest of the year.
Terrance Toliver, was great against Janoris Jenkins and dominated him with his size. On at least two occasions, he dragged Jenkins another 5 yards after the catch. He clearly possess excellent size at 6-4, 206, and appears to have decent hands. He does not, however, possess elite level talent, as he is a unpolished route runner, is not clean in and out of his breaks and does not possess elite quickness or straight-line speed. Toliver is never going to be able to improve his speed much but if he cleans up his route running he could be a much more valuable commodity at the next level. At this point he is probably a mid round pick who sticks around the NFL for awhile as a depth guy.
Guys who did not impress me
Emmanuel Moody, how this guy made the Florida Gators is beyond me. Nothing about this guy’s game is explosive and he lacks elite speed, quickness or shiftiness for the position. Additionally he is not decisive enough as a runner and appears to be thinking too much about where he should go rather just reacting and relying on his instincts as most backs do. I do not see him finding a spot on an NFL roster.