Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Gators After Marshall

Sometimes it’s hard to gauge how good a top-flight college team is based on their early season games. Florida is particularly difficult to get a handle on because Head Coach Steve Spurrier can change his mind on a whim and shut his team down or run the score up at will.

Against Marshall, it was obvious Spurrier didn’t want to run it up against his former defensive coordinator Bobby Pruett but at the same time, Steve wanted to get his starters plenty of work in front of more than 85,000. Against overmatched teams, Florida occasionally gets a lead and loses interest. The number of athletes Florida can put on the field, especially when it comes to pure speed overmatched Marshall, despite their reputation as a solid opening opponent.

Still, Florida is the number one ranked team in the country, but are they the best? Hard to tell.

Spurrier was complimentary of Rex Grossman and Brock Berlin, and gave the game ball to receivers coach Dwayne Dixon because he thought the receivers played well. “It was a good pitch and catch game for us,” said the Head Ball Coach.

Steve has said he’d like to see his team run the ball better, and while he thought they accomplished that, it was clear he was more interested in getting the ball in the end zone than something as hackneyed as “establishing the run.” “We just don’t,” Spurrier started before his voice trailed off, “I don’t know, those running teams, it’s just hard to score a lot of points if you’re running it all the time.” Pretty obvious Steve wants to see the ball in the air and subsequently in the end zone.

Seeing Florida in person, they look pretty impressive. Standing on the sideline, the Gators look a little bigger across the offensive line and as fast as ever in the skill positions. They could run it if they wanted with Ernest Graham and Robert Gillespie carrying the load, but that’s not what Spurrier wants to do. The schedule favors Florida as well, getting Tennessee and Florida State at home.

They’ll have to stay healthy, and pay attention on the road, especially at South Carolina. If all that comes together, from what they showed against the Thundering Herd, the Rose Bowl is not that big of a reach for the Orange and Blue.