Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hawaii Was a Good Tuneup, but Now It's Time for Miami; the Gators Displayed a Balanced Offense, Improved Defense

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Hawaii Was a Good Tuneup, but Now It's Time for Miami; the Gators Displayed a Balanced Offense, Improved Defense

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Corbett

The Gators took on Hawaii and for the second game in a row, the Warriors were sent paddling back with another good, old-fashioned SEC butt-whipping. The team we faced was nothing like the one last seen being so easily dispatched by Trey's Dawgs in the Sugar Bowl.

Hawaii may have lost their coach and their quarterback, but they did not lose their swagger as they came calling with every intention of pulling off the upset. In fact, Hawaii reminded me a lot of tonight's opponent - Miami - in their trash-talking ways, their propensity to hold their blocks just a few seconds beyond the whistle, and their premature celebrations after "big" plays.

Unfortunately, we fueled Hawaii's fire a bit early in the game by coming out a little flat and allowing them to hang around for the first quarter. Penalties contributed heavily to Hawaii still being in the game as the first quarter came to a close with no score, but back-to-back 28-point quarters put the game out of reach and restored the natural order in The Swamp. The final score ended up 56-10 as we took our foot off the pedal on offense and Hawaii scored a couple of times on our twos and threes.

I was happy to see us score in a variety of ways, including two interception returns, one punt return and touchdown runs by someone other than Tim Tebow. That kind of explosiveness is great, but really cannot be relied upon every week. Instead, I found myself much more excited about us playing solid defense, having six takeaways and no giveaways, four sacks, great punt distance, and an explosive running game with true running backs. Most impressively, though, was the debut of a nonTebow-centered offense. The stats are great, but it is nice to rest him for when we'll need him. Like tonight.

All in all, it was a great way to open the 2008 season. Speaking of opening the season, I'd be remiss if I did not mention here the ceremony that took place at midfield just before the game to officially begin the season. …

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