Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Boos Rain on UF's Win

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Boos Rain on UF's Win

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael DiRocco, Times-Union sports writer

GAINESVILLE -- There were boos. Lots of them.

At Florida Field.

Directed at Florida.

The 12th-ranked Gators, one week after being humiliated by top-ranked Miami on the same field, struggled -- struggled -- early to beat Ohio, a team that was routed 31-0 by Division I-AA Northeastern last week at home. The final score was 34-6, but that doesn't mask the long list of problems the Gators vowed -- and failed -- to solve before Saturday's Southeastern Conference opener at Tennessee.

"It's fine if they want to boo, as long as we step up next week and play good and they're booing next week," safety Todd Johnson said. "We're not worried too much about what the fans think this week. We're looking forward to getting them all excited next week."

Here's why they booed:

The offensive line still couldn't protect quarterback Rex Grossman. Even when the Bobcats weren't blitzing, they still got pressure on the preseason Heisman Trophy favorite.

The rush defense continues to be an issue. Granted, Ohio does run the option, which UF rarely sees and can't accurately simulate in practice, but the Gators still allowed 178 yards. UF was much better against the run in the second half, but the Bobcats gained 124 yards on the ground in the first two quarters. Half of that came on a 20-play, 63-yard, 9:47 drive in the second quarter that ended with a field goal to cut UF's lead to 7-6.

It was still 7-6 until Grossman's 18-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Walker with 51 seconds remaining in the first half.

Yet despite the sloppy victory, and the fact that the Bobcats, a 41-point underdog, were just a touchdown and two-point conversion from tying the game until three minutes remained in the third quarter, coach Ron Zook sounded optimistic after the game.

"I really felt like offensively, defensively and in the special teams we really began to feel comfortable," Zook said. …

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