Florida Offense Awakes From It’s Sleep

The Morning News/Razorback Central
Posted Oct 3, 2004


The Florida offense was as late-arriving as its crowd in the first quarter against Arkansas.

When the Gators finally did wake up, they got out on the wrong side of the bed and unleashed an unmerciful assault on an Arkansas defense that looked increasingly hapless before going to intimation after surrendering 28 points in the second quarter.

Florida came into the game ranked 10th in the Southeastern Conference in red zone efficiency after hurting itself with penalties and turnovers while going 2 of 10 on touchdowns following trips inside Kentucky’s 30-yard line last week in the Gators’ 20-3 win.

The Gators had no such issues in the first half Saturday against Arkansas -- mostly because they scored from outside the red zone on and the 45-30 loss officially got out of hand for Arkansas when sophomore receiver Andre Caldwell took a handoff on a reverse from tailback Ceatrick Fason.

The play was as well-executed by Florida as it was poorly handled by Arkansas defenders Vickiel Vaughn and Kevin Woods, who performed the matador drill to perfection as Caldwell burst between the pair untouched on his way to a 61-yard touchdown run.

“If you look at the film, we had it covered,” said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. “You’ve got to make that tackle.”

Arkansas came into the game knowing it had to contain Fason, who torched the Hogs last year for a 75-yard touchdown run and a 33-yard screen play for another score.

The handoff to Fason predictably sucked the Arkansas defense into the play going right, leaving Caldwell with only Vaughn and Jackson to beat on the left side.

Florida right tackle Randy Hand pulled and headed for Vaughn, who was trying to keep the play in front of him.

Hand dove at Vaughn’s feet but barely made contact, leaving the Arkansas junior free safety standing flat-footed and waving as Caldwell darted between him and Woods, who didn’t get blocked by anyone and still couldn’t get a hand on the younger brother of former Florida great Reche Caldwell.

“I got around the corner, saw a couple guys, got passed them and all there was green grass,” Caldwell said. “Nobody was in the middle of the field all day, so I wasn’t surprised to see how wide open it was.”

Arkansas cornerback Michael Coe had the last chance at Caldwell, but coming from the opposite side of the field only allowed him to force Caldwell to make a highlight reel dive into the end zone.

The play revived the slumbering crowd trying to get fired up for its second lesser opponent at or before a noon kickoff in two weeks.

Arkansas answered with a touchdown of its own on a nice drive, but Florida needed only another bad tackling job by Vaughn on a 33-yard completion to Caldwell and a 34-yard touchdown from Chris Leak to Dallas Baker against Vaughn’s replacement, Randy Kelly, to retake a 14-point lead, 21-7.



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