Jump to content

Florida Safeties outscore Tebow, Hawai'i offense


Recommended Posts

GAINESVILLE --Florida's secondary went into the season opener against Hawaii hoping to prove it was better than the unit that finished No. 98 in the nation in pass defense last year.

It's still too early to tell how good this group is, but outscoring the Warriors and UF quarterback Tim Tebow isn't a bad start.

The Gators held Hawaii to just 71 yards passing through three quarters, and safeties Major Wright and Ahmad Black each returned interceptions for touchdowns in the 56-10 rout, trumping Tebow's lone touchdown and the UH's total output.

Florida coach Urban Meyer wasn't ready to anoint the secondary as up to par yet, but he said the performance left him excited.

''It's so early, but I get kind of like you guys where I feel like I'm part of the Florida nonsense right now,'' Meyer said. ``I'm jacked. I'll go run in [the locker room] and hug them all up right now and then go back to beating them to death on Monday.''

The Gators (1-0) played nickel coverage for most of the game, with Joe Haden, Wondy Pierre-Louis and Pahokee High graduate Janoris Jenkins the corners in front of Wright and Black.

Haden played the nickel position, roughing up the Warriors' slot receivers and blitzing while the safeties made plays behind him.

After a slow start, the Gators scored their first touchdown with 11:39 left in the second quarter, and Wright wasted little time bringing the crowd at The Swamp to its feet again.

He jumped a pass from Hawaii quarterback Greg Alexander and sprinted 32 yards across open field for what he said was his first-ever defensive touchdown, even including his time at Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

''My eyes got really big, probably as big as a clock,'' Wright said. ``My main focus was to catch the ball first and then run with it.''

Black, whose Lakeland High squad topped Wright's team in the 2006 state title game at Dolphin Stadium, followed that with an 80-yard interception return late in the third quarter.

Black also stopped Hawaii (0-1) on its second drive of the game with a diving interception in the end zone.

It was a solid day for a player deemed one of the Gators' biggest question marks after expected starter Dorian Munroe was sidelined for the season with a knee injury.

''It felt real good to know that I can trust Ahmad and our whole defense out there on the field,'' Wright said.

``Basically, on our defense, everyone has to trust each other, and that's the kind of chemistry we have going on.''

The defense also provided a breath of fresh air for Tebow, as its touchdowns left the offense on the sidelines for long periods of time.

''It was a lot of rest time on the bench that I'm not used to, but it's great,'' Tebow said. ``They were beating us in points for a while, and I don't know if we ever caught up with them because of all the special teams and defensive touchdowns.''

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a vast improvement performance-wise. We'll see how it develops and how it holds up against the SEC but I'm encouraged that my observation of our defense being much better than last year will be spot on...

Yeah, Florida fans are the only ones saying that our defense is going to be vastly improved. I hope it holds up, so I get to say I told you so.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...