Let’s start with this. It is very easy to over-analyze spring games in college football.
That being said, it took a while for the Orange and Blue Game to give the Gator Nation a better feeling about the offense. After a slow start, the Gators offenses finally got things going.
At the end of the first quarter, the score was 3-0 Blue.
The Gators' first touchdown came on a pass to Lawrence Wright, who played at UF from 1993-1996. He snuck onto the field to catch a pass from Kyle Trask to give the Blue a 10-0 lead.
The Orange team found their first touchdown in the second quarter on a 60-yard run by quarterback Feleipe Franks. In a real game, Franks would have been tackled at least once on the run. But it’s a spring game, so the touchdown stood.
Franks then added to the Orange team’s offense, capping a drive with a short touchdown run.
That seemed to ignite Trask, who led a drive that was capped by Jordan Scarlett touchdown run to give the Blue the lead once again, at 17-14.
Franks, then threw a touchdown pass to a “sneak-on” alumni player, Travis McGriff, who played wide receiver from 1995-1998 at Florida. McGriff walked in for a touchdown. Former Gator Doug Johnson, who played from 1996-1999, was supposed to throw the pass, but Franks didn't thrown him the ball, and instead and tossed the touchdown.
Freshman quarterback Emory Jones threw a touchdown pass to R.J. Raymond, who kept his feet despite being knocked nearly to the ground, to give Orange a 28-24 halftime lead. Many of the regulars didn’t play in the second half. By the time the dust settled, Orange won 35-30.
I took three things away from the Gators’ spring game:
- None of the quarterbacks are ready to put a stranglehold on the starting position. Both Franks and Trask had some good moments. Franks finished 8 of 12 for 117 yards, a touchdown pass and two touchdown runs. Trask also had his moments, finishing 12 of 24 for 178 yards and a touchdown. Jones showed some of the physical tools that made him a four-star recruit, but he's clearly a long way away from being ready.
- Florida still needs to develop a game-breaking offensive player. Maybe that can be Kadarius Toney, the versatile athlete who Mullen said would focus more on pass catching. Maybe that can be wide receiver Josh Hammond or one of the running backs, Jordan Scarlett or Lamical Perine. Or maybe someone else. Right now, the Gators don’t have that guy--or at least, he hasn't shown himself.
- Dan Mullen is spending a lot of his focus trying to re-energize Gator Nation, including using big donors as coaches for each side, bringing back former players—one report said there were around 170 attending the game--and working some of them into the game. Mullen has generally tried to be the Gators’ number one cheerleader. He wants every Gator around the world to wear the colors and fly the flag.
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