The Florida Gators wrapped up Dan Mullen’s second spring practice yesterday, with team Orange beating team Blue 60-35.
As you can see offense was put on a pedestal during the game as the two teams were able to put up major offensive production, especially through the passing game.
Besides the surprise from some notable Alumni that made some splash plays for entertainment, there was plenty of storylines to take away from the game heading into the first game of the season against Miami
Feleipe Franks is ready
Entering this spring practice fans wanted to see if Feleipe Franks could take an even bigger step forward he took in just the first year of Mullen’s offense. It was evident through the practices open to the media, Franks was sharp from the first whistle.
Being the most productive quarterback since Tim Tebow will be no fluke as long as Franks continues to grow the confidence he showed yesterday. Going 13-18, 327 yards, and four touchdowns, one rushing touchdown, as well as catching a forty-yard pass proves he has come along way since throwing two pick-sixes in his first spring game two seasons ago.
He saw a very vanilla defense from Todd Grantham but the accuracy, and understanding of the offense he showed should have fans glad to him behind center.
The receiving core can be special
A receiver has also been a position that has underperformed for the Gators the last 10 years. Van Jefferson was able to add real consistency from the boundary last season, and Kadarius Toney was able to stake his claim as the offensive weapon.
The spring saw the same from those players as well as arguably the most talented players in the position group. Trevon Grimes transferred from Ohio State two seasons ago, and only had a mild role in many of the gameplans last season.
Spring has shown that Grimes is finally comfortable and really to showcase the talent that made him a five-star recruit coming out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His three touchdown catches were a spring game record, and a 65-yard touchdown shows his talent in one play.
Van Jefferson, Kadarious Toney, Trevon Grimes, Freddie Swain, Tyrie Cleveland, and Josh Hammond among others are going to give defenses, match-up nightmares which should have the offense very successful this season.
The Offensive Line must trust the process
Heading into the season the most consistent question being asked, is will the young offensive line be able to play at a high enough level to continue the success of last season? After the spring game, that question still remains, but there should be more faith in the unit that before the game.
Team blue had the line with the most experience with players like William Moore, Richard Gourage, Mike Bleich, and Mike Dalance. The unit still had it’s problems in the run game, due to the focus of the passing game, in all the unit looked like it got better as the game went on.
The orange team consisted of the early enrollee’s Ethan White and Kingsley Eguakun each player having some good moments in their first spring. The experience will be essential for the depth this fall.
The Defense was vanilla
With over 900 yards of offenses put up between both offensive units, the defense should be a problem, right? Couldn’t be more wrong as Dan Mullen openly said they simplified the defense for the afternoon.
A way to control any unnecessary injuries, the defense missed many of the star players like Davide Reese Jr, Cj Henderson, Marco Wilson or Jamario Moon, some to injury and others just to keep them fresh.
Young players used the spotlight to showcase their talents, like John Huggins and his fifty yards pick six. Red-shirt sophomore linebacker Amari Burney flashed some potential at linebacker and looks to be an X-factor with his athleticism
The emphasis on tradition
Coach Mullen said from day one that he wanted to bring back the swagger from the glory days of the program dating back to even before his tenure from 2006-2008.
Saturday’s guest included Gator greats like Mike and Maurkice Pouncey, Janoris Jenkins, Deonte Thompson, Lito Shepard, Ahmad Black, Chris Doering, and many more. Bringing back those players and making them feel welcome so they interact with the current players is crucial to keeping a winning tradition alive.
Especially now that there is realistic expectation brewing with the team.