Before every game, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and answers them after the game. Here’s Week Two:
1. Will the Gators come out flat or energized coming off the hurricane and last week’s canceled game?
The Gators clearly came out ready to play and were energized by the jacked-up crowd, especially on that opening drive, when UF drove into the red zone before having to settle for a field goal following two five-yard penalties. The energy level seemed to go steadily downhill from there, but it roared back in the decisive fourth quarter — and on the game-winning TD pass from Feleipe Franks to Tyrie Cleveland on the game’s final play.
2. Can a young Florida secondary contain a potentially potent Tennessee passing game?
Considering how long the defense was on the field and how young the Gators were on the back end in the second half, with three true freshmen in the lineup, the secondary managed to hold its own. True freshman cornerback CJ Henderson had the pick-six early in the fourth quarter and the Gators forced three straight incompletions after the Vols had a first-and-goal from the nine in the closing minutes.
3. Will offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier open up his playbook and be a little more creative than he was against Michigan now that he’ll be calling plays from the press box?
He seemed to take a little bit of a more creative approach, but it’s hard to dial up successful plays when there’s no push up front in the running game and the receivers are failing to get open in the passing game. The game, and the offense, changed in the second half, and Nussmeier and the offense started making things happened. UF kept the Vols off balance on a fourth-quarter TD drive that gave the Gators a 10-point lead. Then, the Gators dialed up that game-winning play on the final play.
4. Can Florida’s beleaguered offensive line block the susceptible UT defensive front, or will the Gators get dominated up front like two weeks ago?
The offensive line did a better job holding its own, but but getting a bunch of ties up front usually means there are not a lot of plays being made on an offense with so few proven playmakers, and the Gators had only six points in the first half. In the second half, the line opened up some holes in the running game and gave Franks just enough time to deliver the two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.
5. Will quarterback Feleipe Franks be successful running the offense or will he struggle and get pulled like two weeks ago?
He was pretty efficient early, but as the game went along things got tougher and tougher for Franks and the offense over the course of the first half. But when the offense did get on the field in the second half, Franks moved it. There was the TD drive that answered UT’s touchdown in the fourth quarter. And then there was that 63-yard laser shot to Cleveland that won the game.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.