Before every Florida game, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here’s Week 6:
1. How will the fans respond to Dan Mullen’s challenge to recapture the atmosphere that used to be in The Swamp during his days as the offensive coordinator?
We got a good idea where this was headed when the school announced Friday that the game had sold out. The fans showed up and showed out, providing what is one of the best atmospheres in college football. The crowd clearly energized Mullen and his players. Mullen’s victory lap, where he high-fived fans along the way, says it all. It was his way of saying thank you.
2. How will Florida defensive front hold up against LSU power running game?
The Gators got gashed on two touchdown drives, but other than that, they held up and prevented the Tigers from establishing a consistent running game. Nick Brossette rushed for 95 yards, but 78 of those yards came on those two runs (31 and 47 yards) on LSU’s touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. The Gators limited the Tigers on the ground, then got after quarterback Joe Burrow, sacking him five times and pressuring him throughout.
3. Will quarterback Feleipe Franks, a former LSU commitment, continue to make progress under Mullen?
A year ago, Franks’ interception in the end zone early in the third quarter probably would have wrecked him for the rest of the game. But he’s a much different quarterback under Mullen. His back shoulder throw to Van Jefferson was huge on the winning drive in the fourth quarter. Franks made plays with his arms and his legs, and he also became a willing receiver, catching a 15-yard pass from tight end Lucas Krull on the winning drive. His confidence continues to rise.
4. Who turns out to be the true DBU on this day?
The Gators get to lay claim to the title thanks to their performance in the fourth quarter. When plays were needed to seal the victory, DBU game through with those two huge picks — Brad Stewart’s pick-six and Donovan Stiner’s interception that ended the game with seconds remaining. So, at least until next year, UF is the real DBU in this ongoing debate.
5. Can the Gators generate a running game to take some of the pressure off Franks?
The offensive line continues to struggle with consistency, but give the big guys credit, the Gators were able to run the ball when they needed to, especially after taking the lead in the fourth quarter. Florida rushed for 215 yards against one of the SEC’s strongest defensive fronts, which says a lot. Do any backs run harder than Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett?
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.
Who: No. 14 Florida (5-1, 3-1 SEC) vs. Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-2)
When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850