Andreu’s Answers: Swamp back with Mullen-led Gators

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Florida coach Dan Mullen fires up the crowd as the Gators take the field against LSU on Saturday. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

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 robbie.andreu@gvillesun.com. 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.

TV: ESPN

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

19 COMMENTS

    • We should not lose sight of that, Vulcan — despite this great win. I think tho, within the next two years we’ll see at least a Top-25 offense overall and and even better defense……we should be knocking on the proverbial door by year three.

    • Might be the same door, I’m not certain…..but I do see us taking three seasons before we are close to getting into the play-off conversation. Some people think more, some think less — that’s my own semi-learned-factoring-in-wishful-thinking SWAG. Put differently, I’m saying that after Mullen’s third season, by Year 5, we ought to see a SEC and NC back in the swamp.

      What do you think? Too optimistic? Too pessimistic?

      • but my revised short term forecast is we end the season with 2 losses. It could be Georgia. If we beat them then it could be bama. And if not there one of the two playoff games. Long term I have next year better. Then y3 a step backwards. That will also be Nick sabans lady good year I predict. Then we start making up for the list decade in terms of multiple championships.

        But who knows. I thought Christian Robinson would suck as our linebacker coach. That took 5 games to be annihilated.

        I’m having too much fun with these kids to be realistic any time soon which is the best outcome of all.

      • I think maybe a little too pessimistic, 6. These players are pretty good, despite the fact that most insist Mac was a bad recruiter. CDM and staff have done a great job coaching them to this point, and I see no reason it won’t continue.

        • I get that point too, Joe — I do think there was plenty of talent left over, although they did carry a “defeated” attitude forward. You’re right tho, that attitude is gone now, hopefully for good despite any setbacks, and I think the individual development AND development as a team predicts great things. Just a matter of when it all comes together. Mveal sees a step backward in Year 3, while I see a major step forward there; but we both see Year 4 or 5 when it “happens”. You see, I think you’re saying, steady improvement with the “magic” happening way before that. Who is right? Beats the hell outta me, buddy!

          • I think you nailed it with “defeated attitude”. That’s an apt description of what happened last season. CDM has definitely reversed that attitude.

    • Yeah. Now we see what a real coach can get done. I also love how Mullen is engaging the fans, letting them know they are needed and appreciated, thanking them for their support, and most of all expressing clearly from the moment that he got here that HIS expectations are just as high as anyone’s.

      No whining about expectations being too high or pounding his chest screaming about how being second best is a great accomplishment. You will never reach the top of the mountain if you set your goal just to camp at the base. Better to have sought greatness and failed than to settled for mediocrity.

  1. ”A win is a win…but MSU is clearly not the team many expected. We looked just OK by comparison. Still feeling we’re going 7-5 this year, at best. But it’s great for CDM’s first year. The SEC is really: Bama, UGA, LSU — everybody else is mediocre to just ok.”
    -A commenter here on Oct. 2nd. I won’t use a profile name, I am not that rude.
    But clearly Mullen is STILL proving some Gator fans wrong! And it’s about dang time! Thank you Coach Mullen! The L.S.U. Tigers, while a great team, weren’t quite enough to stifle Dan Mullen’s plans for the Univ. of Florida Football Team. And Gators, please don’t take Vandy lightly. The Commodores can be ”too hot to trot” at times. (Loook it up, young`ins!).
    GO GATORS!

    • I am happy seeing these players going all out, making plays, and I am happy for them they have coaches now who are helping them reach their potential. They deserve it and they are earning it and as long as they keep bringing it and leaving it all on the field I will support them win or lose– that goes for the coaches, too.

    • 7-5? Which four games is Florida going to lose? I count Idaho as a sure W. the other five games, i don’t see florida losing four of them. Mizzou, Vandy, SC, that team up north, and the abomination in progress at that school to the west. do you really see florida losing four of those five? that team up north, sure florida loses the cocktail party this year. mizzou and sc come to gainesvlile. honestly see the vandy road trip as harder than tallahassee this year. 9-3 seems almost pessimistic at this point, 10-2 more realistic. injuries could change things, but i don’t see more than two Ls left on the schedule.

  2. I wrote a comment before the season saying I didn’t understand why people had so much faith in Perine. At the time I thought his career was rather unremarkable and he was overrated. He certainly showed on Saturday why our coaches get paid the big bucks and I’m just another fan with a bad opinion, albeit a delusionally happy fan.

    I think he proved why people say he’s an all round back as he showed power, speed and elusiveness. I don’t remember him catching a pass other than an option but he’s done that enough. Good game for him and I’m happy to eat my words / comment.