Andreu’s Answers: Gators take care of business at FSU

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Florida running back Lamical Perine had a 74-yard touchdown run as the Gators ran for 278 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Perine ran for 129 yards, averaging 9.9 yards per carry. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

TALLAHASSEE — 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 12:

1. Can the offensive line protect quarterback Feleipe Franks?

The big guys got the job done. Franks was sacked just once. Other than that, he had time in the pocket to find his receivers and execute the passing game. With the solid protection, Franks had perhaps his best day as a Gator, completing 16-of-26 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns.

2. Will the Gators be able to establish the run against what has been a suspect FSU run defense?

The main reason the pass protection was so good was the Gators were able to establish a steady ground game against a defense that was stacked against the run most of the game. UF rushed for 282 yards, with Lamical Perine leading the way with a career-high 129 and one touchdown. Coach Dan Mullen said after the game that John Hevesy and the offensive coaching staff knew the Seminoles were going to load up against the run, and they came up with schemes that gave the Gators success.

3. Can the Florida secondary prevent explosive plays in the passing game?

The Gators gave up only two — a 36-yard catch by Tamorrion Terry and a 25-yard reception by Nyqwan Murray — so they got the job done in this area. The Seminoles were coming off a game in which they had eight explosive plays in the passing game, but the UF secondary pretty much diffused FSU’s big-play threats in the passing game. FSU quarterback Deondre Francois completed just 14 of 29 passes for 154 yards.

4. Will Florida’s defensive line generate consistent pressure against FSU quarterback Deondre Francois?

This turned out to be the key for the Florida defense. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is known for his blitzing, attacking style of defense to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In this game he didn’t have to take that approach. He rushed just four for most of the game, and Jachai Polite and his D-line pals brought steady heat, winning the line of scrimmage in a big way. They sacked Francois five times and forced a fumble. The play of the defensive front allowed the Gators to drop seven in pass coverage for most of the day.

5. Who wins the battle of special teams?

Because there were no explosive or game-changing plays on special teams on either side, we’ll call this a draw. Evan McPherson made two chip-shot field goals for the Gators and the punters — UF’s Tommy Townsend and FSU’s Logan Tyler — both did an excellent job flipping field position. Townsend averaged 51.4 yards a punt, with a long of 65, and Tyler averaged 46.8, with a long of 61.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or robbie.andreu@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.

42 COMMENTS

    • Mexi. Understand your objective with your post, but a score of 41 to 14 is not “almost a correct score” to 31 to 17. And especially when Robbie picked FSU to have 31 and Florida 14. I clearly do not understand how a reporter who covers the UF football program day in and day out is regularly so clueless about the team going into a game. And Robbie has been clueless about Florida almost all season with his predictions and coverage. The Sun should have never let the kid they previously had on staff walk. Big mistake from my perspective. He really hustled, and he was a very good writer who wrote in-depth articles with a lot of insights into the daily goings on in the UF football program. And he continues to do so elsewhere.

      • when the rest of us are wrong, we get to go hide. when the newspaper is wrong, they get a barbecue…but its them getting roasted!
        part of it is they have to say stuff to get you going. if robbie said gators 41 to 14 in the headline, some people would not even read the article. which usually has some good info.
        dont get me wrong i get annoyed at the newspaper too, particularly with their endless attempts to persuade me champ was a good coach. but we could get a lot worse. imagine having to read the orlando paper or the st petersburg times for anything except rays baseball. you ask yourself do they have to practice to be as bad at what they do or are they naturals at it? i appreciate the suns facts but im not as sold on their conclusions.

        • And for us Gators who live 2,000 miles away, it’s our best source for info on Florida sports. But right now, I’d like to give a shout-out to the Gator Band. A bus carrying Husky band and cheer squad members to Washington’s annual thrashing of Wazzu, slid off an icy I-90, and a number of band members ended up in the hospital. The Gator Band formed up quickly and sent this get-well Facebook post.
          https://www.facebook.com/UFGatorBand/videos/489367058224096/
          Well done, kids, it did not go unnoticed up here.

        • And therein lies the rub, Mveal. Be thankful for what we actually have, and remember that their conclusions, when offered, are nothing more than opinions at the very least or calculations at best — same as us, and subject to the same human liabilities in logic. While they may rub us wrong at times, they are far from clueless by any stretch……anyone sustaining that thought must have been error free themselves for their entire life. Or, of course, employing hyperbole as another matter entirely.

  1. This win feels great because it’s based on solid, dominating play for the full 60 against our biggest rival. I seriously doubt the former coaching staff would have won this game because it’s clear now just how under-coached our team was under MacNuss. With the same guys as last year, especially at QB (who handed fsu 28 points in the Swamp) we easily blew out the noles on their home field and could have probably rung up 60 if we really wanted to.

  2. Only time will tell if Mullen can get us back to National Championship level, but it was nice to see improvement as the season went along. Even the 2 years that Ole Yeller got us to Atlanta, we seemed to be getting worse our last few games. Still plenty to work on, but if Mullen can get his type offensive players in place, the offense will at least be fun to watch again.

      • I’ll be happy for 9 win seasons after what weve been thru. Im going to keep my expectations tempered so I will only be pleasantly surprised with each season. I dont want to be one on here demanding more from our coach. I’ll just be satisfied with good solid seasons because in reality if you expect elite squads every year then you might just spend alot of time disappointed rather than being happy.

    • Sparky, I agree that Mac’s two East champions faded at the end of both seasons, but it was a matter of the competition and QB play, especially in 2015. I’m not suggesting you do, but many forget or ignore the fact that Mac was forced to replace a future Heisman candidate with a future FCS WR at the QB position. No disrespect intended toward Austin Appleby, but it wasn’t much better in ’16, either. I know I sound like a Mac apologist, and I know he had major issues, but to suggest he couldn’t/can’t coach is to suggest Saban was wrong to keep him around as OC. It’s hard to make that argument when Bama won 2 NC’s with Mac as OC, of course, I suppose there are some who will say Clarabelle could’ve coached the Bama offense or that those championships were won by the defense. Aside from QB issues not of his own making, I think Mac’s biggest problems were loyalty to bad assistant coaches and a personality that wasn’t a good fit here.

      I will say that CDM has certainly improved Franks’ play immeasurably compared to Mac and Nuss. Some of that could be due to Franks being older, wiser, and more experienced, but CDM gets the lion’s share of the credit. I also agree that the offense is fun to watch again, and as long as he can integrate a successful vertical passing game into the mix, I think the championships will come.

  3. Sparky. The first and most important objective and focus of the people running the UF football program now is to win championships. Period. Zook’s teams were fun to watch most of the time, and Zook was a great recruiter. But his teams did not win championships. But not sure any team in the SEC can compete year in and year out right now with the professional machine that is smoothly running over there in Birmingham, Alabama. Georgia thinks they are and can, but I believe reality is going to slap them hard in the face this weekend. When Mullen is once again recruiting UF classes in the top three nationally each and every year, then Gator Nation can believe again that beating Georgia and Alabama is reality and not just a pipe dream (which it was under McElwain for two of his three years). So, Mullen closing with a big time recruiting class this year is very important to the immediate future and continued rapid progress of the UF football program.

  4. 2. Will the Gators be able to establish the run against what has been a SUSPECT FSU run defense?

    Robbie. The FSU defensive front seven was not and had not been SUSPECT going into the game with Florida. In fact, Robbie, the FSU run defense had been the strength of the FSU defense all year. But their pass defense had not been very good. But the major issue with the FSU team all year was their horrible offensive line, which made their offense execution so bad all year, as it was in both cases vs. Florida during the game.

  5. I’ll worry about the championships tomorrow. For right now, I am happy we had three straight games with over 500 yards of offense. a game where we actually threw the ball for more than 10 yards in the air for big completions. Games where our offensive line was dominant and the difference in the outcome.Offense has been like a lost treasure in God’s country. Coach Mullen brought some gold with him, and things will only get better. He has accomplished just about everything you could hope for in his first year: good to great recruiting and getting better; more explosive offense; better QB play; better O line play; win against FSU, especially in Tally; re-charging and motivating the fan base; even a great sense of history– heck, he even wore the same uni’s the Gators wore when we kicked FSU’s ass in the NC game in ’96. We won this year with an awesome coach and very good players. I can’t wait to see how good we’ll be when the players catch up with our coach.

  6. With respect to the Gainesville Sun’s sports reporting, I’m far more concerned about the lack of reporting on McElwain’s apparent behind closed doors arrogance and the dysfunctional strength and conditioning program. Apparently everybody around the program knew except Pat and Robbie. And if they did know and didn’t report it, that’s even worse.

    Picks don’t matter. That said, while Saturday’s score wasn’t predictable, the general outcome was. FSU beating BC was just (another) indictment of Steve Addazio, not an indication that FSU was improving.

  7. It would be nice to see Pat or Robbie in some Gator gear when attending these games. After the FSU game I looked at a pic of them with no Gator gear on. I said to myself who covers Gator football and doesn’t show the support when attend the game. That to me would show us fans that read all of their articles, some sign of them actually rooting for UF. The Sun should have writers that love the Gators write about the Gators that’s MHO. I like the articles that they write, I just don’t feel like they present themselves as they should. You guys are our local writers and it’s not much to ask for you to wear some Gator gear to show your support.

  8. How does someone with this record continue to be allowed to cover the Gator football team (as their only job)? If my job was to cover/assess/analyze/predict ONE thing (weather, stocks, teams, etc) and I had this poor of a handle on it, then I’d be fired. And to top it off, the writing/tweets/etc are mostly negative…and boring.

    Picked UF vs. UK [WRONG]
    Picked UF to squeak by CSU [WRONG]
    Picked UT vs. UF [WRONG]
    PIcked MSU vs. UF [WRONG]
    Picked LSU vs. UF [WRONG]
    Picked UF vs. Mizzou [WRONG]
    Picked USC vs. UF [WRONG]
    Picked FSU to thump UF [MAJORLY WRONG]

  9. Am I the only one stupified by Robbie’s double speak? Look at his number two question above; then read this puzzling direct quote from his article where he predicted that FSU would shut down the Gator’s running game and beat UF 31-17. He wrote, “Offensively, the Gators are going to have to run the ball, and FSU’s defensive STRENGTH (my caps) is stopping the run.” One day it’s a strength, and a couple days later he’s calling it their weakness. Robbie…what’s up with that?
    I thought that sounded crazy when you said it.

  10. Go to tomahawknation.com and read how the ‘Holes are crying about missed tackles and a
    Gator player who grabbed a facemask (supposedly), but the FSU player drew the personal foul giving Fl. first and goal at the 4. Hey holes, would you like a little cheese with that blue and orange whine? No excuses. The better team won.