Dooley Grades The Gators: Florida was ready

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Florida coach Dan Mullen celebrates has he walks off the field Saturday after the Gators beat Florida State 41-14 at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Offense A

First half: The only thing Florida did not do well was score touchdowns in the red zone, as the Gators recorded only six points on three drives inside the 10. UF was balanced with 131 yards rushing and 133 passing.

Second half: The first drive of the second half told the story of a team that would not be denied even if the Gators needed a little help from FSU with a penalty. Florida had an answer for any positive things the Seminoles did.

For the game: The Gators recorded their third straight game with more than 500 yards and nearly went over 300 yards rushing the ball (282). Give some credit to an offensive line that was maligned earlier in the year and seems to have found itself.

Defense B+

First half: The up-tempo drive FSU had for its only score is something that has plagued the Gators in the late part of the season, but take away the 75 yards on that drive and FSU had only 49 the rest of the half.

Second half: Florida gave up one touchdown but dominated the half and picked off a pair of passes. FSU struggled to break off big runs and the Gators had three sacks in the half.

For the game: The defense forced nine FSU punts, turned the Seminoles over three times and limited Deondre Francois to 154 passing yards. The defense also stuffed Cam Akers, who managed only 37 yards on 13 carries.

Special teams A

First half: All three of Tommy Townsend’s punts were downed inside the 20 and Freddie Swain had a nice return on a line-drive punt. Evan McPherson’s kickoffs were deep enough to keep FSU from returning any.

Second half: More of the same as Townsend boomed a 65-yarder and UF stopped the one kickoff return at the 17. Florida special teams never gave up anything easy.

For the game: It was a fitting game to end the regular season because Florida showed how much it has improved from a year ago on special teams and FSU looked like a team that was in disarray, so much so that Chauncey Gardner-Johnson gave the Seminole sideline a hard time for only having 10 men on the field for a punt.

Overall A

This game was so important and the Gators came ready to play. The streak was demolished (by the same score as Dan Mullen’s first national championship game win) and the Gators celebrated on Ron Zook Field for the first time in six years. They also set themselves up for a sweet bowl trip.

50 COMMENTS

  1. Absolutely A+. This game may have set the tone for the Dan Mullen era. He definitely has work to do, but he took a below average SEC team and is 9-3. With the really only inexplicable loss being Missouri, this Gator team is right where most Gator fans expected it to be. Now, on to the bowl game in which Emory Jones will obviously play a role. Based on his performance this year, he’s in position to earn a starting role next year and possibly take Florida to another level. The recruiting is crucial as well. This team needs 10 offensive linemen who are a minimum of 4 star level, and another 10 defensive linemen of the same caliber. To quote Will Muscham, “this is a line of scrimmage league.” Of course, Muschamp never had enough linemen. With the offense that Mullen has, everything is predicated on being able to run the ball with the offensive line, and being able to stop the run with the defensive line. We’ll see where the program is headed with the final recruiting class that is signed.

    However, myself as a Gators fan, I demand that Florida be in Atlanta every year playing for a SEC Championship. So, this was a average year. This is not, repeat NOT, where I expect Florida to be. I demand excellence, and starting now, the under achieving is no longer tolerated. After a 9-3 year, it’s time for Mullen and his staff to produce a 11-1 or 12-0 season. Their goal is to dethrone Alabama. Time to make that happen.

      • Steve…I take issue with your statement about “Nobody in their right mind thought the 9-3 was possible” for the gators this year…I said during the spring when every one was predicting an 8-4 season…that an 8-4 season would be a disappointment for Mullen and his staff…I said then, that this team was capable of 10-12 wins….with all the talent on this team…I even stated that the OL was very talented when everyone was worried about the OL…as a former player and gator booster…as, I’ve been privileged to watch most practices for almost 60 years … I knew this could be a very special team with a coach like Mullen….The major problem with the perception of this years team early on… lies within the media….especially, the local media consisting of Pat and Robbie… writing about how bad the OL was and lack of depth, and talent, etc on this team… and the fan base and national media brought in, on this nonsense. This team has more overall talent and depth than we’ve had in a very long time…with the exception of QB…Had Grier not been run off by Mac…UF would have been undefeated this year…I don’t think by any means Franks is the answer at QB…he is just too inconsistent throwing the ball.

    • And guys like Grump helped contribute to Spurrier leaving for the NFL. As he stated, his last season the Gators didn’t make it to Atlanta and fans were disappointed (btw the Gators won the Orange Bowl and finished 3rd in the nation that year). Go Gators! A great start to the Mullen era.

    • To me, that’s a bit extreme. I predicted 8 wins for this year…at best. So this year has exceeded my expectations….really by far, not just wins, but in program improvement.

      I’m a lifelong Gator….born in Gainesville…. Gator Grad….and I would not agree that anything less than 11-1 is a failure (paraphrasing a bit I know, but I think that’s your gist Grumpy). 14-0 is the goal each season. But if our team averages 9-10 wins a year, sprinkled with a 12-1 or 11-2 win season, and they are ENTERTAINING and not an embarrassment, then I’m all in. This is supposed to be fun and this season, even with the down moments, has been fun. Thanks Coach Dan Mullen!!!

    • “I demand that Florida be in Atlanta every year playing for a SEC Championship.”
      “I demand excellence, and starting now, the under achieving is no longer tolerated.”
      “It’s time for Mullen and his staff to produce a 11-1 or 12-0 season.”

      Grumpy, I demand that you proof read your comments before posting. Happy times are here again, bud. The Gators went 4-7 last year and under Mullen there is a good chance that we may finish 10-3 and in the top ten in his first year!

    • I will never apologize or step down from demanding the BEST form Florida football. I expect and DEMAND that this Football Program compete for and win Championships on a year in and year out basis. I demand excellence. It’s a pity most Gator fans now are accepting of mediocrity. I expect Championships.

      • Sad. Just sad. I don’t think any of us are in a position to “demand” anything. As fans or grads or whatever your connection, we should be able to expect great effort and we should be able to expect that the program does not embarrass Gator Nation. We should expect that student athletes are being provided a first class education and first class athletic experience. Let’s not forget what this is all about. First and foremost it is for the players. And while they are bettering themselves for life, they are “entertaining” you. No more. No less. Please don’t make demands.

  2. Franks went from playing poorly in the Georgia game and then being pulled during the Missouri game to possibly now being a potential top SEC QB next year. Who would have “thunk” it? But Franks is still slow in his progressions and delivery, and he still is missing open receivers. So progress is still needed. But from last year to now….miles of progress and now a good future at Florida for Franks and Gator Nation watching him play QB. And so sweet to demolish the Noles. It should have been a lot worse that it was.

    And I am wondering where Mike Winter is right now? Or BlackJuJu? Or Mike Jones? Or Steve Jones? Or likely some other name he is currently hiding under right now, probably as a Gators fan. But, Mikey, your Noles SUCK rotten apples.

  3. They are NOT who you thought they were! Hahaha! I seem to recall predictions that were a terrible team that would only win 2 games? Did I dream that? In his first season, Mullen has done somethings Captain Yellow Teeth never did- beat FSU, and win 9 games, several of which were against quality opponents!

    Oh, well. Hopefully there won’t be any more article about what a master coach Yellow Teeth was and how we should all have bowed down and worshipped him and his offensive wizardry creating offenses that ranked 110 in the nation.

    Mullen is a real coach who doesn’t suck, and now hopefully some people can remember what a team looks like when they are coached by a MAN!!!! Thanks to Coach Mullen and his whole staff, and shout of to Scott Strikland for making the right call and bringing in the man we needed to scrub the stink off this program!!!!!!!

    Year One! Glory, glory Gators!!!!!

  4. Neither here nor there….it sure is a lot of fun to watch a passing game that includes receivers catching the ball downfield….and running after the catch…. and scoring TD’s. It has been a LONG time. Great job Gator WR’s and great job Billy Gonzales.

    • Chip Kelly (UCLA 3-9) and Scott Frost (Nebraska 4-8) chose to coach elsewhere and Gator Nation couldn’t be happier that they did. We have a coach who loves Gainesville and the University of Florida plus he is a heck of a coach.

      Alex Smith, Chris Leak, Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald were all coached by Mullen and whoever doesn’t admit that Feleipe Franks has greatly improved from last season is just fooling himself (herself).

    • Yes, Rog, it sure is fun to watch the passes being caught down field, and that will be the key ingredient to the championships Grump is demanding. It’ll do the Gators no good if Emory Jones beats out Franks for the starting spot next season based on superior running ability. It’s effective downfield passing, 10 -20 yards, not just 40 yard jump balls, that will take the Gators to the next level.

  5. Chip Kelly (UCLA 3-9) and Scott Frost (Nebraska 4-8) chose to coach elsewhere and Gator Nation couldn’t be happier that they did. We have a coach who loves Gainesville and the University of Florida plus he is a heck of a coach.

    Alex Smith, Chris Leak, Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald were all coached by Mullen and whoever doesn’t admit that Feleipe Franks has greatly improved from last season is just fooling himself (herself).

  6. I’m sort of ambivalent on the flag planting, but I guess I side with Mullen. I know the Holes have their gator head and their turf cemetery, but you have to remember that the academic standards are lower in Tallahassee.

    It gives them an edge with some recruits. But there is a flip side: Apparently, several FSU players haven’t learned to count to 11 yet.

  7. I had some trepidation going into this game. That was mostly based on FSU performance in beating a decent (ranked) Boston College team. If I were a Noles fan, I probably would be thinking “OK. It’s been a long wait. But it looks the team/coaches have finally figured out some stuff. And just in time to ambush big rival Florida and extend that impressive bowl streak.” Then the game started. When I saw how raggedy and disorganized and undisciplined the Noles were (might as well have been the first game of the season), I knew the Gators were in a good spot and looking at a very tasty victory over the hated Noles.

  8. Franks is slowly and quietly developing into a QB capable of managing a top ten team.
    The QB Whisperer deserves much of the credit! Sensational job by Coach Mullen.
    Any D that sacks the opposing QB five times and has two IT’s and a fumble recovery gets an “A” grade in my book.
    This was a epoch Gator win and will have all kinds of positive ramifications for 2019. GO GATORS !