Andreu's Answers: QBs look close
Published: Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 4:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 4:44 p.m.
Before every game, veteran Sun football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here they are for the Orange and Blue Game:
1. According to the coaches, Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel have been running pretty much dead even in the race for the starting quarterback role. Does one create some separation with his performance today?
If there was any separation, it wasn't evident to anyone in the stadium Saturday. The two QBs both showed off big-time arms and the ability to manage and move the offense. This appears to be a dead-even battle, and it's going to be ongoing right up to the start of the season.
2. By all accounts, Buck defensive end/linebacker Ronald Powell has had a breakout spring. Does he close it out with a strong performance Saturday?
He never really had a chance. After playing a couple of series in the first half, Powell limped to the locker room with what Will Muschamp said was likely a sprained knee. Powell had a great spring, but it ended a little too soon Saturday.
3. Mike Gillislee has pretty much established himself as the starter at tailback. Will Mack Brown, who has some impressive talent, play well and lock down the No. 2 spot?
Brown scored a touchdown, ran hard and made some nice cuts in leading the Orange in rushing with 31 yards on eight carries. But it was obvious Saturday he's going to be facing tough competition from Chris Johnson and Omarius Hines for that No. 2 spot in August. Johnson, in particular, looked like a real natural runner, with moves and vision. Hines showed he's going to help the Gators as a receiver and runner in 2012.
4. Will the quarterbacks and wide receivers have some success in the down-field passing game?
Both quarterbacks were effective finding the open receivers down the field and making plays. Brissett threw a 43-yard strike to true freshman wide receiver Latroy Pittman in the first half. Driskel hooked up with Andre Debose for a 44-yard gain in the second half. Overall, it appears the Gators are determined to involve the wide receivers more than a year ago and stretch the field vertically.
5. Will there be any obvious signs that this is a tougher, more physical football team than last season, when Will Muschamp called the Gators soft?
Overall, the Gators look bigger and stronger than a year ago, and Muschamp said after the game his team has displayed a toughness and physicality that was missing last season. The Gators appear much more aggressive and tenacious on the offensive line. That was evident on some short-yardage conversions in the down hill running game.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.