Andreu’s Answers: Plenty for Gators to work on before Game 2

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Florida defensive linemen Jabari Zuniga (92) and Adam Shuler (88) tackle Miami quarterback Jarren Williams during Saturday's game at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. [Matt Pendleton/Correspondent]

Before every Florida game, veteran GateHouse Media Group college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions. He answered them after the Gators’ 24-20 win over Miami on Saturday night in Orlando.

1. Will the attacking Florida defense be able to force redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams into making some critical mistakes, or does he take care of the football?

He did not make any critical mistakes, but the Florida pass rush was all over him throughout the game, especially with the outcome on the line late in the fourth quarter. Williams had a nice night statistically — 19 of 29 for 214 yards and a TD with no interceptions — but the Gators sacked him 10 times and prevented him from executing a game-winning drive in the closing minutes with intense pressure on the young QB.

2. How will the inexperienced Florida offensive line hold up against a fast and athletic Miami front seven?

It was a struggle all night for the young line. The big guys got almost no push in the running game (which basically didn’t exist) and pass protection was poor for most of the game. Franks was sacked only once, but he was pressured throughout the game and took some big-time shots. He rarely had time to go through his progressions, which had a major impact on the passing game.

3. Can the Florida passing game produce some explosive plays.

It produced two really big ones — the screen pass that Kadarius Toney turned into a 66-yard touchdown play midway through the first quarter and the 65-yard dart from Franks to Josh Hammond that set up the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Other than those two explosives, the Gators did not have much of a downfield passing game. The strength of the offense — the wide receiver group — was not the major factor most thought it would be going into the game.

4. Who wins the matchup between speedy UM wide receiver Jeff Thomas and Florida cornerbacks Marco Wilson and CJ Henderson?

The win has to go to Wilson and Henderson because Thomas caught only two passes for 28 yards, but the two lockdown corners did not have a great night. Wilson’s pass interference penalty on the fourth-and-34 late in the game gave he Hurricanes a chance to possibly pull out a victory in the closing seconds. Overall, coverage from the corners was pretty average.

5. Everyone in the Florida camp has been saying how much quarterback Feleipe Franks has improved since the end of last season. Will that improvement be evident?

It was not. Franks lost a fumble deep in the red zone in the first half and threw two critical interceptions in the second. Other than his long pass to Hammond in the fourth quarter, he never seemed comfortable in the pocket. Much of his spotty performance is on the inexperienced offensive line, which failed to consistently protect Franks and could not generate a running game to take some of the pressure off. Overall, Franks looked like Franks from a year ago.

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

28 COMMENTS

  1. Taking 10 sacks, several of which pushed them out of FG range, and dropping the ball three times in just the fourth quarter aren’t crucial mistakes? The kid has a lot of potential but those sacks in of themselves lost the game and pure luck on those fumbles doesn’t mean he didn’t make a mistake.

  2. I think many of us are missing the point. Maybe only Mullen gets it:
    We played the best D in the ACC, a team that will finish in the top 15 this year, and we won the game with over 300 yards of offense. Our O Line did the job with only one sack on Franks and scored 3 TDs and a FG.
    Kyle Pitts hasn’t been mentioned by anyone yet and he made two important catches for first downs. We have an exciting TE. Franks’ 65 yard throw to Hammond was NFL calibre and the pass of the game, as was the catch of the game by Hammond. Outstanding!
    Our D was stout in their first effort despite the loss of two key players- Slaton and Stewart to suspensions.
    Recognize the ten sacks as the best effort by any D in 11 years. Greenard will replace Polite very well. Houston and Moon will be beasts as they progress.
    There is clearly much to improve upon over the next couple of weeks but that’s what the first game is for and they are all coachable.
    There is good reason why Mullen has a twinkle in his eyes. So do I.

    • Well, LGN, it’s interesting how one fan sees the glass half full, and the other sees the glass half empty. That’s why I like this site so much. Can you imagine saying “over 300 yards of offense” as a compliment during the Mac years, especially when it was barely 300 and they only ran 54 plays? Mac would’ve been crucified here, while you’re willing to give CDM a pass.

      • Hey Joe — ignore the email, I figured it out. See, I’ve still got this one synapse……

        I’m coming down squarely with both feet planted in mid-air on this one. Meaning, it could have been worse. I thought the OL was OK kinda sorta, but lots of work to do. As a whole tho, the offense was not ready for prime time. If Franks shoots his wad the next time out and there’s no appreciable improvement sustainable before Kentucky, don’t wait on Jones! I’m sorry if Felipe gets his feelings hurt, I do like the kid, but it may be later than we think. As far as the defense, great blitzing and sacks…..but what’s with all the arm tackles? Go back to basics on that and pass defense.

        We are too talented at RB and WR to overlook the regression Franks may be in. I say may be in, because the jury is still out. Yeah, a lot of rust might have gotten knocked off Saturday nite….OK….but maybe it’s deeper…..just don’t know. SEC play is not going to wait on us to find out! One thing for sure tho: (1) trust in CDM, and I’ve got three words, those being (2) GO GATORS!

        Nice to be back…..lots of new voices, glad some of the old guard stuck with it too.

        • Glad to see you back! Agree with your assessment, although I might give Trask a try first, but, hey, that’s CDM’s choice to make. If you take away the last pick and sideline antics, Franks performed and handled himself pretty well. Not Heisman worthy, but we don’t need that, just steady, SEC caliber QB play. Feleipe has shown he can do that, and if he makes progress in season, as he did last year, the Gators will be fine.

  3. It was an ugly win, but a WIN OVER an in-state rival like, THE MIAMI HURRICANES, I will take it! But despite all THE 1ST GAME jitters, ugliness and all, the GATORS have to get better at every practice! Get consistent on offense! And the Gator defense must learn to wrap up and tackle with your shoulders & arms, ’cause Saturday’s ”arm tackling” won’t work against the likes of: Tennessee, Auburn, UGA, LSU, Kentucky, Mizzou… just saying! GO GATORS!

    • Traditionally, the Gators have always taken 2 games to gel. Luckily, it always took Tennessee 3 games before they worked out their kinks and fired on all cylinders. Big opening games have never boded well for UF, so this was a big win and start to our season!!!

    • And GI, I don’t know if Miami is any good or not. I don’t think so, but they’ll run into Mack Brown pretty soon and then we’ll know. In my book, they were more FUBAR than we were Saturday nite and unlike us, I just don’t see the resources in place down there to improve much this year.

  4. For the love of God Franks, stop with the preening in the end zone. We all understand the excitement of scoring a touchdown, especially against an unranked team and all, but like most coaches say “act like you been there before”. . You are a 4th year QB, be a freakin’ LEADER….Next time you run a whole 3 yards and score a TD, get back to sideline and start working on the next set of downs with your team and OC. . We were LUCKY to survive this one. Not sure I can say that about the rest of the schedule. At the very least, be consistent, try doing same arms folded routine when you fumble or throw a pick. nice.

  5. I’ve held my fire on this all summer, as I wanted to allow the benefit of the doubt, but Franks still does not have what it takes. This Franks experiment has to end if the Gators have any chance of reaching their full potential. Do HIM a favor, as well as the team, and make him a tight end, and let Kyle Trask finally get his shot. Enough already.

  6. Been having real trouble logging in, but on that picked off pass play called with just over 4 minutes remaining; why even call such a play? If it was a 60 yard heave to put UM away, that would be sort of understandable, since a pick off would be like a punt. Or, if FF was going to fake the pass and pull it down for a run, no problem. But it really should have been 3 straight hand-offs to Perine to kill some clock, and if those did not get a 1st down, a punt to pin them back. But that play (who’s idea was it?) had high potential to be a pick 6, and as bad a UF football memory as L. Scott in ’80 or C. Ward’s ’93 scamper. Also, did it seem they did not go to K. Toney as much as they could have, especially after his TD catch and run? Seems he should be getting the ball a frequently as possible, like P. Harvin used to get it. Every touch is a potential score or big gain. I do not understand that, but still, it is great not to be saying “it’s always something” after week zero, but it was a little too close for comfort.

  7. Does FF really think his antics are “cool”? Arms crossed after a 3 yd Td plunge, punting a football into the stands, carrying on with the crowd, talking smack to a camera (on national Tv no less), and of course fumbling and throwing picks. Seriously? The kid needs a big dose of maturity and some “grow up fast” pills…or be shown the bench.

    Be humble. Lead by example. Show the team how to win. Be like…TT!

  8. STOP THE UGLY COMMENTS. EVERYONE–I KNOW–Is entitled to an opinion, even if it is absolutely nasty.
    NOW: Captain Obvious (the national media) has raked Gators and Franks over the coals for the final 5 minutes of this 3 Stooges comedy. What about the first 55 minutes? And, Who won this game? End of comment. Feel free to criticize me. For some of you, that’s all you do is criticize. Even if Fla. goes 15-0, you will still find some negative (only a FEW of you). NOW this is the end of my comment.

  9. Just a thought, but I think FF can improve on the placement of his throws. A ball can be thrown to a spot where it is, or should be, caught without being thrown to the optimum spot for the receiver to make yards after the catch. On a 3rd and 4 play, Franks completed a swing pass to Perine in the right flat, but came up a yard short of the first down because Perine had to spin back toward FF to make the catch, then continue spinning that direction to turn upfield which took him right into the defender. Had the ball been thrown more to Perine’s right, he may have been able to catch the ball in stride and turn upfield to the outside, possibly outrunning the defender to the sticks. If they’re going to continue to throw the ball short of the sticks on 3rd down, the receiver needs to be able to catch the ball with momentum going toward the line to gain.

    • I think you’re right, Joe. A “rocket” of an arm is one thing, but ball placement is entirely another. Just think of what has to go into that, neurologically, for that all to come together just so. Depth perception, estimation of where the target is going to be when the ball arrives, the ballistics of the pass quickly calculated, the quarterback’s own proprioception — all done in the context of stress — and where processing latency is critical in a rapidly changing situation where sensory perception may not be optimum. And I’m only scratching the surface here. Holy Sheepshyt, Batman! It’s a wonder that so many QBs can do it all the time, as though it’s second nature. Despite his other fine qualities, of which there are many, I’m afraid to say that Franks does have limitations there that are biological and have nothing to do with how bright he may be. Still, he compensates pretty damn well at that and we’ve got to give him credit where credit is due.

      • Agree. I wasn’t trying to pile on and complain about his performance. Feleipe did fine, in my opinion, with the exception of the last pick and the sideline antics. The bad exchange with Perine may have been Perine’s fault, but that’s one disadvantage of option plays: both QB and RB must be on the same page with the exchange. Wonder if Perine was looking at a read that made him think Feleipe was going to give it rather than pull it.

        My idea about ball placement really comes from basketball. If you find the open man spotted-up for a 3, but the pass is off high, low, right, or left, the shooter has to take extra time to catch and bring the ball to shooting position. This can allow the defender time to close out, cause the shooter to rush the shot and be off balance, and reduce the quality of the shot in general.

        Since the tone of the article was about work being needed, it was a point that occurred to me for discussion. I agree that it takes a tremendously skilled athlete to accomplish those things consistently under the pressure of a game situation. I think Feleipe’s a great athlete and a good QB. He can definitely lead the Gators to wins, and I hope he can lead them to championships, but that remains to be seen.