Notebook: Gators playing to their strengths on offense

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UF quarterback Kyle Trask was 23-of-39 passing for 310 yards and three touchdowns for Florida (6-1, 3-1), but was done in by freshman Derek Stingley Jr.'s interception in the LSU end zone in the fourth quarter, (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

 In terms of plays called, the Florida offense has a near-perfect balance. The Gators have thrown the ball 271 times this season and run it 265 times. So, balance.

 But there’s a considerable imbalance in terms of production. The Gators are throwing for 277.2 yards a game and rushing for just 142.4.

 It’s the biggest disparity in a Dan Mullen offense since his 2015 Mississippi State offense that was quarterbacked by Dak Prescott. That Bulldog offense also was much more productive in the passing game than the running game.

 “Well, very similar deal,” Mullen said. “We had a bunch of very veteran receivers, a veteran quarterback, a really inexperienced offensive line and some young running backs. I’m always somebody that is going to do what our guys can do.”

 Mullen is OK with disparity

 “The worst thing you can do as a coach is to say, ‘We have a system and we’re only going to run our system. Even if we stink we’re going to run our system. That’s our system,’ ” he said.

 “As a coach, our job is to put our guys in positions to be successful. If it’s the wishbone, we’ll run the wishbone. If it means to throw it every play, we’ll throw it every single play. I think that’s the mark in coaching, and I tell our guys always, make sure we have enough flexibility within our scheme to highlight the strengths of our players in whatever it is that we do.”

Respect for Fromm

 Some may view Georgia’s Jake Fromm as a struggling quarterback coming off back-to-back shaky performances against South Carolina (a UGA loss) and Kentucky (a win in a hard, steady rain), but Mullen, the quarterback whisperer, does not.

 “He does a great job managing games,” Mullen said. “If you watch him he gets them into the right plays. He makes good decisions. He has the ability to not force a ball and maneuver and keep alive in the pocket to extend plays. He also has the ability to take off and run and extend plays with his feet or make plays with his feet. He doesn’t force the ball down the field and makes good decisions. He’s an accurate passer. That’s what you want. He does a really good job, to me, of managing their offense and getting them in position to make plays.”

 UF defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said Fromm is the smartest quarterback the Gators will face this season.

 “First of all, he’s really competitive,” Grantham said. “And I think that breeds to the team. He’s a smart guy. When you look at the football IQ of guys, he’s going to be an elite guy, as smart as anyone that we’ll see or that you could play at this level or the next level. And he’s accurate with the ball. I think those three things are the biggest things I see with him.”

Talking trash

 Florida senior defensive end Jon Greenard, who is from Hiram, Ga., said his phone has been lighting up all week with trash-talking texts from some of his Bulldog friends back home. For the most part, they’ve been fairly civil, he said.

 “You’ve got the, ‘How you from Georgia but you a Florida fan?’ Hey, I’ve heard it all,” Greenard said. “But they stay within their boundaries because I can still get to that, to the people talking that trash. I can still get to them pretty quick, so they watch it a little bit. Other than that, it’s cool. I’ve heard it all, loved it. It basically makes the game more fun.”

Bleich sits, Gouraige starts

 Starting offensive guard Chris Bleich did not play against South Carolina due to a foot issue. In his absence, fellow redshirt freshman Richard Gouriage made his first career start against the Gamecocks.

 “Chris had a foot problem Wednesday afternoon,” offensive line coach John Hevesy said. “He had two disgusting blisters on the bottom of his feet. Wednesday he couldn’t practice, Thursday he couldn’t practice, Friday was close. If I needed him he could have gone in, but he was still kind of limping around Saturday morning. So I said if we had to use him he would have played, but if we didn’t have to use him I wanted to save his feet.

 “We gave Richard the start and let him go see what he can do in a starting position. He was able to break his nerve, because he was a nervous wreck Friday night and Saturday getting ready to play. He just had to go play and be the guy and it was good for him.”

 On the depth chart for Saturday’s game against Georgia, Bleich is listed as the starter at right guard, while Gouraige is the backup to Stone Forsythe at left tackle.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I am pumped about this game – the Gators have the chance to beat the Dawgs in Jax for the first time in three years. We may be slightly ranked above Georgia, but we should go in with an underdog mentality as we have a big chip on our shoulders to get rid of. GO GATORS – BEAT THEM DAWGS SILLY!!!

    • That underdog mentality should be easy for the Gators to achieve. The Dawgs are 6 1/2 point favorites according to Vegas.

      Before we poo-poo Vegas for this line, remember that no red blooded Gator fan believed LSU were 14 point favorites when that line was posted.

      This game has the potential to be a classic IF the Gators bring their maximum effort attitude.

      • The ONLY reason LSU covered the points was because we were without greenard and Juniga. Even 1 of them in the game would have kept LSU from covering. Gators should take the points all day long, this is a gimme! Barring a huge mistake on offense or defense the Gators win this, Im not even worried about it. Agree that our team should benefit from the underdog status. Always better to be playing from that mentality. Hope that 6.5 pts makes Ga overconfident!
        I consider only close well played games a classic, this wont be one. I think we will pull away in the 4th qtr.

        • I’m glad you’re so confident Daz. I’ll reserve judgement till after the game.

          There are just too many unknowns here that don’t favor the Gators. The forecast is for rain. Greenard and Zuniga are penciled in to start, but nobody knows how effective they’ll be at 85% healthy on those bad ankles on a wet field. The Dawgs are averaging 237 YDS rushing per game and the Gators have been gashed on the ground every game since Greenard went out. The UGA D has held every opponent this season to 17 or less points in regulation and the Gator running game is barely functional.

          The Gators must bring their A game for 4 quarters, on both sides of the ball, particularly at the line of scrimmage and avoid turning the ball over. They’re very capable of doing all that, but I don’t see this game as being easy.

          • It will be a GREAT game if the Gators bring relentless effort, focus, and a sense of urgency on every play for 60 full minutes of football. I’ll give Georgia their due props for being the “better” team on paper, but that means squat, to be frank, if the Gators show up to do what I said above. This is, after all, the SEC.

          • “IF the Gators bring relentless effort…” – Gator-6.

            I totally agree 6! But, IF is the most expansive word in the English language. After all, IF frogs had wings they wouldn’t womp their 6s on the ground each time they hop!

          • I dont know where you got the rain forcast, the temps are to drop the night before and it will be dry and cool. Those Ga stats were formed playing scrubs all season. they have played NO top teams and only 3 average teams, while UF has played both Auburn and LSU as well as avg teams of SC, UK and Miami! Most of that without our top 2 defenders which are gamechangers. Yea, Ga will get some yards on the ground but nothing compared to what we get in the air!

          • First and foremost, I’m with you in hoping the Gators spank the Ugly Dawgs on Saturday Daz. That said, I do my best to live in Realville every day of my life. It minimizes life’s inevitable surprising disappointments.

            The Jacksonville forecast for Saturday, on Wednesday when I wrote that post, was for rain all day. It has now been revised to rain only in the morning. It may change yet again.

            The Dawgs have been a legitimate top 5 team and have beaten the Gators up the past two seasons. They have out-recruited the Gators the past three seasons. And they have not allowed more than 17 points in regulation to anybody they’ve played this season. Those are all facts you can look up.

            The Gators now have a legitimate passing game for the first time in a decade, which they “mysteriously” acquired in the 4th quarter of the Kentucky game. Their run defense has been missing in action since Greenard and Zuniga went down with bad ankles. Those bad ankles have NOT fully healed. And the Dawgs are the #1 running team in the SEC. Those are more facts you can look up.

            There’s a substantial difference between what we WANT out of life and what we KNOW we can get. We WANT the Gators to kick the snot out of the Ugly Dawgs. We don’t KNOW that will happen tomorrow. THAT is why they play the games!

  2. There’s absolutely no problem with your passing yardage doubling up your rushing yardage. That’s not disparity; that’s the way it should be if your rushing and passing attempts are roughly equal. If your passing game is averaging only 6 yards per attempt, it’s a pretty pathetic passing game. The best offenses in Gator history, in terms of yards per game, have averaged about 150-160 on the ground and close to 350 through the air. I’ll take that disparity every season.