Andreu’s Answers: UF defense does a job on Vanderbilt

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Florida safety Donovan Stiner returns an interception Saturday against Vanderbilt at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Stiner had two picks on the day. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]
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 10:
1. With an early start and coming off an emotional loss to Georgia, will the Gators and their fans come out flat Saturday?
The fans showed up and showed out, giving The Swamp the kind of atmosphere that usually accompanies big games. As for the players, they weren’t flat, they were focused, especially on defense, where the Gators were fast and physical and dominant from the start. As for the offense, let’s just say the Gators didn’t quite seem fully awake in the first half. They failed to convert a fourth-and-one on the game’s opening possession and then left a possible 17 points on the field with two Kyle Trask interceptions deep in Vanderbilt territory and a missed 41-yard field goal by Evan McPherson. Once the offense came fully awake in the third quarter, the rout was on.
2. Can Florida find a way to run the ball against the worst rushing defense in the SEC?
That would be a big no. This of course, comes as no surprise. It’s already been well established that the Gators can’t simply line up and have success with a conventional running game. It doesn’t seem to matter who they’re going up against. In this case, against the worst rushing defense in the league, the Gators had 29 carries for 150 yards, which doesn’t look all that bad. But consider this: 111 of those yards were produced by the two quarterbacks (Trask and Emory Jones) and two wide receivers (Kadarius Toney and Freddie Swain). UF’s leading running back, Lamical Perine, had just three carries for 13 yards.
3. Dan Mullen wanted to play Emory Jones more than just one play in the UGA game. Will the No. 2 QB see significant playing time?
Jones came into the game early, during UF’s second offensive possession, so, it was obvious that Dan Mullen had a plan to give Jones an expanded role in the offense over the course of the game. With the big lead in the second half, Jones took over the offense late in the third quarter and was impressive. He had touchdown runs of 13, 1 and 3 yards and threw probably the prettiest pass of the game, a 37-yard dime to Jacob Copeland that set up his third touchdown run of the half.
4. Offensively and defensively, will the Gators show improvement on third down?
The defense did. The offense, not so much. The Gators completely flipped their third-down defense from the Georgia game, allowing the Commodores to convert only three of 15 first downs. So, the defense was getting off the field and giving the ball to the offense, which rolled up and down the field throughout the game. But, on the money down, the offense had its struggles again, going just three for nine. And, just like in the loss to Georgia, the Gators failed on a fourth-and-one attempt on their opening possession.
5. Will the UF defense hold Vanderbilt running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn to less than 100 yards rushing?
Vaughn is the Commodores’ best offensive player and containing him was priority No. 1 going into the game. The Gators came up with a big win here. Actually, a rout. UF established control of the line of scrimmage right from the start, rendering the usually electric Vaughn a non-factor. He gained just 28 yards and averaged only 1.9 yards a carry. Given the Commodores QB situation (the third-team guy starting), Vandy’s only hope to be competitive was to get a big game out of its best weapon. That didn’t come even close to happening.

Saturday
Who: No. 11 Florida (8-2, 5-2 SEC) vs. Missouri (5-4, 2-3)
When: 12 p.m.
Where: Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Mo.
TV: CBS
Radio: 103.7-FM

5 COMMENTS

    • Patience Grasshopper! There’s no need to rush the kid along. Especially not behind that rushing dysfunctional OL the Gators are sporting this season.

      If all goes according to plan, Emory should continue to learn the offense, put on 10-15 pounds of muscle in Savage’s offseason conditioning program, get more in sync with all his receivers and get ready for more meaningful minutes on the field next season, hopefully behind an OL that’s more complementary to his running style than this one is.

    • SR — I think we’d all like to see more of this youngster, but I totally agree with StL about putting him in for extended play time with this OL. I’m like you, chomping at the bit to get a really good look, as I am Richardson next year……but his time will come.

    • Why should he? Trask is the starter this year and next so why should he be in a rush to be serious? Emory may get his chance or he may be beat out as starter 2 years from now by Richardson!
      Also, when your starter has just 4 games as starter under his belt you keep giving him experience!

  1. Stl…..when your up 35-0 or more against one of the worse programs in the country, shouldn’t Jones get his chance to see what he can do with his arm when there is still some fire left in the opponent. I think he has most of the savvy needed to play, except for confidence, which I don’t think he getting from the coaches.