Andreu’s Answers: Gators put up a fight

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks runs against South Carolina during the first half Saturday in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina defeated Florida 28-20. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Before every game, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here’s Week 9:

1. Will the Gators play with more emotion and energy than they did in the lopsided loss to Missouri a week ago?

Even though the game had a less than ideal start for Florida, the Gators were clearly more emotionally ready for this game. They played with energy, they played with passion, but it obviously takes more than that to win on the road in the SEC. To the Gators’ credit, they did not appear to quit in the second half like they did a week ago. They fought to the end and had a chance to tie the game in the closing minutes.

2. How will Malik Zaire do in his second consecutive start at quarterback?

He struggled early, but was putting together a nice drive in the second quarter before going down with a leg injury sustained at the end of a 23-yard run. After sitting out a play, Zaire re-entered the game, but as he tried to roll to his left on the next play, he collapsed with the injured leg and was done for the rest of the day. The question now is: will he return for the final two games of the season?

3. The UF defense has not touched the opposing quarterback in the past two games. Can the Gators get to Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley?

After failing to even get a quarterback pressure in the loss to Missouri a week earlier, the Gators were much more aggressive (and determined) to make Bentley uncomfortable in the pocket, and they did at times. UF got after him from the start, sacking him three times in the first half alone. The Gators got their hands on Bentley in the second half, but did not sack him.

4. Are the Gators going to go the entire season without recovering a fumble?

When a ball glances off the leg of a player on the punt return team, it is technically not a fumble because there was no possession. But when the opposing team recovers it, it goes down in the stats as a recovered fumble (what else would you call it?). So, the Gators have now recovered a fumble this season. It came when reserve linebacker Rayshad Jackson picked up a loose ball after it touched the leg of a Carolina player in the second quarter. As for the Florida defense, it still has yet to recover a fumble this season.

5. Can the Gators get off to a better start than they did against Missouri and Georgia?

They talked all week about how vital it was to get off to a better start, but it didn’t happen. Florida went three-and-out to open the game, then South Carolina quickly drove 74 yards for a touchdown to grab the lead and momentum less than four minutes in. Carolina then went up 14-0 late in the quarter, and UF seemed vulnerable at that point. The difference this time is the Gators did not let the early deficit snowball into an early rout. They hung in there and managed to stay in the game until the end.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or Also check out Andreu’s blog at






  1. they only fought some of the time. I saw 2 touchdowns up the gut by south Carolina. ive been a randy Shannon supporter but the level of performance is such that another guy deserves a shot, maybe some coach the gators want to keep as an assistant. not sure who that would be. losing to Muschamp and south carolina is a nightmare for the program

  2. After an abysmal first quarter, I was genuinely proud of the team for fighting back. The unit is too depleted through injuries, poor strength training, and criminal stupidity; hobbled by poor, poor coaching; all papered over until too late by the Dooley-Andreu Mac promotion effort (“you stupid fans!”)

    All that said, the team had heart and fire today. Way to go guys, start watching FSU tape now! Go Gators!!!

  3. 20 comic book takeaways from today’s game that will likely make you cry:
    1. Two receivers dropped two crucial, wide open passes on third down.
    2. Two receivers fight each other for a wide open pass play in the red zone and tackle each other at the one yard line with no defender within ten yards of them.
    3. On the next play, the running back fumbles the ball and no Florida player makes an attempt to recover the ball. Fortunately, the ball crossed the ball barely before the fumble and it did not matter than South Carolina recovered the ball that several Florida players could have recovered.
    4. The QB throws a ball, at 6’6″ tall, right in the back of the helmet of one of his offensive lineman on a pass play on the last, crucial drive of the game.
    5. The kick off team is off sides on a kick off. How do you do that?
    6. The punt team jumps off sides on a punt. How do you do that?
    7. The offensive line repeatedly moved before the snap again, as they have all year long with no sign of getting that you cannot do that if you play on the offensive line.
    8. The center moves the ball without snapping it Why would you do that?
    9. A defensive back intercepts the ball and runs it nearly into the end zone, but he forgets to take the ball with him into that end zone and the opposing team returns the ball and has a first down about where he intercepted the ball.
    10. No tight end seemed to go out for a pass or caught a pass until late in the game, and then he should have not caught the ball (was intended for a wide open Thompson) and then tackled the player that did. His own player.
    11. Franks on second down and long makes a dash out of the backfield on a passing play and has a chance to get a first down by falling down forward. He instead chooses to slide and come up way short of the first down.
    12. Toney makes two big plays in the game. I believe they were the only two plays he was in on during the game.
    13. Cleveland is a great decoy as a wide receiver and Nussmeier has a rule. Never throw the ball to him when he is open, and only throw it to him when he is triple covered, which is most of the time.
    14. Linebackers and safeties repeatedly cover the wrong gaps. Repeatedly.
    15. The offensive center who started the game and got hurt is not as good as the center who replaced him and has been playing backup guard and tackle all year.
    16. Nussmeier is still the offensive coordinator.
    17. Malik Zaire is not suited to play QB in a pro style offense. But please do not tell the current Florida coaches that and that he actually can run the spread.
    18. Defensive safeties repeatedly are out of position on running plays and when they are actually in position to make a tackle, they do not come close to making the tackle, resulting in a long run or long TD run.
    19. Feliepe Franks still thinks only one receiver goes out on each pass play. He thinks everyone else is a tight end staying in to block.
    20. All of the Florida Gators football players refused to attend any of their common sense classes this year, instead they stayed home and read comic books.

    • I couldn’t have put it any better. That is what I saw Today and Truly Division 2 and 3 Teams could whip the Gators. Instead of improving from week to week this team has more mistakes from week to week. When is the last time this team has had two positive plays in a row. Can’t wait for the season to end.

    • 1) this list is the biggest joke I’ve seen this year!! Only a complete dumbass would post this. But, I’ll enlighten you a little.
      2) one recierer was looking at the ball catching it in stride while the other ensured a solid catch!!
      3) put your glasses on Rick!! The fumble was picked up by Thompson and held over the goal line before SC db slapped it out. Clearly seen in the replay.
      4) I’m guessing you could be very accurate too with 6 foot plus def linemen putting their hands up? Remember, lots of pressure was on Frank’s and he has to learn to deal with it mentally. I seen 20 passes in different games that were similar.
      5) as far as your completely pathetic list, ever see a new center come in and cause turnovers? I see that didn’t make your pathetic list either.
      6) maybe YOU should be reading comic books because it’s obvious you have no clue what your even talking about.
      7) young players take time to develop, and considering the secondary is true freshmen and sophomores maybe you should think before opening your pie hole!! They played better than I expected.
      8)Gooooooo Gators!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!