Andreu’s Answers: Projected team strength can’t block

Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary (3) congratulates defensive end Lawrence Marshall (93) on recovering a fumble by Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) in the second half Saturday in Arlington, Texas. [Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press]

ARLINGTON, Texas — Before every game, veteran college football writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here’s Week 1:

1. The obvious question, of course, is who starts at quarterback for the Gators and what is the plan at the position that Jim McElwain would not reveal this week?

We found out Wednesday that Feleipe Franks would be the guy, but McElwain left the door open for more than one QB to play. When Franks failed to take care of the ball and lost a fumble in the third quarter, McElwain went with Malik Zaire, who found out just how hard it is to play behind Florida’s leaky offensive line.

2. This is a big game being played on a big stage. Will the Gators, who are young in some areas, come out nervous or loose and relaxed?

They definitely didn’t appear tight or nervous. And we’re talking four true freshmen playing on defense early. As it played out, this game had nothing to do with nerves and everything to do with the Wolverines physically punishing the Gators on both sides of the ball.

3. How does true freshman defensive back Marco Wilson play in his first college start?

He was really solid throughout and never looked or played like a true freshman at such a demanding position. The other freshmen in the secondary had some problems with missed assignments at times, but Wilson did the family name proud with his promising first performance.

4. The Gators say they have many more playmakers on offense. Will there be some explosive plays?

There was one early in the game, a 34-yard pass from Franks to wide receiver Josh Hammond, but after that, nothing. The Gators say they have many more playmakers (Freddie Swain, Dre Massey, Kadarius Toney and others), but it’s hard to make plays when the offensive line can’t block anybody and the QB has no chance to find you.

5. Will the defense play up to UF’s high standard, or will there be a noticeable drop-off after losing so many players to the NFL?

It’s hard to criticize a defense that produced two pick-sixes and kept the Gators technically in the game going into the fourth quarter. But when you play four true freshmen in the first series, there’s bound to be a drop-off from what the Gators have had on defense in recent years. The good thing is there are a lot of correctable mistakes — and these freshmen showed they have great promise, and speed.

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






  1. The defense came through again. The offense is putrid at best. If you take Lynn Amadee and adjust for inflation, you get Doug Nussmeier. This is a team that MIGHT win 5 games. In a word: pathetic. The award for “Inept, Incompetent, and Incapable” goes to the Florida “offense.”

  2. Coach Spurrier is on campus. Can someone please ask him to take over as head coach ASAP! No way coach Spurrier would have let this offense suck this bad after all off season to be better.. Make Gators Great Again..Coach Spurrier.. Need a Web-Site someone asap!

  3. Unfortunately, if we are intellectually honest Mac is officially on the HOT SEAT. At $4.5M per year this is a work product that simply does not cut it. The Florida Brand continues to erode and is very hard to even watch. There does not seem to be an offensive plan in place that makes the best use of what players we do have. I was expecting to see Del Rio but I guess they are holding him back knowing that the other two will not be healthy by the last part of the season. We have waited too long for improvement and we are now going backwards.

  4. PCL…you are absolutely right. Franks and Zaire will be ‘beat to hell’ by mid season. Del Rio will have to finish the season. McElwain called his team special last week. Yes they are coach…very special. 2 years ago you got onto Kelvin Taylor’s butt. Scott Stricklin needs to do the same to you, Coach Mac…. your head is up your ‘fifth-point’ of contact. We have heard for 2 years about how dynamic a play maker Massey is….you threw him 1…one….uno…screen pass. Does anyone have Ed ZaunBrecker’s number? Hell… at this point I’d take Lynn Amedee.

  5. Ivey and Heggie did not work well together and Heggie looked very confused all day long. McCoy made an unnecessary hold that negated Thompson’s long TD run that changed the entire momentum of the game in Michigan’s favor. And Johnson could not move anyone on Michigan’s DL, or block anyone. And Taylor was not quick enough to block the speedy Michigan DEs and LBs coming off the edge. Now, all we heard all summer was how good Heggie and Ivey were together. How good and smart McCoy was and how improved, stronger and quicker, both Johnson and Taylor were. None of that was the case vs. Michigan. And that is about coaches not coaching up those players very well. Or the QBs, the RBs, or the WRs and TEs. I am personally so tired of this sad story of an “offense” which is simply offensive again this year.

  6. This one hurts as a Gator fan. A lot of blame to go around. Hopefully, Michigan plays well the rest of year to take a little sting out of this poor showing. We have to get tougher in the trenches quickly or this will be a long season. Our defense will be hurting if they have to be on the field more than 60% of the game. Need to improve quickly or the seat may get toasty for Mac.

  7. After all the hype about how the O line would be a strength this year, to see them come out and play that poorly is extremely disappointing and frustrating. No run blocking and the QBs were running for their lives the whole game. Franks’ passing was on target. He just has to stay on his feet. Zaire makes me nervous watching him running around back there and slinging passes at the last second. I think you stick with Franks. He just needs more game time. When the Gators blocked the punt after the two pick sixes and got nothing out of it, that was the turning point of the game. Where were the tight ends? Where were the flare passes to the backs? This is getting to be like the Jags.

  8. Here’s my ”answers”, Robbie, for game 1 of ”season 3” for Coach Mac and ‘Nuss.
    In 2015 Mac had his best year to date. As his Gators’ best wins were against Tenn., Ole Miss, and U.G.A., but lost to LSU, FSU, ‘Bama, and Michigan. In year 2 Mac’s Gators’ best wins were less, with ”big wins’ against only U.G.A and L.S.U. (if were honest). While losing more ”big games” to Tenn., Arkansas, F.S.U., and ‘Bama.
    Now in year 3 he’s got the Michigan loss out of the way, and could conceivably, with that offense, lose to Tenn., L.S.U., A&M, U.G.A., and yes, F.S.U. yet again (even without their starting Q.B. -if he’s out for season with knee inj.). Mac’s 3rd year could quite possibly be his worst to date, with 6-6 or 7-5 record, at best (with this pathetic offense that we saw today). And that’s BACKWARDS were I come from (G’ville,FL.). And I hope I’m wrong! But what bugs me the mnost is that Coach Mac seems to not mind losing, almost looking like a kid who got caught stealing cookies at your press conf. after the game. In fact, he seems to look pitiful after losing, when I would like to see a HEAD COACH (who’s paid MILLIONS) to look Pee’d off after losing ”like that” (again) to Michigan. I truly hope I’m wrong, but I see ”regression”.
    And that’s my ”answer”, Robbie. But I do love this new website, on a happier note!

  9. “I thought we had a good plan,” coach Jim McElwain said, “but as it turned out, the plan was pretty well foiled by getting whooped by big, strong guys…”

    I cringe EVERY time this guy opens his mouth.
    This is NOT “cool.”

  10. If your players don’t follow the game plan, that is on the coaches. If you have the wrong personnel in the game for the plays, that is on the coaches. If the players don’t have the “fire” in their bellies, to an extent, that is on the coaches. I have defended the coaches over the last couple of years but boy is it hard to watch a game like that and not blame the coaching. How about recruiting a fullback? Both Spurrier and Meyer used fullbacks successfully and it just may help the run game. No two tight end sets? Receivers also don’t know how to shake and get open. Very disappointing not just for this game but because of the possibilities the rest of the season.

    • What game plan is what I want to know? What are they trying to run. They just give up on the down field passing. Yes I know the offensive line can not block. That is why you put your quarterback in ” shotgun ” formation where he will have that one extra second to be looking downfield. But yet they put him under center then roll him out to his left to pass the ball, they bring in the left handed and roll him out to the right. These dumb coaches would play a left handed player at the shortstop position in baseball just where he would have to throw against his body. Sorry but these coaches do not know how to use the talent they have. I don’t care what McElwain says, Michigan is not more physical than Florida, Nuss and Mac just don’t know how to get the ball in the play makers hands

  11. New Year same Bad Offense same Bad Coaches and same Bad Play calling. Michigan replaced 10 of 11 Starters on Defense and Still Kick Florida’s Butt. No Blocking on the Line for Florida when Michigan had 8 on the line to rush the passer and the play call would be run up the gut. Unreal. I see more of the same. 6-6 or 5-7 Mediocre at best. That’s what Florida wants. It’s been going on Since Tebow Left. Way too Long.

  12. Gator fans like me spent thousands of dollars in Dallas to watch our team lay and egg on offence. So bad to see such a poor effort by our coaches. I don’t blame the players for what was the outcome. PLEASE LETS GET BACK TO THE SPREAD. Fire the whole coaching staff and cut our loss while we can, wholesale change today is what we need. I will never ever spend another dollar a watch that bunch of crap their selling and if need be fire the new AD two. SICK SICK AND MORE SICK WITH EVERY GAME