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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.