One of the rare positives to come out of the loss to Michigan is the way some of the true freshmen performed in their first college game. The Gators played 10 true freshmen, with one, cornerback Marco Wilson, starting the game.
“I really felt the environment was not too big for our young guys,” UF coach Jim McElwain said. “I thought our young guys played really well for the first time out against an opponent like that.
“I was happy with more than anything how they kind of stepped up to the moment. It was by no means too big for them. That’s one of the things you worry about a little bit with guys that have never played in that kind of environment. I think playing in that environment is something that’s really going to help us down the road and with those young guys.
Three true freshmen saw the field early in the secondary — Wilson, safety Shawn Davis and cornerback C.J. Henderson, who returned an interception for a touchdown.
McElwain also praised some of his veteran players for turning in big-time performances against the Wolverines.
“(Defensive end) Jordan Sherit played lights out, as did (end) Jachai Polite. I think those two guys up front really had an impact,” McElwain said. “Chauncey (Gardner) was doing really well (before he got hurt), especially in the run game when he was in there.
“Some of those runs that broke we weren’t triggered quite quick enough at some of the safety spots. But that’s one of those deals where, again, you see it and you work on it.
“(Linebacker) Kylan Johnson, coming in off that injury, gave us a good breather there with those linebackers. But David Reese I felt played fantastic.”