Dooley Grades The Gators

After winning 53-6, Florida Gators Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) and rest of the team cheers with the band and fans after the opening game against Charleston Southern on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

Offense B+

First half: The running game struggled in the first quarter, but Feleipe Franks looked like a guy who had been running this offense since birth. He had 253 total yards and five TD throws in the first half and the receivers looked like something we haven’t see in a long time.

Second half: Things were not quite as smooth with the backup quarterbacks starting with the first snap sailing over Kyle Trask’s head. The only highlight of the half was the running of freshman Dameon Pierce, who had 75 yards on eight carries.

For the game: The offense was efficient in the first half and was helped by a couple of short fields. This was only the first game and the true tests are down the road, but it was still strong.

Defense A-

First half: This defense was one play from having about as good a half as is possible, no matter the opposition. Ronnie Harris had a 70-yard run for the only first down, but CSU had only 22 yards otherwise. The defense was flying around like it had something to prove.

Second half: The second-teamers had some trouble with scrambles and a few draw plays, but they still held the opponent to six points. They also came up with three turnovers.

For the game: The offense they were facing was not the most complicated or talented they will face this year. Still, to hold a team to three passing yards is hard to do.

Special teams B

First half: The blocked field goal at the end of the half wasn’t just about keeping the shutout going. It was about actually blocking a kick. Florida had only four in the last five seasons. Evan McPherson had a strong half as the new field goal kicker.

Second half: McPherson continued to show off his leg and passed his first test with flying colors. Tommy Townsend boomed a 53-yard punt in his only try of the half.

For the game: It has been a while since the special teams were indeed special. Two blocked kicks, good coverage for the most part and, did I mention two blocked kicks? We didn’t get to see the kickoff returns because Charleston Southern squibbed both of them.

Overall B

Hey, it was good to see Feleipe Franks and the rest of the guys smiling again. It was important to know this offense can work even if it was against a defense that was only a notch above air. It will be interesting to see if that defense is really as good as it looked.


  1. It was nice to watch a game without being disgusted with the outcome or the playcalling or the missed opportunities or the etc, etc, etc. This game was more of an exorcism than anything else, something to get the bad taste of the last two coaching regimes out of our mouths. Seeing Coach Mullen and the players having fun made it fun to watch. Welcome to a new era of Gator football. Go Gators!!

  2. Great first game with the new coaches and systems. Players made few penalties and looked sharp with sound tackling and technique. This was as good an opener as I could have hoped for and the special teams are back! Congrats to the whole program. This is what a well-coached team looks like!

  3. Very happy to have Mullen again and congrats to Franks! Some great throws and catches by receivers. A lot of potential with our running backs but nice 2nd half by Pierce.

    Stoked for Gator Football again!

    • I thought the same thing. How many blocked kicks do they need to have for an “A”? Plus they made all field goals and extra kicks (which hasn’t been a gimme the last few years and lost us a game last year). Not mush on returns but they didn’t muff any catches either al la Brandon Powell.

      I’m just kidding Brandon, without you we wouldn’t have had any offense.

  4. I give the team an A!!! The offense was terrific. In the past ten years, the Gators have had trouble in the red zone. Yeah, they played Charleston Southern, but the offense in years past has been in its own worst enemy. In the 2nd quarter, Feleipe really found his rhythm. If the first string had played in the third quarter, the score would have really been embarrassing. It was great to see the swagger back and the team having fun!

  5. A! An excellent start to this season and the Dan Mullen era! Most of my expectations were met, including the score over a tune-up opponent.

    I like the way Coach Mullen opened up the playbook and ran the offense. Some coaches try to hide things for future opponents. Besides needing the practice, it was smart to show future opponents that we can throw and pass effectively. That will help open running lanes.

    I thought run blocking would be better.

    Our defense was dominating for all but a single play. After all, this was Charleston Southern.

  6. How about another 2nd half highlight, the TD by Trask! Once mullen stpped all passing there was no way our offensive drives werent going to stall, so thats all on the coach who wanted to end a blowout quicker! The backup D though has a problem staying in their gaps which a running QB exposed, the only thing that really needs work!

  7. Pat: It a was an A, not an A+. Franks was by far the smoothest we’ve seen, never mind it was CSU, he knew what to do and for the most part, easily hit his targets. You wanted special teams and got it! Come on. We had no issues with two new kickers, punt returners were trying and making progress, etc. Obviously the whole team was playing with fire. We haven’t seen or felt that in many years. Only real negative for me was the O-Line. During the first quarter they were not being Big Men and pushing the other guys. UK will smoke out the O-Line. Mullen’s first little test was an A.

  8. Pierce’s tackle on the kickoff return should have earned an A+++. It brought some extra energy to the stadium in the second half and earned him some carries. He kept the energy alive in the second half, and I feel he’ll have a bright future at UF.

    • I know it’s early Army, but I’ve got to tell you…..that kid doesn’t pussyfoot around. I saw a future mega-star in him. Hope I’m right, we could sure use another along about right now as we make our way back. A super nova in a room full of stars.

  9. Overall I’m OK with Pat’s grades. It was Charleston Southern, but we got a glimpse of what is either probable or possible this year. I was a little nervous at first when our receivers couldn’t seem to get separation, but then things settled down and I stopped thinking of Kentucky. Franks seemed to force a few at first and I thought, “Oh no”…..but then he seemed to mature right before my eyes. Running backs didn’t seem to get much traction at first, but then “Oh boy”. Dameon Pierce struck me as a future super star, and I mean, SUPER STAR. Anyone else pick up on that? Can’t wait for Cody Alan’s assessment.

    ’65, might as well start the countdown to the Kentucky kickoff!

  10. i think Pat is trolling. 6/6 XP, 3/3 FG, 2 blocked kicks. That is an A to A+ but i rarely read his garbage anyway. Great to see the Gator fire again. The entire team looks completely different, in a great way. Glad Butter Teeth lost to ND, their WRs looked terrible but didn’t expect anything else. Coach DM is back and this season is going to be great!!!!

  11. Nice to have this powderpuff game to see what is going right and where you need to improve, offensive line. Mullen will now give it his best to coach’em up and to design plays that work with the players strengths and weakness’s. Mullen is a good coach and for the first time in a long time I’m anxious to see a Gator team grow into a better team as the season goes.

  12. I’m hard on grading success. Offense had some invited drops and a few catchable congrats ones dropped. Running game which I thought would be stronger point struggled. That might have been due to suspensions. What I saw was execution discipline and real coaching (every time they came off the field they had immediate feedback from Mullen or his staff. Defense looked good on first team. Back ups showed weaknesses but were on par with CS offense. Special Teams looked like what I’d like to see all the time. That table Pierce made was textbook!
    Offense B
    Defense B+
    Special Teams A-
    This is overall grades for each.
    To get an A run game needs to start out better. We could be up against ask defense that can stop the pass, and the run. Franks impressed. It’s only one game. But his game production is on pace to eclipse some of last seasons total production. Ditto for the team.
    Defense looked like they can be great. They executed and almost had the shutout. Coverage was great. Gave up some draws on third team.
    Special Teams best unit of night.
    Didn’t throw anything at tv. Penalties were 20 yards. Did I say 20 yards.
    Overall B+
    If they can hold up these stats against better teams I’ll give these grades a bump.
    It was fun seeing the team coached and having fun. GO GATORS!

    • Good calls 65, I was wondering when you were finally going to weigh in. Might as well start your countdown to Kentucky as Dan the Man whips up another delicious can of whoop ass (at least I think he will). Now I’m just waiting for Cody Alan, Rog, and a few others to give their in-depth retrospective now that the dust has begun settle. Aw shoot…..TG too. He’s been sighted somewhere on I-75 last I heard.

  13. There are 4 major components to the outcome of every football game: offense, defense, special teams and COACHING.

    Year after year Dooley ignores the last. Pat, how can you grade a team’s performance and not include a grade for coaching decisions?

    Go ahead, Mullen can take it. He’d certainly say that play calls, in-game strategic moves and personnel decisions are fair game for evaluation.

    Currently, your grading of Gator games deserves an “incomplete.”

  14. So I’d say that last night did not disappoint in any way. The expectations continued building right up to game time and I’d say I was giddier (sic) than a junebug at the county fair at kickoff. I was a little worried at first but that was easily chalked up to nerves and emotion. I can see a “B” for offense. Franks exceeded my expectations as he look much more poised and actually went through progressions as times. And heck, he even threw it to a TE. It was good to see Trask get some playing time and I thought it kind of interesting that Coach Mullen had him running it a few times…no better way to get him used to the physical side of QB play. To get a “A”, the OL will need to be better. You can see the obvious skill at RB and WR so Franks will just need time (and good decision making) to get the balls to these guys. I think Jordan Scarlett will be better going forward but I wasn’t concerned with him last night. He’s the kind of guy that needs to get into a groove and he just didn’t have a chance last night. The WR’s all did a nice job with holding on to the ball (a couple of drops but nothing like the past few years) and BLOCKING!

    Defense. “A” Well, they were playing Charleston Southern. But man oh man they just flat out shut them down when it counted. Hard to judge the pass rush as CS didn’t have a passing game but the LB’s looked MUCH improved in their commitment to gap integrity. Burney had a nice hit and Dean showed some spunk (but he’ll need to work on discipline).

    Special Teams. “A”. How in the world Pat, could you not give ST an “A”. Last night was better in EVERY respect than last year’s version of special teams….other than Eddy Pineiro who was all-world in my opinion.

    Coaching. “A”. Coach Mullen so far, in my opinion, is batting a thousand and making all the right calls, from strength and conditioning, spring and fall practices, leadership, and FUN leader.

    I get that this was a tuneup against an FCS team, but for 8 years we’ve struggled with even that. The “vibe” around this team as 180 degrees from the past few years. It was fun to watch and like Gator65, I didn’t even think about throwing something at the TV (my TV thanks you Dan Mullen). As mentioned earlier, several feel that we dodged a bullet on the Chip Kelly hire and I agree 100%. Scott Stricklin hit a homerun with Coach Mullen.

    Finally, I still caution Gator Nation that while this team is much improved and “could” possibly win 10-11 games (Cody thinks 12 wins….. 🙂 ), I still think the growing maturity and “learning how to win and be prosperous” factor could come into play and leave us with 8-9 wins. I like 11-12 wins but I’ll be happy with 8-9….. this year.

    • Good wrap up Rog….can’t argue with anything you captured, but speaking of giddy, wondering what you thought of Pierce? I’m really high on what I saw, sure hope he gets more playing time next week, and unless he steps on his poncho liner all of a sudden….I think possibly another….I’m too superstitious yet to say it but his initials are ES.

      • Dameon was pretty impressive! I LOVED that tackle on the kickoff. And to run for 73 on 8 carries, was pretty sweet. I’d say ES…..I mean DP 🙂 has earned playing time against Kentucky.

        Problem with 6 very good backs (and a stable of much improved WR’s) is getting enough touches for everyone. And hopefully soon we’ll add Toney to the mix. And I think most RB’s (I’ve said this in a couple of other comments) need touches to get into a groove and just pound away to get their yards. But, Mullen will make it work somehow and hopefully the players can all be kept happy.

        Another thing 6…. I LOVE the emphasis on special teams and wasn’t it interesting how special teams really fired up the stadium? Why oh why have we ignored special teams for so long?????

  15. Put the bong down Dooley. Townsend boomed a 53 yarder? Are you kidding? Punting is still questionable. His first punt was a whopping 37 yards. The 53 yard boom was another 30 something that fortunatley bounced another 15 yards and it wasn’t by design.

  16. Just finished watching my recording. It confirmed what I saw in person last night: Gator football is fun again. HOWEVER, the O line is STILL suspect. Decent pass protection was probably more a function of improved play designs. Run blocking – against a glorified high school defense w/o their starting middle LB – was poor. If not for a couple of brilliant efforts by Davis, running game non existent. Better get this fixed before SEC sched.

  17. One item you guys left out, FANS IN THE STANDS, even at the end of the game. Seeing some excitement, haven’t seen in a while, love it. Another item was when coach was correcting a player and he turned to walk away, loved it when coach spun him back face to face. Disipline, important factor. Looking forward to next week, and the rest of season. Feels good to be able to look forward with a little hope. Running backs will come around, like the looks of that stable, Davis got to get his feet back after the injury. GO GATORS.

  18. A
    Fun in the SWAMP? What a concept!
    Franks knowing what to do and doing it. Amazing!
    The receivers looking all -world. Unbelievable!
    The TE’s catching passes. Superb!
    The OL with good pass protection, Yes! (….but better run blocking needed. )
    The Defense making everything near it Gator Bait. Awesome!
    The Special teams playing Special. Inspired!