Carter delivers proud moment for Mullen, Gators

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Florida's defense brings down Charleston Southern running back Ronnie Harris in the first half Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Cyndi Chambers/Gainesville Sun Correspondent]

The crowd was roaring even though Florida had a 38-0 lead and the game had long been put away.

And then it got louder.

Much louder.

It has been a rare sight over the last five years to see the Gators block anything that wasn’t a basketball or volleyball. Still, the Florida faithful hoped.

And Zachary Carter delivered.

The redshirt freshman was playing in his first game as a Gator and already he has a special memory.

A special teams memory.

He blocked the field goal attempt with a meaty paw and it spun harmlessly away as the crowd went to another level of loud.

“It was a good feeling,” Carter said. “When I felt it hit my hand, I was like, ‘Wow, this is what we’ve been practicing for.’ ”

The blocked field goal had no real impact on Florida’s 53-6 win over Charleston Southern, but Florida coach Dan Mullen later singled it out as his “proudest” play of the game.

It came after Charleston Southern’s Ronnie Harris ripped off a 70-yard run late in the first half (the Buccaneers’ only first down of the half). A 2-yard run and two incomplete passes followed and CSU decided to try to avoid a first-half shutout.

But Carter intervened.

“Coach Mullen has put an emphasis on special teams,” Carter said. “He said it’s the most important part of the game. He has really pumped up the special teams, telling us any play made by the special teams is just as important as a play by the offense or defense.”

It was one of two blocks for the Gators in the game. Florida had only four blocked kicks in the last five seasons. The second came on a blocked extra point by Jeremiah Moon that was returned for two points by walk-on defensive back Austin Perry.

It’s part of a new emphasis on playing on kick teams and Carter said it can lead to more playing time on both sides of the ball. In the Gators’ opener, Carter had two tackles and a quarterback hurry.

“Special teams are going to be special,” he said. “Punt, kickoff return, field goals. Everything.”

13 COMMENTS

  1. Way to go Carter! And since you’re new here, just a refresher: a ”blocked field goal attempt” against Carolina in ”The Swamp” helped secure a ‘W’ against Carolina (ask your Head Coach about it). And that team ultimately went on to win a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. So, ”Special Teams” have to be special to get that ”bling!” Go Gators! Well done Special Teams, keep it going!

  2. This just shows you that Coach Mullen “gets it”. Meaning, that there is more to a “team” than defense. A great team needs offense, defense, special teams, and strength/conditioning. Coach Mullen…. welcome home!

  3. Great to see special teams players other than the kickers excel. Very happy to see Freddie Swain fielding punts instead of letting them hit the ground and roll like we’ve seen with the punt returners in recent seasons.

      • Well, the game went as well as I’d hoped. I think the only thing the game could’ve really told us would’ve been bad news if the Gators had struggled. Since they cruised to an easy win, for a change, we have cause for continued hope. The way KY struggled against Central Michigan, we may have to wait a few more games for a real test, but that’s fine with me.

        I was impressed with Franks, regardless of the lesser opponent. It looks like he’s made great strides in his decision making, and I can only conclude that Coach Mullen is the primary reason for that. I thought they needed to work on the passing game, they did, and I like what I saw. Receivers and TE’s looked good to me.

        Like you, I was impressed with Pierce. He could turn out to be special. I thought all the backs ran well. I think it was Rog who pointed out the need to get them all touches, but it’s a good problem to have.

        I’m optimistic for the rest of the season and anxious to get to the next game. Btw, glad you got your A/C fixed. I can’t imagine having to do without it for very long in that heat.

        • Thanks….I was just curious if your thoughts were similar to mine, I was so euphoric that I might have missed something. A/C froze up again by the 3rd quarter, but what the hell. If I had to be miserable, what a way to be miserable with the Gators getting some moxy for a change!

          • I think they get even more moxy after UK. Unless their QB has an epiphany in practice this week, the Gators can load up on the run and dominate the game.

  4. Nice showing Zach Carter …and nice switch to #17, number of another quality Gator who worked his tail off, and your fellow Hillsborough High alum, Jordan Sherit. Another quality kid from Tampa Bay area I pull for.