Gators’ under construction up-tempo offense

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Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) calls out a play Saturday against Charleston Southern at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

It’s no secret Florida’s offense looked in sync in the first half Saturday night.

Feleipe Franks and Co. helped lead the Gators to a 38-0 halftime advantage over Charleston Southern, with Franks’ five touchdown passes paving the way in UF’s season-opener.

The potent offense was the main takeaway for many, but it overshadowed the revamped up-tempo system that coach Dan Mullen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson have implemented this offseason.

The Gators ran 45 plays in the first half, as opposed to 21 plays in the second half with backup quarterbacks Kyle Trask and Emory Jones under center.

Following Saturday’s contest, Franks said the emphasis on an up-tempo style of play gives him an advantage when it comes to reading the opposing defense.

“It’s kind of like we can see what defense they’re in with 30 seconds left on the play clock,” Franks said. “So you have time to kind of adjust or whatever we want to do at that point. It’s definitely to our advantage. It’s a good thing.”

Considering Florida has struggled with penalties over the past decade — from 2010-14, Florida’s 3,834 penalty yards ranked atop the SEC, and recent history hasn’t been much better — the transition to an up-tempo offense wasn’t expected to be seamless.

Yet the Gators were penalized just twice for 15 yards in the first half, a noticeable improvement for an offensive line that seemingly struggled with clean play last season.

And that’s the message in Florida’s locker room: Avoid penalties to keep the offense moving swiftly and decisively.

“Playing clean is always great. You get a holding call or an illegal procedure or something like that, it’s going to set back the whole drive,” senior left guard Tyler Jordan said. “Makes it harder to move down the field.”

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And the key to clean play? That often comes from the cerebral facet of the game.

Every player on the roster is experiencing a transition when it comes to the mental preparation aspect, yet Florida’s veterans on offense said they have taken the onus upon themselves to mentor the underclassmen about the cognitive requirements that come with an up-tempo offense.

“I would say the most difficult thing would be thinking fast. You just got to click, you got to know what you got, hurry up and get it. I think being younger, it’s kind of harder to do that, but it goes with confidence and then knowing the playbook,” redshirt senior wide receiver Dre Massey said. “(We) just make sure the younger guys understand what to do within their plays. We know how to line up and how to line up fast. We run a little bit of a tempo this year, and we didn’t have that last year. So you know, just make sure the younger guys understand it’s a lot different than last year’s offense. We got to pay attention to the details.”

For an offense with as much skill position talent as the Gators have, an up-tempo offense gives Mullen a chance to get everyone involved, which should keep the unit fresh — and potentially lethal — in the process.

Now, with SEC play swiftly approaching, it’s a matter of Florida implementing what it has preached and practiced.

“I love that. If we can go up-tempo, get our guys — we want to get reps, get plays in. I think it keeps the defense on their toes,” Mullen said. “I was worried. That was one of the things for us going into the game, I want to play with great tempo, get up, get down, get adjusted to doing that. And I thought they handled that. I thought our (offensive) line, I think we can be a little bit faster at getting moving at times, but I thought they did a good job.”

19 COMMENTS

  1. Just keep getting better each week.

    That’s the key… consistency and improvement. No one who is realistic is expecting miracles with new coaches and systems by Game #2. There will be glitches at times, there will be some confusion at times, there will be that game where nothing goes right for us, but that’s what time-outs are for.

    The thing here is, being realistic, I know we’re not going to win every game this year, but it’s about playing hard, being in position to win, and never quitting.

    Just keep attacking and practicing hard Gators!

  2. I understand all the glee following the Charleston Southern stomping, but didn’t Coach Mac win his first game 61-13 — against an FBS team? Coach Mus also crushed his intro.

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, fellow Gatas — we’ve been here before.

    • Rocketman both those coaches started well. BUT the execution was so different in the last game. Could have been luck. I agree don’t get ahead of ourselves but the first half was well done. If you remember under Mus we had more penalty yard than I can remember. He left us a good defense but never got an offense going when Mac took over he had the players recruited by Mus to start his tenure. I know Mac took us to 2 east titles. He failed miserably in the championship games. The wheels were coming off from the beginning and lack of coaching finished his time. What I have seen since spring is way different than the Mac, Mus era’s. I am no football expert but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express…. Go Gators.

    • I don’t remember much about champs start except that things fell apart quickly against Alabama and by LSU it was obvious champ didn’t have it for preparing a team, although dan Quinn did have it going the one year even with an offense that would have 6 or 7 turnovers some games. but coach mac had it going pretty well until the grier thing. the program looked like it was back. the credit card fiasco was the final straw but the on field product was pretty good for a while. so far so good for coach mullen. I hear the pessimism about the offensive line but they handled the 8 and 9 guys in the box pretty well, no penalties, so lets see how they will do against an SEC team with some talent but questions at qb etc.
      after 4 or 5 games we will know about the on field coaching and then its a matter of recruiting, and program management, which is what got coach mac imo. all indications are that coach mullen can coach in game very well and also run a good program. if he is not a success over time, no one will be more surprised than me.

    • Mac had Grier at QB and went on to a 6-0 start and was on his way to a great season. We all know what happened after that and the wheels fell completely off the entire program. Even though it was a dominant score in the end, it was only 28-13 with like a minute left in the first half. Grier was also in the game till late in the 3rd throwing it. It wasn’t the thorough beatdown from the start that this game was. Imagine what the score would’ve been if they didn’t basically shut the offense down after the half and let Franks continue throwing till deep into the 3rd qtr. Muschamp had a 5* veteran QB and quite a few great offensive players left over from Meyer to make things much easier for him. The biggest difference though is both of those coaches were green with not much head coaching experience. Muschamp had none. Mullen has a proven track record in the SEC and at Florida, so we pretty much know exactly what we’re getting and are pretty confident that the wheels shouldn’t fall off. They’ve had a lot of lopsided wins in the past 8 years, but it always felt like the games could go either way. They never dominated in all aspects of the game like they did Saturday. It just felt different than it has for a while.

  3. ”We got way too high, it’s time to start over… under construction. We need some redemption ’cause we’ve had enough shame. It’s coming along… do whatever it takes to stand up strong. We’re under construction.” -Drew Copeland.
    Go Gators! Chomp-on!

  4. Gentlemen,

    I understand it was Charleston Southern. However, the 5 passing touchdowns (as opposed to 3 or 4 rushing tds or scoring from the defense) the special teams plays 2 blocked fgs. The determination for the starters to want to maintain a shutout in the 1st half…is something the Gators have not seen since OC Mullen was there in 2008. You can even begin to see slight improvement on punt returns, less waiving for fair catches and decent Punt Return yardage.

    I definitely noticed the relentless effort.

    Also, not sure if it was Mullen or it was planned before his hire. But the return of the night games in the Swamp, genius. The SWAMP at night is truly the loudest place in college football!

    #TheGatorStandard
    Go Gators!

  5. There were so many great things about the opener. My lovely wife probably liked the way we consistently got the plays off with 5-10 seconds still left on the play clock. For the last eight years it’s been get to the line. Stand around looking confused. Look to the sideline. Check into the two yard bubble screen. Clap hands and move feet a lot. Clap hands some more. And all the while I’m screaming “SNAP THE BALL! SNAP THE BALL!!!!” All this of course leading to either a false start or a two yard bubble screen which leads to more hollering and a very unhappy wife. Go Gators!

  6. Aside from a COMPLETELY new approach to strength and conditioning, I think these comments (below) from the article illustrate the biggest change needed and so far, the biggest change we’ve seen.

    “And the key to clean play? That often comes from the cerebral facet of the game. Every player on the roster is experiencing a transition when it comes to the mental preparation aspect”

  7. ” My lovely wife probably liked the way we consistently got the plays off with 5-10 seconds still left on the play clock. For the last eight years it’s been get to the line. Stand around looking confused. Look to the sideline. Check into the two yard bubble screen. Clap hands” Outstanding Galvez Gator. This may be the best piece of literature I have read in awhile. My wife is equally as vocal about the play clock.
    May I had one more…..2nd and 9 send Perrine between the tackles for a two yard loss.
    Thanks Galvez…..good stuff

  8. If no one can tell the difference in execution between the 2 previous coaching staff, then you really need help. Guys I know it was Charleston but seriously how many other teams like that did we lose to GaSouthern ring a bell. Totally different coaching staffs and you can see the difference notably in Franks and wide receivers

  9. Offensive line is suspect until we get into SEC play. Decision making, progression and reads of Franks look phenomenal with no pressure and I hope he has matured from what we saw before. Cautiously optimistic as I get the same vibe about Mullen’s hc exp in comparison to the Mac and chump.

  10. Great Post Galvez Gator…That is exactly, the best description of UF’s offenses under the last 2 head coaches…I will say, There is definitely, a difference in coaching philosophies between Mullen and the last 2 head coaches (along with Shannon)…I have attended practices every year for the last fifty years or so, and I’m very familiar with each of the coaches over this period of time, along with their practice routines and I can assure you Mullen knows exactly what he is doing and his approach is nothing like what Mac ran…this is a very talented team, as I have said many times before…it’s been a really long time since we had this much talent on a UF team… this is by far the best group of RB’s and WR’s I seen in a very long time…we’ve never had this much talent at RB’s and WR’s at the same time and on the same team….we’ve had a great groups of WR’s through out the past 50 years and a RB or two…but not both groups being stacked at the same time…I do believe the QB and the offensive line will be ok, and will improve and develop from every game forward …as they, gain experience and confidence they will develop into a top quality SEC team…I constantly hear on this site and TV that it will take 3-4 years before UF can compete for championships…this is total nonsense…If you have a good coach and a talented team …you can win now…Spurrier and Myer did it…and, so can Mullen…I’ll agree, that if you don’t have talented team but you have a good coach it may take 3-4 years for the school to compete for championships….but, that is simply not the case here…UF has great coaching and great players and a good schedule to compete this year…I look for great things out of this team…so, buckle up and enjoy the ride…This weeks Kentucky game will be interesting…UK had 2 running backs break the 100 yd barrier…that being said…expect, the wildcats to run the ball often with Snell and Rose…their QB is up in the air for this game…they will try to throw the ball some to open up the running game…and they have a fairly decent and big OL and a experienced defense…they lack quality depth and are a bit of an erratic team…after all CM scored 20 points on them, which, UF should have by half time…UF should be able to wear their offensive and defensive lines down by midway through the 3rd quarter…UF should be able to take advantage of UK secondary and if Franks continues to manage the game by reading the defense, not back peddling 3 or 4 steps backwards and finding open WR’s he should have no problem throwing 4-5 touchdown passes…he’ll have a great chance of completing 9-10 TD passes in his first two games of the season…when he only completed 9 TD’s passes the entire season last year…and the running game should kick into high gear…the RB’s should double their carries from last week…and at least 100 yd rusher and possibly two will hit the mark… this game has a chance to be a real clam bake…look for good things out of the TE’s this game…as well as, Toney and Grimes…in the slot Toney is a total nightmare for LB’s … he is just too shifty and fast…Grimes on the other hand at 6’5″ and 4.3 forty speed will always be one of the fastest players on the field no matter who we play…he reminds me of one of Tebow’s big (6’4″) and fast(4.4) WR’s (Riley)…I think the streak continues to 32…. PREDICTION: UF 46 UK 13

  11. I learned something one time from another poster on another board. He never posted about the previous game on Sunday or Monday. Emotions were too high amd clear thinking took a back seat. I left the Swamp on Sat. feeling as giddy as a teenager on a first date. Hadn’t been as excited since the Tebow days. Now, let’s let clear thinking prevail. This was Charleston Southern not Georgia. SEC is coming up–one conference where only 14 priviledged schools play in. With that being said, if we don’t execute better in the running game than I saw SAt. against a bad team, we will not have a season that we all want. The O line HAS to improve–and it starts with Kentucky. No, I don’t get care about “streaks” or anything of that nature. I care about good, solid O-line play by blowing people out. And I didn’t see that.
    Oh, on a side note: If we got to the line and snapped the ball last year before a delay of game, I considered it a successful play. Never mind the 3-yard bubble screen with third and nine. Just my take.

    • One thing I forgot. During the beginning of the Meyer years, we had a mediocre O line at the beginning of the season and they started improving game after game and at the last 4 or 5 games they were as good as anyone in the country. I think it was Meyer’s 2nd season but not sure. Know who the O-Coord was? We will see improvement this week. Go Gators.

  12. There are games that are very iffy for the Gators: Miss St, LSU, GA. Those three could be wins or losses, but I am not inclined to think those will be wins unless Franks continues to progress. Franks has to bring his A game as well as the O-line. Not sure yet about the Gamecocks either, although I suspect it will be a nailbiter. What’s up with Free Shoes? Their O-line lost that game in horrible fashion. Still, not sure how to predict the last game, since it is in Tally. I can only hope we win two out of four.