Toney has right touch for surging Gators

Florida athlete Kadarius Toney looks for running room Saturday against Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss. Florida won 13-6. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

STARKVILLE, Miss. — He still didn’t get as many touches as a lot of Gator fans would have liked to have seen Saturday night.

But once again, Kadarius Toney made the ones he did get count.

The sophomore wide receiver had two runs for 20 yards, one catch for nine yards and gave the Gators the only touchdown of the game on a touchdown pass to Moral Stephens in the third quarter of Florida’s 13-6 win over Mississippi State.

“I saw an opportunity,” Toney said. “I knew I could probably fit it in there so I just had to do it.”

Florida was driving midway through the third quarter down 6-3 in the rugged game. The series had been sparked by the running of tailback Lamical Perine, who had 44 yards of offense on the drive.

On first-and-10 from the Mississippi State 20, Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks threw what looked like a quick screen pass to Toney in the left flat behind him.

“We knew they were going to bite because we ran all of those smoke screens,” Franks said. “It’s just something that (Toney) does, he makes plays.”

Toney was able to use his high school quarterback skills to find Stephens with a perfect pass in the end zone to give Florida the lead.

It was only the second pass Toney has thrown in his career at UF, the other being a 50-yarder to Tyrie Cleveland at Kentucky last year.

“Yeah, that was my first one and got one tonight,” he said. “I had to really execute. That was a big play in the game, I felt. I had to make that throw. It wasn’t that hard.”

Toney, who was suspended for UF’s opener, still has only four catches and four runs this year and is averaging 12.1 yards per play. But he insists he is not frustrated by the lack of touches.

“It really hasn’t been frustrating,” he said. “I had to rely on patience and faith. I had to wait and when it came time, just execute to the best of my ability.

“I feel like I can do more, but I’ll do whatever it takes.”

The play was one that Florida had been practicing every week since the start of camp. Toney said he had no idea they’d pull it out this week.

But with Florida throwing so many screen passes, it was inevitable that the double-pass was going to come out at some point.

It turned out to be the perfect time.

“I’ve always said that, about deceptive and trick plays like that, it’s not really the play design, but more when you call it and how you execute it,” said Florida coach Dan Mullen. “It’s a play that we’ve had in the game plan every week this season. We just never got around to calling it, so we finally made the call.

“They’re a really aggressive defense. We’d been running some quick screens. All of a sudden, they jump on the quick screens and the double pass is open.”



  1. CDM calls games as good as anyone. That includes the ole ball coach. I must admit SOS would have had more fun with toney but CDM just does what is needed.
    I once was in the toney for QB camp. I still think he is an elite player. But Frank’s has the edge because he can take a beating and get up the next play which is the biggest issue with kadarius imo.

    • Mveal. Toney is playing the position (WR) that best suits him in the SEC. He could play QB for Georgia Southern. And he does seem to be having some issues with the shoulder he hurt last year and likely could not take repeated pounding during games.

  2. “Because the (Franks) pass was behind the line of scrimmage, Toney was able to use his high school quarterback skills to find Stephens with a perfect pass …”
    Is it because Franks’ pass was behind the line of scrimmage or because it was a lateral that Toney could make the second pass? I think Dooley is being a little lazy in his writing. Forgivable, considering all the post-game demands on a reporter/producer/video star.

    • 76gator. If the QB throws the ball overhanded and not forward to a wide receiver near the sideline, it is generally referred to by announcers of a game as a backwards pass, not a lateral, which it is officially. Like when a QB rolls out and “pitches” the ball to the RB or WR on an option type play. It is not officially a pitch. It is a officially a lateral. But announcers never say, “The QB ‘laterals’ the ball to the running back”. And when the refs review a play similar to the one involving Franks and Toney, they refer to it either as a “backwards pass” or “forward pass”. So Dooley was not being lazy there. He was using common football language. But he maybe could have added the word, “backwards” before the word, “pass” in the article to be more clear. But it was easy to deduct the meaning or intent of his verbiage.

      • TampaGator – If you are a good writer you never assume that your readers will “get it.” The play used to be known as a backwards lateral pass as opposed to a backwards pass or a forward pass. You would not hear them say forward lateral pass it was just a pass or forward pass if there may have been a fumble. It is just part of the new age of shortening words and this is just an example of that. R U gettin what I m sayin? LOL. GO GATORS!!!

        • Sorry, but are you sure about that wording.? A “backwards lateral pass” is redundant, since by definition a “lateral” must be either sideways or backwards. Either lateral pass or backwards pass, or just lateral as a noun, suffices.

  3. Good adjustments at half time, decent offensive play and great defense and special teams. Toney did his job and did it well. Under the circumstances he only had one choice not the variety that playing QB requires. I thought I saw on one pass where the QB chose a covered nearer receiver when one a little deeper might have been open for a TD. Mental play is very important.

    • Franks is clearly improving at seeing more of the field but still is not decisive or quick enough in his reads. For example, on the INT he threw, he did look to the right first (something he previously never did) to get the defense to move in that direction (and they did other than the LB who was holding the middle more). After making that proper execution look off, he turned his eyes towards his primary receiver option. But he again hesitated slightly, as he did with the INT he threw in the Tennessee game, with his delivery of the ball, again not trusting what he was seeing, which allowed to LB to see his secondary eye movement and move back to the right and make the INT. If Franks immediately releases that ball as his eyes were first moving, it would have been a completion instead of an INT. And I saw Mullen telling Franks exactly that after the play was over. A quick release is hard for Franks. His delivery motion on those type of passes is still too long (too many movements of the shoulder and arm to release the ball). And any hesitation by Franks makes that issue more of an issue. It is something that he needs to work on to become an elite type QB. That and more touch and less drilling on the ball on slant passes.

    • The play by play announcers saw the same thing. It was on 3rd down , Franks tried to squeeze the ball to Swain when I think jefferson was open deeper and it would have been a TD. He just doesnt see many WR’s that arent the target of the play. We had no big plays from Franks except the one called back for holding because I think Mullen wasnt calling them! I dont know why, since Franks is so great at the deep pass. We had an offense that, although they finally could sustain a drive they couldnt punch it in, which is an offense that needed big plays to score and they werent being called. It was wierd becuase up to this game that was the only way the offense could score; then the 1st game where they could sustain drives Mullen quits calling deep passes. I know he calls them high risk but honestly from Franks they arent higher risk than the shorter passes he tries to squeeze into coverage. In fact I think for Franks they are a much lower risk play since he is so successful at it because of his accuracy in the deep pass! i would have liked to have seen alot more deep passes called like in our past games this year and I believe we would have seen a whole lot more scoring. It makes no sense to me that you would just stop the one thing that had been all your success up to this point on offense just because you finally were able to sustain a drive longer. Why not a blend?

      • Too bad we didnt see that play again with Toney because it would be a high % success. Either they come after him and he passes or they dont and he runs; either way it has a high success rate. Dont know why the coach didnt dial it up again.

  4. It was nice to see Toney and Grimes integrated more into the offense, and both had very positive impacts on the game. Coaching really matters. But a championship like team puts the ball more in the end zone, especially on that late drive where the team settled for a FG after making a 4th and short play on the same drive in the red zone. Stab the dagger there. They have to execute better in those situations to really get to the next level. The Gators are capable of that now. And I believe they will get even better next week. I am sure LSU took note of the Florida improbable and non predicted win by most of the media in Starkville last night. I imagine Georgia and their fans did as well.

  5. Great win. It’s absolutely inexcusable that Florida is not getting the ball into Toney’s hands more than 1-2 times per game. He is by far the most dangerous weapon on the team and the staff refuses to utilize him. It makes absolutely no sense. Go Gators.

    • GatorK. Here is some sense:
      1. The slot receiver in Mullen’s offense blocks a lot and Toney is not a very good blocker. Hammonds is an excellent blocker.
      2. Toney does not have great hands and does not run consistently good routes. Hammond has excellent hands and runs good routes, consistently.
      3. Toney is small and is easily injured. Hammond is bigger and rarely is injured.
      4. Toney has not proven himself to be a leader on the team and has not been a good representative for the team off the field. Hammond is a proven leader, is a constant high character guy on the team, and the rest of the team looks up to him. He is also very experienced, and Toney is not.

      There are probably more reasons, but only Mullen and the coaching staff know them. And I trust their reasoning on who should start and play more over me or anyone posting on here. But, clearly, Toney is being utilized more because he is doing the right things now both on and off the field.

  6. Franks does have a “WIND-UP” delivery of the ball that gives defenders a little more time to recover and move to the receiver. I guess he ain’t Dan Marino, but it’s all about winning games. So we now have a defense, even if it’s patched up.

  7. With the speed and talent we have on this team (such as Toney, Cleveland,Pierce etc.) we should make such trick plays a fixture of the Gators O. Don’t forget to use Trask on these too. Everyone loves to watch these plays, the fans, the players, the coaches. Everyone, except the opposing team. It also relieves some of the pressure from the OLine.
    Let’s consistently bring back to our playbook some reverses, double reverses, flea flickers, ( Boise’s States’ statue of Liberty play vs. OK.) Let’s also be the place where new trick plays get invented.
    If we do one of these a quarter, it will keep the opposing D off balance and flat footed and bring more fun to the swamp.

    • They are so successful because they arent expected and a defense isnt trained to respond properly so I wholeheartedly agree. There seems to be a coaching mindset that “trick” plays are frowned upon as poor ability to call plays. Ive heard so many coaches make comments like this, it is clear there is a mindset among coaches to denigrate use of these. There is this mindset that a Good OC should be able to line it up and run it down your throat even when you know whats coming, which I find ridiculous but we see it in all walks of life; this mindset that if you succeed by using the unusual you’re cheating! To that I say bull hockey! If you are so clever to think up ways to win outside the box, good for you; you are more clever , smarter and more creative than your opponent!!! I believe that is the crux of that mindset, jealousy! most arent that smart or creative and seek to incubate this negative mindset among the coaching profession because its easier for them to claim its unfair rather than admit they are inferior to the few that can do it! I also think it brings a great excitement to the game. Look how boring that game was except for the Toney play!

  8. A great win that requires no second guessing, but as a personal preference (and admittedly a little old- fashioned) I would love to see some old Green Bay style toss sweeps. I know the sideline screens are supposed to accomplish the same thing, but they use up too much of the field that could otherwise provide some green grass to run on. Two pulling guards, a blocking back (Scarlett), and any one of the running backs we have (I am leaning toward Perrine, Toney, or Pierce)and I think we consistently gain big chunks of ground. The sweep is also easily changed at the line of scrimmage to run away from the strength of the defensive set. I know – very old-fashioned. But I would love to see it tried a couple of times. I doubt if most of the young defenders have ever even seen it!