Notebook: Gators like to keep trick plays simple

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Florida tight end Moral Stephens runs into the end zone clutching his 20-yard touchdown pass reception against Mississippi State during the second half Saturday in Starkville, Miss. Florida won 13-6. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Florida’s trick play that went for a touchdown against Mississippi State — the double pass where slot receiver Kadarius Toney completed a 20-yard TD pass to tight end Moral Stephens — was a Kodak moment for the Gators.

Literally.

The play is called “Kodak”, named for rapper Kodak Black.

“One of the things you want to do is make it simple,” UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday. “They all know Kodak Black, so we just named the play ‘Kodak.’ You say that and everyone knows what to do.”

The Gators executed “Kodak” to perfection against the Bulldogs.

It was set up by earlier success with quick wide receiver screen passes. On the play, when quarterback Feleipe Franks threw a backward pass to Toney, the defensive backs quickly moved up, expecting another screen. It allowed Toney to throw the ball over the secondary to an open Stephens in the end zone.

“Kodak” is the second trick play that has gone for a touchdown this season. The first was a jump pass from Feleipe Franks to wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland in the opener.

Mullen said the Gators carry three to four trick plays into every game. And if the timing and circumstances are right, he’ll call one.

The timing was right for “Kodak.”

“We think, ‘OK, they’re going to be aggressive right now on this play,’ ” Mullen said. “We throw it to Kadarius, the safety and corner both take three steps forward. The initial aggressiveness of running to the ball, you get the tight end open.

“We saw it executed, and you’ve been practicing it for a while. So it’s about the timing, a little bit of timing and the execution.”

There will be more trick plays down the road.

“We have a bunch of them, and you practice them,” Mullen said. “We usually carry probably three to four of those type of plays into each game so you’re repping it during the week.”

The new tight end

After coming seemingly out of nowhere to catch a nine-yard pass in the win over MSU, true freshman tight end Kyle Pitts is heading for more playing time this season.

“He’s got a really bright future,” Mullen said. “We think he’s going to be a guy as a tight end that’s a tough mismatch, so we’re going to accelerate him. As the season goes on, you might see him play more and more, and more in the future.”

Mullen said the 6-foot-6 Pitts earned his opportunity Saturday night by the way he’s been performing in practice. So, they’ll be no redshirt season for him.

“He’s coming along,” Mullen said. “He’s one of those guys that gives you mismatches as a tight end. He comes into the game at tight end and can do it, but you can flex him out and he’s a great athlete that way as well.

“We saw that early, so he’s a guy that is going to be able to help us this year. We kind of made the decision that we’re going to play him.”

No new injuries

Mullen said the Gators came out of the 13-6 victory over MSU with no injuries, so UF will pretty much be at full strength for No. 5 LSU on Saturday.

The Gators also will be getting a player back who has not been injured — starting cornerback Trey Dean III, who was ejected from Saturday’s game for targeting covering a punt in the first quarter.

Polite, McPherson honored

Junior defensive end Jachai Polite and freshman place-kicker Evan McPherson have been honored by the SEC for their performances in the Gators’ 13-6 win at Mississippi State.

Polite was named league’s defensive lineman of the week, while McPherson was named the freshman of the week.

Polite had two sacks and three total tackles. McPherson made both of his field goal attempts, from 39 and 21 yards. He has made eight of nine attempts this season.

SEC Nation

SEC Network’s traveling pregame show, SEC Nation, will be set up and ready for the Gainesville crowd Saturday. The show will air live from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. at the Plaza of the Americas on the UF campus.

The show, which features UF alum Laura Rutledge and Gator Great Tim Tebow, kicks off an exciting day in Gainesville that has the Gators 2008 Championship Reunion and Tim Tebow’s Ring of Honor Ceremony.

UF-Vandy at noon

Florida’s Oct. 13 game at Vanderbilt will have a noon ET kickoff. The game will be televised by either ESPN or the SEC Network.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Pitts looks good, but it appears Lukas Krull looks even better. He also had a great catch, but seems to be more adept at yards after catch than Pitts. Both are 6’6″. Great to have both options now and in the future.

  2. This article clearly shows the power of the trick play. It was well executed by Toney and was a great call by the OC. In an earlier article I mentioned that the Gators should become the place where trick plays are invented and that we utilize one per quarter. A little “trickeration” throws the opposing D into a panic an opens up the big play, just like this one did against MSU. It is the element of surprise. Let’s try two vs. LSU.
    Trick plays are enjoyed by everybody, the fans, the players and coaches, everybody, except the opposing D.
    It’s a WOW moment and brings fun back to the Swamp.
    Go Gators, Go Trickeration!

  3. Polite is the real deal. Von Miller-ish. Happy to see him get recognized.
    And I don’t want to overstate this because I do think stars matter (Alabama and Clemson have convinced me), but I think there is a good argument that the heart and soul of a pretty damn good defense is Polite, Zuniga, and Reese – all 3* recruits. — a nod to Henderson of course, but he doesn’t fit my narrative!

    • I think you can win games with 3* players…..not all games and not against all teams, but with the right coaching and the right 3* players (i.e coachable and with hearts) you can be competitive. Over the long haul and to win championships, you need your fair share of 4’s and 5’s.

  4. That was a clutch catch by Pitts. 3rd down and long with good coverage, and I don’t think I’ve even seen him in a game so far. But he was up to the task. This team will be a lot of fun to watch when they really hit their stride.