Dooley Grades The Gators: UF has come long way

Florida coach Dan Mullen celebrates with his family Saturday after the Gators defeated No. 5 LSU at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/ The Gainesville Sun]

Offense C

First half: The offense had its struggles, running only 11 plays on its first three possessions. But some hard running by Lamical Perine and a beautiful pass from Feleipe Franks to Josh Hammond allowed the Gators to score a pair of touchdowns.

Second half: The pick that Franks threw early in the second half could have been devastating. But when the Gators had to have a scoring drive after falling behind, they were able to muster one together.

For the game: Florida nearly cracked 400 yards against an elite defensive team and rushed for 215, which is a recipe for winning a game like this. Franks had an uneven performance, but showed he can catch the ball. So he has that going for him.

Defense A-

First half: LSU was able to hit eight plays of 10 yards or more and the first drive hardly looked like the Florida defense its fans saw in Starkville. But the defense did settle down and created the only turnover of the first half.

Second half: The defense was asked to be on the field a lot and the one LSU touchdown drive was stunning. But overall, this defense was the difference in the game.

For the game: LSU ran 75 plays and had 13 plays of 10 yards or more. But after the initial drive, the defense created points and kept giving the offense opportunities.

Special teams B

First half: Freddie Swain looked like he was this close to breaking one on several occasions. After a mediocre first punt, Tommy Townsend was solid the rest of the half.

Second half: Townsend seemed to struggle kicking into the wind, but in the fourth quarter he was booming his punts. The coverage teams played well for almost the entire game and had to cover a lot of punts.

For the game: Townsend had to punt nine times in the game and most of them were good, as he finished with a net punting average if 41.1 yards a kick. Evan McPherson was steady again with four touchbacks.


It was funny in the parking lot before the game. There was such a difference of opinion. Some Gator fans didn’t think UF had a chance. Others were confident. Others had no idea. What they saw was a team that has come a long way. Who saw this coming four weeks ago?


    • No one could have seen this 4 weeks ago. Thats just BS! The way this team was playing 4 weeks ago it appeared they might not win more than 4 games. You’d have to be a prophet with visions from God of the future to have seen that!

      • Not so Daz…..go back and review the posts. While it looked dim at times, especially after Kentucky, some saw the potentials even before 01 Sep. Nobody can predict the future sans prophecy from God, you’re right about that, but to “see it coming” is an entirely different thing. Surprised you used the reference to BS…’re better than that type of stuff.

  1. You could nitpick the plays and decisions that didn’t work well… but my oh my, why would you want to. This team simply put, is fun to watch again. I told Mrs. Rog, that even if we wouldn’t have pulled this out, it was still fun…and entertaining. I haven’t been that anxious watching a Gator game in a long time.

    Lamical Perrine is such a solid player. Scarlett had some great tough runs. The defensive front 7….really the entire defense…what a heck of a job. And Townsend is such a weapon. Lots of credit to go around for a hard fought win, but let’s start with Coach Mullen. Great job Coach!!!

  2. Rog, I have to agree with you. By and large this is still mostly players recruited by Macalwain. But we have a coach now who can game plan for each team. Last weekend it was WR Screens and quick passes, this week completely different plan. This goes both ways, coaches can’t game plan for our offense because they dont know what we are going to run, and we run different plays all together.

  3. Dooley is not logical. He gives an overall A- when only the defense got that grade and the offense got a C. The defense deserves an A, special teams an A and the offense a B or B-. Overall a B+. Lots of room for improvement, eliminate stupid penalties, eliminate TO in the end zone. A great victory sealed with two ints.

  4. I would honestly give the offense a B. This is a solid defense with possibly 2-3 1st and 2nd rounders on it. Franks interception was the product of a stunt blitz that had him throwing the ball off his back foot about 1/2 second earlier than he wanted to. If that guy even just gets chipped, it’s a TD, as his accuracy was much better after the first couple of drives. Even so, his decision making improvement just shows how great a coach that Mullin and Johnson have done compared to the previous coaches. Everything about the team has improved since buying full in after the Kentucky game, and hopefully they’ve completely bought into preparing the same way for every week….even against teams like Vandy.

    • I’d agree with that Corey. The offense probably deserved a B. We still don’t have a reliable downfield passing game and the TE’s aren’t truly a factor, at least the way I think they would be in a Dan Mullen offense. The interception made me crazy because our guy was wide open and the throw wasn’t anywhere close. Maybe you are right and Franks was hurried….I didn’t see it that way….I just saw a poor, poor throw.

      But, the offense played their guts out against a tough, tough defense and the running game was pretty amazing. Who runs for over 200 on LSU? The OL, in spite of a couple of false starts had a pretty gritty game. Coach continues to show that play-calling and game planning, matters (I can think of a certain OC from last year who should be taking notes).

      Yeah, I’d give them a B.

  5. Again I agree with Pat. But if he starts back up with how good south Carolina is I will blow a gasket. They should have sportswriter malpractice insurance for ever letting those kinds of statements get printed.

  6. I agree with these grades, and that’s exciting because we are winning with an offense that still has obvious room for improvement. But…you need to start including a grade for coaching. I think every Gator agrees that that is A+, and the most important factor in this turnaround.

  7. Dooley and Robbie sure didn’t see this coming after Kentucky. They said that we wouldn’t win a Sec game and would only beat Idaho. Said we were a 2 and 10 team. I thought Mike Bianchi was writing for the Gainesville Sun. Thank God the team didn’t listen to Dooley and Robbie; or they would have cancelled the season.

          • You nailed it. Reese is a difference maker. Hopefully he stays healthy. We’ll need him for the rest of the season, especially to stop Georgia’s running game.

          • It’s time everyone accepted the fact that sports writers are no different now than the rest of the press. They are trained to be more negative than positive. Pat’s comments about the 2008 team arrests, at least Franks can catch, the “C” for the offense and just adequate O-line play are just par for the course of cynic journalism. Who knows? Maybe Pat is still steaming over how Florida let him down after he wrote The Streak column before the Kentucky game. He is no different than other writers.

          • Yeppers. Reese can not be replaced. Maybe one of the younger guys develops. But right now Reese looks like the glue of the defense.

        • Mullen mentioned and some of the players admitted that they had not practiced as hard as they needed to Kentucky week. Ivey even said, “We played the way we practiced.” They got woken up to the reality that if they dogged it in practice it would follow through the the game, something McElwain never got through to them (perhaps because he was too busy looking at shark erotica).

          I think having Tebow call them out and tell them they were not good also helped. He is an honest guy and they respect his views, and how great it must have been to hear him now say, “Great team win.”

  8. Let’s look at your logic Pat. You give the defense a grade of A- and they gave up 19 points. You give an offense that scored 20 points a grade of C. See a disconnect there? Yes our offense is still a work in progress and yes our defense, even with a very young secondary is excellent. A fairer grade for the offense would be a B or B-. What didn’t you like about the special teams? They played very very well, A-. Overall I agree with your grade, just not how you got there. How about them Gators!!

  9. If you are saying crap about the sports writers for negative about the Gators after that KY loss, you might as well include every poster on this site. Not one sane person thought the Gators would be 5-1 after watching our Gators miss like 3000 tackles and being beat badly on both lines of scrimmage. The people saying “I told you so” are simply lying now.

  10. Are we allowed to say anything “negative/critical” ? Notwithstanding the many great things that happened today, (and it was a great and slating victory) I think the coach still has late game clock management issues, and really, passing from the 13 yard line on that opening second half drive?

    • I don’t have a problem with critical comments, but I don’t agree with either of these. Other than thinking we should have called time out at the end of the first half against MSU I haven’t had a problem with clock management (and CDM got us in the locker room, made adjustments and got the W). As for the pass tonight, I really think that’s a “hindsight” comment. Poorly executed play obviously, painful to watch, but absolutely zero problem with a pass there.

      • p.s. – I don’t have to comment on what I would be critical about if I decided to go that way, because my hero, CDM, took care of it for me –

        “Success is a tricky word to use right there with our offensive line play tonight,” he said. “I don’t know that success is the right word there. I think they battled. There’s a lot of things I think we need to do to get better up front.”

        Imo its unusual to be pointing this out in the wake of a game where we went for over 200 yards on the ground, but I’ve said before I love CDM’s transparency. So refreshing. He calls it the way he sees it in a very appropriate way.

        • I think our offensive line had made tremendous strides. The fact that we put up 200 yards on LSU is huge, and at times Franks had a ton of time in the pocket. However, they do need and I am sure want to get more consistent. That’s the biggest issue.

  11. Yeah Gator Steve, you know better than CDM.

    You’re not going to gain a lot of compadres on this site with that kind of nit picking. It was a play affected by a stunt blitz from LSU that worked. We had just gotten there on a Beautiful 45 yard FF pass, so why wouldn’t you pass it? Trust the process. The team left for dead now lives, and you want to complain about the leftover smell of the last drops of embalming fluid??

    I for one am basking in the glow of this victory with all its imperfections. What mattered was the teams ‘relentless effort’ and winning attitude. If we dont win another game (1st I’ll be shocked) we will already know the gators are back, and the swamp is back!

  12. Our offensive line is still not where it needs to be, but this coach has balls that neither of his two predecessors did and is willing to call risky plays to shake things up. The D, as always, is electric, and kudos to Todd Grantham for making them complete ball hawks. This team is a blast to, lose, or draw, and on any given Saturday, I think they could take anyone in the country down. That doesn’t mean they always will, but my goodness it is so cool to know that the game is never over if the Gators are on the field. We have not been able to say that in a long time. You guys rock. GO GATORS.

  13. In have to put the Offensive performance into perspective: +200 yards rushing, especially late when it really counted against LSU!…B (C come on!). Defense is a solid A…learned from the big plays, got their heads together (coaches & players). Special teams have collectively been solid and the best we have had in 10 years….They’re finely not a problem: A. Come on Pat, give it the 30K feet view.

    (1) Watched UK lose to T A&M…how did this Gator team lose to THAT? Would love to have this Gator team play them again…it would be another UT game. Neither them or T A&M are very good. Again, how did we let THAT beat us???
    (2) The Holes are headed back to the pre Bowden glory days, as fast as they can go…He he he he. Always felt they were just one coaching change from that status, AGAIN.
    (3) Auburn is not a top 10 team. MSU hit them in the face and they were not tough enough to respond
    (4) Big picture is clearing up: West-ALL Bama, its over…East: UGA and UF, Again…Bama is SEC champs

    Bama #1
    UGA top 5
    Gators top 15
    LSU top 15
    UK 20-25 team

    • We all get to caught up in comparing one game to another. KY and Auburn ran into desperate teams on the road in the SEC. KY is dependent on forcing their way in the trenches, and last night they just weren’t as good. If our Gators come out flat next Saturday on the road, it could get ugly. Play with a great desire and they can beat anybody on the schedule.

      • Sparky something Dan Mullen talked about going back to spring football. Was the toxic bandwagon fans and beat writers. Around this program that were a cancer; losing one game to Kentucky. There were certain fans along with so called journalist. Who were calling for the team to pack it in and cancel the season. Start getting ready for 2019 since we lost one game. You know the typical Millenial mindset I didn’t get my way. So it’s time to throw in the towel.

  14. Pat you gotta give Franks a break. He was up and down and the INT was a potential disaster…I can agree with that. Overall he was better than average, though. He mad several very good deep throws and he kept cool and the O together the entire game. After taking some painful hits in the second half, he gritted it out and made some throws. Your comment about “having that going for him” with the catch is a low blow to a growing talent.

  15. I was not a Dan Mullen fan. I did not believe he was qualified to be the head coach at UF. But, yesterday’s game was a changer. No matter how you scale it, grade it, or review it, Florida beat an undefeated LSU team ranked #5 in the country. That’s a huge win. The work isn’t done. It’s going to take at least another 2-3 recruiting cycles. But Dan Mullen along with Todd Grantham have shown they know what they’re doing and they know how to win games. From an elite defense, to a great kicking game, to an offense that is what it is, Florida put together a football game that was good enough to win. GO GATORS. Now, off to the range and make some noise!

    • Welcome. One of the things I am loving is the in game adjustments. MSU came out with some stuff working, the defense adjusted and stopped them cold in the second half. LSU drives right down and scores, then we stone them the rest of the first half. Likewise on offense Mullen doesn’t just stick stubbornly to stuff that isn’t working but keeps trying different things (and setting up different things) through the whole game. Both he and Grantham are like mad scientists, mixing up new concoctions every week and blowing up the other team’s plans.

      Danielson couldn’t believe Grantham was going against tendency and playing coverage that last drive (neither could I) and yet it worked just as sure as the blitz worked the week before. So good!

  16. In the end, The Gators Won, The sleeping giant, is awake again and hungry. The Kentucky cats woke up the team, the LSU cats woke up the Swamp, together they both are better. The Gator Standard is back and the bar is high, but Championships are forthcoming.

    Pat, Franks is still very young. The kid is a fighter, a competitor and coachable. I truly enjoy watching his and this team’s development from week to week, that develop is what makes this so damn exciting. Coachs, All the coachs get a BIG a–s “A” in my book, complete with smiley faces, gold stars and confetti.

    Go Gators!

  17. I would have graded the offense B instead of C. Yes, first half slow start again for Franks and horrific decision on first down int with a chance to go up 21-10 3rd qtr. But he held it together, made some beautiful throws, the catch, a couple nice runs. RBs ran hard, WRs made some super catches. OL led team to 215 rushing vs NFL loaded D, and ZERO sacks. When is the last time that happened? (UF, btw, had five sacks!). And game winning 4th qtr drive. Not bad at all.

  18. One of the biggest improvements I see for our defense, is the improved tackling. Joseph and Gardner-Johnson couldn’t tackle anything last year. This year the entire defense has improved, which is a testament to the coaching staff.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Especially regarding Joseph. Not playing assignment football at the start of the year. Reps went down for a short period. Worked his way back quickly and since then he has been fantastic. Very possible that his emergence made Reese’s return seem even more impactful (if that’s even possible considering how much Reese brings to the table).

  19. Dooley, I wonder if u even watched the same game as the rest of us, because if u did, there’s no way u. Oils give the offense a “C”. The 75 yard drive mid-4th qtr to take back the lead would warrant a solid “B” or better. Even Orgeron called it “devestating” and in past years, would have been the end for us. So, if u r grading a game, be sure to watch it first

    CDM has made it fun to watch Gator football again.