Gators earning more respect in national rankings

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Florida running back Jordan Scarlett breaks a tackle Saturday as he runs against LSU at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/ The Gainesville Sun]

Yeah, we know, these polls don’t mean a thing outside of talking points. But they do keep the Florida Gators in the college football conversation of returning to being a top program in Dan Mullen’s first season as head coach in Gainesville.

On Sunday, UF climbed eight spots in the Associated Press Top 25 rankings to No. 14 and 11 spots up to No. 16 in the Amway Coaches Poll.

Florida (5-1, 3-1) has shown vast improvement each week since a loss to Kentucky in the second game of the season. Florida has won four consecutive games, including back-to-back wins against ranked opponents for the first time since 2008.

“Huge win for us,” Mullen said Saturday. “We’ve got to improve on the things that we didn’t do well today, but I’m certainly pleased with how we battled, how we fought for four quarters to find a way to go big and beat one of the top five teams in the country.”

The Gators play at noon Saturday at Vanderbilt (3-3, 0-2), with the game being carried by ESPN.

Notes: UF linebacker Vosean Joseph earned the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week honors, as the Walter Camp Football Foundation announced  Sunday.   

 The weekly honor is the first of Joseph’s career at Florida and comes after a team-leading defensive performance to help the Gators upset No. 5 LSU, 27-19 in Gainesville on Saturday. 

 The Miami native recorded a team-high 14 tackles, including 3.5 for losses.  He also sacked LSU’s Joe Burrow twice for a loss of 14 yards.  

 Through six games, Joseph is the Gators’ leading tackler with 42, including 6.5 for losses.  He has also recorded three sacks, two pass breakups, one quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery, which he returned for 20 yards.

 Joseph is the eighth Florida player to earn Walter Camp National Player of the Week honors since 2004 and is the first since linebacker Antonio Morrison (Oct. 4, 2015). 

 

70 COMMENTS

  1. Lots of hard work, coupled with great coaching has gotten us where we all wanted to see us. Hopefully the players will be focused this week and then Saturday in Nashville. And here’s hoping LSU shows us some chinks in that dawg armor next Saturday. Go Gators!

  2. Great win, but something needs to be done with the offense. Franks had some good throws, but he also had to many bad throws. The defense was the reason we won and Franks not giving the game away. Franks (if he is going to start) needs to get the ball out of his hands quickly and allow the play makers to do their thang. He did show good running instincts, but he needs to work on that as well. We will only go as far as our offense can take us, and our defense could use some time in between possessions to rest a bit. Especially this time of year when the heat and humidity is a beast. I’m trying not to be down on Franks, but the offense as a whole needs to adjust fire. GO GATORS!!!

    • There’s nothing that can be done with the offense. People need to stop expecting huge games out of Franks and just accept the fact that he’s simply a game manager who needs to make the necessary throws when needed and not turn the ball over. So far he’s doing that pretty well, with the exception of the interception in the end zone. Thankfully that didn’t cost us the game. There clearly isn’t a better option on the team. This is who the Gators are right now. An amazing defense that will dominate games and an offense the can do just enough to win these type of games. It’s worked pretty well so far. If you expect much more than a gradual improvement out of Franks each game, then you’ll be disappointed and questioning the offense the rest of the season.

      • How can it be so “clear” to you that there “isn’t a better option on the team” when we haven’t seen any other QB’s play any significant minutes? I do see a slow and gradual improvement in Franks play but as long as people see more mistakes than they feel there should be, this controversy will keep coming up. I among others would like to see trask in there for meaningful plays so we can either say “Franks really is the best” or “Trask really killed it as QB”.

        • Well it is clear to the ones who matter, the head coach, OC and QB coach. I want to see what Trask can do as well but there is no way Franks was going to be removed in these 2 last games we played, and that turned out to be a very good thing.
          Only way Trask plays is if we ever have a commanding lead in the 4th quarter.

          • Unfortunately I agree with you CO and Brewski. Been watching this game for decades and coaches have pride, once they make a decision they dont want it to be shown up and there is a psychological bias to continue with the course a person is on. I have seen too many times , a backup QB comes in and the starter never gets his job back (Can we say Tua) because the backup was better. the backup had to have meaningful game minutes to show that. I agree that ain’t gonna happen! I personally believe, based on the spring game a year ago that Trask is better in game management but we will never get the opportunity to find out, so we have to live with it and move on.

        • Would you like to have preferred a MSU loss or a LSU loss while a guy who has had 3 QBs drafted — including two 1st rounders, one 1st overall pick, and two who are currently starting — proved to you he knows how to coach QBs?

        • Franks for the most part is doing what Coach Mullen needs to be done. He’s managing the game. He hasn’t turned into Prescott or Tebow and I doubt he will. Look at the Alabama QBs in the past 10 years. Other than Tua how many have been really headliners? The thing about them is that they didn’t make the dumbassed mistakes that take you out of a game. Franks got a bad rep last year because he had NO coaching. You can see a major change in him so far this year. That comes from understanding what Coach Mullen is trying to accomplish and not putting the team in bad positions. Even Mullen was praising him for calling the right audibles to get to the right play in certain situations. In other words, all he has to do is manage the game. He doesn’t have to be the star. Will he make some stupid throws and mistakes? of course. Right now he’s our best chance to win or Mullen wouldn’t be starting him. Hopefully we’ll get far enough ahead (not an injury to Franks) to get Trask in the game and see what he can do. Right now however you’ll just have to accept the fact that like it or not, Franks is our guy.

        • It’s CLEAR because they are not out there. CDM knows what he is doing and it’s funny that now 2 coaching staffs have picked Franks as the starter…yet naysayers say there are better options. The quickest way to lose a locker room is to play guys that should not be out there. Even Stevie Wonder sees the guys are behind Franks, The better option would play under CDM if that was the case, but it isn’t.

          Is he a work in progress…yes, but progress is being made…and he has delivered and made plays when they counted. This is a soph getting real coaching for the first time.

      • I’ll be damned if all youse guyes aren’t right! Right now, we win they way we have to, it isn’t really pretty, and at times it evokes bad memories……maybe we’re winning for the wrong reasons, but I’ll be a suck egg mule if I can figure out what those really are. It’ll get pretty later on, maybe even graceful and poetic — but for now this is what we’ve got and it sure is a hell of a lot of fun despite wreaking havoc with my blood pressure. GO GATORS!

    • Franks seems to be getting better every week. We had two 75-yard scoring drives for scores to retake the lead, the second one for good. And the final drive for us that started inside the 10-yard line. Franks led us to two first downs that burned a significant amount of clock at the end of the game.

      You need to get off the dump Franks thang!

    • Great Gator win. Love it. Although I have a neighbor that went to the game, and the first thing he mentioned is how awful Franks looks. Yes he’s got the great arm strength, made a couple nice throws, but still makes too many bone-headed throws, and doesn’t read the field well. Things that are hard to teach. With the running game coming on, just imaging how tough this offense could be with a solid QB that could consistently find and hit the open receivers. Yes there are two other QBs on this roster, and I’m not gonna stop preaching it until either Franks shows he has what it takes, or I get to see Trask for a few drives…when it matters. Mediocre at QB won’t get us where we ultimately all want to get to.

    • Franks is going to start the rest of games unless he’s hurt. He’s the best option. He’s not Rex Grossman or Danny Wuerffel, but he’s not terrible either. For the most part he has not made mistakes that cost us. He has actually won us some games, so on average that is a winning quarterback. He’s improving so I’m OK with that this year. I think he has the physical tools to take some coaching and be the quarterback of a championship team.

    • I have read most of all of the reply’s on this topic, and I think some may have taken what I wrote out of context. I never stated to replace Franks. I stated that the entire offense needs to get better. I believe CDM and staff made many good calls for the team. I would like to see Franks have play’s called to get the ball out of his hands quicker. Play the offense like they are playing the defense. Disguise the offense in ways that will confuse their defense. Throw on normal running plays and run on suspected passing plays. But do it in such a way that causes the defense to follow a ghost lead and go the other direction. Especially the LSU defense that we faced, we should have used their aggressiveness more against them. That is what I was referring to. I DID state that we were going to win that game and we did. I just know we won’t go far with the offense we are playing now. GO GATORS!!!

  3. The offense is better than what it has been over the last few years. Be patient. Mullen has contained the dumpster fire called McElwain. Now he’s working on putting it out. Its obvious that the team is improving each week. Never saw that under McElwain…NEVER!!!!

    • AND Franks is getting real coaching for the first time in his career. Buck Owens and Nussmeier don’t count, and my understanding is he had no QB coach or offensive coordinator in high school.

      I think the kid is starting to come along. All of you instant gratification folks should get your boot off his neck and let him continue to soak in what CDM is teaching. You might be surprised before all is said and done.

  4. Joseph was a “Tebow freak” all over the field yesterday. So was Polite, Zuinga, and Jefferson. And Reese and Chauncy. And C.J. And Trey. And almost everyone on the defensive side of the ball. They were a bunch of hungry Gators playing like rabid rabbits vs. LSU.

  5. The worst thing about the UK loss is the fact that I have no doubt if the Gators played them this week, they’d beat them easily. I guess the best thing is that loss clearly ignited something in them. Oh well, keep winning and good things will come.

    • Joe. Kentucky will likely lose to Georgia. So Florida just needs to take care of business and they will win the East. But they better not look past Vandy. And Mullen said so after the game last night. He seemed already focused on getting the team focused and fired up to play Vandy next Saturday, which is set up as a big trap game for Florida if they do not come out with the same intensity and effort they showed most of the game vs. LSU.

      • Almost every game they have left on the schedule is a “trap” game for the gators! One of the hardest things a coach has to accomplish is getting his team up for a team they know they should beat. Its just human nature to take it for granted(like Tebow and company did MSU in 08) that your gonna win against a lesser opponent. Here are our lesser opponents left on the schedule. Vandy, SC, MO, Idaho, FSU! This is gonna be tough for Mullen but it will show us just how great a coach he is! He just needs to find ways to keep reminding them of UK and do they want to do that again! Tebow personally saw to it that every player on that team di not after the MSU game and they beat every opponent by an average of 55-12.5 that year(as Pat reminded us). I had forgotten just how they dominated their opponents the rest of that year. They played everyone like it was a championship game! Probably the greatest defense Ive ever seen.

        • Completely agree. I think Mullen will be focused on the lesser opponents; I just hope his team follows suit. I think the loss to Kentucky will help keep preparation fresh in their minds. By the way, Tebow and Co. lost to the other Mississippi school in 2008 (Ole Miss), before clobbering everyone else on the schedule.

          • Me too — teams we should beat from now on will test our mettle every bit as much as LSU or Miss State. It will be a different kind of test to be sure, but from this point forward we should take nothing for granted.

  6. This team is what it is. This team is rank number 14 in the nation and that is not bad, not bad at all. Who among you thought we would be even rank at this time of year. I’ll tell you, nobody. But there it is. Coach Mullen has us way above what we thought we would be. OK, the offense still a work in progress,but it is a lot better than the last few years. I said last week that LSU wasn’t unbeatable and neither is Georgia. But first there is the Vandy Game. I’m sure we won’t overlook them. Oh yes, it’s great to be a Florida Gator. Good Day…………..

  7. I’m noticing a lot of prominent featuring of this team the last few weeks in national websites like msnbc.com and cbs sports. no one is probably happier about the gators return to higher status than the national sports people and the tv people, because that will mean ratings. same with texas having finally leaped a little. its got to be depressing for the tv business people to have teams like Georgia, Clemson, and even auburn in the top games, as once the novelty wears off they are teams from isolated regions of small states, not big state elite programs that can give a bigger audience..

    • I imagine the sports writers are getting tired of the same old same old in college football. The Gators are on their way to becoming a kind of Cinderella story which is refreshing. The thought of an Alabama-OSU title game is so boring to me. I can’t watch OSU.

    • YES, you are right but it also showed that they can play under pressure and that they try harder rather than giving up when they lose a lead, all good attributes. If youve ever played any sports, its really hard to give even close to 100% all the time, especially when you have the lead. One of the biggest traps in betting is to bet the 2nd half, invariably the team in the lead will not score more points than their opponent in the 2nd half.

  8. 1st off, congrats to Joseph! And for the Franks haters: the L.S.U. Q.B. only had 30 more passing yards than Franks Saturday. And Franks threw 1 T.D. pass to Burrow’s 0, NADA, and Burrows had 2 INTs.
    The only complaint may be Franks throwing that one pick into the end zone. Other than that, he had the better game. Franks led Florida on a drive that even the L.S.U. Head Coach called, ”devastating.”
    Franks’ pass to Jefferson on the west sideline was perfect, and, b.t.w., a great catch by Jefferson, too.
    There was the long pass to Hammond, which was also perfectly thrown. This team in the Orange & Blue may not please all the Gator fans (I don’t know if they’d be pleased even if they were ‘Bama fans), but this Gator team went 5-1 for the 1st half of the season. And this team beat teams that FEW here on Gatorsports.com thought was possible after the U.K. loss. And anyone that read those past comments KNOWS that’s the truth, too. Go Gators! Sink Vandy!

  9. Congrats to Joseph indeed. An unheralded 3* MacEwain recruit who is finally getting coached up.
    It is worth noting that most of the defensive stars form Saturday were unheralded 3* guys including Joseph, Polite, Zuniga and Reese. I remember our former resident troll, Mike Winter always bad mouthing Reese saying how Harbaugh didn’t want him at Michigan and then he had to settle on us which goes to show you what an idiot Winter was/is and, if true, that Harbaugh is not as good as he portrays himself to be.
    Also shows you that those who are shocked at the recruiting efforts of the current administration are fools at best.
    Go Gators!

    • CO — I still maintain that the difference between a 3*, a 4*, and to some extent even a 5*, is an estimate of potential…..to be determined later. A coach will try for the best odds available to him, but from the minute that player signs, it is coaching that either will or will not reveal that potential. Joseph, Polite, Zuniga, Reese et al are good example of that. Of course, the whole process changes a bit when you’re dealing with the much vaunted but seldom encountered 8* recruits that Georgia is said to be getting…….

      • GATOR 6: Here’s how it works outside of NCAA restrictions. The Big Div I schools like Bama pay places like IMG Academy to get their guys to sign with them. Boosters handle the payments. “That’s how IMG–and others–get paid. It’s from the Boosters, not the school. And the recruit is pointed in that school’s direction. In addition, the recruit must sign an agreement that if he becomes a pro, IMG gets a 5 year deal to handle him to get an agent. Usually 5 percent for IMG, then 3 percent for agent. I live just across street from IMG and used to know a lot of the coaches. What they are doing is not illegal and the college player never gets a dime or signs with an agent–technically.; For the golf and tennis wonderplayers, they can go pro at 18 (*Sharapova, Kornokova, Gulbis, etc.). IMG does have financial assistance if they think the athlete has a strong future in the pros or will get a Div I scholarship.
        For the golfers and tennis players, The deal is 10 [percent of ALL earnings including endorsements for 5 years. Woods had IMG for first 5 years and after paying them about $60 million dropped them like a bad habit. Don’t think it’s all Nick Saban. It’s the boosters with the money to convince these coaches to steer the player to their school. Illegal? No Unethical: how can it be unethical if 129 Div. I schools are doing it?

        • Thanks for the explanation, cattrick. I think it was Sly Slyvester who wrote some similar things last year — not to that level of specificity — and as I recall he took a lot of heat for it from some surprising quarters. I’ve always been a little fuzzy on IMG myself, seeing it as essentially a farm system for the likes of FSU. I’m a little more clear on it now……maybe Sly will weigh back in as well, but I’ve got to be honest with you: To this simple man, while not illegal, it sure sounds unethical to me!

  10. It’s all about development when it comes to Franks. He’s shown big strides this season in having command of the offense, finding the open man and using the talent around him more effectively.

    The offense is in better sync, especially the last couple of games. The line is improving.

    • The only things less significant than a mid-season ranking are early and pre-season rankings. These things are averages of the biases of people who may or may not watch too much football. The only rankings that will matter are those that come in late November and beyond.

  11. I think having an effective team comes down to coaching and player buy-in. When you look at NFL rosters there are players from all over including lots from FCS and Div.II programs. Those players were not all 5 star recruits obviously. Mullen showed he can do more with less at MSU. That’s where the player development comes in. Look at a team like Texas, they have always had talent. I mean c’mon it’s Texas, football is religion there. But they are only winning now that they have a coach that can bring out the best in players.
    I know everyone has an opinion and this only mine, but UF is lucky to have Mullen and this year’s team is light-years ahead of where any reasonable person would have projected them. Franks’ is the liability on this team and they are winning despite him. His long wind up throwing motion and habit of holding the ball too long likely won’t change. I think he’s improved from last year, but really Mullen is the difference. Game planning, play calling sooo much better. I want to see Franks take a 3 step drop, plant his back foot, and fire that ball out on a quick slant. I trust in Mullen however and do not question his decision. I’m curious to see what unfolds in the next year or two. Will Franks be the starter for two more years after this year? Or will Mullen go with someone else? Next year we have the Jones boys, Trask, and Franks. I’d say Trask transfers if he’s ever going to play. I mean ever.

  12. Before the game I predicted a 27- 24 Gator win. The Gator O held their end of the bargain, and scored 27.
    I underestimated the Gator D who swarmed all day and prevented LSU from getting to 20. We defanged and declawed the Tigers. Relentless effort and continuous improvement are the mark of this team and they have the Swamp rocking again. Great job by the coaching staff.
    Franks overall played well against a top 5 team. One big nit is his IT in the end zone or our score would have been 34. He had a lot of pressure on the play but a quick glance to the left and he had Moral Stephens wide open.
    Joseph was a beast and deservedly won the Walter Camp award, our first since 2015.Stewart and Stiner are big play guys and need more playing time. Shout out to the RB’s with over 200 yards rushing and particularly to Perrine who is shaping up to be our most productive back. What happened to Dameon Pierce though? He needs some more time, hopefully against Vandy.
    The trickeration play fom Krull to Franks was a thing of beauty and left LSU stunned and deflated.
    Keep up the trickeration. Go GATORS, top 12 after next week.

  13. In all honesty, I wish Mac would have lied and told Grier he would be the starter when he returned. I think most of us would want Grier right now. But , Franks is improving at a higher rate under a better coach than he ever did last year. That doesn’t mean he will be playing at a Heisman level at the end of the year. Trask may be a better “manager”, which I think is coach speak for a QB who I don’t want to blow the game for me. Franks is winning games. He is who the coach wants. Mullen has forgotten more football than I will ever know in a couple of life times. And, if Franks becomes more Grier-like as a passer, given his toughness and , now , some verstility, I think he could develop into a QB who is more than capable of leading the Gators into a new era of success. Certainly, all things being equal, it is hard to say no to a kid who can throw a ball 70 yards in the air, can run tough , who is 6’5″ and 240 lbs and who is getting better as only a red shirt sophomore! Better days are coming for the Gators.

    • I like it…do your job…..don’t try to be somebody you’re not…..don’t make stupid mistakes….don’t play not to lose but do play to win……….the season will take care of itself (and the rankings!).