Before every game, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here are the answers from Saturday’s spring game:
1. Will quarterback Feleipe Franks’ strong spring be reflected in his play?
It most definitely was. Franks has had an outstanding spring and is clearly way ahead of where he was a year ago, and even last season. Not only has he grown comfortable in the offense, he’s also improved his decision making and accuracy. He was extremely sharp in leading the Orange to a 60-35 win, throwing for 327 yards and four touchdowns. And the lone negative on his stat line was intentional — the interception by former UF cornerback Lito Sheppard in the second half. Take that play away, and Franks completed 13 of his 17 pass attempts — and those four misses were not far off.
2. Who plays better, Kyle Trask or redshirt freshman Emory Jones?
The two were pretty even, but what separated them was one very bad decision by Trask, who threw an ill-advised pass in the flat that defensive back John Huggins intercepted and returned 80 yards for a touchdown early in the game. Other than that, Trask and Jones both played well. Trask threw for 209 yards and two touchdowns, while Jones threw for 117 yards and two scores and also had a 28-yard run. The competition for the No. 2 spot will carry over to preseason camp.
3. How big of a factor will all the inexperience among the offensive linemen be?
It really wasn’t much of a factor at all because the defenses were limited to a vanilla game plan that featured few blitzes and stunts. So, the young guys, including four true freshmen, did OK. Both lines gave the quarterbacks enough time to inflict a lot of damage in the passing game. But like coach Dan Mullen said after the game, the offensive front has a long way to go before it’s ready to start competing in the SEC.
4. Will any of the early enrollees stand out?
Four started the game: Ethan White and Kingsley Eguakun for the Orange and Michael Tarquin and Mohamoud Diabate for the Blue. But two who didn’t start — cornerback Chris Steele and linebacker Jesiah Pierre — seemed to stand out a little bit. Steele, who showed steady improvement throughout the spring, had a tackle and broke up two passes, while Pierre recovered a fumble. Offensive lineman Will Harrod also played.
5. Can the offenses generate some explosive plays against defenses that likely will be limited in the number of blitzes and stunts?
This actually became the storyline of the game. The defense was limited to playing four basic coverages and the offense took full advantage of knowing which plays were going to work against certain looks. The result was a bounty of big, explosive plays. The Orange team, led by Franks, had passing plays of 69, 65, 61, 41 and 40, along with a 34-yard run by true freshman quarterback Jalon Jones. The Blue team, led by Trask and Jones, produced plays of 54, 35, 35, 26 and 18 yards. So, it was a big-play day — by design.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.