UF’s revamped offensive line ‘pretty solid’ in opener

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks looks downfield Saturday during the Camping World Kickoff against Miami at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The Gators beat the Hurricanes 24-20 in the season opener. [Matt Pendleton/Correspondent]

In the build-up to Florida’s 24-20 win over Miami in Orlando last Saturday, much was made of the Gators’ revamped and inexperienced offensive line.

A unit with just 23 combined starts among them, Florida’s protection was the focal point in the eyes of pundits and analysts around the country, as many expected the game to be decided at the line of scrimmage.

When the dust had settled and the Gators could look toward their first bye week with a sigh of relief, Florida coach Dan Mullen had time to reflect on the team’s offensive performance at the line of scrimmage.

“I thought they did pretty solid. A lot of new faces in a tough environment against one of the top defensive lines out there,” Mullen said of Florida’s offensive line. “I thought they held their own most of the night.”

Florida’s offense was whistled for just two penalties, compared to Miami’s 11 infractions amongst its equally inexperienced unit.

And when it came to protecting the quarterback, Florida’s offensive line seemingly performed admirably considering the circumstances. The Hurricanes were credited for a lone sack, in addition to three quarterback hurries — although Miami’s pressure up front late in the game did force quarterback Feleipe Franks into a pair of potentially costly interceptions.

Where Florida did leave much to be desired, however, was in the running game.

The Gators mustered just 52 rushing yards on 27 attempts, often relying on the arm of quarterback Feleipe Franks — and the occasional fourth-down trickery — to keep the offense on the field.

To the surprise of likely no one, that wasn’t Florida’s gameplan; facing a highly regarded defense in the ’Canes, the Gators simply adjusted to the opposition.

“We didn’t run many plays, and it was kind of an awkward game. We were taking some shots,” Mullen said. “They were really trying to stop the run and left us with some 1-on-1 matchups on the outside, and we were able to hit them. I don’t know if we overly committed to the run too much tonight for how the game played out.”

Mullen made sure to add he isn’t concerned about UF’s rushing attack — although there’s no shortage of improvements to make in the interim for a Florida program with lofty goals this season.

“I think there’s a lot of things we can get cleaned up and that we can get better at. We take a lot of pride in our plan to win. We didn’t follow that tonight. Usually we can put that up and say, ‘This is why we won, or this is why we lost’,” Mullen said. “I’m going to put that up there and say, ‘This is our plan to win’ and say, ‘Hey, we probably shouldn’t have won that game’. We had the heart to find ways to make plays to find a way to win the game.”

Up next

Who: University Tennessee-Martin (0-0) vs. No. 8 Florida (1-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7

Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium


Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850


  1. One thing for sure, the coaches learned more about their team than if we had played Montana State. And one more thing. In spite of two incomprehensibly stupid penalties, the defense did not lose its concentration and intensity. They won the game for us.

  2. if that is what you call solid, I hate to see a poor performance; I’m more concerned with all the missed tackles, poor decision making by the secondary, and over pursuing of the ball carrier; we can beat teams like this with poor tackling, decision making and execution, but we’ll never beat UGA, LSU and Auburn with the same effort; Franks just doesn’t have the talent and consistency to put this team on his shoulders and win the SEC

  3. This game could have been a 20 win for Florida without the turnovers. It could have also been a lots if or defense didn’t have those sacks forcing punts. That same defense with those costly interference penalties also put unneeded pressure on themselves and me in the stands. Most exhausting game I’ve been too. They won of course because the fans willed it. The seats were full to the end.