In terms of plays called, the Florida offense has a near-perfect balance. The Gators have thrown the ball 271 times this season and run it 265 times. So, balance.
But there’s a considerable imbalance in terms of production. The Gators are throwing for 277.2 yards a game and rushing for just 142.4.
It’s the biggest disparity in a Dan Mullen offense since his 2015 Mississippi State offense that was quarterbacked by Dak Prescott. That Bulldog offense also was much more productive in the passing game than the running game.
“Well, very similar deal,” Mullen said. “We had a bunch of very veteran receivers, a veteran quarterback, a really inexperienced offensive line and some young running backs. I’m always somebody that is going to do what our guys can do.”
Mullen is OK with disparity
“The worst thing you can do as a coach is to say, ‘We have a system and we’re only going to run our system. Even if we stink we’re going to run our system. That’s our system,’ ” he said.
“As a coach, our job is to put our guys in positions to be successful. If it’s the wishbone, we’ll run the wishbone. If it means to throw it every play, we’ll throw it every single play. I think that’s the mark in coaching, and I tell our guys always, make sure we have enough flexibility within our scheme to highlight the strengths of our players in whatever it is that we do.”
Respect for Fromm
Some may view Georgia’s Jake Fromm as a struggling quarterback coming off back-to-back shaky performances against South Carolina (a UGA loss) and Kentucky (a win in a hard, steady rain), but Mullen, the quarterback whisperer, does not.
“He does a great job managing games,” Mullen said. “If you watch him he gets them into the right plays. He makes good decisions. He has the ability to not force a ball and maneuver and keep alive in the pocket to extend plays. He also has the ability to take off and run and extend plays with his feet or make plays with his feet. He doesn’t force the ball down the field and makes good decisions. He’s an accurate passer. That’s what you want. He does a really good job, to me, of managing their offense and getting them in position to make plays.”
UF defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said Fromm is the smartest quarterback the Gators will face this season.
“First of all, he’s really competitive,” Grantham said. “And I think that breeds to the team. He’s a smart guy. When you look at the football IQ of guys, he’s going to be an elite guy, as smart as anyone that we’ll see or that you could play at this level or the next level. And he’s accurate with the ball. I think those three things are the biggest things I see with him.”
Florida senior defensive end Jon Greenard, who is from Hiram, Ga., said his phone has been lighting up all week with trash-talking texts from some of his Bulldog friends back home. For the most part, they’ve been fairly civil, he said.
“You’ve got the, ‘How you from Georgia but you a Florida fan?’ Hey, I’ve heard it all,” Greenard said. “But they stay within their boundaries because I can still get to that, to the people talking that trash. I can still get to them pretty quick, so they watch it a little bit. Other than that, it’s cool. I’ve heard it all, loved it. It basically makes the game more fun.”
Bleich sits, Gouraige starts
Starting offensive guard Chris Bleich did not play against South Carolina due to a foot issue. In his absence, fellow redshirt freshman Richard Gouriage made his first career start against the Gamecocks.
“Chris had a foot problem Wednesday afternoon,” offensive line coach John Hevesy said. “He had two disgusting blisters on the bottom of his feet. Wednesday he couldn’t practice, Thursday he couldn’t practice, Friday was close. If I needed him he could have gone in, but he was still kind of limping around Saturday morning. So I said if we had to use him he would have played, but if we didn’t have to use him I wanted to save his feet.
“We gave Richard the start and let him go see what he can do in a starting position. He was able to break his nerve, because he was a nervous wreck Friday night and Saturday getting ready to play. He just had to go play and be the guy and it was good for him.”
On the depth chart for Saturday’s game against Georgia, Bleich is listed as the starter at right guard, while Gouraige is the backup to Stone Forsythe at left tackle.