Bigger test coming


I don’t agree with all those who insist you can take nothing from Florida’s big opening-night win because the performance came against a bad and badly outmanned New Mexico State.

Here’s what I’ve taken from that game:

  • This is a much better coached team than the past two Florida teams, especially on offense.

  • The offensive scheme is much better and a whole lot more sophisticated in the passing game.

  • The head coach knows offense — and he gets it, unlike the guy before him.

  • The quarterbacks are getting the kind of coaching that has been missing around here for a while.

  • This team plays with much more discipline. Only one penalty says it all.

  • The defense has a chance to be even better than last year. After giving up some plays in the first half, adjustments were made and the Gators held the Aggies to zero first downs and less than zero yards (minus-1).

  • McElwain and the new staff (and the offense) have excited the fan base. That was evident with the large, electric crowd. The Swamp appears to be making a comeback.

  • Those two freshmen tailbacks have a chance to become big-time players.

  • Jalen Tabor has a chance to be the Gators’ next cornerback star.

  • Defensive end Cece Jefferson is going to have a big impact as a true freshman. His playing time will increase each week.

  • The tight ends have a chance to put up big numbers.

  • The offensive line is still a concern, even though the big guys held their own, for the most part.

  • The games and the challenges are going to be tougher as the season goes along.

So, yeah, I took a lot out of that opener. And we’ll certainly learn more in the coming weeks, starting with East Carolina on Saturday night.

The Pirates don’t appear to be as good as they were a year ago, especially on offense, but this is a team that will test the Gators on both sides of the ball.

I have a feeling the Treon Harris and Will Grier are going to struggle at times against a defense that is faster and more physical than the one they carved up a week ago.

The ECU offense won’t inflict nearly as much damage on the UF secondary as it did a year ago, but the guys on the back end will be tested and give up some plays.

Prediction: Florida 38, East Carolina 20