Andreu’s Answers: Gators come up clutch

Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell dives in for a five-yard touchdown after catching the pass from Feleipe Franks during the fourth quarter Saturday against Tennessee at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Alan Youngblood/Staff photographer]

Before every game, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and answers them after the game. Here’s Week Two:

1. Will the Gators come out flat or energized coming off the hurricane and last week’s canceled game?

The Gators clearly came out ready to play and were energized by the jacked-up crowd, especially on that opening drive, when UF drove into the red zone before having to settle for a field goal following two five-yard penalties. The energy level seemed to go steadily downhill from there, but it roared back in the decisive fourth quarter — and on the game-winning TD pass from Feleipe Franks to Tyrie Cleveland on the game’s final play.

2. Can a young Florida secondary contain a potentially potent Tennessee passing game?

Considering how long the defense was on the field and how young the Gators were on the back end in the second half, with three true freshmen in the lineup, the secondary managed to hold its own. True freshman cornerback CJ Henderson had the pick-six early in the fourth quarter and the Gators forced three straight incompletions after the Vols had a first-and-goal from the nine in the closing minutes.

3. Will offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier open up his playbook and be a little more creative than he was against Michigan now that he’ll be calling plays from the press box?

He seemed to take a little bit of a more creative approach, but it’s hard to dial up successful plays when there’s no push up front in the running game and the receivers are failing to get open in the passing game. The game, and the offense, changed in the second half, and Nussmeier and the offense started making things happened. UF kept the Vols off balance on a fourth-quarter TD drive that gave the Gators a 10-point lead. Then, the Gators dialed up that game-winning play on the final play.

4. Can Florida’s beleaguered offensive line block the susceptible UT defensive front, or will the Gators get dominated up front like two weeks ago?

The offensive line did a better job holding its own, but but getting a bunch of ties up front usually means there are not a lot of plays being made on an offense with so few proven playmakers, and the Gators had only six points in the first half. In the second half, the line opened up some holes in the running game and gave Franks just enough time to deliver the two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

5. Will quarterback Feleipe Franks be successful running the offense or will he struggle and get pulled like two weeks ago?

He was pretty efficient early, but as the game went along things got tougher and tougher for Franks and the offense over the course of the first half. But when the offense did get on the field in the second half, Franks moved it. There was the TD drive that answered UT’s touchdown in the fourth quarter. And then there was that 63-yard laser shot to Cleveland that won the game.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or Also check out Andreu’s blog at




  1. Defense played great. The 3 and out wore them down in the 2nd half. Tennessee outplayed us and should have won the game,but they didn’t for which I for one and am happy. Offense needs to step up big time. Still a win is a win. GO GATORS!!!!!!!!

  2. I wouldn’t say that the game-winning play was so much dialed up, as it showed that Cleveland and Franks seem to be on a good WR-QB relationship. I did feel that the O-Line blocked better up front to where there was more time for Franks than against UM, but as far as blocking for the run and screen plays, the outside of the line blocking needs to improve. One of the 3-and-outs in the 3rd quarter that helped gas the defense could’ve been avoided if one of the lineman had just knocked a CB half his size on his butt and allowed for an opening that would’ve gotten Thompson probably 7+ yards instead of that CB tripping him up for only 2. Too many times it seemed that there were lineman out there to block, but just running around not blocking anybody. If anything needs to improve in the secondary, it definitely isn’t pass coverage….it’s TACKLING!!! I know that UT left 9 possible points on the field with missed field goals, but before Eddy came here, how many hundreds of points did it seem like UF used to leave. Plus, there was that essentially 14 point swing with the big UT hustle play getting to the ball at the 1/2 yard line and then marching down the field 80 yards for a touchdown. That is the play that kept them in the game….not so much the missed FGs. Exciting and needed win, but still plenty of work to do. Looking eerily close to 2015 with the way UF won against UT, let’s see if they can follow it up like they began to then. The only difference might be that this year’s PEDs is the card fraud, and it happened early.

  3. Re: your answer to question 3, I’m not sure Nuss can be given credit for the game winning play. Franks has said that wasn’t the called play, which was essentially to set up a field goal because the kicker is the only offensive player they have confidence in apparently. For all intents, Franks called an audible when he saw Cleveland open down field.

  4. Gators come up clutch? Hardly. Blind azz luck is what it was. We had no right to win this game. We were out played by a bad UT team. OL can’t block and defense can’t tackle. And the hail mary would not have counted if the zebras had spotted that obvious hold on the Florida lineman.

    No, this team is no good no matter how much the head coach likes them. We go 4 – 6 this year.

    • Except we play 11 games this year and 4 + 6 = Arthur Nudge didn’t finish high school. Honestly the only reason UT was in the game was the fumble on the 1 yard line by Davis. You can look at this however you want but saying the D can’t tackle is a bit of a stretch. I do know one thing, that D can cover and catch.

    • Gators have 11 games, including UT. Can’t possibly finish 4-6 unless another game canceled. Check with your calculator. Giving up already? You sound like the 2015 and 2016 fans early in the season. If you are giving up on the orange and blue after 2 games, take your allegiance to the garnett and gold of FSU. They always need a few more front-running fans on their websites. Or maybe Georgia. If the Gators are done, please find another website.


    The fact of the matter is the Offense did show improvement…with identifying new playmakers in Toney & Davis. A much better game plan was called by Florida Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

    With that said, there’s lots of work to be done with respect to he execution of plays..offensive line,tail backs,tight ends and receivers need to carry out their blocking assignments much better.

    Defense Strong thru three quarters before tiring…Can be one of the best D’s in country with continued Offensive improvement! imho GO GATORS!!!!

    • Very accurate post. The crybabys with their “FIRE MAC,” OR “fire Nussmeier” rants are already here. Jeez/ Reading some of these front runner fans posts makes me think the Gators lost the game. And since when is a victory over an SEC opponent “unacceptable?”

  6. What continouos offesive improvement did you or anyone see. This offense is still a dumpster fire. Mclechamp is no better than what we had.

    Must have spread and throw and entertain or we will continue to lose fans- and soon recruits….and more games.

    I say west va coach Holgerson!