Andreu’s Answers: Strong start, coachable moments for UF’s Trask

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) and head coach Dan Mullen talk with an ESPN reporter Saturday after the Gators beat Tennessee at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Before every Florida game, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu comes up with five pertinent questions and then answers them after the game. Here’s Week 4:

1. How well (or poorly) will Florida quarterback Kyle Trask perform in his first start since his freshman year in high school?

Trask certainly didn’t look like or play like a quarterback who hasn’t started a game in seven years. Calm and composed from the start, Trask threw for 293 yards and two touchdowns, one of the best performances by a Gator quarterback in several years. He had three turnovers, but UF coach Dan Mullen was OK with the two interceptions, because Trask came close to making big plays on both. On his fumble, he just held onto the ball to long looking for a receiver. That’s a coachable moment, and Trask has shown he’s certainly a coachable player. If he continues to play like he did Saturday, Trask is going to become one of the best feel-good stories in college football, if not all of sports.

2. Will Emory Jones see significant playing time behind Trask, or will he just get a few selective plays to run?

Mullen planned to play Jones earlier than he did, but Trask was playing so well he stayed with the hot hand in the first half. Still, Jones had his chance to get on the field and run the offense, although he did not really have a chance to show what he’s capable of as a downfield passer. The Gators mainly ran the ball when he was in the game. He completed 4 of 6 passes for 20 yards. Mullen said Jones played well.

3. Can the Gators get anything going in the running game, or will it be more of the same?

For the most part, it was more of the same. When the game was competitive in the first half, the Vols, who have been suspect against the run, stuffed the UF ground game. Just like in previous games, there were no holes to run through. As a result, the Gators rushed for just 46 yards on 19 carries in the first half. The Gators did get some push in the second half when Jones was in the game and the QB was a running threat.

4. The Florida defense produced only one sack a week ago against Kentucky. Can the Gators amp up the pressure against UT quarterback Jarrett Guarantano?

The Gators had four sacks and consistently put pressure on the two Tennessee quarterbacks. Rush end Jon Greenard was in the UT backfield all afternoon, a major disruptive force. He had a sack, two tackles for losses and batted down three passes, making him the team leader in pass breakups. Jeremiah Moon also brought lots of heat and had one of his best games. Going into the game, the pass rush was a concern because Jabari Zuniga was out with a sprained ankle, but the Gators collectively produced enough pressure to keep the UT offense out sync for most of the afternoon.

5. Can the UF defense shut down the UT ground game and make the Vols one-dimensional?

This was priority one for the defense and the Gators won this matchup in a big way. UF stuffed the run, holding the Vols to just 88 yards rushing on 27 carries, and then put the heat on quarterbacks Jarrett Guarantano and Brian Mauer. The Gators shut down two good running backs, holding Ty Chandler to 34 yards on 10 carries and Eric Gray to 27 yards on six carries. The Vols averaged only 3.3 yards per rush, a winning number for the defense.

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

Up next

Who: Towson Tigers (3-1) vs. No. 9 Florida Gators (4-0)

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

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

TV: SEC Network

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850