FOOTBALL

Whitley At The Half: Second quarter gives Gators fans some hope

David Whitley
Gator Sports

If this was “At the Quarter,” Florida fans wouldn’t want to read it.

But “At the Half,” there’s a glimmer of hope.

In the first 15 minutes, the defense reverted to 2020 form, meaning a lot of missed tackles and miscommunication. Florida’s offense did not revert to 2020 form, meaning there was no Kyle Trask, Kyle Pitts or passing game that would allow UF to get in a shootout with Alabama.

And there’s no Anthony Richardson. Dan Mullen told CBS before kickoff that Richardson’s bad hamstring will keep him sidelined, barring an injury to Emory Jones.

All that is why Ben Hill Griffin Stadium went limp when the Crimson Tide took a 21-3 lead. Maybe the fast start lulled Alabama to sleep, because the Gators outplayed them in the second quarter.

At least they played well enough for fans stick to around for the third quarter.

Video highlight reel:What are the big plays in the Swamp as the Florida Gators take on the Alabama Crimson Tide?

Grantham D upsets fans:Florida football fans calling to replace defensive coordinator Todd Grantham before halftime of Alabama game

Swamp Factor? Not so far

One of Florida’s big hopes was that Alabama QB Bryce Young would be rattled in his first start on an opponent’s home field.

Never mind.

There was a lot of noise, enough to force Bama into a delay penalty on the first drive. That just amped the noise, but Young coolly threw an 11-yard pass to Jameson Williams for a first down. The Tide scored three plays later. In his first quarter of work at Florida Field, Young completed 12 of 16 passes for 138 yards and three TDs.

With Richardson out, Emory Jones stays fully focused

The Gators could use Anthony Richardson’s big-play presence, but his bad hamstring might be a blessing for Emory Jones. At least he doesn’t have to deal with getting pulled every third series in favor of the crowd darling. As for Richardson, the Gators are probably smart not to play him. They need a healthy Richardson against Kentucky in two weeks more than need him to scramble around and aggravating his hamstring injury.

Bradley Beal a little more pricey than 'Mr. Two Bits'

Irony Alert:x-Gator basketball star Bradley Beal handled the crowd-pumping duties before kickoff as the honorary “Mr. Two Bits.” Beal’s a three-time NBA All-Star and is eligible for a four-year, $181-million contract extension this season. He could turn that down, play out the season and be in line for a five-year, $235-million contract.

Since “two bits” supposedly equal a quarter, Beal is potentially “Mr. 940 Million Bits.”