Gators Gameday: Question marks and a key matchup for No. 21 Florida vs. USF

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports

Three questions for the No. 21 Florida Gators when they host USF on Saturday night at The Swamp (7:30 p.m., SEC Network).

Can Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson get off to a good start?

Anthony Richardson mentioned that his confidence was shaken after misfiring on some early throws last week against Kentucky. Look for the Gators to try to establish Richardson on the ground first, like they did week one against Utah, in order to get him in a positive frame of mind. Richardson is at his best throwing on the move and running on read-option plays.

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Can the Gators come out with better energy in the second half?

Gators linebacker David Reese (4) gets a hand on Kentucky wide receiver Tayvion Robinson (9) in the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Sept. 10, 2022.

UF has been outscored 16-0 in the third quarter and 26-13 in the second half in games against Utah and Kentucky. Florida coach Billy Napier said he's examined the halftime routine and wants the Gators to sustain execution on offense and tackling and communication on defense for the full 60 minutes.

Can the Gators generate big plays in the passing game?

Through two games, Florida has completed just three passes of 20 or more yards, with the longest pass play of the season 28 yards from Richardson to wide receiver Xzavier Henderson last week against Kentucky. UF will look to establish the run first before trying to take shots downfield on play action.

"You gotta protect, you gotta run good routes and you gotta throw the ball with accuracy and complete balls down the field," Napier said. "So, I think it's a collective effort when you start talking about creating explosive plays. And then by design. I think as a play-caller we can help the players there and try to put them in position to have success."


Florida tackles Richard Gouraige and Austin Barber vs. USF defensive end Jatorian Hansford

A Missouri transfer from Forsyth, Ga., the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Jatorian Hansford has already created havoc on defense for USF this season with one sack, two tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. It will be up to Richard Gouraige, Austin Barber and the rest of UF's offensive line to keep Hansford in check.