Florida football: 5 players to watch for the Gators game against Texas A&M
Five players to watch when the Florida Gators (4-4, 1-4 SEC) play at the Texas A&M Aggies (3-5, 1-4 SEC) on Saturday (noon, ESPN).
QB Anthony Richardson
Richardson has gone two straight games without turning the ball over. He's passed for 1,638 yards on the season with 7 TDs and 7 interceptions.
This could be a game where Richardson makes some plays with his legs, given Texas A&M's porous run defense. Richardson has rushed for 414 yards and 6 TDs on the season, including TD runs of 49 and 81 yards.
WR Xzavier Henderson
Henderson has led the Gators in catches in seven of eight games this season and is coming of a career-best 110 yards receiving against Georgia, including a 78-yard TD catch. For the season, Henderson leads the Gators in receptions (32) while ranking second in receiving yards (362).
The Gators may need Henderson to step up even more with fellow starting receiver Justin Shorter questionable with a hamstring injury. “It’s been important all year for us to pick up that slack," Henderson said. "People have really doubted us as a receiver room. So, I feel like there’s a lot of younger guys. We have a lot of talent in that receiver room, and everybody’s going to have to step up eventually. We’re working, and that’s all we can do. Move forward.”
OL O'Cyrus Torrence
Torrence was named one of 12 semifinalists this week to the Rotary Lombardi Award, given to college football's best lineman in the country. The 6-foot-5, 347-pound Torrence has graded out at 90.2 percent, according to Pro Football Focus, which is the highest grade for a guard this season.
Torrence has started seven of eight games and the Greensburg, La., native will get a chance to play in front of family friends who will make the trip to College Station.
"A lot of guys from Louisiana are going to have a lot of family come, and it's definitely going to get them more fired up to go play this game," Torrence said.
RB Trevor Etienne
Etienne is coming off a game against Georgia in which he impacted the Gators both on offense and special teams with 121 all-purpose yards (53 yards rushing, 20 yards receiving and 48 yards on kickoff returns) and 1 TD.
The speedy true freshman Etienne, from Jennings, La., should be motivated playing in the neighboring state of Texas. Etienne has rushed for 387 yards and 4 TDs on the season and could have a big day against Texas A&M's suspect run defense.
"He brings so much versatility to the offense," Torrence said. "He can do everything we need in the running back, so he can catch it, he can go out, and he can run routes pretty well and run it well. Those type of things that we can use in a game that helps us out, he can do all those things."
DL Princely Umanmielen
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Umanmielen, from Manor, Texas, had scholarship offers from a number of Texas schools, including Texas and Texas A&M, but opted to sign with the Gators. He's posted 22 tackles on the season with 5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks.
Antwaun Powell-Ryland will start for the departed Brenton Cox Jr. at the jack edge rush position for the Gators, but Umanmielen said he's been working there a bit in practice and could provide support in the pass rush.
“Losing (Cox) it just made me feel like I’ve got to go harder also, because that’s a big-time pass rusher we’re losing on the other side," Umanmielen said. "So you know I’ve got to, go harder and make up for that a little bit.”