Florida football: 5 players to watch for Friday night's game at Florida State
Five players to watch when Florida takes on rival Florida State on Friday at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee (7:30 p.m., ABC),
Quarterback Anthony Richardson
Richardson has thrown for nine TDs to one interception over his last five games and has thrown for 2,351 yards with 14 TDs to eight interceptions on the season. He got a taste of the Florida State rivalry in relief of starter Emory Jones last season, completing 5-of-7 passes for 55 yards and adding 27 yards rushing in Florida's 24-21 win over the Seminoles in The Swamp.
But this will be Richardson's first career start against FSU. He provided some bulletin board material this week when he said "when we win this one" when referring to the matchup with the rival Seminoles. He will get a chance to back up those words on Friday night.
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Wide receiver Daejon Reynolds
Reynolds had a breakout game last Saturday against Vanderbilt with 8 catches for 165 yards and 2 TDs. He will be counted on again at Florida State with the possibility of all three of Florida's starting wide receivers -- Justin Shorter, Xzavier Henderson and Ricky Pearsall -- being out for the game.
Offensive lineman O'Cyrus Torrence
Torrence and the rest of Florida's offensive line will look to bounce back after a poor effort run blocking against Vanderbilt last week. The Gators were held to a season-low 45 yards rushing on 21 carries, an average of 2.1 yards per rush. Torrence has been the highest-graded right guard in college football for most of the season and is a likely NFL first-round draft pick.
"I didn't think I would have this much success this early when I got here," Torrence said. "But from the hard work I put in over the summer and with the help of my teammates and coaches — all of that helped me out in this journey. I probably had a lot of doubts, but it's just satisfying to be able to come out here and show what I can do and show that I really belong in a Power Five in the SEC."
Linebacker Derek Wingo
If linebacker Ventrell Miller's appeal to overturn a half-game suspension for targeting is unsuccessful, the Gators will have to play the first half with Wingo or Scooby Williams starting at middle linebacker. The 6-foot-1, 226-pound Wingo has posted 14 tackles and one sack on the season.
Safety Trey Dean
Dean overcame a rough stretch early in the season and has emerged as a more consistent performer in the back end of the defense with 68 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.
"As a person, you know, when I decided to come back with (Florida) coach (Billy) Napier, I knew he was going to help me become a better man, not only on the field but off the field," Dean said. "Like on the field, he helps me, instincts, everything, I make the play before the play even happens."