Dooley: Gators just getting started

Pat Dooley
Gator Sports
Kyle Pitts takes off for one of his four touchdowns during the Gators' win Saturday over Ole Miss at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Miss.

You never want to take too much from a first game, especially one that you win as a double-digit favorite. If you did, you'd probably start painting Kyle Trask's Heisman Trophy portrait and tell yourself to make a mental note to bet the over every Saturday for every Florida game.

What we saw was, in some ways, exactly what we thought we might see on one side of the ball and what every Gator fan's worst fear is on the other side.

Nobody told us that the Big 12 would spend Saturday in Oxford, Miss.

What Florida did on offense in its opening game was one for the record books. What Florida did on defense was one for the compost bin.

"We hadn't tackled since the Orange Bowl," UF coach Dan Mullen said. 

You could argue that streak is still alive.

But, it wasn't about missed tackles as much as it was missed assignments. Florida looked out of position at times and unaware of what to do when the ball was floating in the air. 

And this is the point where you want me to shut up about the defense and talk about the offense.

It's a good thing that side of the ball showed up.

Boy, did they.

The Kyle Squared Show blew through Ole Miss like the Rebels were playing eight-man football on defense. Even when they double-covered Kyle Pitts, Kyle Trask either threw it anyway (Touchdown No. 6) or found someone else (Touchdowns Nos. 2 and 3).

Look, nobody is saying Ole Miss is anything special on defense. In fact, we went in thinking exactly the opposite.

 But lesser defenses have given up fewer yards in SEC history.

"When I get home, I should have a nice bottle of wine on my desk if I broke one of his records," Mullen said, hoping the guy with an office one floor above him will oblige. 

I checked with the Head Ball Coach about that.

"Tell coach I'll wait until he wins an SEC Championship and then I'll bring him two," Steve Spurrier said. 

Still, it was a very Spurrier-esque Gator offense in that Florida came close to 200 rushing yards and threw it all over the park.

And while Florida showed off some new shiny weapons Saturday, much of the offense being able to treat the Ole Miss defense like nothing more than a stiff breeze was that Pitts looks like the preseason accolades may have been, if it's possible, not gaudy enough.

"He's too big for corners and too fast for linebackers," Trask said.

And he's added this element to NFL scouting report — he blocked his tail off.

"I know some people have questioned that," he said. "I wanted to start off from the very first game."

And that's the thing. After all of this waiting around hearing how Pitts was making these crazy catches in practice and the new lighter and stronger Trask was going to be a better version of himself this year, it only took one game to see that both things are true.

"You have great players, you get the ball to the great players and you look pretty smart as a coach," Mullen said. "And when you try to focus on the one guy, you get it to the other guys."

Sounds simple, eh? And it looked pretty simple, too, when Trask got a look they had seen for weeks on film and hit Pitts for a 71-yard touchdown pass that featured a stiff-arm by the big guy.

"It was just me and him," Pitts said of linebacker Jacquez Jones.

That may have been your favorite touchdown of the day or maybe it was the back-shoulder throw the two Kyles have been working on in this abbreviated camp.

There were a lot of offensive highlights to choose from. Ole Miss fans aren't as upset about their defense because they've seen this before (the officials on the other hand ...)

Gator fans aren't sure what they saw on that side of the ball. Was it the missed spring or the lack of tackling in practice or the players who were out for various reasons, something that was made much worse when Shawn Davis was ejected 10 plays into the game?

We'll see. 

All we know for sure is that we saw a game Saturday. Football was truly back.

"I was so good," Mullen said. "It felt kind of normal to be out there again."

Even if nothing about the game was normal, he's right.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at