Florida defensive backs Rashad Torrence II (22) and Amari Burney (30) tackle Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral (2) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. No. 5 Florida won 51-35. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)

UF Players and Coaching Staff Confident Defense Will Improve After Lackluster Season-Opener

Opening Game

After allowing 35 points to Ole Miss last Saturday, questions circle around Florida’s defense. The defense failed to meet expectations in the season-opener, especially considering the Gators ranked top-10 in points allowed per game (15.5) last season.

Florida lost several key defensive starters to the draft including cornerback CJ Henderson and edge-rushers, Jonathan Greenard and Jabari Zuniga.

However, Florida’s depth and the addition of Georgia transfer, Brenton Cox Jr., should help combat its lost players. Still, the Gators allowed 170 yards on the ground and nearly 400 yards through the air.

Defensive Improvement

Florida defensive back Trey Dean III (0) tackles Mississippi running back Jerrion Ealy (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)

UF defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham, admitted the defense “made too many mistakes” and “didn’t play to [its] standard” against Ole Miss. Grantham noted the defense’s inability to finish plays, which in turn led to explosive plays and drives.

Sophomore cornerback Kaiir Elam called Florida’s sub-par defensive performance unacceptable if the team wants to go far this year. “Looking back at the film, I’m not going to lie, I was kind of pissed off,” Elam said. The keys to bouncing back,  according to Elam, are a “short-term memory” and overall improvement, which “starts in practice.”

Regardless of what actually caused the lousy performance versus Ole Miss, Florida head coach Dan Mullen expects the Gators to be “a lot better defensively come Saturday.”

Return to the Swamp

The Gators return to Gainesville ahead of their home-opener on Saturday against the 0-1 South Carolina Gamecocks.

South Carolina narrowly lost to Tennessee last week at home, 31-27. Senior quarterback Colin Hill passed for nearly 300 yards in the Gamecocks’ opener, so Florida’s pass defense must improve significantly from last week’s effort.

As for the offense, Kyle Trask and company should have no problem scoring points against a South Carolina defense that allowed over 250 passing yards last week.


About Griffin Foll

Hi, my name is Griffin Foll and I am currently a senior at UF studying journalism with a focus on sports and media and an outside concentration in political science. In addition to covering the 2023 UF men's and women's golf beats, I contribute weekly web and radio content for WRUF ESPN Gainesville. Be sure to check out some of my recent articles!

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