The Tailgate’s Pat Dooley has busted out his red pen and we have our first set of grades following the Gators 35-14 win over FAU.
First half: Obviously, the first two drives were excellent, but the mistakes made by Emory Jones late were not what you want to see going forward. The Gators were pretty strong with the run game, averaging 8.2 yards a carry. But Florida only managed 76 passing yards.
Second half: Things certainly got interesting because Anthony Richardson seemed to light a fire under the offense that felt stale. Richardson is a different kind of runner, but neither quarterback made anyone forget Kyle Trask when it came to throwing the ball.
For the game: Next week will be another chance to figure out what Florida will do at quarterback. Jones didn’t do anything special and Florida never really did much offensively to get the crowd into it.
First half: Anytime you pitch a shutout for a half, it’s a good thing. Look, FAU wasn’t anything on offense last year but allowing only 134 yards was a good start to what should be a new defense.
Second half: It wasn’t a great second half in terms of not only the two touchdowns allowed but the mistakes that were made along the way. FAU came in with an offense that nobody was too worried about and at least we saw some pressure on the passer.
For the game: Florida has some really good defensive players and during most of the game you could see it. More than anything, this defense was able to go out there and leave the field with a little bit of confidence.
Special teams C+
First half: Not much of a factor. In fact. Almost no factor with no punts and not much else happening. Good coverage on the one kickoff, though.
Second half: A couple of punt returns were nice, but again, there wasn’t a lot the special teams were asked to do. That will change down the road.
For the game: That punt return from Xzavier Henderson of 35 yards was sweet. Especially the fearless approach to fielding the punt.
Well, we may or may not have a quarterback controversy. Nothing we saw Saturday night made us think this is going to be a dynamic offense, but don’t forget that Florida rushed for 400 yards, 160 by Richardson. This is going to be a work in progress offensively.