Offensive lineman Richie Leonard IV spoke to the media Monday about the success the Gators had against Tennessee and how they can ride the momentum the rest of the season.
Center Kingsley Eguakun returned to the Florida lineup Saturday against the Volunteers after missing the first two games with a lower-body injury. The veteran junior made an impact for the Gators, bringing veteran experience to the team. Leonard said it was a major difference maker having Eguakun back playing.
The rest of the linemen made sure to do their job as well. They were able to create space for running back Trevor Etienne in the first quarter for a 62-yard touchdown. In the second quarter, the team continued to find success offensively, scoring three times in the quarter. Leonard said the offensive line’s goal is to have a dominant mindset.
Last season, Florida’s longest win streak was two games. The No. 25 Gators (2-1, 1-0 SEC) have a chance to go on a three-game roll if they take down Charlotte (1-2) on Saturday night. Leonard said the Gators are not worried about win streaks and only worried about Charlotte. They still have business to take care of, he said.
With the altercation that happened toward the end of the game, Gators offensive lineman Damieon George Jr. and Micah Mazzccua and tight end Dante Zanders were suspended by the SEC for the first half of Saturday’s game. It’s something Florida had not planned on, but the Gators had quarterback Graham Mertz’s back after a late hit by Tennessee. Leonard said the team has to learn from such mistakes.
Graham Mertz on roll
Mertz is off to a strong start, leading the SEC with a 75.3 completion percentage. Leonard praised Mertz for his ability to play quarterback, and as long as the offensive line sustains drives, Mertz will be able to keep doing his job and make plays.
The Gators will take on the 49ers starting at 7 p.m. Saturday in The Swamp. Leonard said the team has to avoid looking past Charlotte and to next week’s noon game at Kentucky.