Orlando, FL –-Dan Mullen started the 2019 season with a win, but I would imagine that he is less than satisfied with his team’s performance. In coaching terms, “Florida found a way to win.” What this really means is that it was an ugly performance and we narrowly escaped defeat.
Lamical Perine: 10 CAR 42 YDS
Feleipe Franks: 7 CAR 8 YDS
There were certainly some bright spots in the Gators’ 24-20 win, and they made it apparent who the better team was. Yet despite these glimmers, Florida managed to nimble just about every opportunity they had to put the game away. This includes Miami’s final possession. Florida gave the Canes three extra first downs when they were called for pass interference on fourth down for three consecutive fourth down plays.
Although it felt as if Mullen and company had completely abandoned the running game, their playcalling was actually dead even with twenty-seven running plays and as many passing attempts. For all the expectation surrounding the Gators’ talented backfield, they were effectively shut down on Saturday night, totalling a meager 52 yards.
Feleipe Franks: 17/27 254 YD 2 TD 2 INT
Lamical Perine had the lion’s share of the carries and the total yards. This was expected of the lead back, and while 4.2 yards per carry isn’t awful, it doesn’t quite measure up to what we have become accustomed to with Perine.
So it was the first game and it was against a major rival, mistakes are expected. What did the Gators do right?
Josh Hammond: 4 REC 93 YRS
Kadarius Toney: 1 REC 66 YDS 1 TD
Feleipe Franks connected on seventeen of twenty-seven attempts with a pair of touchdowns. Unfortunately, he also threw two interceptions. However, this is the portion of the article where we focus on the good so, I digress.
Josh Hammond was lights out for the Gators, as he often is, but still flies under the radar. He led all Gators’ receivers in both receptions and yards with 4 and 93, respectively. His long of 65 yards was bested only by Kadarius Toney’s 66 yard touchdown.
Speaking of Kadarius Toney, early on it appeared that he was going to be a big part of Florida’s gameplan, but as the game progresses, he was mostly relegated to blocking duties. His development as a well-rounded player was noticeable on Saturday, despite limited touches.
On the defensive side of the ball, Florida was relentless in their pressure, combining for ten sacks. Where I would like to see them improve is tackling fundamentals. Too many guys were attempting to make arm tackles. Knowing Todd Grantham, this will be remedied very quickly.
The Gators are still a work in progress. There is much to improve, but there is a ton of talent to build on. Much like last season, I expect to see a newer and better version of this team every Saturday. Despite the ugly way in which it was achieved, Florida got the win tonight and all of their goals remain in front of them.