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Sunday, August 14, 2022
<p>UF quarterback Treon Harris passes during Florida's 61-13 win against New Mexico State on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.</p>

UF quarterback Treon Harris passes during Florida's 61-13 win against New Mexico State on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Florida’s offense under Jim McElwain got off to a fast start on Saturday night against New Mexico State.

The Gators scored 61 points, had 606 yards of total offense and ended the first week as the No. 12 offense in the country.

Not bad for an offense that finished last year ranked 96th in the nation.

The 61 points Florida’s offense scored were also the most the team has put up on the scoreboard for a coach making his debut in the history of the program.

But don’t get used to that type of offense from the Gators because it’s going to come back down to earth as the season goes along.

Yes, McElwain made his mark in the opening game against the Aggies and fans should be excited from what they saw because the offense looks better than the previous regime under Will Muschamp.

But UF’s offensive explosion came against an Aggies team that won just two games last season and had just five total sacks last year in 12 games.

The two quarterbacks — Treon Harris and Will Grier — showed flashes of brilliance as they combined to go 30-for-37 for 381 yards passing and four touchdowns, while Grier added another score on the ground.

But overall, they weren’t too impressive against the Aggies.

And that should be an area of concern for UF as the schedule gets progressively tougher.

For one, Harris’ first touchdown pass to Brandon Powell wasn’t a great throw.

It was a floating duck in the air that Powell had to wait for because it was underthrown.

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Without the extra effort by Powell, Florida likely wouldn't have scored.

Harris struggled last year with underthrown balls, which contributed to his completion rate being under 50 percent.

If he throws that ball against a team with a better secondary, it’s going to be a different story.

As for Grier, it took him a couple of series to get comfortable.

He didn’t recognize when the Aggies sent cornerback Terrill Hanks on a blitz, ultimately causing Grier to fumble.

It was Florida's only turnover of the game, but it was costly: The Aggies scored on the ensuing offensive series.

If he eventually becomes the starting quarterback, Grier has to do a better job of recognizing what the defense is throwing at him.

The offensive line also had hiccups at the beginning of the game as Harris had to scramble and make something out of nothing.

All of this against a defense that was one of the worst in the country last season and plays in the Sun Belt Conference.

And New Mexico State’s defense doesn’t compare to the ones the Gators will face in the coming weeks and as they get into the heart of Southeastern Conference play.

East Carolina comes into Gainesville on Saturday, and while the Pirates didn’t have a good defensive performance in their first game — they allowed 416 yards to Towson — the Pirates are familiar with the players UF has.

Florida was able to squeak out a win against East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl when the two teams met each other on Jan. 3.

After the Pirates, Florida’s offense will be tested the following week when UF travels to Lexington to face the Kentucky Wildcats in its SEC opener.

The two biggest tests determining how good the offense will be comes after the road trip to Lexington.

A revitalized SEC-rival, Tennessee, and Ole Miss' menacing defensive front lead by Robert Nkemdiche both roll into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

There are still too many questions surrounding the offense, and fans shouldn’t get excited about how well the offense played against the Aggies.

Quite frankly, this offense hasn't proven it's good, and don’t expect it to be a top-25 offense with the questions surrounding it.

Beating New Mexico State says nothing about the quality of Florida's team this season.

Until the Gators score a sizable amount against an SEC foe, I'm not buying the offensive revival.

The Gators will be lucky if they finish in the middle of the pack offensively with the competition they will face as the season goes along.

Follow Luis Torres on Twitter @LFTorresIII



UF quarterback Treon Harris passes during Florida's 61-13 win against New Mexico State on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

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