Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Column: Five things we learned from Spring football

<p>Placekicker Eddy Pineiro kicks a field goal during the Orange &amp; Blue Debut on April 8, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.</p>

Placekicker Eddy Pineiro kicks a field goal during the Orange & Blue Debut on April 8, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

With the Spring game finally in the rear-view mirror, Florida coach Jim McElwain was able to assess his team's progress and evaluate each position, as well as determine who the starting quarterback should be.

But here are five more things we learned during the Spring game.

1. Odell Kickem not just a YouTube sensation

The second biggest storyline entering the spring, behind the starting quarterback battle, was whether or not Eddy Pineiro would live up to the hype.

Not only had he not kicked a field goal at the high school or junior college levels, but Pineiro was also known more for his YouTube videos, kicking the ball with no pressure.

He lived up to his billing and then some on Friday night.

Pineiro went 3-of-5 on his field goal attempts and converted all of his extra points, inciting roars from the crowd. He was also kicking in windy conditions, an element McElwain was happy to see Pineiro thrive in.

"The wind was swirling down there, and just to see him kind of navigate that, because most of his YouTube videos are in perfect weather," McElwain said. "So it was good to see him have some wind in there."

McElwain added that Pineiro still has to work on his timing, but he has to be happy to see that Pineiro passed his first test.

2. Kylan Johnson shines

The most surprising player during the game was redshirt freshman linebacker Kylan Johnson. He looked comfortable playing next to Jarrad Davis, and was all over the field and around the ball.

He finished the scrimmage with a team-high eight tackles, including six solo stops, along with an interception and a quarterback hurry.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

Not bad for a converted safety who missed last season with an ankle injury.

Johnson made the most of senior linebacker Alex Anzalone being held to no-contact drills during the spring, and he should figure to be a key player in the fall.

3. Feleipe Franks should redshirt

Everyone saw how much Feleipe Franks struggled. The 4-star recruit out of Crawfordville threw three interceptions and didn’t look comfortable until the final drive of the game.

He ended his night with a touchdown pass to tight end C’yontai Lewis, but he wasn’t in any kind of rhythm beforehand. For those of you who thought he would be the starting quarterback when the season started, forget about it.

And then there was Kyle Trask — the other freshman quarterback who no one talked about before the Spring game — who turned in a better performance.

McElwain has no choice but to redshirt Franks. He has all the physical intangibles, but a year sitting out and learning the offense will do him wonders.

4. Duke Dawson will fill Brian Poole’s void

Brian Poole wasn’t talked about too much last year, and that was a shame. Poole was as reliable as they came at the nickel back position.

Enter Duke Dawson.

The junior had two interceptions, both off of Franks, and returned one of them for a touchdown. He baited Franks on the first one, letting the wide receiver slip by him before he picked off Franks’ pass. Dawson looks poised to take the next step in his development and could be a big-time contributor when the season starts on Sept. 3 against Massachusetts.

5. Pass protection still needs work

Florida’s offensive line has more bodies this spring, but there were still times on Friday when the line looked a little shaky in pass protection.

Granted, the Gators’ defensive line will once again be one of the best in the country this year with the monsters they have up front, but if the Gators can’t protect the quarterback, they can kiss any chance of going back to the Southeastern Conference Championship goodbye.

Luis Torres is the alligator.org editor. You can contact him at ltorres@alligator.org and you can follow him on Twitter @LFTorresIII.

Placekicker Eddy Pineiro kicks a field goal during the Orange & Blue Debut on April 8, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.