“Kyle to Kyle” has been the talk of the town in Gainesville ever since tight end Kyle Pitts’ breakout year in 2019 with Kyle Trask under center.
However, with Pitts out for the foreseeable future with a concussion and nose surgery, there were questions about what the Gators’ offense would look like, especially after only scoring six points against Georgia in the second half last week.
Consider those questions answered.
Trask tossed six touchdown passes for the second time this season, and 10 different players combined for 27 catches for 385 yards in No. 6 Florida’s 63-35 win over Arkansas.
“We’ve known this ever since fall camp about how many different weapons we have,” Trask said. “Even when we had Pitts in there, a lot of people like to double team and try to shut him down and leave other guys one-on-one. But this week, everybody did a great job stepping up, beating their matchups, and making plays on the ball.”
Sophomore Keon Zipperer filled in at tight end for Pitts, and he performed admirably. Zipperer hauled in three passes for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
“You’re down Kyle Pitts, great playmaker, but (Kemore) Gamble and Zipperer step up and have really good games,” coach Dan Mullen said. “The wideouts did a really nice job and Kyle Trask did a really good job distributing the ball, not getting panicky, taking what they were going to give us all night.”
Senior wideout Trevon Grimes led all Florida receivers with a season-high 109 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Saturday was the first time Grimes eclipsed the 100-yard mark since totaling 118 against FSU in 2018.
It was a good night for UF’s younger receivers as well. Redshirt sophomores Justin Shorter and Jacob Copeland each caught a touchdown pass. Freshman Xzavier Henderson caught his first touchdown as a Gator and had 62 receiving yards.
Florida’s ability to distribute the ball to a wide range of targets wasn’t unique to Saturday, either. The Gators have 12 players who have caught at least five passes this season, and eight of them have at least 100 receiving yards. That group includes four wideouts, two running backs and two tight ends.
In other words, Florida has a multitude of ways to beat opposing defenses. Mullen and offensive coordinator Brian Johnson have a seemingly endless number of different skill sets at their disposal to create mismatches.
Even without Pitts, the Gators still have Shorter (6-foot-5) and Grimes (6-foot-4) who can be big targets for Trask and win jump balls. Senior Kadarius Toney has a team-high 36 catches and is lethal in the open field. They have a pair of running backs in redshirt junior Malik Davis (267 yards) and redshirt freshman Nay’Quan Wright (134) who can be dangerous in the passing game when matched against linebackers.
"Credit to Florida," Arkansas defensive coordinator Barry Odom, who was Arkansas’ acting head coach after coach Sam Pittman tested positive for COVID-19, said. "They're really, really explosive and an experienced team, and they probably deserve every accolade and ranking that they've gotten.”
Contact Brendan Farrell at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Bfarrell727.