It was kind of hard to analyze the Orange and Blue game on Saturday.
It was an offensive fireworks display at the 2019 Blue and Orange Game on Saturday at Ben Hi…
You have teammates going against each other, a defense that didn’t seem to try at times and an absolute bomb to a former Gator who ran onto the field during the play. You also had an uncontested two point conversion — the defense wasn’t on the field for extra points.
There were still some defining moments from Orange’s 60-35 win over the Blue team, despite just how different this game is from normal ones.
Here are three things we learned on Saturday:
Florida’s offense will be better than last season’s
If you watched the spring game, you would think the Gators had the best offense in the country.
Both teams combined for 920 yards and 11 touchdowns. Granted, one touchdown was to former UF receiver Chris Doering, but collecting that many yards is still impressive.
Florida will never look that good in a game, obviously. But it does show that UF’s offense could be one of the best in the NCAA next season.
Quarterback Feleipe Franks was hitting his receivers in stride. His past mistakes of over- and under-throwing receivers were virtually nonexistent on Saturday.
“There’s definitely more pressure on him today than there is a regular practice,” coach Dan Mullen said. “When you’re playing quarterback at Florida, you’re under a lot of critique.”
Franks also still has most of his weapons on offense. Every main receiver is returning this year, and the only running back that left was Jordan Scarlett. Lamical Perine, Dameon Pierce and Malik Davis figure to take the bulk of the carries.
Expect great things from the offense this season.
The defensive line will be just as strong
It seemed like Florida’s defensive line would take a hit once Jachai Polite announced he was declaring for the NFL draft. He anchored a unit that sacked the quarterback 24 times (Polite had 11 himself).
Senior CeCe Jefferson and Polite’s departures left a lot of questions about the future of the defensive line.
After the spring game, we know the answers. It will be just fine.
On a day where Florida’s offense ran rampant, the line provided enough pressure that would make almost any other quarterback in the SEC panic. It collected 5.5 sacks and forced the quarterback out of the pocket at other times.
A player that could make an impact at the line is graduate transfer Jonathan Greenard. Listed as a linebacker, Greenard started the Orange and Blue game on the line and recorded a sack and two solo tackles.
“He’s had a great spring and understands the system, but different player than Polite was,” Mullen said of Greenard.
Florida will need to rely on Franks
Franks entered the Orange and Blue game as the clear favorite to start, and he left in the same position. If there were any doubts he would earn the starting job again, they were all gone after Saturday.
He completed 13 of his 18 passes, good for 327 yards, four touchdowns and an “interception” to former Gators defensive back Lito Sheppard. All of those stats were the most of any quarterback.
Franks played great, but his play also showed a slight problem.
If Franks gets hurt or doesn’t play well, the Gators don’t really have a good option at backup right now. They will need him to be at his best or they don’t stand a chance.
Let’s start with backup Kyle Trask. He performed well, going 11 for 16 for 209 yards and two touchdowns. But he also threw a pick-six.
While his numbers were good, they weren’t great, especially in a game where the offense was a never-ending highlight reel. If Trask plays, it wouldn’t be the worst thing, but it would be a challenge for him to live up to the hype the 2019 season brings.
Then we have Emory Jones, who went 6 for 13 with 117 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He still has a long way to go before he’s ready to take over the offense.
Franks is definitely the guy, but if the Gators have to rely on their backup quarterbacks, it could spell trouble.
Follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake and contact him at [email protected].