5 things we learned from the Florida Gators 35-28 loss

BATON ROUGE, La — The No. 8 Florida Gators dropped a close game on the road to the No. 6 LSU Tigers. Despite the loss the Gators are still in the driver’s seat in the SEC East as they head into a bye week before taking on Georgia in a game that will go a long way in determining who will represent the East in the SEC Championship game.

Here are five things we learned about the Florida Gators in their 35-28 loss to the LSU Bayou Bengals.


1. The Gators have their swagger and confidence back

A year ago the Gators would have rolled over.

Florida has just scored quickly — it turned out too quickly — and swung momentum back their way before the LSU Tigers flipped the script and scored on a 50-yard touchdown pass with just seconds to go before halftime.

The easy thing to do in the locker room at halftime would have been to point fingers, give up, just go through the motions in the second half and cruise into the bye week.

Florida never quit. They came out in the second half and controlled the ball game for most of the half; they just couldn’t dig themselves out of the first half hole they had dug.

Jim McElwain hasn’t been around these players for very long but he’s gotten his team to buy into his program, his way of doing things and they’re starting to come together for each other. It’s a refreshing site to see a team that wasn’t picked to win by many get into a hole and still go down punching.

There is no quit in the Gators.

2. A star in the making

He introduced himself in a remarkable game-winning touchdown run and catch against Tennessee but that was just the tip of the iceberg for the freshman from Miami.

Callaway had a one-handed, 48-yard catch in the second quarter that was SportsCenter’s No. 3 top play of the night and a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown against LSU on Saturday night. Callaway had three receptions for 100 yards (the second 100-yard receiving game of his seven game career).

Florida got in late on Callaway in the recruiting process, but he’s going to be a good one for the Gators.

3. Gators are missing Alex Anzalone

Anzalone is the Gators best linebacker in pass coverage, but without him the group is playing thin and LSU’s power rushing attack took advantage of that.

Without Anzalone, Florida struggled to play with three linebackers on the field and had to play a lot of nickel and dime, sliding Marcus Maye down into the box rather than being able to play a true 4-3 defense.

With Georgia and their power rushing attack coming up next, Florida will have to figure out a way to fit the run better without Anzalone in the middle of the defense.

4. Florida should be the favorite in the East

Georgia squeaked out a 9-6 win over Missouri — all but mathematically eliminating the Tigers from the SEC East race. Georgia is 3-2 in conference play and Kentucky is 2-2. At 4-1 Florida is in command in the SEC East. A win over Georgia would almost clinch the SEC and that’s not a position that anyone thought they would be in at this point of the season.

Moving forward, and considering how Florida has been playing football, the Gator should be favorites in the rest of their conference games this season (Georgia, South Carolina, Vanderbilt).

The Gators haven’t been to Atlanta since 2009 but they should be packing their bags for the SEC Championship game pretty soon.

5. Harris is good enough to lead Florida

The headline this week surrounded Will Grier and his NCAA suspension for taking a banned substance.

Many counted the Gators out with Treon Harris taking over for Grier, but they forgot to mention that Harris had made more starts for the Gators than LSU quarterback Brandon Harris had made for LSU.

Harris’ deficiencies showed, he doesn’t anticipate his receivers getting open very well and he doesn’t throw his receivers open, rather waiting for them to make their cut before throwing the ball. However, Harris took care of the football. He threw the ball away when he needed to throw it away, he slid when tacklers were coming downhill at him and he didn’t turn the ball over.

Florida’s defense is good enough to keep the Gators in the game every Saturday as long as the offense doesn’t turn the ball over. Harris only needs to manage the football game, not turn the ball over and he’s more than capable of doing that for Florida.

Previous articleFlorida Gators show no quit under Jim McElwain
Next articleFlorida Gators volleyball defeats Kentucky
Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


  1. Harris…I respectfully disagree with some of your assumptions. Firstly, Harris has limitations that will be exploited. He played amazingly well, but after another six games we can compare him to Grier. Now it isn’t that close. And I mean that respectfully. Treon did really well. One great pass doesn’t make him a demi-God. I don’t get the leadership qualities quite yet either. In one away game loss he did amazingly well. Rest all comparisons till he has won some games-about six more.

    Part 2…The defense had a bad quarter. Maybe they are not quite as good as they thought. With the running game that LSU had we need linebackers. Every team has weaknesses, LSU exploited ours. Great coaching on their part. Our new DC should have never let that fake field goal happen. That’s on him. Every Gator except the coaches knew that was eventually coming.What did President Bush say… trick me once fool on me… nevermind. If that trick field goal happens one more time with any UF coach they should put a bronze statue of the Mad Hatter eating grass next to the Heavener complex…because he deserves it and we’re the knuckleheads that allowed it. AGAIN!

    I’m very proud of our coaches and kids and don’t want all of the critical analysis to get in the way of what they have achieved to date and where they are going…good for Treon, good for the team and coaches. Unexpected goals are still achievable.

    Some of our inherent weaknesses were exploited.-on offense and defense. But more than that, we just have to give credit to an LSU team that was well-prepared and well-coached. That’s my 2 cents…Go Gators.

    • Sorry Mascott but your logic is all wrong. Firstly, there is more tape on Harris than there is on Grier, Fine, a majority of that is with TOG but still, not by a large majority and they can see his tendencies and weaknesses by kiijubg at that video.

      And the TOG was VERY good at exploiting weaknesses. Some would say he has a penchant for it.

      For some reason, people do not ever give enough credit for Harris and what he has done, under some damn adverse conditions, for our beloved University, Kid is more than just “okay”, he’s already a super hero in my book for The Gators!

      GO GATORS!

  2. We are a decent team with Harris, because of our defense. This is about what we expected at the beginning of the year knowing what he had in Harris. With Grier, we were a great team with a higher ceiling. But it is what it is.

    As for the D and the excuses and explanations, they dropped the ball. I should say the DB’s. LF is a man among boys, I thought our front did as good as we could do (not to mention they have a very good OL).

    As far as the DBU discussion, I would shut up! They’re good, yes, but quit dancing around and focus on making a play. Some are starting to believe their own hype a little too much.