Dan Mullen wouldn’t address it before the game on Saturday, especially after some of the upsets that occurred in week one, but Florida’s game Saturday provided an opportunity to look into the future.
The game didn’t go the way Florida envisioned it early on. The Gators led just 3-0 after the first quarter and only 17-0 at halftime. A game where we fully expected Feleipe Franks to be able to leave his shoulder pads in the locker room before the third quarter began saw the redshirt junior playing deep into the third quarter.
After the game, Mullen was more blunt and spoke freely about the matchup.
“In this type of game we had better athletes, so you want to get more plays, you want to get the ball in your athletes’ hands more times, if that happens percentage wise you’re going to score more points and be more explosive. So I thought he did good job in the first half kind of frustrating us, keeping their offense on the field and keeping our offense off the field, winning the time of possession.”
This was an opportunity for the Gators to tune up some things that needed to be tuned up before SEC play begins next week but it was also an opportunity to see what the future holds. Florida played 15 true freshmen (according to the game notes) against the Skyhawks.
“We played guys all through the game. I don’t know if you saw that. It wasn’t like we went into and say ‘we’re gonna play this group and then get them out. Then we’re going to play this group and get them out. We wanted to just keep rolling right through the beginning. Throughout the game and right from the beginning. It seemed that way that we were rolling players right through,” Mullen said after the game. “They were getting reps with the one defense and real stuff going on.”
It wasn’t just true freshmen either. Redshirt freshmen Emory Jones and Jacob Copeland both scored their first career touchdowns. Copeland’s touchdown came from a pass by Kyle Trask and Jones scored a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter. Both of those players will be huge in 2020 and are a big part of Mullen and the Gators’ future.
Saturday’s game wasn’t perfect. Dan Mullen accidently let a f-bomb fly during his radio interview at halftime and then ripped the team in the locker room. There are still things the Gators need to clean up before they head to Lexington to open SEC play. Saturday was an opportunity to get the future much needed experience and the Gators and to go 2-0. They did just that.