Notebook: Gators preparing for UT Martin

With Hurricane Dorian no longer a threat to North-Central Florida the Florida Gators and Dan Mullen can direct all of their attention to this Saturday and UT Martin. The Gators are 1-0 heading into this game but watched several FCS teams and underdogs collect wins on the road last week as they watched idle. Mullen spoke with the media on Wednesday to break down the Gators’ matchup.

Wear Mr. Two Bits shirts
The Gators will be honoring George Edmondson on Saturday. The late, great Gator fan passed away in July and will be remembered on Saturday. Three of Edmondson’s grandchildren will serve as honorary Mr. Two Bits before the game and the Gators have also have shirts available.

Every season ticket account holder was given one shirt for purchasing season tickets with the option to buy more shirts. The shirts can be purchased from the UF Bookstore ($28).

Gators future scheduling
The Gators received a lot of scrutiny after their first game. Some of that critical review may have been a byproduct of being the only game on television that night but it does raise a question about scheduling.

Florida could have scheduled a much easier game than Miami in week one and, potentially, looked much better beating up a lesser team. Is that good for college football? No. But if you’re not going to get credit for playing tougher teams then what is the point for scheduling them?

“I think that’ll have a lot to do to in our future I guess in discussion of how we schedule,” Mullen said. “Are you’re gonna try to schedule really tough games and play big games or are you better not scheduling those games? We came out and won a rivalry game against a team that people think, right? I keep seeing a lot of projections; they’re projected to be in the Orange Bowl or something this year on people’s projections. So to win a game against a team that’s going to be New Year’s Six team and you’re winning that game, you’d hope you’d get some good credit for that. But we’ll see as the year goes on. That’s not something we’ve got to worry about now. That would be something at the end of the year. We’d see how it works with the playoff committee and how they rank things, are you rewarded for playing a hard schedule or are you better trying to play as easy a schedule as possible and just get big wins, blowout wins.”

Preparing for UT Martin
The Gators’ have never faced the Skyhawks on the football field but they will not overlook an opponent. Florida need only to look back a week to Tennessee’s loss to Georgia State as a reminder of how quickly things can go poorly.

“For us, I know that it’s important to not take any team lightly,” Feleipe Franks said. “At the same time, I think you prepare the same week-in and week-out no matter who you are playing. I think that’s the most important kind of takeaway I got from it.

The Skyhawks play a 3-3-5 defense that Florida will prepare for. They also have a redshirt freshman quarterback who completed just 8-of-20 pass attempts last week, so getting to him will be critical for Florida this week. UTM likes to run the ball and junior tailback Peyton Logan leads the way with 151 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Franks on outside criticism
Feleipe Franks continues to receive criticism despite throwing for 254 yards and two scores against Miami. The redshirt junior has gotten better at ignoring some of the comments or messages hurled his way on social media but his head coach again felt the need to give some perspective when it comes to criticizing Franks’ play on the field.

“Outside opinions aren’t as important as inside opinions. As soon as you figure that out; it’s just hard to do. You know? Because not everybody knows what we’re supposed to be doing, right? On each play. So it’s really easy to judge everybody, ‘Oh, well he should have done that on this play.’ How do you know what he should do on that play? Right? You didn’t game plan it. You weren’t in the meetings on the schemes and all that stuff,” Mullen said. “So that’s the overreaction part, but I think he’s been OK. He’s grown through a lot of that stuff. But it’s always hard. People don’t like to be criticized.”

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