Wins and Losses for the Gators: Week 1. Florida Gators (1-0) defeated the UMASS Minutemen (0-1) 24-7 in their season opener. The Gators did not perform as well as expected. They were 35 point favorites in the ball game. The Gators did not light it up through the air like they were expected to. Instead, it was a lackluster offensive performance. Florida quarterback, Luke Del Rio, was forced to hit on his check downs due to the lack of time his OL gave him all night long. Defense play well as they were expected but, had no turnovers, which is not like the Gators defense.
Win #1. Luke Del Rio did not turnover the ball and looked comfortable
Luke Del Rio made his first college start and played very well especially with the wet conditions. Del Rio went 29-44 with 256 yards and 2 TDs. Luke Del Rio showed a lot of confidence in the pocket and his knowledge of the playbook. Del Rio was getting pressured all game long yet, he did not turnover the football. He knew what he was doing with the football and did not panic under pressure, unlike some of the recent Gator quarterbacks.
Del Rio would hit his check downs or throw the ball away when there was nothing open. Even though, he was only sacked once in the game, his OL struggled give him the necessary time to attack UMASS for deep passes. Del Rio showed great presence and patience by delivery the ball short, when necessary. Luke Del Rio proved to be a very good game-managing QB who won’t look amazing on the box score but, will be productive and put the Gators in a good chance to win the game.
Win #2. Jordan Scarlett carries the load in the running game
The Florida Gators are in the middle of a battle for the starting running back job. Sophomore Jordan Scarlett and junior Mark Thompson are the favorites to win the job. After week 1, Jordan Scarlett seems to be the guy after rushing for 70 yards in 13 carries, even with a lackluster performance from the OL. Mark Thompson rushes for 22 yards in 6 carries. Jordan Scarlett showed great vision and proved to be a load to the UMASS would be tacklers. Scarlett earned most of his yards, by running hard and determined. Florida plays Kentucky next Saturday who just came off a bad loss to Southern Miss. Southern Miss just rushed for 262 yards against the Wildcats. Expect the Gators to hand the ball off to Jordan Scarlett and Mark Thompson more than usual to challenge their OL and a bad Kentucky DL.
Win #3. The Gators have a kicker in Eddy Pineiro
Last year, the Gators were absolutely horrendous in the kicking game, only able to convert seven out of seventeen field goals for the entire season. Something needed to change and that change was JUCO transfer and Twitter famous kicker, Eddy Pineiro. Eddy Pineiro was a kicker at ASA College (Miami) for only the spring game but, got a lot of attention for posting 77 yard field goals on Twitter.
Pineiro was an Alabama commit before he decided to flip to the University of Florida. Eddy Pineiro first game in the Swamp was his spring game where he made three field goals, two being from fifty plus yards. Last Saturday, Eddy Pineiro went 3-3 on his field goal attempts all being from 40+ yards. As the ball would sail through the uprights, the Florida fans showed great excitement, considering how the Gators kicking game struggled last year. You also got to see the excitement Eddy Pineiro has when he converts on his field goal attempts. This kid is going to be something special and Gators fan are excited that he is orange and blue.
Loss #1. Offensive line continues to struggle
To say the Gators’ offensive line had a bad day, is being kind. The Gators’ OL was embarrassed by a UMASS defensive line that is nowhere as talented as the SEC defensive lines. Coach Jim McElwain sounded off on the lack of effort and energy from the offensive line in his postgame press conference. The offensive lines needs to improve as soon as possible if the Gators want to return to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game.
They only allowed one sack the entire game, but that was because Luke Del Rio reacted quickly and dumped off passes to avoid sacks. They were called for two holding penalties that would kill the momentum of their drives. The Gators’ OL goes up against a bad Kentucky defensive line that allowed 262 rushing yards to Southern Mississippi. Somebody on that offensive line needs to take charge and responsibility for last Saturday and make the improvements vs. Kentucky.
Loss #2. Took many dumb penalties
The Gators did not make their lives any easier on Saturday by getting into penalty troubles. The Florida Gators were flagged 8 times costing Florida 80 yards. UMASS’ only touchdown in the game was aided by the Gators’ defense by giving 35 yards due to bad penalties. Two personal foul penalties on Jarrad Davis and Taven Bryan and an offside penalty to give UMASS a first down. These are thigs that can be avoided and should be fixed since. These are two smart players who might have been too amped up before the game which could have caused the penalties. Nonetheless, these penalties are inexcusable and cannot happen again if they want to win on Saturday.
Loss #3. No depth in the CB position
Last Saturday, the Gators were without All-American CB Jalen “Teez” Tabor. Due to a suspension and CB Duke Dawson due to an injury in the middle of the second defensive drive. Quincy Wilson was the only cornerback that was feared on that defense and would not be challenged all game long. On the other side of the field, cornerback Chris Williamson was getting consistently beat by the UMASS wide receivers. He would be replaced by Joseph Putu and Chauncey Gardner. Putu and Gardner did perform better, but it begs to question.
Who does Florida have behind Teez and Quincy at CB? The answer to that question is Duke Dawson, Chauncey Gardner and a bunch of incoming freshman that will be asked to step in and perform quickly. If you’re a Gator fan should you be worried about next week against Kentucky? Absolutely not because, Jalen Tabor is back from his suspension and Duke Dawson is fine and will be ready for Kentucky Saturday. The good name in “DBU” will be just fine for next week as they face the Kentucky Wildcats who might have an explosive offense.
Gators’ fans are worried after a bad win in week1 against a UMASS team they should have handled. Do not judge the Gators so quickly. The Gators play Kentucky on Saturday at 3:30 on CBS. Kentucky is a more talented team then UMASS. If the Gators go out on Saturday and play a great game and win on Saturday then, you can say that it was a bad first game. For Gators fans, you hope that you see more running the ball, better blocking for the QB and RB, no dumb penalties and a big win in their first conference game. Go Gators!