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Florida Scouting Report: Part 1


PIC BY Florida Gators Football Youtube

The streak. That’s all I have to say about that. The Florida Gators will travel to Lexington but will be accompanied by several questions that could significantly impact the game’s outcome. There are no updates on its nine suspended players at the time that this post was sent to the KSR editorial department. Also, All-SEC cornerback Duke Dawson is listed as a starter but with an “Or” identifier as the elite defensive playmaker sustained a head injury against Tennessee. I fully expect him to play.

Florida kicked off the season with a neutral site loss to Michigan. The Gators were outgained 433 yards to 192. Its only touchdowns were scored by the defense. The Wolverines limited UF to nine first downs and just 11 rush yards. Quarterback Feleipe Franks’ 63-yard Hail Mary pass completion to WR Tyrie Cleveland as time expired beat the questionable play calling Tennessee Volunteers a week ago. UT racked up 23 first downs compared to Florida’s 14. Like Michigan, it outgained the Gators 442-total yards to 380 but lost the game 26-20. Let’s take a look at the Gators personnel and statistics. Please remember this is just a two-game body of work:

Pic by SEC Country

OFFENSE

Florida mainly operates out of the Pistol formation and utilizes multiple tight ends, unbalanced lines, bunch formations, and motions in order to mask its limited number of proven playmakers. Physical running backs Lamical Perine and Mark Thompson present challenges but true freshman Malik Davis leads the team in rushing. The Gators are listed at 14th or at the bottom of the SEC’s total offense category.

However, talented true freshman quarterback turned receiver Kadarious Toney surfaced against the Vols and could be counted on more against Kentucky. The rookie is dynamic with the football in his hands and could be the playmaker that UF has tried to identify for the past three years. Redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks is the starter and was solid but not spectacular against Tennessee. Luke Del Rio and Notre Dame grad-transfer Malik Zaire will be available if Franks struggles in his first true road start. Franks is not a true runner but can do so if necessary.

Suspended starters WR/KR Antonio Calloway and Jordan Scarlett are said to be missed, but the Gator offense finished 2016 ranked 116th in total offense with that duo in the lineup. It’s scored two touchdowns in two games. This offense is young and consists of two freshmen, five sophomores, three juniors, and one senior. LT Martez Ivey is its best lineman and top NFL prospect.

Projected Starters

Quarterback Feleipe Franks 6’5, 227 Fr.
Running Back Lamical Perine 5’11, 218 So.
Receiver Josh Hammond 6’1, 187, So.
Receiver Tyrie Cleveland 6’2, 205 So.
Receiver Brandon Powell 5’8, 189 Sr.
Tight End C’yontai Lewis 6’4, 235 Jr.
Left Tackle Martez Ivey 6’5, 315 Jr.
Left Guard Brett Heggie 6’4, 330 Fr.
Center T.J. McCoy 6’1, 308 So.
Right Guard Fred Johnson 6’6, 330 Jr.
Right Tackle Jawaan Taylor 6’5, 334 So.

Team Stats

Scoring 21.5 points per game SEC-14th
Rushing 89.5 yards per game SEC-12th
Passing 196 SEC-7th
Total 286 SEC-14th
3rd Down 33.3% SEC-14th
Red-Zone 2/2, 100% SEC-1st

Top Performers

Passing Feleipe Franks 23/37, 287-yards, 62%, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing Malik Davis 5 carries, 105-yards
Receiving Tyrie Cleveland 9 receptions, 199-yds, 1 TD

DEFENSE

Florida is ranked 13th or second to last in the SEC’s total defense category. Much like I thought the South Carolina numbers didn’t paint an accurate picture of the Gamecocks; I feel similarly about the Gators; but in reverse. Randy Shannon’s defense is much better than its listing. It’s young, fast, aggressive, disruptive, and littered with future professionals.

Defensive ends Jabari Zuniga, CeCe Jefferson, Jordan Sherit, and Zachai Polite are disruptive. Linebackers and the secondary are young but also highly talented. LB David Reese is the team’s leading tackler. UF’s secondary has scored three touchdowns; reminder that one more than its offensive counterparts. Led by CB Duke Dawson, the defensive backfield consists of an embarrassing amount of deep, young talent. It also prefers man-to-man coverage especially on the outside.

Projected Starters

Defensive End Jabari Zuniga 6’3, 246 So.
Nose Tackle Khairi Clark 6’1, 315 Jr.
Defensive Tackle Taven Bryan 6’4, 291 Jr.
Defensive End CeCe Jefferson 6’1, 242 Jr.
Linebacker Jeremiah Moon 6’6, 228 Fr.
Linebacker David Reese 6’1, 239 So.
Linebacker Vosean Joseph 6’1, 227 So.
Cornerback Marco Wilson 6’0, 177 Fr.
Cornerback Duke Dawson 5’10, 202 Sr.
Nickel CJ Henderson 6’1, 186 Fr.
Safety Nick Washington 6’0, 198 Sr.
Safety Chauncey Gardner 6’0, 207 So.

Team Statistics

Scoring Allows 26.5 ppg SEC-12th
Rushing 199 ypg SEC-13th
Passing 238 SEC-10th
Total 437 SEC-13th
QB Sacks 6 SEC-8th
Tackles for Loss 16 SEC-10th
3rd Down 35.29% SEC-9th

Top Performers

Tackles David Reese 18
QB Sacks Jordan Sherit 2
Tackles for Loss Jordan Sherit, CeCe Jefferson 2
Interceptions CJ Henderson, Duke Dawson 2
QB Hurries Jabari Zuniga 4

Pic of Johnny Townsend By FloridaGators.com

SPECIAL TEAMS

Johnny Townsend is considered as one of the best punters in the nation. Kicker Eddie Pineiro is a preseason All-SEC selection. Special teams and field position could decide this game.

Punter Johnny Townsend 50.18 per, SEC-1st
Kicker Eddy Pineiro 3/4, SEC-5th

What does all this mean?

Florida is much better than I expected and definitely more threatening than statistical rankings. Tune into the Depth Chart Podcast for Part II of the Florida scouting report as we dive deeper into scheme, personnel, matchups, and expectation.

Article written by Freddie Maggard

Former University of Kentucky Quarterback and Andy Griffith Fan Club President

5 responses to “Florida Scouting Report: Part 1”

  1. TBW3011

    Much better than expected? Surprised to hear that. Just curious exactly how bad you thought they would be?

  2. secrick

    Freddie just one time tell me you think Ky has the best team.

  3. Bill3

    The FLA vs TN game was very painful to watch for three quarters. This will be Florida’s 3rd game so I would expect a better team effort. TN was the better team in terms of performance for most of the game. How do you let someone get behind you at the end of the game? I’ve asked that question more than a few times over the years watching us. We beat Louisville once when the juice got loose behind UL. How did the UL defense let that happen? Florida’s effort in the 4th quarter was better than I expected after watching the first 3 quarters. Are we the better team against Fla? I guess that is what will be determined Saturday night.

  4. notFromhere

    Agreed. Florida is not down, just young. They are incredibly talented and tough both offensively and defensively. The Cats will have to play their best game Saturday night in all aspects.

    Florida will be an entirely different team by kickoff than they were last week. Unless Kentucky can show them things they haven’t seen yet, I don’t expect too many huge plays.

    This is a game the Cats can win, but also a game Florida can win. Who wants it more and can the Cats overcome the officiating? I’m hoping the crowd advantage takes away the effects of the poor officiating the Cats will face.

    1. foamfinger

      They have got speed everywhere on offense. That worries me a lot, especially if they are trying to get the ball in the open field. Thankfully, our DBs have been very good at open field tackling and I hope that not having JJ in doesn’t impede us too much since Eli isn’t as much of a sideline to sideline LB.

      Also, I hope Boogie Watson has been getting plenty of snaps to back up Brown and Jamin Davis is ready to go if we have to burn his redshirt.