It really wasn’t enough just to beat Tennessee, but Florida football had to make a statement, considering all the potential storylines.
Everything needed to click for Florida football Saturday.
And, for the most part, everything did click.
The offense found a rhythm. The defense continued its dominant ways.
Aside for a few minor miscues, it appeared that No. 9 Florida football put together a complete game in a 34-3 win over Tennessee Saturday.
Here’s a look at five takeaways we have from Saturday’s win:
So, Kyle Trask was better than we thought
Leading up to his first start in seven years, the stories were more surrounding what Florida’s offense would be like without Feleipe Franks and not what it would be like with Trask.
The redshirt junior made a statement Saturday and showed everyone just what the offense could look like with him under center.
Trask went 20-for-28 for 293 yards (a stat national media has fixated on because it is more than Franks threw for in any of his starts), and a pair of touchdowns.
But, it wasn’t sunshine and rainbows.
Trask did have a pair of interceptions and lost a fumble. Fortunately, none of those miscues did much in the way of damage as Tennessee’s offense was ineffective, at best.
What we did see was a promising offense that has the chance to be a dangerous passing attack.
The run game still suffered
The Florida football offensive attack was considerably more pass than the run.
And it’s been that way for the first four games of the season.
While the Gators outrushed Tennessee 128-88, that’s not that impressive.
Lamical Perine had 62 yards on the ground with a touchdown — which certainly isn’t bad. But, it’s certainly not great either.
If the Gators plan to be a threat to teams they face in the coming weeks — Auburn and Georgia, specifically — the run game is going to have to be much more potent to take some of the pressure off the passing game.
That leads us to the next takeaway.
Jones did show flashes of helping the run
When Jones was in the game, there was a definite change in the Gators’ offense.
In fact, the running game seemed to pick up quite a bit with Jones under center.
To back that up, the Gators earned 74 of their 128 yards of rushing for the game while Jones was at quarterback.
I’m not saying it’s a game-changer for the offense, but it certainly gives Dan Mullen something else to look at when he’s devising offensive schemes.
It also presents a new threat for opposing defenses to have to prepare for.
Not the new direction I think the Gators should go it — as I think Trask has the starting job until he does something to lose it.
Gator D shines
The Florida football defense may be ranked ninth in tackles (250) in the Southeastern Conference, it doesn’t show.
Florida is the best in the SEC in sacks (20) and interceptions (7).
Against the Volunteers, the Gator defense held Tennessee to just 12 first downs, 151 yards passing and 88 yards on the ground.
That’s on top of three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
So, while the Gators don’t need to have a ton of tackles to show a strong defensive front.
Another week to gel
Before Saturday, there were some who thought the fact that Trask was new and the offensive line was still … well … shakey, the Gators could be beaten at The Swamp.
Well, that didn’t come to pass.
Now, the Gators take this week to prepare for FCS Towson, who is 3-1 after Villanova beat the Tigers at home, 52-45 in overtime Saturday.
It should be a good week for the Gators — especially the offense — to continue working together and get used to each other.
It’s a necessary week as Florida football gets ready for a stretch that includes Auburn, LSU, South Carolina and Georgia.
It’s a week they need.
No. 9 Florida will host Towson at 4 p.m. Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.