Florida football will take on McNeese State on Saturday in The Swamp. If you are curious if McNeese State is any good, know they lost to Tarleton State 52-34 in their own opener.
This should be a game that Florida wins comfortably, but it doesn’t mean there won’t be expectations for the Gators as the game unfolds.
The following are three benchmarks Florida needs to hit to illicit confidence from the Florida fanbase before next week’s matchup against Tennessee.
Florida Football Benchmarks: One or zero offensive line penalties
Beyond the fact the offensive line got overrun by Utah when the ball was snapped cleanly, one of the massive issues for the Gators last week was the back-breaking presnap penalties.
Florida had a false start on its first drive while facing 3rd and 1 and another false start on a 4th and 1 from Utah’s nine-yard line (followed by the missed field goal). Add in the illegal formation penalty on a 3rd and 1 from Utah’s 13-yard line in the second half, and this is part of the reason why it felt like the Gators beat themselves in Salt Lake City.
If Florida is serious about cleaning up its mistakes, it can’t have more than one pre-snap penalty against an inferior opponent like McNeese State.
Six Yards Per Carry
But it wasn’t just that the Gators didn’t run for six yards per carry; it’s that they weren’t even close.
As we pointed out last week, Florida averaged over seven yards per carry in their six wins last season. Tarleton State averaged 5.3 yards per carry last week against McNeese State. It isn’t unreasonable to expect six or more yards per carry out of the Gators this week.
Seven or more sacks
The defense looked much improved last week under Austin Armstrong. Even if the disaster of the opening play, Florida only allowed 270 yards. The second touchdown came after the double number three debacle from the punt return squad, and the third touchdown was off the short field following Florida’s interception.
The one thing Florida football didn’t get was a sack, which was a specialty of Armstrong while at Southern Mississippi.
Six different players for Tarleton State had a sack last week. As solid as the secondary feels for Florida, it would be nice for the defensive linemen to live in the backfield this Saturday.