As was the case against McNeese State, Florida football shouldn’t be in too much danger this weekend against UNC Charlotte. While Billy Napier is expressing concern in regards to Florida’s effort this week in practice, we suspect the Gators should be fine come 7 PM tomorrow.
With that in mind, here are three benchmarks we would still like to see the Gators hit to give us faith Florida won’t lay an egg next week against Kentucky.
Florida Football: 8.5 yards per passing attempt or more
Trivia question: which team has more yards per passing attempt against FBS opponents between Florida and UNC Charlotte?
Hint: it’s not Florida.
Florida isn’t the worst in this category, coming in at 63rd in the country with an average of 7.3 yards per attempt, but it is still a concern moving forward. While Graham Mertz is completing passes at a high completion rate, the bulk of his completions have been close to the line of scrimmage.
That’s more due to Napier’s play design than anything Mertz does wrong.
The problem with Napier’s passing routes is that he often only sends two receivers out, and oftentimes, they are in each other’s zone, limiting the amount of space Florida is using.
In time, if Florida doesn’t prove it can hit a deep shot, teams are just going to load the box.
Trey Smack hits a 50-yard field goal
Now, for this to happen, Florida would have to stall on offense. We would rather see a touchdown than a 50-yard field goal.
But given the wasteland that special teams have become, Gator fans need a sign of hope.
Smack has a big leg and has now replaced Adam Mihalek as the starting kicker for the Gators after Mihalek struggled in the first three games.
The defense holds UNC Charlotte to under 4.5 yards per play
We all love the new defense under Austin Armstrong. Players are energized and seem to understand where they are supposed to be.
But following the Tennessee game, it is hard to classify Florida as a shutdown defense. It is more of a bend, but don’t break defense.
We would love to see Florida smother UNC Charlotte and suck all the life out of them.