Florida faces UT-Martin on Saturday in Gainesville. Here are your three keys to a Florida win over UT-Martin.
By Matt Zemek
The Florida Gators played a Week Zero game. They got Week 1 off. They needed some time to regroup after an emotionally draining win over Miami. They needed time to stop and reassess all the things they need to work on. One could come up with a very long list of needs for the Gators heading into this FCS game against Tennessee-Martin. Three needs stand out the most:
Key 1 – Feleipe Franks On The Firing Line
Feleipe Franks has to be good if Florida is going to be great. It is that simple. Franks has to be able to play at a standard close to what he showed in the Peach Bowl against Michigan if Florida is to deliver on its potential and reach its ceiling in 2019. Franks can’t be mediocre if the Gators are going to get where they want to go.
In Week 1 against Miami, Franks did not make the grade, and he didn’t even come close. His reads were poor. He was an absolute disaster when rolling to his left and trying to throw across his body. The command he displayed against Michigan was nowhere to be seen. He did hit a few throws down the field, but very little else.
We could chalk up the performance to rust or nervousness or all of the above. Maybe Franks stumbled and can quickly get back on the beam. Well, it’s hard to know what the answer is to that point, but Franks has to use Week 2 to reestablish himself and prove to himself – and Dan Mullen, and his teammates – that he is capable of handling the heat. Franks has to make sharp decisions and show that he has learned a lot from the Miami disaster. He has to make a full range of adjustments and conclusively demonstrate that he can make them repeatedly and reliably. If the Gators get nothing else out of this game, they need a strong performance from Franks. That will calm down the locker room, the fan base, and everyone in the program.
Key 2 – Tackling
This point needs no amplification. Tackling was absolutely atrocious against Miami. This problem needs to be nipped in the bud immediately. Effective tackling is the defense’s top priority, period, end of sentence.
Key 3 – Brain Cramps
A pass interference penalty on fourth down and 34, on a 26-yard pass? Botched exchanges in the backfield? Failures to cover easy fumbles which should have preserved possessions? Florida made all sorts of spectacular mistakes against Miami and somehow lived to tell about them. All of those problems need to be eradicated. Perfection isn’t the goal, but eliminating extraordinary mistakes? That is not too much to ask.
Saturday‘s game kicks off at 6:30 PM CT (7:30 PM ET). Watch on the ESPNU Network.
SEC Football Stories For This Week
|Game||First Looks||3 Keys|
|W. Virginia vs. Missouri||W. Virginia||Mizzou||Preview||Mizzou 38, WVA 7||Stats|
|C. Southern vs. S. Carolina||C. Southern||USC||Preview||USC 72, CSU 10||Stats|
|Tulane vs. Auburn||Tulane||Auburn||Preview||Auburn 24, Tulane 6||Stats|
|N. Mexico St vs. Alabama||NMSU||Bama||Preview||Alabama 62, NMSU 10||Stats|
|USM vs. Mississippi St.||Southern Miss||MSU||Preview||MSU 38, USM 15||Stats|
|Texas A&M vs. Clemson||Clemson||Texas A&M||Preview||Clemson 24, A&M 10||Stats|
|E. Michigan vs. Kentucky||E. Michigan||Kentucky||Preview||UK 38, E Michigan 17||Stats|
|UT Martin vs. Florida||UT Martin||FLA||Preview||Florida 45, UTM 0||Stats|
|BYU vs. Tennessee||BYU||TEN||Preview||BYU 29, TEN 26||Stats|
|Arkansas vs. Ole Miss||OM / ARK||ARK||Preview||Ole Miss 31, Arkansas 17||Stats|
|Murray State vs. Georgia||Murray St||UGA||Preview||UGA 63, Murray St 17||Stats|
|LSU vs. Texas||Texas||LSU||Preview||LSU 45, Texas 38||Stats|
|Vanderbilt vs. Purdue||Purdue||Vandy||Preview||Purdue 42, Vandy 24||Stats|