Week 7 of the college football season will feature two heavyweight battles for two Florida schools. Both Florida and Florida State will be heading to Death Valley, but in two separate locations.
The Noles travel to Clemson for an afternoon showdown with the defending National Champions. The Gators pack their bags for Baton Rouge for a date with the top five ranked LSU Tigers. Elsewhere in the state, USF will look for back to back wins for the first time all year.
Florida Atlantic will look to stay hot and make an early move up the standings in the conference.
Florida proved a lot of people wrong last week after they were able to defeat the Auburn Tigers. The Gators were able to quiet a lot of naysayers saying they were a fluke through the first six weeks of the season. The Gators will have their toughest task yet, though playing at LSU.
The Tigers offense is roaring right now with Joe Burrow leading the way. He already has 22 touchdown passes and over 1800 passing yards.
The Gators were able to get by against Freshman Bo Nix, but Burrow will present a much tougher test for the defense. On offense, the Gators will have to score to keep up in this game. Kyle Trask is banged up, but he will need to play his best game for Florida to be able to keep the undefeated season going.
Florida State played its best game of the season last time out against NC State. Now, the Noles will face arguably their toughest task of the season traveling to Clemson. The Tigers themselves are coming off their worst performance in a narrow one point win at North Carolina, making some wonder if FSU can make this a game? The Noles will have to play a full 60 minutes of football to have a chance.
Whoever is at QB for Florida State will have to put up points early and often. The Tigers offense led by Trevor Lawrence coming out of a bye week are going to be a lot to handle for the Noles defense.
USF has struggled for most of the season up to this point. A week after getting embarrassed by SMU, the Bulls were able to get a win in Connecticut. Now the Bulls will face a BYU team at home using their back up quarterback. USF still has a QB dilemma with Jordan McCloud and Blake Barnett.
Whoever gets the nod, will need to show some consistency, which has alluded the Bulls all season long. Charlie Strong may be coaching for his USF Future the rest of the season and needs a big homecoming win over the Cougars.
With tough games later in the year against Cincinnati. Memphis and UCF, the Bulls, may be running out of chances to become bowl eligible.
Florida Atlantic comes into the week on a three-game win streak. Since playing and losing badly to ranked teams Ohio State and UCF, the Owls have been clicking. They will host a 2-3 Middle Tennessee team that could be a trap game for FAU. The Owls have a big game against Marshall next week, a game that will be at home in primetime.
Its important Lane Kiffin keeps the team focused on the task at hand. QB Chris Robinson has been on fire with 11 touchdown passes during the three-game winning streak.
Three state receivers look to make Senior Bowl impression
A trio of Florida collegiate pass catchers will look to make an impact at Saturday’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, and it’s very possible that one will be selected the opening night the NFL Draft in April.
First, the Gators have a duo of receivers working out for the South team in this week. As wideouts, Van Jefferson and Tyrie Cleveland have been going through practices and getting attention this week. Obviously, their experience against SEC competition is a key to helping them prepare to take on the North squad Saturday afternoon on the NFL Network.
Cleveland was a late add to the South roster only being notified on late Monday afternoon about the prospect of joining the senior All-Stars in Mobile.
And, as SI.com profiled earlier this week, both Florida guys are anxious to demonstrate what they can do and are grateful that they have each other in Alabama for the experience.
“I’ve seen Mr. Nagy (director of the Senior Bowl), and I heard him say something about Tyrie, so I was like, I was trying to creep in to see what he was talking about,” Jefferson admitted to the site.
“Then he looked at me and said ‘I invited your boy!’, and I asked who and he said ‘Tyrie!’, and so I went and called Tyrie, I’m like ‘Tyrie, where you at?’, and Tyrie’s already in Mobile, so my man, my dawg is here, so it’s just got the week much better, I’m excited to go out there and practice with him for the last time, play in a game with him for the last time, it’s exciting.”
Jefferson, who’s the son of former NFL receiver Shawn Jefferson, had two solid but not spectacular seasons in Gainesville after transferring from Ole Miss catching for just over 1,100 yards and 12 TDs in 23 games.
Likewise, Cleveland does not have fantastic numbers and some of that had to do with the shaky quarterback play at times during his career at Florida.
Still, they are both large bodied and Cleveland ran a sub 4.4 (unofficial), 40 yard dash this week, too.
Now, the probable first round pick from the state as a receiver is FAU tight end, Harrison Bryant. While he’s not a household name on the national scale, Bryant has outstanding hands and put up monster numbers for a tight end in 2019.
Flourishing and former coach Lane Kiffin’s system Bryant (above) led all tight ends in FBS with 65 catches, 1,004 yards and 7 TDs, as the FAU owls rolled to a second Conference USA championship in 3 years.
Bryant also has some raving about his route running, hands and his blocking from the practices this week in Mobile, too:
I watched this kid, Harrison Bryant that plays Tight End for FAU all day yesterday! He is very very good! I like everything about this kid from his route running, his catching ability and his physicality. Gotta be the 1st Tight End off the board. https://t.co/HwOzymrcMK
— Footwork_King 🤴🏾 (@footwork_king1) January 23, 2020
Sure, there will be a lot more time for scrutiny of these guys after the Senior Bowl is played from the scouting combine to their individual workouts and team interviews. Still, they are three names to keep an eye on Saturday and beyond, as the draft process continues.
Former Gators QB Franks transfers to Arkansas
Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks has decided on a new spot for his final year of eligibility and he won’t even leave the SEC. The Gators starting quarterback on and off for the last three years announced on Monday night that he will be transferring to the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Franks help lead the Gators resurgence two years ago under first-year coach Dan Mullen, including a Peach Bowl New Year’s Six game victory over the Michigan Wolverines. Florida finished 10-3 with momentum headed into this season.
However, with sky high expectations for Franks, Mullen and the Gators this past season (they were a preseason top 10 team) Franks played inconsistently for a lot of the early part of the season. Then, things ended horrifically as Franks suffered a nasty fractured leg at Kentucky ending his season.
The 6’6 Franks finished his Gator career with 28 starts 4,500+ yards passing and 28 TDs. However, his at times poor play, including crucial interceptions enraged Gator fans. Next, he announced December 1st that he would be transferring for one more season, as a graduate to be eligible immediately.
Arkansas is in desperation to rebuild after having fired coach Chad Morris after two horrible seasons. They hired Georgia former offensive line coach Sam Pittman at their head coach and Franks will be playing for new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, who spent last season with FSU.
Arkansas is in desperate need of a quality proven quarterback, as they had just three scholarship signal caller options in senior Jack Lindsey, redshirt-sophomore John Stephen Jones and redshirt-freshman K.J. Jefferson. Jones, who is the grandson of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, is considered the most experienced of the group. But to show how bad it is, he’s thrown for just 106 yards and 2 touchdowns with 2 interceptions in six career games.
So, clearly Franks, if/when fully healed from the ankle fracture will be heavily counted on for 2020.
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