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Florida Gators

No surprise- Gators top our initial state rankings

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Week one is in the books for the 2019 college football season.

In the State of Florida, we had some blowouts, under-performances, and some disappointments.
With all the action done until this weekend, this is how the state stacks up:

1. Florida Gators- In a very tight decision, but the Gators check-in as the top team in the state to open things up. Florida had a bye week following to tough week 0 win against the Hurricanes. The Gators get the edge over the Knights for going playing a tough rival and getting the win, even if that win wasn’t a pretty one.

The Gators showed that they have plenty of talent back this season, but need to clean up the penalties and tackling. Both of those things can be addressed and should be fixed this week against Tennessee-Martin.

2. UCF Knights- The Knights high powered offense was on full display against in-state opponent Florida A&M. Brandon Wimbush was impressive in his first game at UCF throwing for two scores and 168 yards. Freshman Dillon Gabriel was also excellent throwing for three touchdowns and 127 yards. The running game was strong with Adrian Killins Jr. rushing for 106 yards and scoring.

Greg McCrae also chipped in a touchdown. The defense was stifling all night holding the Rattlers to less than 100 yards. The Knights will look to continue their regular-season dominance Saturday, when they face a bigger challenge in FAU in Boca Raton.

3. Miami Hurricanes- The Canes had a week off following their defeat to Florida in week 0. During the game, the Canes defense showcased why they are a dangerous unit forcing four turnovers on the night. The O-line was an issue for the Canes in that game, and freshman QB Jarren Williams was learning on the job. He did show great promise though and will look to take those things he learned the hard way into next week.

The Hurricanes begin ACC play next week, however, not playing an FCS team like some others. The Canes will get Mack Brown and the North Carolina Tar Heels coming off a win against South Carolina. A win here and the Canes will have an early confidence-boosting win to jump-start conference play.

4. Florida State Seminoles- What a roller coaster the Noles took fans and enemies on. In the first half, the Noles offense was firing on all cylinders. James Blackman looked good hitting Scary Terry ( Tamorrion) for a 75-yard pass, as well as connecting on another 58-yard touchdown to Keyshawn Helton. Blackman had a third touchdown in the first half, and Cam Akers ran for 116 yards on the day. Despite all the first-half offense, the Broncos were never truly out of it due to their ability to run the ball.

In the second half, the Noles offense couldn’t move the ball, and the Broncos just kept running downfield. The Broncos had 231 yards rushing from a trio of backs and true freshman Hank Bachmeier was unfazed. The Noles showed flashes of being a much better team, but in the end, they started to play like much of last year. They should get back on track next week against UL-Monroe at home.

5. FAU Owls– The Owls were also a tale of two games. They started bad with Justin Fields doing whatever he wanted. Fields had five scores before halftime, and the Buckeyes led 28-3. In the second half though, the Owls were able to make the game more competitive.

The Owls had two strong touchdown drives of 16 plays for 81 yards and 8 plays for 76 yards. The Owls will look to take that momentum into another ranked matchup this time with in-state foe UCF.

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

Florida Gators

Vols Coach Pruitt- “Yes I hate Florida”

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee series with Florida has not been too kind to them as of late, but even as a heavy underdogs at the Swamp Saturday, they believe that they could change that. Oh, and then there’s your second year head coach wanting to make it clear he definitely dislikes the Gators.

Jeremy Pruitt, whose team suffered a humiliating opening-week loss at home to Georgia State and then followed that with another loss in heartbreaking fashion to BYU in overtime in week two, took to the radio airwaves Wednesday to answer questions from Volunteers fans. And, one wanted to make sure how much he despised Florida:

The caller asked a question about whether the Vols might be able to pull a shocker, like they did over Auburn in Pruitt’s inaugural season of 2018, but also very plainly put it to the former Alabama and Florida State defensive coordinator,  “do you hate Florida?”

Pruitt answered the question about the mentality going into Gainesville, as a 14-point underdog in their SEC opener. Then threw in the line,

“And yes, I hate Florida.”

And, while Gators fans might take that insult, as perfect “bulletin board material” to motivate their team, the dislike has been there from both sides for 25 years or more.

Encouraging for the Vols, and even though it was under previous coach Butch Jones, Tennessee should have a mentality should be that they can hang with Florida. As each of the last two meetings in Gainesville under Jones, Tennessee had the lead in the final minute of the game, only to let Florida dramatically score the game-winning touchdown on a huge pass play.

A year ago in Knoxville, the Gators used six turnovers and two defensive touchdowns to wipe out Tennessee 47-21 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final.

Meanwhile, instead of the “level of hatred, or not” Gators coach Dan Mullen has bigger concerns about using dual quarterbacks in Kyle Trask and Emory Jones. And, he must deal with the expectations that the Gators should, once again, wipe out “The Big Orange.”

Then, let the media and fans talk about insults, afterwards.

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Florida Gators

Gators coach Mullen likely to use two QBs against Tennessee

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After losing starting QB Feleipe Franks to an ankle injury on Saturday night against SEC rival Kentucky, the Gators have now found themselves with an unexpected decision as to who will be starting QB?

Franks was replaced by redshirt junior Kyle Trask, who was seeing his first significant action of his Florida career, especially trailing by double figures in a hostile SEC road environment. However, it’s likely that RS Freshman Emory Jones will also take some snaps at quarterback this season.

Mullens decision to potentially go with both QBs could be not only to determine which guy will be his offensive leader for the rest of the season, but to also give their next opponent, Tennessee, more to prepare for as the head into their next conference rivalry game.

The Gators second year coach announced on Monday that Franks is officially done for the season.

On a fourth-and-one scramble with 3:21 remaining, Franks was sandwiched between multiple Wildcat defenders and bent backwards. Even though replays weren’t shown, it was clear he had suffered a dislocated right ankle injury.

So bad was the injury, that trainers who came to assist Franks on the turf at Commonwealth Stadium immediately put an air cast on his right leg. Then he was eventually carted off to the locker room after nearly the entire Gator team had surrounded him and wished him well.

Frank’s has been a “lightning rod of criticism” throughout his Florida career, but did silence a lot of those critics with his play down the stretch last season. That included a late season comeback win over South Carolina, playing well in the rivalry victory over Florida State, and then, following that up with a good performance in the easy victory in the Peach Bowl over Michigan.

However, Franks and the offense struggled much of the first three quarters of Saturday night’s SEC opener at Kentucky. At the time he left with an injury he was an efficient 12-17 for 174 yards with a TD pass and 1 INT. Still, they had only put one touchdown on the board while trailing 21 – 10.

Trask went in for Franks and went on to pull out a come from behind win for the Gators, completing 9 for 13 passes, with 126 passing yards. He’ll be competing for playing time with Jones, the No. 85 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 and four-star dual-threat quarterback.

Jones saw limited action last season to maintain redshirt status, but completed 12-16 passes for 125 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the four games he play in. Jones is also more of a dual threat to run and that will give Mullen and staff more options on play calls, if/when he’s on the field.

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