Andy Hutchins from SB Nation’s @AlligatorArmy joins us for a Q&A today as we near the kick for UAB at Florida
1. The quarterback situation at Florida has been widely publicized and I’m sure it’s convinced the fan base that Florida is in fact cursed. With Feleipe Franks being named the starter this week, do you consider that a positive for the offense or would you prefer a healthy Malik Zaire?
I have literally no idea how to even begin figuring out which QB is better for Florida right now. Franks has had better flashes, but those flashes are almost exclusively just that, as he’s struggled to put a full game together all year. Zaire has had more competent stretches, but “more competent stretches” have still not amounted to good QB play. I think Franks allows Florida to design and call shots to any part of the field, because his arm’s that good, but he’s struggled to connect on those passes, so, uh, yeah. It really doesn’t matter!
2. You may not be aware of our freshman running back phenom Spencer Brown but he’s carried our limited offense all season. How do you think the Florida defense will be able to handle the bruising freshman?
Poorly? Florida’s rush defense has fallen off a cliff over the last month, with the loss of defensive end Jordan Sherit to injury robbing the Gators of their one consistently good edge-setter in a year when even his presence did not keep that edge set. Florida’s linebackers are painfully young, and its defensive line has largely underwhelmed — outside of Taven Bryan, who has been great, and pass-rushers who have been good in fits and starts — this season. I’d like to think Florida has enough pride and steel in its spine to not allow 200 rushing yards to UAB at home, but I have little confidence in that.
3. Do you think Florida will try some new things on offense against UAB after having trouble all season on that side of the ball?
Florida should try adhering to a consistent game plan, utilizing its tight ends in the passing game, taking the pressure to make reads off of Franks as much as possible and/or calling deep shots that he is coached to try even if they don’t seem open, and pass blocking. If even two of those things happen, I will be both stunned and ecstatic.
4. If any, who have been some of the bright spots on Florida’s offense and defense?
All of the bright spots on Florida’s offense are hurt — I’m not kidding: I would call Malik Davis (out for the year), Kadarius Toney (banged up and likely to be very limited), and Tyrie Cleveland (banged up and likely to be very limited) the bright spots on Florida’s offense — and Bryan is the lone shining bright spot for the defense. Freshman corners C.J. Henderson and Marco Wilson have had their moments, as has senior Duke Dawson, but they’ve also been exposed more as the season’s worn on, and if UAB wants to throw, it need not be so afraid of Florida’s vaunted secondary that it changes up a game plan.
5. Do you think UAB has a chance or do you think Florida will play inspired?
I think UAB has a very good chance precisely because I don’t think Florida is likely to play inspired football at 4 p.m. on a Saturday for 55,000 fans — that might be generous — with Thanksgiving looming and the only stakes being pride and a 4-6 record. UAB is a winning team by virtue of winning more toss-ups than not, but Florida is a losing team not just because it has lost toss-ups but because it is not nearly good enough to play any other sort of game. I’d be happy to be proven wrong, but that’s not what I’m preparing for, frankly.