Gator Defensive Backs Making It Work

Gator Defensive Backs Making It Work

The Florida Gator defense is young, but they are not afraid of a challenge. Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham’s unit has proven they can make it work.

Missing Key Players

In Florida’s first home game of the season against Tennessee Martin they lost arguably their best defender, C.J. Henderson. He suffered an ankle sprain. Henderson started in all 13 games of the 2018 season and is regarded as one of the top cornerbacks in the country. He did not play against Kentucky last week and is questionable for the Gators upcoming matchup against Tennessee. Junior Donovan Stiner will miss the first half against Tennessee because of a targeting penalty in the Kentucky game last weekend.

Stepping Up

The Florida Gator defense, particularly the defensive backs, have shown they are capable of stepping up. Against the Wildcats this past weekend they accounted for three interceptions and recovered one fumble. Brad Stewart Jr. recovered the first fumble for the Gators just three minutes into the game. The Gators defense builds off of each other. Defensive back Shawn Davis, along with his teammates, loved seeing Stewart make a play. It fueled them in a sense.

In the third quarter Davis intercepted Kentucky QB Sawyer Smith’s pass for a 72 yard return all the way to the Kentucky 21 yard line. When asked about that specific drive Davis said he just knew it was coming to him.

That wasn’t the end of Davis’ performance Saturday. He intercepted Smith’s pass with six minutes left in the game as well.

Florida also has been using a method of rotating its safeties throughout the game. According to Davis, this is because the team is “comfortable and confident” with all their guys playing.

“Coach Mullen puts players in the best position to make plays,” said defensive back Trey Dean.

The Gator defense is confident with their unit moving forward. Florida will take on Tennessee this Saturday at noon on ESPN.

 

Story can also be fond via wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville.

Orange and Blue Game Highlights

Orange and Blue Game Highlights

Johnny Townsend and I had the privilege of shadowing Chris Doering and Kevin Negandhi at the Gators’ Spring Game! It was great learning from some of the best in the business. We also got to meet Dawn Davenport; She was covering the sideline!

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Chris Doering and Kevin Negandhi
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Johnny Townsend- Former Gators Punter and currently with the Oakland Raiders

Mullen’s Magic

This time last year if someone were to tell me the Gators would be finishing the regular season at 9-3 and most likely awaiting a New Year’s Six Bowl bid, I’d say that sounds a little bit unrealistic…. given the fact that they went 4-7 last season.

Flash forward, here we are now and Dan Mullen’s Florida Gators are #9 in the country. If that doesn’t scream improvement, then I don’t know what does.

Arriving in Gainesville Coach Mullen knew what he was walking into. Not only did he have a football team to coach, but he also had a fan base to win over. The University of Florida’s Athletic Program is one of the greatest in the country. Expectations are high and when those expectations aren’t met fans aren’t happy. After last season’s struggle the Gators needed a breath of fresh air. Dan Mullen seems to have brought just that.

Mullen Renewed by Fresh Challenge with Gators
Photo via floridagators.com

The Gators went from scoring, on average, 22 points a game to 34.5. Offensively they finished with 5120 total yards, quite an improvement from the 3695 they had in 2017. Not to mention, the Gators were able to run over a hundred more plays than the previous year. Despite some rough patches and criticism, quarterback Feleipe Franks also showed significant improvements. Recall, Franks ended the 2017 season with just 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. This year he’s finishing the regular season with 23 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. The stats speak for themselves, but I think it’s safe to say the Swamp has finally found some offensive rhythm.

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Photo via TampaBayTimes

Kentucky. Georgia. Missouri. None of these losses were necessarily pretty, but each proved something about Mullen’s football team. They aren’t quitters. They didn’t allow a loss to define the rest of their season. Following a battle with Kentucky, the Gators had back to back road wins against Tennessee and Mississippi State. Then, they beat #5 LSU with over 90,000 fans in attendance. Both the Georgia and Missouri losses were rough, but it did not mean the season was over. Florida later beat in-state rival Florida State for the first time in five years. Now, the Gators are awaiting their, most likely, New Year’s Day bowl bid. Who would have predicted that?

Photo via Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

For a “rebuilding year” Gator fans should be absolutely ecstatic.