UF Spring Game: Key Takeaways

UF Spring Game

In what was a very anticipated Spring game for the Florida Gators, team Orange took down team Blue by a final score of 10-7. As time expired Trey Smack cemented team Orange’s victory with a 46-yard walk-off field goal. UF’s spring game key takeaways show that the season still leaves many fans wondering what this team will be. The dramatic game-winner might have been exciting at the time, but Florida has yet to answer some of its biggest questions.

An Offensive Mess

The teams offensively looked sluggish and sloppy. A big attribute of that was the play of the offensive line. The offensive line was unable to provide any time for the quarterbacks to make plays. None of the running backs were able to find big holes. That resulted in very few highlight-worthy bursts of speed. Ultimately, the low-scoring affair portrayed what could be the Gators’ reality if the team can’t fix its structure.

Coming into the Spring game, one of the big questions was the quarterback battle. Graham Mertz, the transfer from Wisconsin, got his first opportunity to show head coach Billy Napier why he should be the starter in the Fall. On the other side of the football, Jack Miller was given the chance to show Napier that the Las Vegas Bowl wasn’t a good indication of who he was as a quarterback.

While Mertz started for team Orange, Miller started for team Blue. Neither quarterback was able to make a strong case as to why they should be the starter come August. Mertz’s stats in the first half looked good on paper, but as the game progressed his play got worse and worse. Miller, who didn’t even look good on paper, struggled with finding open targets. The quarterbacks found trouble when it came to overthrowing or underthrowing receivers.

Despite the downfall of the offenses in the spring game, Napier now has an indication of what needs to improve. If the Gators want to compete in the SEC then the improvements will have to come sooner rather than later.

The Defenses Stand Tall

The offensive ineptitude in UF’s annual Orange vs Blue Spring game proved even more that the defenses stole the show. With both teams, the defensive lines brought pressure which flustered the quarterbacks and the offensive lines. The consistent stops on third down for each side conveyed the message that the Gators could be a whole different team on defense.

Florida’s secondary was also able to hold up fairly well against some of the new wide receivers. In particular, the secondary did a good job of containing and not letting up too many big plays. Except for the occasional flag for pass interference the secondary proved they can hold up against some of the best in the SEC.

The impactful play by some of the new faces on defense means the Gators are likely doing a good job on the recruiting side of things as well. Kelby Collins, who played his first unofficial game with Florida, proved he could be an elite rusher in the years to come. Cam Jackson, who transferred from Memphis, also showed a really good skill set, which will be helpful for next season.

Key Takeaways

Following the conclusion of the game, the biggest takeaway was that Florida will have to get better at throwing the football. Even though the running game wasn’t great either, Trevor Etienne and Montrell Johnson have proven in the past what they can do. The passing game is where questions arise considering both quarterbacks looked shaky.

Another key takeaway from the game is that all eyes will be on Florida’s defense this year. The spring game might not have been the best indication of how good the defense is. But with how they performed they’ll most likely be in limelight come the first game against Utah.

The last big takeaway was that Florida’s freshman class will be one to watch. Kelby Collins, Aiden Mizell, Treyuan Webb and Ja’keem Jackson were all big recruits. They all their first shot at some college football action. Considering some of them had bigger games than others, it’ll be fun to watch how these guys progress during the season. The Gators have a bunch of spots to fill so don’t be surprised if these guys show up on the starting roster sometime in the 2023 season.

Only up for the Gators

The lack of sustainability on the offensive side of the ball means the Gators can only improve from here. On the defensive side, the Gators showed they have a lot of potential. The team is bound to get better with some of the new faces entering the program. Now the Gators will wait for August 31st to take the field again when they travel to Utah to take on a very organized Utes program.

UF Spring Game

Photo courtesy: Doug Engle / USA TODAY NETWORK