It looked normal.
That, more than anything else, defined Florida’s 53-6 win over obviously outmanned Charleston Southern Saturday night. It looked like a normal Power 5 college football team should look when playing an outmanned team. The offense scored at will; the defense swallowed the opposing offense whole. It was over early. It was a laugher. Like it was supposed to be.
Mostly, what stood out, is was it DIDN’T look like. The offense wasn’t slow in getting to the huddle, slow in getting to the line of scrimmage, slow in getting the play off. Apparently, when you throw an incomplete pass on first down, you are NOT obligated by rule to run on second down. I’ll be darned. Who knew?
So many times in the past three seasons we all wondered the same thing: why do all these other teams with far leas talent than you would assume Florida typically has — from Vandy to Missouri to Mississippi State in the SEC, from Wake Forest to Northwestern to Houston and beyond — play so fast and efficiently on offense, while the Gators could barely get the snap off?
It was confounding. It was puzzling. It was maddening.
Enter Dan Mullen for the discharged Jim McElwain.
Suddenly, the Gators look like today’s normal spread offense. They are efficient, they have pacing. They get the play called quickly, they get to the line quickly. Sometimes they snap it quickly, sometimes they didn’t. But they were prepared to every time.
It’s not just about how fast they played. It also was that they seemed to know what they were doing. Feleipe Franks, who threw nine touchdown passes all of last year, threw five in the first half. Overall, the Gators rushed AND passed for 200 yards. In total passing yards in the first half, Florida, the Gators had an advantage of 241-3.
Ultimately, the score was inconsequential. Charleston Southern is so bad it shouldn’t be playing Power 5 teams. Forget all that. Embrace that the Gators feel more like a decent team than they have in a long while. They look more physical. They look way better on offense. Moreover, they looked normal.
Franks, so inaccurate at times last year, completed 16 of 24 — including completing his last eight attempts — for 219 yards and those five scores. He also rushed five times. Those were significantly better totals than any he put up last year. Is there any doubt the offense will be significantly better?
I have no idea how good the Gators will be. But I do feel like they will be more like a normal Power 5 offense. For now, after one game – given what everyone endured before — that is good enough for me.
(You can follow Frank Frangie on Twitter @Frank_Frangie)
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