Flagship Forum: Mailbag
Q: Does the loser of the Florida vs. Georgia game this Saturday benefit by not having to play Alabama in the SEC Championship?
A: In short, no both the Gators and Bulldogs almost certainly need to run the table at this point. The winner Saturday will most likely meet Alabama in Atlanta. The winner of that game is almost certainly given a ticket to the College Football Playoff. Both teams on Saturday are playing to keep these hopes alive.
If a 10-0 Alabama squad plays a 9-1 Georgia/Florida and loses, there will almost certainly be some conversation about the possibility of two 10-1 SEC teams making their way into the CFP. As of now, however, I think Mullen and Kirby are focused on one game at a time. Both squads have Championship aspirations coming into this season and that likely will not come to fruition given a loss on Saturday.
Q: Should we really believe in Trask? I feel like he locks in on his targets and doesn't spread the ball around.
A: Should we believe in the legitimate Heisman contender who broke the SEC record for most passing TDs last week? I would say I think we should. As for Trask locking in on single receivers and spreading the ball around, I think that is a stretch. But let's take a look.
Trask has completed 96-139 passes on the year. Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney have caught 22 of those each for 13 TDs total. Trevon Grimes and Malik Davis have caught 11 and 10 of those respectively. So, 65 out of 96, roughly 68%, completions have gone to just four players. The bottom half of the running back and receiving room has accounted for 31 receptions and three TDs.
That said, I think Kyle Trask does have a tendency to lock onto Kyle Pitts, especially on third down and most definitely in the red-zone. This was apparent in the Missouri game when Trask was looking for Pitts time and time again, but ended up finding other receivers. This is part of the reason we saw Toney have a career night. It's essentially a matchup problem for opposing defenses. Missouri was committed to taking Kyle Pitts out of the game plan as much as they could, but that opened the field up for Toney and company.
In Mullen's offense, its pick-your-poison this season. I think one of Trask's biggest strengths is spreading the ball around and getting everyone involved.
Q: Finally getting to see some young players in action, who do you all think has earned more reps?
A: I think the two who stand out the most to me and who we've heard about all Fall Camp are true freshman safeties Rashad Torrence and Tre'vez Johnson.
Their on-the-field stats are not eye popping, but both of them have provided much-needed depth at the DB position. They essentially got thrown into the fire in the Missouri game and the Gators played their best defensive game of the year. I think we will continue to see them in action this year, and potentially see one of them securing a starting spot by the end of the season.
Furthermore, I think some of their biggest contributions this season have been in the run defense. Both of these guys have shown the ability to come up and defend the run just as well as they defend the pass. That is something we have seen from senior safety Donovan Stiner in his role with the Gators. Oftentimes, Grantham will sacrifice a more fluid pass defender for someone who has the ability to come up in the box and make plays. We will see what Grantham dials up for these guys for the rest of the season.
Q: Do you think Mullen playing Anthony Richardson in front of Emory Jones holds any real weight or was it Mullen playing chess with Kirby so he'll have to prep for all 3 QBs?
A: I certainly cannot speak for Mullen, but I think it had more to do with Jones being a little banged up still and did not want to put him on the field if he did not have to. I think Mullen also likes to get his younger QBs on the field as much as he can for learning purposes, every live rep in a young QBs career is essential.
Now, if I'm Kirby Smart, I will definitely have to take the run threat of both Emory and Richardson in account which could prove to be a lot of his already beat-up defense. On the other hand, Mullen usually holds a few plays, formations, and tricks for games like this. It will not surprise me at all if we see some things we have not seen yet this season.