Flagship Forum: Mailbag 11/19/20
Q: Where are the Gators weakest in the secondary: Cornerback or Safety? - @buffgator85
A: I wouldn't say one group is weaker than another, but the CBs seem to execute the scheme and their defensive roles more consistently. On the outside, Kaiir Elam has been very consistent in coverage through 6 games minus a few bust. He leads the team with 8 PBUs and adds 1 9 interception and 21 total tackles. On the opposite side, it has been a combination of a few different Gators led by redshirt junior Marco Wilson and sophomore Jaydon Hill. Wilson has had his ups and and downs, but has been productive with 19 total tackles, 1 PBU and a fumble recovery. Hill has been solid in coverage with 4 PBUs, but lacks in run support with only 6 total tackles.
At safety, consistency has been the issue due to some injuries and COVID-19 related absences. Seniors Shawn Davis and Donovan Stiner are the most experienced of the group. Davis is second on the team in total tackles with 29 and Stiner records 24 total tackles on the year. Behind them, the young duo of Rashad Torrence II and Tre'vez Johnson have provided run support with 30 combined tackles. However, pass defense for the group has been subpar. The safeties find themselves missing too many assignments, primarily in deep pass coverage. I think the group, especially the younger two, do have potential to play much more consistent as they become more experienced and gain reps before the probable showdown against Alabama in Atlanta.
Q: How many quarters do you see Trask playing on Saturday?
A: I think Mullen will play Trask as long as he needs to. More than likely, the offense will score early, but the defense needs to limit the big plays and continue its newfound success on third down (post-Texas A&M) to get Trask off the field early. If that happens, I see Trask getting his 250 yards and 3 TDs in the first half and then likely seeing Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson in the second half. It will interesting if we are really able to see Emory Jones take the reins of this high-powered offense for a full quarter.
Q: Is Derek Mason a defensive coach we would hire if he is let go at Vanderbilt? - @WiskGator71
A: Good question. I think you would have to ask Dan Mullen to get a full answer. As of now, however, I do not see a need for Derek Mason. Grantham has had a rough season, but the Gators still lead the league in sacks with 19 through 6 games. In addition, his defense has 9 total takeaways. So, I do not see Mullen forcing Grantham out anytime soon as long as he keeps effectively running his scheme. Moreover, I don't think Mason would accept a position job at Florida because I think he would be able to find a Defensive Coordinator job or another Head Coaching job elsewhere.
Q: What is one thing you would like to see improvement on? For me its blocking on the edge for our running backs. - @Bstip76
A: I think you hit the nail on the head. The wide receivers have to do a better job blocking on the outside. So far this season, Kadarius Toney is the only runner out of the backfield to have a rush longer than 30 yards. Take Toney's rush out and Trask has the longest run of 26 yards.
So, the running backs have not been getting big chunk plays up the field on the outside. The group of wide receivers last year were experts at blocking downfield, with Tyrie Cleveland, Van Jefferson and Freddie Swain at the helm. This years group is smaller and a little less experienced, but look for coach Billy Gonzalez to do his best to clean it up before the season's end.
Q: What freshman are you most excited to see play in garbage time? - @Somaus3
A: On offense, I'm excited to see Anthony Richardson showcase his talent. He's only seen 5 total attempts this year, but I think we could see him a few more snaps on Saturday. Also, look for him to find some time in a goal-line situation, much how Mullen use to use Tim Tebow in his time behind Chris Leak.
Defensively, I hope to see some more of Jahari Rogers, Kamar Wilcoxson, Fenley Graham and Derek Wingo. All of those guys have the potential to be stars for the Gators defense in a year or two. Look to see those guys in clean-up time in the fourth quarter if all goes well Saturday afternoon.