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Flagship Forum Mailbag: 11/27

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

The Florida Gators enter this Saturday’s matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats as the sixth-ranked team in the nation. Today, Aman Hyrams answers your questions about special teams and how the Gator’s might look on offense next season.

Q: It's seems like we haven't blocked a punt in forever, what do you think the reason is? Scheme? Aggressiveness? Execution?

A: Florida fans can think back to the Urban Meyer days, which was the last time that the Gators blocked punts and field goals consistently. Chris Rainey was an exceptional athlete who had insane get-off on the edge. Florida simply doesn’t have Meyer or Rainey in Gainesville and hasn’t in a while.

Florida doesn’t necessarily go for a block every time the opponent punts the ball like it seemed Meyer did. You can also see that Florida has linebacierra at the line of scrimmage for blocked punts rather than those explosive athletes like Rainey.

So to answer the question, part of the reason is scheme and part of the reason is the athletes. Dan Mullen sets up his punt return team to get the ball safely and start the drive without any hiccups. We haven’t seen too many explosive returns over the past few years besides former Gators receiver Freddie Swain’s electric return against Colorado State back in 2018.

Mullen plays conservatively on special teams as a whole, and the way he schemes it up, you shouldn’t expect too many explosive plays as it is. You may see a change in aggressiveness when Florida gets players with more straight-line speed on the roster.

Q: The offense is humming as a pass-first system. Are the guys worried about Mullen returning to a more run-heavy offense post-Trask? Do we think it will mean our total points per game drop once Emory and the other start taking over the next few seasons.

A: I certainly can’t speak for the players on the team but I can say we can expect to see some type of dropoff next year in total offense and total points. It’s inevitable. This won’t be due to the change in scheme, but more so because Kyle Trask is such a special player and a Heisman candidate.

Mullen knows how to get an offense cooking with a heavy dose of the run, just look back at his days as an OC from 2005-2008 and his most recent tenure at Mississippi State. Offense in college football has changed over the past decade, and on offense, so you need to be able to throw the ball at will to put up numbers.

This is why the development of Emory Jones is key. With Jones at the helm, the offense is sure to run the ball with more success, provided that the offensive line makes strides going into next season as well. That being said, Florida needs to move the ball through the air to have an explosive offense, but I wouldn’t be too worried about the run game taking away from the offense as a whole.

If you take a look at some of the more elite offenses this year, like Alabama and Clemson, both the ability to run and to throw the ball at will are present. An added dimension in the run game to the offense shouldn’t impact the offense too much, but you have to remember that this is a special season for Florida on offense. This offense likely won’t see this type of success anytime soon, so I think the players and fans should just enjoy the show that Mullen has orchestrated this season.


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