The Florida Gators (8-2) take on the Alabama Crimson tide this Saturday in the SEC Championship. It's been a polarizing season for the team from beginning to end.
Stadium and Gale takes a look at which players played above their expectations and those who fell short.
62 rec for 831 yards and 9 TDs
17 carries for 146 yards and 1 TD
Who would’ve thought? Coming into the season, all Florida fans knew that Kadarius Toney was an uber-talented player. He was shifty, versatile, and an all-around gamebreaker. He’s the type of player that only comes around every decade or so, but could not quite put it together consistently.
He would often either lose five or so yards or gain 40 on every other touch. It looked like by his senior year, Toney would just be a gadget play that Dan Mullen would try to get the ball to 5-6 times per game on jet sweeps and screens. Boy, were we wrong. The light finally turned on for the senior receiver as he has become not only as complete as anyone but also solidified a status as the Gators' second-most dangerous weapon.
Toney has improved his route running, hands and overall offensive awareness. Who would've thought that the former 3-star quarterback out of Alabama would turn into the polished senior receiver we see today.
Torrence hasn’t been perfect this season. He really shouldn’t have had to play at all. The safety unit had three seniors and a junior ahead of him, but nonetheless Torrence has stepped in and played some major snaps for the Gators on defense. He was forced into action in his first game of his career against Ole Miss once senior safety Shawn Davis was ejected for targeting and has been getting snaps ever since.
Torrence has brought sure tackling to the safety position, a place where the Gators have struggled to date. He could use some refinement in coverage, which he should have a full offseason to do if things play out safely in the spring. Torrence has stepped in and played remarkably for the Gators and should become a bright spot on defense in the next few years.
Kyle Trask/Kyle Pitts
Trask: 3,717 Yards, 40 TDs, 70.2 Completion %
Pitts: 36 Rec for 631 yards and 11 TDs
I’m not even going to belabor this point. Heisman Candidate quarterback. One of the biggest offensive playmakers in college football. This duo will go down in history. Fans knew that Pitts was a problem, but they didn’t know he was this dominant. 50/50 balls are his to take, and he can outrun All-SEC corners. Gator fans haven’t seen this dominance... maybe ever (depending on who you ask).
Kyle Trask has outplayed every single one of his expectations from high school and even from last year. He’s set to break most single-season Gators passing records in two to three less games. While he might not win the Heisman trophy, Trask has a story that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.
Stewart Reese was supposed to come in and solidify the offensive line. He spent his first four years at Mississippi State anchoring the right side of the Bulldogs offensive line, and two of those years were in Dan Mullen’s offense. Reese hasn’t been the worst player in the starting unit, but fans did expect more out of the grad transfer.
Reese has allowed the second-most sacks and quarterback pressures on the offensive line this season. Part of his struggles could be attributed to him not having much help to his right in offensive tackle Jean Delance. Either way, he’s been beaten by quicker defensive tackles and has had trouble providing push in the run game. The offensive line could have been worse (i.e last season’s unit), but the marked improvement that fans expected coming into the season just isn't there.
35 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT
Junior linebacker Amari Burney is a unicorn on paper. A 6’2” 220 pound linebacker that runs a 4.4? Sign me up. But he’s not a linebacker. Is he a safety? Maybe a Nickel? We still don’t know the answer, but what we do know is that Burney lacks the physicality of a linebacker. To his defense, he came in as a safety out of high school and didn’t play linebacker until he arrived on campus.
We just haven’t seen that star potential to date. Burney hasn’t been flying around making plays and wrecking offenses like one would expect a player with his measurables to do. He often takes bad angles on run plays, and hasn’t been dependable in coverage either. Expect Burney to move positions once again next season to try and find a spot that he’s more comfortable in and one that can use all of his talents.
Photo Credit: Jordan Herald/@JordanHerald5/UF Football
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