In front of virtually no crowd in Nashville, Florida overcame a very lackluster performance to pull away from a subpar Vanderbilt team.
Gators Territory gives you five takeaways from UF’s 38-17 win over the Commodores.
1. Florida has to find an answer at right tackle. Jean Delance has struggled for the better part of two years to protect Kyle Trask, and it’s time to explore a change. At the top of Trask’s drop, I’ve noticed he often looks to the right to see if there’s any pressure coming from that side. And just about every time Trask gets sacked, it’s the pass rusher lined up in front of Delance. That is simply something you can’t live with, especially with a redshirt senior. I don’t know who the coaches should replace him with, but they need to figure it out and fast.
2. The rushing offense is quietly becoming a strength for the Gators. They gained 173 yards at Vandy, marking the fifth time in seven games they’ve rushed for more than 100 yards and the fourth outing with over 150 yards. Though the ground game is not the focal point of UF’s offensive attack, it’s producing enough to keep defenses honest and give Trask some big windows to throw through. Every great offense has balance and it looks like the Gators have been able to find that.
3. Justin Shorter is slowly becoming one of UFs best receivers and a go-to target for Trask. Shorter had scored a touchdown in each of the last three games and set a career high against Vanderbilt with 94 receiving yards on five catches. He has come up with big catches as of late, including a 46-yard reception Saturday, and found his footing in Florida’s high-powered offense.
4. Florida’s receivers need to hit the jugs machine. The wideouts have struggled at times dropping passes that are catchable balls, but Saturday was the worst it’s been. UF dropped a total of four passes and every one of them hit the receiver right in the hands. If those passes get caught, Trask goes for over 400 yards yet again and completes 30 of 35 attempts.
5. The Gators desperately need to get better at tackling. Teams have been the beneficiary all year of Florida failing to bring down ball carriers and receivers, but Saturday might have been the worst effort we’ve seen. It didn’t really matter who it was, either. The defense just couldn’t get guys on the ground and Vanderbilt took full advantage, keeping this game way closer than anyone expected.