Florida Gators football
It’s time to bring the 2021 Florida football team to a conclusion after months of secretive sessions and sneak glimpses on Instagram Live.
The No. 11 Gators, the reigning SEC East champions, kick off their season against Florida Atlantic and second-year coach Willie Taggart tonight at 7:30 p.m. Dan Mullen, who is in his fourth season at UF, is eager to see how his team handles playing in front of a full house for the first time in 21 months.
Mullen remarked, “We’ve been preparing for so long, I mean… I’m eager to see these guys walk out.” “I can’t wait to watch them play and perform in front of a full stadium and in front of fans after all the hard work they’ve put in. I’m sure these boys are eager to go out there and explore. “
No one is more pumped than quarterback Emory Jones, who will start for the first time against the Owls. He expects eight family members to travel from LaGrange, Georgia to see the game.
Jones said, “It’ll certainly be thrilling for those folks.” They’ve already started contacting me, telling me how happy they are with me and how proud they are of me for sticking it out and waiting my time. It’s almost time for me to show the world what I’m capable of. As a result, I’m ecstatic. “
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His family isn’t the only one who is encouraging him and praising his patience. Jones has received messages from former Florida quarterbacks Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow since taking over as the starting quarterback from Kyle Trask.
“[Wuerffel] pounced on me a lot. Tim Tebow occasionally texts me. Jones said, “It’s certainly a fraternity.” “Basically, you’re encouraging me to embrace it.” And making sure I’m at my best every day, bringing enthusiasm into the workplace and leading the men around me. They just tell me they’re proud of me for hanging in there and waiting it out.
“Those men are constantly looking back to give back to us or whomever is in that position,” says the narrator. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m assuming full responsibility for everything that happens in this job. “
Anthony Richardson, the backup quarterback, will be utilized in the same way that Jones was in previous years. In addition to Trask, UF lost first-round selections Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney, as well as senior Trevon Grimes, from the nation’s top-ranked passing offense last season.
The Gators are restocking receivers rather than rebuilding them.
With Jacob Copeland, Kemore Gamble, Xzavier Henderson, Justin Shorter, Trent Whittemore, Rick Wells, and Keon Zipperer in the receiving corps, the Gators look ready to reload. With top returners, Dameon Pierce, Malik Davis, and Nay’Quan Wright, as well as five-star transfers Demarkcus Bowman and Lorenzo Lingard, this year’s offense is anticipated to be more run-heavy.
Wright stated of Bowman and Lingard, “Those guys have been a big add-on to the running back group.”
“Everyone is aware of their responsibilities and is prepared. The coach prepares us and we all receive repetitions, live and practice, regardless of who is first, second, third, fourth, or fifth. So, we all know what our roles are, and when our numbers are called, we’ll all take advantage of them. “
Florida’s defense, seeking to rebound from last season’s difficulties, may be able to take advantage of an FAU offense that has a new coach and quarterback. Taggart’s co-OC and quarterbacks coach is Michael Johnson, a veteran NFL assistant who was on Taggart’s staff at Oregon.
N’Kosi Perry, a Miami transfer and native of Ocala, was named the Owls’ starting quarterback last week. Perry had a 6-3 record as a starter with the Hurricanes, starting 24 games and throwing for 2,484 yards, 24 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, and a 52.4 completion percentage, while also running for three additional touchdowns and 217 yards.
Mullen said of Perry, “I believe he’s got tremendous athletic ability and obviously has some terrific size, but he’s also a very excellent passer on top of that.” “They’re going to place him in various positions, so you have to appreciate his arm skills and his stature as a pocket man to be able to see and be that tall and long. However, you must be mindful of his physical abilities as well as his capacity to produce outside of the play. “
Todd Grantham is no stranger to FAU’s quarterback.
Perry has been scouted by UF defensive coordinator Todd Grantham before. Grantham had to prepare for two quarterbacks before Miami’s 2019 opener against the Gators, as he was battling with Jarren Williams.
Grantham said of Perry, “We had previously done a little study on him and knew his skills and the things that he brings to the table.”
“Because they’re athletic, the players that were there last year were heavily engaged in the quarterback-run game. From a passing perspective, this person definitely adds a bit more dimension, so you’ll have to account for that.
“However, we were aware of him as a Miami transfer, and we had scouted him when we played those players. When you see their offense, we think it’ll stay very much the same, but with him in there, it’ll have a little more of a passing aspect to it. “
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Grantham’s defenses have led the SEC in sacks the past two seasons, and with the talent returning in the front seven — led by preseason first-team All-SEC selection Zachary Carter — and the addition of graduate transfer defensive tackles Daquan Newkirk, Antonio Valentino, and Tyrone Truesdell, this year’s unit could do it again.
Florida will debut its retooled secondary on Saturday night, with new starters at cornerback (Avery Helm), nickel (Tre’Vez Johnson),
and safety (Trey Dean, Rashad Torrence II), as well as new position coaches Wesley McGriff and Jules Montinar.
“I’m excited about seeing how these people perform. Since January, they’ve worked their tails off, “Grantham added. It’s about us being true to ourselves, which has always been quick, muscular, and aggressive. That seems to have been accepted by the players. It’s all about working together as a team.
“Because if we play together as a unit and everyone contributes their own skills,
we may generate synergy that enables the unit to perform better than the individual components. If we can continue to develop in that direction throughout the season,
I believe we will be the kind of team we want to be. So now it’s just a question of getting on the field and playing. “
The first game of the season
No. 11 Florida vs. Florida Atlantic
When: Today at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Steve Spurrier-Florida Field
The SEC Network is on television.
Radio stations: AM-850, 98.1 FM, and 103.7 FM
Tickets are available at FloridaGators.com/tickets.
Gators ready to unveil new-look offense, improved defense against Owls