Vanderbilt plays Florida on Saturday, and Vanderbilt is a 39-point underdog against Florida on Saturday.
This doesn’t sound fun! So we asked Topher Adams of Alligator Army, Florida’s SB Nation home (now that Florida doesn’t have EDSBS as its SB Nation home any more, har!), five questions about his Gators ahead of Saturday’s game.
1. So, about the quarterback situation. Backup Anthony Richardson has been electric in limited action, while Emory Jones seems like he’s struggled at times. Are the fans clamoring for Richardson to be the starter, or does Jones seem to be the guy for now?
This question was a lot murkier before Richardson pulled his hamstring against USF. Since that point, really since his interception against Alabama, Emory Jones has looked like the starter and a pretty good one. Even last week against Kentucky he did a good job moving the ball and playing to the game plan.
With that being said, there’s still a ton of people clamoring for Richardson to get more playing time, and I tend to agree. The redshirt freshman is an explosive athlete who looks pretty good pushing the ball down the field. Jones is the starter and should be the starter, but the clock is ticking for the start of the Richardson era.
2. Florida’s defense struggled in 2020, but the Gators seem to have gotten it together this season (when they’re not playing Alabama, anyway.) Is that a function of the competition or has there been real improvement on that side of the ball?
Florida’s defense has actually been really good this year, especially by 2020 standards. A part of that is the opposition, but the unit is generally much improved from a year ago. The defensive line is big and disruptive and the team plays with a lot of speed. But.
Tackling in the second and third levels of the defense has killed this team all year. Just last week, Wan’Dale Robinson broke several tackles on a long touchdown. Alabama was shedding tackles left and right on its touchdown drives. Once things get past the line of scrimmage, things can go south in a hurry.
3. Who are some names for Vanderbilt fans to know on both sides of the ball?
Dan Mullen rotates a lot of guys, maybe too many guys, so there are no true stars offensively, but with that being said, running back Malik Davis is having himself a nice year. Receivers Jacob Copeland and Xzavier Henderson are capable of making explosive plays, if they ever get dialed up.
Defensively it’s all about the defensive line. Senior Zach Carter is one of the nation’s leaders in sacks with 5.5 while sophomore Gervon Dexter has become a dominant interior presence. Kaiir Elam is also a lockdown corner, but he’s been nursing an injury since the Alabama game.
4. How safe is Dan Mullen’s job right now, really?
Mullen isn’t going anywhere. He just signed an extension in the offseason and is in great standing with the administration (who themselves shouldn’t be in good standing but that’s another issue). With that being said, fans are more frustrated with Mullen than ever.
The Gators have lost five of their last six games against power five opponents. They’re effectively eliminated from playoff and SEC title contention by early October. On top of that, he doesn’t recruit at the level of other top programs in the conference.
His seat isn’t hot, but some fans are really starting to turn on him. He could really use another win over Georgia or a big recruiting push to ease the fanbase.
5. Finally, make a prediction for the outcome of the game.
Florida is a better team than Vanderbilt. It’s homecoming and everyone is frustrated. The Gators take out their frustration in this one, 45-7.