Gators embrace ground and pound element

Florida takes on Tennessee at 7 p.m. Saturday
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 11:10 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -One of the more fascinating subplots of the Gator football season has been Florida’s offensive transformation, the kind you rarely see at the college level in a span of just one year without a coaching change taking place.

In 2020, Florida was all about the air attack and led the nation is passing yards, led by quarterback Kyle Trask, tight end Kyle Pitts, and receiver Kadarius Toney, among others.

This year, the Gators have pounded opponents on the ground. They rank second in the country in rushing yards, out-gaining opponents 1,045 to 381 on the ground with 11 touchdowns.

It’s a speaks to being able to utilize one’s talent to max capability. Quarterbacks Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson are elusive, and each running back brings something different to the field. And with Richardson potentially back on Saturday against Tennessee, offensive linemen like Kingsley Eguakun are chomping at the bit.

“Personally, I like running the ball,” said Eguakun, a fist year starter at center. “As an o-line, we have a different mentality now, we want to come off the ball and knock people back and assert our dominance.”

“The worst thing I could ever say as a coach is I have a great system but it doesn’t fit our players,” said head coach Dan Mullen. “Ours is to make sure it has enough adaptability within the system to make sure it fits whatever our personnel is.”

Florida is averaging 7.6 yards per carry through three games. The Tennessee defense could post a challenge. The Volunteers are yielding just 1.7 yards per carry in their 2-1 start.

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