GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It was a sluggish morning on Florida’s campus as the
tailgating crowd was noticeably light several hours before the Gators’ SEC clash with Vanderbilt.
As the teams warmed up on the field, rain started falling from a gloomy gray sky and there is a 50 percent chance of rain
and thunderstorms throughout the game.
Five weeks into the season, Florida is playing just its second home game after having its Week 2 contest with Northern
Here are some pregame observations/thoughts after warmups:
Florida’s injured players look good to go. Nose tackle Khairi Clark has his right calf wrapped up, but he went through
pregame drills with the first-team defense. Linebacker Kylan Johnson (hamstring) is also in uniform after missing the last
two games and worked with the second-team defense. And wide receivers Tyrie Cleveland and Brandon Powell (ribs), who got dinged
up at Kentucky, look fine.
Cleveland, who is the Gators’ leading kick returner this season, did not warm up with the kick returners today.
Dre Massey, C.J. Henderson, Malik Davis and Tyriek Hopkins were the ones fielding kicks before the game.
The punt returners in warmups were Powell, Freddie Swain and Kadarius Toney, who dropped at least one.
Senior safety Nick Washington was announced on the stadium PA system as a defensive starter, but freshman Brad Stewart
lined up at safety with the first-team defense along with Chauncey Gardner Jr. during the final walk-through at the end of
warm-ups. Something to monitor.
Feleipe Franks took snaps from second-team center Tyler Jordan, indicating he is indeed the backup behind starter Luke
Del Rio today.
Freshman running back Adarius Lemons posted an ambiguous tweet before the game. Not sure what he meant by this, but he
was in uniform and active during warmups.
Lastly, a thought. This is a hugely pivotal game for offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. If he can get the offense moving
consistently and hitting on some big plays with his veteran quarterback now running things, then the retrospective analysis
will be that Franks’ inexperience and limitations were as much to blame for the Gators’ early struggles as Nussmeier’s
play calling. If the offense doesn’t look any better today, then that is not a viable excuse and the scrutiny will only
intensify on Nussmeier.