Photo by Kim Klement (Imagn)
Florida Football

There's no question, this is Trask's team

September 21, 2019

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On Monday, head coach Dan Mullen said Kyle Trask and Emory Jones would split snaps at quarterback against Tennessee.

As expected, Trask, who made his first start since his freshman year of high school, played an overwhelming majority of the snaps, completing 20-of-28 passes for 293 yards (13 yards-per-completion) with two touchdowns and a couple of interceptions as the No. 9 Gators had little trouble in dispatching Tennessee 34-3.

In doing so, he left no doubt that he is the Gators’ guy moving forward.

“Right now, he’s QB1, yeah,” wide receiver Trevon Grimes said. “It’s an honor to say that’s my quarterback.”

His 293 passing yards were the most in a game for a Gator since Austin Appleby threw for 296 yards against, coincidentally, Tennessee on Sept. 24, 2016.

But the stats aren’t the only part of the picture that needs to be noted here; his poise was especially noteworthy. He didn’t freak out under pressure and bounced back from his turnovers. He kept firing balls with confidence.

“I see him being a poised quarterback every day in practice,” Grimes said.

One play in the first quarter illustrates this. Trask, who had fumbled the ball on a sack earlier in the quarter, was under pressure as he looked to throw downfield. Instead of holding onto the ball too long and fumbling again or throwing into double coverage, he threw a dart into the middle of the end zone. While it was a bit too high to be caught, it was impressive that Trask was able to process that he had pressure coming from his right and throw the ball out of harm’s way.

Dan Mullen shared a lot of the same sentiments his team had about their new quarterback.

“Trask played solid,” Mullen said. “It wasn’t like he threw to a defender in the chest. He took a shot on two plays, gave his receivers a chance. You have to make good decisions when taking those chances, but I think he managed the game well.

“I thought he prepared the right way. He’s always been preparing the right way. I wasn’t shocked with his performance last week, and I’m not shocked with his performance this week.”

Mullen said it’s a credit to Trask that he didn’t worry about not being the starter. He kept his head down and prepared to take advantage of his opportunity, whenever it might come.

“It’s something I talk about all the time, worry about what’s important,” he said. “Worry about getting better, being prepared, being ready for the moment. When his number was called, he was ready to go. He’s done that since the day I got here for us as well.”

Trask and the offense opened the game strong as they drove 75 yards in five plays, capping off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Pitts over the middle. Trask said that the Gators “definitely wanted to start fast, and we completed that goal by scoring on the first drive.”

They stalled out after this great start, however. That first drive ended with 12:44 left in the first quarter. The Gators second scoring drive came with 10:02 left in the second. That drive finished with an Evan McPherson 22-yard field goal.

Perhaps slow and steady would be a good way to describe the Gators’ performance in this game, even after their quick start. Seven points in the first quarter, 10 points in the second, and the pattern repeated itself in the third and fourth quarters. The Gators controlled the ball for 34:14 compared to the Volunteers’ 25:46.

Trask, of course, had a lot of pressure relieved from him by his teammates.

“The defense played lights out,” Trask said. “They did their job all four quarters and gave us lots of opportunities.”

Trask credited the receivers for winning their matchups and making his job easy.

“We had great matchups for the receivers, and our receivers work really hard getting open,” he said. “I just got my reads in. My receivers did a great job. My O-Line did a great job of blocking all day. I was really proud of those guys.”

With the win, the Gators move to 4-0 on the season, 2-0 in SEC play. They will host the Towson Tigers next week, and they’ll be hoping to clean up their mistakes in preparation for a tough two-game stretch against the Auburn and LSU Tigers afterward.


Florida Gators vs. Tennessee VolunteersBranded 2019 Football Score T-Shirt - Royal
Florida Gators vs. Tennessee VolunteersBranded 2019 Football Score T-Shirt - Royal

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