The second that Jeff Driskel waved to the sideline after throwing that interception I was hoping that his knee brace came off or something like that. Then he tried to get up and fell back down.
I'll admit that from my seats in the sunshine section (where I always sit, for some reason I love that area of the stadium) that I didn't even see the Tennessee player score the touchdown. I was just staring at Driskel. Then he got up and walked to the sideline under his own power. I gave a sigh of relief.
Then on the sideline he used to crutches to get off the field.
So I began texting.
It took about five minutes before I knew that he had an ankle issue because that's what CBS was reporting at the time. About ten seconds later I found out that whatever it was he was now out for the remainder of the game. I sighed again and just thought that Tyler Murphy better be ready, because the keys to the Florida Gators kingdom are now in his hands.
Turns out he was ready for the Tennessee Volunteers. The rest of the season, well, that remains to be seen. But hey, if you're going to make your first ever start, on the road, I can't really think of a better place than Kentucky. We all know his stats against Tennessee by now: 8-for-14 passing for 134 yards and a touchdown, and 10 carries for 84 yards and another touchdown.
The offense looked exactly like it did at the beginning of the season last year with Driskel at the helm.
And that's a great thing.
Play No. 1: Murphy's 52 yard touchdown pass to Solomon Patton
This play is a great icebreaker. A quick throw to help continue to calm the nerves of Murphy and Patton will end up taking care of the rest. Also, there is a great block on the play by Trey Burton right after Patton completes the catch that allows for Patton to get a defender into an one-on-one situation.
The location of the throw is good enough for Patton to maintain at least some of his forward momentum, though the play does have him taking a step back so Murphy put the ball in a good location.
As Patton completes the catch, Burton is lining up his block which he does successfully. All Patton has to do is beat one defender and he's got the first down.
At this point of the play, it's all Patton. Patton will get past the first defender and speed down the sideline while outrunning the rest of the Tennessee defense. You can't teach speed folks, you either have it or you don't.
Play No. 2: Mack Brown's 3 yard touchdown run
Brown, who I think still looks a lot better than Matt Jones, will take the handoff and after some great blocks will walk into the endzone and put the Gators up 10.
Max Garcia (yellow square) who pulled over from the left side of the line gets the key block as now Brown only has to outrun one defender to score the touchdown.
He's got the speed (as he should) to get into the endzone.
Make no mistake about it: this play is a run by design. This is also the type of play that the Gators ran to great success in the first half of the season last year as they rose to become the No. 2 ranked team in the country. But because they tried to protect the health of Driskel they got away from it.
As the play develops Murphy has the space to get close to the endzone but the number of defenders that are free appear at first glance to be too much. Quinton Dunbar who is out in the open will attempt to get in a block, but he'll miss and Murphy will be on his own.
Murphy makes a great cut to the inside and begins to dive safely into the endzone for the touchdown.
Murphy would also have a great throw to Dunbar down the sideline (we'll go ahead and profile that play tomorrow) but because of the camera angle I couldn't really show you on a close-up the location of the ball.
All in all though, Murphy looked good. He came in and performed great when his number was called and hopefully that trend continues the rest of the season. The Gators season is now in the hands of a former two-star recruit who signed with the program under Urban Meyer.