The Florida football program is a mess. During the course of this 2017 season the Gators have lost over a quarter of their players to suspension/injury. They lost their head coach after he was fired for allegedly making false claims about death threats. They lost to their archival the Bulldogs in the worst fashion possible.
But have they lost their will?
Interim head coach Randy Shannon has plenty of experience being a head football coach in the state of Florida, but this is his toughest task yet – guiding the beaten down Gators through the rest of their 2017 schedule, before he will ultimately be replaced as the head coach and most likely be looking for new work.
Shannon quickly made a change at QB – freshman Feleipe Franks simply wasn’t getting the job done. He looked lost on the field. Grad Transfer Malik Zaire will get the start for the Gators at QB this week. In his limited action at Notre Dame he put up some remarkable numbers. Zaire will provide leadership, an understanding of how to play QB at the college level, and a nice run/pass skill set.
The Gators now head west to Missouri to face the Tigers, who aren’t having much more success in 2017 than the Gators. They’re 3-5 on the season but are favored to beat the Gators in Columbia.
At this point for Gator fans a win wouldn’t do much to calm them after a disastrous start to the season, but the Gators do have an opportunity to save some face here.
Will the team respond to this turmoil in a positive manner? We’ve seen this type of situation lead to highly motivated teams in the past. Or will they fold? Similarly to what their rivals from Tallahassee have seemingly done in 2017.
It’s very difficult to predict what will happen in this one. With so many injuries and suspensions can the Gators overcome being a road dog against Missouri?
Your guess is as good as mine at this point. If I had to make a guess (I do) I would say that the Gators will still struggle to play quality offense, especially after losing star freshman RB Malik Davis for the season. Missouri’s defense has been ugly this season, but so has Florida’s offense. It could be really ugly for both sides when the Gators O is on the field.
On the flip side the Gators defense could have trouble, especially if they play with their tail between their legs, with a Missouri offense that’s putting up over 34 points per game in 2017. QB Drew Locke is playing lights out and has thrown 28 TD passes already this season. The Mizzou ground game has been getting the job done too – they have three runners that have at least 49 carries and are averaging 5.6 yards per carry or more.
Again, we have no idea what the mental state of the Florida team will be and even if they are all there mentally, this is still a tough test. Randy Shannon will do a good job getting the boys ready, but it might not be enough.
SCORE: Florida 17, Missouri 30