It’s time once again to review some highlights from the latest Monday press conference and depth chart.
• Explosive plays: James Franklin said he was pleased with the offense, which had 11 explosive plays compared to its goal of eight. He said the difference in the offense this week was the ability of Vandy’s receivers to catch balls in traffic. Remember, he’s said all along that if our wideouts can’t separate from SEC DBs, he at least expects them to make tough catches while being heavily defended. Matthews and Boyd did just that on Saturday. He also praised Krause for returning to the game as a punt returner after nearly getting his head knocked off a quarter earlier.
• Defending explosive plays: Franklin said the defense held Arkansas to four explosive plays, above the team’s goal of only two. No mention of a certain 96-yard explosive play from the Razorback defense.
• Something to work on: He said he’s concerned about the defense’s inability to stop drives at the end of the half. Here, here.
• Something to feel good about: He reminded everybody that Arkansas was “the same team we lost 49-14 to last year.” But he was quick to add: “We gave it away… We got to learn to win.”
• Something else to feel good about: He pointed out that Florida is dead last in the nation in fewest penalties and is last in the SEC in worst turnover margin.
• Looking ahead to the future: Franklin said this spring he plans to meet with Commodores currently playing in the NFL to get them involved in the program and make sure they’re happy with the direction of the program.
CHANGES TO DEPTH CHART
• Receivers: As usually, Boyd and Matthews are listed as co-starters at the x-receiver, but in the latest depth chart Matthews is also listed as a co-starter with Krause at the y-receiver. So maybe we’ll see Boyd and Matthews in the game at the same time. Kind of makes sense, huh? Wesley Tate is still listed as the z-receiver, but lately we’ve been starting FB Fitz Lassing instead. So far, Matthews has started six games, Krause five, Boyd three and Tate two. Udom Umoh’s also started two games, but his playing time at receiver has diminished.
• Offensive line: Looks like redshirt junior Josh Jelesky, who moved from defensive end in the preseason, will get his first career start at any position on Saturday, beating out right guard Mylon Brown. Franklin said Brown has made huge strides since the winter, but that Jelesky, whose playing time has increased over the past two games, has passed big Mylon for now on the depth chart. He would be the ninth O-lineman to start for the Commodores this season, joining Ryan Seymour, Kyle Fischer, Wesley Johnson, Chase White, Logan Stewart, Andrew Bridges and Jabo Burrow.
• Freshmen on the depth chart: The emergence of Jelesky, the return of Stewart, and the fact that redshirt junior Caleb Welchans is now listed at both backup center and right tackle has led to the disappearance of true freshmen linemen Joe Townsend and Spencer Pulley from the depth chart. That leaves RB Jerrod Seymour and DT Barron Dixon as the only true freshmen on the depth chart. Mitchell Hester made a brief appearance as a backup punt returner a few weeks ago but has yet to enter a game. Another true frosh, Dillon van der Wal, is seeing action at tight end and on special teams.
• Mr. Versatile: Speaking of tight ends, have you noticed that Andrew Bridges, who’s 6-6, 270 pounds and who started at tackle against Army, was playing tight end and wearing No. 43 in goal line situations against Arkansas? Cool, huh? And on at least one play, guard Ryan Seymour, who’s 6-6 and 300, lined up wide at tight end in the same formation as Bridges. Now if we could just get Vince Taylor to line up in the wildcat.
• Defensive end: Walker May is listed as a starter at defensive end over Johnell Thomas who’s started five games to May’s three.
• Strongside backer: Chase Garnham, who sat out Saturday’s game with injury, is listed as a co-starter with redshirt junior Al Owen, who started the first game of his career against Arkansas. Safety Karl Butler is listed as their backup.
• Safety: Javon Marshall, who’s started five games at free safety, is listed as the sole starter though Kenny Ladler’s started three games and has been listed as the co-starter in the past.
• Kicker: Carey Spear and Ryan Fowler are both listed as the No. 1 placekicker.