This week, the Florida Gators won an ugly game in Nashville against the Vanderbilt Commodores, eking out a 13-6 victory. For the second week in a row the Gators started Austin Appleby at quarterback in place of the injured Luke Del Rio. Appleby has yet to really shine, as he failed to get the ball in the end zone and seemed unwilling to throw the ball down field. Appleby averaged just over 5 yards per attempt, completing 19 of 28 passes, most of which were to his check downs and safety valves. The Florida defense looked decent, performing much better than it did in the second half against Tennessee. Yet, Vanderbilt’s running game repeatedly gashed them for huge chunks of yard. All in all, the Gators looked less than spectacular in their contest with Vanderbilt.

Sophomore running back Jordan Scarlett shone as a major bright spot for the Gators. From the box score alone, Scarlett didn’t stand out, gaining only 55 yards on 12 carries. However, he had the Gators’ only touchdown of the day, and 24-yard run to set up that score. If you watched the game, it was apparent the Scarlett was the best running back on the Florida roster. Scarlett runs as tough and as hard as anyone in the country. He repeatedly breaks tackles, as it routinely took multiple Commodore defenders to take him down. He spent the day running through would be tacklers and gaining tough yards. Jordan Scarlett definitely has the talent to become a household name and could easily become one of the best running backs in the SEC if it wasn’t for his coaching staff.

Coach McElwain is using an odd running back rotation this season. None of the Gator backs seem to get any momentum or confidence going as they are constantly being rotated in and out. Yes, it seems the only thing holding Scarlett back is the fact that the Gator coaches seem hell bent on a committee of 4 running backs consisting of Scarlett, Lamical Perine, Jordan Cronkrite, and Mark Thompson. This strategy has severely limited Scarlett’s effectiveness, though not preventing it entirely. Scarlett is getting more carries than the other backs on the team, with 12 individual carries as compared to their combined 15. If the Gators hope to get their running game to an elite level, they will need to make Scarlett the feature back.

This week Florida plays host to LSU. The Gators hope to have Del Rio back for this game. His return should help open up the running game a little bit with a real threat under center. If Scarlett can get the majority of the work in the Gators’ backfield, look for him to have a breakout game against the Tigers. Scarlett has the talent to be the best running back in the SEC next year, with Fournette and Jalen Hurd most likely moving on to the NFL. Gator fans everywhere should hope to see Scarlett’s workload increase, as he certainly has the talent to make a positive impact on the Florida offense.

Author Details
In the words of the great American poet, Kurtis Blow: “Basketball is my favorite sport, I like the way they dribble up and down the court”. Those words speak to me on a spiritual level, as I too love the game of basketball. I fell in love with basketball while watching Steve Nash and the “7 Seconds or Less” Suns. My love continued to grow through watching the 07-08 Celtics, the 08-09 Magic, 11-12 Thunder, and finally hit critical mass in 2016 after Lebron brought a Championship home for The Land. Through all of my basketball viewing, I have discovered the key to being a fan of the Association: don’t get caught up in cheering for any specific team, and just enjoy the game. Cheer for all 30 teams. It makes it so much better and you’re never disappointed (except when the Knicks win, because that means Jimmy Dolan is happy). That being said, I am the ultimate Lebron James apologist, I want him to win everything, and will defend him until the day I die. In fact, I firmly believe he will end his incredible career as the GOAT. If you don’t agree that’s fine, this is America after all, and you have the right to be wrong.
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In the words of the great American poet, Kurtis Blow: “Basketball is my favorite sport, I like the way they dribble up and down the court”. Those words speak to me on a spiritual level, as I too love the game of basketball. I fell in love with basketball while watching Steve Nash and the “7 Seconds or Less” Suns. My love continued to grow through watching the 07-08 Celtics, the 08-09 Magic, 11-12 Thunder, and finally hit critical mass in 2016 after Lebron brought a Championship home for The Land. Through all of my basketball viewing, I have discovered the key to being a fan of the Association: don’t get caught up in cheering for any specific team, and just enjoy the game. Cheer for all 30 teams. It makes it so much better and you’re never disappointed (except when the Knicks win, because that means Jimmy Dolan is happy). That being said, I am the ultimate Lebron James apologist, I want him to win everything, and will defend him until the day I die. In fact, I firmly believe he will end his incredible career as the GOAT. If you don’t agree that’s fine, this is America after all, and you have the right to be wrong.

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