Five things to watch for in tonight’s Florida Gators spring game

Photo credit: Florida Gators athletics association

For the first time since 2019, the Florida Gators’ spring game will take place as scheduled. The annual bridge between the past season and the future that lies ahead will begin at 7:30pm and feature four fifteen-minute quarters with running time aside from the end of each half.

You can view the two teams and their complete rosters here.

What should we be looking for tonight (aside from potential commitments from awe-struck recruits, that is)?

1) The play of Anthony Richardson

Pretty obvious, right? Florida is going to rely on Richardson pretty heavily in 2022 as the clear-cut QB1, and this is the closest thing we’ll have to real, live game action to judge him by before Utah invades the Swamp. In particular, I want to see him make good decisions. We already know what he’s physically capable of, but he’s made both good and bad decisions alike in his career at Florida thus far. Let’s see how he goes through his progressions, and what he does when flushed out of the pocket on 3rd and 13.

2) Speed in the backfield

Just because Dameon Pierce will be missed in the backfield doesn’t mean there’s no upside back there. In fact, quite the contrary. Miami transfer Lorenzo Lingard has starred this spring, wowing coaches with his elusiveness, newfound power, and improved footwork, and it’s time to see that in action. And Demarkcus Bowman, while perhaps not quite as impressive as Bowman so far, has certainly done nothing to hurt the hype about him. Time to see them in action.

3) Diwun Black in a major role

He went through commitments to three different schools, spent multiple years in JUCO, and once he finally did make it to Florida, for reasons that continue to defy logic, sat on the bench for the 2021 season. Well, at long last, the time has come to see him in a major role for the Florida Gators. His speed, strength, and overall athleticism have always been off the charts, but I’m excited to see how that translates in a game- even if it is just the Florida Gators’ spring game. To say that the entire Gator fanbase is rooting for Diwun is a spectacular understatement, and tonight could be his first step towards becoming the player we all know he’s capable of becoming.

4) Trench warfare

Florida’s offensive line has been… let’s just be nice and say “problematic” for the better part of the last three seasons. And the spring practices these past few weeks haven’t exactly done a whole lot to drive up optimism. Richard Gouraige has been a bright spot, and Josh Braun has been fine, but Florida’s defensive line- particularly Gervon Dexter- has feasted on the Gators’ offensive line for more of spring ball than not. One side dominating the other in a spring game typically isn’t a good sign for the dominated side, but let’s see if the Gators’ offensive line can at least battle its opposition to a draw on the line of scrimmage.

5) No major injuries

There’s nothing worse in college football than seeing someone suffer a long-term injury in a spring game. Nothing. Naturally, every time a player steps on the field, he invites that risk, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow when it does happen. Here’s to a fun, injury-free Florida Gators spring game tonight.