Florida Football: The 5 Most Important Takeaways from September
It's been one heck of a month for the Gators. In a mere 30-day span, Florida suffered two huge, season-ending injuries, debuted a new starting quarterback and shook the Twitter-sphere in all the wrong ways.
As Florida moves into Week 6, there's plenty more than a 3-1 record that the team can carry forward.
Vernon Hargreaves III Is a Stud
After only one game in orange and blue, Vernon Hargreaves III swapped his jersey number from No. 16 to No. 1. Though the freshman defensive back had to change numbers due to a jersey conflict on special teams (kicker Austin Hardin sports No. 16), Hargreaves' new number sure suits him.
Hargreaves has wasted no time establishing himself as Florida's newest weapon. He has played in all four games this year, totaling three of UF's seven interceptions to stand as the Gators' top interceptor of the season.
It was his jaw-dropping, third-quarter interception in the end zone versus Kentucky that earned him the honor of SEC Freshman of the Week. Currently, Hargreaves sits at four pass breakups and seven tackles.
Tyler Murphy's Got This
When Jeff Driskel went down during the first half of the Tennessee game, what happened next could've been disastrous.
The guy taking his place was a redshirt junior who had only appeared in three games for UF before this season. Instead, Tyler Murphy stepped up in a big way, making it crystal clear that Florida was in good hands under his leadership for the remainder of the season.
Murphy has showed that he's comfortable in the pocket, can manage a game and adapt to whatever happens between the lines. In his first start against Kentucky, Murphy completed 15-of-18 passes and was perfect through the first half, leading the Gators to its 27th-straight win against the Wildcats.
His persistence in life and his patience. When you get your opportunity, be ready to cash in on it and he certainly did. Life is full of opportunities and you never know when you’re going to be presented with one. And he certainly is taking total advantage of his and done an outstanding job.
The Defense Can Live Up to Its Hype
For the past two seasons, Florida has had the luxury of a sure-thing strength in its defense.
The unit's play this year has certainly backed that so far. Right now, UF's defense leads the SEC in eight major defensive categories: first downs, third-down percentage, red zone percentage, pass defense, pass efficiency, total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense.
No Gator Is Invincible
Just this month, the Gators were pounded with two major blows with the season-ending injuries of QB Jeff Driskel and DT Dominique Easley. Driskel's broken fibula and Easley's torn ACL just add to the list of injuries sidelining major players for UF.
Injuries started to plague the Gators in the preseason with injuries to RT Chaz Green (torn labrum), receiver Andre Debose (ACL), LB Matt Rolin (ACL), who were all sidelined before the football season even began.
Non-season-ending injuries have been plentiful also, stinging just under a dozen players.
Football is a physical game and Florida can't seem to catch a break injury-wise this season. Major hits to the roster have served as a not-so-friendly reminder that any player could go down at any given time.
Florida's Resilience Is Outstanding
On that same token, the Gators have exhibited their ability to bounce back in that "man down, man up" way of play.
With the Arkansas game next up on Florida's docket, the Gators can move into October knowing they can handle anything... so far.