Ten years ago or longer, the title might have read "Gators Easily Dispose of the Bucaneers; Tune Up for SEC Opponent a Success." And maybe it still could, but this one was a little different coming off of a decade of misery. So many unknowns to be found out about (as much as you can in a game against Charleston) and maybe even the specter of Georgia Southern looming for a few! Really, one of the biggest things everyone wanted to see, myself included, was what the QB picture looked like, at least as much as we could in a warm up, and what would we look like with Mullen's offense, termed "middle school" and other such descriptors? I don't know that we have complete answers, but the results were maybe better than many expected, but what was hoped for. The key will be if they carry over against UK and progress each game thereafter (injuries, suspensions, etc. notwithstanding). So, let's talk about last night... *I'd have to say I was pleased with Mullen's plan and execution for the opener. We threw the ball much more with the ones than I expected, special teams were solid and featured some of the established players (very Meyer-like), and the D, while pretty vanilla with the exception of a couple of blitzes, flew around and made plays and looked to tackle much better than with the previous staff. Mullen clearly wants to be here and be successful and that came through to me in his words, demeanor, and what we saw on the field. A welcome change. *What has been gained in the S&C program with Savage was very evident to me. We not only looked leaner and more fit as well as stronger in most positions, but I don't recall seeing the multitude of cramping nor injuries that a first game can bring. So we must have shelved the Pilates, PB&J's, and the optional workouts! *We looked to have some playmakers that want to step forward on D. Polite gave us a glimpse last year and he looks like he's ready to be the next big DE. Great first step on the rush and a motor that doesn't quit. But maybe his most impressive play was the feather technique on the option when he forced the bad pitch and turnover. You don't see that everyday. Secondary was solid in coverage, even if it was against a team not noted for a vaunted passing attack, the LB's had some good plays, and the front was pretty good as well. All in all what you want to see in the warm up. *McPherson looks like he will be a solid kicker. Maybe not quite as much fanfare as Edie, but we should have him longer and with just as much if not more effectiveness. I looked around, but couldn't find any shots of him and Mullen riding around campus taking selfies in an Escalade. Kinda warmed my old heart! *OL was good in pass pro, a little less blocking the run IMO. Not ready to run for the hills just yet because we all know just how poorly or erratic this group has been for so long, but we need to see improvement each week and the building of depth. Hevesy should be an upgrade to what we've had, but he's still got his work cut out for him. *Got to give a shout out to my man from Bainbridge Dee Pierce. Even though his carries were in the second half with the two's against Charleston, he ran like he did in HS. His lower body strength, which has grown even more under Savage, was impressive and even on the shorter runs he can move the pile. The RB position really looks to be as strong and deep as reported. Dee also made the highlight reel on a kick cover. Great way to start for a young guy with a lot of promise. *Last but not least, it was clear why Frank's was named the starter. I have some crow to eat because I didn't think he would be able to show the development that he displayed. He was very efficient and showed some touch on many of his passes that most expected would be the missiles he would previously have thrown. There were even a few check downs that were here to fore unseen and not the typical forced throws that we had come to expect. In short, it looked as if he'd actually been coached and put more time into his own preparations than was expected. Mick and Lee made a good point post game when they pointed out that of his five TD passes, four were under ten yards and could have been run in for scores, so clearly Mullen was trying to build confidence with his plan for Franks and his continuing development. He also looked very comfortable in the pocket and his decision making was much better than expected, particularly when he ran. Looking for carry over and the next step up from him against UK and something tells me he won't get the uncovered receivers this time around! As for Trask and Jones, they'll remain the back up and work in progress respectively, so we all should root for Felipe's continued development and good health. A lot to like for the beginning of the Dan Mullen era. Not quite ready to crown him king just yet, but the throne may be out there somewhere, at least comparing him with the last two HC's. I'm excited enough that I'm planning to try and get down for the Colorado State game and the tail gate. Got to cover a cross country event first thing that morning, but hopefully can get there in time to meet you guys in real life. Should be a blast. It's early, but the vibe is that Gator football might just be fun again. Go Gators!