When CBS analyst Gary Danielson polled the Securities and Exchange Commission, he saw that there were a handful of programs (including the Florida Gators) struggling to rank third after Georgia and Alabama. The difference so far in 20th place UF is quarterback Anthony Richardson, who threw four costly interceptions and no touchdown passes passed.
“Honestly, if Florida doesn’t play quarterback, it’s not going to be good enough against the competition they’re going to have in this game (against Tennessee) or maybe the rest of their schedule,” Danielson said.
So why is Richardson struggling? Danielson, a former Purdue quarterback who spent more than a decade in the NFL, has some ideas.
“No. 1, I think he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders,” Danielson said.
Richardson grew up in Gainesville and became the face of the show this spring when Emory Jones moved in. This is a lot of pressure.
So, too, is the NFL fanfare. He appeared in very early mock drafts as a potential first-round pick before starting his second career.
“I think all this hype is a way out of the game,” Danielson said. “It’s a really good prospect, but claiming it was a pick in the first round was ridiculous. It takes two years of throwing 300 balls, and you get used to being a bystander and going out.”
Danielson also believes that Richardson is not 100% healthy. Richardson said he injured his knee in front of Kentucky but shook it. Either way, first-year coach Billy Napier tried to limit Richardson’s hits while reserve Jack Miller recovers from a thumb injury.
Preventing Richardson from running arguably takes away his best traits, but Danielson said the UF needs more than his legs to beat teams like Georgia and Texas A&M.
He’s going to have to get better in the pocket,” Danielson said. “I don’t think Florida is endowed with a bunch of NFL receivers, but they are good enough to be effective with the quarterback playing better.”
Danielson’s final theory is that Richardson lost his confidence. Richardson admitted this after the Kentucky loss. Danielson saw it happen to Galen Hurts, who lost it in Alabama but got it back after moving to Oklahoma. This does not mean that Richardson needs a change of scenery. But Florida needs to find a way to help him weed out his costly mistakes, dating back to last year’s turnovers against Georgia.
“That’s in your head…” said Danielson. “He’s high on so many throws. The timing looks good. I don’t think it’s that simple now like a successful quarterback fighting with a new system. I think he’s a guy who struggles to get in his pocket and hit his target.”
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