Saturday September 1, 2012Gators Receiving Corps Needed a Big Play and Hammond Delivered
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The play was 9-yard hitch route intended to get the Florida offense a first down on a third-and-seven early in the fourth quarter with underdog Bowling Green trailing by just three points.
“We were just looking to get the sticks,” Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel said.
Frankie Hammond saw so much more.
The senior wideout from Hollywood, Fla., hauled in the pass, which was a really good start considering he had two drops earlier in the game. Hammond then spun out of a tackle attempt from cornerback Cameron Truss, then cut back on safety Wyland Ward for a 50-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
“I saw green grass and just ran for it,” Hammond said.
He also saw a lot of smiling Florida faces in the crowd as he raced into the north end zone, thus easing much of the uneasiness in a game that few in the house figured would be so close so late.
The Gators needed a play and they get one from their receiving corps. A big-time YAC (“yards after catch,” that is) play that helped break a game open and take some pressure off a UF defense that spent a lot of time on the field on a very hot afternoon.
“He’s been a consistent guy for us and guy about I’ve always said that it’s just a matter of going out and making some plays for us,” Coach Will Muschamp said. “He finally did it.”
Frankly, Frankie needs to keep doing it.
So do his fellow wideouts.
If the Gators are going to mature offensively behind a young quarterback -- be it Driskel or Jacoby Brissett, who played three series in the second quarter -- and be the physical running team that Muschamp envisions, making things happen downfield in the passing game will be imperative.
“It will help them a lot, yes,” said Hammond, who caught three passes for 62 yards, with the 50-yard score the longest reception of his career. “Not only from our standpoint [as receivers], but from a defensive standpoint. It makes defenses back off. That would open things up for us vertically, but [also] with the running game, play action [passes], all of it.”
Hammond was the fourth read in Driskel’s progression on the scoring play, which says a little something about the freshman quarterback who finished 10 of 16 for 114 yards and the one score.
It’s the goal of Hammond and the likes of Quinton Dunbar (3 catches, 32 yards), Jordan Reed (3 catches, 33 yards), Trey Burton (2 catches, 12 yards) and the rest of the UF receiving platoon and give people reason to say good things about them.