For all the positive vibes they gleaned Saturday night before a gradually disappearing audience, the Gators know they still must conquer their consistency issues.
Still too many three-and-outs and muffed progressions. Too few running lanes.
"The consistency has to improve," Coach Dan Mullen said immediately following the Gators' 47-21 win at Tennessee. "We can't be like, big, explosive play, terrible play. … The mental toughness of the discipline of doing it exactly right every time is critical for us."
But if at some juncture their consistency reaches their level of opportunism, the Gators might — might — stun some people in Year One of the Mullen era.
Florida forced six turnovers Saturday night, lifting its season total to 14 takeaways. By contrast, the Gators had 17 all of last season, which tied for 81st nationally.
But even more astounding: Florida's four fumble recoveries against the Vols were one more than they recovered all of last year. They now have 10 fumble recoveries in four contests.
"Some of the turnovers were great effort plays as well," Mullen said. "You hear, 'But he's a lucky player, the ball always seems to bounce into his hands.' Usually it's also the hardest-playing guy on the field. It's amazing how that luck works out."
If it keeps working out at this pace, who knows where the Gators' "luck" will take them.
"You get that many possessions, especially from the defense creating all those turnovers, they did a really good job today," QB Feleipe Franks said. "It just puts us in situations, especially putting us in good field position to get touchdowns."