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One of Florida’s biggest problems this year has been turnovers. Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson have combined for 14 interceptions on the year, and the Gators defense rarely gets on the better side of the turnover differential. Although turnovers are what ultimately cost Florida the game against Georgia on Saturday, defensive back Rashad Torrence had a career day with three takeaways of his own.
Torrence, a sophomore from Atlanta, has stepped up this year with injuries plaguing the Florida defense. He’s second on the team in total tackles and first on the team in solo tackles. After nabbing two passes from Georgia’s Stetson Bennet on Saturday, Torrence jumped into the team lead for interceptions. He also picked up a fumble recovery after Jeremiah Moon knocked the ball loose.
“I credit those three turnovers to the whole 11 people on the field, all 11 players on the field at the time,” Torrence said. “I wasn’t able to make that pick without certain pressures, certain covers. We’re just building off of that. Whether I get three or a D-linemen gets three, the defense got three at the end of the day.”
It’s impressive to hear Torrence understand the bigger picture so well at such a young age, especially with Kaiir Elam likely headed to the NFL next year. That kind of maturity will help get the defense back on track through any personnel or coaching changes that may occur after the season. It also makes Torrence a very coachable player.
After catching his first interception, Torrence ran out of the end zone and was tackled at Florida’s 2-yard line. The misplay is somewhat excusable considering it was Torrence’s first career interception, but he explained his thought process on the play anyway.
“As I got the pick, I know I didn’t get it in the endzone,” he said. “I knew if I got tackled in the endzone, that would be two points for the other team. So, my first instinct was to get it out of the endzone. That’s what I did.”
A start on the 20-yard line may have prevented the start of a three-turnover sequence that ultimately did Florida in, but allowing the Bulldogs to score could’ve ignited the fire all the same. And it’s hard to knock a guy who had as many takeaways in one game as the rest of the team combined over the last five.
Torrence’s play provided some hope for the future of Florida’s defense. It may not have been perfect, but it’s something to build on and the Gators are going to keep fighting.
“Just keep playing football,” he said. “I know it’s a lot of outside and even maybe some inside heads, but we as a team are going to keep playing football. As many games that you’ll give us, that’s the games we are going to play.”