That’s More Like It
Ten Suspensions and the Wolverines
Ten suspensions to start the season, Gator Nation!
Seriously. It does border on absurd. We will get into that shortly. I wish they had moved the game up to noon Wednesday so that we don’t lose any more players between then and 3:30pm EST on Saturday…but that is just me being selfish. I actually have no issues with the suspensions and this is the game for them to be adjudicated, and maybe also the next one. Without waiting for the investigation process to fully complete itself, I believe this is Coach Mac’s way of saying “we know they did it, so I’m moving forward with the punishment.” Ultimately, Coach Mac gets the last laugh with Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh over the roster because who knows who will be available by game time. Let’s talk some football…
All right, I just checked….no more suspensions…yet. No, seriously, I just checked. That means we’re going with what we have at this point. Felipe Franks was named the starter a few days ago. Color me very not surprised, Batman! If you have followed the Gators since Franks was recruited, Coach Mac has positioned him for this moment. The transfer and acquisition of Malik Zaire from Notre Dame helped bolster our QB depths and having an experienced QB in Luke Del Rio doesn’t hurt. I’m also not on the bandwagon that Del Rio had his chance and we don’t need him. Yes we do. In games he was healthy last year, he played solid. He can reliably lead the offense if he isn’t running for his life. Our O-Line will be much improved and I think the QB’s will have adequate protection and plenty of playmakers around them. Franks just has more of an upside overall and Coach Mac knows that, so into the spotlight he goes. This is actually the game to do it and it is a good decision. I think there will be plenty of playing time for Zaire in different packages. Del Rio is the backup and be glad we have him.
Michigan is only returning five starters and to hear all the talk by the analysts there should be no drop off whatsoever by these new starters. In fact, with Harbaugh at the helm these Wolverines will be better than last year. He has recruited well the last two years and they will be good to go. Riiiiiiiiggghhhhhhtt. To be fair, Harbaugh’s ability to take poor performing teams and make them great right away is legendary. He has recruited well (if memory serves so have we). There is no doubt that he brings intensity, excitement and the intangibles to the game. I don’t think that will be enough and I don’t think, even with a returning QB in Wilton Speight, Michigan will have enough. They will be good, but they won’t have enough. Not for the first game. Not with all the suspensions. Not with the perceived loss of institutional control at UF. I think this will still be a showcases for the Gators and I think we may see a bright future ahead.
Depending on whether we win big or win by just enough will be about our defense. The defense returns 12 players who started at least one game lat year. We will have a noticeable drop in the secondary, but not earth-shattering. Our D-Line should be stronger than ever and we may be actually able to field a stable of Linebackers this season…..after they serve their suspensions. If we can be solid and reliable in our secondary, our run defense should be very, very strong. It will be a different defense this year, but it will be good. At least, good enough for now.
Our offense will be fine with Antonio Callaway and Jordan Scarlett. I consider Lamical Perine and Malik Davis suitable backups at running back and we are not without a shortage at receiver. The more troubling issue is how much time and energy has been dedicated to what has to be a considerable distraction at practice. This is where Coach Mac is going to earn his salary. Can he get the team focused on what they need to do to win? Can he instill some control over a program in disarray? Truthfully, I have thoughts on who is really at fault in all of this, but that is a lengthy debate for another time and venue. I don’t debate whether the suspensions should happen or be increased in length. You make bad choices and their are consequences. We will be fine and missing a non-SEC game is better if you are a fan and being not objective at all in this discussion.
I just honestly believe that Year Three of the Coach McElwain is going to be a big year. He has talent and depth which has not existed in the past two years. We just have to go out and win. We will win against Michigan. Florida 34 Michigan 21. We won’t be without some tense moments. I’m also sure we will see highlights from our past three losses as well…but no CBS or Gary and Vern (Win!!). Game time 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm PST. Game on ABC. Join your local Gator Club where a Victory over Michigan for the first time EVER will be EPIC and best enjoyed with your fellow Gators! ‘Nuff said.
Bowl Win and a (Relatively) Bright Future
No one thought that we were going to win the Outback Bowl by a score of 30-3 at this stage of the season.
Ok—-yes it was Iowa. Not the greatest of offensive teams out there. Frankly, the common held belief was that a score of 12-9 was probably the most likely outcome. You know you were thinking this, too.
All that said, Iowa did possess a reasonably good defense that was healthy and was rested. Of course, we were rested as well, but we were still playing without six starters. We can address that later, but our offense with a few scares at the beginning was reliable for the most part. When Mark Thompson took that swing pass at the end of the first half, you had a sense that this game might go better than expected. When DeAndre Goolsby scored a TD (twice) on the same drive, the word “blowout” was possibly coming to mind. I did not expect three interceptions and one returned for a TD, but you knew that Iowa wasn’t going to make a massive comeback running the football….which wasn’t gashing us for big run after big run.
In the end, it was a very satisfying win. Which begs the question “Why?”
Well, for one, I will personally admit (very hard for me to do) that there were Gator names on defense that I had barely heard during the season….and they were playing well. Yes, again, it was Iowa. None the less, that is promising.
After the two interceptions on successive drives, we were moving the ball all day. We had some drives end in punts, but there were very few three and outs during critical periods of play (we did have them at the end of each half) and the one play, 85 yard TD run by Thompson. Our defense HAD time to recover and when it was rested, was playing at a high level. Young players and quality D play….good times.
Running game….yes, we had one! Jordan Scarlett has at the end of the season, solidified himself as the featured back. I was kind of hoping he would get one more carry and six yards to break 100, but in between passes, he was solid in his performance. Iowa may not seem like much at present, but coming into the game, they did have a run defense. The fact that we could run bodes well for…..
…the offensive line. Returns 12 players next year. Quality recruits coming in with National Signing Day looming. There may be a ray of sunshine in our offense next year. It has been the weakest link in the Gator football team for awhile. A team that puts up 30+ points a game next year would be fun to watch.
Finally, what was most satisfying was the focus. Even after two straight interceptions to open the game, the Gators did not ever look defeated. Did not look like it wasn’t their day. Were battling the entire game. Looked more energized at the end than they did at the beginning. It is something we have missed for awhile, but came at a very good time for us because this win in particular should bode well for recruiting.
Were it not for a hurricane-reduced schedule, we could be looking at successive 10-4 seasons and a current bowl win. That is the right direction. One stellar QB and a force of an offensive line in place and we get right back to where we are all comfortable. Winning by A LOT!! You have to love that. ‘Nuff said.
The SEC is Bad and We Played Horrible
That seems to be the sentiment this morning, Gator Nation!
Sure, we did not put 50 on UMass like we should have. We looked pedestrian at times and the fact remains our Offensive Line is nowhere near where we need it. Truthfully, at halftime of our game last night the best SEC team was…..Kentucky who was up 35-0 on Southern Miss…..then absolutely collapsed and Alabama was behind 3-0 to USC. Georgia was the lone bright spot in an absolutely horrid weekend of play and, honestly, I didn’t think they played that well either. Is this a down year in the SEC? Are we going to struggle like last year? Yes, no, maybe, let’s talk some football…
We have a kicker, so let’s start with that Eddy Pineiro was absolutely as billed. Just came in with ice in his veins and knocked three 40+ yard field goals like they were a day at the park. He also brings a ton of energy and enthusiasm which is not a bad thing to have on the team. If I sound optimistic, I will point out that he technically kicked and made over half the sum total of our made field goals last season (we did remove one from the scoreboard on a penalty). The conditions were atrocious as well, so the fact he made them is a plus.
Our O-Line is young and most of our offense last night was geared at getting them going and in the game. I agreed with Coach Mac’s decision to take away the made FG and go for it on 4th and 1 in the red zone. Either we have what it takes to move the ball or we don’t. We didn’t last night and it was apparent all night long. Luke Del Rio managed the game well at QB and didn’t make any gross errors. He threw good passes, but never really stretched the field. Had he connected on the opening pass for a TD the tone might have been considerably different. The fact we went for an opening play like that in the pouring rain was actually impressive. NOTE: the rain is neither a factor in our play nor an excuse. A team still has to execute. I think there is more to the game than the score as well. Running plays over on the side of true freshman, Jawaan Taylor, is more likely a need to beef up the game experience of the entire line itself rather than a need to score more point.
Yes, we were only up by 3 at the end of the third quarter, but we had the game in control. Our defensive line performed well…too aggressive at times because UMass doesn’t score were it not for 35 yards in penalties on the one scoring drive they had. Our secondary was not the same without Teez Tabor and having Duke Dawson leave early did not help. Our young DB’s were often confused on routes. I would expect a big difference next week in this area, primarily because Tabor is the leader of that unit and having him around is a good thing. Dawson went out with an arm injury. Will have to wait and see the outcome on this. As I explained in my Facebook post this week my two areas of concern for this team are the offensive line and the secondary. Not where we need them to be at this point.
I’m going official with this next proclamation. I’m done with the running back by committee. Yes, it was the proper game to do it, but leave it at alone at this point. Give the ball to Jordan Scarlett until he proves he can’t do the job. Rest him on plays with the others, but let him carry the load. Period. (I know McElwain is absolutely on pins and needles now that I’ve said this!)
Mississippi State, Kentucky, Auburn, LSU, Tennessee, South Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas and the Gators did not represent well this weekend. Whatever. Some were embarrassing losses, some were potentially embarrassing. Regardless, next week is next week. A team figure things out, game plans and moves on. I admit I was a bit giddy watching UT and South Carolina struggle on Thursday night. Then watching the rest of the SEC lay stink bombs one after the other heightened that giddiness. That obviously went away when I watched us last night. At one point, I believed we were going to be the bright spot in the SEC this weekend. Turned out not to be true. Regardless, what will we will do is develop our talent. Get more game reps in and work on the experience of a young team. We get some playmakers back this next game and make some progress in our ability to execute. I’d rather have a lackluster effort this week and win than a poor showing next week and lose. I think our O-Line is in for a brutal week of practice. That can only be a good thing.
It’s one weekend. The conference has had a great run for well over a decade. Odds were going to be like this at some point. Time to focus on the next game. We have Kentucky next week and the possibility of extending the win streak to 30 games. Kentucky had an implosion at home last night so they likely have a long week ahead of them as well. You just gotta love college football, Gator Nation!
Game Day and McElwain
I couldn’t resist, Gator Nation!
My current personal situation requires a very conservative approach to social media, so the postings stopped and the weekly updates stopped. I didn’t mind too much because it was quite a bit to keep up with, but I couldn’t let the start of new season and new coach go by without some comments. I mean….that’s what I do….I comment on things. Things have been just too juicy for me to pass up this opportunity, thus I have some thoughts to share. We open the season against New Mexico State who will not show us anything about what the Gators are made of, but are a perfect opponent to get things rolling. Let’s talk some football…
The Jim McElwain era begins today and there is room for hope. He has approached the off season time with an attitude to “win now”. He made some moves to shore up our issues on the offensive line and he has positioned athletes as playmakers (see Brandon Powell) in hopes of generating far more offense than we have seen in recent years. That said, our offense will not be on the production of the Spurrier or Meyer teams just because we still have issues on the O-Line and we don’t have all the playmakers we need for an explosive offense. There have plenty of articles on the last time we played New Mexico State 25 years ago and the offensive juggernaut that were the Steve Spurrier teams, but he had an incoming trio of freshman receivers (along with Jack Jackson) that would go on to win us the National Championship. For the rabid Gator fan out there that is just ACHING for some serious offensive play here is my rule of thumb for the game and how best to judge the upcoming season in terms of what we can expect from the offense. If we are in the vicinity of 60 points at the start of the 4th quarter (think 60 +/- 5 points) then I would expect a far better offensive showing than the last four years. If we are in the vicinity of 40 points at the start of the 4th quarter (40 +/- 5 points) then I would not expect anything different than what we have seen in recent history. I don’t think this is a result of the coaching, but the O-Line, and the near term loss of Martez Ivey, combined with not enough receiving talent will be something that is hard to overcome this year. I think we have potential for a strong running game with Kelvin Taylor and company, but again it comes down to the O-Line and if we don’t have as much success passing downfield then it becomes a repeat of last year. We will just have to see.
Before I forget, we have a new Indoor Playing Facility (IPF). Yay. Moving on. Much has been made of the defense. I think our secondary will be good, but I’m not as confident about our pass rush on the D-Line or even how consistent our linebackers will be. I’m sure we all want to see a shutout. That would be nice. However, based upon New Mexico State’s QB play last year, it is very conceivable that we record 3-4 interceptions. Not kidding here. They threw multiple interceptions in 9 games last year. That’s A LOT! It is possible that we see a couple of defensive scores….which we all know I love, but will really not be indicative of anything significant other than watching Gator blue running early and often into the end zone. VH3 is set to be the punt returner as well as our premier defensive back. Among other things, that should be fun to watch. I know the first game of a head coach is huge for the fan base so we have some themes for this weekend’s game. How well will Treon Harris and Will Grier play? Is our defense for real? Is our offense better than expected? Will we pass down field? Special teams? How about Brandon Powell as a slot receiver? The bottom line is this…you have to be watching tonight. If you are a hard-core Gator like me or even a passing Gator fan, this game has too much to offer in the way of excitement, hope and amusement to pass it up. If this season turns out to be even special, then who better to celebrate it with than all of the Gator Nation!?!? It is like no other….and we are due. Gators 70 Aggies 3. I have always gone big with scores, but I expect more special teams and defensive scores than normal, so don’t read that much into this. It will be a great start to the Coach McElwain era and the excitement will build. If the last four years have left you ambivalent, then tonight should be an exception. Go to your nearest Gator Club and enjoy a festive atmosphere with the Gator Nation with a Victory over the Aggies in the Swamp! ‘Nuff said.
Teaching a Debt Perspective to 12-Year-Olds
Teaching a Debt Perspective to 12-Year-Olds.
via Teaching a Debt Perspective to 12-Year-Olds.
Ok, Gator Nation, not my usual rant.
Absolutely loved how well this presentation was written. With kids who fall into the age range (and soon bound for college) for this presentation on debt, I thought it was truly a great piece and worth sharing. Whether you buy into the premise or not, I thought it laid out a fairly great argument.
Posting for your use and reference.
Gator Men’s Basketball still #1 and an interesting last week to go in the regular season. If you’re not following you should.
Back On Top
It seems after a dismal football season, the spring is shaping up nicely for the Gator Nation!
That is not to say that the fall was not without its successes. The Lady Gator Volleyball team did quite well as did the Lady Gator Soccer team. Right now, though, is quite a different story.
The Men’s Swimming and Diving team just captured the SEC and is currently ranked #1. So is the Women’s Softball team, currently undefeated and ranked atop the polls. Lest we forget, we are a current gymnastics powerhouse, ranked #1 and having defeated both #2 and #3 in head to head meets this year. We’re talking about a National Champion program repeating as a National Champion. There is probably an entire post on the Women’s Gymnastics program itself (Note to self: may want to follow up on the one).
A quick shout to the Women’s Basketball program. I was able to watch them play UK in Lexington last month as they beat the #5 team in the nation and then beat them again this month when UK visited Gainesville. They are suiting up 9 players because of injury and they play hard. Right now, they are in a good position to make the NCAA tournament…so keep an eye on the rest of their season.
Fact remains is that it is always Great to Be a Florida Gator, but especially now with our student-athletes doing so well. You just have to make sure you’re following all the right sports. Women’s Lacrosse has not yet began, but I expect good things from them as well.
Oh yeah, the Men’s Basketball program attained its first #1 ranking since 2007. Billy has them playing at a great level right now, but each game you can see they are working for more. They are on an all-time Gator winning streak, but I’ll take a regular season loss and a drop in the polls for a SEC Tournament Championship and a deep, deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
It’s Great to Be a Florida Gator! ‘Nuff said.
The Noise in the System is Screeching
First loss by Florida to an FCS team ever, Gator Nation.
Probably first loss to a team with ZERO passing yards since the 1940’s.
Lost not only our first time to Vanderbilt in 23 years, but the first time we lost at home to them since 1949.
First six-game losing streak since 1979 and first losing season since then.
First time that Florida will not go to a bowl game since 1990….and that one was due to NCAA sanctions.
We have the longest streak in the nation in not being shutout. Each successive week this year, I have grown more concerned that this streak will be coming to an end as well in the Muschamp era. We have absolutely no offense and I truly don’t believe that we couldn’t muster more scoring opportunities against Georgia Southern than we did. Frankly, if you take away GeoSo’s turnovers in the red zone, we aren’t even close to being able to win the game at the end.
We may even be looking at a year where we will lose to Miami, Georgia and Florida State. That should absolutely be unheard of here?
I say it all the time…I’m not invested in streaks because they eventually come to an end, but I would have never predicted that we would end all our streaks in the same season. Kentucky must be kicking themselves at not capitalizing on the opportunity this year.
I was not going to be surprised to see Jeremy Foley announce on Sunday that Will Muschamp’s tenure is over at Florida. Of course, I was also not surprised that an announcement did not come. Muschamp is our coach next year regardless of whatever happens next weekend against Florida State. Everyone wanting him gone should concentrate their energy on something else.
I ask this question to the GatorNation….”when was the last time you ever heard of a coach who has had this kind of season in their 3rd year and turned things around and won a National Championship? An SEC or conference Champsionship?” I don’t have the answer to that.
I understand that a first year coach may have this kind of season, but by now, you should be established in your program. The injuries haven’t helped, but I also haven’t seen any action taken to rectify the problem (Note: I’m not close to the program so I’m only going on what has been reproted thus far).
Can a program in this state recover with the same head coach? I ask this because I simply don’t have the answer. I’ve never seen it done.
If Will Muschamp pulls all this off at the end of the day, then I will fully support him going forward. He needs to know, though, that he has asked for a great deal of trust from the Gator Nation and to this point he has not inspired confidence in that trust.
In all kinds of weather, Gator Nation!
The Grounded Eagles
Triple Option Saturday, Gator Nation!
The Georgia Southern Eagles are coming to town with an offense that rolls up over 300 yards on the ground per game. Our last time we played them we won 62-14, yet they were still running the triple option and put up 300 yards on the ground against Spurrier, Wueffel and Company. I’m thinking we will be far from 62 by the end of the game. Let’s talk some football…
To sum up…Georgia Southern runs the ball quite a bit. They do pass the ball for an average of 100 yards a game, so they can throw it, but they just don’t. We should beat them because of all things that are happening right now with Gator football, we still have a pretty solid defense. If we get an interception this game then you can expect a blow out, but I’m not seeing that happen. We still need to force some turnovers because ultimately we need a short field for our offense. If GeoSo sustains drives to mid-field and then punts and pins us near the 20-25 yard line, it will be a long day. We should win, but I would not expect 62 points. We’ve basically scored 24 or more points four times this year and never more than 21. So how we are 27.5 point favorites for this game is beyond my comprehension. Our offense just doesn’t operate that fast. We would need defensive Touchdowns, special teams Touchdowns and lastly…offensive Touchdowns. What will become frustrating by halftime is that GeoSo will probably run for well over 100 yards by then.
I thought we played well against South Carolina and, frankly, the Gamecocks had to be sweating bullets by the start of the 4th quarter after Auburn took care of business and all they had to do was win. I still can’t tell you much about Skyler Mornhinweg but he did an admirable job for a third string QB in his first start on the road against the Head Ball Coach. Kelvin Taylor was also very good (maybe he gets 150 yards today). We didn’t do a very good job of countering SoCar in the second half on offense, but let’s face it….we were in better shape than 99.9% thought we would be at that point. I would expect more of the same. Lots of running. An occasional pass. A special teams highlight. We win, they lose. The game will probably go quickly. Florida 24 Georgia Southern 9. Game time is 2pm EST, 11pm PST…that’s kind of weird to type after all these years. No Vern. No Gary. Sunshine Network or ESPN3 are your choices. If you live in Central Ohio, good luck finding a place to watch the game because the OSU-Indiana game will be on at the same time. You, however, should join your local Gator Club where a last home game Victory over the Georgia Southern Eagles is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.
- Florida Gators football: Georgia Southern preview (isportsweb.com)
- Gators to Deal With Triple Threat (Georgia Southern) (flexboneassociationacademy.com)
- Eagles look for miracle in The Swamp (savannahnow.com)
- All in the family: Georgia Southern’s McKinnon ends college career where brother played for Florida Gators (savannahnow.com)
- Florida braces for Georgia Southern’s unique triple option attack (sacbee.com)