Florida 24 Florida State 23, Gator Nation!
Figured it couldn’t hurt to change things up some more this season. Both teams are struggling so bad that there isn’t even a preview of the game on ESPN.com. Even the Florida papers aren’t covering the game with as much flare as usual. None the less, here we are at the end of the season with our sights set on ….the Gator Bowl. A win today could do quite a bit to repair what has been a very rocky start to the MustChomp era. Did you know that people are starting to say “MustGo”. A little premature I think. Oh, and we will get to hear all about the Urban Meyer to OSU rumors during the game. Let’s talk some football…
FSU has been as impressive as we have this season…which isn’t saying much. Our issue is that we had a great come-from-behind Victory last week against Furman (sarcasm implied). Our only Victories in recent months have been against less athletic and smaller-sized teams. Everyone else that brought an athletic and bruising defense has beat us since the start of the season. So what’s gonna happen this weekend? FSU defense has given up points this year against lesser teams. We have a chance…and I have to say at least we went downfield A LOT last week. Yes it was necessary, but they actually were good plays. It didn’t really help our run game. What it amounts to is that FSU’s offense has the potential to run up and down the field on us. If we want to win this game our defense has to come out and punch them right in the mouth and keep doing it the rest of the game. Otherwise, this could be a 40-38 game. Last game for the seniors. Last game this calendar year. The Gator Bowl just doesn’t do it for motivation. You have to want to win games like this. I’m counting on the Gators wanting to win. Already put the score up. Game time is Noon EDT, 9am on the left coast—have some bacon with your Gator Victory west coasters! It’s on ESPN2. Here is Columbus, Ohio the OSU-Michigan game will trump everything—and OSU can have Meyer. The Columbus Gator Club will be hosted by Greg and Deena Divelbiss again. They are super hosts, aren’t they! I’m counting on a Gator Kickoff return for a TD…and we even might get another interception by our secondary for a TD! That was super too! If you’re not in Columbus, Ohio then join your local Gator Club where Victory is best served with Gators! Almost ’nuff said.
Wait there is more. Our basketball team beat Jacksonville last night 107-62 and we did with Boynton, Murphy and Rosario on the bench. This team is getting very good at playing together. We have a super tough December schedule, but come January YOU WILL WANT TO WATCH THIS TEAM. They are special. Might not be NCAA Championship special, but I have enjoyed watching these games. I think you will too. Bradley Beal is an amazing player and is only going to get better as the season goes along. Billy Donovan has done a great job of teaching each player what their role is to be on the team and they are buying into those roles. Billy goes for win number 400 on Tuesday night versus Stetson. That’s not too shabby for a Gator basketball coach. This team will test how good it really is with upcoming games against Syracuse, Arizona and Texas A&M in very short order. Football season has been disappointing, but being a Gator is VERY rarely a disappointing state for a fan. Gear up for a great basketball season ahead, Gator Nation! ’nuff said.
Playing the Paladins
by The Gator Narrator on Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 7:01pm ·
Different format this week, Gator Nation!
Lest you think that this game is in doubt we will start with the score first. Florida 42 Furman 13. Game time is 1pm EDT, 10am PDT. Too many banged up players on defense and who knows what will happen on offense. Game is on…..oh, wait, that’s right….it’s on pay per view, ESPN GamePlan, etc. So you will need to go to your local Gator Club to watch it unless you reside in the state of Florida. That’s what a 5-5 record and a FCS opponent will get you. I’ll be at my local Gator Club along with my brother where a Victory will best be served with Gators! Let’s talk some football…
Furman actually has 2 wins against us in the history of head to head competition. Of course, they were in 1922 and 1930…but that’s still something other FCS opponents can’t say. They have the best FCS QB in the nation in Chris Forcier. He’s an accurate QB who can run the ball effectively. A QB of this sort has given us problems, but I’m thinking it will just be a mild nuisance this weekend. They also have a RB who is closing in on 1000 yards….unlike us. Listen the most interesting thing about this game this weekend is that we are playing the Paladins…which for those of you who do not know were the foremost warriors in King Charlemagne’s court. For those of you who fancy yourselves as online gamers then you know that Paladins are saturated through the virtual world. I digress. We’re going to win and hopefully we will get off to a fast start. At this point, John Brantley’s ankle should be at least 90% which should be good enough to do more than we have in past games. I want to say things like….we should have beat UGA, Auburn and SoCar….but that just gets frustrating. We are where we are. I know we will showcase Demps/Rainey…but can I get a 10 touches for Mike Gillislee? If he gets 10 touches….I’d almost guarantee he gets 100 yards this game. Just sayin’. Let’s just hope for no turnovers by the Gators. I’d like us to force a few, but really that just hasn’t happened this year. A kickoff returned for a TD by Debose or Demps would be super cool! ‘Nuff said on football.
If you have not been watching the Florida Gator basketball team….you should be. They are young and relatively small, but they are going to be something by the end of the year. Yes, we lost at Ohio State this week…a game in which I was in attendance…but we are going to be really good this year. OSU was bigger at every position than us…we are a small, guard-oriented team this year…but we out-rebounded OSU by A LOT!! That’s pretty significant this early in the year. Plus, rebounding is not like passing and other aspects of the game. It’s not one of those things you can develop your team to do as the season progresses. Either you do it or you can’t. I like that we can. As the team develops more chemistry they are going to be something to watch. We followed up the OSU game with a very easy blowout of North Florida. This team will shoot a lot of 3’s and are already developing a very good passing game…..AND we are very deep. We will play 10 players a game for most of the year. So look for a serious pressing attack develop over the course of the season. Of course as I say this keep in mind that November and December are going to be rocky because we have (currently) the most difficult non-conference schedule in the nation. We have Syracuse, Arizona, Florida State and Yale in December. Ok, Yale I threw in there because I was just surprised we were playing them. All of that said, watch for a great team heading into the conference schedule. ‘Nuff said.
The Home Stretch Through Columbia
by The Gator Narrator on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 6:46pm ·
To Columbia we go, Gator Nation!
Our last away game of the season and we face the Ol’ Ball Coach and a stifling Gamecock defense in South Carolina. On paper we’re not supposed to win this game. Even with a SoCar offense that has undergone substantial QB shuffling/controversy this season. We’re away from home against a ranked opponent and playing against one of the best coaches ever in college football. Despite all this, we still have a chance. Let’s talk some football…
I’m typing this about an hour before the game that I’m not going to get to watch because of my daughter’s last soccer tournament of the season. Long story, short…I’m deploying at the end of the year and my weekends are limited, so this decision was relatively easy. I will watch it on DVR later. Not exactly how I would prefer it, but that’s got to do for today. So, on to this day’s matchup against the Gamecocks. I’ve tried to break down the Gators all season, but it just hasn’t been easy. On paper, we should have had a better year, but paper is what it is—very easily ripped apart. South Carolina will start Connor Shaw at QB today and he has the potential to pick apart our secondary if our defense doesn’t do a better job than they did last week against a formidable Vandy QB. I’m hoping we learned some lessons. I’m hoping we capitalize early. Our problem this season is that we start relatively strong against evenly matched competition and then absolutely get exhausted by the end of the game. Whatever South Carolina gives us early we will have to capitalize and by that I mean TDs not FGs. The more points we have by half time will be needed to win this game. SoCar’s defense is just way too tough for us to try to comeback in the second half. Now having said that, I’m sure we will see late game heroics today by the Gators. Like I said, this season has been difficult to break down.
The Gators had a great day rushing last week. Probably won’t be the same this week because SoCar’s run defense is solid. We will have to open up the passing game early and get some big scores in order to run the ball. Big plays have been key to our scoring this year with Kickoff returns for TDs, big pass plays, big run plays, etc. We do not sustain drives very well. Penalties have killed us—which is why the big play has been most of our scoring. In light of that, I’m hoping for Kickoffs returned for Gator TDs today, along with punts returned for TDs and heck, why not a blocked punt by our special teams returned for a TD. On top of that, if we can get any production running and passing we can win this game today. We actually do have the talent and the Gamecocks do not have Marcus Lattimore running the ball. It is not out of the realm of possibilities that we can actually control progress of this game. It just depends on which Gator team shows up. I’m counting on the team that wants to go to Williams-Brice stadium and walk away with a win. We should have both Rainey/Demps at relatively full speed and Brantley should at least be functional. Maybe…just maybe, we will see the Mike Gillislee show, but who knows. Hopefully, I’ll get to see the replay of us returning a Kickoff for a TD. Florida 23 South Carolina 18. Game time is Noon EDT on CBS and breakfast with the Gators on the left coast. I’m hoping that everyone who can is joining their local Gator Club for today’s game where a Victory over the Ol’ Ball Coach is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.
It is almost November, Gator Nation!
With the prospect of facing an Oh for October, this is absolutely a must-win game for the Gators. Sounds kind of corny a “must-win” game. At what point for any Gator fan is ANY game not a must-win game. I don’t do this column to see “not won” games. Of course, this is even much more of a must win game since it is the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party—yes, for those of you who have been here over the years, I still have some angst about them doing away with the title of this event. So that makes this not only a “must-win” game, but a “gotta-win-because-I-don’t-want-to-see-us-lose-against-Georgia-game”. Let’s talk some football…
Even with freshman QBs we should have beat Auburn. I digress. Alright a season of losing focus has translated it’s way to me. Let’s get to the topic at hand. Georgia weekend is here. If ever there was a time to draw a line in the sand and say “are we going to play the football that we think we can play” it has to be this weekend. Georgia is ranked only because they played their powerhouse teams first with losses to Boise State and South Carolina. They’ve had less than impressive wins versus Tennessee, Ole Miss, Miss State and Coastal Carolina. So on paper they look much better than we do. Aaron Murray their sophomore QB is doing very well this year. He passed extremely well against us last year and if it weren’t for three interceptions including one in overtime they would have beat us last year. I don’t think we will get that fortunate this year. This is just one of those games where we are going to have to go out there and simply out-play the competition. They have a solid running game with Isaiah Crowell at running back, but that’s about all they have. Their defense is ranked 27th in the country because they don’t give up many points. That could be a factor as we haven’t been scoring many points lately. It would appear that we will have to count on the fact that our current winning streak against them is about all we have…and as you know, I’m not a fan of streaks. Fortunately, it’s not a consecutive win streak it’s just a good accumulation of wins in the last 21 year…and we are still behind in this series by six wins. It’s about lining up and knocking the other guy around. That’s what we need to do today.
I have to admit that I’m dreading this game more than usual. With this being our first game against Georgia with MustChomp as coach, it is ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE that we win THIS PARTICULAR GAME! Could I be any clearer? A Gator coach can’t start the series against UGA with a loss. It’s just not good for us in this series. It’s a mental factor that gives us a competitive edge…and let’s face facts….Georgia is coming in believing they can beat us this time. They simply believe they are the better football team. A win today puts the mental edge in their favor with a new coach starting out for the Gators. I can’t say they would be wrong. Also, a loss by UGA today essentially will terminate Mark Richt’s contract. They have the belief they will win and they have the utmost desire to win. We must put this month’s performance behind us and go out there and knock the Dawg’s silly…from opening kickoff to the final horn. I want to see Gillislee get the ball. I want kickoffs returned for TDs by Debose and I want our defense to stop them at every position and force some turnovers. Brantley is back so we will see if our offense can do more than nothing. It’s all about showing up and being more physical than they are. We need to turn this cocktail party into a slobberknocker of epic proportions. A line must be drawn by this team and it has to be TODAY! We win, they lose. Florida 34 Georgia 23. One more game closer to evening the overall series. Game time is 3:30pm on CBS. Another Vern and Gary bluster of a game. This week’s post is coming out last so if you are reading this right now, get to your local Gator Club where beating Georgia again for another Victory is best served with Gators. ‘Nuff said.
This post is in honor of Marshall Spevak who has been on the Mike Gillislee bandwagon since the beginning.
A game I’ve waited to play all season, Gator Nation!
It’s been awhile since we beat Auburn…especially at Auburn. Last Victory was during the Zook era in overtime at home thanks to a Rex Grossman to Taylor Jacobs OT pitch and catch that nearly went over the head of Jacobs. I want something a bit more significant. Yes–I’ve seen us play the last two weeks. It’s been pathetic, but I truly feel that these Gators are better than last year. We just played the Nation’s top two teams and now we’re playing the defending National Champions. It’s not like our schedule is loaded with ACC or Pac 12 patsies. Let’s talk some football…
Auburn comes in fresh off an NCAA investigation that found no wrong doing in the Cam Newton situation and hungry to do better in the SEC this year. They have one of the worst defenses in the league—which could be quite refreshing for us since we just played the top two defenses in the nation the last week. There defense ranks either 11th or 12th in all major defensive categories. This pleases me in that we need to a week to regroup from the shellacking that has taken place. That said, Auburn’s offense isn’t too shabby. They are shaky at the QB spot, but unlike us, named their starter on Monday and are sticking with Barrett Trotter despite a very poor performance last week. They do have Michael Dyar at running back and like Trent Richardson of Alabama, he is a beast. Even if we think our defense can improve we will need to step it up against the Auburn offense, otherwise this becomes a track meet and we look at a 50-48 game. I don’t think it will be that bad. I truly think our defense is up to the task, but Auburn will push us. Auburn is not the team they were last year, but it has been soooooo long since we beat them at Auburn that I’m looking for a renewed effort out of the Gators this week.
Last week was abysmal and I did not understand the game plan at all, but I think starting Jacoby Brissett again is the right thing. Jeff Driskel may be the future, but right now I got a good feeling about Brissett—mainly because he’s big and healthy and all our other QB’s are not. That said…we need the Mike Gillislee show this week. I like what Rainey/Demps offers this team, but for once let’s put a big RB out there and pound the ball. In very limited time Gillislee has shown promise. If he doesn’t produce early, we can always go back to what’s been the norm for us for a very long time, but give him the shot. I also think the Auburn defense would be the perfect time to unleash Gillislee. Honestly, I think he’s got a 200-yard game in him if he’s given 15-20 carries. That would be something, but what we need—we have to have—is no turnovers. The last two times we’ve gone to Auburn, turnovers have killed us and we’re not on a good pattern this season for turnovers or penalties. If we don’t get those under control, we could rack up 600 yards in offense and still lose. It’s just something that has to happen for us to be successful. I’m looking at no turnovers and a Debose Kickoff for a TD this weekend. Florida 49 Auburn 28. I think our defense has room to improve still. Game time is 7pm EST, 4pm PST on ESPN. I really want to see the Mike Gillislee show and I want another Debose zorch down the sidelines for a TD….and I think you do too. I won’t be at my local Gator Club this weekend and it makes me sad to say so, but life sometimes forces that situation, but don’t let that stop you. Get to your local Gator Club where Victory is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.
An aside: this has been a series of unfortunate events for me this week, but the worst part was on Tuesday when my dog of 14 years, Bandit, passed away. Someone dumped him on my parents farm in Kentucky and he we took him in when both he and my son were about one. They grew up together and he traveled from Kentucky to San Diego to the San Francisco Bay Area to Ohio with us. Smartest dog I ever had. It was his time. He had a good life. So, I’m honoring a fellow dog lover, Marshall Spevak, because he’s definitely had the right call with Mike Gillislee and dedicating this week’s post to Bandit. Why not? He’s had to listen to me rant about the Gators for the last 14 years, so someone in the household had to balance out my fall obsession. Thanks, Big Dog!
It seems an appropriate title, Gator Nation!
Last time we started a freshman QB at Baton Rouge against an LSU team expected to compete for the National Championship was 2003 and Chris Leak was our QB. It was a great game and we came out on top. There are You Tube highlights that have gone viral in wake of our starting a freshman QB this weekend for our game at LSU. What is interesting is that the LSU defensive coordinator at that time is now our head coach. Much is made of the QB that day, but it was running back, Ciatrick Fason that made the difference and a Channing Crowder led defense that stifled LSU all day. How true can that be this weekend? Let’s talk some football…
Ok, let the reality sink in now….we got pushed around all day long on both sides of the ball against ‘Bama. Let’s also face the fact that no one in the nation thinks we can win this game either. I’ve looked at all the expert picks and not one is betting on the Gators. Makes sense, LSU comes in ranked at #1 and fresh off of our woeful performance at home against ‘Bama it’s hard to argue. LSU has a great defense, but it is different than the one we faced last week. They bring the big heavy bruisers on the line like ‘Bama did. LSU’s defense relies more on speed than size, but don’t get me wrong…they are not small. Still, it’s a different defense than the one we faced last week. Unlike last week, LSU’s offense will be a bit more balanced attack both running and passing. Frankly, Alabama never really had to pass the ball at all last week. LSU probably watched that this week and will see if they can do the same, but for good measure they will throw in some passes. Jarrett Lee has been the QB all year because Jordan Jefferson was ineligible. They now have Jefferson back so the likelihood we see two QBs is probably great. Preparation will be key this week because LSU will bring some unknowns. What really stands out is that LSU…for all that everyone is raving about them does give up a lot of yards…A LOT! Where they have been successful this year is turnover margin with +9 only five games into the season. Contrast that with our minus-2 and you can see where we will be successful if we take care of the ball. We can run and pass on this team, we just need to take care of the ball the entire game.
I know I referenced the 2003 season, but really this is a much more talented team than the one we had in 2003. Despite last week’s game it is a much more disciplined team as well in terms of overall coaching. LSU will not be able to push us around like Alabama did last week. The most troubling part of last week’s game was the fact that ‘Bama came out and punched us in the face on both sides of the ball and we just totally flinched and never recovered. How we respond this week will be everything for the rest of the season. The talent is there. The experience is coming along and this is one of those times where lessons were hopefully learned and applied to our preparation. We had fleeting moments of promise in the game last week. We need to capitalize on opportunities to score. Settling for a FG instead of a second TD started the momentum swing and throwing that swing pass right to the lineman completed the turn and we never recovered. The fact is we have nothing to lose this weekend. Whether we play Jeff Driskel or Jacoby Brissett at QB…or both, it doesn’t matter. We have to run the ball and then take chances down field with some passes without any turnovers. If we can do that, we can win this game. We have plenty of talent. We just need to game plan and then go execute. Andre Debose took a kickoff back last year for a TD against LSU…how about another. Florida 15 LSU 12. I decided to opt for the absurd this week for the score. Game time is 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm PST with lunch on the left coast with the Gators. It’s on CBS again, so we are probably in for another Vern and Gary day on the greatness of LSU while reminding us of how bad we played last week. Just more fuel for the fire for you to join your local Gator Club where Victory over LSU on CBS is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.
Everything is on the table, Gator Nation!
Charlie Weis has declared that everything is an option this week for the game with Alabama. As well it should be. He even said he would use everything “and the kitchen sink.” Gotta love it. Kitchen sink, garbage disposal, hot water heater….I say whatever works we do it. This is the game that will set the course for the rest of the year. Much as the game at Tuscaloosa did last year. We’re doing well as a team, we’re at home and I don’t even think we’ve scratched the surface of the talent on the roster. Let’s talk some football…
It doesn’t need saying, but whatever I’ll say, Bama doesn’t have many weaknesses and they will do everything in their power to pound the ball down our throats all game long. That’s what they did last year. I’m looking for something a little different this year. New QB on their side of the ball, AJ McCarron, who has almost identical stats to John Brantley. Bama isn’t going to pass their way to victory. They want to pound the run at you and then play the most stifling defense in the world….which is kind of what we intend to do them. Thsi match up is fascinating in that for the most part, Bama is still the devastating team they have been in the last four years. We’ve really had one bad loss to Bama in a superb year and one lousy season in the last four, but from what you read we really aren’t a power any longer. That would hurt my feeling if I cared. Bama is truly a very good team. They have a great WR in Maquis Maze…but I think things might be interesting for him this year in the SEC with no Julio Jones on the other side of the ball. Trent Richardson leads a bevvy of RBs that can just pound and pound and pound the ball into opposing defenses. We have our hands full with this team, but I refuse to believe this game isn’t winnable. Really…it’s not like we don’t have talented players of our own.
With the exception of a nice downfield pass last week at Kentucky to Gerald Christian, it’s been the Demps/Rainey or Rainey/Demps show. It’s been enough for us so far. I don’t think that Charlie Weis has put many wrinkles in the mix because he hasn’t had to for us to win. Which is why this game is sooooooo interesting. We’ve been kind of written off as a good team playing a weak schedule so far. Well, exactly who has Bama played that makes them so tough? Penn State? Arkansas? If you watched PSU, then you know they just aren’t that good. Arkansas racked up huge passing yardage against Troy, New Mexico, Missouri State…but still haven’t been able to run the ball (ranked 79th in rushing). People should have seen that result coming. So, I’m not buying what the media is selling in Bama. They are good, no doubt, but they are beatable and we can beat them. If you don’t believe that….then stop reading because I can’t help you. We have to be able to run the ball to win this weekend, but Brantley is going to have to step up and pass downfield. That’s were our success will lie. We won’t have the short yardage passing game, but we have to be able to pick up 4-5 yards a carry and then hit a 25-30 yard pass down the field. We do that and then we will eventually open this game wide open in the second half. Turth be told…I’m pretty sure that’s Bama’s game plan this weekend as well. So it’s best if we just do it first. Our young defense will be tested, but they’ve done well with just a basic pass rush so far. We throw a few blitzes in the mix, this game will get very entertaining. Charlie Weis is going to open up the playbook and The Force will be strong with MustChomp (you needed to be paying attention to the media to get this one). Expect the expected (a Gator Victory). We can run on their corners, now it’s just a matter of hitting our receivers downfield. Get ready for a massive slobberknocker of mushroom cloud proportions. We win–they lose! Florida 37 Alabama 20. Just so you know, I’m getting my kickoff return for a Gator TD this week. Game time is 8pm EST, 5pm PST. Another round of Verne and Gary on CBS. Where else would you be except your local Gator Club because a monumental Victory over Bama is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.
We are heavy into the SEC schedule, Gator Nation!
Our first road game this year and it’s in Lexington against the UK Wildcats. Much has been made of our streak against UK, but as I’ve previously posted, I don’t put much faith in streaks. This is a young Gator team and they just need to focus on the game at hand. It’s really that pure and simple. The nice thing about the Kentucky games is that a large contingent of Gator Faithful attend the games, like yours truly. This could be a different game than in past meetings. Let’s talk some football…
Kentucky’s defense is what is holding them together right now. They are led by linebacker Danny Trevathan who seems to garner more headlines than the offense. They have only given up 13 points a game, but having watched two of their three games, they also haven’t played an offense as potent as ours. UK truly misses Randall Cobb who could do it all. They have not had anyone step up since he left. What has become typical of our games against Kentucky is that we Swamp them very early. Sometimes putting as much as 28 points on them in the first quarter. I don’t foresee that happening this year. I think UK brings enough of a defense to at least make us earn our points. How they will fair on offense is a different matter. Their QB, Morgan Newton, while accumulating some stats has not looked as dominant as they would have hoped. Their offense ranks last in the SEC which has created a media sensation in everyone focusing on “the streak”. We’ve beaten them 24 straight times and everyone is predicting a 25th. Frankly, I want to see a win, but I don’t like the focus on the streak. We’ve come very close to breaking this streak over the years….Wueffel to Doering, Chris Leak led the offense from 21 points down in the 4th quarter…both at Lexington. You have to focus on the game at hand. This game is critical to our team setting a tone going into October against LSU, Bama, Georgia and Auburn. We need a big win today….and I deserve to see a big win.
Last time we were in Lexington was the Tebow hit to the back of the head that gave him a concussion. We scored something like 31 points in the 1st quarter and it was pretty well over after that. I missed that game due to my required presence at my father-in-law’s 70th birthday. His birthday is coming up again this year, but I’m going to the game in Lexington. I digress. I really want a super display of our offense. I hope that UK defense tries to limit the short game and we get some deep passing routes open up. I think you will also see another big game from Chris Rainey. He has performed extremely well against this team over the years and I believe has at least 2 of his 5 blocked punts against this team. We need to finish off our drives and get some TDs….but give Caleb Sturgis credit where credit is due, those FGs have been very good to us. The big thing to watch on defense is how much we get penalized. While not all those penalties were actually correct, the SEC officials now have it in their head that our secondary plays very aggressive. Those close calls in passing situations will more than likely not go our way. Not that they ever have, but still you get my point. It’s hard for people to look at 16 penalties for 150 yards and think that we have any discipline on defense….and hopefully the offense worked a considerable amount on the false starts. I could do without the yellow flag this game. This week will be necessary to get back to stopping UK’s run, which hasn’t mustered much yardage at all this year and then getting a good pass rush on their QB. We do that and this game will go very nicely for the Gators….and hopefully we will get a Kickoff returned for a Gator TD as well. Florida 35 Kentucky 9. Game time is 7pm EST, 4pm PST on ESPN. I’m joining my local Gator Club this week as we head down to Lexington to watch a Gator Victory over the Wildcats because Victory is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.
Gotta love this week, Gator Nation!
Huge game is in store for us this week. So far we have no idea if what we are seeing from the Gators is what they are capable of doing. Coach MustChomp says that he’s holding nothing back. I’d be inclined not to agree with him, but let’s just say he is correct. Tennessee on the other hand is encountering a resurgence of their program. They are bringing a team that is as young as ours and if the last two weeks are any indication, they are bringing a very potent passing attack. Oh yeah, they haven’t beaten us in six years. I’ll give them the X factor in motivation this week. We will also see the return of Sharrif Floyd from the most inane suspension the NCAA has ever levied—this is not your grandmother’s bake sale anymore. Let’s talk some football…
The Vols are coming into The Swamp with more confidence then they have had since the Zook era. We have literally owned them the last six years. Much has been made of this “rivalry game” and how MustChomp is not doing the poster board headlines and other motivation tools like Meyer used to do. Let’s face facts about Meyer’s 16-2 record in rivalry games. During his tenure, Georgia, Tennessee and FSU were not very good at all. Derek Dooley is bringing a much better UT team to face us. Their strength is not on defense as a relatively, OK Cincinnati team piled up more yardage and points then they should have. Their running game is average, although they think they have a great running game. However….their passing game with Tyler Bray at QB and Da’Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter at WR is for real! I’ve been saying it all week, if we don’t get pressure on the QB we will be in serious trouble. If Tyler Bray has any time at all to throw he will pick apart our secondary—and I believe our secondary is better than their experience suggests. It’s going to come down to UT’s passing game versus our running game. I don’t think the Vols defense can slow down our running game much after the first quarter. After that we then get into turnovers and mistakes….but more on that later. The Vols are coming to town to win. They are coming to show the nation that they are back to being the Tennessee program of old and are a force in the SEC. Truth be told, we need that. The SEC is not the same without a strong Tennessee and Georgia. It’s now just time to line up and knock the Vols silly all game long.
If John Brantley throws like Tyler Bray today this game is over in the second quarter. Yes, yes…I just made a big deal about UT’s passing game. It’s true. They look very polished. We haven’t looked that polished. However, there is still the lingering question about what exactly we will do with our passing game. Our entire offense can’t revolve around Chris Rainey…can it? No, I think not. I would guess that we will throw some wrinkles out there that will totally catch the Vols off guard. As much as I want to make fun of Charlie Weis for all that he is—he possesses a great offensive mind. I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. I’m actually counting on that. Also, I keep hearing that swing passes won’t work against the SEC. Well, with the talent we have, they just might—but I’d like to see something downfield as well. The key for our defense this week will be how effective our pass rush is and we have to absolutely shut down their running game. Then it all comes down to turnovers and mistakes. We have not forced enough of one and we commit too many of the other. Can’t do that this weekend. The coaching staff keeps throwing out the number 3 for forcing turnovers each week. Well, I think that is a bad approach. Frankly, we can’t turn the ball over and we need to force as many turnovers as possible. We just need to keep our turnover ratio positive each week. That should do us justice. Right now we aren’t doing ourselves justice. Kickoffs and punt returns have haunted UT for the last six years. I’m counting on something similar today preferably a Gator TD on a kickoff return because we all know how much I like those. Should be exciting and keep us on the edge of our seats today. Florida 20 Tennessee 14. Game time is 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm on the west coast on CBS. If you haven’t joined your local Gator Club for a game yet, this is the week to do it because a Victory over Tennessee is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.
Another week and still not much known, Gator Nation!
In short order this week:
-Flea flicker was nice, but I would still like to see a downfield pass without the tricks.
-No real pass rush. I’m hopin’ one guy truly does make a difference.
-I also hope we were playing a real vanilla defense as well.
-Black Gator wear is far more slimming on Charlie Weis.
-if we settle for FGs and not TDs against UT it is going to be a long season.
-Our running game is our strength on offense. Really like the “heavy package” with Trey Burton and Mike Gillislee. Gives us a much different look.
-Demps/Rainey on the field at the same time in the backfield with room to pick up speed. Why couldn’t we do this in the Meyer era?
-why didn’t we keep giving the ball to Gillislee so that he could get a 100 yards? Would have given 2 different 100 yard rushers in a game. When was the last time we did that?
-is just me or does Brantley just not have that strong of an arm? Too many floating passes.
-One forced turnover and two sacks against inferior competition do not bode us well for the season.
-We need to thank UAB for helping us pitch a shutout with that illegal shift on that TD pass.
-FSU still overrated. Find out this weekend how badly they are overrated.
-OSU vs Miami this week as they compare tattoos.
-I don’t think UT’s defense is the strongest and our receivers should see some single coverage this week.
-We still don’t know much about this team.
Not much different from last week. Get your game on for UT. It’s going to be good this week. ‘Nuff said.
A Gator 9/11
by The Gator Narrator on Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 5:48pm ·
It was ten years ago about this time, Gator Nation.
I was living in the Niles District of Fremont, CA and, as every other day, I stopped at The Store, a neighborhood marketplace, for my morning caffeine fix. I walked in and noticed a crowd larger than usual gathered around the small TV set that was usually propped on one of the three tables set aside for people to drink their coffee and hang out with the locals. I asked the owner’s son, who was running things at the time, what had happened. He informed me that someone flew a jet right into one of the Twin Towers in New York City. We turned back to the TV just in time to see another jet fly into the other Tower. It was not difficult to understand that things would change significantly. I went to work that day, but don’t remember much else other than I don’t think much was accomplished.
I was only a little over a year removed from leaving active duty with the U.S. Navy and I was working in San Jose, CA at the time but soon found myself back on active duty within a month of that event. My wife was also pregnant with our daughter who would be born at the end of September. I can truly say that life for me changed dramatically after that. I have found myself on and off active duty with the Navy far more than I would have ever expected when I joined the reserves. I’ve deployed to places that do not involve anything to do with a ship–an unusual thing for the Navy. In essence, I missed two of the first four years of my daughters’ life, but fortunately she doesn’t remember much from then. My family even made a dramatic move to Ohio to be closer to family to support my comings and goings.
So life has changed. All in all I would say I have a good life. I don’t typically buy into the “bad decisions” argument. You make choices in life and there are consequences—good and bad. You deal with the consequences. That has worked pretty well for me.
One thing I do remember from that week was my post for the Gator game. We were to play Tennessee which ultimately was cancelled and re-scheduled to our open week before the SEC Championship Game. I had already written the post and added a little disclaimer in the beginning about the events of the week. It wasn’t one of my better posts, but I still sent it out. Should have known the game was going to be cancelled. We had a great team that year, but lost to Tennessee by 2 when we couldn’t complete a 2-point conversion at the end. It was Spurrier’s last season and he went on to the Redskins and the NFL. Things change.
I know each of you will think about what happened ten years ago today. It would be hard not to so. I just hope that at the end of today you’ve had a good day. I’ll be rooting for each of you!
Good luck and Go Gators!
Dousing the Blazers
by The Gator Narrator on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 3:14pm ·
UAB is not FAU, Gator Nation!
Last week’s game was exactly what we thought it would be, a superior Division I team against a team who needs the money. All in all, it was a great game for the Gator Nation. Aside from the opening kickoff return for a TD that was called back (which devastated this Gator), we actually looked like we were a very well prepared football team that was ready to engage. While I don’t think we learned much of anything in terms of how the offense will actually run and how our very young secondary will respond to a talented passing game, it was a fine start to the season. UAB will prove to be a bit more for the Gators. Let’s talk some football…
The Blazers come to town with a good chunk of returning starters from a 4-8 team a year ago. They like to pass and their QB, Bryan Ellis, totaled 3000 yards passing last year. Despite the fact that they played sub-par competition that was better than we did. They averaged 31-points a game, but given the fact that they lost 8 games means they probably gave up 45 points a game. A look at last year’s schedule says that’s about right. While that’s a plus for our offense, it also means that an experienced QB and receiving corps is going up against our very young secondary. While I don’t even think for a minute that they are going to beat us, we need to keep two things in mind: 1) They played Mississippi State close in Starkville and almost beat UT in 2 OT’s last year; and 2) we seriously don’t know what the Gators are capable of right now. We could be in for an interesting first half if they expose any weakness in our secondary. While we are on the subject of passing, our defense was just far superior to FAU. We still don’t know if our pass rush defense is any good against quality competition. Ok, ok, I know…what’s all this “let’s wait and see” puppy poo???!! We’ve been spoiled for a good number of the last 21 years with an insanely potent offense. Barring the Zook years and the start and finish of the Urban Meyer era, we’ve had it pretty good. The fact is we played FAU last week (a team that beat UAB last year) and we didn’t see much of anything other than some passes and runs to the wing with a ball hawking defense against a very inferior offense. While I love the start of this season, we are still in a wait and see mode here. I just realized…FAU, UAB, FSU, UGA, LSU…heck if we had scheduled FAMU, OSU and USC we could have called this the all-acronym season. I digress. Well, no I don’t. Do we need to know anything further about UAB. Not likely.
Very surprised to see Jeff Demps return the kickoff and then was devastated beyond words to watch him return the kickoff for a TD and then have it called back. Anyone who knows me well enough understands how much I just love to see a Gator kickoff returned for a TD. That really would have been the way to kickoff the MustChomp era. Sadly, it ended up being like most of our other returns in the last decade. Admit it though, you felt pretty good about it regardless. I don’t think we saw much of our passing attack last week and I don’t know if Rainey/Demps can actually carry the load like they did each game, all year long. However, one thing that was absolutely clear last week was the preparation and readiness the Gators demonstrated. We may be thin, young and inexperienced at some positions, but we definitely came ready to play. Of course, everyone cringed when the snap went over Brantley’s head, but it was only once and these things happen. At least we didn’t face 3rd and 57 like Rex Grossman did against Mississippi State in 2000 after consecutive bad snaps. It’s Florida, it’s hot, it’s humid, it happens. Now, I digress. If we are going to run the ball this week, we definitely need to establish a run game up the middle with someone and I don’t think it’s Demps/Rainey. The similiarity of Charlie Weis’ offenses wherever he has been is establish the run first and we won’t be able to continually count on our speed on the outside. We can do that again this week, but I’m hoping for a few more vertical plays. Let’s just call it, “because I’d like to see us actually do it once before it counts.” I think we can all look forward to something good this weekend. Heck, maybe we’ll even get a Kickoff returned for a TD with no flag for the Gators. That’d be nice. Florida 48 UAB 14. Game time is 7pm EST, 4pm PST on ESPN3. Dunbar, Debose, Hines, Hammond and a few other names we don’t usually hear—that’s what I’m looking for this week. I hope everyone had a great turnout last week and are looking forward to this week at their local Gator Club because Victory is always best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.
FAU Bullet Points
by The Gator Narrator on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 3:13pm ·
More concisely, what questions got answered this weekend, Gator Nation?
We did learn the following:
UGA could have eliminated all talk about Boise State being in a BCS Bowl, but didn’t.
Miami is not good without a large portion of their team.
FSU is overrated.
Of course, that has no bearing on the Gators….at the moment.
In a nutshell, a few thoughts and musings:
-Our offense appears to have more solidarity among the players.
-Charlie Weis looks ridiculous in Gator wear, but if he can generate big numbers then so what.
-We didn’t force any turnovers against FAU—and we gave up three of our own. Not good.
-John Brantley throws floaters out on the wings. Not good either, but good enough for FAU.
-Defense did what they should have done against FAU, except force a turnover.
-I don’t think the offense ran much of anything against FAU. When I watched the game again, it was more a practice of the approach Charlie Weis wants Brantley to have to each possession rather than running an actual offense. I don’t think we learned much this past weekend.
-The few times we threw across the middle was disastrous.
-Jeff Driskel, as of this writing, looks to be firmly entrenched as #2 QB since he’s getting game time last week and probably this week.
-That was not a test for our secondary—but this week will be.
-Not sure Rainey/Demps can handle 15 or more touches each a game for the season.
-I’m very disappointed we didn’t throw downfield more and even more disappointed in the times we actually did.
-Coach MustChomp did not look like he knew what to when the game was over—-good thing a sherriff was there to direct him.
-I don’t like the orange uniforms. It brought back very painful memories from ’87-89 when I was in school. Blue is the rule!
-Our Gators at least look very prepared for the game and had a plan—couldn’t say that all last year.
-Anybody remember Noah Brindise? He threw floaters like John Brantley did last weekend.
-We still don’t have anyone (who gets on the field) who can run between the tackles.
-Best play of the night—-when the play broke down and Brantley scrambled he was able to throw the ball away. In the past three seasons he has been eligible that was not even a possibility. Gotta love progress.
-I soooooooooooooo wanted that kickoff for a TD at the start of the game—but acknowledge that without the penalty Demps’ progress would have been stopped well before it got going. Better luck this week.
That’s enough for now. Enjoyed the win, but can’t wait to see what we can fully do with this team. ‘Nuff said.
The First Games
by The Gator Narrator on Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 9:43pm ·
The unknown awaits, Gator Nation.
With practices shrouded in secrecy and only MustChomp talking to the press, we have little, if no, information on which to base this season. Such is life. The fact remains that this week, regardless of how the Gators will shape up we will a) hopefully not have a repeat of the 8 bad snaps from last year; and b) probably blow FAU away by the third quarter. One coach on the sidelines beginning his coaching career and one coach on the other side ending his career after establishing football at three different universities. The first games of the season rarely bring the unexpected. I’m sure the same will hold true this year. Let’s talk some football…
Howard Schnellenberger brings the Florida Atlantic Owls to The Swamp this weekend. They are a 35-point underdog. All week the articles have focused on one thing….FAU’s coach. This is his last year coaching. He’s coached 301 games prior to this. MustChomp is coaching his first game. Schnellenberger has brought two programs (Miami and Louisville) to prominence in college football. He’s built the FAU program from scratch starting 11 years ago. They will even be playing their first game in a brand new stadium this year. Facts are that Schnellenberger is definitely better at building a program and probably the better coach. He doesn’t have the athletes though—or the coaching staff. This game this weekend is going to be a blowout. Hence, the articles on the man and not the game. FAU was 4-8 last year. Unless fate decides otherwise, they are going to start this season 0-3 since they play three ranked teams. Schnellenberger has an offensive mind and likes to pass and mix in a healthy dose of running. This will at least let us see how our defensive pass rush is and how well we can stop the run. What I hope it doesn’t do is expose our secondary for the youth and inexperience that it is. This is a good first game for us. Well what do you know…I guess this post is about the man too.
Go ahead and pick a record. Any record. Tell me how many passing TDs we will have. Go ahead. Your guess is as good as mine. For the first time in 14 years, I have no idea how this team will be. I know that we have highly recruited athletes on our team that haven’t played much. I know we are using a QB that lost his confidence last year—in his defense if I was looking at four defenders running full tilt at me every play, I’d probably have no confidence either. Enter Coach MustChomp and Charlie Weis. We’re going to have a pro-style offense. That’s what they said. We have the athletes at the skill positions to pull it off, but it all depends on our offensive line. The O-Line is extremely thin this year. Any injuries will complicate matters for us. We also brought in highly regarded defensive coaches as well. Will we run a 3-4 or a 4-3. How will our pass rush be this year. It can’t be any worse than last year. Is our secondary going to be our weak spot on defense. Well, the first game won’t answer these questions fully, but at least we will start to see the beginning of some answers. Oh yeah, almost forgot, we have Andre Dubose on kickoff. I’m thinking that is going to be super special this year…and you just know how I love kickoffs returned for a TD. Hopefully this weekend, Dubose will only get one chance to return a kickoff. Enjoy the first game, Gator Faithful. It’s the beginning and it’s a true beginning. This season is the unknown. So if you’re superstitious about what you wear to games or where you watch them, this is the season to do whatever you want because it’s truly not going to matter—unless we get on a hot streak then you better go back to your old ways. Florida 56 Florida Atlantic 10. Game time is 7pm EST, 4pm PST on ESPNU. Demps/Rainey or Rainey/Demps at least we know who our running back(s) is/are. For the first game this year you should join your local Gator Club like I will this weekend where a first game Gator Victory and a celebration of Deena and Greg Divelbliss’ wedding anniversary are best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.
Gator Kickoff Party Conversations
by The Gator Narrator on Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 8:29pm ·
Some fuel for the pre-season, Gator Nation!
I’m heading over to Gregg and Deena Divelbliss’ house shortly for the Greater Columbus Gator Club’s Kickoff party as we head into our newest football season. As much as I have read about the Gators this football season the fact remains we have absolutely no idea what will happen this season until we watch this team play. What’s been helpful is that the Gators for the most part have been overshadowed in the news by, let’s just say, some monumental news events the last eight months. I’ll take being overshadowed right now. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t topics of conversation for your Gator Club’s kickoff party this year. Allow me to provide the fuel to your Gator fire—topics are in no particular order. Let’s talk some football…
-Will Muschamp was the coach in waiting at Texas. He was the most sought after assistant in the nation the last years to take over a program. He has brought in pro-style everything from Charlie Weis to run the offense to Dan Quinn to run the defense. All I know is that the last assistant coach to take over as a head coach for the Gators without prior head coaching experience led to three extremely mediocre years. We just went through one mediocre year. I’m not interested in two more.
-Turnovers—if we don’t have a good turnover ratio this year our season will start to get very long indeed.
-Speaking of mediocre seasons–did it occur to anyone at the end of last season how in the span of previous 12 months we went from playing in the SECCG against ‘Bama, recruiting the #1 class in the nation, our coach resigned, reneged then resigned again and somehow we ended up with a very, very, pedestrian season.
-A can’t resist topic—the University of Miami and first-year head coach, Al Golden, were quietly assembling the nation’s top recruiting class for next year prior to this week. This week’s event may change that dynamic. The beneficiaries? Florida and Florida State. If Will Muschamp is the coach everyone says he is and he produces as expected then I think the advantage in the recruiting war goes to the Gators. Circle September 7, 2013 on your calendar Gator Nation!
-Oh yeah, Florida State is overrated.
-The topic du jour in the Gator Nation is which John Brantley will show up this year? The Brantley that was hyped as the heir apparent or the Brantley from last year? I don’t know John Brantley will play this year, but he’s the QB that Charlie Weis wants in his system. Reports have been that Brantley has been finding his place this year heading into the season. Let’s hope so. I think last year tested the boundaries of what the Gator Nation will put up with from the football team. We had a talent rich team that couldn’t put points on the board. We had no downfield passes. Our offense literally existed three yards in front of the line of scrimmage. No exactly hard to defend. Makes you wonder how we beat Georgia—wait a minute….no it doesn’t.
-Let’s avoid a QB controversy this year. Brantley is starting and is the best pick at this point. The freshmen aren’t ready. Remember Chris Leak? That ended fairly nicely for us.
-Deonte Thompson is listed as a our number one receiver and raving stories are being printed throughout the state of Florida. He couldn’t catch passes without being squared up to the QB’s passes the last three years. Now he is our number on deep threat? Why is he the top receiver now? No seriously….how?
-I’m catching the Gators in Lexington this year. Good to have a parent with season tickets since I didn’t buy any in advance.
-New on the Gator Watch list this year for “Holy cow can you believe he did that?” type plays—Frankie Hammond, Andre DuBose, Gator Defense. Talk amongst yourselves.
-FSU is overrated. November 26 can’t come soon enough.
-FSU will still have a stellar record because they play in the ACC. I suppose they also have the Miami game circled and are drooling at the prospects of playing them.
-I think you’ll see quite a bit from Omarius Hines, Frankie Hammond Jr. and Quinton Dunbar at receiver. Sorry, I’m not on the Deonte Thompson bandwagon. Oh yeah–Stephen Alli might be a very nice surprise for us. Anyone who says we are not deep at receiver isn’t paying attention. Of course, we need to have a QB who can get them the ball.
-Does anyone besides myself feel uncomfortable with a former UGA player as our coach? We’ve won 18 of the last 21 games and are now within 6 games of tying the all-time series. In seven years, I’d really like to celebrate.
-Brandon James who? In rare appearances last year, Andre DuBose made you forget all about replacing Brandon James on kickoff. I’d like to see more DuBose this year.
-‘Bama is the team to beat this year. LSU is stacked from top to bottom but Les Miles is not a great coach—lucky coach—but not great. As much as I like Spurrier, SoCar isn’t the that top notch.
-‘Bama is good because of their defense. While we are extremely thin on both lines we have superstars in the making for a great defense. Last year was a pathetic approach in integrating last year’s recruiting class into the team culture. I’m hoping that has been address this year.
-We play Auburn at Auburn this year. Haven’t won there in a very long time. We need to make a statement that game.
-UGA is hoping to add a victory over us in our series this year. They feel they are returning enough players to be competitive for the SEC East this year. Their stumbling block every year is us. They keeping losing and we keep winning. It’s no secret that our SEC Champsionships coincide with our dominance of UGA. We once brought a former Gator player in as coach and it changed everything for the Gators. I’m hoping that a former UGA player as a Gator coach doesn’t change things back.
-Does Mack Brown get some love this year at Running Back? Just saying…
-If you live in Columbus, OH like I do you can’t avoid the OSU-Tressel-Pryor saga. Long story short—their star players miss five games none of which are against top tier teams (including Miami). Their schedule is still soft. Will they win the Big Ten–unlikely. They will still probably go 11-2 or 10-3 with a light penalty from the NCAA. Must be nice to play in the Big Ten. Of course, the unmentioned story in the news—they are getting eatin’ alive in recruiting. Penn State and Michigan have taken many of the top Ohio players and kept their star players in state. This year won’t be the problem for OSU, it’s next year.
-FSU coming to the SEC wouldn’t change a thing for us and would devastate FSU. We’re used to playing top tier teams every conference game, year in year out. They’re not….and they are overrated. Can someone say a perennially 7-5 team?
-Texas A&M needs the SEC more than the SEC needs Texas A&M.
Lastly, this season is a big unknown for the Gator Nation. We do have a team rich in talent, but thin in experience and depth. We have more playmakers than you might think, but the question mark is coaching. Last year’s ambivalent approach to coaching absolutely killed our season. Bringing a bunch of coaches from the NFL does not a great team make. However, the future is there for the taking. We make the most of this season, we return most of our players, the entire coaching staff and a Top 5 recruiting class then we’re back in the hunt again. There just isn’t much room for any leeway. Will Muschamp needs to be Will MustChomp this year. His grace period is over. Sorry, it’s just the way things are in Gator Nation. Join your local Gator Club for your Kickoff Party this month where you can prepare to celebrate Gator Victory with other Gators! ‘Nuff said.
The Lost Season
by The Gator Narrator on Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 6:12pm ·
Happy New Year, Gator Nation!
It has taken awhile for me to put my thoughts together about what has happened in recent weeks. Coach Meyer retiring didn’t surprise me. Hiring Will Muschamp as coach completely surprised me. Plenty of news of lost recruits, current players hurt and not playing the bowl game and possible transfers. Now there is even news that Charlie Weis will be coming in as the new offensive coordinator. I was beginning to wonder if I’d have enough space to write what was on my mind. Let’s talk some football…
Note: This is a long post. So if all you’re interested in is the prediction, here it is: Florida 21 Penn State 14.
I’ll get to the Penn State game in a minute. It honestly seems the most trivial part this soap opera that has gone on with our football team. When I heard the news Coach Meyer was “retiring” it did not phase me in the least. All season long he has not seem engaged with this team and the results. It almost as if he stayed around to bring in the current recruits and provide the athletic association with time to prepare a transition plan. Not sure that it was a well thought out transition plan, but I’m sure there was some preparation in there somewhere. Regardless, he has brought the Gators unprecedented success. For that we should not only be thankful but relish what we have been privileged to watch. For four straight years we dominated the SEC and the nation. That doesn’t happen often. I’ll get to the future in a minute, but on the flip side, this has been a season of absolute disgust for most of the Gator Nation. Despite have young and inexperienced talent, I believe we should have seen more out of this team as the season progressed. What was the hardest part of this season was seeing our football team actually diminish in execution with each game. For some it was just outright unbearable. Of course, that is college football. You get the good and the bad. I think Meyer’s health was the primary issue and I truly believe he needed to take a break from coaching. Inevitably, he will be back and it won’t be with the Gators….and I know that is what peeves most Gator fans the most. My advice is to enjoy what we’ve received and look toward the future with high expectations.
Enter Will Muschamp…or as Courtney Gleason coined “Must Chomp”. I kind of like that. Doesn’t change the fact that he has absolutely no head coaching experience (see Ron Zook for an example) and this past season as Texas Defensive Coordinator was not impressive. Ok, we can’t get off to the same start as we did with Zook. In defense of Ron Zook (for the merest of moments), the Florida Gator job is an impossible job. We more or less ran the Head Ball Coach out of town…and he was everything we wanted as a Gator Coach. Ron Zook never had a chance. That will not be the case with Will Muschamp. He brings a ton of energy and excitement that we’ve lacked for the last 12 months. He is also not following a 10-2 season with a QB that finished 3rd in the Heisman balloting and statistically led all passing categories in the nation. If we win the bowl, we finish 8-5. Not great by Gator standards and not seen since….well, the Ron Zook era. We lost three games in a row this year for the first time in forever. Aren’t ranked anywhere in the polls and have an offense that can’t move the ball…even with a multitude of offensive stars. Muschamp is coming into a much better scenario than Zook. I expect Meyer to hang around the athletic association and serve as an ambassador of sorts for the next year. Not sure how that shadow will play into this situation, but I’m thinking that might be a very nice recruiting tool that incoming players will have access to a coach who has won two national championships. That will probably only be good, though for the next 12-18 months. Meyer will get the itch to coach again soon after. Muschamp is getting better resources than Zook. It will take time to determine if he makes good use of them or not.
2nd Note: I just pulled up a post that Aubrey Hill is coming in as the Gators Receivers Coach from Miami. Don’t know if this is true, but he’s a Gator. It can’t hurt. I disagree that we are moving like a freight train.
So here we are on New Year’s Day. We play Penn State in a few hours. We’re both 7-5 teams and only got this nice bowl outing because of fan following. I’ll take it, of course. JoePa is coaching in his 46th season and Meyer is retiring in his 46th year. Almost comical, but frankly, PSU hasn’t been a force on the national scene for quite some time. Doesn’t mean we will beat them today, but frankly, not once in the last two decades since Penn State has joined the Big Ten have they been a legitimate National title contender. Their last national title was 1986 and their last undefeated season was 1994 which didn’t earn them the final number one ranking. Since then, they’ve had two relatively good years and the rest were good, but not great. This is a tradition rich football game and Penn State would normally be a team that we could easily defeat. Evan Royster is set to go over 1000 yards as their RB and I’m not sure which QB they will start, but they had great success Matt McGloin in the last half of the season. This is eerily similar to Florida State all over again and I’m not interested in a repeat-like performance of making a QB (see Christian Ponder) into an all-world QB. Oh, and if you haven’t been following our injury report, Janoris Jenkins isn’t playing today. Probably isn’t a good sign either that our Defensive Coordinator was in the hospital all last week either.
For Meyer’s last game he has stated that he intends to go out a winner. I would absolutely love that after this season…and as has been proven once this season, with given an extra week, this team can be good. Of course, that was Georgia. A win today would give the SEC it’s first bowl win as SoCar, UT and UGA all failed miserably in winnable contests. Be that as it may, if the SEC wins the rest of its bowl games, we finish 3-0 against the Big Ten…a VERY important issue for this Gator in Columbus, Ohio. So here’s the facts, our OC is off to Temple with Kathy Koontz packing his bags and paying the express shipping charges to make this happen quickly. Our DC has been in and out of the hospital when he hasn’t been interviewing for jobs as he is not returning to the Gators next season. Janoris Jenkins is out, leaving our secondary with very inconsistent players. We’ve lost two major players from our recruiting class (but as I’ve stated before the good thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores). I almost forgot, our head coach retires and we name a new coach. None the less, according to reports all our players our focused on beating Penn State. I’m sure transfers and coaching hires have been very far from their minds. Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel has almost been prescient with his predictions this bowl season and predicts a Gator loss. As you know, I can’t do that…and even though this wasn’t the most positive, happy-happy-joy-joy missive I’ve written…we can win this game (and give Lori Herron a great birthday present today). Though don’t expect a blowout…a blocked punt will do. Florida 21 Penn State 14. Game time is 1pm EDT, 10am PDT on ABC with brunch all around for my fellow San Diego and San Francisco Gators. This is it. The season and a legend end today. Don’t miss it and join all your fellow Gators at your local Gator Club where sending Urban Meyer out with a Victory is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.