Half-good was good enough, Gator Nation.
I spent last weekend in Afghanistan. So I’m in Kandahar awaiting a flight out and, lo and behold, on the monitor in a building that was fresh out of Mad Max and the movie “Road Warrior” was the Florida-Texas A&M game. The heavens opened, angels sang and a bright light descended on this fortuitous moment for TGN. While awaiting an interminable delay for my flight out, I get to watch the Gators beat up on the Aggies.
Whoa there spanky…not so fast!
I proceeded to sit in very agonizing discomfort as I watched the entire first half that essentially amounted to fast-break football by the Aggies. Was it bad? It was so bad that everyone else there (not necessarily Gator fans) were oohing and aahing (literally) at the Aggies ability to punch the Gators right in the face and then laugh about it. Seriously—they said “oooh” and “aahh”.
We looked horrible. Not only horrible, but incompetent. The fact that it was only 17-10 at half was a veritable miracle on the leg of Caleb Sturgis and a very poor timeout call by Aggie Coach Kevin Sumlin were we even that close. I then proceeded to watch the Gators almost let the Aggies score again as halftime approached.
Then the call came to board the plane. I was not in a great mood, it was midnight, I was tired and there absolutely no glimmer of hope from the Gators on offense or defense that we would mount a substantial comeback in the second half. After all, the Aggie defense was having its way with our offensive line. Our defense couldn’t seem to contain their freshman QB at all and we had a Gator player injured on the field after darn near every play. Quick note: I mentioned in last week’s analysis that Kevin Sumlin knows a thing or two about QBs that can play pitch and catch. We should have seen Johnny Manziel’s performance coming.
I arrive back in Kuwait. Begin the commute back to my base without a clue as to the outcome. It is now 7am (0700 to you military types) and I arrive back at my room, let out a sign and decide to check the final score on ESPN.com.
Holy second-half shutdowns, Batman!
Fully expecting a score of 41-20, I was very surprised to see a 20-17 Victory by our Gators. So then I had to do further research. Texas A&M apparently couldn’t do a thing in the second half. Our defense completely shut them down and our offense did enough to get by…which is what I think we should be expecting at this point. All of us expect second half adjustments, but I don’t think any of us saw this one coming.
We have the promise of something better than last year. Unfortunately, given our first half performance, it is still something of a mystery, these Gators. Jeff Driskel played solid football. He managed the team, did not turnover the ball…which would have absolutely killed any chance of Victory in this game…and provided some flexibility on offense because, let’s face it, our offensive is not that good right now (8 sacks…really!?!?) Our defense finally lived up to its billing, but it took a really big sucker punch to the face to wake them up. If we’re going to have any success this year, our defense has to show up at the beginning.
So we’re 2-0 and headed to Knoxville. It looks like we’re going to have Jeff Drikell as QB for awhile. As long as he’s not turning over the ball and scrambling from the defense, that’s about as good as we can expect. Mike Gillislee (hopefully not too banged up from this weekend) will provide us a superior rushing attack. Andre Debose will not be returning kickoffs for TDs any time soon with the new kickoff rule (stupid NCAA!). Our team is still +1 in turnovers and we had a lot fewer penalties this week.
It’s all headed in the right direction…but I’ll say it for everyone “we are expecting more”. Not sure if we will get that this year, but we at least know that last week was not indicative of our season. Next week is going to be a thrill, no doubt, Gator Nation! I do like the fact that Florida vs Tennessee is significant again.
That’s enough ranting for now.
Congratulations go out to a fellow Gator who got married this weekend, but ensured that the game would not go unwatched (see photo below). Sorry, I wasn’t able to be there, Lori! ‘Nuff said.
- A&M stalls after halftime in 20-17 loss to Gators (kbtx.com)
- Gillislee leads Gators to 20-17 win over A&M (kbtx.com)
- Florida Gators Football: Top Performers vs. Texas A&M (bleacherreport.com)
- Texas A&M; blows it in SEC debut – Houston Chronicle (chron.com)