Monthly Archives: November 2012

Time For An Impact

Florida State starts a drive deep in their own...

Florida State starts a drive deep in their own territory against the Florida Gator defense, November 24, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s all about the game, Gator Nation.

We can’t win the SEC East or the SEC Championship and I’m not about to get into any BCS game talk. This game is simply IT for our Gator football team. We haven’t won pretty and actually it has been horrendously ugly, but 10-1 is 10-1 and against top notch competition so we can’t discount that. I also don’t buy into the talk that everything goes out the window for this rivalry game. We’ve been a superior defensive team all year and that is a must for today and we have to be prepared with a great gameplan. Let’s talk some football…

Florida State is getting credit for having one of the best defensive units we’ve seen this year, but that is a bit misleading as they’ve only played one top ranked team in Clemson and they scored 37 on them. Of course, you don’t really have to be a top ranked defense to shut down our offense, but we will get to that. FSU has probably the most potent offense we have seen this year, probably on par with Georgia. Their QB, EJ Manual, has had some stellar games this year. While our pass rush could use drastic improvement, our secondary can’t give him any easy targets and we will have to shut down their running game of Chris Thompson and Devonta Freeman, who have about 1,300 yards between them. We don’t have a choice today, we have to shut down the run game, otherwise this will get very ugly…but I’ll get to that later as well. Let’s just get to the nuts and bolts of it all. No one thinks we are going to win in Tallahassee because we can’t score on offense against really bad teams and FSU will have the best defense we have seen all season (though I have some arguments with that). We are not favored and not expected to win even though we are ranked #4 in the BCS and are 10-1 against the hardest schedule as rated by the NCAA in the nation. Heck, not even sure why we are even getting on the bus for this game as this is a formality. Let’s just get to the post-game hullabaloo. You’ll have to excuse me if I haven’t given up just yet.

Let me face a few facts up front. We scored one offensive touchdown in each of the last three games against very poor defenses. We’ve relied on our Field Goal kicking and defensive turnovers to generate our offense this year. We can run the ball when our offensive line plays well, but that hasn’t happened lately. We must hold on to the ball to win. All of this would be disconcerting were it not for the fact that we’re somehow 10-1 against superior teams. No matter what the stats say, we can win this game, but the defense must show up and we must force a bunch of turnovers. A Gator defensive or special teams TD might not hurt either, but we must knock the FSU offense around from start to finish. If our defense is as highly touted as we think they have to make an impact today of epic proportions. We can’t have a solid effort from them…we have to have a phenomenal effort from them. I don’t even think I’m asking anything remotely impossible. Our defense is good enough to have a day like this. It is against our main rival in a game with huge repercussions for whoever wins. It comes down to preparation and concentration, but I’m banking on the Florida Gators just having a ton of “want to” for this game. They want to win to prove to everyone that they belong where they do. Florida 17 Florida State 13. Game time is 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm PST on ABC TV. I want a special teams AND defensive TD by the Gators today with of course, a FG. While our Gator Club has to meet at a fellow Gators’ home today because of some other rivalry game here in Columbus, Ohio, I hope you are able to join your local Gator Club where a Victory over the Seminoles is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Advertisements

Gator Hoops Against UCF Today

Gator

Gator (Photo credit: Mamboman1)

Black Friday hoops action, Gator Nation.

A big scare in our last Gator basketball game when Kenny Boynton went down with an apparent ankle injury, but fortunately for him it was not as serious as first believed. He did miss his FIRST practice ever in a Gator jersey the following day. Pretty impressive considering the amount he has played in his four years as a Gator. I’m currently watching the first half of the game on ESPN3 and he does not appear to be suffering any ill effects, but the big surprise is Scottie Wilbiken who has lit up UCF for 3 treys so far and 11 points before half.

This is a big retribution game for us as UCF marked one of our six losses two years ago for a senior-driven team that came within 4 minutes of the Final Four. UCF is led by Isiah Sykes and Keith Clanton at 17 points each. They have been competitive all season against their opponents. We share common games with Savannah State and Middle Tennessee. MTSU gave us our most difficult game this year so far and actually beat UCF by 6 points. Both teams won their respective games against Savannah State. UCF is very physical, but are a streaky offensive team. If our defense shows up like it has—especially in this first half—we should fare well against them.

This starts a string of very competitive games for us against Marquette, at FSU and at Arizona who is currently ranked #10. This team is starting very well and should progress nicely with a very deep bench and what is surprisingly some of the best defense our Gators have played in awhile. If you miss this game, check out the replay on ESPN3. ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Halftime with Jacksonville State

Halftime, Gator Nation.

So I said that I’d post something at halftime if this game wasn’t pretty over by then. Looks like I need to come up with something. Let’s talk some football….

It’s simple, get the ball to Trey Burton and Omarius Hines….A LOT today. I can’t believe how inefficient we have been on offense today. Our defense hasn’t been much either but at least it is still a shutout….even if it took two missed field goals to do it. We need a few more plays where we chuck the ball down the field and our defense needs to step up and take the ball away a few times in the second half.

This is Senior Day for us. It is now or never for this team. If we play like this next week, it is going to be brutal. I’m still thinking we have at least 4 TDs left in us. It is time for this Gator team to put this game away. ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Muschamp is a Genius

It’s true, Gator Nation!

As I was sitting with my local Gator Club last weekend (first time in a year), it was clear that the Gators were gonna lose. You can disagree if you want to do so, but the fact was we were about to lose to an unranked team from the Sun Belt Conference where they weren’t even close to being the best in THAT conference. With 12 seconds left and a punt by ULL coming, what play does a team draw up? OF COURSE…the ol’ block the punt and run it in for a TD and the win play. Why didn’t I think of that? I suppose that’s why I’m not a football coach. Let’s talk some football…

Had we lost that game last week, Muschamp is done. I don’t care if we beat FSU and win our bowl game and go 11-2, he needed to be fired. I don’t care if we have no reliable, play-making receivers, or an offensive line that can block or even a reliable down field passing QB, Muschamp would need to be fired. No top ranked team in the nation or a team that considers itself a powerhouse football school LOSES TO LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE—AT HOME—FOR HOMECOMING. It just does not happen and if it had, then Muschamp needed to go because he would have lost the team at that point. Sorry to say, but that’s just a fact. As it stands, we won and all is correct (not well) in the Gator Nation. Now we play Jacksonville State in a game that we would normally win 63-3, but who knows what is in store this week. We have not lost to an FCS opponent in the last 50 tries. I have no doubt we will extend that streak this week, it’s a matter of how we do it. Jax State does have an offense averaging over 400 yards a game. To put that in comparison, we are averaging just shy of 300 yards a game. That is probably the only bright spot for Jax St. Our defense will overwhelm anything they put on the field this week. They don’t have the depth we do and this is our seniors—all 18 of them—last game. I’m looking at this week being a game changer for the Gators.

Well, now that all of that is out of my system, back to my usual Gator mood. If you’re expecting more scouting on Jacksonville State, that’s not going to happen. This shouldn’t even be a game after the first quarter. If it is, I’ll draft a post at halftime to state my displeasure. Jacoby Brissett is getting the start and normally I would be very happy with this, but our offensive line is in tatters and wasn’t that great protecting the QB when they were healthy. Brissett would have been the starter if he had any mobility at all. He doesn’t, so he sits. This week he should be able to showcase why he was a top pick out of high school. If we can’t block a FCS team defense, then we have a level of issues on offense that I can’t even begin to explain to you. This does; however, preclude that our wide receivers will be able to make some plays this week. I also expect a heavy dose of Mike Gillislee who is only 168 yards from 1000 yards. I really, really, really would like to see him break 1000 yards this week. So, yeah, I’m being a bit of a pollyanna for our offense this week because I’m totally expecting our defense to create plays for us. It’s what we’ve done all season as it is anyway. Gotta justify that #6 BCS ranking somehow. Florida 55 Jacksonville State 9. I can’t help it, we need to score 50 at least once this season. Game time is 1pm EST, 10am PST and some unreasonable hour in Kuwait that I don’t care about since I’m no longer there. No national network is showing it so it really, really, really is a great time to go to your local Gator Club where you can watch our seniors’ last game on PPV and a Victory over the Gamecocks from Jax St that is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Back In The Swing of Things

Sorry for the blackout, Gator Nation.

Many of you by now realize why I was delinquent in my TGN duties as you followed my other WordPress blog, PatrickInKuwait. Much has transpired in my absence and I’m not sure I can make up the difference, but will try. For the full complete story, I would ask you to visit the blog referenced above. It does greater justice to the story.

In short, my story goes as follows: I was deployed to the Middle East for the better part of the last year. I had a very good idea that I would be home toward the end of October or early November. As it turned out, I arrived CONUS (Continental U.S.) about mid-October, but still had about three weeks of administrative processing to do before heading home. Mrs. TGN and I really wanted to surprise the kids for my return. They were only told that I’d be home before Christmas and that was pretty much it. We thought it would be nice to show up to their schools and let them know I was home. For the oldest we had a modest reunion in the High School principal’s office and for the youngest we had a big public reunion in her classroom that left most with tears in their eyes. You only have these opportunities once, so we wanted to ensure that everything went according to plan. As you can see from the picture below:

The Daughter and The Dad

Thus it was necessary to go out of communications range for what seemed like ages, but was in reality on a short while. I had to make all my settings on Facebook so that no one would know where I was or have some “friend of a friend” inadvertently post that I was here in the U.S. The emails stopped primarily because time was limited and there was a large amount of work that needs to be done to get a group as large as the one I was with out of the Middle East. I didn’t even sleep the last 44 hours before departing Kuwait on our flight….which was good because I slept the entire two legs of the flight to Baltimore airport. The one exception was the Florida – Georgia game and I will deal with that in a separate post.

After getting stateside, I spent the next three weeks in Virginia doing the final administrative out-processing necessary for me to finally go home. I had a brief stop in Kentucky to see my parents before heading to Ohio and the family.

All that said, it is finally time to start cranking out posts by TGN and get back in the swing of things. Sorry for the outage, but there will definitely be more to follow. ‘Nuff said…for now.

Go Gators!