Monthly Archives: September 2018

Not What You Think

The sky is not falling, Gator Nation.
As Agent Smith said to Neo in the movie the Matrix, “That is the sound of inevitability, Mr. Anderson.”  All streaks come to an end.  It should have ended last year as Kentucky was the better team…though, the poorer decision maker obviously.  Neither of our lines performed last week.  We also were not as focused as UK.  They were not going to be denied and they came in and at every instance punched us in the face.  Chicken Little is not running around.  Too many references to All Kinds of Weather, Gator Nation.  We are not there yet.  Another week and more development from the team.  Let’s talk some football…
The biggest fear was realized last week.  Our D-Line was not getting any push up the middle.  We didn’t the week before against Charleston Southern.  I suspect it will likely be better this week against Colorado State, which I believe will be more of a shoot out than most people think, but one in which we will prevail.  The bigger surprise was how much UK pushed around our O-Line.  While it has not been our strength in recent years, I did not foresee the Wildcats controlling the line of scrimmage…which they did all game.  I expected more of a run attack by our running backs and, actually, anticipated us running the ball quite a bit…which we did not.  So, missed tackles on defense, and no push on offense.  Pretty much led to the streak ending last week.  Whatever.  We have Colorado State this week with an epic payout of $2M for buying Coach MacElwain 4 years ago.  At the time, it was a very creative way to purchase a coach and get what we wanted.  Not sure we go what we wanted in hindsight, but we aren’t going into the game with eyes wide shut.  Colorado State was 0-2 headed into their game against Arkansas having lost huge to Hawaii and Colorado.  Then preceded to light up up the Razorbacks for 17 points in the 4th quarter and the win.  Needless to say, they won’t be sneaking up on us.  We suffered a huge loss with Marco Wilson in the secondary and will have a freshman, either Brian Wilson or Trey Dean, playing at Cornerback now.  Our secondary is thin, very thin, so this does not bode well with a weak D-line.  That said, I think our secondary will be fine.  Both freshmen have been playing this season and likely will get much better as the season moves along.  I also believe that our defense will improve.  Just out of shear force of will to do so.  Mullen is not MacElwain.  Yes, he is dealt a hand like the last two coaches that was not great, but he’s also not making excuses and he is working these guys harder to make them more of a team.  The organization of our Gators is clearly improved from our past two coaches, though deference to Will Muschamp because I think he tried hard, it was just his first coaching experience.   There is no spoon.
 
Feleipe Franks should be out as QB.  No.  Not even remotely.  I’m excited to see Kyle Trask play this year, but only after we’ve put up 40 points.  Franks has more game time and has clearly shown more in practice than anyone else.  I’m also not going to question Mullen after turning Chris Leak into a National Championship winning QB, Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott and a whole host of others.  That is just ridiculous and anyone thinking this is not seeing the improvement from last year to this year.  If our O-Line gives Franks time, we will win the game….any game.  Period.  That’s all I have to say about that.  On the flip side, Colorado State is going to throw the ball and throw the ball and throw the ball.  In three games, they have less than 300 yards total rushing.  Conversely, they have thrown for almost 400 yards a game.  Their strategy might not be hard to figure out.  I’m looking for multiple picks by our secondary this game.  Even beat up, our secondary is still good and our defense will absolutely, without question, put more pressure on the QB this week.  It’s inevitable.  Colorado State QB, K.J. Carta-Samuels is prolific and will likely light it up a bit, but in the end a good pass rush and a great secondary will limit what CSU can do.  They won’t be able to run the ball either.  I’m taking the blue pill and I’m not even in another reality.  I’ve exhausted my Matrix references.  Florida 49 Colorado State 21.  Game time is 4pm EST, 1pm PST on SEC Network.  I’m hoping for a few special team surprises by the Gators this year….even a kickoff returned for a TD would be great by our Gators!  A return to norm if you will.  In Central Ohio, you can join your local Gator Club at Smokehouse Brewing Company where Victory is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.
 
Go Gators!
TGN
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That’s More Like It

I’m so happy, Gator Nation.
One quick note, I stopped writing these regularly four years ago because of my job requirements in managing my social media footprint.  Nonetheless, for the local Gator Club I told Shane I’d do more to help so this is part of that.  All of that said….last week seemed to be a nice return to the norm.  Yes, not a great opponent, but we took care of business very early and left little to doubt.  That hasn’t happened in a loooooonnnnnngggg time.  I’m so happy.  Let’s talk some football…
I don’t have the stat book with me, but 53 points scored had to be the cumulative total for all last season and we blocked two kicks and returned extra point for a score.  I’m not getting my hopes up, but I may just see a kickoff returned for a score this year as well and many of you know how much I like that!!  It is like our special teams are special….in a very good way.  I’m so happy.   Back to reality for a bit.  We were not exactly smooth early on, but we were effective.  By our fourth possession we were rolling.  Game was over at halftime and Feleipe Franks looked like the QB he was billed as in high school.  Confidence is key with Franks.  One game does not a leader make, but it is the best start we could hope.  The added benefit to all this is the weapons around him.  He does not have to do it all for the Gators to win.  He also has a wealth of talent at receiver that will make it easier.  For me the jury is still out on the offensive line and our ability to run the ball effectively against a talented team, but the pieces are there.  Just for the record, I think Malik Davis will surpass Jordan Scarlett as starting RB.  Likely will happen mid-season, but it is only a matter of time.  I’m also willing to be wrong because it would be nice to have a reliable running game no matter who it is.  I digress.  I still question how good our O-Line will be.  This week will show us much more about our team.  I’m still happy, though.
We play at home against a Kentucky Wildcat team that has seen 27 straight senior classes graduate without ever beating the Gators.  I am ok with this.  Generally the formula is simple.  The better team wins (which is usually us)….except last year which I have zero explanation of how UK lost.  Even taking a defender off the field twice, they likely still should have won.  This year, not so much.  I believe we are the better team…and we are at home.  Kentucky has one true equalizer in Benny Snell at RB.  Our defense was great around the edges last week, but was not that impressive in the middle.  I hope that was defensive gamesmanship and not that our D-Line is struggling.  Kentucky’s plan is to run, run some more and pass enough to keep rush defense honest.  This is where we will see how good our D-Line actually is because Snell is a premier RB.  On the flipside, UK’s D-Line does have some talent and will be motivated given last year’s let downs.  I’d expect them to try to disrupt Franks early and often because he clearly operates better as he gets into a groove.  His accuracy…for those watching the game last week…was very good.  Quick note: I am thinking Coach Mullen may open this game with a huge play downfield on the opening drive.  He will want to capitalize on Franks’ good play from last week and set the tone early to build his confidence…and he has a cannon of an arm.   We will see.  If not, I’d bet big he does it against Tennessee.  He’s a coach who goes for the jugular.  We need that again.  It has not been that way for too long.  If Kentucky does not turnover the ball, this will be a close game.  Last week they took control once they stopped giving the ball away.  Same with us, we have to control the ball.  I’m thinking it will be somewhere in the middle–not the total dominance of last week, but somewhat comfortable.  Florida 35 Kentucky 17.  I want to stay happy.  We may not be for real yet, but we are a good team.  Game time is 7:30pm EST, 4:30 PST.  I will be on the west coast at my home away from home the San Diego Gator Club, but all the locals should head to Smokehouse Brewing Co. and join the Greater Columbus Gator Club where a 32nd straight Victory over the UK Wildcats is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.
Go Gators!
TGN