Tag Archives: #EverythingSchool

The SEC is Bad and We Played Horrible

That seems to be the sentiment this morning, Gator Nation!

Sure, we did not put 50 on UMass like we should have.  We looked pedestrian at times and the fact remains our Offensive Line is nowhere near where we need it.  Truthfully, at halftime of our game last night the best SEC team was…..Kentucky who was up 35-0 on Southern Miss…..then absolutely collapsed and Alabama was behind 3-0 to USC.  Georgia was the lone bright spot in an absolutely horrid weekend of play and, honestly, I didn’t think they played that well either.   Is this a down year in the SEC?  Are we going to struggle like last year?  Yes, no, maybe, let’s talk some football…

We have a kicker, so let’s start with that Eddy Pineiro was absolutely as billed.  Just came in with ice in his veins and knocked three 40+ yard field goals like they were a day at the park.  He also brings a ton of energy and enthusiasm which is not a bad thing to have on the team.  If I sound optimistic, I will point out that he technically kicked and made over half the sum total of our made field goals last season (we did remove one from the scoreboard on a penalty).  The conditions were atrocious as well, so the fact he made them is a plus.

Our O-Line is young and most of our offense last night was geared at getting them going and in the game.  I agreed with Coach Mac’s decision to take away the made FG and go for it on 4th and 1 in the red zone.  Either we have what it takes to move the ball or we don’t.  We didn’t last night and it was apparent all night long.  Luke Del Rio managed the game well at QB and didn’t make any gross errors.  He threw good passes, but never really stretched the field.  Had he connected on the opening pass for a TD the tone might have been considerably different.  The fact we went for an opening play like that in the pouring rain was actually impressive.  NOTE: the rain is neither a factor in our play nor an excuse.  A team still has to execute.  I think there is more to the game than the score as well.  Running plays over on the side of true freshman, Jawaan Taylor, is more likely a need to beef up the game experience of the entire line itself rather than a need to score more point.

Yes, we were only up by 3 at the end of the third quarter, but we had the game in control.  Our defensive line performed well…too aggressive at times because UMass doesn’t score were it not for 35 yards in penalties on the one scoring drive they had.  Our secondary was not the same without Teez Tabor and having Duke Dawson leave early did not help.  Our young DB’s were often confused on routes.  I would expect a big difference next week in this area, primarily because Tabor is the leader of that unit and having him around is a good thing.  Dawson went out with an arm injury.  Will have to wait and see the outcome on this.  As I explained in my Facebook post this week my two areas of concern for this team are the offensive line and the secondary.  Not where we need them to be at this point.

I’m going official with this next proclamation.  I’m done with the running back by committee.  Yes, it was the proper game to do it, but leave it at alone at this point.  Give the ball to Jordan Scarlett until he proves he can’t do the job.  Rest him on plays with the others, but let him carry the load.  Period.  (I know McElwain is absolutely on pins and needles now that I’ve said this!)

Mississippi State, Kentucky, Auburn, LSU, Tennessee, South Carolina, Missouri, Arkansas and the Gators did not represent well this weekend.  Whatever.  Some were embarrassing losses, some were potentially embarrassing.  Regardless, next week is next week.  A team figure things out, game plans and moves on.  I admit I was a bit giddy watching UT and South Carolina struggle on Thursday night.  Then watching the rest of the SEC lay stink bombs one after the other heightened that giddiness.  That obviously went away when I watched us last night.  At one point, I believed we were going to be the bright spot in the SEC this weekend.  Turned out not to be true.  Regardless, what will we will do is develop our talent.  Get more game reps in and work on the experience of a young team.  We get some playmakers back this next game and make some progress in our ability to execute.  I’d rather have a lackluster effort this week and win than a poor showing next week and lose.  I think our O-Line is in for a brutal week of practice.  That can only be a good thing.

It’s one weekend.  The conference has had a great run for well over a decade.  Odds were going to be like this at some point.  Time to focus on the next game.  We have Kentucky next week and the possibility of extending the win streak to 30 games.  Kentucky had an implosion at home last night so they likely have a long week ahead of them as well.  You just gotta love college football, Gator Nation!

Go Gators!

 

 

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Game Day and McElwain

I couldn’t resist, Gator Nation!

My current personal situation requires a very conservative approach to social media, so the postings stopped and the weekly updates stopped. I didn’t mind too much because it was quite a bit to keep up with, but I couldn’t let the start of new season and new coach go by without some comments. I mean….that’s what I do….I comment on things. Things have been just too juicy for me to pass up this opportunity, thus I have some thoughts to share. We open the season against New Mexico State who will not show us anything about what the Gators are made of, but are a perfect opponent to get things rolling. Let’s talk some football…

The Jim McElwain era begins today and there is room for hope. He has approached the off season time with an attitude to “win now”. He made some moves to shore up our issues on the offensive line and he has positioned athletes as playmakers (see Brandon Powell) in hopes of generating far more offense than we have seen in recent years. That said, our offense will not be on the production of the Spurrier or Meyer teams just because we still have issues on the O-Line and we don’t have all the playmakers we need for an explosive offense. There have plenty of articles on the last time we played New Mexico State 25 years ago and the offensive juggernaut that were the Steve Spurrier teams, but he had an incoming trio of freshman receivers (along with Jack Jackson) that would go on to win us the National Championship. For the rabid Gator fan out there that is just ACHING for some serious offensive play here is my rule of thumb for the game and how best to judge the upcoming season in terms of what we can expect from the offense. If we are in the vicinity of 60 points at the start of the 4th quarter (think 60 +/- 5 points) then I would expect a far better offensive showing than the last four years. If we are in the vicinity of 40 points at the start of the 4th quarter (40 +/- 5 points) then I would not expect anything different than what we have seen in recent history. I don’t think this is a result of the coaching, but the O-Line, and the near term loss of Martez Ivey, combined with not enough receiving talent will be something that is hard to overcome this year. I think we have potential for a strong running game with Kelvin Taylor and company, but again it comes down to the O-Line and if we don’t have as much success passing downfield then it becomes a repeat of last year. We will just have to see.

Before I forget, we have a new Indoor Playing Facility (IPF). Yay. Moving on. Much has been made of the defense. I think our secondary will be good, but I’m not as confident about our pass rush on the D-Line or even how consistent our linebackers will be. I’m sure we all want to see a shutout. That would be nice. However, based upon New Mexico State’s QB play last year, it is very conceivable that we record 3-4 interceptions. Not kidding here. They threw multiple interceptions in 9 games last year. That’s A LOT! It is possible that we see a couple of defensive scores….which we all know I love, but will really not be indicative of anything significant other than watching Gator blue running early and often into the end zone. VH3 is set to be the punt returner as well as our premier defensive back. Among other things, that should be fun to watch. I know the first game of a head coach is huge for the fan base so we have some themes for this weekend’s game. How well will Treon Harris and Will Grier play? Is our defense for real? Is our offense better than expected? Will we pass down field? Special teams? How about Brandon Powell as a slot receiver? The bottom line is this…you have to be watching tonight. If you are a hard-core Gator like me or even a passing Gator fan, this game has too much to offer in the way of excitement, hope and amusement to pass it up. If this season turns out to be even special, then who better to celebrate it with than all of the Gator Nation!?!? It is like no other….and we are due. Gators 70 Aggies 3. I have always gone big with scores, but I expect more special teams and defensive scores than normal, so don’t read that much into this. It will be a great start to the Coach McElwain era and the excitement will build. If the last four years have left you ambivalent, then tonight should be an exception. Go to your nearest Gator Club and enjoy a festive atmosphere with the Gator Nation with a Victory over the Aggies in the Swamp! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!
TGN

Back On Top

#EverythingSchool

It seems after a dismal football season, the spring is shaping up nicely for the Gator Nation!

That is not to say that the fall was not without its successes.  The Lady Gator Volleyball team did quite well as did the Lady Gator Soccer team.  Right now, though, is quite a different story.

The Men’s Swimming and Diving team just captured the SEC and is currently ranked #1.  So is the Women’s Softball team, currently undefeated and ranked atop the polls.  Lest we forget, we are a current gymnastics powerhouse, ranked #1 and having defeated both #2  and #3 in head to head meets this year.  We’re talking about a National Champion program repeating as a National Champion.  There is probably an entire post on the Women’s Gymnastics program itself (Note to self: may want to follow up on the one).

A quick shout to the Women’s Basketball program.  I was able to watch them play UK in Lexington last month as they beat the #5 team in the nation and then beat them again this month when UK visited Gainesville.  They are suiting up 9 players because of injury and they play hard.  Right now, they are in a good position to make the NCAA tournament…so keep an eye on the rest of their season.

Fact remains is that it is always Great to Be a Florida Gator, but especially now with our student-athletes doing so well.  You just have to make sure you’re following all the right sports.  Women’s Lacrosse has not yet began, but I expect good things from them as well.

Oh yeah, the Men’s Basketball program attained its first #1 ranking since 2007.  Billy has them playing at a great level right now, but each game you can see they are working for more.  They are on an all-time Gator winning streak, but I’ll take a regular season loss and a drop in the polls for a SEC Tournament Championship and a deep, deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

It’s Great to Be a Florida Gator!  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!