Tag Archives: Florida Gator

Monday Morning Rant

Got this off the internet somewhere—but can’t remember who gets credit. Go Gators!

Control your destiny, Gator Nation!

Those are great words that absolutely have zero meaning for me here in the desert. Very little of what goes on here am I able to control. Make suggestions, yes. Influence, maybe. Control? Not even remotely.

Case in point (which will get us to football in a moment)—you’ve probably heard or read a thing or two about the “tensions” in the Middle East recently. I can’t go into any detail, but suffice it to say, these events have added to my day here. Nevertheless, I waited anxiously for 1am on Sunday morning to watch the Florida-Tennessee game. It was supposed to be broadcast on the Armed Forces Network.

There I was (actually working) with the TV on and the first quarter underway. Very excited since this game was a real test for the Gators—when in reality it wasn’t. I had my iced tea in a jug nearby ready to go and wanted to see what we could do.

THEN AFN SWITCHED TO ESPN NEWS AND ALL I COULD GET AFTER THAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS!!!

Really? After being up more than 24 hours, this was more than I could bear. All I could get was an occasional snippet and the score. Eventually, it go so boring that I went back to my room and went to sleep with the score UT 14 UF 10. Note: there were very few highlights to this point.

Awaking at 6am—0600 for you military types or those who like the 24-hour clock—I decided that I’d check on the final score thinking it was somewhere around 24-20 given that there wasn’t much offense being played.

37-20 GATORS!!

For the second time in two straight weeks, with the Gators trailing at halftime on the road in hostile environments and playing like puppy poo in the first half, I miss the second half and an extraordinary effort by the Gators to finish the game. Tons of offense too! Who’d have thought that two weeks ago? Are you one of the millions of Gator fans who think that Will Muschamp has this team on the path to greatness? Well, I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m going to be a bit of a bubble-burster and tell you that UT still hasn’t become good enough to be on the top tier of the SEC. They are better than last year, but so are we and the results are similar. We need Tennessee to step up and be what they once were. Same for UGA. I’ll explain why on Wednesday.

Here I was really upset that I stayed up and couldn’t watch the game and then finding out after the fact that we blew them out, which I have to admit was a nice reward for getting some sleep. I eventually made my way to work and went about my day. I have a monitor in my office hooked up to the local broadcasts which usually is tuned to the news—perks for being the #2 person in the organization. About 2pm on Sunday, lo and behold, what was this? A REPLAY OF THE GAME! Awesome!

So, here are my initial thoughts on the Gators vs Tennessee from this weekend:

-Our defense has legs. They are playing hard through the 4th quarter. We couldn’t have even accomplished that until halftime last year.

-I thought Jacoby Brissett was the future. Jeff Driskel is on a mission to prove me very wrong.

-Every Gator across the world should thank Urban Meyer for signing Trey Burton, who has single-handedly affect more games for Gator Victories than any other Gator through these last (harrowing) 2 1/2 years. Too slow, no real position….just a football player.

-Too many injuries against poor teams. Not good.

-We’re coming from behind on the road, in big name stadiums with an unproven QB and a defense that has not allowed any points in the 4th quarter—-it’s ok to feel REAL good about this one!

-Two word: Mike Gillislee

-Offensive line played well, but needs to get much, much better. Too much running around by Driskel, but I’m glad he didn’t get sacked this weekend…or throw an interception.

-For Steve “Gator” Wood—Congrats on calling the right number of interceptions this past weekend. That puts us +3 in turnovers.

-UT is not LSU…or UGA…or SoCar for that matter. We still have important games to play this season…..but they are all in Florida!!

Things are looking up for the Gators, but there are miles to go in the season. Maybe we will even sell out for Kentucky? In all kinds of weather, Gator Fans. See ya’ on Wednesday. ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Monday Morning Rant

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.

Go Gators!

Nice reception!

The SEC in Texas

Get fired up, Gator Nation!

No sense in wallowing in ambivalence over last week’s game.  It was horrible to watch.  We just have to believe that this week will be a totally new look to the Gators.  We’re heading to College Station to play the Texas A&M Aggies in their first SEC game EVER!  In past years, this would be nothing different than traveling to Vandy or Kentucky, but a what a difference a year makes….or actually doesn’t.  Texas A&M is going to attempt to be the exact opposite of what the Gators have been the last two years…a wide open offense.  Let’s talk some football…

How do you scout a team that has a new head coach, a new offensive and defensive coordinator and a QB that hasn’t played one college snap at the position?  Well, you don’t.  I know we’ve watched films from Head Coach Kevin Sumlim’s teams at Houston—where Case Keenum put up astronomical passing numbers.  We’ve been watching every other piece of footage from the rest of the coaching staffs’ history at their respective schools to prepare for a team that did not play last week due to Hurricane Isaac.  The only thing we can really expect of a team that went 7-5 last year is something at least better than that.  Their defense gave up LOTS of points, so the new defensive coordinator will have a challenge on his hands, particularly since they didn’t get their warm up game in before ours.  Their QB, Johnny Manziel, has never taken a college snap.  Hasn’t even seen the field during a college game.  I’m going to say that this probably works in our favor, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Kevin Sumlim didn’t put up arcade level passing numbers for no good reason on his Houston teams.  I would suspect that young Johnny can toss the ball around.  Our secondary will definitely need to show up this week.  There is reason for Texas A&M to feel good about this game.  They are at home.  We are away from our fan base at college game in Texas.  We did not play inspiring last week and our passing game was not as expected.  Oh, well, we’re gonna beat them anyway.

I’m just chalking up last week to life’s little surreal moments and moving on this season.  Our defense will demonstrate this weekend why it was highly touted coming into the season.  We didn’t blitz last week and only rushed four, which I assume was by choice.  If our front four get good pressure on the QB, our secondary should have a field day picking off some passes—-something I think we really all need to see.  Mike Gillislee showed us the future for the season.  I don’t know if he will get 24 touches this weekend, but I think 18-20 is doable.  We will just have to see what he can make of it.  I have to admit that it would be nice if we had someone getting 100+ yards each week.  Jeff Driskel gets the nod at QB, but my gut tells me it’s only because he is mobile.  Our offensive line really needs to exert its presence this week and push around what should be a small Texas A&M defense.  I don’t like the new kickoff rule, but am still counting on Andre Debose breaking a kickoff for the distance.  Now that he is returning punts maybe we will see the same on punt returns.  I think we all need to see something new this weekend, Gator Nation.  We’ve been waiting for this.  It’s unrealistic to expect it to harken back to our National Championship teams, but I think we deserve more than the last two years.  Our history is rocky in Texas (1-7-2…..2 ties, really???) and we’re only 1-1 against the Aggies, but an SEC reckoning is heading towards College Station.  Florida 38  Texas A&M 24.  ESPN Gameday is visiting with kickoff at 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm PST and some ungodly hour here in Kuwait.  Before the season is out, I plan to make it to my local Gator Club, but I’m hoping you are at yours because Victory is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

2012 Gator Football Preview — Offense and Defense

A Football-teaser, Gator Nation.

As build up for this week continues toward our first game of the season and anticipation is at an all-time average level, I thought I’d draft a little teaser on what to expect from our offense and defense this year.  With my keen and intellectual insight into all that is Gator football, it should prove to be enlightening to the Gator masses.  After all, things can’t get any worse than last year (knocking on wood as I type—quite a feat actually).  Without any adieu at all, I’ll get into the offense and then tackle the defense.  Let’s talk some football…

That was a great teaser.  How many of you actually came to this site thinking I had any clue on the offense at all?  Truly…has anyone out there seen much in the way of information about our offense?  Brent Pease came to the Gators via Boise State.  This has been the oft-repeated statement regarding his offense “myriad of motions and shifts in the offense Pease brought with him from Boise State”.  OKKKKKKK.  We can shift, move, dance, sing and shout for joy, but it doesn’t matter much in the SEC if you can’t rise up off the offensive line and knock the intestines and entrails out of the defense.  Apparently we’re also going to play two QBs because that’s going to work!!!  I’m now officially voting for the Wildcat to open our season.  I know, I know…I’m being very negative.  Fact is we don’t know what to expect this year, but we do know it will be better.  Our offensive line is deeper and we’re bringing at least one year’s worth of experience to a bunch of new faces.  The offensive line is the key.  If they can move some bodies around we’ll definitely be better than last year.  Unfortunately, we just won’t know until this weekend.  I’m somewhat giddy (no joke) to be able to see if The Mike Gillislee Show will be as I expect it to be.  Giddy, I’m tellin’ ya.

I’m saving some tidbits for the defense for this Friday’s post because it plays nicely on what to expect with Bowling Green this weekend.  Needless, to say many think our defense will be the stuff of legends.  I’m here to tell you right now, that we need significant improvement from last year before I buy into that.  Where did our defense excel last year?  Against an abysmal FSU team that would not have scored if we hadn’t given them the ball 3 feet from the goal line THREE TIMES?  Against and even more abysmal Ohio State team that couldn’t move the ball against Big Ten defenses?  Does anyone remember that Furman——FURMAN——scored 32 points against us very late in the season?  All right, I can see you’re freaking out now.  Don’t be.  We have far more depth on defense than a year ago and I think we have better solidarity among the defenders.  I think we will especially be good on pass defense, but if we are -12 in turnovers again then we are in for a long season.  Ultimately, I have confidence in our defense this year.  If we are to improve on last year’s performance it is going to be because of our defense.  That’s it for now.  More to follow and start making your plans to join your local Gator Club this weekend for the first game of the season where Victory is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!