Tag Archives: Florida

My Conversation with Timmy Gator

I recently had an email conversation with a Gator fan, we will call him Timmy Gator, that involved some very good discussion. Printed below is our exchange. It has been edited for brevity and some unrelated material as Timmy Gator and I go way back and it isn’t always about football. Warning: This isn’t the normal bias I usually exude in my posts and it discusses a variety of teams in the SEC and beyond. Don’t read if you don’t want an all glowing positive review on the Gators.

Timmy Gator:
Very interested in your post-game thoughts. The defense showed up on both sides of the field. O looked anemic. What the heck happened to GA. I know they were in the hurt locker with injuries so we didn’t see their full offense, which may have helped keep Mizzou off the field…and their D has been soft all year.

I would have liked to see the Mizzou QB against FL this week. Too bad he got injured. Not sure what to make of the game this weekend. I think we win, but not sure we prove anything without their QB in place. Gurley will be back in time for UF so we will play a better team than Mizzou did.

I’m starting to think LSU might knock AL off again.

TGN:
Ok—post game thoughts are this—the game went as I pretty much expected with the exception of LSU’s defense. Their defense has been porous and undisciplined at best and they put together probably the best 4 quarters they have had all seasons in the game against us. Of course, that’s what good teams do and in an unbiased view, they are a good team. Of course, having said that…LSU will not win the BCS National Championships. The numbers don’t work for them. They may get to the game, but won’t win. Our defense did not have the pass rush we needed, but they were still very good. Really, 17 points allowed—-that’s not a bad showing.

Georgia is better than Mizzou who is better than Florida. Missouri got lucky facing Georgia when they were broken. We are, in turn, getting the same situation…..almost exactly since we will be playing at Missouri and they played at UGA. We “may” beat Missouri if we fix a few things and with a week to prepare we can re-establish how we will run the ball without Matt Jones. Kelvin Taylor is a brilliant runner, but a crappy blocker…which is why he is not getting time because he is an abject failure on the pass rush. UGA defense is indeed soft and without a prolific offense, they were primed for an upset against Mizzou. That said, Missouri’s defense will do exactly what LSU’s did and put all their effort in stopping the run and forcing the pass. Our offensive line was very offensive. Credit goes to Tyler Murphy because he did not turn the ball over and probably should have several times when he was running for his life. We did see what Tyler Murphy lacks…..precise passing under pressure. Still, his game management is above question. The rest of the offense is trying really hard for him and are much more relaxed.

‘Bama is at home against LSU. LSU could bring their A-game and still lose. This one goes to ‘Bama. I don’t foresee LSU getting that kind of defensive effort on the road.

Forget Georgia. Hope Gurley does come back. We can beat them. I don’t care what happens next week against Mizzou. If Muschamp loses this game to UGA it will officially be a Georgia winning streak. He’s done to me if that happens.

The exceptional detail for this week at Missouri—it is probably going to be in the 50’s for the game and possibly raining. The Gators aren’t used to the Midwest and the weather. If the weather is not nice, this game is strongly favored for Mizzou. The colder it is the less the Gators chances are of winning.

Forget OSU. Get a real schedule and play in a real conference if you want respect.

Unfortunately, there is a real possibility that we lose three of the next four. Muschamp and Pease just aren’t the X’s and O’s coaches who can put a complete winner together.

Timmy Gator:
I’d love to see OSU play Oregon (or Bama/LSU) during the regular season. Any of those three would light them up. I think Oregon/Bama are the national championship game. I had forgotten Bama/LSU is in ALA. That changes the upset probability. Frankly, LSU will need more offense than 17 against ALA. No way they hold ALA to under 21.

I still love watching A&M. That always fun. Absolutely no defense on their side of the ball but they can score. I wonder what they are left with after Manziel. Real problems for them.

So here’s the real question, does Mizzou represent in the SEC Championship game??

TGN:
Yes. If Mizzou beats us it is likely they will be in the SECCG. Of course they could go into a death spiral without Franklin, but their untested frosh QB is supposed to be all world. It actually could make them better by seasons end.

I think we should pull out a squeaker against them this week.

Oh yeah…right now the championship is Oregon’s to lose.

————–
So that was my conversation this week with Timmy Gator. I will update “The List” after this weekend. You will absolutely be stunned with some of the teams on it.

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Is 2013 the Year?

The Streak, Gator Nation.

None of us even need to think about what we’re referencing when we say it. For 26 games we have beaten the Kentucky Wildcats in football and most years it is not even close. Enter Mark Stoops in his first year as coach. He’s going to do everything he can to get this streak ended. Kentucky will NEVER be considered a football threat until they do so. Heck, they beat LSU the year they won the BCS National Championship and no one talks about that loss. It’s the streak and with the exception of two years, 1993’s Wuerffel to Doering and 2003’s improbable comeback by Freshman Chris Leak, this is a series owned by the Gators. Is every ten year’s the time that the forces align to give Kentucky an edge over a team that generally has better talent, depth and coaching? Is 2013 the year? Let’s talk some football…

Little known fact…actually very little known…I was at both games in Lexington in 1993 and 2003 for completely random reasons. Both games were absolute heart-stoppers and the feeling afterwards when we won was none like you’ve ever experienced because we should not have won either game. We clearly should not even be speaking of a streak. Every ten years. Kentucky is an under-sized team that has very little depth, one receiver of note (Javess Blue) and two average QB’s. They do have a defense that plays hard….really, really hard…but they are very small and not deep at all. They took it to Louisville for a half and were it not for two turnovers in the red zone we could be talking about a big upset. Of course, Louisville kept trying for the homerun throw in the first half before settling for short routes in the second to move the ball. Kentucky has had a bye week to prepare and Mark Stoops knows us from his days as defensive coordinator at FSU. They will have a solid game plan and I’d expect it to be uncomfortable for the first half. However, it is really not difficult to know what the Florida game plan will be. We will run the ball and try to knock the other team off the line and keep pounding and pounding it. It is whether Kentucky can stop us or not. There are A LOT of people right now who think we are primed for an upset this weekend based upon our significant losses this week. The streak is going to come to an end, but not this weekend.

Coach Muschamp doesn’t put any faith in the streak and justifiably so. You can’t run a team off such things. He also is, clearly, not the type who is going to change his ways either. It isn’t pretty but he is winning games so we have to go with it. I would expect quite a bit from Mack Brown this weekend. Matt Jones has 2 fumbles in 2 games and we absolutely can’t afford any turnovers in this game. Maybe we survive 1 turnover and possibly 2, but if we get into 3+ then UK will know this could be their time. I’ve given up on expecting any downfield passing so any that we have will be bonus territory in my mind. I would expect Brent Pease and Joker Phiilips to try something very early on to test the waters in their return to Lexington. It will possibly be the first play or in the first series. That’s just a guess on my part. It is still Muschamp’s team and we’re gonna run. The loss of Easley will be seen in weeks to come but probably not this week. We still have significant depth and talent on the defensive side of the ball and Kentucky hasn’t seen anything like this yet. Finally, Tyler Murphy will be fine. I don’t foresee him trying to do to much. Just move the ball and get first downs. The rest will take care of itself. I am secretly hoping for us to return a Kickoff for a Gator TD, but that’s a whole different discussion. Florida 24 Kentucky 13. Game time is 7pm EST, 4pm PST on ESPNU—look for me in the crowd in the Gator section. A good night to join your local Gator Club because a Gator Victory over Kentucky on the road at night is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Interior of the University of Kentucky's Commo...

Interior of the University of Kentucky’s Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tyler Murphy and the Kentucky Streak

Note: This was written before learning about the injury to Dominque Easley.

Unexpected consequences from the weekend, Gator Nation!

I have heard many different reactions to the news that Jeff Driskel was out for the season. The fact remains that he was our starter. His record in the last two years is 13-3 with wins over LSU, South Carolina, and FSU in that span. That demands respect regardless of the miscues and the missed opportunities (Miami, UGA and Louisville). So I’m not going to jump up an down that we have a new QB in spite of our offensive struggles. You do have to keep in mind that we will play the remainder of this season (UGA, @ LSU, @ SoCAR, FSU and Arkansas) with no QBs who have ever started in a Gator uniform or have started a collegiate game in their career. Sobering I know.

That said…..there is room for hope. I think being Jeff Driskel has been the hardest thing about him being QB. He’s thrust into the limelight. We’re told he’s in the mold of Tim Tebow (big, strong and fast). He’s expected to produce gaudy offensive numbers. I think in the last 16 games he’s tried to do way too much at times. It’s those times when he has tried to do more than he is actually capable of doing is when we turn the ball over multiple times in a game and lose. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have had high expectations, but some people handle the burden better than others. If you go back to the play where he breaks his leg, he held the ball way to long in the hope that the play would finally develop and he would have some place to throw it. Can’t knock the desire to win, but realistically, we needed him to throw the ball away and move to the next play.

Enter Tyler Murphy. Exactly how many of you knew who are backup QB was? Ok—now that you’ve fibbed a bit—how many figured he’d play the majority of just one game this year? Nice. Now we’re starting to come back to reality. Tyler Murphy had absolutely no pressure on him in the world. We need to praise the fact that he is very diligent in his preparations and was ready to go when called, but this guy has NOT been getting the majority of the snaps in this offense. While he had his miscues on Saturday, he never tried to do more than he was capable. He was solid, relaxed and let the defense set the offense up to score when needed. It’s gonna be really, really, really different this weekend at Lexington.

Last weekend, Tyler Murhpy woke up on Saturday “hoping” to get into the game. This weekend he enters having taken all the snaps in practice and expecting to start…on the road…against a Kentucky Wildcat team that really, really, really, really, really wants to end this streak we have going on against them. Really!

I liked what Tyler Murhpy showed us this past weekend and I’m optimistically hopeful this weekend where I will be in the stands for the game (Go Gators!). I do not have unrealistic expectations though. This will be the perfect environment to test his mettle on the road against a team that will try its hardest to win. They are undermanned, lack the speed and talent to keep up and will probably face what will be the best defense they will face all year, but they are inspired. Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops has a slogan that is everywhere in Lexington that says “Attack Every Play”. So while they will be smaller on both lines, they will still do this all game long.

The Streak has taken on a life of its own. Each more and more is written and, believe me, UK knows that they will never be considered a successful football program until they end it. They never thought that a cold, damp day in 1986 was the last time they would win against us.  The QB for Kentucky at that time was a guy named Bill Ransdall.  He played high school ball about 5 miles from where I grew up in Kentucky.  He was four years ahead of me in school and, while he didn’t go to my high school (which was 9 miles from my house..go figure) it was a big deal to have a local talent as the QB for a collegiate program.  It was a good win, but if you were paying attention to Florida in the 80’s it was not a conceivable notion that we were headed to be one of the conference dominant forces at that time.  We were good, just not that good.

Now 27 games later, the Wildcats are aching to end this streak. They were fortunate a couple years ago to end a similar streak to Tennessee. If they get this one off their backs, it will be like a quickening of epic proportions for them. They had two chances in the streak to end it and both occurred a decade at a part in 1993 and 2003. The most notable being 1993’s Wuerffel to Doering. What does 2013 have in store for us?

The streak is going to end. That’s why I don’t put much faith in them. None the less, even with our loss of our starting QB, we still have depth that Kentucky does not and a defense that will be relentless. That should be our saving grace, along with a solid offensive plan…and maybe a kickoff returned for a Gator TD. Join your local Gator Club this weekend where Victory is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Tune in tomorrow for the weekly game summary.

Go Gators!

The State of This Gator

Where are we at, Gator Nation?

Many words come to mind, but none of them pleasant.  You watched our game with Miami and all you could do was sit there and shake your head and wonder if we could call a decent play or catch a break on offense.  None of that happened.  The one thing this weekend did was prompt me to write this missive.  Life gets busy, so whether you noticed my considerable absence from the Gator Nation in recent months or not….or the fact that I didn’t produce anything for the start of football season…is probably not high on your list of things to manage.  Well, it wasn’t on mine either.  Let me ‘splain.

I was very frustrated at our lack of ability to show up for a BCS Bowl after a hard fought season, I was equally miffed at our basketball team for blowing the SEC Tournament Championship….and…really…mainly…I just made a conscious choice to spend more of my free time with the family after being gone a year for deployment.  It was needed and still is, but I’m at a better point now with balancing life after 9 months of being back in the swing of everything.  I didn’t miss writing this blog or doing the research necessary to write this blog.  It was kind of nice.  NOW…however…I recognize that it’s time to get back in the swing of things.  For those who had no clue I had even fallen off the map, no worries, you probably encompasses the largest majority so balance in the world was maintained.

That said, I was highly charged during basketball season when I thought we had a Final Four team.  We almost did and then reality came crashing in hard with Michigan in the Elite Eight.  Our periodic, big time no shows during the season didn’t help either.  I was not at all convinced our football team would be as advertised.  I didn’t think we had the long ball receivers and I really didn’t think, even with our depth that we could have a power running football team that would bowl everyone over in the SEC. Having watched two games now this season, I would say our defense is pretty darn good and going to get much better. Our offense is not bad, but we have no deep threat receivers and, let’s face it, Jeff Driskel is solid, but not great. Solid could work for us except for one glaring point….our play calling on offense is abysmal.

I did not expect much in the Toledo game. I expected a majority of rushing plays right up the middle and with almost 50 run calls, that’s what we received. I did expect more during the Miami game and, truthfully, we did get more. Just very little of good. I have never been sold on Muschamp‘s bill of goods with this team. He has stuck to his principles and has been upfront about what he wants to do as a coach. I can’t fault him for that. Of course, you and I both know that we want more and in his 3rd year we expected more. We at least expected 40 points against Toledo. I’m guessing a paradigm shift is in order which means I need to start enjoying our defense more since that is what our team image is gonna be. I’m probably not going to get too many kickoffs returned for touchdowns this season either.

So waa, waa, waa. I think I’ve got it all out of my system now. Time to get focused on Gator football and the rest of this season. Join your local Gator Club for your weekly Gator games where Victory is best served with Gators! ’nuff said…for now.

The Wildebeest and Beyond

Anyone watching Gator basketball?

I ask that because this season is shaping up to be some of the finest roundball we’ve ever played as a Gator team. I went back and watched highlights from the 2006-2007 teams and have to admit that they were a level-above most teams they played. The two National Championships speak for themselves.

Our team this year is much smaller and about as thin as those teams Championship teams were.  We had a great initial run in the SEC schedule winning 10 in a row, but lost last week at Arkansas.  Truth be told, Billy has never had great success at Arkansas on their home floor.  The loss, while very unexpected for this team, was not surprising overall.  We weren’t going to continue the harassing defense every game and the hot shooting from 3-point land.  We were due for a lull.  As it turns out the last three games have been a bit of a lull overall.

Our 3-point defense has been incredible all season holding opponents to 27 percent shooting…the last three games have seen opponents shoot 41 percent including the Razorbacks 8 of 18 from three point range.  That’s not how we’ve been winning games and it appears that Billy has been working the team extra hard the last few days at practice in preparation for the Kentucky Wildcats.  Both Sunday and Monday’s practices were defense-centric.  The other reason is that we will be without Will Yuegete for the remainder of the regular season.  That’s absolutely gonna hurt when we full court press moving forward because Yuegete is the centerpiece of the press and how the ball moves is dependent on how Yueget reacts.  We’ve had enormous success with our press and let’s not forget his near 7 rebounds a game.  Yep—this is going to come back to bite us.  Here’s hoping we get him back near the end of the regular season.  Yuegete’s arthrocopic surgery went well (according to his tweet) and now it is on to the physical therapy with the athletic trainers who are in the top tier of their business.

I digress.

Our defense is key to our success and that all starts with Scottie Wilbiken out front.  We have not been the same team when “The Wildebeest” is starting and playing well.  It is not strange that all three of our losses happened when we did not have the services of Wilbiken or we had poor play by him.  He’s been the bedrock of the defense and has shut down some of the best scorers in the league.  We’re getting ready to go against Kentucky at home.  If we are to contend with their talent and athleticism, we will need The Wildebeest at his most intense best.  Further we will need significant contributions from Casey Prather and Michael Frazier II.  Frazier has proven reliable at three point range and an adept rebounder.  We need Prather ball-hawking on defense.  It also wouldn’t hurt to have Patric Young dominate the middle against UK’s 6-10 and 7 foot post players (Nerlens Noel and Willie Cauley-Stein).  Our inside shots will not come easy and if our 3-pointers aren’t falling our main recourse is defense….it’s has to be seriously intense.

The game tomorrow night is on ESPN at 7pm EST and 4pm PST.  If you’re not watching the Gators play this season, it might just be time to start tuning in to their games.  We are playing very well as a team.  We have some more work to do, but this team has bought into what Billy is selling.  Maybe you should buy some too.  If your local Gator Club is hosting a viewing part, that would be a great time to join them since Victory, especially over Kentucky basketball, is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Gator's Home Court

Gator’s Home Court (Photo credit: jimmywayne)

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!

Because It’s Florida-Georgia

Back from the abyss, Gator Nation!

I will provide an update on what has transpired in recent weeks, but not right now.  In fact, it is truly a great story and one I will share in a few weeks.  Needless to say, I’ve placed myself in a communications black hole for the time being.  A necessary part of life, I’m afraid.  I would not even be posting this except for a very pleasant email I received from Randy Hart.  Randy is a great Gator and we started at UF together in 1987 and I met him that fall and we’ve been fortunate to stay in touch and be part of the Columbus Gator Club for the last 8 years.  So in honor of Randy, let’s talk some football…

Georgia is coming into the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party a wounded pup.  They were spanked by South Carolina very unexpectedly after having very high hopes for this season.  Needless to say…but I’ll say it anyway…this game looms HUGE for them.  They need to win this game and win out to secure the SEC East.  We, on the other hand, win this game and we win the SEC East outright with four games to go in the season.  As you can imagine, Jacksonsville will be rocking.  Georgia has had the offense this year and with Aaron Murray as QB, it has been easy to do.  They average almost 40 points a game and have a great running back duo in Gurley and Marshall.  It’s their defense that has not performed after high expectations to do so.  You can’t give up 25 points a game and expect to win in the SEC.  This week, though, expect a high level of emotion.  Georgia’s season is on the line and all the stops will be pulled.  They don’t have a choice.  Expect the defense to throw everything at Jeff Driskel in his first Florida-Georgia game.  Reading all the pre-game hype, even with our big Victories and 7-0 record, everybody….and I mean EVERYBODY is thinking that we will lose this game.  That an emotional Georgia team will come in and put us in our place.  I just have one thing to say….let them try.

I’ve wanted to write so much in recent weeks with our team moving ahead like they have, but let’s just focus on today.  We don’t have the stats and we don’t seem to have the playmakers other than Gillislee, but we keep winning and our defense keeps rising to the occasion.  My guess is that Will Muschamp has thoroughly prepared for this game.  You don’t think he wants to win this one very bad?  Here’s my main point with today’s game…we can’t let Georgia win.  If we let them win then it’s two wins in a row and that constitutes a streak and that I can not abide.  We absolutely have to win this game for more than just the SEC East.  We have to win because we are Florida and it’s never enough to just beat Georgia once in awhile.  If you are a Gator who graduated in the last two decades, you are not familiar with the rivalry as it was when we didn’t win as much.  I would tell you I don’t ever want to go back to those days.  We need this win.  We need the SEC East.  I don’t care what the stats say…we need Florida football back on top.  Not much in the way of stats for today other than we need to keep improving our turnover margin in our favor.  Florida 27  Georgia 17.  Gillislee for 170 yards today.  Game time is 3:30pm EST, 12:30 pm PST, and 10:30pm local Kuwait time.  If you’re not at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, then I hope you are at your local Gator Club where Victory over Georgia is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Monday Morning (Speed) Rant

Courtesy of the I Hate FSU page on Facebook.

A quick and dirty on this weekend, Gator Nation!

I love the shutout, but I fear it was more to do with UK’s inept offense than our defense. We had several blown coverage plays that could have netted the Wildcats points, but they were unable to capitalize. Not having their starting QB didn’t help either. Still….gotta like a shutout.

I’m a big fan of Mike Gillilslee. Throughout the years he has been a model of consistency and professionalism. I’m hoping he does get 1500 yards this year and 24 TDs. That said…Matt Jones will be the future of the Gator ground game. Sorry, Mack Brown.

Offense needs to get on track quicker in the SEC games. If we want to beat LSU next week, this is imperative. I think our defense can contain LSU’s offense, but we need to score on them consistently throughout the game. Not in just the second half.

We’re +5 in turnover ratio. We’re heading in a good direction on this stat.

I’m disappointed that Jacoby Brissett did not get a chance to pass the ball at all. If the offensive line were better, it might be him out there instead of Driskell.

On the flip side, I also understand why Muschamp is running the ball as much as he is. He’ll win far more games with a good running attack than just passing.

I can’t believe that Jordan Reed took that hit and immediately bounced right back up. I hurt all over after that play and I’m 7000 miles away. I don’t think he’ll be able to do that against LSU, UGA, SoCar and the rest.

Despite the shutout and 38 points scored, I’m sensing that this team is far more focused and sharper when they are on the road. That game on Saturday lacked a lot of intensity on our sidelines.

Kentucky‘s pass rush is nothing compared to LSU’s. Driskell holds the ball too long. He will not be able to scramble as well against LSU’s speed. Our rushing game has to pick up yardage in two weeks.

Jordan Reed likes to hop up and make catches. He doesn’t run his routes very well. He makes beautiful catches though. I’ll take ’em, but he could be infinitely better.

We gave up 150 yards on the ground to UK—a team that couldn’t get to 50 against WKU. I’m thinking we will need to do better than that in October.

Zero fourth quarter points allowed so far this year by our defense. Nice!

One sack by the defense. Not so nice.

Might be an odd time for a bye week this week, but one thing is for sure, we will have more healthy players available for LSU than we did last year. I’d always prefer the bye week before UGA—-mainly because Spurrier liked it that way. Can’t say that I’m agreeable to the timing, but I’ll take it this year. Hope the administrators see fit to putting that bye week back in front of UGA.

Last, but certainly not the least, if you want to taunt that ‘Nole fan who is always nearby, let them know that no one has ever won the National Championship and given up more than 35 points in a regular season game—EVER! Then tell them the score of their game this past weekend. Buuwahahahahaahah (evil laugh onomatopoeia).

‘Nuff said. Go Gators!

Not So Wild-Cats

Photo by Lee Force via Facebook. Go Gators!

We’re getting the big heads, Gator Nation.

After two very hard fought Victories on the road with a complete defensive shut down of the opponent in the second half, we are now headed back home to face an unassuming challenger in the Kentucky Wildcats.  We’re hearing all this talk about hanging “half a hundred” on the Wildcats by our offense.  Not sure that anyone realizes that we’ve only done this six times in 62 meetings….and we’ve only had one half out of six where our offense clicked.  I’m all for scoring more points, but let’s not put the cart before the horse.  Let’s talk some football…

Kentucky was beat by a very bad Western Kentucky Team last week that was absolutely pummeled by Alabama.  So as logic dictates, we will now score 187 points on Kentucky.  Let’s take a closer look, shall we.  Kentucky has running attack that is minimal compared to Florida’s at this point and they rush by committee with Jonathon George leading the way last week and Raymond Sanders leading the team overall.  Regardless, they put up only 44 yards rushing against WKU.  Their QB, Maxwell Smith, on the other hand is quite prolific and has spread the ball around to 11 different receivers and has almost 1000 yards passing to date.  If you are not keeping track that’s about 500 more than we have.  They have also tallied 30+ points twice this season…which we’ve only attained once.  I will not-so-quietly point out that we played horrible in our one game at home this season.  OK, in all reality we win this game, but I can’t buy into the talk about hanging half a hundred on Kentucky until I see us be more consistent on offense…and defense.  Let’s face it our first halves this year have not been impressive….and we’ve brought serious firepower to our Kentucky games before and almost got beat (1991 Shane Matthews leads a late TD to secure a win and the SEC against a UK team that down 28 points in first quarter only to trail 28-23 in the 4th, Wuerffel to Doering, Chris Leak‘s 21-point deficit come from behind Victory in the 4th quarter, 2007 where we matched TD for TD and no defense was played in a 45-37 game, etc).  We’ve had the blowouts as well, but like I said, we had the firepower.  We appear to have firepower this year…but this jury is still out until I see more.  We’re still gonna win, though.

The second half against UT was good for the Gator collective.  We are beginning to see the development of this Gator team.  The defense seems to be further ahead of the offense at this point, but neither has put together a complete game this year.  That’s really what I would like to see from the defense this week.  Kentucky is more or less one dimensional.  Our secondary needs to step up and shut down the Wildcat passing attack.  We were able to do so for a half against UT, but I’m looking for the the “Package, Total T!” (read: The Total Package) this week.  I’m not concerned with 50 points, I’m looking at ZERO as in a shutout this week.  If our defense is getting better and playing better as a team then that’s my goal for this weekend.  We will win this season with our defense shutting the other team down and putting our offense in a position to have more scoring opportunities.  The letdowns in the past have come as a result of big games played before and after the UK game.  We had a big game last week and a big one next week—regardless we have to focus on THIS week.  Strangely, I was at all the games I mentioned in the paragraph above, so no worries this year, as I’m 7000 miles away from this weekend’s game.  I going all in on the defense this weekend and just looking for a great game running by Mike Gillislee and adding positive numbers to our turnover ratio (currently at +3).  Florida 35  Kentucky 0.  Game time is 12:21pm EST, 9:21am PST and 7:21pm here in Kuwait, so it’s breakfast on the west coast and a reasonable time here in the Middle East. I hope you are joining your local Gator Club where a 26th straight Victory over the Wildcats is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

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!