Tag Archives: #gatoralumni

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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The Weather in Missouri

University of Florida athletics "Gators&q...

University of Florida athletics “Gators” logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s all about the weather, Gator Nation!

When the Gators woke up this morning, it was 38 degrees where they were playing. It’s supposed to get into the high 50’s by kickoff. I know the weather isn’t what I normally talk about when it comes to Gator games, but understand the farthest north we generally play in the SEC schedule is Lexington, KY. It usually is pretty warm there too. Missouri’s chances of winning increase exponentially if the temperatures creep toward the 40’s at kickoff. I had this conversation with a fellow Gator on this just this week.  Let’s talk some football…

Weather aside, Missouri is a good team and lead the SEC East. They manhandled Georgia last week which was supposed to be their first test as team with a slew of soft games at the beginning. They have tons of offense and showed they could play physical defense at times last week. Of course, it must be noted they will be without starting QB, James Franklin, who is out for the next 3-5 weeks with a shoulder injury. Their backup is Maty Mauk who was a highly touted dual threat QB out of Ohio before redshirting last season. He is the heir apparent to this system and is probably very comfortable with this offense coming into the game. Even though it is his first game, I’d expect he will not perform poorly. He has three really big receivers to throw to…and I mean big…they are all 6’5 and 6’6. They dwarf our secondary which will have its hands full on the outside….meaning our pass rush has to show up this week after being dormant last week. Georgia was broken last week and their defense is not our defense. Still, the Tigers are good and are pretty much going to be the favorite unless something changes. Mizzou averages 40 points and 500 yards a game. This is not a good situation going in for the Gators, but it is also the way the SEC is setup and you step up when you have to do so. Something gives today, either our defense or their offense. I’m banking on our defense shutting down their offense.

That said, we are out Matt Jones for the season and Damian Jacobs for the game and I’ve heard that Ronald Powell is not at full strength. I get the whole “man out, man up” concept that Muschamp preaches, but that is all based on the fact that you have men to turn to when one goes out. We are rapidly losing players this season and the next few games are pretty critical to our success. I’d expect our defense to be more than they were last week and are probably ready to shut down the Tiger offense, but we have got to have a good running game today to setup our offense. Tyler Murphy as human last week, but let’s face it, our offensive line was useless against LSU. The fact that Murphy didn’t turn the ball over last week was impressive. Expect to see more Kelvin Taylor, but that also means poor pass blocking when he is in the game. Mack Brown has had a week to prepare. It is conceivable that we have a dominant run game today which will help slow down the Missouri pass attack only because our sustained drives will be 8-9 minutes long. We will definitely need a defensive or special teams score to help out today, along with a possible consistent field goal kicker. Who’d have thought our weak spot this year would have been punting and field goal kicking. Regardless, Mizzou’s defense isn’t LSU’s defense and we have A LOT to prove today because I’m sure the Gators have heard all week that they aren’t favored in the game. We play with what we got today. Florida 20 Missouri 17. Game time is 12:21 EST, 9:21PST on ESPN3 or Gameplan. I’m in the middle of Illinois so I don’t know where I’m going to watch it today. I may have a very stressful day with ESPN Gamecast. You should not. Join your local Gator Club where a Victory in our first visit ever at Missouri is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Decision Time in Death Valley

Leak Runnin the Offense toward the End Zone

Leak Runnin the Offense toward the End Zone (Photo credit: whateyesee13)

A definitive moment, Gator Nation!

We find out this weekend whether our defense is for real, whether our offense is actually becoming something more than just a run-only, ball protection scheme and whether LSU is actually the best team in the SEC. Into Death Valley we go and both teams are a much different version than the last two years. LSU is much different from last year’s team that visited The Swamp. In the last three games, the same can be said of the Gators. The winner of this game is the first one to establish their strength, our defense or LSU’s offense. Let’s talk some football…

Zach Mettenberger, LSU’s QB, was a non-factor last year. Enter Cam Cameron as offensive coordinator and the former transfer from Georgia is lighting up competition this year. He had the tools, but didn’t have the game plan or talent last year. He throws primarily to two good receivers, Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, and when I mean primarily….I mean primarily. Between the two receivers they have 77 catches. Among the remaining 11 players who have caught a pass for LSU, their total is 31. So….yes, primarily the ball is going to one of those two players. Put or shut up time for our secondary this week?  You betcha. LSU also has Jeremy Hill who can pound the ball on the ground. This is about as balanced of an offensive attack that we will face this year. The question will be how fast a start does LSU get on offense compared to how our defense starts. We’ve been sluggish at the outset the last three games and LSU usually starts very hot on offense. That does not bode us well if we get into a hole in this game on the road. The flip side is that LSU’s defense is not their best in recent years. They’ve given up 21, 44, and 26 points against their last three SEC opponents. It will be interesting to see how our offense stacks up today. This definitely is our turning point in the season. Either we become the team to beat in the SEC East or not. The ball’s in our hands.

Everyone knows who Tyler Murphy is by now. One wonders if the had been a highly recruited QB if he would have been starting a couple of years ago. As it turns out, it doesn’t matter. He got to the big leagues and is making it count. Now Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas are one thing. If he plays like he has been against LSU then we’re probably about to see a meteoric rise in the marketing of Tyler Murphy. There is no doubt that our offense likes playing with Tyler Murphy. Whatever he brings to the huddle, it has been a good thing. Everyone is playing harder on that side of the ball and it is creating a situation that allows are defense to tee off on the opponent. We will definitely need that today. We’re not favored against LSU and the fact is, I don’t care. Everyone keeps pointing to 2011 where we took an absolutely thin team with a freshman QB in his first start and were abysmal. We are not that team anymore. I would definitely like to avoid the idiotic personal foul penalties we’ve received in recent games, but the fact is that our defense needs to set the tone for this game. It’s statement time and if our defense wants to be considered the best then they need to shut down the LSU offense to do so. Our offense just needs to keep doing what is doing and not turn the ball over. The loser’s out of the SEC Championship race. Either we’re for real or not. Time to make it real. Florida 27 LSU 23. Game time is 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm PST on CBS with Verne and Gary (sigh!). Get to your local Gator Club where a Victory over LSU in Death Valley is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

Lexington Festivities

Always good to be around the Gator Nation!

130928 San Diego Friends

I’m a bit late with this post, but I had a great opportunity at the Florida-Kentucky game to spend time with good friends from the San Diego Gator Club where all of this started for me.  Great people, great game and a good time had by all…in the Gator Nation.

Stadium view of the game

Stadium view of the game

NIght time at Commonwealth Stadium made for a great Gator Victory.  The visitor’s section is in the northeast section of the stadium.  It’s better to be higher up so you can see the play on the field.  As it turned out, I was right behind the Pride of the Sunshine.  That’s was pretty cool too!  Obviously, the fake field goal which tied the game at 7-7 made the game interesting early on, but UK could never move the ball and we seemed to go on these drives of 8-9 minutes and get points.  Not sure if anyone noticed, but we never punted in this game.  That’s saying something.

Post-game Gator team cheer along with the band and the fans

Post-game Gator team cheer along with the band and the fans

One more time..in the corner with the team in Lexington.  A great place to see a game and watch our Gators play.  Best quote I read “Why Dick Vitale tweeted it could happen. And Kirk Herbstreit said it could happen. And suddenly the Bluegrass state was hooked on the feeling the team from the Sunshine State was ripe for the picking. And then the football was placed on the tee and reality visited Commonwealth Stadium. Again.” John Clay, Lexington Herald Leader.

Pretty much sums it up.

Final Score

Final Score

Post Game festivities at Bogarts Lounge at the Lexington Crowne Plaza Campbell House.  A great live ban, Rock Steady, with a phenomenal keyboardist, David Lee Hinkle.  A must see for your next Lexington, KY visit.

Keyboardist David Lee Hinkle

Keyboardist David Lee Hinkle

Go Gators!

A New Razorback Team

Albert and Alberta in the Swamp (Florida Field...

Albert and Alberta in the Swamp (Florida Field). Image captured by Tampa Gator September 2004. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We win, they lose, Gator Nation!

That pretty much sums up how I feel. We are not the flashiest of team, but in Muschamp‘s era, it boils down to that statement. Arkansas comes to The Swamp in our first night game at home since 2011. Apparently, that is a big deal, although it is worth noting we just won a game last weekend in Lexington at night so I’m hoping most of our team recognizes that it is nice at night in The Swamp. Also we will be wearing all blue and the fans in a blue-out for the game. I’m not really big on gimmicks. Mainly we should just line up as we always do and knock the other team off the ball. We win, they lose. It’s not a hard concept to follow. Let’s talk some football…

Bret Bielema is the new coach for the Razorbacks coming by way of Wisconsin. It is interesting to note that Bielema was having great success at Wisconsin (a major Big Ten school) and was poised to be there for as long as he wanted. Yet decided to up and takeover a program that had moderate success in the SEC. He has transitioned the team from pass-happy…which is an understatement..during the Bobby Petrino days to run first and mostly always now. They run the ball 70%. I’m wondering if any of you see something familiar with this? The Razorback attack is led by Alex Collins who has 597 yards on the ground in five games against mostly porous defenses, but give this freshman his due. He lines up each game and gets the yardage. This will be the stiffest test the Gator D has had to date in terms of rushing attacks because they also have a sophomore Jonathan Williams who has 471 yard. There is no secret to Arkansas’ success this season. Passing will be a secondary and little used option, though it is worth noting that when they do pass they can be successful. Their QB, Brandon Allen, had 282 yards and 3 TDs against Texas A&M last week. That’d be impressive if everyone wasn’t doing the same against Texas A&M this season. Arky has a “line ’em and knock ’em down” approach they use. Still we win, they lose.

Our Gator D was impressive last week against UK in the face of losing Dominique Easley. His loss will be apparent at times, but you coach what you got and we seem to “got” quite a bit on D. I think it will be very unlikely that we stack the box to stop Arkansas’ rushing attack. It’s all about the guys who line up and penetrate into the opposition’s backfield which we do pretty well. We continue that trend and we force Arkansas into a passing attack that just begs for our secondary to come in and snatch a few. Speaking of our secondary….Vernon Hargreaves III (VH3 from now on) is everything as billed. A true freshman who earned a starting position, VH3 has 3 interceptions in 4 games for the Gators. Fewer and fewer passes are going to go his way this season, so if he makes any interceptions then you need to PAY ATTENTION because they were hard fought for him. I could write this entire post about him, but I won’t. He’s good and Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson (both NFL talents) are now looking at him as the standard. I digress. Tyler Murphy is making the most of his playing time. Sometimes it’s good to be the 2-star backup with few expectations. He is careful with the ball, but he is also extremely relaxed in the pocket which seems to have relaxed the entire offense altogether. He doesn’t turn the ball over this game we win, they lose. We are going to hold the ball for 8 minutes a drive score in the 20’s and hold the opposition to as few points as possible. That’s the theme. We win, they lose…I’ve actually used this before…but it seems to be the best measure in the Muschamp grand scheme of things. Works for me. Florida 28 Arkansas 13. Game time is 7pm EST, 4pm PST on ESPN2. In the grand spirit of all things defense, I’m hoping for a VH3 interception and return for a TD because let’s face it, that’s the best kind of quick strike offense we have. Hoping for a Kelvin Taylor appearance as well. I’m joining my local Gator Club, like you should do, where a Gator Victory at night is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!