Tag Archives: Kelvin Taylor

Vandy Has Been

Florida at Vandy

Florida at Vandy (Photo credit: da_mere)

Bylines are deceptive, Gator Nation.

The Vandy football team is also deceptive. This is a team that, for 22 years in a row, we have been able to defeat them. Most times we have done so by a large amount of points. This year is much more different and the game couldn’t be more important to the Gator football team. A winning record, a possible bowl game and just a little satisfaction for the Gator Nation are at stake. Let’s talk some football…

It is not your mother’s or grandmother’s Vanderbilt football team. Vandy comes to The Swamp with a 4-4 record and a win over Georgia (who we just lost to) and presents the ability to put a lot of points. They’ve scored at least 24 points in every game which contrasts to our ability to even reach the 20 point mark. The are fairly balanced running and passing the ball, but their starting QB, Austyn Carta-Samuels, is nursing a knee injury from their game against Georgia. There is a big drop if they go to their backup, but I’d expect Carta-Samuels to play. Their big weakness is their defense. They have given up 35 or more points four times this year and haven’t exactly played the same caliber of teams that we have. Keep in mind they’ve also had two weeks to prepare for this game. The head coach is James Franklin who is, like Muschamp, is in his third year and has completely turned around a program that for the majority of its existence was the SEC doormat in football. Not your father’s Vanderbilt football team either. James Franklin is a highly regarded coach who is rumored to be a candidate for the USC football job. Whether that is true, I’m not getting into here, but to have your name in the conversation while you are coaching Vandy says something about your ability to run a program. Vandy has been…a team we routinely beat by an average of 20 points. Vandy has been…a great team to play on Homecoming. Vandy has been…the week we could take off and not play as hard. Vandy has been…isn’t anymore. Too much is resting on this game for the Gators to consider what “has been”.

Pleasant surprise last week against Georgia…except we still lost. Our defense has been the one competitive group on the team this year, but we can’t afford an entire quarter off and get in such a hole. Vandy has the potential to put points on us fast like Georgia. Our defense has to step up immediately and make a statement today. Muschamp is going to have to do his best sales job and fire up a squad that is playing for the entire Gator Nation today on Homecoming. I have to admit that bowl fantasies are not part of my thinking these days. I really just want to see us playing well rounded football the remainder of the season. I’m tired of thinking about injuries and who our next playmaker will be. It has been ugly football, but a win is a win. We beat Vandy and then we look at the next game…and then the next game after that. Kelvin Taylor had a flash of brilliance last week. Even Tyler Murphy seemed to be used better than most games. Frankly, all our good fortunes last week started with the defense. I don’t see us winning without our defense setting the tone early and putting the offense in position to get points. We have to get early and often pressure on the QB, force turnovers, not turn the ball over ourselves and run the ball well…and we probably need a defensive or special teams score. Florida 23 Vanderbilt 14. I have high expectations for both Kelvin Taylor and Trey Burton. Will see how they live it to that today. Gametime is High Noon EST, 9am PST…it’s breakfast for the West Coast Gators and hopefully a good turnout at the Gator Clubs. Which is where you should be because a Victory for Homecoming is best served by Gators. ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

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A Must Win at the Cocktail Party

Logo used on Gator helmets during the mid-1960s

Logo used on Gator helmets during the mid-1960s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My simplest post yet, Gator Nation!

It boils down to this, we absolutely must win this game.  Our season is on the brink and a winning record and a possible bowl game are also at hand.  The fact that each team can possibly win the East Division is laughable.  The bottom line, though, is that we can’t have three straight losses to Georgia.  For a Gator fan this is an absolute must-win each year.  Yet, here we are on the brink.  Let’s talk some football…

Georgia is as banged up as we are, but get back uber running back, Todd Gurley, this weekend.  Likewise, their QB, Aaron Murray, is looking for a third straight victory over the Gators—which should be unheard of in this day and age.  They have a prolific offense and big receivers putting and are averaging 554 yards with Gurley in the offense.  That’s pretty much triple what we’ve put up in our last two games.  The Georgia defense is atrocious, but we’ve had the habit of becoming very one dimensional and making other teams appear to have dominant defenses.  The Bulldog’s defense is susceptible to runs outside the box.  This would appear to be a major reason why we will be starting Kelvin Taylor against them since he averages 7 yards a carry when rushing outside the box.  I’m hoping that the Gator Coaches are aware of this and not just randomly choosing a running back at this point because our offensive line isn’t going to open many holes up the middle.

Expect Taylor running early and often.  Otherwise, we will never be able to open up the passing game and the Georgia defense will tee off on Tyler Murphy like LSU and Missouri did.  The major key in all of this is turnovers.  We have to force at least 4 Georgia turnovers and not turn the ball over ourselves in order to rack up some offense.  It’s about that simple this week.  Force turnovers, control the ball, effectively run the ball and then win.  Both teams had Bye weeks and both are coming off two consecutive losses.  For the first time in awhile, this game is not getting any attention because both teams are unranked and unlikely to challenge for the East.  Coach Muschamp has to win this game to salvage the season AND generate some motivation heading into the final games.  Three straight losses to UGA is unacceptable and if Muschamp didn’t prepare this team for this particular game then my expectations for the future will pretty much be set.  Oh yeah, I want a Kickoff returned for a Gator TD just because.  Florida 24  Georgia 21.  Game time is 3:30EST, 12:30PST on CBS with, yes I’m afraid, Gary and Verne.  Maybe we should just turn down the TV volume and pump in Mic Hubert.  This is a good time to join your local Gator Club where Victory at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!