Tag Archives: University of Florida

Time For An Impact

Florida State starts a drive deep in their own...

Florida State starts a drive deep in their own territory against the Florida Gator defense, November 24, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s all about the game, Gator Nation.

We can’t win the SEC East or the SEC Championship and I’m not about to get into any BCS game talk. This game is simply IT for our Gator football team. We haven’t won pretty and actually it has been horrendously ugly, but 10-1 is 10-1 and against top notch competition so we can’t discount that. I also don’t buy into the talk that everything goes out the window for this rivalry game. We’ve been a superior defensive team all year and that is a must for today and we have to be prepared with a great gameplan. Let’s talk some football…

Florida State is getting credit for having one of the best defensive units we’ve seen this year, but that is a bit misleading as they’ve only played one top ranked team in Clemson and they scored 37 on them. Of course, you don’t really have to be a top ranked defense to shut down our offense, but we will get to that. FSU has probably the most potent offense we have seen this year, probably on par with Georgia. Their QB, EJ Manual, has had some stellar games this year. While our pass rush could use drastic improvement, our secondary can’t give him any easy targets and we will have to shut down their running game of Chris Thompson and Devonta Freeman, who have about 1,300 yards between them. We don’t have a choice today, we have to shut down the run game, otherwise this will get very ugly…but I’ll get to that later as well. Let’s just get to the nuts and bolts of it all. No one thinks we are going to win in Tallahassee because we can’t score on offense against really bad teams and FSU will have the best defense we have seen all season (though I have some arguments with that). We are not favored and not expected to win even though we are ranked #4 in the BCS and are 10-1 against the hardest schedule as rated by the NCAA in the nation. Heck, not even sure why we are even getting on the bus for this game as this is a formality. Let’s just get to the post-game hullabaloo. You’ll have to excuse me if I haven’t given up just yet.

Let me face a few facts up front. We scored one offensive touchdown in each of the last three games against very poor defenses. We’ve relied on our Field Goal kicking and defensive turnovers to generate our offense this year. We can run the ball when our offensive line plays well, but that hasn’t happened lately. We must hold on to the ball to win. All of this would be disconcerting were it not for the fact that we’re somehow 10-1 against superior teams. No matter what the stats say, we can win this game, but the defense must show up and we must force a bunch of turnovers. A Gator defensive or special teams TD might not hurt either, but we must knock the FSU offense around from start to finish. If our defense is as highly touted as we think they have to make an impact today of epic proportions. We can’t have a solid effort from them…we have to have a phenomenal effort from them. I don’t even think I’m asking anything remotely impossible. Our defense is good enough to have a day like this. It is against our main rival in a game with huge repercussions for whoever wins. It comes down to preparation and concentration, but I’m banking on the Florida Gators just having a ton of “want to” for this game. They want to win to prove to everyone that they belong where they do. Florida 17 Florida State 13. Game time is 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm PST on ABC TV. I want a special teams AND defensive TD by the Gators today with of course, a FG. While our Gator Club has to meet at a fellow Gators’ home today because of some other rivalry game here in Columbus, Ohio, I hope you are able to join your local Gator Club where a Victory over the Seminoles is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

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!

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!

The Monday Morning Rant

The ambivalence is overwhelming, Gator Nation!

What exactly did we see this weekend? It is not as if our expectations could have been in the stratosphere to start this season. Ok—I did expect a wee bit more offense this year. I did not expect to see a whole lot less.

First, let’s address starting both QBs on the first play. It makes us look especially arrogant given the underwhelming victory. Why are we continuing this debate into the season? Pick one, game plan and move on with the season. We have lost any amount of luxury of time to be making this decision.

Technically, I was correct that Jacoby Brissett would start–even if it was for the first play of the game. The problem as I see it is that Jeff Driskel has the edge on starting ONLY BECAUSE OF HIS SCRAMBLING ABILITY. Our offensive line is supposed to be improved, but that is hardly the case. We couldn’t even pick up 3rd and short on six different occasions….against Bowling Green!?!? They only positive I see is that we were very one dimensional on offense which I assume was on purpose. My only hope is that we break open the play book next week against Texas A&M. The only thing working in our favor is that Texas A&M did not play this weekend and will be facing us in their very first game of the season.

I want to take this opportunity to introduce our new Offensive Coordinator–Will Muschamp. Apparently, hiring Brent Pease to design a shifting motion offense for us was a clever deception for other teams to prepare for all summer long when in fact we intend to pound the ball running straight into a defense stacked up to stop the run. Ok, I get he wanted to test his players. Fine. How about at least not telegraphing for the world to see what we are going to do? Most of the Top 25 this weekend played against inferior teams and didn’t open up their offenses, but still managed to push around the other teams. I’ve said from the beginning that I did not know if Muschamp was an X’s and O’s type of coach. That still has changed.

On the positive front, Mike Gillislee ran the ball 24 times and picked up 148 yards. There is promise there for us….even if it was against a second tier team.

We have no passing game. Not sure if that was by design this weekend, but I know if we go another season with no downfield passing, then last year’s 7-6 record is going to look good by comparison.

So what do we have?

Jury is out on the defense. I know we had a bunch of returning players, but we weren’t especially effective on defense last year unless we played someone ineffective on offense. We didn’t blitz and we rushed the front four. No sacks, but we did get some pressure. Our tackling was spotty at time. I’m going to do a “wait and see” on this one.

We are starting the season at +1 in turnovers.

I still say Jacoby Brissett should be starting, but if the O-Line can’t protect then we have to go with Driskel only because he can move the pocket around.

The new kickoff rule is going to seriously hamper Debose, but this is also a wait and see.

Ultimately, I’m throwing this game away and starting the season fresh next week against Texas A&M. I’m going to assume that we have a solid gameplan ready to go for next week that will showcase our significant improvements. I’m also counting on Brent Pease to call the offense next week and not Muschamp. In essence, I’m expecting everything that did not happen this week.

In all kinds of weather, Gator Nation.

Go Gators!

Falcons in the Swamp

Gameday is here, Gator Nation!

Despite some of my summer commentary about the state of the Gators, there is nothing like the start of the season to make you eager for the start of college football and see exactly what our team can do.  Sure we don’t know who is starting at QB.  Also we plan on playing at least 2 guys at QB…possibly more.  We’re not sure if we can run the ball…or get it to our receivers.  Heck, there are a ton of questions we have about this team.  ISN”T IT GREAT!!  I hope you’re as excited as I am, fellow Gators.  Let’s talk some football….

The Bowling Green Falcons will be visiting the Swamp with great intentions.  I’m sure they are hoping that our inability to select a QB will play in their favor of keeping it close until the end and maybe pulling off a miracle.  They have some reason to be a bit confident rolling into Gainesville.  They return 20 starters on their team…of course that team went 5-7 and played in the MAC….sooooooo I’m thinking that’s not necessarily the best thing.  They do, however; bring in one significant trait that will be great for us.  They love to air the ball out.  If our secondary is as good as it is being advertised then we will know something about them tomorrow.  If we have the capability of shutting down the pass and creating some turnovers, it’s going to be figured out pretty early tomorrow.  As far as BG’s defense, all I know is that they gave a lot of points and about 400 yards a game in 7 losses last year.  I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that one year with quite a few returning starters will improve the defense some, but I’m expecting some points tomorrow regardless of who the QB may be.  The Falcons QB is Matt Schilz and he passed for more yardage last year than John Brantley did the last two seasons…..more TDs as well.  An experienced QB will go along way to making tomorrow an uncomfortable game.  Of course, I’m expecting our defense to put that to rest very early.

The Gator defense is the supposed strength of our team.  If that is the case I’m assuming we shut down BGSU early and often.  If we’re not getting turnovers then I want a ton of three and outs.  I’ll take a blocked punt by our specials teams while I’m placing my order.  Shoot, while I’m at it how ’bout a kickoff returned for a TD by the Andre Debose?  I’ll take any option to scoring points this year.  Likewise, I have big hopes for Mike Gillilee and until proven otherwise, I’m tuning in for a great viewing of The Mike Gillislee Show.  If he’s the runner that we think he can be and with an improved O-Line then I want some yardage on the ground tomorrow.  Sure, some downfield passing would be nice, but first and foremost our offensive line has got to raise up and place a mighty beast of burden on the BGSU defense.  If we can’t shove them around then the SEC will be very interesting for our team.  There’s a lot of hope in this post this week.  If I knew more, I’d put it right here, but we start this season on equal footing and will have to go from there.  Methinks Jacoby Brissett to start at QB.  Florida 45  BGSU 13.  Game time is 3:30pm EST, 12:30pm PST on ESPN—except here in Kuwait where it will be on Armed Forces Network-Atlantic at 10:30pm.  I hope not to wake my neighbors with loud cheers.  It’s easy to do when we’re National Championship contenders, but hopefully this week starts us off well and you find yourself at your local Gator Club where Victory is best served with Gators!  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!