Tag Archives: Will Muschamp

The Game and the Gamecocks

English: Steve Spurrier at fan day while coach...

English: Steve Spurrier at fan day while coaching the Florida Gators, 1999 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Football is an odd sport, Gator Nation.

We celebrate multiple men on a field running into each other at high velocities and enjoy bone crushing events like they were the only thing happening on a Saturday.  We get excited and high five when someone becomes so fluid and elusive that others buckle at the knees to keep up and watch as an individual trots into a big patch of green.  The game of college football brings its ups, its downs and in all kinds of weather, Gator Nation.  There’s nothing like it.  Let’s talk some football…

Steve Spurrier is easily the greatest active college football coach in the SEC.  Oh…you think Saban and Miles are better.  Really?  Want to go toe to toe with me on this one?  Sidebar: Yes, I’m a big of the Head Ball Coach.  End Sidebar.  Many of you in my generation and before understand that the 8-5 record that Urban Meyer left us with and the 7-6 that Muschamp began his tenure with before Spurrier was THE STANDARD.  I remember sitting in the stands in 1988 watching us unable to move the ball against Memphis State.  Not Mississippi State.  Not Florida State (that game was uglier…52-17).  I’m speaking of team in southwest Tennessee that beat us 17-11.  We finished 7-5 and guess who we lost to the very next week?  Yes, Vandy.  Another sidebar: Before you note the 9-1-1 seasons, understand those have been wiped from existence due to NCAA sancation and SEC buffoonery.  End second sidebar.  Before Spurrier there wasn’t the Florida Football we have known the past two decades.  Before Spurrier the Gamecocks were who other teams scheduled for their Homecoming.  Both Alabama and LSU were winning football games and National titles before Saban and Miles ever set foot on the campus and both enjoy a recruiting advantage in their home states full of football prospects.  Spurrier built programs and won at places that weren’t winning before and is easily the better coach on the sidelines.  He may not have the horses he had at Florida in the earlier years, but there is no denying he is always the better the coach.  Oh yeah, I’m not a big fan of either ‘Bama, LSU or the Gamecocks for that matter, so there is some legitimate bias in this assessment.

SoCar is bringing in the better team.  They score more points.  Their defense is not that great, but neither is our offense.  They have a good QB who is not out for the year with an injury, so that right there is a plus.  They boast one of the greatest defensive players in the country in Jadeveon Clowney, who also is not out for the year with an injury.  It’s actually interesting how good a team can be when they have most of their players suited up for each game.  This game is at SoCar so that puts at least a few points in their favor for the game.  It’s a night game and they have to win to keep pace in the SEC East which means they will bring a raucous crowd to the game.  They have the SEC’s leading rusher in Mike Davis, a former Gator commit that we blew it with by trying to recruit another RB the same year after we had already signed him and Matt Jones.  Best head coach, better team, better record, at the opposition’s home field…it doesn’t look good does it?

Whatever.  No one ever said I wrote these posts for my health or for my sanity.  Sure we have now have 10 starters out for the season after Antonio Morrison tore cartilage in his knee presumably not barking at a neighbors dog.  We may have even lost our backup QB and will be, most likely, starting our third string QB, Skyler Mornhinwig, who has a famous father and no NCAA snaps at QB in his repertoire.  The fact each of us who have been following Gator football this year know this is a blowout before it starts.  Yet I’m not going there.  Game time isn’t here and we still have a chance.  Kelvin Taylor might break tackles enroute to a 200 yard game.  Our third string QB may prove to be the best QB we have in the rotation.  Has a knack for getting rid of the ball quickly and out to the receivers for big gains.  Our secondary could conceivably intercept Conner Shaw four times and return a couple for Gator TDs.  The fact is the ball still needs to be put in play and we have a chance…albeit slim…to win this game.  Because of that, I’m still going with the Gators.  I’ve never predicted a Gator loss and I’m not about to start now.  Besides, this is a SoCar team that lost to Tennessee that we manhandled while losing our starting QB at the same time.  Florida 31  South Carolina 29.  Game time is 7pm EST and 4pm PST on ESPN2 which mean Verne and Gary are covering another set of SEC schools, thankfully.  You probably haven’t been going to your local Gator Club recently, but this week is a good time to go because a Victory over South Carolina and possible continuance of a yearly winning record are best served with Gators.  ‘Nuff said?  Not quite.

I posted a great article on why the situation for us will get worse before it gets better on the TGN Facebook page.  The problems started under Meyer and were exacerbated under Muschamp.  We’ve had all these great recruiting classes that did have skill players develop, did not provide us depth at QB and absolutely obliterated the offensive line.  We didn’t realize that a 12-1 Gator squad in Tebow’s last year was operating very thinly and it was only because of who we had at QB and the recruiting class that came in with him were we able to get through the season.  As much as Urban Meyer has fell out of favor with me for how he left the program, I have to admit he is a better coach than Muschamp and better at recognizing opportunity and assistant coaches.  He said the program was broken when he left.  He should know, he broke it.  The fact that Ohio State opened up with plenty of quality players and no SEC schedule was only a bonus.  Muschamp for his part made the situation worse with poor coaching selections and his overall bull headed approach to fitting round pegs in square holes.  Right now Jacoby Brissett should be our pro-style QB, but that was never going to happen because we needed Jeff Driskel to scramble around due to a very weak offensive line with no depth.  No receivers to throw to also means that Driskel is scrambling A LOT.  We are taking athletes and shoving them into positions that they are not used to playing while Muschamp builds his stable and to his credit he has recruited a significant number of offensive lineman last year and this year.  The injuries this year just brought the house down and now we sit at 4-5 and looking at our first losing season since 0-10-1 in 1979.

Our AD, Jeremy Foley, came out in support of Muschamp this week.  Frankly, Gator Aaron had the best response on Facebook this week with “Actually, I think the only valid reason not to fire him is the lack of anybody on the current coaching staff who can step up in his place.  Brent Pease?  COME ONE!”  No truer statement can be said.  Muschamp is here for the remainder of this season and will be the coach next year.  He went 11-2 last year and one bad season….and this is a really bad one for Gator fans…will not be enough to get him fired.  It is quite likely we may have a second bad season next year, but should have a winning record.  Muschamp has to find some quality assistant coaches who can develop player talent.  He then has to identify what is happening in his program that is resulting in so many injuries.  This season is abnormal in terms of injuries, but it has been a continual problem since he came on campus.  He has to decide that some games are more important than others.  He has one Victory over FSU on his resume that he can claim as a rivaly Victory.  We haven’t beaten Georgia and are more than likely going to go 1-2 versus FSU this year.  His statement when he first took the job that he didn’t believe in rivalry games speaks volumes as to why I don’t think he’s the best X’s and O’s coach we could have, but he is who we have for the time being.  So, I’m going to work with it.  With this year’s recruiting class getting shakier by the week (see De’shawn Hand choosing Alabama over us this week—it gets worse if we lose Dalvin Cook at WR), Muschamp will have to do his best to reassess and get everything back on track.  In all kinds of weather we all stick together, Gator Nation.  This storm is going to last a bit longer.  Hang in there.  It might just all work out for us in the end.

The bright spot in all of this is that Gator basketball is starting and I will say up front that November and December will be a trying time.  We just lost to a ranked Wisconsin team with seven scholarship players and a walk-on playing 21 minutes, nearly winning the game in the final minute at Wisconsin.  We get Damontre Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith back from their team suspensions this week to get a bit more size on the floor.  Eventually, Will Yuegete, Michael Frazier and Eli Carter will recover from their surgeries and illnesses.  We will get Scottie Wilbekin back in a few weeks to allow us to have more than just a freshman at point guard.  Chris Walker is also set to join the team in December which will allow us to see the highly touted big man in action.  Come mid-January, I suspect you are going to see a very good Gator basketball team and probably the only one who can compete with Kentucky in the SEC.  This is a Gator basketball team that is lying in wait.  Have some patience, but most importantly tune in and watch the games because they are going to be good.  Lastly, the 5th ranked Lady Gator Volleyball team plays the 7th ranked Misouri Tigers this weekend.  This the first time Mary Wise has had a Top Ten game in the SEC since her first season in 1991.  I have great expectations for this Volleyball team.  I’m looking for a Final Four appearance this year.

Ok.  ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!

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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!

Rocky Top Meets Rocky Bottom This Weekend

This picture was taken at the South Carolina-F...

This picture was taken at the South Carolina-Florida game on November 11, 2006 by Randall Stewart. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new look Vols this weekend, Gator Nation.

We’re rested from our Bye Week and Tennessee is fresh off a thumping at Oregon. We have QB questions and they have QB questions. Both coaches want their QB’s making better decisions. We’re both coming off losses to the only real team either have played so far. We’re both starting the SEC schedule this week. We both run the ball predominantly. We’re at home. They are not. We’ve won eight straight games against them. They haven’t. Time to make it nine. Let’s talk some football…

Tennessee played Oregon at Oregon and got smacked. Many of us in the Gator Nation and sitting here thinking….well, this game should be easy this weekend. Let me just say that Oregon is going to beat most of their competition the same as they beat the Volunteers last weekend. It is not an anomaly and it is not a forebearer to our game this weekend. Tennessee has hit “Rocky Bottom”, but the fact remains they can run the ball and have shown a penchant for forcing turnovers—something that should be a primary concern for us. UT has hinted that the QB competition is wide open this week. Their QB, Justin Worley, has not been impressive, but he’s the guy who has been taking most of the snaps since last year. He’s playing. If he ends up making the field stink because of his play, THEN we may see another guy. Right now, I think the QB issue is all talk. The Vols simply will not walk into The Swamp and start a freshman QB in his first game ever. If they do…then this will probably be a wild game for one team…probably not us either. The Vols coach, Butch Jones, is fresh from his head coaching gig in Cincinnati and has his hands full trying to get Tennessee back to the elite status they enjoyed for the better part of the 90’s and mid-2000’s. He’s got recruiting going for him this year, but this team lacks the depth and talent to compete with Top 20 teams (see Oregon again). I can’t see their defense lasting for the entire game, especially if we pound and pound the ball on the ground. I also can’t see them primarily running the ball against our defense, although they have two solid RBs in Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane. They have many of the same issue we do, but it all comes down to the passing game and defense. Their defense will have something to prove this week after Oregon so expect it to be reaonably close. Unfortunately, they don’t have the depth at defense to rely on when the run fails and the passing game can’t keep them close this weekend.

If we avoid a Western Kentucky-like performance (five turnovers in six plays) and limit our turnovers, this game should be ours for the taking. Right now UT does not have the horses to compete with us. My guess—in the wake of the Miami game results—we will run the ball, run the ball, run the ball and then…run the ball some more. It should be a good weekend for Matt Jones and company. Brent Pease has already made public comments that he wants Jeff Driskel to make beter choices in pressure situations. I would argue that maybe we should have better play calling that can use Driskel better in pressure situations. I can’t attribute this comment like I would prefer, but I did read on the blogosphere a great suggestion. Driskel has had moments of excellence and it generally happens when we go uptempo when we are ahead and can still rely on the running game. Excellent idea! How about a series at the end of the first quarter or start of the second quarter where we pick up the pace a bit. Seriously. Haven’t you noticed by now that Muschamp’s method is to plod along, be deliberate, get ahead and run out the clock. Actually, plodding along is too fast compared to what we do. Give Driskel one series to unleash himself. I might as well stop writing about the offense anyway. Once Muschamp gets up by 14 points that may be all we can hope for in terms of point spread. I think that’s just how he is wired and as along as we are winning that is what we can expect. Hard to argue with winning, but you know me, I wouldn’t mind the points either. Or a Kickoff returned for a Gator TD. Just sayin’. I’d expect our defense to be ready and it is quite possible we can keep UT to single digits. We’ve had a week to rest and some time to work on some of our issues in the red zone. It might not be exciting, but we win, they lose. Florida 20 Tennessee 9. Game time is 3:30pm EST, 12:30 PST on CBS. Yes, it’s Gary Danielson and Vern Lundquist calling the game. I know. It’s not even worth commenting. In between my daughter’s soccer games this weekend, I’m joining my local Gator Club where nine straight Victories over Tennessee is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

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.

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 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!

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!

2012 Gator Football Preview — Offense and Defense

A Football-teaser, Gator Nation.

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

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

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

Go Gators!

Where Are You, Gator?

One week left, Gator Nation!

Football season is just around the corner and we’re gearing up for an exciting season this year. Not sure what to expect on offense and plenty of anticipation for our defense. Year Two of the Will Muschamp era kick offs against the Bowling Green in just over a week. I know we are all hoping it is significantly better than Year One which amounted to much of what I came to expect my first three years in college when 6-6 and 7-5 seemed to be a frequent occurrence. Then the Head Ball Coach came to town and Gator expectations were through the roof….and have never come back down. What to expect this year? That is the question. Let’s talk a little football and some other stuff…

I’ll get more into football in the coming week. The fact remains we have no QB designated—though both promise to be GREAT quarterbacks. They are sophomores and at least this qualifies for one of my rules: The great thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores. Life can’t get any worse on offense than it was last year….can it? I don’t think it will be. We have far more depth on both sides than last year. The thing is….and this is hard to ignore…does anyone out there know what to expect this year??!? Information about the Gator football team has been about as minimal as I’ve seen in most years. The fact that Muschamp makes Nick Saban look like a blabbermouth is interesting. Makes me nostalgic for the Spurrier days when darn near everything he said was a riot….oh, yeah, we also blew teams out as well. So let’s start this season out correctly….we’re just going to assume the Gators are great this year and go from there. Game one will be over soon and we will definitely know more than we do now. We might even find out who the starting QB is going to be as well.

Finally, let me address the question in the subject line. I’ve been in Kuwait (and other not so nice places) since January of this year. It has cut into my TGN time, but I’m trying very hard to be back with a vengeance. As such, I’ve decided to get serious about this whole Gator Narrator gig. I like writing the weekly posts and reading up on the Gators from week to week. It’s about time I’ve managed my operations with it better. Usually this is just something I draft up and send out in my spare time. Since I’ve been in the desert, I’ve been using a WordPress site to tell my tale here in the Middle East. I believe many, if not most, of you are on it. It really is user friendly and not as controlling like Blogger and other sites. I thoroughly enjoy its functionality. So, I’ve setup shop there with my own TGN page (link below). It is currently a work in progress, but all these emails that go forth will be posted there, so if you sign up you can watch it mature…and that’s pretty much why I’m telling you this. I’m going to stop the email distribution and utilize the function on thegatornarrator.com to distribute my weekly musings. I’ll keep this email distro up for awhile, but eventually it will go away. This will also give you the opportunity to be released from the distribution if you choose—no worries, my feelings won’t be hurt, if you’re not reading, you’re not reading—just a fact of life. For now things will stay the same, but changes they are a comin’! I hope everyone is enjoying their Gator Kickoff parties this August. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can expect next week. It’s going to be an exciting season. Hopefully, you’ll join your fellow alumni at your local Gator Club where Victory is best served with Gators! ‘Nuff said.

Go Gators!