Not really a sports topic, but wanted to share the great news my son was accepted to UF today. (As was our neighbor across the street.). As you might imagine, Momma was stoked. He of course is too “cool” to show any excitement. No idea if he’ll “commit” & being out of state will be a challenge, but wanted to share nonetheless. Anyone else hear good news today?
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Well, that was something to start the season. It wasn't smooth, it could be frustrating, but at the end of the day Gators football is back. The students were there early in numbers for the first time in forever, a legitimate 86,000 crowd, and 553 total yards, including 400 rushing. The crowd was hot to begin, slowed down, but after a number filed out it got electrified to again, which I will touch upon in just a bit. It was a nice day to see the crowd sway to We Are The Boys, the cell phone flashlights to I Won't Back Down, and even a halftime of the crowd singing Sweet Caroline. There are many reasons to be just happy to be there. There are positives, negatives, and of course, the QB issue that I believe was coached into.
The offensive line still has some issues, but you can't argue with 400 rushing yards when you can say they have improved. If the offensive gameplan was as vanilla as some would have you believe, this is an awesome number. Yes, 160 of it was one QB, but we all know that is Dan Mullen's plan.
The good was having 5 different backs averaging over 5 yards per carry. Lead by Richardson's ridiculous 22.9 ypc over 7 carries. Malik Davis lead the running backs with 7.4 yards per carry, ran for over 100, 1 TD and a long of 31 yards. Davis ran hard and so did Pierce. Bowman had 4 carries for 20 yards. Did the line miss some blocks? Yes. Can the line play better? Probably. Did they do what they needed to do and set a foundation to build upon? Yes. I think there are better running plays in the future. I do think the run game was pretty vanilla. We did, however, see at least one triple option (with a bad decision in my opinion) stemming from Emory at QB and two running backs in the backfield with him. I am looking forward to see how the running game grows and improves over the coming weeks.
The bad was definitely the passing game. We all knew we were taking a step back, but there's a step back and then there is what we saw. 153 passing yards is not good. There is no doubt, play-calling and one QB shoulders most of the blame here and I will get to that. I do believe there are some numbers that are deceiving and I believe there are numbers that are telling. What we saw will lead to a long season because there are some things that are issues that are not explained or fixed through vanilla or creative play-calling. I will get into that below.
Let's talk Emory vs. AR15, its the elephant in the room. Before we do, I want to say that I want them both to succeed. After Emory had three straight drives of -2 yards, pick, and 11 yards I saw Richardson with his helmet on and immediately told my brother and others around that unless you want a QB controversy that will split the fans and possibly the team, do not put Richardson in at that point in the game. Well, guess what? I was right. The post game call in show, Jordan Rodgers on the telecast, and Twitter are all I need to know that's exactly what happened. I'm not a psychic, but I know that if a guy has struggled and you put in a new guy who comes in and electrifies the crowd, it is asking for a QB controversy discussion.
I thought about bringing the pass chart I did in year's past back, but decided against it for now. What I can say is that while Jones was a decent 62.2% passing (17-27), some of those completions and incompletions were poor throws. Many were low, one caused Shorter to take a knee and get a loss on the play. The first completion to Copeland was high and a great snag by him to pull it in. Whittemore arguably dropped a bullet that was low over the middle he dove outstretched for. Emory also only completed 3 passes beyond 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. He completed 4 more beyond the line of scrimmage, but 5 or less yards deep, but one was (I believe) a great pass to lead Whittemore forward who then ran for an 18 yard gain. That leaves 10 completions that were screen or swing passes. That won't get the job done much in the SEC. He threw other intermediate routes, but many were low, behind, broken up (his last pass was behind and broken up) or intercepted. Jones might be a better passer than this, but looking at his completions it does give me pause.
AR15 came in and lead two TD drives when put on the field. He started 3 for 3. Two screen/swing passes and the longest pass of the night for 36 yards that could have been better. He did complete the ball though and the trajectory of the ball was nice. He then for the rest of the game went 0 for 5. Now, this is where I think a number might be somewhat deceiving. In those 5 throws two were drops, all on the last "drive" that began with 1:32 left in the game. After his electrifying 73-yard TD run, my family and I moved down to section C which looks down the far hash from the TV cam. He hits Fraziars outside shoulder, chest height, away from the defender and Fraziars dropped it. Bowman dropped a swing route. The other three included an overthrow of a deep route to Fraziars (we thought he slowed running mid route live and tried speeding back up, but couldn't see the whole route on the replay to tell if we just perceived it wrong), and two deep routes overthrown to walk on Kahliel Jackson...who I think we were trying to force a feel good moment to since his grandfather was honored earlier in the night. So yes, 5 incompletions are 5 incompletions, however, I'd say they are different than grounded balls, throwing behind receivers, etc. I'd like to see him get more of the full offense.
Both ran pretty well. However, last night there was no question in that game that AR15 was the more electric runner. We saw him stiff arm a defender into oblivion, break tackles on a 3rd and 20 run for a first down, hurdle another defender for a first down, and of course, have the longest QB TD run possibly ever. Depending on if you count Trey Burton in the wildcat of course. On that TD run he showed top end speed that you cannot teach. The crowd was louder those last three drives than they had since the game began. That is how you coach into a QB controversy.
There is a context to this defense. This is a Taggart defense with Perry at QB. That shouldn't scare many. We did hold them to under 220 yards of offense until their last two garbage time drives when we had a lot of back ups and/or younger guys playing. Even on those, we could have maintained the shut out if not for some stupid penalties like roughing the passer or late hit out of bounds.
The good is what I can say about the tackling department. We were tackling at a higher rate than I believe we've seen for years. Were there some missed tackles? Yes, it happens, but nothing like the epidemic we've seen recently. Hopper had a terrific tackle midway throough the game where he wrapped up a running back who takes it 70 yards for a TD if he doesn't make the stop. We also got off the field on third downs due to our play more than I realized when I re-watched the game. The biggest issue for this game was giving up three first downs due to dumb penalties. The first one was a PI by Marshall, though I'd argue it was uncatchable landing over the Gators sideline, but it is what it is. Blades negated a sack with a facemask on a receiver that happened as Perry was going down. The final one was the aforementioned roughing the passer call where Powell needlessly shoved Perry.
We got six sacks on the day which will bolster the defensive front. The question is, can we do it against the big dawgs of the SEC.
The bad of what I saw was coaching strategies we've seen bite us in the past like playing 10 yards off of a receiver on 3rd and 5. We did allow several 8-9 yards up the middle we tackled well, but against better talent it could become 15 or more yards. There were still some communication issues with the D, but not as many as in past years. On a particular run to the right by FAU we were aided by Perry not paying attention. I saw our DB's who were on the left side of the offensive formation still signaling to each other when the ball was snapped. Better QB's might recognize it and go after that.
I believed the defense showed improvement, but it is hard to gauge how much since this is a Taggart offense with Perry at QB. If this was the Lane Train they had a few years ago, this might've been a game. I don't know if we cycle as many players during the meat of our schedule, but a lot of guys got a lot of reps which I believe is a good thing. We certainly have things to clean up, but after the disaster that was last season, this is a step in the right direction. We won't know much about this defense for two weeks, but there are small things that we can take from what we do see.
These guys did what they had to do. Mullen had to talk to Crawshaw about pooch punting, but it's game one and touchbacks happen. In my opinion, the most exciting thing I saw was Henderson returning punts. He actually returned three times with different results. I believe a few were in a row for the first time in a long time. The one concern I do have is kickoffs. I almost would rather kick it out of bounds and let the other team have it at the 35 than to keep allowing these returnable balls. FAU almost broke one and I am sure that someone will if we keep doing it. I could be overly negative on that, but in a game rigged so much towards not returning kickoffs, to see us give returnable balls like we did (not as much air to allow defenders to get down the field), raises a concern.
- Good to see both Lingard and Bowman get some time when the game still mattered.
- Watson is a monster. He will plug some gaps for us.
- Zach Carter does appear to be back with a vengeance.
- UCLA seems to be climbing from the no talent pit it was in, also Ed O may be who I thought he was.
- Lots of top 25 struggled and some lost. We did better comparatively, but we will see how it shakes out.
- We will move up by virtue of NC and Wisconsin losing.
Overall, it was a night with some fun plays and some frustration. Let's take this game for what it was and move on. We face a bad USF team that was blanked by NC State last week. I expect multiple sacks and a big win. It won't teach us much, but what to look for is ball placement by the QB(s). Is it in the upper body? Is it at the feet? Can we run for 400 yards again? Will someone take the QB job by the reigns heading into Bama? Whatever happens, it will be worth a watch.
- Thread: Florida played a good game
Offense was great.
Defense was bad but injured.
Dan had some questionable decisions down the stretch but we aren’t even in the game without his play calling up to that point.
We may play them again in Atlanta.
If you disagree you are uneducated and probably a lib cuck.
- Like x 49
- Drunk x 2
- Facepalm x 1
- Stoned x 1
What a win, Sports Fans! Lot of eyes on this game. Lot of early speculation and questions as well. After playing better against a lowly Vol team, would we have enough momentum and confidence to go on the road and win in a place that has been difficult to say the least for our Gators to find a victory? How would we fare on the line of scrimmage, particularly against a team that has one of the best DLs in college football? What would we get from the offense to help us to a win (might read that as could Franks do what it takes to at least keep the D off the field)? Well I think we saw the answers unfold in a tough, old fashioned 13-6 SEC road victory where the D, who played some bend but don't break early on, but hit the switch and just took over in the second half. Even 25 yards in penalties that got them out of a hole on MissState's final possession couldn't derail the D, particularly the front four and notably Jachai Polite.
I also think an acknowledgment of the improvements and positive steps we are taking is due Dan Mullen. You haven't got to like him or even think that he was the best guy we could have hired at the time. We aren't where we want to be yet and it will take time to get there, but we should all appreciate the direction that we are moving. Hell, I'd almost be willing to give him an extension for what he's done with the Special Teams (OK maybe not an extension, but a beer and several "atta boys" at least). The only criticism I can give him is not using a time out earlier at the end of the first half (those time outs don't do you any good in your pocket going into the locker room), but at the conclusion I guess it's a moot point. Otherwise I think he had a pretty good game plan and the D obviously came to play. Team was very well prepared. Something we couldn't say very often the last few years.
So let's look at some specifics of the big win in Stark Vegas:
*One big sequence in the game that could have turned it in two different directions was Franks' long ball that was negated by Taylor's holding call and MissSt's drop on the deep pass. Either that would have been complete likely would have resulted in points and could have impacted the momentum and in the Bulldog's case might have impacted the outcome. But it didn't and the good guys sealed the deal on the backs of a dominant defensive performance. We held them to about 200 yards of offense and no TDs. How about that?!
*Franks threw well enough to go over 200 passing. He made some really nice throws and a couple of bone headed ones that resulted in a pick and a couple more that probably should have been. He ran the offense pretty well and played with what looked to me as more confidence in a game that obviously had a lot of pressure attached. He might not have necessarily won the game, but he sure didn't lose it! Seems to be growing and this is something I wasn't sure he could do at the pace I think we've seen this season.
*We didn't rush for a ton, but we got some gains when we needed them. I was surprised at the stat line that Scarlett only had 21 yards. Seemed like he should have had a few more, but Perine had a nice game as did Pierce, who looks to be our "closer" if you will, bringing fresh legs and power into the game when the opposing D may be a little gassed. He'll eventually get some touches earlier, but he's playing his role nicely at this point. Did I mention Toney had a couple of good runs? Nice QB counter on one.
*The OL had some good moments, obviously, as we had somewhere around 350 yards of offense. Couldn't pull that off against there D if they weren't doing some good things. But we had some of the usual blunders as well, such as Fred's two false starts, Taylor's aforementioned hold, and a whiff by Ivey. Still, there are some improvements, effort and knowing their assignments perhaps, even if consistently executing them continues to be a work in progress.
*Lot of names in the secondary that I am not familiar with. Made some mistakes (like letting the guy get behind them on the drop), but overall they held the Bullogs to around 100 yards passing. Henderson and Chauncey are really dependable, if not pretty good, and are leaders of that unit. Little #21, whose name escapes me, made some good plays. Best thing is that this group actually looks like they are being coached.
*The front seven, especially the DEs, played well. As mentioned earlier, they bent but didn't break early when MissSt was fresh, attacking, and having success moving the ball. But they answered the bell in the second half and put the hat on the QB, rendering him virtually ineffective when the Bulldogs had to have his best to have a chance to tie or win late. Polite, Zuniga, and CeCe were big with the rush and the whole unit kept the ground game from hurting us. Something for the DEs to work on however is that we don't always read run very well and the success MissSt had off tackle was a result of us getting upfield. Gotta love what this group is doing and the steps they've made under Grantham.
*Listened to the ESPN broadcast after the game and I think they mentioned that 11 Gators caught balls today. Pretty good job of spreading it around. And who would have thought one of if not the biggest catches came on a flanker pass to the TE? Timing on when to call those plays is everything.
*Another SEC road game and another home fan base that cleared out so fast you'd think they were handing out commodity cheese Chek soft drinks in the parking lot.
*In other football news, Taggart gets an unlikely win when Petrino steps on his d!ck and calls a pass play after getting a first down deep in Nole territory with about a minute and a half remaining. The pass, of course, was intercepted and the Noles went on to score the winning TD. SMH.
So LSU is up next at our place. Suddenly it looks like we may have a shot. Who'd a thunk it post-UK? Again, gotta give this group and the staff some credit. They are starting to meet, maybe exceed, many of our expectations. But one game at a time and the Bayou Bengals are it. If we get the same defensive effort against them as we gave today, I like our chances. Unless I missed something, we seem to be staying pretty healthy and we are building depth. Lot of football left, but we are doing good things and maybe the belief of the fan base is growing? I know that the belief of the team certainly is. Like one of the radio guys said after the game, finally after the last three unfulfilled years, the players' work is now paying off. It may be more appropriate to say that this year's work is paying off and the veterans are finally overcoming the lack of decent coaching they were previously exposed to, which is a testament to the fortitude of these kids. Lesser ones would have cashed it in by now and some did. Keep on rockin' Gators. Liking what we are doing and look forward to continued growth and development. Go Gators!
Capable....but unable. Mick said something along those lines in the wrap-up. I couldn't agree more. We rode into Jax with only one loss, that to SECW heavyweight LSU. We'd found our QB and leader and along with our sterling group of receivers, the passing game was clicking. Bookends Greenard and Zuniga were set to return, rested and healthier. Bring on Fromm! Bring on Swift! This was to be our chance to reclaim the city and turn the series back in our direction. Six point 'dogs? We got this!
But it was not to be. This was not UT or Kentucky or Auburn or South Carolina. This was Georgia, the team that hates us as much as we hate them and they had the tools to get it done. Along with the previously-mentioned positives, there were some negatives that were our undoing:
- UGA owned third down. Seemed like every time we had an opportunity to force a change of possession, they'd convert. We, on the other hand, couldn't buy one when we had to have it.
- We were 2/3 on fourth downs, but the one we didn't get, the first attempt on the first drive of the game, seemed to rob us of our mojo. Mullen said in his post-game talk that after that "we failed to respond." He wasn't kidding.
- We couldn't block. They could. Even though we held their ground game in check for three quarters of the game, we were absolutely unable to run it against them when we had to. Furthermore, we got overpowered and passed by often while pass blocking. Our OL looked like the scout team, but we all knew this was bound to happen. We just hoped it wouldn't.
- Grantham's scheme looked almost identical to the one employed against LSU, generating insufficient pressure on Fromm who carved us up after winding his watch and scratching his @ss after the snap. That extra time also made it hard for our DBs to maintain coverage and Georgia made us pay over and over again. We didn't sack him and it seemed even when we pressured him he was able to escape with the second level defenders stretched away from the LOS. Groundhog Day.
*CBS showed several plays where Fromm had 4+ seconds to scan the field while we were rushing four or five most times. At some point you think Grantham's got to find a way to make him get the ball out quicker, but he never did or at least not effectively. I felt like I was watching my house burn down and all I did was hope the fire truck would eventually get there. I guess I'm now sifting through the ashes.
*The DL and LBs were pretty salty against their run game. I think I heard that Swift was held to 80-something. Unfortunately it didn't seem to matter. They still gained almost 400 total, ran more offensive plays than us, and held the ball longer.
*We aren't DBU. Not anymore, not right now. Lack of pressure on Fromm didn't help us, but we got lost in coverage several times. The most glaring was their last TD, the pass to #15 who was uncovered. As he released and ran the cross, our DB over him (we looked to be in Cover 2) turned to alert the safety. Unfortunately, the safety had bailed, starting to chase a deep receiver (who was covered) already 15-20 past him. A good team will make you pay for these blunders. Also, we had several instances of not finding the ball while in man coverage. Henderson had this happen a couple of times in key situations.
*Their OL was massive (avg. wt. ~320). Although we did well against them against the run, they were pretty solid in pass pro. The difference between their's and ours was frightening.
*Pitts is becoming a great TE. He made some great catch and runs in the first half. But he just vanished in the second. Some credit has to go to UGA for finding him and making sure he was covered.
*I'm not a big fan of the called runs for Trask. If we can't block for our backs who are much faster and more agile than him, we are wasting downs. The element of surprise is gone.
*I was pleased with our sense of urgency later in the game, but it proved to be too little, too late. Per Mullen, we've got to respond early and often. As mentioned, I think we let doubt creep in after turning it over on downs to start the game.
*Effort was not our problem, but execution was. Offensively it pretty much begins and ends with the OL. We're about where we're gonna be until this gets fixed.
Try as I might to cover my ear and think of other things, I can't help but hear the whispers of "wait 'til next year." Our top two goals are gone now. We can play to win out against Vandy and Mizzou and hope that by some miracle we get a little help with UGA. But the odds aren't in our favor. We're better served to play to win out, including F$U and a bowl and turn that into some positives with what'll be left of recruiting. This we can still control. Beside all that, we're Gators. As Freddie Swain said after the game "We got some guys with their heads down right now. The loss stings. But we'll come back Monday and work on getting better!"
That's what we do. Go Gators!
With apologies to Jim McElwain, eponymously named game analysis posts on Gatorchatter have officially "jumped the shark." In that spirit, here is "Pasty's Stool," the first and probably last analysis of a football game you'll ever see from me.
First the good news, and a few things to cheer you up.
1) Jameis Winston turned the ball over six times yesterday. He threw five picks against one TD and fumbled twice, losing one. He's far and away the most turnover-prone player in the NFL since 2015, and to add to the good news cavalcade, he apparently didn't sexually assault a soul during his stay in London. I realize this doesn't have anything to do with the LSU game, but I think you'll all agree that Gator fans everywhere are happier today knowing that the female population in London somehow managed to avert this maniacal, interception-throwing octopus.
2) Kyle Trask is the real deal. He has got the kind of grit, resilience, and character that prove that the summers he spent in conversion therapy camp at the behest of his evangelical preacher father have paid off. This dude is a gamer if there ever was one. We are so much better off with him under center than Feleipe Franks. Every time I thought we were out of it, he stepped up and marched the team down the field. We lost, but it certainly wasn't his fault.
3) This loss doesn't matter. That's right, you heard me correctly. If we want to win the East we still need to beat South Carolina and Georgia, just like we needed to last Friday. If we want to make the playoff we still need to do that, plus *cough* beat Alabama or LSU in a rematch.
Ok, now the bad news:
1) Have you ever fed grease to a goose? I have, (don't ask me the circumstance or why, but trust me, it's a mess), and that's basically what our defense looked like against the LSU offense. I honestly can't remember a worse defensive performance. The only thing that saved us was the fact that we held the ball for so long. They were averaging twelve yards a play in the first half, and that included a kneel. There were parts of the game that made me feel like the defense had given up, not out of lack of desire, but out of complete exasperation and a desperate hope to just stop the play before it got to the goal line. I have very little confidence in that unit at the moment. They got lucky a few times early in the season, and they do need to get credit for their red zone effort going into the LSU game, but this issue is a real wildcard, and it could be our biggest concern going forward. The impact of Greenard not playing was pretty obvious. That guy's a disruptive monster and if he's out of the South Carolina and Georgia games, we have an issue.
2) Dan Mullen is too cute for his own good. There is nothing particularly impressive or intimidating about LSUs defense, they were tiring, we were moving the ball against them, we have a QB who is very good in my opinion. As much as I like Emory Jones, there is no reason to repeatedly bring him in to run the wildcat, which is the most telegraphing formation in football. Everybody knows the QB is going to run the ball more often than not. You may get away with it for a few downs, but by the second half, they are going to stuff it. Trask was having a great night. Why take the ball out of his hands with a halfback pass or by bringing in a new QB? The stupidity in the name of being "clever" here is astounding. This reminds me of that fake punt against Auburn. Mullen thinks he's fooling everyone, no one told him that he's only fooling himself.
3) When you shuffle QBs in and out, you lose rhythm, your clock management suffers, and your starting QB gets out of sync. When Mullen shuffled QBs, we lost valuable time, a timeout, and we gave the LSU defense time to gather themselves. We had them on their heels and, again, Mullen got full of himself and blew it.
4) Someone needs to teach the defense how to get set before a play when the opponent is running the hurry-up. Every single OC worth his salt will want to run the hurry-up against us. We looked embarrassingly unprepared for it, and that's on Grantham. Guys weren't lined up so often that it was like we playing 9 vs. 11 most of the time. Ridiculous and shameful.
5) LSU chicks may be hotter than ours. At the very least, they dress more provocatively at football games and generously bounce around more.
- Thread: Bits & Pieces: Florida vs. LSU
Some days just aren’t meant to be your day. Maybe we should have known something was up when earlier in the day our best basketball player, Keyontae Johnson, suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed very early in the game with FSU? Most certainly our prayers and concerns go out to this great Gator athlete and his family. And if you believe in such foreshadowing, this could have been a sign. Add to that the mysterious last minute scratch of Kyle Pitts and the eerie fog that rolled into the Swamp in the second half and you have all the makings of a Poe epic. “Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore!’” about sums up where we find our Gator hopes and dreams at the moment.
Believe what you will, but personally I think you lie in the bed you make and Saturday night the problems in the secondary that have plagued us for a great while now, along with with some OL troubles, led to our undoing. Maybe most glaringly was that the simmering pot of coaching issues, particularly on the defensive side, finally boiled over with two botched corner blitzes that resulted in open receivers behind the safeties and a foolish and a very selfish penalty by a veteran, yet underperforming Marco Wilson that negated a timely third down stop. LSU was then able to convert a 57 yard field goal that became the difference. Eventually, you have to pay for your transgressions. Or in this case, your lack of attention to continuing problems. Even though you can lay much of this on Grantham, English, and company, ultimately this falls squarely on Dan Mullen’s shoulders.
*There’ll be references to other stats, but the most important one last night was three turnovers by us, two interceptions, one a Pick Six, and a fumble, all by Trask, and none by the Tigers. I don’t think you’ll find a better competitor than Kyle, but tonight wasn’t his best night despite throwing for 474 yards.
* For two games in a row, we’ve had consecutive three-and-out possessions. Three of them in a row in the second half immediately following two scoring drives was a head scratcher. It’s almost as if we expect the opposition to just roll over and let us cruise on to victory, and in a sense we have previously. Not last night, though. This is the SEC and even the most down-trodden can beat you...if you allow them the opportunity.
*Toney was en fuego. 182 receiving yards and a TD on 9 receptions and 56 yards rushing was quite a night. Though it’s taken him some time to fully bloom, or the coaches are finally taking advantage of his abilities, he is pure excitement. It hasn’t hurt that he has developed a great pair of hands to go along with some great route running. We’ll sure miss him.
*”Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is the definition of insanity!” That finally caught up to us with the inability to get lined up defensively and the poor coverage that has been constantly on display. That this has been allowed to go on for so long is inexcusable. Chris Doering called this an “embarrassing loss.” I would not disagree, especially against this edition of the Bayou Bengals, fresh off a thrashing by Bama and only dressing 50 some odd players. After listening to Mullen’s presser, I’m not quite sure he sees it that way.
* Ventrell Miller has steadily developed himself into a pretty decent ILB. He was a man last night, recording 10 tackles and 6 assists with a sack. What’s really impressive to me is to see how much better his reads and scrapes have become. You don’t see him taking the shallow angles that result in him getting pinned or tangled up inside. We need to be seeing similar development in other defensive positions.
*And just like that, Evan McPherson became just another good kicker. Not the great one that we all hoped for. There’s still time for him to rub out the tarnish of his missed 51 yarder (and a head scratching couple of easy ones that didn’t really hurt us this year), but he missed when we really needed one. Such are the vagaries of a place kicker. You might say it never should have had to come down to his kick, and you’d be right; but it did. That’s when you’ve got to make the kick. No excuses.
*Like all of you, I’m pissed with Marco Wilson. That was a bone-headed move of epic proportions. The gut reaction is to want him to be dismissed. Understandable. But the guys I’m really pissed with are the coaches who have continued to play him through his coverage mistakes and poor techniques. He doesn’t need to be dismissed, he needs to be sat, starting about nine games ago. There are a couple of youngsters who could have benefited from his wasted reps.
*Malik Davis had a nice game, 7 rushes for 81 yards and 5 receptions for 25. I’d like to compliment the OL for their efforts in this regard, but a -28 yards by Trask and 4 sacks surrendered is a backward step.
*Copeland had a good night. He looked very dynamic and poised to become one of the next greats. Arms extended on a couple of catches. In the absence of Pitts, it was a great opportunity for him to shine.
It’s going to be hard going into the SECCG against Bama next week with much confidence. We missed a great opportunity to build some momentum against our west rival who was literally a game away from packing their suitcases and heading home for the holidays. You can understand players getting ahead of themselves, but the coaches should know better. If they did, it didn’t look like it. What should have been, by all accounts, a walk in the park, turned into a disaster. Another kite lost in the trees.
We’re at a crossroads. We can show up, get our butt spanked, and spin it that we reached one of our goals. Or we can act and perform like we’re better prepared and fight with everything we’ve got. This is what’s required; this is what’s expected. Go Gators!
The greatest football coach of all time would have had a coronary if he were alive to witness the defensive debacle at Kyle Field this afternoon. He’d also probably have some choice words about our secondary play, and our pass rush. But Coach Lombardi is long gone, as are our championship hopes. Left in a pile of unsuccessful tacklers and toasted DBs.
Let’s be honest...most of us knew in our hearts, after weighing the euphoria of an offense capable of going all the way with the reality of a defense that would have trouble playing dead in a cowboy movie, that we’d eventually meet up with a team that would out score us. We were hoping and praying that just maybe the D might come to life. But it was not to be. And worse yet, it came at the hands of Jimbo Fischer, who we’d suffered against too often prior to Saturday.
So what are we to do? We’ve waited a long time for this season to start, withstanding the uncertainty COVID-19 cast upon it. We’re disappointed, and rightfully so. The most logical thing is to react within the spirit of the times. Occupy the athletic offices. Loot and burn the Gator Shops. Paint a mural on a wall at BHG depicting our forlorn defenders with the words “Re-Imagine the Gators” boldly displayed. Defund the football program. Cancel Mullen, Strickland, and especially Grantham. Throw in Fuchs for good measure. Or we can do what Gators have done before...voice our displeasure, certainly it will eventually make a difference, but until then, keep plowing.
Let’s review how we wound up on the bottom in College station:
*38 points is usually enough to win most games you are in unless you give up 543 total yds to the opposition, 205 on the ground with much of it coming after contact and missed tackles. It’s not enough when you allow 12 / 15 third and Grantham’s (plus 1 / 1 4th and Grantham’s). It’s not enough when Kellen Mond throws for 338 and three scores. We better find a way to score 50+ the rest of the way.
*The defensive woes, and there are several, begin with the DL. They are just too small overall (save Slaton), too green, and not strong enough. Slaton draws a double team most every play and the other three D front guys can’t defeat one guy. That = no QB pressure and a body between you and a ball carrier.
*And speaking of pressure, Grantham did try to send it quite a bit today, especially in several third down situations. None very successfully. Almost looked like slow motion most times. Even saw several twists and loops from the DL, all of it eaten up.
*Then there was the coverage. Soft zone and man with a big cushion won’t get it done. The scheme part is on the coaches, but given the level of play, I guess I can understand the excess caution. Marco Wilson, for example, just got absolutely lit up. I hope they’ll get him some type of assault or physical abused counseling, as that one white TAMU receiver stuck the ball in every orifice.
*Though no lives appeared to be lost, there were a lot of egos that got buried by the Aggie RBs. Our guys got run over, through, around, and away from with regularity. None should test positive for COVID since they social distanced as well as they did with the ball carriers. If one guy can’t make the tackle, you better have two or more arriving. This part of the game, at week three, is inexcusable.
*Offensively we weren’t quite as potent as expected, but we scored 38 on the road. Trask was 23 / 32 for 312 and 4 TDs, but our RB by committee might have gone past its shelf life. The three backs combined for 77 yds on 18 carries. Though Davis had a couple of nice catches and runs, his fumble helped provide a turning point. He’s had those issues before. Trust is broken, got to be earned back. Someone in the box described Mullen’s sub patterns with regard to the backs as “middle school,” making sure everyone got equal touches. Enough of that.
*McPherson’s got big balls. Misses a 45 yarder that didn’t count due to penalty, then got backed up another five on another penalty, and finally drilled a 55 yarder that would have been good from 65. He’s a special player.
*Though Pitts recorded his 7th TD of the season, he didn’t seem quite himself. Might’ve tweaked his left foot some. Might be that everybody knows about him. Toney stepped up, however. Good to see him producing and just getting the chances.
They used to say a team could recover easier from an early loss. Harder to do with the playoff, but anything’s possible right now. It becomes academic, however, if the D can’t find some way to get better, now. Down the road, it all comes back to recruiting needed positions with talented players. The spectrum goes from “Some” to “All.” We have to get closer to “All,” should’ve already been there, but that point’s moot. A big piece of this depends on what Mullen and Co. can hammer out the rest of the way. They need to be coaching and resurrecting the D like their jobs depend on it. They very well may.
Next up, LSU. They’re struggling too. We’ve got an opportunity to get well. It’ll be interesting to see how we bounce back. Hell, I’m already smelling corn dogs! Go Gators!
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So I post here very rarely but I lurk fairly often on this site and a couple others. I’m generally a bit of a glass half empty type Gator, but I’m literally angered at the negativity by some on this board. I could list names and posts but it would take a long time and it wouldn’t change anyone’s opinion anyway. I do have to almost wonder if there is a backstory behind Swamp Donkey that I don’t know. Some of his posts are just so egregiously wrong and negative it’s sort of beyond the pale.
I guess I’m just confused and frustrated. We all want the recruiting to pick up, but you’d think we are recruiting in the 20s and winning 6 games. We literally were one frustrating game against UGA away from Atlanta with a decent shot at the SEC and the playoffs. Facilities yes we want them yesterday, but they are coming and they will be nice. Recruiting yes it isn’t top 3 but it will be top 10 and I think Dan knows based on past experience what talent is needed to get there. There was literally NO coach available that was going to come that would have done ANY better than Mullen.
I will freely admit I wanted Kelly first and Frost both over Mullen. And I was a bit disappointed when we got Dan. But I was wrong! I mean crap I truly think there are some people on this board and one of the other boards that are happier when we suck so they can be proven right. The reason I’m posting is not to change minds because I doubt I will change anyone’s mind. But my guess is there are others like me who would like to contribute more but are just beat down by the overwhelming negativity.
I’m very happy where we are at. And yes I scratch my head when we don’t have our pick of the crop of FL kids right now , but I also believe that we realistically have the best coach we could have and that it will continue to slowly get better with a staff tweak here and there, facilities, continued high performance, great fan base support etc.
Anyway thanks for listening and Go Gators
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So my 12-year-old has been working on this drawing for the last 7 to 10 days. He finally finished it. He wanted to get it done before today's game. He's super excited about it and wanted me to share with you guys.
It's based off a poster we have.
I'll frame it and put it up tomorrow.
- Thread: F V C K uga
F V C K them all. F v c k Mark Richt, Herschel, Larry Munson, Deborah Norville, Lindsey Scott (f v c k him twice), Buck Belue, Goldberg, Vince Dooley (and all of his family, friends and neighbors), Quincy Carter, Frank Sinkwich, Lewis Grizzard, R.E.M. and the B-52's, David Pollack, Uga (every last flea bitten one), Wally Butts, Hines Ward, Jake Scott, the ridiculous "Arch", Champ Bailey, Newman ("Hello Newman"), Charley Trippi, the Athens City Council, Garrison Hearst, Bill Stanfill, all Stinchcombs, Ray Goff, Brian Burton (“Danger Mouse”), Will Muschamp, Alton Brown, Pat Dye, John Isner, Zell Miller (and his "legacy"), Fran Tarkenton, anyone who wears red and black, Kim Basinger, Terrell Davis, Kirby Smart, Charles Herty, Jim Donnan, Ryan Seacrest, Matt Stafford, Jarvis Jones, Chip Beck, Knowshon Moreno, Kevin Butler, Bubba Watson, A J Green, Mark Schlabach, Catfish Smith, Dominique Wilkins, and Pop Warner. Yes, f v c k them all.
Holy cow! Can you believe it?! This was certainly one for the books and seemed to have a little bit of everything. More twists and turns and rises and falls than the Pacific Coast Highway. I can't remember alternately cursing and thanking the good Lord as much as I did tonight. I must admit to having a few cold ones at the Mexican joint with my wife and daughter prior to the game, anticipating the need for what I knew would be a tough one in Lexington. Little did I know that tequila would have been a better choice.
There was a point that a second consecutive loss to the Cats looked almost inevitable. We were getting our sh!t pushed in on both lines of scrimmage, we weren't tackling well, the secondary couldn't cover a (prostitute) with a bedsheet, etc. Then Frank's went down on a failed 4th down play and Trask trotted out with the 'ones' on the next series (somewhere, maybe in a cheap motel in Tiajuana, Law was breaking the seal on a jug of the best local hootch; a gallon of Zima would not even start to take the edge off of what he was feeling). In the back of my mind, I could hear Bill Murray saying something about a "Cinderella Story." Could it be? Nah...well, maybe, but...and then I'll be damned if it wasn't!
This is one of those once a generation type games. The Danny to Doering game against these same Kentucky Wildcats comes to mind. Now the question becomes can we use this as a catalyst to shore up our deficiencies, mature and get better faster, and actually be a factor in the top of the conference question? The emotion of the moment answer would be a resounding "hell yeah," but the sober and analytical answer would be to pump the breaks and realize that until our many problems are corrected, we'll have a very difficult time against the better teams and little to no chance against the best. Sorry if it seems like I can't enjoy a win. I'm really happy, ecstatic really, that we pulled it out and one thing we have shown, a "never say die" spirit (which is extremely valuable), emerged. But looking at it from a coaching point of view, we have deficiencies that will eventually get us if we can't grow out of or correct them. The OL problem is most prominent. So let's look at some particulars (and I'm surely going to talk about the good as well):
*It was tough to see Franks go down with the dislocated ankle that has ended his season. As critical as I've been, I have been impressed by the difference in his attitude last game and in this one that was on display. Lots of energy, but under control. He was resembling a leader. Even more impressive is the loyalty his teammates have for him. I think he's always had the "it" that a coach wants from his QB, but just didn't quite know how to use it and I think it affected him physically as well as mentally, the two being tied together. Wishing him a speedy and complete recovery.
*Trask. What a feel good story. Kid showed a lot of moxie that most thought there was no way he had it. Still, there were some that seemed to know he did. Before we get too carried away, it just one game. But he has now taken that step and taken it successfully. Now he's just got to grow with the role from week to week. Proud for him and proud for the Gators. I'm a fan.
*The OL. We could do a whole article on them alone, but I'll restrict it to some things I watched for. The broken record is that we once again couldn't get a push. With only a few late exceptions, the ground game was a failure. We got overpowered, couldn't maintain our assignments, and were slow to the point of attack too often. To the latter point, our RG was a step slow on a G block and log of the play side LB and instead wound up shoving the backer into our back for an easy stop. On another, our LT never got within three yards of the DB on a lateral block for a sweep. Two things keep these assignments from being carried out: being too slow or not putting forth the necessary effort. I think consistency in the latter might be an issue along with an overall lack of strength among the personnel. If lack of quality depth is also a factor, the corrections can fall somewhere between harder than hell and impossible. We've got some pretty stout D fronts still in front of us. We should be seeing some improvement by now, but there's not nearly enough thus far. And by the way, it isn't just a TE problem.
*David Reese had a helluva game. He played with a lot of passion and a lot of grit. I think I heard he was upward of 15 stops. Only problem is that there isn't but one of him. Hope he stays healthy. He's the king bolt.
*The secondary was poor overall, not tackling very well nor covering consistently. Marco Wilson got toasted tonight, but there were others who didn't shine either. The fact that we are small doesn't help against the longer, bigger receivers. The interceptions were good and the last one critical, but this bunch has got to get better and more consistent quickly. When we get neutralized up front, lack of experience and skill gets easily exposed. I think Elam is off to a good start, however. I'm sure there's more, but it's hard to see on a night like tonight when a second string guy lights you up a bit.
*Our receivers are pretty damn good. And there's a bunch of them. Freddy Swain made some great catches to go along with Jefferson, Grimes, Hammond, and others. And how about Pitts? Now if he can just block a little.
*I'd still like to see Perine run behind his pads a little more. He's going to have to until something changes with the OL.
*I thought us failing on the 4th down play (and losing Franks) might have been the game's biggest play, but it turns out that Stoops' decision to try the same took that honor. His D had been killing us, why risk giving us some juice (and throwing their's away)?
*McPherson had a rare miss, but thankfully we were able to overcome it. Not sure if the Kentucky kicker will be able to easily get over his push. One of the game's vagaries.
We were very fortunate tonight and as mentioned before, it ought to give us some fire, especially as we come back home for a date with the Vols. It should also serve as yet another reminder that we are not a whole team, far from it in fact. The "never say die" spirit might win us a couple more down the way, but by itself, LSU, UGA, and AU will beat us. Maybe even UT and Mizzou. We have simply got to have more consistent play top to bottom and find a way to be stronger on the line of scrimmage (we were different on the DL without Zuniga). There's no choice. Mullen's got to find a way.
What did we actually see on Saturday in the Gator's 45-0 victory over game, but outmanned UT-Martin? A slow start with a relatively solid overall game that featured the shock troops in the 4th quarter. Better play from Franks and slightly better play IMO from the OL which allowed for a better ground game than was witnessed against Miami. But let's face it, UT-Martin's D front wasn't Miami's. There's still work to be done. On the defensive side, tackling overall was much better, but we still have some technical issues with the LBs. DL was very solid once more and looked to feature some depth. DB play was better. Short of FG/KO, Special teams didn't play much of a factor, but they didn't have to. In short, we weren't treated to a 70-something to nothing smear, but we took care of business, made some progress, and should be ready for our first conference test against UK. Let's look a little deeper at what transpired in Hawgtown yesterday:
*I have to start with Franks. I am admittedly very critical of his leadership skills and his overall presence as the Gator's QB, but despite the quality of the opponent, I was pleased with his physical performance and proud of the conduct that I could see on the television. I don't recall a lot of mugging for the cameras or other self-aggrandizement that is often at the forefront. I think he's still a hotdog, but I can take him without the relish and other trimmings. I thought he commanded the pocket and showed a lot of patience (hats off to the OL in pass pro). He scanned the field and seemed to go through his progressions pretty well. He ran well when he had to. He was accurate passing the ball. In all, a very solid performance. He should be set to put back-to-back games together. But he is Franks and I remain cautiously optimistic. **Edit** BTW there is no QB controversy. Trask made one great throw and then backed it up with a terrible one. Jones ran better than he passed. Nothing was on display that would make you think Franks wasn't the clear #1.
*A lot of receivers were involved last evening, confirming them as one of the deepest and talented groups we've had in quite some time. Jefferson, Cleve, and Grimes are weapons and Hammonds is about as solid and consistent as we have on the roster. He might not always look spectacular, but he is always reliable. It was also great to see the debut of Jacob Copeland. The glimpse we had was encouraging and confirms some of the great things his teammates had to say about his talent. The laser he caught from Trask was impressive. When Franks has time, these guys can really turn a secondary inside out.
*As stated, the OL was a little better blocking the run, but they still lack a consistent and dominating push. They'll need to take some forward steps against UK. Pass pro was pretty good. Depth remains a concern. Watching the two's in the 4th quarter didn't seem to reveal many diamonds in the rough. Mostly looked like more "not ready for prime time players." The task remains.
*I think we've got three pretty solid backs. It'll be interesting to see how healthy they remain behind the OL. Perine is the legitimate #1, but I'd like to see him get behind his pads a little more. These guys will have to have the OL get better to give us what we will need against better teams.
*The DL remains a team strength with some depth to boot. They might not have duplicated the 10 sacks they had against Miami, but they stuffed the run and contained the QB. Interior line play remains such an important component for a better D and until our LBs play more consistently, the DL's play will be supremely important. They look up to the mark thus far.
*LB play remains inconsistent. We continue to take poor pursuit angles and get lost in coverages (e.g. open wheel route during a blitz). Reese looked decent on the fill, but overall this group looks young and moderately talented. When we play teams with good OL that can neutralize our DL in spells, this group will have to be better than they have been so far.
*DBs looked pretty good in coverage minus a couple of times we let receivers get behind us (Henderson saved us on one of these). They looked to have tackled much better and a couple of the youngsters got their feet wet (Elam et al). I seem to recall a couple of the kids supporting the run and cleaning up that was encouraging. This group is a beneficiary of our DL play as well.
*Pierce was back home Friday before last and told one of my colleagues that Mullen stayed knee-deep in their @sses after the Miami performance. It showed last evening. I felt like he was embarrassed after Miami (and he should have been) and the play this week looked like all were more focused.
*In other SEC news, Jimbo Fisher barely missed going 0-2 on Saturday when F$U narrowly escaped with a 1 point overtime win against Louisiana-Monroe. Had the Nole$ failed, Fisher would have been tagged with the loss since it is his fault for their struggles after he left them talentless. Taggart saved him with a commanding victory over the powerhouse from the bayou country. Luckily, the 37 fans that stormed field after UL-M's missed PAT caused no damage and security was able to quickly restore order.
*Havent heard Toney's status, but hope it's not serious. He got waylayed when the defender split his two lead blockers and came down hard on his wrist/shoulder. Not aware of any other significant injuries. The team looks to continue to benefit from our S&C and nutrition programs. See Tallahassee for reference.
I'm not sure what to expect from Kentucky as I have yet to watch them. I'm sure they'll bring their best. I'm more worried about what we bring. I guess you can consider us to be on a bit of an uptick, but I'm not wholly convinced of how well we can maintain our consistency. That's the mark of a good team in my mind. Not satisfied with what we've done, but concerned with what we have to do for the next team in front of us. Ideally, we show up tougher and more consistent with our assignments and our toughness. Franks progression will have a large impact. I recall having said this before only to be disappointed. I don't want to be disappointed. Maybe this is the year we grow in a straight line and not a zig zag? We'll know better soon.
- Thread: Why I'm losing sleep
Coot just called me. He's still in the hospital, but clear of infection. It wasn't staph, it was MRSA, so they want to keep him in for another 5-6 days to run full cycle of meds. He's weak, but sounded strong and gaining strength....
He said that anyone who thought he was dead, and I quote, "can kiss my ass!" (Looking at you @LagoonGator68 )
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