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"Bounce Back" was a term usee to describe our 48-10 victory over Colorado State. Bounce, yeah maybe. Back, not yet. The Rams initially might have been thought to pose a worthy next step test based on their win against Arkansas. But the Hogs are looking more like the Armadillos after getting run over by a foe from a lesser conference. So we had the luxury of yet another warm up type game. The good thing I suppose is that we've won a couple we were supposed to win. The bad is that we lost one we thought we were supposed to. At 2-1 with our first conference road game coming up in Knoxville, i think we still have more questions than answers. Let's look at a few as we review:
Q1-QB. Franks is Franks. Down and up, up and down. Will he ever become a leader that can consistently keep his composure, especially in the face of situational pressure? He looked like a new man against lowly Charleston, but has been erratic since. He looks to lack poise when it is needed, making poor decisions, reads and throws. Starting 0 for 6 with an unsportsmanlike like penalty is not poise. Mullen's got his work cut out for him and it remains to be seen if Franks can be salvagable much less a consistent and effective leader. I'm not on the play Trask/Jones bandwagon yet and I'm afraid if we get there it' might be cancel Christmas. Last week I thought this game would tell us more, but UT will probably be that game. They don't look like world beaters (and neither do we), but they are a conference road game and an important test.
A1-Special Teams. Save a couple of long-ish KO returns allowed, this group was the star. Two punts defended/blocked with a TD, Swain with a huge return for a score and another that gave good field position gives us a good feeling about Mullen's promise to get this group back in order. Him playing more better players in these groups instead of the cub scouts lets us know the importance attached. Smart move to return these teams to a higher status. And BTW, MacPherson says "Edie who?"
Q2-OL/Run Game. It got more attention and was more of a factor. Scarlett had a couple of good runs and Perine looked pretty fair. Davis sprains an ankle on I think his first carry, which opened up some second half carries for Pierce, who delivered. His long scoring run was what he did effectively in HS, so it's good to see him do it collegiately. Hoping his load will increase and il be interested to see him get some against the SEC defenses. OL was probably a little better, but the Rams were not a vaunted group by any means. I like that we scored on a counter and I noticed some good effort and technique on a couple of pulls, progress still needs to be made on consistency. Again we should know more after next week. As we all know, the offense goes as this group goes.
A2-Defense. Better against the run yielding 71 yards on the ground. Zuniga looked good and had a couple of sacks and pressures. LBs seemed to play some better as well and Joseph had his name called a few times. Maybe he's learning the position and playing with more disciplined speed. Poor pursuit angles have been his big nemesis, so maybe he's finally getting it terms of what the position should be coached to do. Maybe. Secondary is just going to have to grow up and get resupplied through recruiting. It's evident we are having to rely on several in this group who aren't ready and may never be. Tackling was some better, but still some misses. This unit can be hard to watch considering the defenses of the past. Only growth and the recruiting will get us back.
Q3-Strength and Conditioning. I have to chuckle when I read in some threads about how Savage really hasn't got us where we need to be after all the early hype. I know a lot of that is the emotion of the moment, but you have to understand that inheriting a team that basically had no S&C for three years, it is going to be a longer process than you might think. I don't know that some of our freshmen might not have come in better prepared than many of our veterans. One guy that should give us an idea of what to look for, and I've mentioned him before, is Freddy Swain. He's a new guy this year. Better strength and agility and obviously supremely confident. He should be the prototype of what that part of the program is seeking to build.
A3-UT. First SEC road game and a time to really mark progress despite how good or not the Vols really are. What do we take from Colorado State? What did we learn from the UK game. How will Franks react? Can we get more out of the run game? Can the defense hold their own? The answers...maybe. We still have a lot of unknowns that are driven by our consistency and mindset. Team confidence IMHO took a deeper dive than we imagined last season. Many are not overjoyed with Mullen and staff, but there has been some growth in this part, it's just not the quantum leap we hunger for and it likely want be this season. Our gains will more likely be measured in inches than miles. We have been down that low and quite frankly we don't have a quantum leap roster (broken record, I know).
So the words for next week should be patience and passion, neither of which are or have been in bountiful supply. That's what it's going to take if it's really not over (sorry @soflagator ). One thing to consider and I know you have is that at least we aren't the Noles shackled to Taggart. Poor guy looks like he got off the Greyhound in the middle of nowhere without a map.
So here's to a good outing at Neyland and a chance to see our baby more stable as it learns to walk. Perhaps a better comparison may be to an accident victim learning move all over again! Anyhow, "C'mon Gators let's get up and go!" Pride will be back when we say so.
- Thread: Chuck Heater hired
Among the story lines for our game against SECE opponent (and recent nemesis) Missouri, the quest for a 10th win and an upswing heading into the regular season finale against rival and now bowl eligible F$U had to garner top billing. For some, the lingering disappointment of losses to UGA and LSU took a little shine off of the penny. But there has to be merit in finishing the drill, especially if we are in fact a program climbing back toward the top. 10 wins with a chance for 11 isn't quite as sporty as it was prior to the CFP, but some credit is deserved for a team on the cusp of this mark that has positioned themselves with a very one-dimensional offense. Beside that, pride should never go out of style, should it?
Of course it would be boorish for us to look past the always tough Tigers, led by regarded Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant. As feared, Mizzou gave us fits in the first half, sacking Trask several times (4 according to Mick) and stymying the rush (to nobody's surprise) with 5 tackles for loss. Their coverage game was better than imagined. As a result, our normally potent air attack was nulled and the half ended with us only having scored 2 FGs. On the bright side, the D and Greenard (6 tackles and 2 sacks, several pressures) was effective against Bryant and the Tiger's offense, limiting them to a bank shot FG. It wasn't much of a lead, but if you believe in the power of stats, Mizzou doesn't win when trailing at the half. Still, it might have been hard to find any comfort knowing that bit of info.
The second half was different for the offense. Trask, while still pressured, was able to find Hammonds and Perine in the left corner of the end zone on two drives and like that we had a two score lead. The defense kept the pressure on Bryant and stuffed the run (Missouri finished the game with 52 rushing yards), surrendering only a FG. The game ended 23-6 and the specter of past failings against the Tigers was vanquished. Still two more boxes to check on the amended goal sheet.
*Trask is resilient if nothing else. He looked to be able to shake off the sacks and pressures of the touchdown bereft first half and led us to a couple of scores that would be more than enough to secure win #10. For the day he was 23/35 for 282 yards. If there's a knock on his performance, it would be two telegraphed throws that should have been picks. Luckily they weren't and his effectiveness and leadership remains a season bright spot.
*The ball was distributed to 9 different receivers, led by Jefferson's 5 catches. This group is consistently good. Among the highlights were the two TD receptions by Hammonds and Perine respectively. There should have been a third by Toney on a nice toss by Trask, but unfortunately he couldn't hang on to it. Still a little rust I guess. Grimes' penalties were disappointing and out of character. Hope it was just an anomaly.
*EJ was our leading rusher (39 yards I believe) while Perine, Pierce, and Davis combined for less. Our team total was 58 for the game. Obviously the sacks allowed affected this total, but even adding these lost 17, we were still well below a hundred. Our offense could easily play the part of the mysterious one-armed man in the old David Jansen series "The Fugitive."
*While on the subject of EJ, there is some concern that if he doesn't get more meaningful snaps, he'll bolt for greener pastures. Could definitely present problems, but Trask is the guy. While I doubt he would be offended sharing more snaps, I don't think Mullen will risk disturbing the established rhythm much more than what we see. I do think EJ's primary value is running the ball, but he was able to throw a nice ball to Toney today, so who knows what the next two games might hold in this regard.
*We all know that it was Mizzou and not UGA or LSU, but Dr. Pressure had a good plan and we had a consistent and effective rush today against a pretty talented QB. Would have liked to have seen more than the 2 sacks registered, but the guy was pretty slippery. We covered well enough and kept them out of the end zone. Wilson's late INT was a nice cherry. As mentioned, we stopped the run and were pretty good against them on 3rd downs. Similar execution against better opponents is a goal moving forward.
*Wasn't it nice to be on the positive side of the official reviews?
*My blood pressure has been pretty stable lately, so I won't talk about the OL. Anyhow, my cuss jar is overflowing, so...
It seems that the local Nole faithful, despite the reported rebuff from Coach Stoops the elder, are feeling some better about their Taggart-less renegades under the guidance of long-time assistant and now aspiring HC Odell Haggins. To be sure, they'll be better than if Willie was still in charge, but if we execute our offensive and defensive plans and don't allow turnovers to become a factor, we will be able to take care of business. Regardless of how disappointed we are with our lot this season or how bad we think the F$U program is, this game is always played, as Johnny Ringo might say, "for blood!" No looking past. No let down. We are their Huckleberries. Let's get it done.
- Thread: Old Daytonacane lady is back!
I had the minimally invasive mitral value surgery w/replacement of a pig valve on Oct. 30th @ the Univ.of Miami Hospital (formerly Cedars Hospital) by Dr. Joseph Lamelas, cardiothoracic surgeon. He said I did extremely well and the amazing part is that I have never had any pain whatsoever. My surgical scar is midline on the right side of my body and is 1 1/2 inches in length. Dr. Lamelas is treated like a king. The guy in the next room was from Iran and had the same procedure. I was discharged Nov. 5th and am now beginning physical therapy for cardiac rehab. My sons seem to think I need to be "watched"; thus, six of my friends take turns staying with me, but I plan to discharge them Wed. which will be the 2 weeks postop mark.
I enjoyed watching our game this past Saturday, but sorry that we were the cause of Willie's firing as I had hoped he would be there for a long time.
My sincere thanks to you Gaytors for your encouragement and prayers.
- Thread: Congrats from a Cane
Congrats on your win. My mojo & juju nearly worked but the Gators were the better team. Geez, had Baxa made that field goal there would have been only 1 point difference. I thought Miami looked better than I had anticipated. Hopefully our OL will improve as I don't think they can get too much worse. ***special note to Swamp Donkey......I think we picked the right guy for HC and at least your team didn't put 50 on us and we scored 20 points. Pretty fair for a RS freshman QB and first year coaches, etc.
As expected with the first game of the season, lots of fumbling, bumbling and sloppy performance by both teams. Sorry, but I don't think Franks is Heisman quality, but he does seem to love the cameras.
I feel both of our teams will greatly improve by the 2nd game of the year. Good luck the rest of the season from an old Cane lady.
- Like x 40
- Dislike x 1
Interesting piece demonstrating what a $h1t show sharkhumper recruiting was. After reading this it is actually amazing we are able to recruit at the current level after all that bad blood with 2019 parents.
- Thread: Mullen’s 1st Week Video to Fans
This is good stuff. I was accepting but not enthusiastic when the hire was announced. He has quickly won me over. He seems to understand that this job requires more than a knowledge of football strategy. Coaching at an elite level is, imo, primarily a leadership challenge.
I met DM briefly on Thursday when he visited a recruit at the school where I work. He was personable and enthusiastic with everyone. I told him I'm a third generation Gator, class of '89, who lives and dies with the team. He looked me right in the eye and said, "Let me tell something, and I want you to hear me. We're going to fix this for you. You have my word."
By contrast, Mac visited the same recruit last year and he had his people arrange with us to set up barricades, security, and a secret entrance/exit so he wouldn't have to see anyone. He seemed put off by the burden of having to be an ambassador for the program.
None of this has to translate into wins, but it's a good sign. He gets it, and he wants it.
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