I was going to say at least I'm the highest rated female, but then I saw Slevin was in the top 10.
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There's a four- or five-hour documentary on the band and its G'ville roots and its rise that's really worth the sitdown. Saw it a several years ago, then again a few years ago, maybe on Netflix. Really well done. They went through some hell together before they got it together.
It'll be a collector's item now. Sheez, hard to believe he's gone.
All of this on what was a great day for me personally. I've been battling bladder cancer for five months. Got a clean bill just today.
- Thread: Who'd a thunk 5-1?
- Thread: Don't Look Now...
Don’t look now, but… the Gators are doing these things
Some, mostly, nice facts/stats about where we stand at this point in the season. Very little to really complain about. Let's have a great second half and kick some UGA butt!!
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... PUTTIN' UP POINTS
Don’t look now, but the Gators are 4th in the SEC in Scoring Offense. At 34.4 points per game, Florida trails only Alabama (53.6), Ole Miss (41.6), and Georgia (36.7). It should be noted that they are barely ahead of Missouri (34.2) in the league. It should also be noted that Florida has played three of the four top scoring defenses in the conference (Mississippi State, Kentucky, and LSU). In 2017, the Gators finished 13th in scoring offense (22.1).
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... RED ZONE SCORING
Don’t look now, but Florida is four scores in the red zone away from tying last year’s total.Amazingly enough, with the lack of scoring a year ago, the Gators were really proficient in scoring in the red zone. That had a bit to do with kicker Eddy Pineiro, but Florida scored all but once when they made it into the red zone, getting points on 30 of 31 tries which was best in the SEC. But, seven games into this season, the Gators have scored 26 times from the red zone, missing on three giving them the fourth best percentage in the SEC.
DON'T LOOK NOW. BUT... TOUCHDOWN STRIKES
Don’t look now, but the 16 touchdown passes in seven games surpasses five of the last eight seasons totals. Feleipe Franks (15) and Kadarius Toney (1) have thrown 16 touchdown passes for the Gators in 2018. Only the 2014 (18), 2015 (20), and 2016 (18) squads finished the season with more in the ENTIRE season. The Gators had a low of 10 touchdown passes a year ago and 11 in 2013.
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... AIR DELIVERY
Don’t look now, but the Gators are scoring much more through the air than on the ground. Florida has 16 touchdown passes and just 10 touchdowns via the run. The preseason thought was that Florida was going to have to rely on a heavy dose of the running game and let the passing game come along as Feleipe Franks got more comfortable. Well, that kind of went out the window early when the running game was slow to get started and Franks threw for five touchdowns in the season opener against Charleston Southern. In the previous eight years, only the 2015 and 2016 seasons saw the Gators pass for more touchdowns than run for touchdowns.
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... POCKET PROTECTORS
Don’t look now, but the Gators have given up just nine sacks in seven games (1.29 per game). Last year, Florida quarterbacks were sacked 37 times (3.36/ game). That is more than two sacks per game improvement. A big note to that is Florida has already played the five best sack teams they will face in the SEC. Future opponents South Carolina (12th), Georgia (13th), and Missouri (14th) are the bottom three in that department in the SEC.
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... SACK MASTERS
Don’t look now, but the Gators are two sacks away from last year’s team total. Staying on the sack category, but this time for the Florida defense, the Gators are really getting after the quarterback. Florida has 21 sacks on the season and finished with 23 in 11 games a year ago. They fell behind Alabama this week which now has 23, but are still headed in the right direction. Florida’s Jachai Polite (7.0 sacks) is a half sack off of the lead in the SEC, while Jabari Zuniga (4.5) is tied for 6th in the conference. We will have to see how this plays out for the rest of the season as Missouri and South Carolina are two of the top four teams in not giving up sacks.
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... DBU
Don’t look now, but DBU is defending the second most passes per game in the last 10 years.Florida has broken up 32 passes in seven games and intercepted seven. The 39 passes defended equates to 5.57 per game. Only the 2014 defense had a higher rate of defensed passes in the last 10 years when they averaged 6.50 per game.
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... PENALTIES
Don’t look now, but… honestly nothing new with penalties against the Gators. In the same as it ever was category, there is certainly something to be said about Florida being the most penalized team in the SEC on average over the last three decades. We have seen Dan Mullen blow a gasket a couple of times in recent games wanting games to be called evenly, but the Gators still remain one of the most penalized teams in the league. Right now they are 12th in the league in penalties against averaging 71.0 yards per game in that category.
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... EVAN MCPHERSON
Don’t look now, but Florida freshman kicker Evan McPherson leads the SEC in field goal percentage. Taking over where Eddy Pineiro left off, McPherson has made good on 11 of his 12 field goal attempts this year and everybody but the ref that matters believes he is actually perfect on the season. Pineiro led the SEC in field goal percentage last year hitting on 17 of 18 attempts.
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... FELEIPE FRANKS
Don’t look now, but Feleipe Franks has the second most touchdown passes (15) in the SEC. It was ok to put an asterisk by it when he threw five touchdowns in the season opener against Charleston Southern, but we are seven games into the season now and Franks is only behind Tua Tagovaiola (21) at Alabama. If someone would have bet you that mid-way through the season Franks would have a higher QB rating than Nick Fitzgerald (MSU), Jarrett Stidham (Auburn), Jake Bentley (So. Car.), Kyle Shurmur (Vanderbilt), Drew Locke (Missouri), and Kellen Mond (Texas A&M), you would have taken that bet. But he does.
DON'T LOOK NOW, BUT... SCARLETT, PERINE, AND PIERCE
Don’t look now, but the Gators have three rushers in the Top 25 in the SEC. That may not sound like too crazy of a statistic, but Missouri is the only other team to have three of the top 25 rushers in the conference. Florida’s Jordan Scarlett (381 yards) leads the way with Lamical Perine (376) and Dameon Pierce (295) not far behind them. A year ago, Perine was the only Gator to finish in the Top 25 rushers in the SEC.
My experience with Nebraska weather....(skip if you have ADD or just don't care)
So I have to travel with my job and had to go to Omaha in the middle of January.....it was 13 degrees BELOW ZERO. When I parked the car and got out to go into the hotel, there were two squirrels in the brush next to the car. I wondered why they were not running as I was less than 5 feet away from them. THEY WERE FROZEN....FROZEN SOLID. I went into the hotel and the desk clerk asked me if I had plugged my rental car into the outlet in front of the car. I asked why and he told me that at the temperatures they were expecting that night (-25 or colder) that my car battery would most likely be dead and if not, the oil in the car would be so thick it would not pump through the car...potential leaving me stranded somewhere. I was like WTF??? Then, the next morning, I had to borrow a hammer and screw driver to chip off the ice on the car so I could open my door and see out the windshield. I went to my meeting and told the story to the folks I was meeting with and they all just looked at me like, "yeah...so?" I thought to myself, "what the hell is wrong with you people??" and vowed to never go back to the state ever again. That was 17 years ago and I handed that account over to a newbie who later told me he quit the company because he did not ever want to go back to Nebraska.
Please indulge me while I honor my dad, a Marine and a member of the 1st Marines regiment that engaged in hand-to-hand combat against the Japanese on Okinawa. It looked something like this.
He took a Japanese slug to the gut and was destined to bleed to death if not for the efforts of several of his buddies who dragged him to safety. I'm here to tell this story because of their heroism.
My dad was a badass, a great dad and yet kind of screwed up, but he was my dad. I'm proud as hell for his courage and his service. Happy Vet's Day, Dad.
The event was very good. The National Press Club is a neat place w/ a lot of history. It was a great location to host the event, they had a spread of heavy app's before hand and a cash bar. I'm guessing there were at least 300 people there. It was a nice night in DC, not too cold or windy, and a good night to head into the city. The Press Club is a few blocks from the White House.
Mullen was introduced by a local news personality who was a Miss Florida 2004 (I think) and UF grad. He spoke for about an hour and did a Q&A session that lasted at least 30 minutes, then he signed autographs and took pictures for another half hour or more. I got a picture w/ him at the very end and mentioned that I met him in 2005 when I was a Gator Club president and he was our guest speaker before he ever coached a game at UF. He laughed and said he remembers and always points out the place when he's in the area recruiting.
Anyhow, he spoke a lot about the usual rah-rah stuff: happy to be here, the "Gator Standard", how he likes cheering on the other programs at UF, how UF is a great academic university, mentioned the big basketball win vs. Alabama, the baseball teams win, he talked a little bit about his time at Miss State and that he came to UF to win a national title - he said his son wasn't too keen on moving to Gainesville, so he gave him his 2006 NC ring to wear and his son said something like "can we get more of these?" Mullen said, "that's the plan!". He did a great job w/ the crowd, had people laughing, made fun of himself some, talked about running the Boston Marathon, how tough it was - and this was the funny part for me; he says, "Anyone here run the Boston Marathon?" I causally raised my hand, not too high....but I was the only person in the room to raise my hand. So he starts talking about how tough "Heartbreak Hill" was....and he's looking at me for confirmation. So I just shake my head "yeah, yeah" every time he looked in my direction.
He spoke about how tough the S&C program is and how great Savage does with the kids. He said, "If you're name is "Nick Savage" you were born to be a Strength Coach!" which got a good laugh. He said a lot of what they do is based off of Navy SEAL training. There was a lady in the crowd who was a friend of his (I think from his childhood in New Hampshire) who's brother was a Navy SEAL. He talked about their relationship and how tough the guy was/is. The SEAL got brain cancer and Mullen found out in 2006, just after the SEC Championship game - they had concealed it from him until after the season so it wouldn't be a distraction. Anyhow, that led into him talking more about the S&C program and how some kids can go through the tough workouts just fine - like most SEALS just keep pushing through when things get tough - and that some kids fail before the workout even starts. He mentioned the Valentine's Day workout and how tough it was.
He talked about the new coaching hires and he's happy with both Gray & Turner. He talked about Grantham interviewing and said the new contract was signed well before the interview came up and it had nothing to do with trying to keep him (by outbidding the NFL teams). He said Grantham told him he loves working for him, his kids love Gainesville, and that he feels he may want to coach in the NFL someday again so he wanted to do the interview just to see what they say and are offering.
The Q&A had a few interesting responses. Of course there were some stupid questions like "who's the better golfer, you or your wife?" Which led to him talking about how good his son was at golf (taking away from talking about football!"). This was the most interesting response to me all night, he was asked which position group in the signing class most excited him.....he said the WR's. He didn't mention Henderson at all, but he talked about Whittemore, Marks, and Weston. He said they were all 3-stars. He said, "...the only time stars matter is on signing day, so we can say we had a top 10 class and all of you are happy" (that got a laugh out of the crowd). But he talked specifically about all 3 of them; said Weston & Marks didn't go to many camps, if they had they would have been highly rated. He said they all watched Marks tape sitting around the room....they said, "Who's offered this kid? FIU?" They watch more tape....then he asked, "What do you think?" They all agreed, (and this is word for word): "He's the best WR in the country!" He said Whittimore is nearly 6'4, his mom is a legacy, dad is a coach and he is a very good football player - Mr. Football & Basketball for the area.
Was asked if Toney can get 10 touches a game? He said Toney is an exciting player and will continue to be a big part of the offense.
Was asked what his favorite play in UF history is and he talked about the jump pass....then said "any play involving Percy". Said Percy is the best football player he's ever seen.
Talked about Tebow some and their relationship.
Talked about Franks a little. He said he gives him a hard time all the time about "shushing" the crowd. "You're the only QB in the country who shushed his home crowd!" Said he still has work to do, but has come a long way.
Said when he got here he asked the team, "How many of you want to win a championship?" They all raised their hands....and he said, "You're lying. Because if you did you wouldn't have gone 4-7 last year!"
It was a mad rush to get pictures w/ him afterwards; families w/ kids, the DC Gator Club people, at least 100 people waiting. We hung around towards the end and got a picture w/ him - me and another Coast Guard buddy (the guy taking the picture is my CG buddy who played football at Oregon State). After we took the picture and Mullen was done signing that's when we quickly chatted about meeting in 2005....then I said, "I was the guy in the crowd who ran the Boston Marathon." My other buddy said something like "he said he didn't have as hard of a time on the hills as you did!" Honestly, I can't believe how engaging he was. His posse (the UAA people) were trying to get him out the door saying he had a flight to catch....but he talked to anyone that came up to him. He may or may not win one here but if you don't like the guy as a person you're probably an unhappy person and your life sucks.
I'm sure there's some more I forgot to include.....I'll add later if I remember. I'm in the last picture below on the left. I'm coming off of hernia surgery, so I'm usually much more handsome!!! (the other guy is my CG buddy who is a 99 UF grad. His brother is an Alachua County firefighter - I think he's the EMS Chief). Great night and I'm excited about the future of UF football!
- Thread: Nice to be here...
Hail to the Victors Valiant!
Hail to the Conquering Heroes!
Hail, Hail To Florida
The Gators Are The Best!
That was an amazing game and hopefully, a good indicator of things to come. As I said in my preview, I do think there was some lack of motivation, but not enough that leads to a 26 point blowout. I saw excellent coaching that I will definitely get into. Made a long day (flew round trip to ATL for the day and flight home was delayed) worth it.
The turning point of the game, honestly, was the review on Michigan's first drive calling back the touchdown. That early? Yes. If Michigan marches for a TD that quickly, it sets a tone for the game that isn't good for us. Instead Michigan (and their fans), get a deflating overturn that gives them third and 1. We stop them. Fourth and 1, we stop them again. Now the Gators and their fans are alive. Add in that Michigan was trying to utilize a power game and you have the confidence that we can be physical with a Michigan team that pushed us around last year. Great job by Vosean on the play. Chase Winovich doing the chomp incorrectly is a close second.
This offense was overall great. Outside of the first drive, the only thing stopping the offense all day was self-inflicted wounds like penalties. I was surprised with how little we saw of Emory, but that's the good thing. On his first carry, he could have run at any angle and possibly broke it for a TD. Still a good four yard run though. Emory will continue to improve and see the field. I was surprised we took him out when we did as well. Enough about Jones, but I wanted to be sure I mentioned it.
Perine I think is the most underrated player on this offense. He is phenomenal. I know most Chatter readers know this, but this guy has made plays all year in the passing and running game. Taking a "give up" play, the typical third and long draw 53-yards to the house was amazing. It was also the point where I texted GAME SET MATCH to people. Scarlett also had plenty of the good runs as well. Heck, his big broken tackle type run in the third quarter would have been a TD if Van Jefferson goes back to play rather than trying to lead the way.
Florida ran a formation that I did not see a lot of this season quite a bit. It was quads to one side and a single receiver to the other side. Every time we lined up in this formation, there were two options, screen or QB draw. If Michigan went wide, then Franks would draw. He did this for a decent game before the second FG. Then the second time was the first TD. The screen got us a first down (#5 below) and a TD to Perine (#17 below). Great recognition by Franks on which he was doing.
The creativity and play calling was also there. Not just what was mentioned above. The 4th and 1 hand off to Toney for a big gain and Scarlett's TD were both well done and called at the right time. The called back crossing route on the first possession of the third quarter was creative, just a small mistake by Grimes. Back to Toney, what a leap, though it didn't count, he left the ground at the five, got the ball stretched inside the pylon and landed well past the endline. The trick play didn't work, but the timing was thrown off by poor blocking on the initial throw.
Franks. Franks overall had a great game. In my opinion, Franks had the best rushing game he's had as far as efficiency. Several good scrambles and a number of good designed runs. Franks even had a great recognition early on a third down. The defensive tackles lined up wide of the center and I believe he saw it and audibled into a sneak, which he got.
- Throwing the ball away on the first play from scrimmage under immense pressure. Great throwaway.
- Franks recognizes the blitz is coming from his left, then rolls left. I don't care if designed or not, this is stupid. If it is designed, audible, if it is not, you've seen where it's coming, don't go that way. At least he threw the ball away instead of being sacked.
- Slant complete to Jefferson for 9 yards. Good throw, good route.
- Swing to Perine for 5 yards.
- Screen to Perine out of quads for a first down. (We did this again later for a TD).
- Excellent seam route throw to Jefferson for massive gain.
- A one on one fade to Grimes, incomplete. Grimes needs to fight a little more, but Franks needs to make the 50-50 ball higher for the 6-3 Grimes.
- Play action jump ball to Hammond for a big gain. Franks threw it off his back foot under pressure. Good play.
- Incompletion in the flat to Franks. Tossed it a little high, but Scarlett also tried to stop and one hand it. If he continues to run, it should be caught. Franks could not have thrown it much lower as a defender was between him and Scarlett as he released it.
- Bad read to throw to the sideline by Franks deep. Had an open guy on the seam. Incomplete.
- Slant to Jefferson for 7.
- Back shoulder throw to Jefferson that had lots of hand fighting between Jefferson and the defender, incomplete.
- Overthrew Jefferson who was behind the defense (how many times have we typed that this year).
- Slant for 7 yards on second down to set up third and 5.
- Pass to Perine to set up 4th and 1.
- Good throwaway, all the routes in the endzone were covered. Last year, Franks would force it and it would be a pick.
- Perine screen for a TD.
- Screen to Grimes for a loss of 2.
- Underthrew Van Jefferson on the sideline. He had time, not sure how he underthrew that bad.
- A dart to Josh Hammond for a 30 yard game on 3rd and 12.
- No one open, throwaway under pressure. Live (and stadium replay), but not on camera, you could see what Franks is yelling about after the play. A receiver took his route too deep and into coverage. He would have been thrown to if he ran it shorter.
- THE kiss of death. C'yontai Lewis catches a ball for a big gain on 3 & 6. Great throw. If slightly better, it's a longer gain, but I'm not about to whine about a 20+ yard gain on 3rd down.
This defense allowed two scoring drives, one in the first and one in the fourth. I don't count the FG from the blocked punt where they got a 3 and out. Cece Jefferson and Chauncey balled out in their last games as Gators. I accidentally ran into Jefferson as he got back to the team hotel as I was walking by to get to the MARTA station. I made sure to thank him for coming to Florida. Jefferson getting a sack on the last important drive, well, last drive that we didn't play for the Hail Mary, of his Gators career was great. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has 4 INT's, 171 return yards, and 2 TD's in his two bowl games. Imagine where he'd be if he wasn't as safety last year. Also, amazing how much better his tackling got this year. Great play by Hendo to knock the ball loose on that 3rd down throw early in the 4th quarter. The official had a terrible angle so I don't blame the TD call, but great job by the replay booth in fixing it.
We saw some perfectly timed DB blitzes that got Hendo and Burney sacks. Last year, it was Michigan that killed our offensive when it went lateral. This year, it was our defense doing that. I cannot wait to see this defense next year after another year of Savage's program. That's a discussion for another time.
McPherson continues to march towards what I am hoping is the new all-time scoring leader at UF. Adding 11 points to his total.
We allowed two blocked punts. Some people blame Townsend, we will say Edgar Thompson, don't be Edgar Thompson. Is Townsend slower on his punts? Yes. It is designed. Re-watch the first punt, he's doing it consistently. Why? Tommy Townsend regularly boots the ball 50+ yards in the air when the ball is at the Gators 40 or further back. If you think back to the first part of the season, Townsend was outkicking the coverage and teams were getting decent to good to great punt return yardage. The delay of an extra second is about 9 more yards a gunner can get before the returner gets the ball. (At 40 yards in 4 seconds, its 10 yards a second, so making some small adjustment approximate. Yay, algebra.) With that said, Townsend needs to recognize a block team is coming, but the blockers need to do better. I'll give the first one a pass. After that one though, We need to go into punt max protection. This was also great recognition by the Michigan staff to send block teams.
- Loved the two different occasions that they played "I Won't Back Down" in Atlanta, the crowd was just as electric there as in the Swamp.
- Harbaugh is a child.
- There's something special about players crying for joy after the game. I'm glad they had something that means so much to them.
- What you didn't see after the 4th down run by Jones to give Michigan a few more snaps...Shawn Davis did a back handspring in full gear, helmet and all. That is some impressive athleticism.
- If you also flew round trip on Spirit yesterday, good to meet you.
- And of course, Great to see BNA again and meeting everyone else. It was a good, but sadly short, meet up.
We took the state back!
It seems as if our lost decade might finally be coming to a close. Four weeks ago, after we lost to Georgia, I said that we couldn't fall apart down the stretch in November like we have so many times in the post-Tebow era. And while we definitely laid an egg against Missouri and looked like crap for 2.5 quarters against South Carolina, something clicked in these guys' heads and we finished as strongly as we have in a very long time. What's truly staggering is how quickly FSU hit the skids. In all honesty it almost mirrors exactly what happened to us 9 years ago, so I'm hoping we can parlay yesterday's dominance into years of running the state again.
Franks had a few wobbly moments early yesterday, but ended up having what might have been his best game yet. He threw the ball away when he had to, only forced one throw that I can remember, didn't turn the ball over, made some nice plays with his feet, and threw some absolute dimes to our receivers. Granted, FSU's pass defense is horrendous, but the first step in being a good QB is lighting up the defenses you're supposed to light up. And for the most part, I think Franks did that this year. Obviously the Missouri game was bad, but he performed well against the rest of the mediocre/bad defenses on our schedule.
Now the challenge is getting him to elevate his game to perform like that against the good/great defenses. We can all debate on whether or not that's possible, but the Franks from this year was far superior to the version we got of him last year, with the obvious difference being the coaching he's receiving now as opposed to last year. I feel like he's only going to keep improving now that he's truly being coached for the first time in his career. It's still possible he won't be our starter next year, but at least he's giving Mullen a choice. Either way, I think down the road we'll look back on this season and truly appreciate what Franks did to hold this offense together and transition to Mullen's QB recruits. As it stands, he is our first quarterback to start every game of a season since Tebow left (look it up, it's true).
There's really not much more for me to say on the rest of the game. We just dominated them in every phase. The biggest takeaway is still the shocking fall from grace FSU had. It cannot be overstated how important this recruiting cycle is. This is where Mullen is really going to earn that paycheck. He's done it on the field so far with a mishmash of decent, but shallow talent. Now he needs to load his own cupboard up so we're not one injury away from playing walk ons. We were VERY fortunate to only have one major injury all year, which was Marco Wilson. Other than Mullen, the most important hire that was made was Nick Savage. It's amazing what a real offseason strength and conditioning program does for your results in the fall.
Looking forward to seeing our bowl matchup. Win or lose, it's amazing that we're in a New Year's Six bowl when at this time last year, we were tracking airplanes and melting down about the coaching search. Going from a listless four wins (that could have easily been two) to a mostly dominating nine wins is coach of the year type stuff. Great season, Gators!
- Thread: Captain's Cogitations - LSU
The Cogitations are back! I had to take a bye week last week because we were moving and I hardly got to watch any of the MSU game, but the show returns!
What a day, what a win! Everything was perfect about that game day yesterday. Between the good people at the tailgate, the flyover, Tebow's ceremony, honoring the '08 team, and a classic UF-LSU game to top it all off, that was one of my favorite games I've ever been to in the Swamp. My ears are still ringing this morning and my voice is hoarse, this is the way it should always be!
Now onto the brass tacks. Franks once again had a vintage performance where we weren't quite sure what he was going to do from play to play. He dropped a couple dimes in there and had a couple head scratchers, but he did what he had to do to win the game. I still think he's doing a great job considering the OL situation, and that throwaway he had when a guy was hanging all over him might have been his most impressive play of the day. I couldn't quite tell what happened on the interception, but it looked like there was some miscommunication between he and Stephens. It was almost like he thought Stephens was going to continue his seam route, but he broke it off. I'd have to see a replay of the play to get a better idea, but it definitely wasn't just a case of an inaccurate throw. His throw of the day was obviously the corner route he hit Hammond on right before half. Stepped up in the pocket, had some pressure on all sides, and dropped a perfect ball right into the recevier's hands. If he can keep building off plays like that, we might have an honest to goodness QB on our hands.
Play calling wise, I was loving the creativity, but I was also scratching my head on a couple of our short yardage plays. There was the one 3rd & 1 where we called a keeper for Franks when Scarlett had been running the ball well, and we got stuffed. There was the 3rd & 2 where we had Jefferson on the short crosser and he didn't run his route across the sticks (although that's not as much of a play call issue than it is an execution issue). And then there was the downfield pass he called on 2nd down when we were trying to run the clock. I don't mind the pass there, but make it something that has a greater probability of success than a throw that has to travel 30 yards across the field for a 10 yard gain. But the throwback from Krull, the rocker step from Franks, the jet sweep to Toney, and that nifty speed option we also ran against MSU were all fantastic calls. We're starting to see Mullen get comfortable calling some of those gadget plays he's famous for, but I'd like to see him call some more reliable plays in short yardage situations.
Defensively, it's clear that whatever was ailing us against UK is gone. LSU came out with the up tempo and caught our guys off guard early, but that sack fumble by Polite got LSU out of their comfort zone and they never really got back in it. I'd obviously like to see them not give up two gashes on a 4th quarter drive when we're protecting a lead, but they made up for that in a big way once they got back on the field after that. Stewart's pick six was one of the loudest moments I've ever experienced in my 9 years going to games in the Swamp, right up there with the opening play TD against Bama in '11 and the miracle plays against UT in '15 and '17. Polite and Zuniga continue to be absolute terrors in the pass rush, and it's clear that opposing offenses sure as hell better do whatever they can to stay out of obvious passing situations. It's been astonishing to see the improvement by this unit over the last few weeks. The UK game was a wakeup call, and they answered the bell. I remember saying in the UK Cogitations that our defense woke up and played lights out after struggling against UT in '15, and it seems as if the same thing happened again this year.
All in all, it's great to see this team buying into Mullen's philosophies so quickly. I, like most of you, was not thrilled with the hire when it was made, but he's won me over in a big way. You don't see a head coach in a close game in the 4th quarter jumping around the field pumping up the crowd during a timeout. The entire crowd was going apesh*t from that moment forward. It's quite obvious that UF was his dream job, and he probably should have been here a long time ago. This is a coach who knows the crowd, knows the town, and even though it didn't feel like it 11 months ago, was the perfect man for the job.
Sleepy noon start at Vandy next week, so if you're able to get to Nashville and turn it into the Swamp North, get your butts in those seats to pump our guys up! Till next week!
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