Walt Kelly ran a cartoon for a number of years that featured a possum named Pogo. Interestingly, it was set in a swamp. One of the most remembered images came to mind after watching the debacle at the Cotton Bowl... At first glance, you might think that the Sooners were our biggest foe. A 55-20 whipping in which we surrendered over 400 yards rushing might make you feel that way. So will a bunch of our players “opting out” or being unavailable, including our top four receivers that accounted for 34 touchdowns on the season. So will continued defensive ineptitude that spotlighted just how poorly coached we were from a basic fundamentals standpoint. So will your record-setting QB whose carriage suddenly turned into a pumpkin with three picks and no TD passes, the first time that’s happened since he became a starter. So will a basket full of head-scratching play calls (back to back QB runs that got nothing and turned a touchdown opportunity into a field goal; really Dan?) and more drops than catches by your remaining receivers, or so it seemed. There’s really no easy way to put it, but our enemy comes from within. And it’s not the secondary that still looks like a garden of statues much of the time, nor is it the other defenders that have so often been swallowed up by the blocking or left clutching at air as the ball carriers ran past them. It’s not the OL that can’t get any movement to muster a running game and it’s not Kyle Trask, who had a terrible night throwing the ball in a game many thought he never should have played. It’s Grantham and the D staff. It’s Hevesy and Gonzalez, and Jones and others coaching the O. And ultimately, it’s Mullen. They coached every play of every game this year and this last one, maybe a defining moment, was the most damning. It sure erased any memories of 8-1 and the high hopes we had in this peculiar year. *I remarked in the box during the game that I haven’t seen a team this poor fundamentally, especially defensively, at this level of college football...ever. In game 12 we were still missing tackles, blowing coverages, and not lining up or getting set consistently. Hell, we had twelve on the field and gave up a TD! Talent, which will get a lot of the blame, has less to do with these poor fundamentals than coaching, or the obvious lack of it. When you’re still making the same basic mistakes at the end of the season, it isn’t the kids. *Trask was bad tonight. A part of me wishes that he would have opted out, but there was some question about whether he was going pro or coming back. If he needed a sign, he probably got it. I can’t pin all his woes tonight just on him. We had some drops and asking him to run it in against Oklahoma’s run D, twice, was pretty absurd. Mullen seemed to give him the sign when he went all Emery. Just a crappy way for a great Gator to maybe finish his career. *Certainly there had to be someone upstairs letting Mullen know that we had backs open in the flats and up the sideline early? There were a few times we forced the ball between the hashes when we might have checked down, but it was not to be. When we finally did, it was too late. And who decided it was a good idea to run option and pass to the back in the flats to the short side? That pass was to Rick Wells, the same guy who got driven ten yards into a bubble screen as a blocker. Who the hell thought he would be able to bull his way into the end zone? *There were a lot of kids that played that nobody knew. In truth, some of the fresh defenders didn’t look much worse than the starters. A bunch of our kids looked lost, timid, or both. Patrick Moorer, #37 who ran right into the pick on one score when he was chasing, looked like he had never practiced. Maybe he hadn’t or at least got few if any reps. I know that some of the opt outs hurt us, but we didn’t look any less prepared defensively than we have all season. *I’ve complained about how meaningless the bowls have become that aren’t hosting playoff games. Even though Oklahoma didn’t appear to be struck that way, our opt outs would seem to bear that out. I don’t know what the answer is, but it hurts me to see Gators give up on a game even if it is to protect their pro prospects. That kind of pride has more value among the old guard I suppose. Dan Mullen, prior to tonight, had done enough with his offense, as one dimensional as it was, to engender the confidence that we could outscore anybody. Turns out it was a false hope. That offense couldn’t hold up in three previous games when it had to have a lock down defense to salve some self-inflicted wounds. Tonight, nothing worked. Most definitely not the D, whose high water mark in the second quarter looked to come after a tongue lashing by Grantham, long overdue I might add. They eventually rolled over and took the 55-20 thrashing. I started off with a shot at Mullen and his culpability for this sorry end to a once promising season. His body language during the game was pretty lousy. It looked like he wanted to be anywhere but on that sideline. He’s got some questions to answer. Most of them he should be asking himself and not waiting for a few softballs from the press. The biggest ones should be, in my opinion, do you work your ass off, and that of your staff (whatever it is after some needed changes) to fix this wreck, do you put your agent to work and find a landing spot after you cut and run, or do you keep doing the same thing, expecting different results? All are possibilities, but if it ain’t question #1, you ain’t Gator and it’s time for a change, regardless of the possibility of setbacks. What a way for 2020 to end, but good riddance and here’s to better days. God bless, Gators! Don’t let the rock roll back on top of you!