Bits & Pieces: Florida vs. Alabama

cover2

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I don’t believe many Gator fans are surprised with the outcome of the SECCG. I suppose there is some solace to be found in the final score of 52-46, with the Gators having a chance in the second half, albeit a slim one, to pull out a victory. After trailing 35-17 at the half and Bama scoring on five possessions while running twice as many plays, most college football fans had already penciled in the W for Nick Saban and the Tide. They were simply perfection with the football. Actually, their only hiccup was a great takeaway by Trey Dean that was immediately turned back over to Bama when Dean coughed the ball up when he was KTFO’d on the return. When Bama scored on the next play, the pride of a lifelong fan allowed the thought that this probably won’t be our night to creep in.

To their credit, the Gators and Heisman hopeful (unfortunately not shoe in) Kyle Trask kept competing and made it close. The defense, as beleaguered as it was the first half and for all of the season, really, was able to keep Bama out of the end zone in the third quarter and all of a sudden 35-31 didn’t seem insurmountable. But it was not quite enough and the Tide out scored the Gators 17-15 in the final stanza, securing their place in the CFB playoffs. Florida, on the other hand, slinked back to Palooka-ville on the heels of a two game skid and the fear of an 8-4 record looming, depending on the bowl matchup. What could’ve been unfortunately turned into what was and Mullen and Co. begin the self-reflective phase that must require some honest appraisals of what went wrong and what has to change lest this be our high water mark for the second consecutive coaching staff.

*However you cut it, Harris and Smith were more than our defense could handle. I don’t think I’ve seen as much diving at the ankles in one game since my middle school football days. Obviously, Harris engendered some fear in many of our defenders, but that was a total reversal of the grabbing and high tackling that has been our trademark. And it wasn’t any more successful. We couldn’t cover Smith consistently, even playing quite a bit of zone and his TD over Marco Wilson, who was giving him a big cushion in the red zone, pretty much punctuated our futility. Bama’s Mac Jones may well win the Heisman, but if so it would truly be a team award. He was good, but all he had to do was keep the car out of the ditch.

*It seems like there are some head scratchers from Mullen each game in terms of critical play calls. One that sticks out was a Trask keep on third and nine in the first half that was woefully short and killed a possession. It was mentioned that it may have been an automatic if we formationed a numbers advantage in the box and Trask scored a couple of times on this, but third and nine was too big a gamble at that point in the game.

*Bama’s OL is what we wish ours was. If you didn’t see anything else, their two tackles kept our guys on roller skates with their drive blocks and did a great job riding our edge guys up the field on pass plays. They paved the way for 605 total yards that included 187 rushing (178 by Harris). We rushed for 54. It’s Bama, I know, but that’s a pretty staggering difference.

*Trask wasn’t quite as sharp as he could have been, missing a couple of long throws that he usually makes that would have gone for scores. Still, he passed for 408 and three scores while rushing for another as well as a two point conversion. That’s probably good enough to beat anybody else, but not Bama. I appreciate that he left it all out on the field and his competitive spirit, though not as demonstrative as we’ve seen, is there every time he takes the field. He may not win the Heisman, but he is worthy of mention with the other great QBs we’ve enjoyed.

*Toney was a man last night. Eight receptions for 153 yards and a score was big. He has electrified us with his speed and quickness, but the development of his hands and route running was very special.

*What could’ve been. If we hadn’t shot ourselves in the foot in the first half with three Bama drives we had stopped or had a chance to. The winners find a way to make it happen. The other guys talk about what could have been.

*I’ve enjoyed watching Kyle Pitts. Bama was definitely aware of him, he still wound up with seven catches for 129 yards and a score on a great catch over the defender. He’s a special talent and it’s been a pleasure to get to see him develop. I wish there could’ve been one more game we could have seen him ;).

*Boo Chris Doering! It wouldn’t have hurt you to give Trask a little love last night while talking about the Heisman hopefuls. The three Bama guys you pegged are very worthy and I suppose you wanted to avoid the “Homer” tag, but Trask is more than deserving. You’re a great Gator, but the optics were that there was some embarrassment-induced separation.

One more game. Against who is yet to be determined. It doesn’t really matter. There simply has to be a good conclusion to the anti-climax of last evening. Mullen needs it. Even though this season has been anything but normal, some of Dan’s decisions and comments have certainly lessened the confidence and enthusiasm of his leadership in year three. What he does, or doesn’t do, with the defensive personnel will likely make or break him. It’s pretty widely held that he’s a loyal guy and that’s commendable, but ultimately what good is a captain who goes down with the ship?

In parting, I want to thank Ox and all the readership of Gator Chatter. You guys make it easy to get up on Sundays, win or lose, and talk about Gator football! I hope you all have a great Christmas amid this topsy turvy time in our nation’s history and that Santa brings us all a little respite. A lock down D would also be nice! Merry Christmas and Go Gators!

:chomp:
 
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BMF

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Good stuff C2. The clock management - leaving 69 seconds on the clock at the end of the first half was inexcusable. But our coach's ego....
 

SGG

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Great summary, cover.

Couldn’t have said it any better.

Let’s hope Choker has a uhaul reservation to be picking up, and he can drag Marco with him wherever he goes.
 

GBHOR

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Soooo, this is what mediocrity feels like. Well we've actually known the feeling for years now.( Even though even a mediocre D with this yrs O puts us in the playoff) Old Mullet had many hoping and actually believing, and we just knew the D was gonna improve.
Well even when we would make a critical stop they find a way to piss it away.
 

Concrete Helmet

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Good stuff C2. The clock management - leaving 69 seconds on the clock at the end of the first half was inexcusable. But our coach's ego....
Yes but we were trying to go tempo to catch them off guard...I don't think we could have just lined up and went through regular motion(pre snap stuff) maybe but IMO you take points whenever/however you get them....

2 penalties cost us this game...offsides on 3&10 and they made the 1st by 1 inch....then TD. Saban would have kicked a FG had we stopped them there....and Carter hands to the face on 3rd and 10 on their side of the field...they scored TD. That's 11 points that made the difference IMO.
 

cover2

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Good stuff C2. The clock management - leaving 69 seconds on the clock at the end of the first half was inexcusable. But our coach's ego....
Yeah, this was big. With a little better management we maybe hold them to a FG attempt at worst. Things that look kinda small have to be attended to with all the attention of the bigger issues. When they aren’t, they have a way of becoming pretty big.
 

GatorJB

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I've enjoyed reading all of your write-ups this year as I have previous years. Thanks for the time and insight you put in doing these.

I don't know what bothers me more. The loss or how everyone in the media has written off Trask for the Heisman and is openly pumping the Bama players. How many other QBs this year have thrown for more than 40 TDs or over 4,000 yards? None, but Trask has done both and no one is mentioning it.

Overall, this was a good year that could have been a really special year with a lot of hardware and a championship or two. Sucks to be so close and yet so far.
 

Tunaboat

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I was on the road and missed the game, but was surprised that the difference in this score-fest was only 6 points! If this team actually had some semblance of a Defense, any really credible defense the Gators may be champions this morning. In any case a loss sucks, but most thought that this game would be a blowout and at least at the end, it wasn't. Our Gators got closer to Bama than any other team this year and I imagine Saban is pissed at the final score. Great effort guys, no respect lost here, a lot of eyebrows are raising this morning over cups of coffee.

Cover - thanks as always for this and all the other great reviews this year!
 

BMF

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Yes but we were trying to go tempo to catch them off guard...I don't think we could have just lined up and went through regular motion(pre snap stuff) maybe but IMO you take points whenever/however you get them....

2 penalties cost us this game...offsides on 3&10 and they made the 1st by 1 inch....then TD. Saban would have kicked a FG had we stopped them there....and Carter hands to the face on 3rd and 10 on their side of the field...they scored TD. That's 11 points that made the difference IMO.

If we had run out the clock and kicked a FG we would have been down 15 at the half....or we score 7, let them score 7 and we end up down 18 at the half. It was a sh*tshow. There was a clock stoppage before we ran the TD play, so we weren't catching anyone off guard with 'tempo'. Also, we could have still run the play and run off 15 more seconds instead snapping it w/ 20+ seconds on the play clock.
 

Concrete Helmet

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If we had run out the clock and kicked a FG we would have been down 15 at the half....or we score 7, let them score 7 and we end up down 18 at the half. It was a sh*tshow. There was a clock stoppage before we ran the TD play, so we weren't catching anyone off guard with 'tempo'. Also, we could have still run the play and run off 15 more seconds instead snapping it w/ 20+ seconds on the play clock.
Maybe but I take points the easiest way I can get them and let what happens happen....

I wrote in another thread that if you really think about it we would be playing for a NC if it weren't for 4 mental mistakes this year.
A fumble
A shoe toss
An offside
And a hands to the face...
 

GatorJ

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Mullen got weird with play calling in the first half. But he called an excellent game in the 2nd half. Other than the stupid run with Trask on 3rd and long.

Bama is the #1 team in the nation for a reason. Anybody who follows recruiting knows that there is a MASSIVE talent disparity between our teams. Mullen is doing a good job at bridging that gap. He is not a great recruiter so we won’t have equal talent with Bama. But his coaching closes the gap considerably.

HOWEVER, Grantham needs to go. He’s terrible. We won’t have a realistic chance at championships with him running the defense.

I’m upset that I haven’t heard he’s been canned yet.
 

gatormandan

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Maybe but I take points the easiest way I can get them and let what happens happen....

I wrote in another thread that if you really think about it we would be playing for a NC if it weren't for 4 mental mistakes this year.
A fumble
A shoe toss
An offside
And a hands to the face...

And mostly 3rd and Grantham.
 

BMF

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Maybe but I take points the easiest way I can get them and let what happens happen....

I wrote in another thread that if you really think about it we would be playing for a NC if it weren't for 4 mental mistakes this year.
A fumble
A shoe toss
An offside
And a hands to the face
A Todd Grantham
A QB Draw on 2nd and 13
A 51 yard FG by our proven junior kicker

...

Added a few more for you...."it's a game of inches".
 

Concrete Helmet

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Added a few more for you...."it's a game of inches".
Well you've got a point about those things and I'm certainly not going to defend TG or some of Mullen's brain fog playcalling.....but leave the kicker outta this damnit...:lol: he probably figured Mullen would just go for it on 4th down like he did earlier in the game(got stuffed on the goal line which would have made the LSU game over minus the shoe toss....
 

CaribGator

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Year 3, we knew what we were getting with Mullen, a slightly better than average coach. Yes we needed to dump butters and make a move, of the choices available at the time, he was the safest bet, But definitely not a homerun hit. We've seen it every year, bad clock management, head scratching play calling,, his stubbornness to stick to certain players, coaches and plays. Mullen going to mullen, and it cost us a shot at the playoffs with one of the best offenses we've had in a decade.

As for the game. Grantham earning that 2.8M, and I commented in the chat during the game,, that he must teach diving at the feet as a means of tackling, we see it constantly. A half-ass defense, and we would have won it all this year.

Glad to beat jawja finally. But again, it is on this staff to recruit better, need elite talent to compete with elite talent. Especially when we are handicapped with a dawg DC and other lame coaches.

Go Gators
 

NavetG8r

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For the most part it's been fun watching the offense this year. Then when the other part of the team is on the field I've wanted to pull my hair out. It's felt like our team is Jekyll and Hyde. Enjoyed the read C2 as always.
 

wrpgator

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I don’t believe many Gator fans are surprised with the outcome of the SECCG. I suppose there is some solace to be found in the final score of 52-46, with the Gators having a chance in the second half, albeit a slim one, to pull out a victory. After trailing 35-17 at the half and Bama scoring on five possessions while running twice as many plays, most college football fans had already penciled in the W for Nick Saban and the Tide. They were simply perfection with the football. Actually, their only hiccup was a great takeaway by Trey Dean that was immediately turned back over to Bama when Dean coughed the ball up when he was KTFO’d on the return. When Bama scored on the next play, the pride of a lifelong fan allowed the thought that this probably won’t be our night to creep in.

To their credit, the Gators and Heisman hopeful (unfortunately not shoe in) Kyle Trask kept competing and made it close. The defense, as beleaguered as it was the first half and for all of the season, really, was able to keep Bama out of the end zone in the third quarter and all of a sudden 35-31 didn’t seem insurmountable. But it was not quite enough and the Tide out scored the Gators 17-15 in the final stanza, securing their place in the CFB playoffs. Florida, on the other hand, slinked back to Palooka-ville on the heels of a two game skid and the fear of an 8-4 record looming, depending on the bowl matchup. What could’ve been unfortunately turned into what was and Mullen and Co. begin the self-reflective phase that must require some honest appraisals of what went wrong and what has to change lest this be our high water mark for the second consecutive coaching staff.

*However you cut it, Harris and Smith were more than our defense could handle. I don’t think I’ve seen as much diving at the ankles in one game since my middle school football days. Obviously, Harris engendered some fear in many of our defenders, but that was a total reversal of the grabbing and high tackling that has been our trademark. And it wasn’t any more successful. We couldn’t cover Smith consistently, even playing quite a bit of zone and his TD over Marco Wilson, who was giving him a big cushion in the red zone, pretty much punctuated our futility. Bama’s Mac Jones may well win the Heisman, but if so it would truly be a team award. He was good, but all he had to do was keep the car out of the ditch.

*It seems like there are some head scratchers from Mullen each game in terms of critical play calls. One that sticks out was a Trask keep on third and nine in the first half that was woefully short and killed a possession. It was mentioned that it may have been an automatic if we formationed a numbers advantage in the box and Trask scored a couple of times on this, but third and nine was too big a gamble at that point in the game.

*Bama’s OL is what we wish ours was. If you didn’t see anything else, their two tackles kept our guys on roller skates with their drive blocks and did a great job riding our edge guys up the field on pass plays. They paved the way for 605 total yards that included 187 rushing (178 by Harris). We rushed for 54. It’s Bama, I know, but that’s a pretty staggering difference.

*Trask wasn’t quite as sharp as he could have been, missing a couple of long throws that he usually makes that would have gone for scores. Still, he passed for 408 and three scores while rushing for another as well as a two point conversion. That’s probably good enough to beat anybody else, but not Bama. I appreciate that he left it all out on the field and his competitive spirit, though not as demonstrative as we’ve seen, is there every time he takes the field. He may not win the Heisman, but he is worthy of mention with the other great QBs we’ve enjoyed.

*Toney was a man last night. Eight receptions for 153 yards and a score was big. He has electrified us with his speed and quickness, but the development of his hands and route running was very special.

*What could’ve been. If we hadn’t shot ourselves in the foot in the first half with three Bama drives we had stopped or had a chance to. The winners find a way to make it happen. The other guys talk about what could have been.

*I’ve enjoyed watching Kyle Pitts. Bama was definitely aware of him, he still wound up with seven catches for 129 yards and a score on a great catch over the defender. He’s a special talent and it’s been a pleasure to get to see him develop. I wish there could’ve been one more game we could have seen him ;).

*Boo Chris Doering! It wouldn’t have hurt you to give Trask a little love last night while talking about the Heisman hopefuls. The three Bama guys you pegged are very worthy and I suppose you wanted to avoid the “Homer” tag, but Trask is more than deserving. You’re a great Gator, but the optics were that there was some embarrassment-induced separation.

One more game. Against who is yet to be determined. It doesn’t really matter. There simply has to be a good conclusion to the anti-climax of last evening. Mullen needs it. Even though this season has been anything but normal, some of Dan’s decisions and comments have certainly lessened the confidence and enthusiasm of his leadership in year three. What he does, or doesn’t do, with the defensive personnel will likely make or break him. It’s pretty widely held that he’s a loyal guy and that’s commendable, but ultimately what good is a captain who goes down with the ship?

In parting, I want to thank Ox and all the readership of Gator Chatter. You guys make it easy to get up on Sundays, win or lose, and talk about Gator football! I hope you all have a great Christmas amid this topsy turvy time in our nation’s history and that Santa brings us all a little respite. A lock down D would also be nice! Merry Christmas and Go Gators!

:chomp:
Outstanding write-up Cover. This superlative sentence speaks volumes: “What could’ve been unfortunately turned into what was and Mullen and Co. begin the self-reflective phase that must require some honest appraisals of what went wrong and what has to change lest this be our high water mark for the second consecutive coaching staff.”

We know Coach Mullen has a difficult time publicly appraising his own efforts in terms of honest ownership of deficient coaching. Whether or not he does so privately and with staff is questionable. Loyalty is an attribute until it negatively affects the program. Spurrier would say ‘we didn’t coach ‘em up’ after a loss. His annoyance and anger were palpable. Myer would go apoplectic after a loss producing real physical symptoms. Wide shoulders. A championship caliber coach is honest with himself and others (for you can’t hide the obvious), reflects on self and staff, appraises and changes out of self-preservation and the long-term success of the program. The alternative is to earn a reputation for being an excuse maker and settling for mediocrity.

Many of Vince Lombardi’s quotes on success have become cliched on the walls of car salesman’s cubicles, but there’s simple honesty in his writings that Coach Mullen might benefit from were he to post them on his office walls and take to heart: “Don’t succumb to excuses. Go back to the job of making the corrections and forming the habits that will make your goal possible. The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.”
 
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