41-15 Peach Bowl victory over favored Michigan! Last year at this time, we were all sitting in the seat occupied by F$U this year, fresh off a 4-8 collapse engineered by famed offensive mind Captain Jim McElwain who staged his own death (so to speak) and left First Mate Randy Shannon to guide the SS Foley to the college football equivalent of Davy Jones' locker. Then came the hire of the less than ballyhooed Dan Mullen to raise the good ship and to meet expectations to not just raise the good ship, but to guide it to the forefront of the conference and perhaps all of college football at a speed likely faster than his inherited crew was capable. Yet here we find our ship closer to the CFB flagship than probably imagined. Instead of the garbage scow we'd become, we at least look like a sturdy destroyer if not a cruiser (not quite a battleship...yet). Pretty good finish after getting torpedoed by three Eastern Division foes and being led into battle by a QB who at one point looked more like Captain Bly than John Paul Jones!
Alright, enough naval references (you've got to forgive me as I watched In Harms Way a few nights back and it was still fresh on my mind - hey, the Duke was in it). But I think most get the picture. We've made a statement this season under Mullen that we're on the rise...not quite "there" just yet, but pointed in the right direction. We made it to a good bowl for the first time in a while, won it and in doing so beat a nemesis of sorts. And I'd be remiss not to remind you that we defeated the Nole$ and broke a five game losing streak (so what if they were coached by Taggert ). The good created, while not yet great, gives hope and high expectations. The offseason has to be better than the last several and it's good to feel some of the confidence that once shown in Gator football make a return. Now, for our date with the Wolverines in ATL...
*A tale of two halves. Though we didn't play terribly early on, we experienced some problems with UM's defense and failed to take advantage of a couple of TD opportunities in the red zone. Franks was looking more like his earlier version that couldn't connect on the long passes and who had no peripheral vision when flushed. We also seemed to be having our problems defensively both containing their ground game and generating consistent pressure on the QB, thanks mostly to the Wolverine OL. And we had a punt blocked! However, things changed in the second half. Michigan fans might tell you that not having their guys that are going pro (antiquated term) was the difference. I believe it was more a matter of Franks settling down and playing like he has lately and our RB's finding their groove (with a little help from the OL). The D got their second wind while UM looked to be spent (or disinterested somewhat) and suddenly our speed and tenacity overcame their strength and reputation. Mullen also deserves some credit for his game plan, adjustments, and setting an example of keeping your cool. All things that have been in short supply for some time.
*If I have a criticism of Coah Mullen, it would be for the double pass called. Certainly it might have been a big play if better executed, but the timing of it made me go
Fortunately it didn't cost us. Otherwise, I thought what he and the staff put together was pretty good.
*Looks like a great swan song for Chauncey, Scarlett, and Perine, should all decide to test the waters of the draft. All have made great strides this year. Especially proud of how far Chauncey has come. When he first got on the field here at UF, he was soft as chewed bubble gum where tackling was concerned. He improved that aspect of his game and added leadership to his resume. Good luck! I'm also sure we'll lose Polite and a couple more on the D side, so the rebuild will continue to a certain degree. I heard Vosean was contemplating entering the draft. He could certainly benefit from another year of coaching.
*Michigan's OL wasn't too bad. Big and with a lot of mobility. Hopefully we'll sort of resemble that prototype in a year or so. I thought our OL guys were obviously better in the second half. Even though our rush total was pretty good, I was looking for more misdirection (counters, etc.) as we seem to be more consistent blocking on the move parallel to the LOS than moving laterally in the zone concept. Evidently, we were good enough along with the RBs and Franks (to a degree) running like champions. Looked like this one meant a lot to the big guys and to all the Gators on this day.
*Tunnel screen and slants were open with UM's coverage schemes. Good to see us take advantage. Also good to see our receivers getting behind their DBs when coverage tightened, even if we didn't do a great job of getting it to them.
*A lot of key moments in the game, but I thought not allowing them to score a TD right before the half preserved a psychological advantage for us.
*Looks like the Gator fans showed up. Thanks to all the Chatter members in attendance. All of you made a difference!
Maybe not among our greatest of seasons, but certainly one to be remembered. As mentioned, anticipation for what's ahead has got to be higher than what we have been expecting. Hearing the fans loudly chant "It's great...to be...a Florida Gator" as the awards were presented post game made me think of where we were and that it might not be only relegated to history any longer. A lot to be done still, but it's good to expect better than dreading the worst! Have a great off season and Go Gators!
Best Posts in Thread: Bits & Pieces: Florida vs. Michigan
Page 1 of 2
What a great end to the first chapter of the Mullen story here at UF. We are trending up for sure. We just need it to translate to the recruiting trail. HUGE win. What a second half. I am just going to enjoy this until all my crown royal is gone. Thanks for all the great post Cover. Go Gators!
- Like x 11
Cover 2, great write up, as always. I was lucky enough to go to the game. We have a friend who does business with Chick Fil A, and i was offered free tickets, just had to make the 7 hour drive...well worth it. What great way to end the season, and very satisfying to finally beat those guys. Here's the lasting Image I'll take away from Mercedes Benz stadium.
- Like x 9
Cover 2 is truly an irreplaceable part of our board . Bits and pieces is my favorite read every Sunday morning of the year . Please keep it up my friend . I’ll add a few thoughts to the ball game and of course add what I feel will be crucial for us moving forward.
I believe regardless of spring or summer camp that franks is the guy for at minimum the
Miami opener . For him it’s truly feast or famine in 2019. Dans offense features the QB . Often times the leading rusher as well as obviously the passer . That gives you the opportunity to be a Heisman contender or fall flat on your face . Either way I don’t expect him back for a Fifth year . It’s all 2019 for Franks .
I felt burney did some good things today . Bless his heart , jaewan Taylor made tackle after tackle and played as well as he possibly can today . I and others have ragged on him many times. Consequently he deserves a thumbs up for a solid performance . CGJ will be a good pro . To me he’s a solid free safety and can even help out at corner in a pinch . He’s a Minkah Fitzpatrick that you can get later in the draft . Fantastic value .
The visit to Baton Rouge looms large in 2019. But I believe the two trips to Columbia . Both Carolina and Missouri could pose a challenge.
Okay I won’t lose any sleep over a chimp coached football team, but the tigers with Bryant could be problematic. I’m really excited for the future of this program . Go gators!
- Like x 8
Nice to get the FSU and Michigan monkeys off the Gators' back in consecutive games...and in convincing fashion no less. Hope recruits take note.
Despite being a submariner I'll refrain from maritime references.
- Like x 7
It's very appropriate that we would end 2018 blowing out Michigan since we began last season with the exact opposite. Last year's loss was a sure sign of absolute failure while this win is a sign of good things to come. Great write-up as always C2. Looking forward to next year.
Cover, dittos on the great job. This was a solid team win and unlike last year our linemen did not look like boys going against men. You could see the results of the Savage conditioning. Plus I believe that our speed and pure athleticism surprised the Michiganders. The real difference to me is Mullen's play calling and how well we make in game and halftime adjustments. Adjustment was a word that never entered the vocabulary of our previous two coaches.
Even without 2 of their best ballers Michigan's defense is very good. Even though they pressured Frank's through out the game ,their aggressive play gave us some huge plays on the ground. Especially loved Perines TD run in the pass look set. We didn't run many draw plays in that formation this year and I am sure Brown and UM were expecting Felipe to throw. Somewhere the HBC and Fred Taylor were smiling. In watching Bama and the Dawgs we still have a way to go. But while we haven't yet completely turned the corner we are peeking around the edge.
Great win and a very enjoyable season.
- Like x 4
- Facepalm x 3
Cover, you never fail to meet the expectations of the GCMB. Well done as always. There's so much that could be said, but you have Covered (no pun intended, well maybe) it precisely. The analysis you have given has been something I've looked forward to after every game. But to sum it all up, YES this ship is headed in the right direction. Mullen has everything he needs now, FSUck/scUM down, momentum, and relevance. Time for him to take the next step. He may be the guy that can get it done. Again, thanks for your posts and already excited about next year.
Page 1 of 2