I've grown old
- Jun 12, 2014
It’s safe to say that our Florida Gators’ inaugural season under first year coach Billy Napier ended more like a plane overshooting the carrier deck than the crash landing that was expected after a great thinning of the roster. No joy in Whoville, that’s for damn sure.
A couple of confessions, followed by some observations and opinions:
- I wasn’t able to watch the first half of the game as we were attending a get together of my wife’s family. I’m sort of glad I didn’t. The game, unfortunately, went about as bad as expected, concluding with the 30-3 spanking that many in the media and certainly our rivals are only too happy to endlessly point out. I did get home in time to watch the second half and what I saw reminded me of a Class A Christian School playing a 6A Power (to use antiquated FHSAA classification terms). I’ve always felt that part of football was you play the next team on the schedule, but it almost felt like a set up that a 6-win team that had experienced a big culling of the roster was matched with a 9-win bunch who’s team was not similarly composed (or maybe “decomposed”). Sour grapes? Maybe, but something is clearly amiss in my opinion. The real victim, unfortunately, just might be our immediate recruiting. Wait and see.
- It was pretty clear that the Beavers were going to make Jack Miller beat them. Our rushing attack, if you could call it that, certainly wasn’t. That’s not rocket science. Thanks Jack, we hardly knew you. Clearly, the need for a seasoned and talented QB is beyond dire as is hanging on to our commit(s). Billy and company have done the initial groundwork, but it remains to be seen whether they can hang on to the class they are assembling, much less add to it.
- I like Billy Napier and the culture he is trying to build. I believe that if he can survive a disappointing, if not unexpected, 6 win season and the bowl debacle as well as put together a good class of recruits and portal players, he can get us headed back to competing for the SEC and beyond. Trouble is, he’s an unknown quantity still with the exception of coming from the Saban tree and having good organizational skills along with a great work ethic where recruiting is concerned. The latter, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be quite as important now with NIL and the portal. Many of our fans, if they had to bet, wouldn’t put money on Billy’s longevity. But at some point we‘re going to have to stick with a coach and program lest the ignominy of constant change and poor results continues. Or if change is absolutely necessary, then let the burning begin at the top administratively and prepare for more weeping and gnashing of teeth. Come to think, we’ve gotten pretty good at that already.
- About the best highlight was the last minute field goal that kept our game scoring streak intact. It might not have mattered much at the moment, but I’ll guarantee you that those turds in the media (and likely some among our fans) who are decrying it would be hollering just as loud about the goose egg. That’s what happens when fans are in as much disarray as the team. The only cure is winning and I don’t doubt that Billy understands that, so we’ll have to see what he can do along with what help he can get from the “collective” and the administration.
- Just sharing a general feeling, but I hate what college football has morphed into with the open bidding for recruits and the free agency that the portal has unleashed. A lot of my past enjoyment came from subscribing to “Gator Bait” and keeping up with the recruiting classes in four year intervals, reading player bios and seeing those that started as Gator fans, were legacies, or wanted to at least come away with a degree from a prestigious university. Clearly, there’s not as much of that anymore and I don’t feel like we’re any better off. But that’s me.
- Sorry to see Jonathan Odom (a legacy) and Derek Wingo suffer injuries in a meaningless game. Hated to see some defensive players play not to get injured. Hated to see the offense be so…offensive. If we could turn back the clock and let me decide, knowing what I now know, we’d have started Christmas break early and avoided Las Vegas altogether.
- Not much of a statistical breakdown to offer. Could probably just continue to harp on the overall effort and a depleted roster along with a boatload of mistakes. Some things are best swept into the dustbin of history and the sooner the better.
I guess the knee jerk reaction would be to pack up your Gator gear and stow it away until the good times return. Embarrassment will make you think in those terms. As for me, I’m a little edgy just waiting to see what the immediate future holds and despite any reservations that might be trying to creep in after the bowl, I’m expecting some good things to happen and I’ll take a trickle if not a flood, at least for a bit. I cant stand the NFL, basketball that I once loved would probably now embarrass the Harlem Globetrotters’ sense of seriousness, and baseball can get real monotonous. So I’m holding out for the pendulum of Gator football to swing back in a favorable direction. It’s all I’ve got, all I want.
God Bless, Gators. Merry Christmas and high hopes for a better New Year!