Maybe it wasn't quite the way most of us would have scripted it, but the 2019 Gators defeated the pesky and maybe underestimated Virginia Cavaliers. I mean, this was the same ACC team that got obliterated by Clemson. Certainly it was expected that we'd give them more of the same? Only we aren't Clemson and they came into this game with a lot to prove. They also have a pretty good QB, who didn't hurt us with his legs (Grantham's plan made sure of that) outside of extending some plays, but kept them in it with his arm. He had two receivers that weren't bad. We had several DB's that were. But that's been somewhat of a theme this year, hasn't it? I know what many of you are thinking. 11-2 means little when you didn't win your division, losing to the Dawgs along the way, and you weren't in the playoffs. Disappointing? Yeah, I suppose. But regardless of who or what they did or didn't do that left us on the outside looking in, it's clear that Dan Mullen has a plan and some ideas about the direction the program is headed. Loosely quoted, he expressed that from last year to this we went from 10 wins to 11 (or from 9 to 10 if you consider the bowls meaningless ) and the next step, which will be harder, is to move from 11 to 12. Got to figure UGA will be pretty critical if that is to happen. If this plan isn't fast enough to suit you, well, tough sh!t. There's still work to be done in several areas. We all should know that. Perine reminded us that we were 4-7 his sophomore year. Yeah, there's a little bit to be proud of. *We didn't get the 2 score victory that everyone seemed to be predicting. We made plenty of mistakes. Good grief I haven't seen as many of our kids slip and fall down like they did tonight in a long time. Unfortunately I have seen the blown coverages and an inability to compete with the receivers for some balls that were in abundance. But I did see a team that played hard. That will save you on a night when schematically some things aren't going well and your opponent is believing. This is a good trait to have when you're good, but not great. If you maintain it when you improve, you can be hard to beat. I think that has been a Mullen goal in his idea of progression. *Hats off to the OL. We ran the ball better tonight than anytime during the season. Was Virginia a great D? Nope, but we have fared worse against worse. Good note to end on. And hats off to Perine. He looked as complete tonight as he ever has. Speed, some deft cuts, getting some tough yards after contact. Great way to finish your career. Good luck ahead to a great Gator! *The 4th down option was a ballsy call. Mullen believed in his guys and they didn't let him down. There's a big difference in thinking you can do something and knowing you can. This is part of the team and individual character development that the really good teams understand and embrace. *We will all miss Greenard. He more than earned his keep this year. Only regret was that we didn't have him his entire college career. He's a warrior and a class act. It was also good to see Zuniga out there. He looked a little rusty, but there's nothing wrong with his motor. David Reese is another guy I'll miss. All the departing receivers, Jefferson, Swain, etc. Thanks to these guys and all the seniors. *Trask had a few erratic moments, but made enough good throws, play executions, and decisions to get the job done. EJ had some good runs, no pass attempts however. Forgotten, overlooked, still growing? *MacPherson had a great night to end his season. Townsend not so much. Both are great at what they do. They are a part of what is a strength of the special teams...the coverage teams and FG/PAT. The return teams? Even though KO returns have been pretty much neutered, the best I can say about PR is that Swain is pretty reliable with the fair catches. I'm not sure our return scheme allows for a lot of opportunities. Hopefully that changes in the near future . *On a sad note, RIP Edward Aschoff. I always enjoyed his take. The announcers described him as "a proud Gator alum." He's what affiliation with our school s all about. A good person gone too soon. Prayers for his family and friends. Another season completed and as Mullen said post game, the 2020 Gators will be "born in two weeks!" Can't wait to see them as they coalesce from winter to spring and summer and finally to next fall. Even though I find myself in the all too familiar position of wanting more, I feel like it is getting within reach. I didn't feel like that the last 10 years or so. Happy New Year to you all. Looking forward to many good things in 2020! As always...Go Gators!