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!
Best Posts in Thread: Bits & Pieces: Florida vs. Virginia in the Orange Bowl
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1. Early in the year sticks into our minds. But, Pitts has been an above average blocker in the last third of the season. Last night, he was really good to the point he was sealing off defensive ends.
2. This is a guess. But, when I listen to Mullen talk about Trask, I get the feeling that he has given Trask a lot more responsibility than Franks. Mullen didn't talk much about Franks changing plays at the LOS. He mentions it quite often with Trask.
3. Slaton was flat out dominating at times last night. It may have been his best game as a gator. If his play is carried into next season then watch out. We may finally have some elite d-tackle play.
4. Another great season. Mullen built upon last year. As he said in his press conference, now it is time to go from 11 to 12 wins.
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UVA came to play. Fortunately, they were no match for Perine. Glad he ended his career with arguably his best game. Also, we don't win 11 games without Greenard. He'll be missed.
Mullen is certainly going for the slow and steady rebuild. Hard to envision us improving to 12 wins next year (really next two years) based on recruiting and the fact that we're losing several good players. I think the easy schedule will prevent us from looking worse. Mullen said that getting to 12 wins is a lot harder. I hope he realizes some assistant coaching changes are necessary to get over that hump. Your comment on special teams was a good example.
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Thanks for all your reportage during the season. Happy New Year!
Good stuff as usual, cover! Great perspective on the game and the season.
To read the game thread, you'd think we were losing by 30. Sure, we should've won by a more comfortable margin, but VA played disciplined football - Bronco is no WiLLLLLLLie. "But climpson embarrassed VA, waaaahhhhh." News flash - we're not climpson.
Will we eventually get there? Maybe. At this point, I can only hope we see no further delays in the facilities upgrade and maybe DM will see the dead weight on his staff and bring in recruiters willing to earn their paycheck.
In the meantime, this football team is not an embarrassment anymore. We're 11-2 with our only losses to #1 lsu and a top 10 ugaly who has out recruited us for the last decade. DM must continue to build on his efforts thus far. If he's nearing his ceiling, hopefully the AD will recognize it. We shall see.
P.S. With the seniors we're losing, DM better close strong in Feb and develop the underclassmen in a hurry!
Go Gators!!! [emoji246][emoji246][emoji246]
Thank you C2,
The field must have been really slick as a number of big plays for both teams came on a defender slip.
It was good to see Perine have a complete game, crisper cuts and acceleration and that blocking on the flicker. He will be missed.
David Reese had a solid game too, really stepped up on a number of big stops. I hope we have a replacement for him.
CDM 4th down call, wow, But he felt mo slipping and it was needed. Maybe stop running into the wall and exploit the edges a bit more. We were faster than their DL. Saw some WR blocking last night!
I think I counted 7 potential int last night, rough start for Trask. Glad he settled down and even had a few big runs. He seems to throw better with less time to think..lol.. number of back foot passes. Pitts and VJ had big nights, Cleve was Cleve.
I don’t even know what to say About the defensive backfield
It was a roller coaster and not an ass kicking, but the Gators fought tough for the W!
Great comments as usual, I thought Trask was somewhat off and we did not seem to be able to get open deep. Some drops as well. I saw the beginning of the ACC championship game, VA offense was pretty good at the beginning. We had several defensive mistakes and of course some very close to sacks that would have made a difference. For those not satisfied, I am never satisfied with the play, but totally good with the results. We could have beaten LSU at their place.
Since he had a solid game against Virginia, I figured I'd put this in here.
White working toward a starting job on O-line in 2020
A. White figures to play a major role on next year's offensive line. He can certainly push for a starting spot at guard, where he already looks like one of Florida's most athletic blockers pulling into space.
B. Florida's line seemed at its best when White was in with the starting lineup in Monday night's Capital One Orange Bowl win over Virgina.
C. "It was good to compete for a job, but it wasn't just me," White said humbly after the Orange Bowl. "It was all the other freshmen that are also trying to work themselves into starting roles."
The true freshman has a point. The Gators had nine first- and second-year players working on the O-line in bowl practices, and they'll add one or two more for spring ball and likely one more for the fall.
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