Spring Practice info: another spring in the books for UF football

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  1. CGgater

    CGgater Gainesville Native

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    That could’ve ended in disaster for so many reasons, but glad there was a happy ending! However, I was referring to the beer goggle effect.
     
  2. Durfish

    Durfish Feed me!
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    As he heals broken program, Dan Mullen manufactured spring game magic. Why are people upset about that?
    Neil Blackmon | 51 minutes ago
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    Dan Mullen’s first spring as Florida’s football coach is behind us after last Saturday’s spring game, a high-scoring (albeit manufactured), welcome back the fun affair that saw the SEC’s best spring-game crowd to date.



    Fans set up tailgates early in the morning and stayed late, with thousands soaking in the Gator Walk hours before kickoff and many more buzzing with enthusiasm about their new coach and what the future holds. The famed front lawn of the University Avenue mainstay “The Swamp” brimmed with revelry, the RV lot on Gale Lemerand Drive was full and the chamber-of-commerce weather gave the day a feeling more suited to October than the spring.

    Until Saturday, Dan Mullen had drawn rave reviews for his performance in pulling a wounded giant of a program to its feet. He’d won the adulation of fans on the rubber-chicken circuit, holding free to the public events and answering every question all winter, sometimes until he lost his voice. He’d worn out the soles of his Yeezy 750s on the recruiting trail, signing a brilliant transition recruiting class and winning a vital head-to-head with hated FSU for the services of four-star QB Emory Jones.

    (Continued)
     
  3. Durfish

    Durfish Feed me!
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    The crowd Saturday, eager with anticipation and for the first time in nearly a decade, palpable optimism, reflected these successes.

    Then the spring game happened, and, in an effort to reward long-suffering fans as well as a locker room that’s endured a great deal over the past twelve months, Dan Mullen tried to manufacture some magic.

    Mullen allowed two Gator greats (former All-Americans Lawrence Wright and Travis McGriff) to run off the sideline to score touchdowns, and Florida scored two other questionable-at-best scores, including Feleipe Franks’s 60-yard “Bambi on Ice” zone read run and redshirt senior walk-on R.J. Raymond’s Michael Dyer redux touchdown catch late.

    For these manufactured spring game moments, Mullen drew the ire of not just a handful of purists in the stands, but of some talented writers who cover Florida football.

    Will Miles, one of the best Florida football writers going, wrote that the game was “embarrassing,” a “Butch Jones trash can” level of bad that was akin to handing out participation trophies and disrespectful to the “Gator standard” Mullen has emphasized since being hired. Longtime college football writer Hays Carlyon also evoked Butch Jones, writing that the spring game taught Florida fans nothing, comparing it to pro wrestling and labeling it a “Champions of Life” spring game.

    These arguments are doubtlessly well-intentioned.


    In fact, both authors have conceded they believe in what Mullen is selling on a macro-level and think he’ll ultimately succeed in Gainesville. But they also are misguided, misinformed by history and lacking context, both of what spring games mean traditionally and more critically, where Florida football is at present, where it was when Mullen arrived, and what one of the biggest tasks facing Dan Mullen was this spring.

    Perspective matters
    There’s an old adage that those who take no interest or are unaware of history are doomed to repeat it, or, put slightly differently, you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t respect where you’ve been.

    That’s what I thought reading these opinions about Florida’s spring game.

    Mullen arrived at Florida in its darkest hour since the probation-riddled black cloud of the late 1980s, which saw middling teams waste a transcendentally good Emmitt Smith while playing on an embarrassment of a lime Astroturf field.

    The Gators had just lost their fifth — all but one uncompetitive — consecutive game to their archrival Florida State, blasted on their home field in front of a three-quarter capacity crowd by a mediocre Seminoles team led by a head coach with one foot out the door. Prior to that, Florida’s players, by their own admission, had quit on a football field at Missouri, in a game where but for the grace of Barry Odom running the ball for nearly an entire half, the Gators would have lost by 50.

    That loss came a week after the Gators lost 42-7 to rival Georgia, an emphatic end to three decades of dominance in the rivalry and, believe it or not, the least embarrassing thing that happened to the program that week as their head coach, Jim McElwain, manufactured death threats and puckered at every opportunity to explain. Florida football might have the recruiting base and (finally) the facilities and institutional commitment of a blue blood, but as of last November, it was a national laughing stock, a punchline and primer on what not to do to win.

    (Continued)
     
  4. Durfish

    Durfish Feed me!
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    It’s been that since Tim Tebow left, really, save one underappreciated, at least in Gators fan circles, 2012 season under Will Muschamp when a defense with eight NFL defenders and a competent offense came within one decent Lane Kiffin playcall from playing Alabama for the national championship. Every other Gators season — even the 2015 season soiled by Will Grier’s failed PED test — has been, in one way or another, an exercise in frustration.

    Since Tebow, Florida has won only 59 percent of its football games, finishing the year unranked in five of the eight seasons. Florida has had two losing seasons in that span, and played in only one BCS/New Year’s Six bowl game — a Sugar Bowl in which they were clobbered by Charlie Strong’s Louisville. In contrast, in-state UCF has won two New Year’s Six bowls in that span, and FSU has won one national championship and competed in a Playoff for another.

    There’s a popular in-state football podcast called “Big 3 Roll Up”, which purports to cover all three of the state’s big programs. Florida’s spot in that group must be due to history. It certainly isn’t because of recent merit, because then it would involve UCF, but hey, at least you’ve got UCF national championship jokes since it’s been half a decade since Florida beat anyone as good as Auburn was last year.

    That’s what Mullen inherited, and that’s before you talk about the other systemic issues, like a roster with an unacceptably low number of blue chip players (4- or 5-stars) thanks to the prior staff’s recruiting incompetence. Or the entitlement and toxicity of Florida’s culture where a captain and leader was kicked off the team for a season for stealing from the university, among nine total players who were lost for that reason. Urban Meyer admitted Florida football was broken when he left, and it was, at least culturally.

    But there was talent remaining, and with it, Will Muschamp cobbled the building back together, at least from a cultural standpoint, for a few years. He didn’t win enough though, and by the time McElwain arrived, losing had seeped into Florida’s identity. McElwain just compounded the problem.

    The magnitude of the rebuild scared away Chip Kelly, who opted for the creature comforts of California and UCLA’s low expectations instead. Mullen came, however, with a Gator Chomp and a smile and a suitcase full of winning memories. He talked about reclaiming the Gator Standard, which involved plenty of winning, to be sure, but also involved fun, high-flying modern offense and points and a Swamp that pulsated with bravado.

    Mullen’s method to the madness
    Saturday, in a spring game he challenged fans to attend, Mullen offered a long-suffering fan base, and a locker room that only five months ago was broken, a reprieve, not just because he understood the past and how little fun Florida football had been for a decade, but because the future is going to be hard, and sometimes you have to take inventory of where you are and stop to breathe.

    The grind is about to begin, a full summer in Nick Savage’s strength and conditioning program, an August quarterback battle, a recruiting push and a schematic overall designed to improve an offense that’s finished ranked 104th or worse in six of the previous seven seasons. These challenges aren’t going away.


    For one day, Mullen manufactured some magic. To be upset about that is to miss the point as badly as Tebow missed Max Scherzer spring training fastballs.

    Spring games, after all, are of little value.

    Don’t agree?

    Ask Nick Saban, who called it an “opportunity from a technique standpoint and one where we hope no one gets hurt, hope we don’t put anything on film for our opponents, and as with any opportunity hope we can execute what we’ve practiced at an optimal level. It’s a chance to reward our fans.”

    Saban’s right, of course.

    Spring games are in the end about technique, a final chance to practice where fans can see what coaches have all month. Vanilla play-calling rules the day and all that can really be garnered is what the mood is around the program’s culture and who has improved from a technique standpoint and who has work to do.

    For Florida, Saturday was mission accomplished.

    As a practice, Florida’s coaches and fans saw game speed confirmation of what shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone: There’s work to do come the fall. The quarterbacks struggled on occasion, the offensive line was inconsistent and the front seven is adjusting to a new scheme.

    We also saw defenders do what they are coached to do across America in spring games, and lay off putting a big hit on their potential starting QB, as Quincy Lenton did when he backed off on the Franks touchdown run.

    From a culture standpoint, we saw how much healing has happened. We saw a team that had some fun in front of a fan base that for the first time in 9 years feels cautiously united.

    We saw a redshirt senior walk-on, beloved by the new coaching staff for his commitment and attitude, rewarded with a spring game touchdown, which celebrates leadership and harms no one, even if he was down.

    We saw alumni and Gator greats involved and cheering after three years of feeling ostracized and unwelcome under the notoriously insular Jim McElwain.

    In other words, we saw Florida football making progress.

    Now the hard part starts.
     
    • rogdochar

      rogdochar Senior Member
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      Well, I did as I was told: checked out Bama's spring game. Noticeable differences =
      1) a Bama player laughed, so Sabin ripped out his uvula & threw it on the field like a flag on the play.
      2) that freshman Tuaoowachoowa (whom they said should be in his senior year at high school) was excellent.
      3) Hurts was superb (showed list of 3 top QBs who transferred out due to freshman Hurts' taking over last year.
      4) Sabin gave most QB-time to a big freshman QB from Jax = M.Jones. He looked good.
      5) They just seem to be getting bigger, 'cept Sabin is getting smaller.

      Gotta hope DM gets our guys serious between now and August's end. Hope S&C makes them fierce. Hope a QB-leader gets molded. One thing to respect : Mullen had the reality of playing the SEC West ??
      {What a disease, CFB flesh-eating bacteria McCrew were.}
      Mac shoulda gone to Fed-prison for insider fading.
       
      • Ancient Reptile

        Ancient Reptile Senior Member
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        So, Crete, how do you respond to Saban blowing off the spring game?
         
      • Swamp Donkey

        Swamp Donkey Moral Victory Champs!
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        There is nothing competent about a 105th ranked offense.
         
        • Slevin

          Slevin Law’s Alter-Ego
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          After Quiverlips, I long for the days of 105th anything.
           
        • maheo30

          maheo30 WiLLLLLLLie! WiLLLLLLLie!
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          Did Neil Blackmon reference Hays Carlyon? A guy that wrote an article arguing Emory Jones may be a bust after his eighth practice? And I can't believe Blackmon wrote this,

          Ummm... :confused::confused::confused::confused:
           
        • T REX

          T REX Well-Known Member
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          Thought the gimmicks were a little scary. Like we needed them to save a horrible O&B game. Not reassuring at all.
           
          • divits

            divits A Muffin of the Studly Variety
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            Yeah, I get it. And I think that was a well written article. But I think what he might not understand is that after suffering for 8 long years from all the stuff he lists in that article some people may have been ready to see some serious and competent football. I've seen enough of goofy QB play. I've seen enough of our o-line half-assing it. I'm over it. It's long past time to get serious. I want real f**king football.

            BTW, Franks screwed up that fake TD to McGriff. He was supposed to let Doug Johnson throw it. More evidence of his attention to detail. o_O
             
            • oxrageous

              oxrageous It's Good to be King
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              If brains were gunpowder, he couldn't blow his nose without a blasting cap.
               
              • Acecustis

                Acecustis Well-Known Member

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                Did anyone notice Jean Delance playing LT in the game? Looked pretty decent. I think if he can play LT, we can move Ivey to LG and with Heggie at RG we might have something.
                 
                • williston_gator

                  williston_gator Twitter junkie
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                  @SECCountryUF: Report: CeCe Jefferson had shoulder surgery, status for season-opener in question https://sec.news/2Hg07lG #GatorNation
                   
                  • BMF

                    BMF Bad Mother....
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                    He had a unspectacular spring, from reports I've read. Basically, there was disappointment that the 2's didn't push the 1's hard for their spots. I'd love to see Delance, Moore, or the JUCO kid take one of the OT spots and let Ivey move inside. I've read that Buchanan pushed McCoy at Center and that Heggie could play there. Who knows? But we need to see improvement by the time September rolls around or it'll be another ugly showing on that side of the ball.
                     
                    • Swamp Donkey

                      Swamp Donkey Moral Victory Champs!
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                      I can't believe Ole Butters had that dude playing DT.
                       
                    • SCColaGator

                      SCColaGator Well-Known Member

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                      Gouraige will be our savior
                       
                      • FlGator19382

                        FlGator19382 Well-Known Member

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                        CeCe could've played DT full time if he put on some more weight after he got here, but Butters and his sh*tty strength program decided that it was best that he drop down to 240lb. If I'm not mistaken didn't he weigh like 265 when he got here as a freshmen.
                         
                      • CGgater

                        CGgater Gainesville Native

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                        I’m no expert, but I think CeCe’s skill set is better suited for DE. I thought the early attempts to bulk him up to DT was a bad idea.
                         
                        • FlGator19382

                          FlGator19382 Well-Known Member

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                          I agree he definitely is better suited for DE or outside LB in a 3-4 defense. But I'm just saying if he was going to be playing DT full time he needed to put on some weight.
                           

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