Breaking down the new coaches and recruiting board for the Florida Gators: Podcast

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we break down the coaches that have been hired by the Florida Gators over the last few weeks under Dan Mullen.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down how these coaches will fit in at Florida and where we think they will coach at under Mullen.

Andrew and Nick also run through the recruiting board to give you new names and also look at where the commits are at now that Mullen is in charge.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we’ve been on a little bit of a break. First, you go down sick, then me. We’re both battling through it and persevere. We’re back.
Nicholas: Yeah. We both had the same thing. Luckily got over it. A little sinus infection held me down for a little while, and back to it.
Andrew: There you go. No break though. The news is fast, furious, and coming at you all the time. Let’s just dive into it, Nick.
Nick: Yeah. Starting to get a little bit of a staff assembled. Both through addition and subtraction, I guess.
Andrew: I think the most important hire is hiring the macho man, Randy Savage, as the strength and conditioning coach.
Nick: The strength and conditioning coach, Florida’s last two have gotten a lot of blame. I don’t know if you can blame them for what’s happened. Football’s a dangerous game, and people get hurt. I mean, I know people were not happy with Mike Kent towards the end of his run, and people were not happy with Jeff Dillman towards the end of his run. I know South Carolina dealt with a bunch of injuries this year as well. The strength coach is the guy.
At Ohio State, and what Urban Meyer did when he was at Florida, it was symbolic, but he handed keys to Mickey Marotti, and basically that’s saying, “This is your football program now. I might be the head coach, but NCAA rules prohibit the time that the coaches can spend with players, and really it’s the strength coach that takes them through the time after the season ends all the way up to spring ball, and then once spring ends all the way up to the season.”
Andrew: Listen, Florida hasn’t had a strength coach since Mickey left. Period. Mike Kent is what he is. Listen, I’m not trying to be rude or anything else, but Mike Kent wasn’t firing those guys up. Jeff Dillman was while he was sniffing his salt, but he’s not a football strength and conditioning coach. He was very good for the Olympics, that kind of stuff, but yeah. Florida hasn’t had one. Florida needs that energy back. You go, and I tweeted out a video on Saturday or Sunday. The days are kind of running together. It’s a mic up with Savage, and it was just him running around and having midnight workouts, that kind of stuff. You got to find ways to create competition.
That’s something Dan Mullen said in his opening press conference is they want to have competition every day of the week, and that’s something you want to have with workouts. You got to do it. Those mat drills. Everyone talks about those mat drills, the pounceys talk about it. It’s competition. Competition brings out the best in you. I don’t want to say that Florida hasn’t been competitive since Urban left, but you haven’t seen a lot of so-called competition. You haven’t seen the weeding out the weak of the guys and that kind of stuff. I do, I think there’s been a lot of hires, and we’re going to get into those in just a second, but the biggest hire was getting Savage.
Nick: Yeah. It goes back to that. Just listening to the opening press conference for Dan Mullen, and even when Strickland was speaking before, you’re looking at how much they mentioned the strength program and getting that right. You knew Kent wasn’t coming back. Nick Savage is a young guy, younger than us. He’s 28 years old. He graduated from Youngstown State, and then got his Masters in Toledo. Interned at Bowling Green. Interned for a little less than a year under Mickey Marotti at Ohio State, and then went back in 2014, Dan Mullen hired him at Mississippi State as the assistant strength coach. He was there ’14, ’15, and then last year he was their head strength coach.
Still a young guy, obviously that comes into the whole energy. Listen, the strength coach is a guy that will help you in recruiting. Don’t worry. I know people are waiting to hear recruiting updates. We’ll talk about that, but that’s the guy that has to be involved in recruiting. He can’t go on the road and recruit, but when guys come on campus, that’s someone you need them to be familiar with, because, like we mentioned before, someone that they’re going to spend most of their time with.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s the thing is that, getting in there and getting someone that is really hands on, but energetic. Your strength guy should be the guy in the 4th quarter rallying those guys. You look at, Nick … Scott Cochran at Alabama, they freaking use his videos to pump the crowd up, that kind of stuff. You need that intensity back. You need that fire in there. Listen, you also need these guys to be strong again. Florida was one of the weakest teams in the country last year. That shouldn’t be the case at the University of Florida. You can talk about maybe some of these guys weren’t SEC caliber. Sure. That’s all fine and dandy. Florida should still not be one of the weakest teams in the country.
I’m a big Kadarius Toney guy. He’s from Mobile. I expected Kadarius Toney to be a lot bigger after he got in the weight room. He didn’t get as big as I thought he would get. There was a lot of guys. You look at Jawaan Taylor, big Jawaan, he kind of went back to his old weight. Not as bad, but he went back to his old weight. You just didn’t see the guys progressing like you do normally. You look at the basketball team, who tweets out photos of the freshman to sophomore year, that kind of stuff. You’re not seeing that difference with Florida football lately. That’s a big one.
Sunday, Nick, Florida gets their quarterback coach in Brian Johnson. Wasn’t announced that he’ll be the quarterback coach, but he’ll be the quarterback coach.
Nick: How many schools in the country can say that they have a coach on staff that was on the cover of NCAA Football?
Andrew: Yeah. That’s pretty cool. He’s our age again. He’s a young guy. He was the youngest offensive coordinator ever at 24 years old at Utah, and everybody I talked to says, of course, he can relate to the kids, and that he’s very good in recruiting, that kind of stuff. Then everyone speaks so highly of him as a quarterback coach in general. Dan Mullen would know what he does. You look at his record. I mean, he recruited Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald and built those guys into who they are. You can say they’re not big names. Nick Fitzgerald’s winning football games at Mississippi State, and Dak Prescott was, what? Finalist for Rookie of the Year last year?
Nick: Yeah. No. Dak Prescott was Rookie of the Year last year.
Andrew: Okay. For some reason I was thinking Zeke won that out. Okay. So Dak was Rookie of the Year. You look at that. I mean, you’re improving. Let me just say that. I think you’re improving. Also, Dan Mullen’s going to be hands on with the quarterback coach as well.
Nick: He will. Big thing with Johnson is look at his production as a player. Set the record for most wins as a starting quarterback at Utah. Then immediately after his playing days started coaching. Went straight into quarterback coaching at Utah, was there for two seasons, and spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator before heading over to Mississippi State. Then last year Houston had to deal with three different starting quarterbacks, something that Gator fans are all too familiar with in recent history, and had to make it work there. You look at a guy who’s young, again, that’ll play into recruiting. I like to see that even though you go through so many quarterbacks you still remain bowl eligible, and that’s a big thing for Houston, a big thing there. Also, like you said, Dan Mullen’s going to be very hands on with the quarterbacks.
Andrew: Right. Exactly. And his experience, his experience running Mullen’s offense is something that’s going to be key. When you look at what Mullen wants to run, you have to be familiar with it, and that’s something that he is. You have his ability with some of those guys like the Billy Gonzales’, the John Hevesy’s, those guys all know that system, so that’s going to be good. Ja’Juan Seider is pretty familiar with that as well. It’ll be interesting to see where that is.
Then the other name kind of talked about on the offensive side of the ball is Greg Knox, the running back/special teams coordinator at Mississippi State, who’s the interim coach right now. It’ll be interesting to kind of see, if he comes over, where’s he’s slotted. Is he the special teams coach only, with that tenth coach coming on, or is he the running back coach, and then Seider is bumped to the tight end spot? Does he maybe coach tight ends and special teams, and Seider keeps the running back job? That’s something Mullen’s not doing, he hasn’t really said what position his guys are going to coach, just naming his staff. You can kind of figure out where it is. Hevesy’s going to be O line. Billy’s going to be wide receiver, and Brian’s going to be quarterback.
Then you go to the defensive side of the ball, Todd Grantham. I know a lot of people are upset about Grantham, because of what he did, but Todd Grantham’s a hell of a defensive coordinator.
Nick: There’s obviously some feelings left over there.
Andrew: He’s a major upgrade over what Florida just got rid of.
Nick: You can figure that out. Listen, Billy Gonzales is obviously going to coach wide receivers. Hevesy’s going to coach offensive line. Johnson’s going to coach quarterbacks. I just don’t know what you do in terms of naming offensive coordinator, co-offensive coordinators. Also, those are kind of just titles with Dan Mullen, because he’s going to be the guy calling plays. Everyone’s going to have their input during the week, but when it comes down to Saturday, he’s going to be calling plays.
That’s kind of what I talked about with Jim McElwain towards the end of the year, and I used a Spurrier quote to bring it up. Spurrier said he doesn’t understand why all these offensive coaches, these play callers, give that duty up when they become head coaches. That’s the reason you became a head coach. McElwain gave it up after one year at Colorado State, and then, obviously, he didn’t call plays when he was at Florida. I think that’s something that Dan Mullen, he called plays for Urban when he was at Florida, and when he went to Mississippi State said, “The reason I’m here is because of what I did. I’m an offensive coordinator. I call plays. Why give that up?”
So, to me, it’s more of just a title. It will be interesting to see where those titles fall, because normally those titles come with different pay.
Andrew: Right. Exactly. That’s the key. I mean, listen, you and I aren’t getting paid to try to break down what they’re going to get paid, because this is getting a little out of hand. We’ll figure it out. The thing is there still is a lot of spots. I want to talk about Grantham first, and then I’m going to talk about Chris Rumph leaving. Back with Grantham. Listen, like I said, everyone has their things to say about Grantham, and I understand it. Listen, he’s done some crazy things in the past, whatever else, but he’s a very good defensive coordinator. He’s very aggressive, and the one thing about it is he knows how to recruit. That’s the three things that Florida was missing this past year. That was the thing they were missing since Geoff Collins left. Geoff Collins brought that fire. He brought that aggressive energy to the thing, and he made guys like to play. That was missing last year, and I think that’s what Grantham’s going to do.
Also, Nick, I know people aren’t going to want to hear this very much, but Florida’s defense has some pieces to be really good in that 3-4 defense. Somebody like a Jeremiah Moon is licking his chops right now about the 3-4 defense.
Nick: We had some people on our message board ask about it. Just give it a quick rundown.
Andrew: What they’re basically going to do is they’re going to go three defensive linemen. They’ll have two outside linebackers. One of their outside linebackers, like a Jeremiah Moon, will play that defensive end/outside linebacker role. He’ll be rushing the quarterback a lot, but he’ll also be able to drop back into coverage a little bit in that. I think the thing that it allows is, first of all, you have to get that meat eater of a defensive nose tackle. That’s what Florida’s looking for big time. Maybe a guy like Conliffe or Kyree Campbell, one of those guys, they’ll fill that role.
It also allows Florida’s linebackers to be able to play a little bit looser, when you got a guy like Vosean Joseph playing outside linebacker. I think he’ll do well in that. It also allows for Florida to be aggressive. I think that’s something that is just lacking. I think, Nick, you would agree with me. Under Collins, they were very aggressive, and that’s something there.
Back to Grantham, you can’t lie though. Stats tell the story. Took Mississippi State from 115th in the country in defense to 10th. Numbers.
Nick: Some of that is they returned a lot of guys, but look at Florida’s defense, and Florida’s defense is returning a lot of guys.
Andrew: Right. Agreed. I mean, how do you feel about that 3-4?
Nick: I like the 3-4. More so than the 3-4, I like being multiple.
Andrew: Yes.
Nick: I don’t think Grantham will only play a 3-4. I think he’ll play multiple defenses. Listen, depending on who your opponent is, depending on down and distance and situations in the game, you should be able to switch. When you’re at a school like the University of Florida, you should have athletes that it doesn’t matter if you ask them to play in a 4-3 or a 3-4. Someone like Jeremiah Moon can do both. You have no problem if you ask him to put his hand on the ground and get out to the passer, or we need you to stand up and rush the passer, or we need you to stand up and cover that tight end.
Andrew: Right.
Nick: Those are things. You have to have players like that, that can play in both. I think Florida will, and they do have some of those guys already. I like 3-4. My question to you, and I was going to ask you this, who’s your second middle linebacker?
Andrew: I think that’s where you got to look at things. You’re obviously hoping Kylan Johnson is that guy next year.
Nick: A healthy Kylan Johnson.
Andrew: Absolutely. A healthy Kylan Johnson. You’re going into that. You’re looking at that. Then, Florida’s looking at some JuCo help as well. I know people are harping on Mullen’s recruiting JuCo guys. Listen, this is a football team that has some very good players. They need a player here or there to add depth. They need depth at several positions. That’s where the JuCo is. We’ll get into that in recruiting in a second. I mean, you’re going to go in with Reese and Kylan. I mean, listen, if you’re playing the right style of football, where you’re not putting Reese and Kylan out in space to guard that 6’3” wide receiver that runs a 4-4, you’re okay. Too many times, Randy Shannon was sticking those guys out to dry. Grantham will have to scheme around that.
Nick: Yeah. He’s obviously shown that all over the place. Grantham has been, obviously most recently at Mississippi State. Florida fans will remember him for being at Georgia. He was there from 2010-’13. Spent a lot of time in the NFL as well. He was with the Colts, the Texans, the Browns, the Cowboys, and then spent time at Michigan State. I believe that’s when Saban was there?
Andrew: Yes. Him and Saban are still close.
Nick: He was at Michigan State in the late ‘90s. I’m just checking real quick. ’95-’99 is when Saban was there. Grantham was there from ’96-’98, so left a year before Saban.
Andrew: Saban’s talked about Grantham a lot in the past, and that’s something that when Nick Saban talks about you coaching defense, chances are you’re pretty good. Listen, I know Florida’s went through some Saban disciples and that kind of stuff, and that’s a different story for a different time, but if he talks about you with your defense, you’re pretty stout if that’s the case.
Let’s move on to Chris Rumph real quick, Nick. Chris Rumph moves on to Tennessee, takes that role. We talked about this. Chris Rumph is going to be co-DC, that kind of stuff, at Tennessee. Coached defensive line under Jeremy Pruitt as well. I think it was just a situation where Rumph wanted that DC title, and he’s going to get a little bit of a pay raise at Tennessee. It’s certainty. I don’t want to say that he wasn’t going to stay at Florida. I think he was going to stay at Florida. New staff, you weren’t hired by Mullen, you get a chance to go be hired by Jeremy Pruitt, a guy he worked for there. I can’t say that I fault Chris Rumph for doing that.
Nick: No. I think that is a fine move for him. It’s a fresh start, and nothing was guaranteed for Rumph. We can touch on it a little bit. Neither of us will speculate on guys that will be fired. We pride ourselves in giving accurate information, but nothing was going to be guaranteed for Rumph, just like nothing will be guaranteed for Seider or Skipper, Brad Davis, the coaches that are still on staff as holdovers. If you look at Florida’s coaching directory right now, they’re not listed. Only the guys that have come over, that Mullen has officially hired, are there.
Nothing guaranteed for those guys. They’re all being professional. Listen, they’re still cashing paychecks, and they’re still out on the road recruiting, trying to get guys to come to Florida. Good for them. That shows the kind of character they have, but Chris Rumph wasn’t being guaranteed anything at Florida. Still going out and recruiting, and something came along. They said, “Here’s a guarantee. Here’s a job.” No hard feelings with him leaving and taking a sure then when there was not a sure thing available to him in Gainesville.
Andrew: Listen, Nick, you know I hate Tennessee, right?
Nick: No. I didn’t know that.
Andrew: I’m not breaking any news here. Jeremy Pruitt, there’s going to be on thing with Jeremy Pruitt, and that’s he’s going to put together a hell of a coaching staff, and he’s going work hard, and his team’s going to fight. Now, I’m not sold Jeremy Pruitt was ready to do this. I have some personal connections to Jeremy Pruitt through some friends. Nick, you and I have talked about this several times. I know Jeremy Pruitt pretty well. Jeremy Pruitt’s a hell of a football coach.
I don’t know if he’s ready for this, but I can tell you what, he’s going to work. He’s the opposite of Will Muschamp, in that if somebody’s not doing their job, he’ll give you his walking papers at the end of the day, whether that means Game 1, Game 10, or the middle of spring football. If you’re not doing your job, he’s going to give you his walking papers. You’re not going to have to worry about that.
I think that it was a good move for Rumph, from the standpoint of getting job security. Chris Rumph did a real good job with the defensive line. Some people can argue with his recruiting, and I get that and all that, but people were harping on him about making a lateral move. That wasn’t a lateral move. He has job security. He was hired by Jeremy Pruitt. He wasn’t hired by Dan Mullen.
Nick: Yeah. That’s a huge thing.
Andrew: Anything else you really want to hit on with the new staff, that kind of stuff, before we move on to recruiting? I’m trying to think.
Nick: If you’re on our message board, then Brian Johnson was no surprise to you. Savage was no surprise to you. We put Greg Knox’s name out there as a guy. He’s obviously currently the interim head coach, so there’s some timing issues. They have a bowl game that they’re getting ready for, but Greg Knox is another coach that we would probably expect to follow and be at UF.
Andrew: Nick and I have heard the rumors about Pat Surtain and that. Listen, there’s smoke out there, sure. I haven’t heard anything to make me believe that it’s going to happen. Nick, you can disagree with me if you have. Both Nick and I have some very good sources at American Heritage. None of them have hinted to us that it’s going to happen. I’m not shutting the door or anything like that. I’m just saying we haven’t heard that that’s going to happen.
Nick: You know that’s my area.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s Nick’s area too. Then the one name we have heard a lot of is Tim Brewster, and we know that there is some interest of him joining the Florida staff. He has a lot of offers out there, including Tennessee with Jeremy Pruitt. A&M, he’s a Texas guy, loves to recruit Texas. A&M’s out there. I’ve heard he probably won’t rejoin Jimbo, but University of Texas with, why is his name slipping my head? Tom Herman, may go join his staff. There’s several staffs that are after Brewster, so that’s a name to keep an eye on there. If he comes on board, then it really does question where a Seider fits, or where Knox fits, where those guys fit. Continue to stay on the message board. We’ve been pretty on top of that stuff with that.
As things get closer to time, to January, you’ll have your guys leaving early. You got Cece Jefferson, Martez Ivey, Eddy Pineiro, Taven Bryan. Those guys are all got decisions to make. We’ve heard with Eddy that’s he’s 50/50. I know some people thought because they took a commitment on Sunday that he was gone. We’ve heard he’s 50/50.
Nick: Yeah. He’s a redshirt junior. He can leave. I don’t think he’s graduated yet, but I know that he put out feelers last year, and was interested in leaving last year.
Andrew: Right. We’ve heard, I’ve had some people tell me that he wants to come back and break some records at Florida. If you know Eddy Pineiro like Nick and I know Eddy Pineiro, records matter to him.
Nick: Yeah.
Andrew: Anyway, that’s that. We’ll move on to recruiting, Nick. This is where it’s fun.
Nick: They’ve been going nuts. Been keeping you busy, even though you’re sick. I’m sure your phone’s going crazy, and you’re thinking back and forth and on the phones daily with kids, coaches, everybody.
Andrew: It’s been a fun time. It’s an interesting time to kind of see. The board kind of resets. Listen, I want to say this before we move on with recruiting. Jim McElwain did a hell of a job, and I know people are going to harp on him, but Jim McElwain did a good job of recruiting, that kind of stuff. Things were getting better. Dan Mullen is really taking this back to that level of national level, of I’m going to get the best players in the state of Florida, but I’m also going to go cherry-pick the country. I’m not focusing on one area. I like that. It’s fun again.
We’ll move on to kind of what the board, everyone wants to know about the quarterback position. Monday, we’re taping this Monday, Florida’s seeing Matt Corral. He’s going to come on campus this weekend. Dan Mullen and Brian Johnson are seeing him. It’s just there. It is what it is. Matt Corral doesn’t have the most options out there. He wants to come to Florida. There’s no doubt about that. He wants reassurance from Dan Mullen on that. If he gets that, boom, it’s done. He’s going to come. Like I said, he’s going to be on campus this weekend. That’s going to be the situation.
Yes, Florida’s recruiting Justin Fields. Yes, they’re recruiting the JuCo quarterback Terry Wilson. Yes, they’re going to move on Ohio State quarterback Emory Jones. Dan Mullen’s going to get two quarterbacks in this class, one way or the other. He knows. He’s looked at it. He wants depth at the quarterback position. He’s going to go recruit it.
If Matt Corral’s okay with that, cool. Matt Corral knows they’re going to go get two quarterbacks. The way I look at it, Nick, and maybe you disagree, wherever Matt Corral goes, he’s got to compete. If Matt Corral really wants to go to Florida, sign your papers with Florida, and go beat out whoever it is.
Nick: Yeah. To me, if you’re trying to make Florida nervous or jealous or something like that, because you see them going after somebody, taking a trip to Ole Miss is not going to do that. Ole Miss is already hit with sanctions. They’ve had players leaving. Shay Patterson announced on Monday that he’s leaving, going to Michigan. The situation is so bad there that Shay Patterson’s only a sophomore, going into his junior season, is able to leave, and I think be eligible via a waiver, because of how bad the sanctions are at Ole Miss. Going to Ole Miss is not ruffling any feathers at Florida. That’s not going to worry anybody at Florida about your commitment status.
Like you said, you’re going to have to compete wherever you go. I don’t think Matt Corral is afraid of competing, but the quarterback position is very different than any other position. There’s only one person that can play. You only have three years to get past college, get into the NFL, and I just don’t know. That’s why we see quarterbacks transferring so much right now.
Andrew: Yeah. You’re exactly right. I’m not going to say that he’s wrong for that. I’m not going to say that at all. Listen, you’re a quarterback. You want to come play. My thing to this is easy, and that is, if you think you’re the best quarterback, go to Florida. Go compete. If that’s where you really want to go, go compete. Here’s the deal. You’re going to be the only quarterback that signs early. You should go into the fall, or into the summer, at starting quarterback. If you don’t beat Feleipe, and you don’t beat the rest of those guys, that’s your own fault. You were going to have to do that anyway.
Like I said, Dan Mullen’s signing two quarterbacks in this class. It’s not a question. It’s a given. He’s signing two quarterbacks in this class.
Nick: Got to have it. Del Rio’s gone.
Andrew: Zaire’s gone, unless he decides out of the blue to go for that sixth year, which we’ve heard he’s not right now.
Nick: I think he’d still be considering it, but yeah, it’s a waiver he’d still have to put in.
Andrew: Has to get approved.
Nick: Yup.
Andrew: Let’s go through it. I’m going to run through quick the commits and the positions, and then we’ll get into some other targets. Running back, Damien Pierce and Iverson Clemente have both solidified their commitment. Both said they’re going to Florida. That position is done. Locked up. Done. Period.
At receiver, you have Copeland, who decommitted. Florida’s still there, and still in good shape there. They’re on some other guys. They’re recruiting the two commits from Mississippi State. They’re recruiting other guys at the position. Still have Corey Gammage committed, and still have Tyquon Thornton committed. Jaylen Williams, those guys, they’re gone. They say the writing on the wall, and they’re gone.
At tight end, Dante Lang and Kyle Pitts both solidified their commitment to Florida, and are both good. Dante Lang took his commitment this past weekend, or took his official visit this past weekend, solidified that. Kyle Pitts already took it. Both plan to sign early. You’re done at that position.
At the offensive line, that’s where Dan Mullen has probably said, “What the hell were you doing, Jim McElwain?” I think, Nick, you and I would agree, when we said what the hell were you doing with some of these recruitments. They signed the big offensive lineman out of Pennsylvania, Chris. Nick, you know how to pronounce it? Bleich.
Nick: I would say Bleich.
Andrew: Okay. Chris Bleich. If you’re listening to this, and we just f-ed your name up, come at us. Got him. He’s in. Then they have Richard Gouraige, and that’s the two. Dunlap’s gone. Gained some bad weight. Committed to Minnesota. He’s gone. You’re not going to play in Dan Mullen’s offense being overweight and not being able to move. So, that happened. You got Christian Meadows, the FSU commit, came on unofficial. Will return on official in January. You got Jerome Carvin, who’s coming on an unofficial this weekend, and signing early, out of Tennessee.
You still got William Barnes on the board. You still not Nick Petit-Frere on the board. You still have several guys that they’re looking at. The JuCo offensive lineman in Noah Banks out of Pensacola, committed to Arkansas, is coming in this weekend. Several options on the offensive line board. Nick, I’m going to ask you this. I think they need five in the class.
Nick: Five O linemen?
Andrew: Yes.
Nick: Would you say that’s the minimum number you need almost every year?
Andrew: I think four is the minimum you take every year, because you kind of want to just continue to improve, and you should be able to. You just need depth. I mean, honestly, Nick, do you ever see a year where you play all your offensive linemen and none of them ever get hurt? I mean, I remember the Atlanta Falcons last year. They said none of their offensive linemen missed a snap, and that was the first time in 15 years. I don’t remember a year when all the offensive linemen, so that’s why I think you need so many.
Nick: Yeah. I agree with that.
Andrew: What do you think?
Nick: I agree with that. Especially when you look at the injury history that Florida’s had. That’s why I asked you, is it four the number? Is five the number? Then when you consider, if you sign five offensive linemen, you might be lucky to have one freshman, maybe two, be ready to play. So you’re looking at guys that you’re continuing having to work and develop. If you sign five every year, you’re not going to get five to play every year, and you’re going to have offensive linemen that go down, get banged up. I think you need that depth. What’s the number, obviously it changes from staff to staff, but what’s a number in your mind that you think, “On the offensive line we need to have X amount of players to feel comfortable?”
Andrew: 14-16.
Nick: How many of those 14—So next question is, say you have 16 on the roster, four of them are freshmen, only one of those guys can play. Now you don’t have 16.
Andrew: You should have 8-9 guys that you feel comfortable putting in a football game every year.
Nick: Okay. I think I’d like that number to be 10.
Andrew: I’ll be honest with you. I haven’t seen that at Florida in a long time.
Nick: Yeah.
Andrew: Do you know eight guys on this roster you’d feel good playing?
Nick: Nope. Not right now.
Andrew: Exactly. You’re lucky to find five. That’s that.
Go to the defensive line. That’s where Florida has no commits. No defensive line coach right now. Looking at all options. A couple of JuCo guys, Dorian Gerald, Noah Jefferson. That’s two defensive linemen they’re looking at. They’re going up and visiting Malik Langam out of Alabama on Monday. That’s the position that Florida’s really looking at some JuCo guys. Like I said, Nick, earlier, that’s the position where you need to fill some depth at JuCo, especially that defensive tackle position. Go and get you some depth there, and get you some big uglies to back up the Conliffe’s and the Kyree Campbells of the world. Get you some meat there with losing Taven Bryan to the Draft, probably.
At linebacker, right now they only have David …
Nick: Listen, we can just go ahead and say Taven Bryan’s gone.
Andrew: I know. You and I both don’t want to speak facts, and then someone come back and say, “He hasn’t officially announced yet.” He hasn’t officially announced yet. Nick and I, we’d be shocked.
Nick: He gone.
Andrew: He gone. He wanted to leave last year.
Nick: Yeah. He gone.
Andrew: He gone. He going to be a first round Draft pick. Anyway, back at linebacker. David Reese is a commit, solid. Taking his official this weekend, enrolling early. Florida’s looking at several guys there, like Alabama linebacker commit Quay Walker. They’re looking at a lot of guys at the linebacker position, including some JuCo guys. If I am Dan Mullen, I’m taking at least one JuCo linebacker this year.
Nick: Need somebody to come in and play right away.
Andrew: Yes. Exactly. At DB, they got several options. They’re bringing in Trey Dean this weekend, former Tennessee commit. They’re battling Alabama for him. He is Ahmad Black’s cousin. They’re bringing him in. They solidified Randy Russell’s commitment, and they’re also going to visit on Wednesday a JuCo DB, Jeremy Webb. Nick, I told you about him before this podcast. 6’3”, 195. Yeah. He could play.
Nick: He can play on your team?
Andrew: He can play on my team. He can play on your team too, I bet.
Nick: Yeah. What’s the number?
Andrew: I still say it’s 25. I still say they get close to 25, if at all possible.
Nick: That’s the max that they can sign.
Andrew: They could actually, I think, take 27, I think is what they could take, but they don’t have room from a standpoint. I think it’ll be 24, 25 in that. We forgot. We didn’t even talk about it. They took Mississippi State kicker Evan McPherson on Sunday. He is the #1 or #2 kicker in the country, depending on who you look at, and is a really good player. Under Armour All-American. Took his commitment. It doesn’t say anything about Eddy. It’s just Mullen’s looking for an option.
Nick: Yeah. Listen, Eddy stays, and he’s a senior next year. You redshirt your freshman, and you have a redshirt freshman kicker the next year.
Andrew: Exactly. Again, it’s going to be a big weekend this coming weekend for visitors, so stay tuned with us for that. We’ll continue to be locked in on all this stuff. Anything else you want to add, Nick?
Nick: Real quick, I guess touch on other sports before we get out of here?
Andrew: Let’s do that.
Nick: Volleyball. Congratulations to the women’s volleyball team, heading to the Final Four. I think it’s the first time since 2003 that they’ve been to the Final Four. Then Florida basketball dropped 17 spots, to #22, after going 1-3 in their last four games.
Andrew: Yeah. I think it was just kind of a wakeup call. Listen, basketball, this basketball team is going to go a long way in March. You can bet your money on that. Forget what all looking at this and that kind of stuff. It’ll be interesting to kind of see how they fair in the SEC. Nick, I think I speak for both of us when I say this. I’m rooting for Mary Wise to get her a National Championship.
Nick: Absolutely. Been at Florida for a long time. Has had wild success at Florida. Would be very cool to see her get her first National Championship.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, what a job. What a job. I mean, SEC Championship after SEC Championship. What a job. That’s that. Follow along with us. We’ll be covering a little bit of that. Be having basketball, all that good stuff. If you haven’t joined us yet, come check us out. We’ve had a lot of new members. Things are popping. Stay on top of all this stuff. Our basketball coverage, in my opinion, is the best there is for Gator sports. My man, Eric, over there knocking it out of the ballpark, and Baileigh doing her thing as well. A lot of things going well for us over at Gator Country, so come check us out. Nick, tell them where they can find us.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. Podcast is also on iTunes. Search @GatorCountry. Subscribe. Never miss an episode. Leave us a rating, a comment. Drop those five stars for us. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. You can find me @NickdelaTorreGC and him @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew: There you go. Guys, we appreciate it so much. Again, if you want to come check us out, let one of us know. We’ll hook you up with a little something to get you on the board. We’ll see you guys probably again on Friday to preview the official visit weekend. Going to go back to our two days a week, Monday, Friday. We appreciate it guys, and we’ll see everyone on Friday.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.