Confidence of the Florida Gators football team: Podcast

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we talk about the confidence of this Florida Gators football team heading into week one against Michigan.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre talk about how the mindset is different this year for the team and why that has to do with the veterans this year.

Andrew and Nick also discuss which freshmen could see playing time for Florida this year either at their position or on special teams.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, back with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, it was kind of a normal week finally. Nobody deciding to be knuckleheads and get in trouble, and I think we’re okay with that.

Nick:                         Yeah. Not bad. A quiet week’s not a bad week.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Let’s keep that quiet week going for a little while. Practice this week. Guys had Wednesday off. They’ll break camp on Saturday, so school starts the following week. It’ll kind of be game week kind of action. Next week they’ll start kind of introducing the game plan for Michigan more in depth than they are. I mean, they’ve been working in Michigan stuff, but next week they’ll kind of implement the game plan. They’ll start having their normal game week practices, probably even have a scrimmage next Saturday or next Friday to emulate the game week. So this is kind of the last full week of camp week.

Nick:                         Yeah. You get like 7-10 days out, that’s basically what you’ll get in the regular season. You use the first part of camp, what they’ve doing, you use that first part to install, learn, focus on yourself. Kind of like a bye week. Then after that you start getting into actual game plan for Michigan, and we’ll have some Michigan writers on to help us game plan for Michigan next week.

Andrew:                 We’ve talked to several people. Not to brag on ourselves, but I feel like we have hit the up to date information from practice probably the most of anyone. That’s why you should join Gator Country. Shameless plug. We’ve talked to people, Nick, you as well as I, and we’ve heard Mac say he wanted this fall camp to be uncomfortable. Nick, correct me if I’m wrong, but everyone one I’ve talked to said it’s been uncomfortable. It’s been hard.

Had someone say it was hard as hell. It was much more difficult than last year. It was something that Mac preached. Guys are saying that they’re feeling a lot more comfortable now with things. I personally think this is a football team ready to go into Michigan.

Nick:                         I think you can really start focusing in on that when you get into Year 3 of the same coaching staff. Coming from South Florida, I follow a lot of the Dolphin beat writers, follow the Dolphins, and people are always asking the Dolphin beat writers, “Why are the Patriots able to do this? Why are the Patriots able to do that?” Omar Kelly, who’s one of their beat reporters, said, “They’ve been in the same system for 14 years.”

Players like Marcell Harris, they’ve had two different coaches. There are still guys on this team that have had two different coaches. I remember Andre Dubois told me in his redshirt senior year, “I’ve had five position coaches in five years.” There’s something to be said for continuity. I think you’re able to start pushing limits and pushing that, getting comfortable being uncomfortable, when you’re not having to think on the field, “What am I supposed to do in this play?” Just being able to be familiar with the routine, with the playbook, with all those other things, lets you focus on other details and let’s you get comfortable.

Andrew:                 I think that’s a good point. It’s beginning to feel comfortable. It’s odd to say that there’s still guys that are Muschamp guys, but it’s true. It is. There’s more Mac guys than anything. I say this, and, Nick, we didn’t even talk about this off the air, but I’m going to throw this at you a little bit. Hey, we’re in mid-season, I’m in mid-season form. Not telling you about something we’re going to talk about.

Had someone the other day kind of tell me this, and it rang true. We even talked about it a little bit last year. That’s that the guys that were there last year, and I’m not naming no names, and I’m definitely not talking about some of the higher class guys, the Quincy Wilsons, Teez Tabors. But a lot of those guys just didn’t buy into Mac. I say not buy into it, and that means they weren’t personally invested in Mac succeeding. That’s a different case now.

This is a young group of guys, starting with the Cece Jeffersons, the Kylan Johnsons, those guys that are really fired up to win. They’ve really bought into the Mac system of coming in and turning the program around. I think it’s something we’re going to see.

You and I talked about it a lot last year, and that was a lot of the older guys, the veteran guys, just weren’t veterans. They weren’t leaders of the team. I don’t think we see that this year.

Nick:                         Did you call out names there?

Andrew:                 No, I’m saying you had guys that was not the Teez Tabors of the world. Those guys were not who we’re talking about, the Teez Tabors, the Quincy Wilsons. Those guys bought in. They wanted to play ball. But there was other older guys that didn’t care.

Nick:                         Yeah. That might always be the case. It might always be something you battle.

Andrew:                 With a new coach coming in, is that what you’re trying to say?

Nick:                         With a new coach. Also with guys who are draft eligible. That might be something you always have to battle, but if you get into a situation where this is the coach that recruited me, there might be some more allegiance there. If you get into a position where I’m not sure about this coach. He’s not the one that I committed to. This is my money year, the year that I need to go. I think that’s kind of what you’re talking about. You get into a situation where it’s like I’m probably not going to do that extra rep that he wants me to do in practice, because what if I get hurt?

Andrew:                 Here’s the thing, and I don’t even know if it’s so much the guys that are going to leave early or go to the League. I think it’s guys that maybe don’t have a future of football that next year, guys that maybe aren’t going to be playing the League, maybe don’t feel like Mac was going to be there for them post-grad. I don’t know what it is. I just know that you and I both were told by several people that there were some veterans that are no longer on the team that didn’t buy in fully. That’s something we haven’t seen.

Believe it or not, there’s a lot of guys that are feeling like they can win even without the suspended guys. It’s just kind of a mindset that they feel like they’ve overcome the roster to where the roster’s now fully of good players that with or without those eight suspended, seven suspended guys, they’re going to go to Dallas and win. That’s just kind of the mindset they’ve got.

I know someone’s going to say, “They always feel like they’re going to win.” Sure, but when you’re having a private conversation and guys are saying that, that speaks volumes compared to when they tell the national media, “We’re going to win.” What do you expect them to say?

Nick:                         I guess I can see it. I can see what you’re talking about.

Andrew:                 Do you agree or disagree? I mean, I’m saying one thing, and then if you think differently, let us know.

Nick:                         No. I just think it’s also not just Florida. Every team in the country, when you’re a sports writer all your friends want to call you and say, “I heard this, this, and that.” It’s like, everyone’s got good heartwarming stories from spring came. You know I mean? You start getting disgruntled players and disgruntled coaches when the season starts, and all of a sudden that game plan and everyone.

I’m just saying right now they might feel like that way, but everyone feels good in spring game. I’m almost kind of cautious, if that makes sense.

Andrew:                 Yeah, but what I’m saying is this is a team that feels confident.

Nick:                         Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. I’m saying everyone’s confident in the spring.

Andrew:                 Let me throw this back your way. Let’s talk this out. We do it all the time. I think that’s why people listen to our podcast, because we have different views. Do you not feel there’s a different mindset right now than it is in years past? I say that, because in years past if Antonio Callaway is to go out last season, or if the so-called best player on the team goes out, would you have felt the confidence going into the game then compared to now? I guess that’s what I’m trying to say is I feel there’s a different confidence level, a different mindset now than years past.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think, I’m stuck on I don’t know if that’s because of it being spring or what the case is. I don’t know if I share that. Maybe it’s because I don’t think I share that same confidence. I don’t know how you, is Florida better equipped to handle Antonio Callaway being out? I agree with that. Are they a better team without Antonio Callaway? I don’t agree with that. I think that’s kind of where I get stuck up on is I get the confidence, because it’s spring. It’s Year 3. Players definitely feel more comfortable with this coaching staff heading into Year 3. I think that’s normal.

I’ve been told the same thing as you, the guys are confident that they can beat Michigan without Antonio Callaway and without those suspended players. I can’t blame them for that. I just don’t think not having Antonio Callaway on the field makes you a football team. So I get the confidence, and to your point, I get that. I just don’t know if I agree with the sentiment.

Andrew:                 Do I think they’re a better team? Hell, no. I mean, let’s just be honest. I mean, what he brings to the table is something special. I do think that’s crazy to say they’re a better team. I’m just saying I think that in years past when something went wrong it almost set the sails out to where you didn’t think the team had a chance to win. Now I don’t know if the team is, and I say this, and this is not disrespect to Callaway, but it just doesn’t seem like the team relies on one guy anymore.

Nick:                         It might just be that the team is just used to Callaway not being with them. He missed an entire summer because of the Title IX investigation. To me, it almost seems like for them it’s like, “Antonio Callaway’s not here? What else is new?”

Andrew:                 Yeah. Maybe. Maybe that’s a good way of looking at it. Can you blame them?

Nick:                         That’s another thing. Yeah.

Andrew:                 Let’s turn the page. We’re not going to focus on that. I did want to hit on a couple things that you and I were told post suspension, even from the scrimmage and post-scrimmage, and that’s that the receiver position has been doing really well. One guy in particular, Nick, is Kadarius Toney. You were telling me that guys were raving about him. Everybody I talked to that watches practice inside the room and everything, they’re freaking loving Kadarius Toney. They’re calling him special. It’s just a guy that’s electric with the ball in his hands.

Nick:                         I think the biggest thing that I’ve been told, and I was told from a coach when I was out at practice, is him becoming comfortable with that position. That’s route running. That’s concepts. That’s what’s the defense trying to do when they set up this way? It’s different. He was a quarterback, so he kind of understands that of press versus off versus single high safety, cover two, stuff like that. He understands that kind of stuff from being a quarterback. But then I also think it’s different when you’re out wide or when you’re in the slot, and then another thing is just catching the football.

That’s something that right now he’s trying to go from having a natural ability and just being an athlete to what’s the actual technique. I’m sure Kerry Dixon can talk your ear off all day about technique and catch it with your fingertips and catch it out in front and different ways to catch different passes and stuff like that. I think he’s really rounding out and becoming more comfortable with the receiver position, to go on top of that natural athleticism that he has.

Andrew:                 Right. I think you’ll see kind of what we talked about with the DB group, and that is what we see Game 1 from Kadarius might not be what we see Game 12 in the Georgia Dome against Alabama. Yes, I’ll go ahead and let you know that’s my pick. We’re going to do a little bit more of that here in a minute.

I do think that Kadarius is going to be a guy that is going to continue to improve throughout the season. Just remember, he hasn’t played receiver but for what? Six months now since he got on campus. He didn’t even play it all spring. He played some quarterback this spring. He’s going to do it.

I think it’s going to be something different to see that you’re going to be able to have formations to where you’re going to have speed on the field. You’re going to have options on the field. I mean, someone asked me this the other day, and they said, “Could Florida line up with Tyrie, Massey, and Toney on the field together?” I said, “Probably.” That’s three really good options of a chance that when they touch the ball they’re going to make something happen.

Nick:                         Interesting to me is how do you get some of the guys on the field at the same time?

Andrew:                 As Coach Mac says, and we gave Mac some heat for this last year, but those whole get it to that guy plays, that better be there.

Nick:                         I remember you got pretty angry last year.

Andrew:                 I just want to see some freaking stand passes. Here you go starting that shit again with me.

Nick:                         You got pretty angry last year with that get it to me guy list, and apparently it didn’t exist.

Andrew:                 When you’re playing cover two, and you got your corners both that are off the man, and it’s 3rd and 3, give me a stand pass to Callaway. Give me a stand pass to Tyrie or to Massey this year, or to Kadarius, and just go. I think a lot of that did have to do with the quarterback position, but let’s see it. Mac has been the guy that has been credited, and I think you and I would both agree with this, and that is that Mac knows how to pick up mismatches.

I think now you have an offensive weapon that you can get creative with things, get creative in the Michigan game. Who’s to say you don’t see the four wide with a tight end, and then you motion Kadarius into the backfield or motion Massey into the backfield, and then you have something coming out of the backfield, a play for him where he’s matched up with a linebacker. I don’t know about you, Nick, but I like my chances with Toney or Massey against a linebacker.

Nick:                         Absolutely. Absolutely. We keep talking about it. Now, I guess, you and I probably both want to see it. You’ve got your pieces in place now. Get creative. Mac always says, and the media harps on it, and it’s, “You’re brought here to make the defense better, make it more exciting to watch,” and this and that. You’ve got your guys now. There’s a boatload of talent at those skill positions. What can you do about it?

Andrew:                 Let’s see.

Nick:                         Get creative. Start throwing out the kitchen sink. There’s been some, against Michigan you had Callaway and Treon Harris with that little underhanded pass. I think last year it might have been the Georgia game, Callaway or Powell. Callaway scored on an end around, or maybe it was Powell scored on an end around. Just little things like that. You don’t need to set up those little things for the first six weeks to run it one time in the year against Georgia. Run it in the first game.

Andrew:                 Someone asked me this yesterday on the radio, on Wednesday, about this. That was how do you prepare for this? I think it’s pretty easy. You prepare for this as a big game. This is an opportunity for Mac and for Florida to set a statement. Michigan’s Michigan, whether they’re the team that was predicted to go to the College Football Playoffs last year, or the team that’s predicted 10-15 right now. You go to Dallas. You beat Michigan. Guess what?

Nick:                         Big deal.

Andrew:                 Everything’s in front of you. Like you said, it’s a big deal. You’re back on that national stage. You don’t pull any punches. Let’s be honest here, you’re going to go play Michigan. Okay, cool. Then you can hide things the next week before you play Tennessee. At the end of the day, are you really that concerned about showing something? You got your guys, your players. You think they’re going to match up against anybody if you’re a coach. Don’t pull any punches. Go with it.

Nick:                         I don’t like that whole coaches say it, or fans it, in defense of that was a vanilla game plan. We only installed what we needed to to win the game. We’re saving this. I think to some extent it can be. Sure, that could be accurate. That could be true, but I think a lot of times it’s just used as an excuse.

Andrew:                 I think it’s true some point. Say you opened up with, Nick, do they play Northern Colorado or is it Eastern Colorado?

Nick:                         Northern Colorado.

Andrew:                 That’s what I thought. So say you open with Northern Colorado Game 1, and Game 2 is Michigan. Do you show Massey and Kadarius and Brandon Powell on the field at the same time? Probably not.

Nick:                         Why? Make them prepare for it.

Andrew:                 Yes and no.

Nick:                         Make them prepare for it, and then you don’t use it, or you do use it.

Andrew:                 Yes and no. Again, I understand it for that. You go into the Michigan game throwing the whole kitchen sink out there. Quite frankly, you don’t have that opportunity to go in the Michigan game without all your weapons, because Michigan’s a good football team. So you go in there with all your weapons. We’ll see.

To hit on a few more notes we’re talking about though, we’ve had people tell us that Tyrie’s going to have a huge year, that he finally knows what he’s doing. People are going to say, “What does that mean?” That means he understands two high safety when he needs to break his route off, what kind of deep move he needs to do to break the corner, to hit the safety in the right spot. That’s the kind of stuff that you learn from Year 1 to Year 2.

That’s kind of even what we talked about with James Robinson and why Robinson may be not getting as much playing time as some of the other guys, just because he’s a freshman still learning the position. To be that X or Z, you’re going to have to know everything, more than just a little bit.

Nick:                         Yeah. In an ideal world wants to keep Callaway on one side of the field. You’d like to have those guys be able to be interchangeable. A lot of teams now have a boundary corner and a field corner, and we like to matchup better with Tyrie against our boundary corner. He doesn’t know the X’s playbook, so we got to keep the ball on one side of the field if that’s what you want. You know what I’m saying? It’s like, no. Create your mismatches by having well informed players who are versatile.

I think last year Tyrie got caught up in that BB gun stuff and got caught up in the hamstring, and maybe also took for granted, or didn’t know the importance of how hard you had to work to learn the playbook and to be more versatile. Especially in this first game with Callaway out, I think you need him to step up. It’s going to be hard, because now he’s going to be the guy that gets that Callaway kind of attention. So he may not have the best game in terms of numbers, because he’s going to be double teamed or have the safety shade over to him, because Callaway’s not there.

He’s going to get that Antonio Callaway attention from Michigan’s defense. How do you handle that too as well? If we’re talking about him being more mature and growing up this year, how do you handle that as well? Antonio Callaway handled it well last year as far as not bitching about it, not complaining about being the only guy.

Andrew:                 Right. That was going to be kind of where I went next, and that is you can’t judge Tyrie’s production in Game 1. Really all throughout the year, you can’t say, “He didn’t have a monster year, so he’s not this or that.” He’s going to see more doubles, especially with Antonio out. It’s about does he catch that slant route for 8 yards on 3rd and 6? Does it catch it for 5 and is a yard short of the marker? That’s the kind of stuff you’re going to see. On a toss, does he engage his guy and block him to the outside to where they guy can cut it up the field, or does he lollygag and not the block the guy? That’s how you’re going to judge Tyrie as to whether he improved.

Obviously, you want to see him put up more numbers as well, but we’re going to see, again, like you said against Michigan he’s going to see that double coverage. Don’t think for a minute Harbaugh is not saying, “They don’t have Callaway, so they’re going to go try to go to Tyrie. Their game plan is going to be get the ball to Tyrie.” That’s going to be the game plan.

Nick:                         He’s a guy that we talked about before too. Get him in that position where, he’s a big body. You saw him throw a human being off his back with relative ease. Get him in a position with that stand pass. Hey, you got a ball in your hands, and you got five yards of space between you and the next guy. What can you do with it?

Andrew:                 I like my chances.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s that. It doesn’t need to be, run as fast as you can in a straight line down the field, and we’ll see if whoever’s playing quarterback can get you the ball. Find more creative ways. I guess that’s the challenge for Nussmeier and McElwain this year. The offense lacked creativity last year. It got stale. That’s something that Jim McElwain said, “We got predictable.”

Last year I’m sitting next to you at games, and you’re like, “Here’s what’s happening.” We’re just predicting plays before they happen. If Joe Schmo Spivey and Joe Schmo Nick are doing that in the press box, the defensive coordinator, either sitting up in the press box with us for the other team or down on the field, is probably giggling to himself too. You got to be more creative. It’s like I said earlier, you’ve got the players to finally do it. So there’s no excuse this year, I think.

Andrew:                 Yeah. What you say is exactly right, and that is you’ve got to be creative. I think at times they maybe overthought stuff.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 You’re telling them to be creative, but now you’re telling them not to overthink stuff. What is it? It’s pretty easy, in my opinion. It’s don’t overthink it. For instance, it’s 3rd and goal at the 1 LSU, what are you doing? Why are you overthinking it? Quarterback sneak it or hand it off. Don’t pitch it back.

Same thing, it’s 3rd and 2, you got cover two. Your corners are off. You got Tyrie at 6’2”, 205, which that’s what he’s listed at. I think he’s a little bigger. Anyway, you’ve got him there. Pitch it to him. Let’s go. If Tyrie can’t get you two yards, is he really your number one B receiver? I don’t know.

Nick:                         That’s a negative Ghost Rider.

Andrew:                 What?

Nick:                         If he can’t do that, you’re probably not a go to guy. Probably not what we thought you were.

Andrew:                 Right. Exactly. To run across one more key point, and this is the point everyone wants to talk about. It’s the quarterback position. You and I have heard positive things about all three. Someone’s going to say, “Y’all are just taking an easy way out.” Maybe we are, but that’s just what it is. We’ve heard positive things about all three. Spurrier said this, and I feel like he’d be the same way, “If you don’t have one quarterback, you don’t have any.”

I think that’s true, but not true. I think all three of these guys do something different. It’s going to be which guy you just feel more comfortable with. Until you get to the end I don’t know if you make that decision, because let these guys continue to battle and see what it is.

I will say this, and this was pretty telling when someone told me this. They said, “Last year we didn’t feel good with any of the quarterbacks. This year we feel good with all three.” I said, “So Del Rio’s changed that much? Feleipe’s changed that much?” The answer was, “Yes. Del Rio’s a different person.”

Nick:                         I’m not anywhere close to saying, kind of like some fans were, “He can’t do it. If Franks isn’t the quarterback, then I’m not watching.” Stuff like that. I’ve bitched about that in the past. I think both Doug Nussmeier and Jim McElwain would feel comfortable with Del Rio, because he is a smart player, who if you look at the games last year, he got hurt in the first game, but before he really got hurt, only threw two interceptions in the first three games. It’s a guy that we continually said, “He’s not going to lose you a ballgame.”

You look at the interception total after he got hurt, maybe he shouldn’t even have been playing there. That might go down to coaching staff. As a coach you need to know when to take your player out, because he’s not going to tell you, “I need to come out.”

I think you can win games with Del Rio. I think you have enough around him that you can win games with him. Is he a Heisman Trophy contender? No. Is he an All-SEC quarterback? No. I don’t know if Feleipe Franks is either. I don’t think he is. Definitely not this year. Maybe in future years, but not this year. You can make an argument that Feleipe Franks is the future, start him now. I see that argument.

Andrew:                 I hate that argument though. I say I hate that argument, because that’s a dumbass argument, Nick.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 I don’t mean that to you.

Nick:                         I’m saying I see that argument. I’m not making it.

Andrew:                 If someone said, “If Del Rio and Franks are even, you play Franks, because he’s young.” Who cares? Since when did you start playing a game for two years down the road? I just don’t see that. To me, that’s an absurd argument. Why are you playing Michigan Game 1 of 2017 and thinking about Game 1 for 2018? That just doesn’t make sense to me.

You’re playing 2017. You’ve got to figure out a way to win 2017. Playing for 2018 is not fair to the seniors, the guys that are going to potentially leave early. Tell Duke Dawson that. “We’re going to play these young guys, because you’re not going to be around, and you’re just as good as so-and-so. You might be just a little better, but we want Marco Wilson to play for you, because next year’s when we’re going to win.” That’s not fair.

I think it’s an absurd argument. The two guys are never going to be exactly the same. When you look at the argument, there’s two arguments with those guys. Del Rio doesn’t throw as many interceptions. Feleipe does. Feleipe has a bigger arm. Del Rio doesn’t. My way of looking at it is this, if you’re Mac, do you feel like you can win with 20-30 yard passes, or do you feel like you need to break open the defense to 50 or 60? You and I don’t know the answer, because we don’t get to watch practice. All we can do is base it off of something.

I just don’t like that argument. I think it’s dumb. People tell me all the time, “Your Braves should play for next year.” Bullshit. I’m watching them now. I don’t want to lose.

Nick:                         No need to bring the Braves into this.

Andrew:                 You know what I was saying. If a team plays for next year, a basketball team says we’re tanking to get the #1 pick. Okay, I understand you want the #1 pick, but that’s kind of bullshit to the guys on your team now.

Nick:                         Basketball’s a little different. It’s like people were saying, “Football, in the NFL, they should tank.” Listen the NFL’s too volatile to tank. Your resume is your tape, and there’s an entire group of young players coming in hoping that you tank, and you look bad on film, because they’ll take your spot real quick.

Andrew:                 Here’s the thing to that too, Nick. Sorry to interrupt you here. Let me just use for an example Cutler, for instance, at Miami. I know that’s your team. Miami’s playing for the future, okay? So you’re going to tell Cutler, “Don’t worry about trying to make plays.” Cutler’s going to say, “Shit, I want a career after this. I want to get traded and make a big contract. I’m a free agent. I want a big contract.” It’s not fair to those guys to say you’re playing for the future.

Nick:                         Yeah. The move of getting Cutler is to not play for the future. It’s to play for this year.

Andrew:                 Right, but you know what I’m saying.

Nick:                         Yeah. If you would have said, “We’re going to go with a rookie quarterback this year, who are we drafting in the seventh round?” If I’m a 10th year defensive lineman, I’m looking at my head coach like, “Excuse you? We’re doing what? You want me to do what now?” I wouldn’t like that.

I think another thing is Jim McElwain makes a lot of money. He makes a lot of money to win football games. Just to go with someone for the sake of being young, that’s a move he’s going to make.

Andrew:                 Right. I don’t like that move either. Here’s the thing, and this is the one thing that Mac and I will disagree on from last year. At times there was an opportunity to play Feleipe Franks, to get him some experience. He chose to go with Appleby. In that circumstance, I say use your young guy to get him experience for the future. When you’re talking about a game on the freaking line, and you’re telling me, “We want so-and-so to play, because he’s pretty good, and it’ll help him for next year,” that’s stupid. That’s stupid.

If I’m a fan of the team, or if I’m a booster of the a team, or a coach or a player or anything else, hell, me and you covering the team, we want to see them do well now, because it helps business. You and I could care less about so-and-so playing to help him for next year.

Nick:                         Man, we were beating the drum to that. The bowl game, SEC Championship. We were beating that for a little while to go ahead and play one of those guys. Florida had that SEC. Florida locked up going to the SEC Championship before Alabama did.

Andrew:                 The bowl game’s a different story. We won’t even go there with the bowl game. We all had the disagreements. First of all, I think you play to win the game. I’m a competitor if I’m playing chess. I’m playing to win. If I’m playing basketball in the back yard, I’m playing to win the game. I do see that. Would it have been better to play Feleipe in that game? Florida probably wins anyway. Iowa was not very good. If Feleipe Franks turns into be a really good quarterback, he’s not staying five years anyway.

Nick:                         Right. That was our big contention last year is that if Feleipe Franks is what you need him to be, not going to be here for five years.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         What does the redshirt do at that point?

Andrew:                 I’m going to put you on the spot real quick, Nick. Right now how are you feeling? Who are you feeling maybe has a leg up?

Nick:                         I think right now, Mac keeps mentioning a three man race. I think it might be a two man race right now between Franks and Del Rio. Fans don’t want to hear Del Rio’s name, but I think that’s where we’re at right now. I don’t know what it is about Zaire, but I think right now you’re really looking at a two man race, and it’s going to come down probably to the wire.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t know, or don’t get a starting quarterback named from Jim McElwain until his last press conference Wednesday before the Michigan game. Then you have to wonder at that point, why announce it two days before the game if haven’t already? I think we might be in for the long haul, very long frustrating wait, to see these guys, to see who wins it. I think it’s a two man race. That’s maybe taking an easy way out, but I think it’s not a three man race. I think we’re at a two man race here.

Andrew:                 Yeah. That’s how I feel. I think it’s a two man race. Here’s the thing with Zaire. We do radios all the time, and all the radio guys want it to be a two man race with Zaire being in there. When you say that’s not true, they laugh almost. They’re just like, “How is that the case? Why bring him in?” I think Zaire has a package. I think there is going to be a package.

Would it surprise me at all if it’s 1st and goal on the 5 and they bring Zaire in and have a package for him? I’m using this as an example, not comparing him to him, but kind of like Urban did with Tebow when there was goal line packages for him. Would it surprise me at all? No, because people continue to tell me Zaire’s a guy that when the play breaks down he’s a guy that makes things happen.

Nick:                         You’re not saying, it’s not going to be a Zaire Ram, like it was the Tebow Ram, but you’re saying in that sort of way where Tim Tebow’s going to touch the ball 10 times this game. He’ll have a couple drives, or come in for a couple plays.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         I just know people are going to holler at you and say, “He’s not 240 pounds. He can’t do that.” I’m just saying, you’re not saying he is.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         You’re saying he’ll have a package set in number wise, similar to that of Tim Tebow. Not running the same plays.

Andrew:                 Yeah. It could be on 3rd and 2 that he has the package for it. There could be a lot of things that could be. That’s what I’m saying. I do agree that it’s a Franks/Del Rio battle going into it.

Nick, we’re 38 minutes into this podcast when we said we had absolutely nothing to talk about. I’m just throwing that out there.

Nick:                         Yeah. We’re getting into each other a little bit. We’re disagreeing. Maybe I’m grumpy today too. I might be grumpy today. I’m moving tomorrow. I’ve been packing all day.

Andrew:                 Okay. There you go. Let’s get into a few minutes real quick of what we were going to talk about. I’m going to run through the 23 freshmen that enrolled in Florida this year. We’ll both give an opinion, play, not play, or play or redshirt this year. You cool with that? We’ll make it quick. We won’t do too much. I’m just running down the list. TJ Slaton.

Nick:                         Play. Good Lord, that’s a big boy.

Andrew:                 You say play?

Nick:                         Play.

Andrew:                 Defensive tackle?

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Okay. James Robinson. Hold on, TJ Slaton. I’m going to say plays small.

Nick:                         I’m not specifying, but I think you see him on the field this year.

Andrew:                 Okay. James Robinson.

Nick:                         Yeah. Yes.

Andrew:                 Agreed. In a little bit of a role, like Tyrie Cleveland last year. Zach Carter.

Nick:                         Yes.

Andrew:                 Interesting. This is where I think he plays. How much I guess is the biggest thing. I’ll say plays. CJ Henderson.

Nick:                         I think CJ plays special teams. He’s a talented player, but I’ve always kind of said, and I could be wrong, but I’ve always kind of said that I think he’s kind of more of a project player. Super talented, very athletic, but I think he plays maybe just on special teams. Another guy where I don’t think you redshirt him, because he’s got the talent to be a three year player, and then what are you doing? I think he plays this year mainly on special teams.

Andrew:                 Okay. Brad Stewart. Hold on. For CJ Henderson, I think special teams as well. If something crazy was to happen in the secondary where you’re up big in one of the games, I think he could get in. I think he sees more time at special teams this year. Brad Stewart.

Nick:                         Yes. Plays. I think we see a bunch of Brad Stewart.

Andrew:                 Okay. At DB, not just special teams.

Nick:                         Yes.

Andrew:                 I agree. I think you’ll see him. I think you’ll see his playing time increase throughout the year. Marco Wilson, I think we both agree he’s a starter.

Nick:                         Yes, sir.

Andrew:                 Daquon Green.

Nick:                         It’s interesting. I think we do see Daquon Green. I might even be more confident, I think we see Daquon Green more than we see James Robinson.

Andrew:                 Just because of what we talked about, Daquon’s a guy that’s going to make the little plays. Maybe not make great plays, or maybe not make highlight plays, but always be solid.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Okay. Man, there’s so many guys there at receiver. I think he’s ready, so I’ll say yes, but that’s one I’m least confident on. Kadeem Telfort.

Nick:                         Tough. I would have said yes before the suspension. I think it’s tough. Missing time. I think really the only way you might see him come back might be if there’s an injury, which unfortunately is part of the game. Very well could happen. That one’s tough. I’m going to say yes, we see him, just because that tackle depth is kind of sketchy without him there.

Andrew:                 I agree for that standpoint alone. I think that if you get up big in a game, and you pull Martez Ivey out of the game, which you want to do, because if you’re up 56-10 against Northern Colorado in the 4th quarter with five minutes to go, do you really want Martez out there getting hurt? No. I think for that standpoint, yes. TJ Moore.

Nick:                         No. I would say no.

Andrew:                 I say redshirt as well. Kemore Gamble.

Nick:                         Yes. I think we see Kemore.

Andrew:                 I do too. I think you see Kemore a lot, a good bit. Maybe he sees the most action of an offensive player, besides Kadarius Toney, on offense.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 Elijah Conliffe.

Nick:                         Yes. I think Conliffe and Kyree, those are your second team guys behind Taven Bryan and behind Khairi Clark.

Andrew:                 I even have Kyree ahead of Khairi Clark. That’s even kind of what Mac said on his scrimmage press conference is that he played a little bit more than Khairi because of that. Yeah. I’m going to say Conliffe plays, plays a good bit in that rotation. Shawn Davis.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think we see Shawn. I think we see him on defense, and I think we see him on special teams.

Andrew:                 I agree. I think you see Shawn have his role increase as the year goes on. Adarius Lemons.

Nick:                         As of right now I’m going to go on special teams.

Andrew:                 As of now I’m going to go on special teams as well. Kadarius Toney, I think we both agree is going to play.

Nick:                         Yeah. We’ve talked about him enough to say we think we’ll see him a bunch.

Andrew:                 Malik Davis. Nick, I’m going to jump ahead of you here. I think Malik is your third string running back.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think we kind of gave that away, both of us kind of gave that way, with our saying that we think Lemons would maybe just be special teams.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I think he’s your third string back, ahead of Mark Thompson, who I’ve heard is not injured, but says he’s hurt.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 There you go. Kyree Campbell, you kind of gave it away. I think we both think he plays, maybe even starts.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Jake. I think we both agree redshirt, clipboard.

Nick:                         Yes. Yes. He and Kyle Trask will be doing the hand signals that Trask and Franks did last year. There was some questionable looking hand signals they might want to work on for this year.

Andrew:                 Ventrell Miller. I think this is a tough one.

Nick:                         Another guy, it’s kind of like I mentioned about tackle. Linebacker is a position where if everyone stays healthy, you’re not going to see the freshmen. It’s a position where Florida’s had a bunch of injuries though, and it’s a physical position that you could get hurt. I think really the only way you see Ventrell would be if one of those guys were to get hurt, and you’re looking at Kylan Johnson, who’s already hurt.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         But you have Moon ahead of him there. I’m going to say probably not.

Andrew:                 I’m going to say no, unless he gets on special teams. Brian Edwards.

Nick:                         Yeah. I expect to see Brian Edwards playing a little bit of defense, definitely special teams.

Andrew:                 I see him as a special teams guy. James Houston.

Nick:                         I don’t see it, unless there’s injury. Maybe special teams.

Andrew:                 I’m not even sure how really healthy he is. I’m going to say no. Donovan Stiner.

Nick:                         No. I would say redshirt.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Me too. Nick Smith.

Nick:                         No. I’d probably say redshirt shirt. We’re talking linebackers.

Andrew:                 And injury.

Nick:                         Yeah, barring an injury. Actually, no, he’s already injured. He’s missed. I would expect him to redshirt. Forgot about his knee surgery.

Andrew:                 Bronson.

Nick:                         Yeah. Same thing.

Andrew:                 I think you see Bronson play more than the other two.

Nick:                         See him play special teams and linebacker, just special teams?

Andrew:                 Just special teams. Maybe some linebacker late in the game.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 So that’s kind of where we’re at with those guys. Again, if someone’s listening, and they’re like, “Spivey and Nick are down on somebody.” No. You got to remember, guys, we’re taping this August 17th, still two and a half weeks before the season starts. Could it change? Sure. It really could. We’ll see.

Nick:                         We’ll probably run that same thing back before the year starts.

Andrew:                 There you go. Nick, real quick I wanted to give a shout out. We’ve had several new members take part in our new deal that we have. Really good deal for an annual, and a pretty good deal for a monthly deal. If you guys are listening to this, we’ve been popping out the insider notes almost on a daily basis, and not just run of the mill shit. Good stuff. Come check us out. Got a lot of good things going. Nick and I, David Bowie, our photographer, Zach, our basketball guy/football guy, we’re all heading to Dallas. Going to be doing a lot of things from Dallas. Hit us up for a deal.

We’ve had plenty of recruiting stuff. Recruiting really gets underway this week, because games start. Jamar Chase had a big one on Wednesday night, which was last night for us as we’re taping this. Seven catches, 264 yards, and three touchdowns. Recruiting is ready.

Nick, tell them where they can find us to get that deal.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. You can find the podcast there in audio and transcript form. On iTunes, search @GatorCountry, and the podcast will pop up. You’ll see our ugly mugs up there. On social media, @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. You can find me, @NickdelaTorreGC on Twitter, him @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter. Go ahead and go double tap my Instagram too. Just @NickdelaTorre there.

Andrew:                 There you go. Mine’s dead. If you want to find mine, mine’s @AndrewSpiveyGC, but I don’t post as much as Mr. de la Torre.

Nick:                         Hey, I’m about to start traveling for football, which means that Instagram food love is going to be there.

Andrew:                 I was going to say, once we start traveling that’s when mine gets a little better, and yours gets a little better. We’ll have to do something. Maybe do Instagram Live or something when we’re out, Facebook Live, some shit out there in Dallas. We’ll do something cool. We’ll figure it out. If you got something you want to hear, let us know.

Guys, we appreciate it, for real. Podcast is back. Right now we’re two days a week. Soon as that season rolls around, back to three times a week. That recruiting special is going to start probably the first week of the season, when there’s more to talk about. As good as Florida’s been right now, not a ton to talk about because of that, and it’s a dead period.

Guys, as always, we appreciate it. As always, chomp, chomp. Go Braves.

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.