Gator Country’s weekly Friday podcast is back again this week with Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre as they talk about the latest news of the Florida Gators football team as we’re now just a day away from the East Carolina game.
Andrew and Nick also talk about the quarterback battle and what you can expect from the Florida Gators defense this week against a up-tempo ECU team and will the Gators blitz more this week?
To end the show Andrew and Nick give their prediction on the Florida Gators football game plus give you three guys that you should watch to have a big game this weekend for the Florida Gators football team.
Andrew: Hello, Gator Country. Today is Thursday. You guys won’t be listening to this until Friday, too bad for you guys. That’s another day without Nick and Andrew on your airways. Big week for Florida. Another chance for them to show their offense on Saturday, and I did say offense. I have heard, Nick, can you confirm or deny this that the governor has okayed offense in Gainesville?
Nick: Thank God that bill has passed. The offensive oppression of the past four years is over, and it looks like Florida might have a little competence on that side of the ball moving forward, which is nice to see.
Andrew: Confidence, I like confidence. Jim McElwain was upset, emotional, any word you want to put with not happy, on Wednesday when he talked about the quarterback play. It’s funny to me, because we’ve been so inept to be okay with just okay play like it was on Saturday, but McElwain wants excellence. He wants great. He wants perfection. Would Jim McElwain be alive right now if he was dealing with Jeff Driskel, Tyler Murphy, Skylar Mornhinweg, all those guys? Would he be alive right now?
Nick: You know, SEC Network ran a program called SEC Inside where they followed one of the teams for an entire week. Florida led that series off last week, and on the show they called him, McElwain that is, the quarterback whisperer. I don’t know what that means exactly, but maybe McElwain would have been able to whisper into Jeff Driskel’s ear, into John Brantley’s ear, and gotten a little more out of them than the previous coaching staff. I really think that McElwain was happy with some of the things that the quarterbacks did on Saturday. He said several times he thought they played well.
He was really disappointed with the way the team and the quarterbacks themselves practiced on Tuesday, and then very upset that they weren’t able to bounce back from a poor practice on Tuesday to having a better practice on Wednesday. He got probably the most animated that I’ve ever seen him. I was talking to another reporter who was there at the press conference with me, and he said, “I felt like I was in high school getting yelled at by a coach again, and I didn’t even play in the game.” McElwain’s talking about things, about being prepared. He’s talking about understanding situations, not being afraid to be great. He was very upset with the quarterbacks’ decision making on Wednesday.
Here’s a direct quote, “If you want me to call it out, we had two late throws in the red area today. Can’t happen. We had one late throw over the middle. That’s going to get intercepted. That’s unacceptable.” That is a new standard, and a new level of expectations that are being put on the quarterbacks, and I really think it goes back to McElwain having played the position, coached the position as a quarterback’s coach, been an offensive coordinator, and now a head coach. I think that’s just a different level, someone who has played the position and coached the position for so long is going to hold that position to a different standard, kind of like you saw with Muschamp and the safeties in previous years.
Andrew: It’s good, though. It’s really good to see.
Nick: I 100% agree. Listen, if a kid’s feelings are going to get hurt, because a coach calls him out in the media.
Andrew: The hell with it.
Nick: Might want to find him something else to do.
Andrew: Yeah. To heck with it. Go on somewhere else, cry to somebody else. This isn’t Little League football where crybabies are okay. Let’s just be all grown men here.
Nick: You still get orange slices after the game?
Andrew: Yeah, you still get a little snow cone or cup of Coke or whatever it is, screw all that bullcrap. We’re in the big boy league now. It’s business football. He didn’t name a starter on Wednesday. We kind of all expected him to, because that’s what he did last week. You and I talked about this a little bit. I think I’m okay with him not naming it, and I think I understand his reasoning for not naming it. I think he took a lot of unfair heat from the Griers, from the Harris side of things, just all in general by naming that starting quarterback. I’m okay with him doing that. I think you trot the guy out on Saturday, and let him go play football. I do think it’ll be Will Grier, simply because I think he wants to flip flop and see what Will can do as a starter and then see what Treon can do coming off the bench cold. I do think it’ll be Will, but what is your take on that, and are you okay with him not naming a starter on Wednesday?
Nick: As a member of the media, I loved last Wednesday. We got a big news dump. We got a ton of stuff to talk about, and this week not so much, but I understand what you’re saying. As a fan of football I understand that naming a starter last Wednesday caused a lot of outside noise. Players hear it, whether it’s us writing, on social media. They see it, and it’s just kind of a distraction. So I understand why McElwain might be hesitant to do it. I don’t think he’s hiding behind the whole, we don’t want to give our opponent an advantage excuse that the past coaching staff used, but I get it. Do I think we’ll learn a lot as far as, Treon started the second game, that means he’s going to be the starter the rest of the year. Jim McElwain made it very clear yesterday, saying, “You guys read a whole lot into nothing.” I wanted to sit back in my chair and raise my arms up into the sky.
Nick: Say halleluiah. I said all week long the depth chart is not worth the paper that it’s printed on. It’s just something that they have to put out there. Case in point being Demarcus Robinson missed a team meal on Sunday, gets moved down to third string on Monday on the depth chart, and, Andrew, the sky was falling. The season was over.
Andrew: Yeah, it’s over with. Demarcus Robinson’s done with football. He quit. I think it’s because of the paranoid, the egotistical, the whatever you want to call Will Muschamp that he would not, I don’t think he would tell you what color underwear he was wearing if someone asked him. I don’t. I think he was that concerned about everything that he didn’t, and I think now that you have an honest football coach in Jim McElwain that you want to take everything with what he says. You don’t want to take it with a grain of salt, and I think it’s kind of like a starting lineup in baseball. It’s there for a reason, because you have to do it, but five minutes before game time you may change it. Just stick a middle finger up at the opposing team.
Here’s the thing that I like. I like that McElwain has set this as a precedent that if you screw up there is penalties to pay around this place. This is not Will Muschamp’s era where you can go around hitting people out of bounds, punching people out of bounds, and getting away with it. There’s consequences. The thing McElwain says is, “I didn’t drop you. You dropped yourself.” You made the decision not to show up. In Duke Dawson’s case, you made the decision not to wake up on time. You were late to practice, so you sit out. I like that. What better person to make an example out of than Demarcus Robinson, your second best player on your team behind Vernon Hargreaves? I’m all for Mac. Praise Mac for that. I do think that that’s a big thing. You’ve seen one penalty last week. One penalty didn’t happen because it was New Mexico State, it happened because Mac has been preaching. Do the right thing. Do guys play scared on Saturdays? No. I do think they think about should I do this. Is this a smart play for me? Simply, he’ll pull you out and sit you on the bench if you make a stupid penalty.
Nick: It goes back to something that McElwain has said, and something that his players have taken to heart and kind of echoed back to us. That’s you have a freedom of choice, not a freedom of consequence. Listen, I didn’t make you sit out the first half on Saturday, Duke. You made yourself sit out the first half on Saturday by your actions, by sleeping in and coming to something late. You made the choice to not play in that first half on Saturday. Demarcus, you didn’t show up on Sunday, so I didn’t move you down to third on the depth chart, you moved yourself down. I think some kids have to see it for themselves, but that it’s all really sinking in to everybody.
Now, do I think Demarcus Robinson has consequences? Sure. Consequences, maybe the embarrassment of being third string when you’ve been first string for almost going into your third year now. Everybody knows the kind of talent you are, so that’s embarrassing. Do I think it plays over into the game? Maybe. Maybe you see him miss a snap, a series, but push comes to shove, I don’t care where Demarcus Robinson is on the depth chart. I don’t care if he’s your backup kicker, if he’s your fifth string punter, if he’s your backup right tackle. Demarcus Robinson will catch footballs in Gainesville and throughout this season for the Florida Gators as long as he is not suspended or injured. He is not suspended this week. He is not injured. Don’t care where he is on the depth chart. Demarcus Robinson’s playing this week.
Andrew: There you go. It is a good thing though. For a guy like Demarcus Robinson, I’m sure he got embarrassed. That is embarrassing. That’s embarrassing to your family. That’s embarrassing. Demarcus Robinson knows NFL coaches saw that. That’s embarrassing to him. I like that. I like that a lot in that he did that.
Let’s move a little bit to ECU. There is a football game to be played on Saturday. The Gators just faced them in the Birmingham Bowl, where we were at. 500 and some plus yards that they gave up during that game. I do think that Florida faces a different team. Their third quarterback in ECU. Their starter graduated. Their next guy that was supposed to be the starter tears his ACL. So they’re facing a different team in general, but I think you’re facing a more experienced team in Florida, and a team that has something to play for now. The Birmingham Bowl was yeah, whatever. It’s getting out of here. I think you’ll see a different team. I don’t think you give up that many yards, but what do you think about it, and what’s your impression of their offense?
Nick: The Birmingham Bowl the guys really kind of rallied around the seniors and some of the juniors, Dante Fowler specifically, wanting to send them off the right way. This is a very different ECU team. ECU lost a three year starter in Shane Carden, one of the best receivers in the history of the school in Justin Hardy. They had named a replacement in Kurt Benkert, unfortunately he tears his ACL August 25th. So now you’re on to quarterback #3. You have a new offensive coordinator. You struggled with an FCS opponent in Townsend last week.
he one thing I can say about them, and it’s something that Kirk Callahan brought up. Callahan spent the last couple years at UCF, who is a conference opponent for ECU, so he’s very familiar with the team and with the coaching staff. Callahan says it doesn’t really matter that you have a new offensive coordinator, because it’s the system that they run, kind of like how Gator fans aren’t worried about Florida’s defense even though there’s a new defensive coordinator, because it’s a system. Those pieces are in place. ECU is still going to try to do the same things. They’re going to try to get the ball out quickly, run the ball when they need to, spread you out, and keep the tempo high.
Florida can’t really replicate that in practice, because that’s not their style of offense, and Jim McElwain kind of said that much on Wednesday that our defensive coaches are trying to do some things to speed up the tempo, make sure guys are in the condition they need to be, but offensively we can’t replicate that. It’s not what we do. Do I think ECU’s going to be able to rattle off a 101 plays like they did in the Birmingham Bowl? No, just because they’re missing those guys who made that thing possible. They only were able to run 77 against an FCS opponent last week. Florida is still going to need to take this game seriously. You and I talked about it’s not the greatest team they’ll play this year, but it’s a step up from Week 1.
Andrew: Yeah. It’s the perfect, I guess you could say, staircase for the season. You have New Mexico State, who was not very good. Then you have ECU is the step up, then a step up in Kentucky, and then you get to the upper echelon of teams in Tennessee. So I like that as well, but the one thing I’ll say about this defense out of this game plan for ECU is ECU’s not your normal spread team. They’re not going to chuck it deep every play. They’re going to be more of a grind it out football team. They had 101 plays last year in the Birmingham Bowl, 80 some last week. So they’re going to just try to grind the football out.
Do I think you see more Geoff Collins defense? Sure. I don’t think you’ll see a ton of blitzing though, because blitzing doesn’t work against this short passing game of ECU. I do think you will see more of the patented corner blitz from the nickel with Brian Poole or maybe Quincy when he slides inside. I do think you’ll maybe see some blitzing with Jeremy Powell from his outside linebacker position, and then I think you’ll see more of a short zone where you have two deep over the top and then you have Vernon and Tabor or Quincy, whoever’s playing the outside corner, more of your corner in the flats.
Then it’s going to be very key for guys like Morrison, Anzalone, Jarrad Davis to play fundamental football at their linebacker position and make good open field tackles, because there’s going to be a lot of crossing routes. Ten yards and under is going to be ECU’s game plan for this game. Will it be a lot of interceptions? No, but key tackles like Jalen Tabor had the other night against New Mexico State’s going to be very key, as well as the defensive line. Not so much getting a pass rush, but getting their hands up to make the throws harder.
Nick: It can be frustrating for a defense. ECU when you think up tempo, spread attack, they throw the ball over the field and air raid offense. It’s kind of like that, but a lot of what they do is they just stay patient. So they’re content with picking up three yards on a swing pass, four yards on a crossing route, three yards on a slant. There you go, you got a 1st down. They’re not concerned with hitting that big play. They will take those small chunks of yardage and hope that they add up to enough yards to continue advancing the football.
That can get frustrating for guys like Vernon, like Jalen and Quincy and the linebackers, to have to come up and make tackle after tackle when there’s not much you can do. You don’t really have a chance to intercept the ball. The only play you can make is to give up those couple yards and make the tackle, so that three yard gain doesn’t turn into a 30 yard gain. That can get frustrating. For Florida defensively, it’s stay patient, stay within yourself, know that ECU’s going to be able to move the football a little bit. Just stay patient. Stay fundamentally sound.
Andrew: Agreed. Again, it’s about playing fundamental football. It’s about making tackles in space. Jalen Tabor made a good one the other day. Just playing really good. A lot of this will be, Vernon, you’ve seen this play on tape. You’ve seen this shift. Get to the ball before it’s thrown. It’s going to be a lot of, I don’t want to say guessing, but knowing what’s coming more so than anything, and I think it’s just going to be a good game. No way ECU puts up 500 yards of offense in this game. I do think that Florida will have a better game, and I think that the defense will have a good game as well. I know Jim McElwain, Kirk Callahan, they’ve all played against ECU while McElwain was at Louisville. What was McElwain’s record there, and what’s your thought?
Nick: Jim McElwain has a little bit of history against ECU. He was the special teams and quarterbacks coach at University of Louisville, and I people in Kentucky will appreciate the way that I say their city. It’s Louisville. He was the special teams and quarterbacks coach there. McElwain didn’t start off great. ECU won 28-25 in 2000, but his Cardinal team did come back, won 39-34 in 2001 and 44-20 in 2002. Jim McElwain’s never faced ECU as a head coach, and he’s actually never faced Ruffin McNeill. They’ve kind of crossed paths along their way. Ruffin McNeill’s one of the most widely respected coaches in the profession. Jim McElwain had nothing but glowing things to say about him. This will be the first time the two of them face off as head coaches against each other.
Andrew: I think that they know, McElwain knows Ruffin McNeill well. They’re good friends or whatever. ECU’s offense will look a little different. Lincoln Reilly’s no longer there. The game plan is still the same. The offense is still the same, but play calling will be different because of Lincoln Reilly not being on staff, compared to when he was the last few years. Overall, I think that this is a good step for Florida, because they’re playing a spread offense. You’ll see some spread offense in teams like Tennessee. Missouri does play up tempo, and some other teams possibly with that. It’s a good barometer to get your ready for. You can’t prepare for this in practice, because Florida doesn’t run that up tempo. It’s a good preparation for Florida for the future of the season.
Nick: Yeah. It is. I think the whole familiar opponent thing can play into Florida’s favor this game. I had a chance to speak with an ECU offensive lineman in Garrett McGhin, who’s a Tallahassee kid. I asked him the question, “Does it help you guys being able to play?” He said, “Not really.” He said, “We watched one game on tape, the one game of tape that Mac has, and this is a whole new coaching staff. This is a different team.” I think it plays in Florida’s favor, definitely more so than it plays in ECU’s favor. I think it’s just another game that Florida should be able to win, a game that they probably will win, and it’s just about continuing that progression as you get ready for SEC play.
Andrew: Definitely. As always on our new Friday show, we’re going to do some—
Nick: Real quick, before we get to that. I wanted to mention, Jim McElwain mentioned it, I was actually down at Gator Walk, wanted to get some periscope, or some video for you guys. The environment at Gator Walk was great. I didn’t go to any of the Gator Walks last season, but our photographer, David Bowie, was at every single one. I went up to him, and I said, “It seems pretty crowded down here. It’s pretty loud. How does this compare to any of the games?” Remember, you had LSU in last year. How does this compare to other games last year? He said, “It’s a lot fuller. There’s more people here, that’s for sure, and it’s a lot louder.” Jim McElwain said the players really responded to that. He could see them responding to it, that energy they got from Gator Walk, and then heading into the game.
I can be a little snarky at times, especially on Twitter, and when Florida announced that there were slightly over 90,000 people at the game I kind of looked around and was like, that makes sense. In past years I was like, how did they get to that number? Are there people hiding behind other people that I don’t see? I don’t know how they got to the announced attendance number. The fans were great. I loved to yell at the students section, which is the section that sits right across from me in the press box. I love to yell at them, because I think they show up late and they leave early, but they were there early. Butts were in the seats when Here Come the Gators started. Those fans had already been there for 45 minutes yelling the entire time. I have yelled at the fans in the past, so it’s my time to tip my cap and say, good job Week 1. I will see you Saturday, hopefully as many of you, if not more, on Saturday.
Andrew: Yeah. 600 tickets were available. That was all that was available as of this morning, so maybe less than that.
Nick: And this, we were told that New Mexico State I think was allotted 5,000 tickets, and they sold about 800. So those were tickets that Florida’s getting back on Wednesday, Thursday, and even Friday of game week that they quickly have to turn and resell. Florida had a couple thousand tickets that they needed to sell that they hadn’t originally planned on selling. You’re going to get that same thing with ECU. I haven’t gotten the numbers yet as of us taping, I’ll probably get that Friday when you’re listening. ECU’s not going to sell that allotment of 5,000 tickets, so that’s going to be more tickets that Florida has to sell. In the past those were hard tickets to sell. Now those are hard tickets to come by if you’re trying to go to the game.
Andrew: Yeah. I think the one thing that’s kind of lost in all this is the recruiting effect for this. The recruits told me that it was a game. They didn’t expect it to be this loud. You had some guys, Stone Forsythe, some other guys that came to the games last year and told me that this was the loudest game they had been to, the New Mexico State game, then it was last year. Like you said, that was LSU coming to town. That was South Carolina in town. That was some good games last year that were in town, and a Kentucky game that went to double overtime, and they’re saying this was the loudest game that they’ve heard. Big props to the fans, to Gator Nation, for coming out. You wanted a new coach. You got a new coach, and props to you guys for coming out and doing it. Just keep it up, because it makes everything fun. It makes Coach McElwain happy. It makes the players happy. Just continue doing that.
Nick: First off, Gator Walk was fun for me. I might actually go back down there. It was a little hot.
Andrew: Oh, brother. You’re such a crybaby, Nicholas.
Nick: I left the air conditioned press box to go down there and sweat, so I might go back down to Gator Walk. You’ll just have to tune in to see if I do.
Andrew: Let’s move on here. We’re running our time here. We always do, on our new Friday show we’re going to do some guys we’re looking to have big games on Saturday. Nick, give me two guys, an offense and a defensive guy. I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you three picks. Let’s go three picks apiece, offense, defense, and then whoever else you want to pick for the game on Saturday.
Nick: Offense, I’m going to go with Demarcus Robinson to have a big game. That’s right, everyone, the third string ex-receiver.
Andrew: He’s not playing though. He’s not playing.
Nick: The third string receiver at Florida. I’m going out on a limb to say that a lowly third string player will have a breakout game, will have a big game on Saturday. It might not make any sense to you, because he’s not on top of the depth chart, but Demarcus Robinson will have a big game on Saturday. He’s had a very good week at practice.
My second player, flipping the script, going to the defensive side of the ball, I’m going to go with Quincy Wilson. Quincy Wilson got the start last week, didn’t really show up all that much in the stats sheet, had a good game in my opinion. Didn’t show up all that much in the stats sheet. Jalen Tabor was tied for the team lead in tackles. Vernon Hargreaves got the pick, and that leaves Quincy there. I think you’ll see Quincy step up, maybe get an interception this week, make a play.
Then my third player will be going special teams now. I’m going to go with Austin Hardin.
Andrew: No, you don’t have to go special teams. You can go whoever you want as your third guy.
Nick: Whoever I want. I’m going to stick with defense then and go with Alex Anzalone. I think I picked Alex Anzalone last week. The play that sticks out to me the most is something that most people overlook or didn’t see. The play is Vernon Hargreaves’ interception. Most fans will say Vernon Hargreaves got an interception. He returned it 30 yards. That’s pretty good. It was a trick play, but what you don’t see is that Alex Anzalone recognized that Cece Jefferson had created pressure, forced the quarterback to scramble, and Anzalone covered about a 15 yard gap in no time flat, forced the quarterback to throw off of his back foot, not get into the pass, and then that leaves to the duck that Vernon Hargreaves was able to come down with for the pick. Plays like that, not to mention Anzalone was also tied for the team lead in tackles. He’s really taken over that leadership role passed down to him by Antonio Morrison.
Those are going to be my three guys, Quincy Wilson, Alex Anzalone, and then is he a walk-on? The third string receiver, whatever his name is. We forget his name already.
Andrew: The guy that’s not playing, Demarcus Robinson. Here it goes. Last week Townsend rushed for 179 yards.
Nick: That is FCS opponent Townsend.
Andrew: 4.1 rushing yards per attempt, 203 yards total rushing if you don’t count sacks. I’m going to say that Kelvin Taylor has a big game, a big game rushing, and then I will say that I do think Scarlett and Cronkrite do have a good game as well. I do think Kelvin Taylor’s the lead back there. I think that he showed me something that I had been asking for. Tim Skipper’s done a hell of a job, a great job, with Kelvin Taylor getting him focused. One thing you saw in the SEC inside thing on Wednesday night was Mac telling KT, he was like, what’s the best way to the end zone? What’s the shortest route? He was like, a straight line. He goes, thank you. That’s something you did see more from Kelvin Taylor. He didn’t dance around. He would stick it and go, stick it and go. That’s what I like from Kelvin Taylor. Kelvin Taylor has a big game.
On defense I’m going with Marcus Maye. Marcus Maye, coming back from suspension. He has fresh legs like Jim McElwain joked with him. Marcus Maye wants to get the NFL. He was tired of Will Muschamp’s defense and Will Muschamp picking on him. Marcus Maye, you go out there, you have a great game, buddy. Kelvin Taylor, Marcus Maye.
My third guy is going to be Brian Poole. Brian Poole, you have yourself a big game, buddy, because they think they’re going to see some blitzing on Saturday. I think you’re going to see that blitzing off the edge from Brian Poole. Brian Poole has a sack, has a pick. Go have yourself a day, brother. Go have yourself a day.
Nick: That’s high risk, high reward with the kind of sideline to sideline lateral passing game that ECU likes to implement. That’s really high risk, high reward blitzing a corner like that.
Andrew: It is, but here’s the thing. You’re playing him at the nickel back, so you bring him off the edge. They like to throw those short quick passes. Now you have a coming in your face as you try to throw. Guess what? You’re either going to double pump when you see the guy, or you’re going to throw the ball right to a cornerback.
Nick: In that, even just a double pump, this is an offense that really is tied in with their timing. These quick routes are all timing based, so that double pump, even if the Brian Poole’s not making a play, just forcing that double pump is disrupting the offense.
Andrew: And you have an offensive line that is going to be more of a quick. I’m going to 1, 2, 3, pass, block, and then I’m going to block. So guess what? That throws their timing off. You end up with possible a strip sack from a defensive lineman or a sack. Brian Poole, o have yourself a game, big dog. Nick, since we’re going to save our predictions to the end of the thing, let’s talk about a couple games around the country real quick.
Nick: Let’s do it.
Andrew: The nasty, hateful…
Nick: Here you go. Are we going to get a Spivey rant?
Andrew: We are getting a Spivey rant. The Tennessee Volunteers, come follow me on Twitter, because I don’t care. I don’t care. You looked like crap on Saturday against Bowling Green, and now you got the Oklahoma Sooners coming to town. Oklahoma Sooners roll by 12 points. Roll by 12 points. Come at me, Vol Nation on Twitter. What do you have, Nick?
Nick: I have a cup full of regret for you, because your block hand will have to be strong after calling out Vols fans on Twitter. We look forward to having someone from Vol Nation, we’ll keep it a surprise, someone from Vol Nation, one of the reporters, on the podcast next week to help preview that game.
Andrew: You mean two weeks.
Nick: In two weeks, excuse me. I’m really looking forward to that game, because this is a true test. Listen, Tennessee I was high on you. Andrew was mad at me for being high on you. No excuse for giving up 30 points to Bowling Green.
Andrew: 30 points to Bowling Green.
Nick: Get your act together, or else Oklahoma’s going to get their act together, and you’re not going to like it.
Andrew: Bowling Green, Nick. It was Bowling, freaking, Green that scored 30 points, and had it not been for a lightening delay Tennessee may be 0-1 right now, buddy. They may be 0-1. I’m going to give you that opportunity right now to take back how high you were on the Tennessee, I don’t even want to call them the Volunteers, the Tennessee Fake-a-teers.
Nick: That’s a creative name. I am still high, and I think the thing that I did see that kind of confirmed some of my thoughts about them were the running backs. Jalen Hurd was very good, Alvin Kamara, who I think people were sleeping on, fantastic group of running backs. I was very disappointed with the defensive line of the linebackers, who I thought were going to be good. Other than Cam Sutton in the secondary I thought the rest of their secondary was suspect, and I think that showed its face. For Florida, if you can get the passing game going and kind of pick at that secondary maybe I will back away from my prediction that Tennessee was going to win that game.
Andrew: Let me tell you this real quick, before we get the predication on that game. Bowling Green had 433 yards passing, averaging 14.9 yards per catch, 124 yards rushing. That’s 557 yards total offense, versus Tennessee. Let me go off my rant. What’s your prediction on Tennessee vs. Oklahoma? I’m saying the Sooners roll, Bob Stoops.
Nick: I actually picked this for the Alligator. We pick against the spread, and actually it was a pick ‘em in this game, and I took Oklahoma to take home the win at Neyland Stadium.
Andrew: I love you, buddy, I really do. I love you for saying that. My love for you just grows. My heart right now is gushing, just because you picked against the Vols. Vol Nation, get at me, boys. Nick, Mississippi State vs. LSU, what’s your prediction?
Nick: This is an intriguing game. I’m really low, much lower on Mississippi State than a lot of people, I think. I got LSU winning this. I understand they missed their first game of the season. It was the first time LSU’s had a game cancelled in over 100 years. They’ve got a quarterback controversy of their own, but I think when it comes down to it the offense is #7 and Leonard Fournette, and I don’t see Mississippi State without Geoff Collins and without some of the guys that they lost to the draft stopping Mr. Fournette.
Andrew: I can go with that. I think that it’s a game that LSU should win big time. Mississippi State struggled against a very bad Southern Miss team, but I am suspect a little bit on LSU’s offense. I’m going to say it’s closer than we all expect it to be, but I’m going to go with LSU to win that game. Michigan State vs. Oregon, that’s probably the biggest game of them all. Oregon ran Michigan State out of town last year. This time it’s at East Lansing. What do you got?
Nick: I love the way the brand of football that Michigan State plays. It’s kind of like a pro-style attack. They really focus on the running game, play action pass off of that, and they play physical hardnosed defense. I’m not sold on Oregon without Marcus Mariota. I’m going with Sparty at home.
Andrew: Sparty. I am going with Sparty, because I love their style play as well, Nicholas. Very good play by Michigan State. I love their head coach, the way they play the game and play the game the right way, physical football. We’ve got those three. That’s probably the three biggest games. Let’s turn our attention. Gators vs. ECU, I think we’re both agreed that the Gators win. What’s your score prediction, Nicholas, and, by the way, before we do this. Can you remind me last week, who was very close to picking the game dead on?
Nick: You were very close to picking the game head on. I was also close. I predicted a shut out.
Andrew: You said something like 47-0.
Nick: Yeah, so I was close.
Andrew: I said 55-10, with Scarlett getting his first touchdown, and Vernon Hargreaves with a pick.
Nick: All right. I have Florida winning this game. I think ECU will put up some points. I’ve got Florida winning, let’s go with 53-10.
Andrew: 53-10, okay. 45-13, Gators roll. Big game Demarcus Robinson, like we talked about. Big game for Kelvin Taylor. The offense rolls, both quarterbacks look good again, and the Gators are 2-0 headed to SEC play against the Kentucky Wildcats.
Nick: What do you want to see from Florida as far as improvements from Week 1 to Week 2?
Andrew: Offensive line, I want to see the offensive line get better again. You and I talked about this on the show on Monday that it was their first game, so we can give them somewhat of a pass, since it was their first game communicating together. I want to see that line get better. I do think you’ll see guys rotating in, so you won’t get a true five guys for the whole time, plus Martez Ivey’s still out. I do want to see the offensive line get better there, and then I want to see Treon and Will continue to progress. I want to see Treon throw the ball more on time with it, and I want to see Will Grier be turnover free.
Nick: I like that. Those were all good keys, and I want to see the defense come out and start fast.
Andrew: Okay. I can agree with that, that negative one in the second half. You want to see that as well. I can go with that.
Nick: You can’t knock the defense in the second half. They gave up no points, 9 passing yards, -10 rushing yards, and had two sacks and a turnover. You can’t knock them for that. I want to see them start fast, because that was even a little bugaboo that they had a year ago where they would start slow on defense, and it would take them a little while to work into it. I want to see them come out, punch ECU in the face from the beginning. Play fast, physical from the opening kickoff and not wait until half time.
Andrew: Absolutely. A couple big visitors are coming in. We’ll have that visitors list on Friday, probably about the same time you guys are listening to this we’ll have this.
Nick: Where will we have that, Andrew?
Andrew: GatorCountry.com, where Nick and I have been really on top of this scoop. Nick, you’ve done an incredible job this year of getting on top of things. I think we’re having our best year so far. We’re doing some good stuff at Gator Country, guys. Make sure to do that. One quick programming note, my South Alabama Jaguars, I get to talk about them, because that’s my team. They go to Nebraska this weekend. South Alabama’s got a pretty good football team. For me it’s a measuring stick. How far have my Jaguars come along that they go into Lincoln this Saturday?
Nick: Yeah. Maybe Nebraska overlooks them. They’ve got a matchup coming down the road with Miami. That’s got a ton of history behind it, so let’s see if the South Alabama Jags can pull off an upset. My alma mater, UCF, was upset last week. My sister is actually a freshman at FIU, so she made sure to remind me about the outcome of that game. Thank you, Danielle, I appreciate the text.
Andrew: We’ll take care of FIU for you this year, Nicholas. Let’s get off of this bad boy. We’re running 40 minutes into this thing.
Nick: You’re welcome, fans.
Andrew: You’re probably tired of hearing us. One last thing, Tennessee Twitter, you suck! Go ahead, Nicholas.
Nick: I mean, I guess you stay classy, Gator Country. We’ll work on Andrew’s class, and make sure to follow both of us on Twitter @NickdelaTorreGC. Good luck spelling that last name. It’s a crutch for me. @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter as well. GatorCountry.com for all your latest news, notes, tidbits, breaking information, and my mailbag will be up tomorrow as well. Andrew’s is up on the site on Thursday. If you want to get in on the mailbag, hit that subscription to Gator Country. Talk to us on the message boards. We look forward to seeing you there.
Andrew: Guys, if you’ve listened to us this long, I have a little nugget for you guys. If you’ve listened this far, and you’re not a member of GC, and you can go to my Twitter and tell me how bad you dislike Tennessee, I will give you one free month to Gator Country.
Nick: He’s a man of his word too. He will do it.
Andrew: I’m a man of my word.
Nick: You’re getting something for free.
Andrew: That’s right. Gator Country, we appreciate you guys. See you on Saturday in the Swamp, and as always, stay classy, Gator Nation. That’s what my man Nick says. He’s already said it, so I said it for him. Follow us on Twitter. Take care, guys.