FRIED CHICKEN AND CORN BREAD
Someone asked me where I get these crazy titles. I don’t know, they just come to me like questionable impulses. Why today’s title? Does it not fit? We were frying USC East like good ole Southern Fried chicken then suddenly we started choking on the cayenne pepper of turnovers and the dry cornbread of defense. I can’t tell but it seems highly unusual for this defensive staff to leave an opposing QB standing on obvious passing downs when we have a 14 point lead. I have to admit for a few series I almost had to mush my dang self with the proverbial 9-1 Mac Cake but a win is a win and I already had two slices. I missed my column deadline working overtime in Orlando so instead posted the following on the private board. For those that missed the cake references or are not privy to the private boards, see below. All else skip to THE FRYING OF THE CHICKENS:
EAT THE DAYUM CAKE!
One of the most aggravating phrases ever uttered in civilization has to be: “You just want to have your cake and eat it too.” WHY YES! You don’t acquire cake NOT TO EAT THE DAYUM CAKE! CAKE IS GOOD! CHOCOLATE CAKE! GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE! WHITE CAKE! PURPLE CAKE! RED VELVET CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! CAKE! Like most nice things, people tend not to want to use them for their intended purposes. How many still have items in the original container, plastic on the couch or a fine wine just sitting on the shelf waiting for that special occasion or a bad day at work instead of enjoying it just because it’s there? Right now Gator Nation is being served some marvelous Orange & Blue cake. As fans we complain about the sausage making process and raggedy edges but at the end of the day the product still tastes great. If we lose every game forward (which isn’t going to happen) Mac’s the Coach of the Year in my book. Pay that man’s exit contract from CSU and rub his belly until he screams STOP! Sounds creepy and suspect but I’m at a lost for a better substitute for his Western type of adoration. House money does not describe what we are playing with at this point. The dichotomy from The Midline Guy to Mac is astounding. 9-1 and headed to Atlanta is a feat not seen since that dude in Ohio. Macs done a whole lot with a little.
However, right now I feel like turning into Ike Turner on some fans. You know the fictitious scene in the movie WHATS LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT, when an obviously stoned Ike Tuner smears cake all on poor Anna Mae Bullock, better known as Tina Turner, because she will not even at least taste the cake. I’m really feeling the impulse and starting to understand the rationale behind it. I don’t condone the actions depicted in the movie nor violence against women but I understand the impulse and I’m generally a sober guy other than an occasional sip of Bud light and the finest of Cognacs. I swear I am not violent “Much!” I try not to be! I’m not Wayne Brady Crazy but some of you really need to sit back, literally smell the roses and enjoy the DAYUM CAKE! I know taste is a subjective measure but how do you know how good or not something is until you at least taste it? I mean, just nibble at. Get a little taste for your palate. 9-1 is so flavorful and just so nice. It does not get any better than being year one where Mac has sent the puppy’s home with their tails and tales between their legs and EEKED out a hard fought victory over the Dude in the Village People’s Sailors outfit, thus punching a ticket for a fun filled weekend in Atlanta.
Thing that gets me is that the last two weeks I have been hearing and reading nouns, adjectives and adverbs like “regression” and the patience killer, “POOR COACHING”. MUD BUTT SAY WHAT? Poor coaching? This staff’s done more coaching utilizing smoke, mirrors, rotations, differing schemes and adjusting concepts in ten games than under the The Midline Guys entire tenure. Makes you want to grab a piece of the proverbial cake and commence the mushing and smearing of the faces. DO YOU TASTE IT NOW? IS IT GOOD TO YOU? TELL DADDY YOU WANT MORE! I said I’m not violent “MUCH” not at all. Some of us are never satisfied. What, do you want sparkles on your cake? Year one minus the #1 QB, more duct tape and glue on an offensive line and you are still not entertained? At this point it’s a mere product of greed. I ain’t mad at you but I am a little frustrated. We all see the issues. We also should see there is progress being made as in all 12 of #3′s completions were from the pocket last week. I’m not going to be the hypocrite here until FSU. Yall know if it’s messed up I’m one of the first to point out the elephant in the room and walk up and poke it just to make it roar for the impact of it. I had a long diatribe on Treon but deleted every line of it after reading the mountainous pile on. I’m not going to be a part of that. There is a misplaced anger there that invariably leads to a no win discussion/argument. As stated, I have ZERO sympathy for drugs and especially PED violations as a formerundersized player. Some of us need to learn to love the one ya wit as you are wed for a minimum of five or more upcoming games. You are what your record says you are as some wise man said especially after the teams we have just played. Please find their defensive ranks below and realize against the #11 defense the suspended guy threw zero touchdowns and struggled mightily as well. Let’s give the competition credit as we search for improvement.
125 New Mexico State Aggies
83 East Carolina Pirates
79 at Kentucky Wildcats
70 Tennessee Volunteers
52 Ole Miss Rebels
11 at Missouri Tigers
25 at LSU Tigers
14 Georgia Bulldogs
19 Vanderbilt Commodores (HC)
91 at South Carolina Gamecocks
88 Florida Atlantic Owls
32 Florida State Seminoles
5 The Florida Gators
THE FRYING OF THE CHICKENS
I’m not claiming to be Negrodomas but I really thought this would be a 28-0 dominating performance with us running the ball at will, forcing Treon to sit in the pocket and grow in the offense as our defense does that thing Gator Defenses do. Alas, it was just another Ho Hum Gator victory. Weeeeeeeeeee! Pop a Bud Light for the home team and pass da cake! Yeeeeaaahhhh! Wins are harder to come by than good friends and rarer yet, good coaching. There is no such thing as a bad win. You can call it Aunt Esther Go-Rilla cookies ugly all you want but a win is a win is a win. Put that checkmark in the left column for the good guys and keep it moving. Guarantee you this, TOG would have taken a win of any fashion in this game last year. This game was not as close as the score and we made it out to be. Four plays/mental busts really caused the heartburn :
- Interception in the Red Zone; taking points off the board
- Missed block, sack and fumble; PROTECT THE BALL!
- Throw back to the QB; AGAIN!
- Mismatch w Poole on Pharaoh Cooper; Bless poor Poole’s heart, he’s been on Sports Center so much the last few years. Yeah I said it and he does not get to complain to me until they take one of his missed tackles, grain it out a bit, turn it into a Poweraid commercial and run it for plus +10 years. Then he can say something.
OFFENSE STARTING, STOPPING BUT KEEPING IT MOVING
Overall, we moved the ball well on the 91st defensive unit. We generally held up in pass pro providing time and space for Treon to sit in the pocket and make some pretty descent down field throws. Although there was some missed short reads, we saw glimpses of ability to get the ball downfield from the pocket, play within the scheme and make some big throws on third down when needed. A couple were luckier than all get out but it’s great watching a Freshman help out his QB by doing the basics drilled into every receiver at birth; COME BACK TO THE BALL! The rollouts some of us were calling for led to bigger disasters than Treon sitting in the pocket. Seemed we were better off letting the scrambles come in the flow of the game. I really liked the semi- efficient +10 play time of possession eating drives as well as the dagger in the heart: an +80 yard drive topped of by KT’s run to grab back control.
I really thought we would run the ball better on aggregate but ole Kelvin Taylor had something to prove going for his 3rd 100 yard rushing game of the year. Guess when you have a chance to pass your Ole Mans record and talk a bit of trash to Pops, you can’t be denied. Saturday was one of the better screen days in its lone successful attempt. Prior this was a staple of a Mac offense. Upcoming, we are going to need more screens and draws to slow down the better pass rushing teams. Hell, we all know we are going to need those, a brick and a crow bar to slow down Alabama’s front four. Elsewise, good tough running by all especially Cronkite. I hope his injury is not too serious.
I watched Sharpe a lot Saturday. The guy is just a road grater especially on Cronkite’s touchdown. Would offer him some cake but he had his own pancakes working. Looks like left tackle will be in good hands for a while. Good not great game as a unit but really looking forward to seeing this unit developing under Mike Summers seeing the finished product.
The wide receivers were MEH but effective at times. They were hampered a bit via late deliveries at points but overall were getting open and made SOME nice plays. Once again, Calloway and Powell showed up playing well. Quite frankly, Robinson just has not taken the next steps or played up to his ability despite leading the team in yards and receptions. Let that sink in for a minute concerning this kids ceiling, talent level and star potential. Why does a freshman(s) have to illustrate to juniors and seniors how you help a QB struggling to find his theme music? Its heart breaking knowing your Split End at 6-4 and Flanker at 6-1 won’t go up and high point a ball. I’m not defending those fiddy fiddy balls our tone def QB hung up but at some point real soon you got to make a play. Dayum man! You’re 5 to 6 inches taller than the average DB. The back shoulder throw was just alarming. It’s a perfunctory throw. That means there is no reading of anything for the QB. Throw to your best WR expecting him to win a one on one battle to a fixed spot. It helps if you actually sprint off the line and drive off the DB. Also helps if the QB puts a little UMPH on the ball as well. I’m really waiting for them to flex McGee out on one of these smaller defenders and post them up like Shaq in the paint. IMO; with the new rules WRs should be fearless and acting invulnerable on the field. You don’t have to worry as much about some former linebacker now playing safety trying to see if he can put his facemask through your sternum. I mean they eject poor souls for such uncivil but highly enjoyable behavior in todays game. They call it targeting or something. In my day, targeting meant you hit the right guy in the pile, not your teammates; just saying!
ILL BE YOUR HUCKLEBERRY
The zero-Sum Game gets real tiresome. One guy does not have to absolutely suck to validate the other. It gets to the point its more fun taking the contra argument with some and watching them twist and turn inclusive of manipulating data points to prove a warped narrative. At this point, I’m on “Treon Improvement Watch” looking for signs the glass is half full as we slowly walk towards showdowns of epic proportions. He is literally all we got right? I’m more concerned with the day he hopefully puts it all together and plays a complete game then bitching about a guy that’s not here and in all honesty has been a bit overstated in his development and lore. I get it! I get it! The guy on the bench not being shot at is always the favorite. It was Treon last year about this time but Saturday we saw signs of improvements and that’s all I’m looking for right now. FAU is just as important as any game we have played so far as in ironing out the kinks. Treon is never going to snap off hot Nickels and Dimes like Grier. He does not have the mechanics nor swag to slam it in a tight window. With protection and time, he is a descent midrange passer with the added dimension of his feet. Pining over Grier is an exercise in futility for at least the remainder of this calendar year and most likely beyond. I hope and thinks he deserves to win his appeal but the NCAA is the NCAA. So get to singing some Stephen Stills elsewise there is that cross between Ike Turner and Wayne Brady Cake Thingy.
NASTY BUT SLEEPY D
I guess when you’re holding your opponent to 44 yards in the third quarter you’re doing pretty well defensively. Did we really have the ball for an almost 20 minutes longer than USCe at 39:56 to 20:04? They needed to provide blankets and pillows so the Defense could take naps between possessions. Gamecocks finished with 201 yards of offense with most of it on like two plays yielding 14 points as the defense was wiping the coal from their eyes between naps. Elsewise, a drop they did not produce for the majority of the game.
Do we have to mention the names individually or can we just say everybody. Boy did the guys chase da ball and deliver the pain upon their arrival so much so that Poor Macalister was the victim of fratricide. Ole Davis was coming so hard to inflict da pain he rolled over the target into friendly fire upon poor Macalister’s legs. I’m hoping it’s a sprain but I’m afraid it may be the dreaded high ankle sprain leg thingy. Speaking of #40 Jarrad Davis and his partner in pain #3 Antonio Morrison, WOW! These two have been absolutely fun to watch. Somewhere along the line they have morphed into two of the best LBs in the league and country. They are playing off each other in effort and my favorite in delivering the thump and as #99 Tim Paulk calls it Booyaas! Watching these two run around is so much fun especially considering both are coming off of knee surgeries and one was not expected back until mid year. Don’t get it wrong, I sink my nails into the seat when I see #3 in single man coverage but other than that he and #40 are really making an impact. Really hope Anzolone comes back next year healthy. If Davis forgoes the draft we should have once again a pretty good duo in the middle coupled with a healthy Jeremi Powell for 2016.
Bullard playing was a pleasant surprise. That’s a special kind of injury to allow you to walk lineman back to the QB like that. I was really getting worried he was going to hurt himself again trying to step over the bodies he just destroyed. He was giving a clinic on hand placement. CeCe Jefferson must be picking up tips as his hand placement was pretty damn good controlling linemen. That freshman label went out the window about four games ago and just in time. Brantley played a great game and was extremely disruptive. Cox is Cox just wish he would stay on sides but that motor runs non stop. After sitting out the first half for a targeting violation that would make Vince Lombardi turn over in his grave ole Fresh Legs Sherit comes in and steals himself a sack and a half. Really hope Ivie rests and heals up the next few weeks as we are going to need him upcoming.
It really only takes one mistake or mismatch for DBU to turn into DB Ooo. Don’t get how you don’t put Quincy, VH3 or Tabor on Pharaoh Cooper at all times. On any other team it would be just a guy like VH3 and that’s it. We have the luxury of more than one stud in a secondary racing to put their name on the Big Board of Ballas for the day. Just as one mismatch will make a game close anyone of ours can and will seal it shut and close down the party. Hell of a drive on the ball and pick by Wilson. He keeps his feet and it looks as if he was headed for the house.
Saying this is the Best Defense in the Nation may be a bit presumptuous and to a degree arrogant but all I have to say about it is SO! Keep it going fellas and pressing the point with your play. Plenty of upcoming opportunities to validate that status…
CHOKING ON THE CORN BREAD
I started to delete this section as there really is no choking being done by this team. For weeks they have found ways to win games and that’s all that matters. When you look at the aforementioned plays you see all are fixable with a focus on detail and discipline.
- Interception in the Red Zone
- Missed Block, Sack and Fumble
- Throw Back to the QB
- Mismatch on Pharaoh Cooper
That said, let’s focus on the positives of one of the learning experiences which exemplify why Mac is now roaming the Gators sideline. We’re going to pick on poor Treon for a minute. We the Couch Coaches of the Cake Guild had been calling for more roll outs. The rationalization was for getting Treon to the edge for greater vision and ability to use his legs but we forget that this limits the route tree and if covered or contained is generally a lost down. For the most part Treon smartly put the ball in the stands when the play was not there. You know, “We Live to fight another day. We Live to fight another day” Well, we all had a feeling eventually “Mayhem” was waiting like Dean Winters in those Allstate Commercials. Roll out to the right ball thrown across his body to Cronkite TOUCHDOWN! Albeit pert near pinch a loaf off disconcerting and eventually disastrous it worked for him. I was howling laughing at the TV close up of Mac, hands on knees staring at the ground mumbling to himself and in the Mic. Wonder how that conversation went? Lady Luck is that chick and we all know how she acts when you mess with her. Roll out to the right ball thrown across his body to Who? INTERCEPTION IN THE RED ZONE! Not so good! When lightning struck, too his credit, Mac used it as a teaching moment as the camera zoomed into a presumably uncomfortable conversation between he and Treon about why you don’t throw across your body while rolling out and especially towards the middle of the field to a RB not used to running routes. Unlike TOG, this was not a profane laced rant demeaning and degrading a player trying to make a play in the heat of battle. The cameras watched again as the Ball Coach put his hands on Treon’s shoulders, looked him in the eye and explained/reiterated coaching points.
To end this segment on a high note, think about the above interaction and the diferention between TOGS handling of the situation and Macs.
Never liked talking up lesser opponents nor playing down to the competition. Play like champions, take care of business, hang half a hundred, get out healthy and let’s get ready to rumble!