I would like to thank Gator Country for inviting me back and allowing me to run my big mouth. As it was before I signed, I am a big fan of Florida Gators Football and love nothing more than talking about it.
Before we get into the upcoming hell that is Florida’s October schedule, I will jump into a few subjects I have been asked about offline:
Good Dude from what I can tell. Being from the Beach, you have to like a guy that understands socks are not a necessary requirement in the State of Florida. Elsewise, seems to me the man has a plan to get us back to where we belong. It is evident in his attention to detail in almost every facet of the program inclusive of Marketing and Facilities. Sorry, but those old Joker Advertising memes and a like were horrible. The new memes are professional, yet have a great flair while conveying excitement. One of the things that caught my eye was the moves he made during the offseason on the offensive line. We had an abysmal number of bodies, talent and a lack of development. While development is an ongoing process, we have brought in a lot of old and young talent for Summers to work with and numbers to at least practice like an SEC team.
In my opinion: this is evidence of a person that recognizes his team’s weakness, puts a plan together and executes. Yet, we all know, every Gators coach had or has a plan at UF until they get punched in the mouth come this time of year and especially October. I hope everyone understands that there is a process to this as he works to remold the culture of the program and right size a roster. Plans take time to execute; cultures take time to change and development takes growing pains and hard lessons. Going forward he has my full hopes, support and PATIENCE.
Head Coach handling of Kelvin Taylor on the SINCE 1990’s BANNED Throat Slash:
Overblown by everyone! Good Leaders do not shrink from confrontation when it is needed. Nothing wrong with Aversive/Negative feedback in football and life. It is painful to watch and hear but, SORRY, sometimes you have to call a person acting a Dumb Azz a”Dumb Azz.” Politically correct seems misplaced in arenas where striking another man violently and repeatedly are the basis of success. Kelvin is a good kid and will be fine. We see lesson learned from the correction after his TD against Kentucky and Tennessee. There is a line there that the good coaches know that, but Muschamp repeatedly crossed that I do not believe Mac will reach or come close to again. Elsewise, he’s publicly going to correct the guys when they are acting selfish. Media is the media and when you are supposedly struggling they are the first to point out any and all activity that will generate ratings or Internet clicks. But, Saban loses his S!#? every week, Oh well. Me? I never got yelled at when I played. ROFLMAO!
Side Note: I won’t be Mentioning That Name again. Makes my head hurt.
Will Grier seems to have the upper hand based on size, decisiveness and an arm that dictates when players are open via velocity and placement. He just needs the reps and time to properly develop in order to find where the line is between being aggressive and playing smart. Right now he seems to be predetermining his throws A LOT but we are at the beginning of an install, development and SCHEDULE. What you got away with versus NMST, ECU, Kentucky and Tennessee in the last quarter against a prevent defense are turnovers against the better athletes and coordinators upcoming. It is not like you are playing NFL caliber players, schemes or anything in October forward. So far so good, but need four full quarters like Tennessee’s fourth.
Harris has a great running and passing skill set and an option that we are going to need going forward but you cannot use that skill set or option when he is not playing. Glad to have you back but Grow Up Please!
Chock-full of good technicians, teachers and men. Unlike prior staffs, I only know ones résumé well in Shannon. He and Alonzo Johnson were my favorite players to watch as a senior in High School; must have been the undersized linebacker thing. I have followed him for a while now and like what he potentially brings to the program especially in player development. The additions of several experienced coaches and expanded support staff should pay dividends in recruiting and game planning. At a couple spots I wished they went for better technicians, rather than recruiters, but you need Jimmy’s and Joes, else the Xs and Os don’t get executed.
Ok, four games in and what do we have?
I do not know much after playing a cup cake, cream cake, cold pizza and chili toped dog (NO! I AIN’T HUNGRY). The first four games do not translate into much of anything save Tennessee and only to an extent. October is the time of year where the vets generally go to the equipment manager in preparation for playing a Gauntlet of top-10 teams like No. 2 Ole Miss, No. 5 Georgia and No. 7 LSU. Oh boy, are we going to find out what this team and coaching staff are made of over the next few weeks, but right now it’s kind of shaky despite the big win. Yet! Anytime you send Tennessee Fans home disappointed it’s a good day.
What I really wanted to see?
Our Defense dominating and dictating, Offense making its own field position by attacking the other team’s Defensive weakness and all phases of the game clicking and feeding off each other.
What we got?
An Offense still working through the who, what, where and when of its personnel and a defense slowly revealing its coordinators personality and an eerie propensity to miss tackles. As an expert in missed tackles, we can say some are the results of trying to knock HELL out off the ball carrier and the other derived from a lack of live tackling in practice. Only way to get better at tackling is to tackle but this may be complicated by our injury situation especially at linebacker. Special teams? Blaaaaaaaaah! We have way too many athletes for us to be so bland and not generate some excitement , the good type of excitement, and not praying to make field goals.
The first three games offensively really looked like I was watching a group of NFL preseason diagnostic games. Basic plays putting people in positions to see what they do well with little game planning. With the full game plan in against Tennessee we looked disheveled and impatient against a team that we were more talented than. It took three quarters of heartache, heartburn and the mashing of teeth before we got it together aided by Butch Davis’ lack of coaching acumen. Sorry, screw the numbers crunchers little pocket table. You have to go for two in that situation especially if you going to go uber conservative. (PREVENT PREVENTS YOU FROM WINNING) How do you stop pressuring a freshman with the game on the line! Well, ‘ole Butchie, you picked the wrong kid to ease up on; 11 of 18 attempts for 141 yards, two touchdowns and needed confidence going into the big stretch. Thanks Butchie and your little chart. Betcha coaching for Dummies was embossed on the backside.
Injuries on the O-Line I think have hindered progress in getting the best five on the field, developing the necessary chemistry and communication. After what Summers did last year, and with a healthy Martez Ivey returning, that development curve is accelerating tremendously. Saturday was pretty good as there was a pocket on most of our possessions. Against Ole Miss we are going to have to win some one-on-one battles against Bullard’s evil twin on the other side.
Our running backs are all young and dynamic but until the offensive line develops further they are going to look average to ho-hum. Scarlett and Cronkite are everything that was written and run with the violence necessary for this league. At the end of the day, Kelvin is the lead dog and his 19 for 102 yards at 5.37 per attempt pretty much puts a strangle hold on the position for now.
Playing well! McGee has been a great addition to the offense as a safety blanket. It’s amazing to from stone hand defensive ends to four high performing kids? The ability to attack the middle of the field is back thanks to Goolsby, Knight, Lewis and McGee.
Where are our split ends and flankers and are we only going to throw hitches and screens to them? Where is 6-3” No. 11 Demarcus Robinson and 6-5” No. 5 Ahmad Fulwood? From listening to Coach and taking his statements at face value seems he may be asking the same thing. All of our explosive plays are coming from our slot receivers. You have to feel good about the future viewing the dynamism of Brandon Powell and Antonio Calloway.
Slowly showing the mentality of Geoff Collins as well as adjusting from a conservative multi front press-man scheme to a four man, aggressive blitz and majority off man coverage scheme. What scares me about Collins is the degree of crazy introduced. Crazy/Aggressiveness is good! I ain’t complaining. I like crazy! You just don’t want to introduce too much and forsake sound defense and making them earn it. Collins tendency has been to be overly aggressive and, at times, leads to giving up explosive plays due to a lack of gap soundness. In the Kentucky game, other than a few long plays, he mixed up the crazy pretty well. But against Tennessee they took advantage of it and washed our guys down the line. The fact we could not tackle at times hurt just as much as the missed assignments. At the end of the day, I will give him this, I like his mentality to death, if you are going to win or lose you are not losing with bullets left in the gun or waiting for the axe to fall.
Can we have worse luck? We have the best linebacker coach we have had since Charlie Strong left in Randy Shannon and we are running out of bodies for him develop. I am sorry, but Matt Rolin needs to go to a Voodoo Doctor and get that mojo removed. His and other injuries are becoming a huge concern but as a whole, when available and out of the cold tub, they are running around hitting people and making the plays necessary to win. Going forward we really need this group to be stout against the run and try and stay healthy. Right now we have a decent rotation based on our 4-2-type front but it’s getting mighty scary.
This group had some real growing pains last year and by the end of year turned into a very solid group. I’m a real fan of Keanu Neal. The guy makes plays and plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played, in my opinion. Between him, Marcus Maye and Marcell Harris something is always about to happen. I really would like to see Dawson play more as a true free safety going forward. All of the guys are rotating in and making plays. With the injuries at linebacker and size at safety we might need to think of bringing back the “GatorBack” position; not that I am partial to name, positon or anything.
Once again we are playing with defensive ends playing inside. Hoping that was based upon what the prior teams allowed or is it because CeCe Jefferson and Sherit have emerged once again giving us great flexibility up front. With the strong inside running teams of LSU on the schedule I would love to see Joey Ivey, Caleb Brantley and Thomas Holley really step up the next few weeks.
The biggest change most have noticed in our front is the move from a philosophy of constricting the pocket to just BLOWING IT UP and make the quarterback not only unconformable, but think of upgrading his life insurance policy before playing the Gators. Between Jon Bullard, Bryan Cox, CeCe Jefferson and Alex McAllister, it seems we have more than enough tools to collapse a pocket. Add in a bit of the aforementioned crazy from anyone on the field, it’s going to be fun watching us make the quarterback nervous. I really just want to see signs of soundness against the run as we go forward.
What do we need to win? It’s the SEC, run the ball and stop the run inclusive of the quarterback. It does not get any simpler. We have to be able to win some one-on-one battles at both the offensive line against Robert Nkemdiche and the linebacker positions against their running backs. Our corners are strong and stronger now with Jalen Tabor back, but we have to be able to cover the slot and running backs. Our Young quarterback maintains his confidence and we keep adding to the installs we should be more than competitive.