Florida Gators Thoughts of the Week: August 11 – 17

We are just 18 days until the Florida Gators kick off their football season against New Mexico State and the long awaited beginning of the Jim McElwain era.

Over the past few weeks, we have gotten practice reports that have shared the good and bad; who may be the starters and those that seem to be falling down the depth chart; how the freshmen may be doing; and of course, a number of Jim McElwain quotes that seem to irk reporters, but seem to make everyone else laugh. Safe to say, we are ready for the season to get started and finally see what the product on the field looks like.


The End of an Era

 This will be the last “Thoughts of the Week” as we parlay into something new for my writing here at Gator Country. I started “Thoughts of the Week” started May 30, 2014 with the goal to share my thought processes on a lot of different subjects, give you a few good articles to read, and provide a song of the week that would highlight a lesser known musical artist for your pleasure, and I enjoyed the heck out of writing it.

But it is time to move on and write about something new.

In a few weeks, I will debut a new column that will be more numbers, statistics, and analysis focused. We will dive deeply into the numbers and figure out correlations, that a certain commentator will indubitably say is wrong, while looking at the truth depth of the numbers and what they mean. We will look at Florida, the SEC, and the NCAA, and compare them to previous seasons and try to chart progress. I spoke with Andrew Spivey on Monday and developed an outline to deliver the best content to you.

Thank you for reading thoughts of the week, especially you Stevo, let’s look forward to the next phase together.


Things I’ve Noticed in Gatorzone Videos

Over the past few weeks, Gatorzone has been releasing (very well done) videos of practice, scrimmages, and press conferences that have allowed us, the outsiders, an opportunity to look at the Florida Gators football team. While the videos are highly edited and focus on the positives, I learned a few things from them (in no particular order):

  • Blue tackle rings are great tools to use. Why? Because they teach correct head placement, while improving tackling techniques, on a moving object. They are better to use than dummies because they are moving, while also teaching the most important fundamentals head placement and wrapping up.
  • Josh Grady throws the ball better than I thought and serves as a very serviceable third arm in camp, which is very beneficial.
  • Nick Buchanan will be a likely contributor this season along with Martez Ivey. Buchanan was my sleeper prospect, so it has been good to see him come in as good as I thought he would.
  • Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite are both bigger than I thought they would be and look like they have been in the college weight room for at least a year.
  • Brandon Powell will be a great X-factor and has shown great hands on some difficult passes.
  • Jake McGee will be a huge factor, particularly in allowing Grier or Harris to become comfortable. He will likely be open in the flats early and often making for an easy target.
  • C’yontai Lewis will be a great addition to this team. Lewis was always very talented, we saw it at the IMG 7-on-7 event two years ago, but he needed to add weight, while maintaining his speed. He looks like he did that and the light has turned on – he will be a good addition for the next four years at Florida.
  • Jarrad Davis looks to be back in freshman year form.
  • Daniel McMillian seems to grasp the defense a bit more and has been making a big improvement.
  • Is it just me or does Kelvin Taylor look a bit more lean? In a good way.
  • If Mason Halter does nothing more than add maturity and guidance to this offensive line than he has done his job. He was a great addition no matter what his ability at this level is – although, I think he plays a considerable amount.
  • Will Grier looks great throwing the ball on the move.

Why I Am Selling on Ricky Town

Over the last few days after 5-star freshman QB Ricky Town announced he was leaving the University of Southern California there has been a buzz on Gator message boards, blogs, and Twitter that he would consider coming to Florida. But I don’t buy it for either side and while it seems like it may make sense in a vacuum, the world isn’t wired that way.

The primary reason Ricky Town and Florida seem to be connected is through Doug Nussmeier, but that’s it. He never visited Florida, has never seen Florida’s offense, and has no connection, but let’s look past even that.

Would Doug Nussmeier even be interested in continuing the relationship at Florida? When Town committed to Alabama (before enrolling at USC), he was the number one quarterback in the country and then dropped to number six after his senior season. He then enrolled early at Southern California and was slated to be the number two/three quarterback behind Cody Kessler, a potential Heisman Trophy candidate. He struggled in the spring, but we will chalk that up to nerves. And then Sam Darnold, another freshman quarterback enrolled at USC, and in two weeks passed Town on the depth chart and instead of competing Town decided to transfer. Not necessarily very indicative of the type of guy you want.

But let’s just say that doesn’t matter to Nussmeier and he is willing to look pass that – where does he see himself fitting in at UF? If he transfer in he will have to sit out this season, leaving Will Grier (a redshirt freshman), Treon Harris (sophomore), Josh Grady (redshirt senior), and Luke Del Rio (redshirt sophomore) ahead of him. With Grady leaving and perhaps Grier or Harris leaving before next season, he will still have at least two seasons of that quarterback ahead of him before he gets his shot. Not ideal for him.

As you can see, yes, Town was a 5-start quarterback, but what does his time at USC show you that warrants the begging of him to come to UF? Remember, the last time a few Gators players transferred after a semester at UF? People called them “head cases” and “unfit to play at UF”, well, where is the same criticism of Town?

If I am Florida I really try to land Feleipe Franks or Zerrick Cooper and take the pass on Town.


Must Read Articles of the Week

Song of the Week

For the last song of the week, I think it is only fitting that we focus on a Gator. This week we look at University of Florida graduate Easton Corbin and his new single, “Let’s Ride.”

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Daniel Thompson
Dan Thompson is a 2010 graduate of the University Florida, graduating with a degree in Economics and a degree in Political Science. During this time at UF, Dan worked three years for the Florida Gator Football team as a recruiting ambassador. Dan dealt daily with prospects, NCAA guidelines, and coaching staff. Dan was also involved in Florida Blue Key, Student Government and Greek Life. Currently, Dan oversees the IT consulting practice of a Tampa-based company. Dan enjoys golfing, country music, bourbon, travel, oysters, and a medium-rare steak. Dan can be found on Twitter at @DK_Thompson.


  1. I read some good things about Buchanan and I think he has a chance to be a good one for us down the road, but the freshman offensive lineman I have been hearing and reading about more this past week has been Fred Johnson. He is being mentioned by the coaches as being a guy they appear to be counting on to be in their 8-9 offensive line rotation. Buchanan may be one of these guys as well, but I have not seen or read anything more about him since the first day in pads.

  2. Your honesty is refreshing and thoughts of the week will be missed, when I don’t agree with you I let you know (Mark Long) so on the other end of the spectrum I will do the same. I could not agree more with you regarding Ricky Town, couple your points with he could be another QB bust (recruiting analyst mentioned his regression after junior year.) Let’s get one of the young guys you mentioned that will more separation and solely indoctrinate in the new gator era.

  3. One year of columns does not make an era, but, nevertheless, I am interested to see the new direction. I liked the columns your site posted last season that were called Film Room or some such. That kind of analysis is really interesting to me. Keep up the good work.

  4. I think Ricky Town would be an asset because we have no other options. Neither Feleipe Franks or Zerrick Cooper is going to flip to Florida, unless LSU or Clemson has a terrible year AND Florida wins 9-10 games, which would be unlikely! That being said I doubt he would come being from CA and having expressed no interest in Florida in the past. Go Gators!

    • Florida has some options but everyone just has to wait a little bit and be patient. Town isn’t a sure fire bet that he will be a success either.

  5. You’ve done a great job Daniel. I’ll miss this column and look forward to what you have in store down the road. I’ve loved the articles you’ve curated. Any chance that in your new venture you can still pass along items that you’ve personally read during the week. I hope you make it an ongoing part of your brand no matter what the content of your column becomes.