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MILLER REPORT:
It’s game week, baby!

Written by Mark Miller, August 27, 2014, 9 Comments,
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It’s here, finally it’s here. It’s game week. That’s right, on the day following this work week the Florida Gators will actually play a real football game against a real opponent. I know, it seemed like it would never get here. That was an incredibly long offseason. But it is finally over.

Saturday night the Idaho Vandals come to Gainesville. This is a team that went 1-11 last season giving up over forty points nine times. There should be no question about who will win the game. I know, I remember. This game is all about seeing what this year’s team can do on the field in an actual game, especially the offense.  Kurt Roper gets to showcase his offense to the Gator Nation and the rest of the nation Saturday night. It would be hard to find a better opponent for that debut. The Gators should get the opportunity to play everyone on the bench.

I know that many of you will be at the game. If you are show this team some love, they need it. If you are not, this is the kind of game that you should watch with some fellow Gators and revel in the opportunity to enjoy a contest without anxiety or concern. Cook some good food, enjoy some great company and get a look at the future of Gator football. Enjoy this one. The games will become brutal all too soon.

I will not make it down to Gainesville until the Kentucky game. I will watch this game at the lake in Alabama. There will be some pork on the smoker. There will be some ice and lime (among other things) in the blender. I will have the first victory cigar of the season waiting to be smoked (I almost quit cigars last season). Friends and family will gather around the tube at 7:00 (who am I kidding I will have been in front of the TV since ten in the morning) to watch the Gators take the field.

Idaho should provide this team a chance to put last season behind them. The goal Saturday should be to regain some confidence and swagger. And, of course, the goal is to stay healthy. As much as you would like to get the starters out as early as the score allows it is also important to let the starting offense play enough downs to build confidence and continuity. As important as it is to come out of this first game healthy it is just as important to use these early games to prepare this offense for SEC play and that means getting as many game situation reps as possible.

While we learned last year that nothing is a given, the Gators should go into the Alabama game 3-0. From that point on it gets real tough real fast. What I will be looking for Saturday night will be signs that this team can play toe to toe with Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina and FSU. As I said in an earlier piece, this game needs to be an absolute blowout. I will be furious if I see Florida let the air out of the ball in the third quarter, not that I expect the coaching staff to care what I think.

I hope Will Muschamp and his staff understand how important this game is to the psyche of the fans, and I believe to the players. Let the players have some fun. Let the backups get in and run the offense they have been practicing all month and not just run out the clock. Please let these young men build some swagger for the gauntlet that lies ahead. They need to walk off the field Saturday night feeling like they can beat anybody.

And perhaps most important, this game will hopefully put an end to most of the backbiting among the Gator faithful as 2013 officially becomes history and 2014 becomes reality. I hope this game will unite the Gator Nation for a fun ride and a historical season of college football as the playoffs finally arrive. Let’s use the game to put the past in the past and rally around this team, Will Muschamp and his staff. If I may quote Gregg Allman- “please don’t confront me with my failures, I’m aware of them”.

Mark Miller

About Mark Miller

Mark Miller's bravery knows no limits. He's a Gator living deep in the heart of Georgia. Mark's weekly columns appear in the Coosa Valley News in Rome, Georgia, where Gators are few and Bulldogs are many. His updates about football and life among the heathens will appear in Gator Country on a weekly basis.

  1. GI-GatorAugust 27, 2014, 7:10 am

    Waiting on a comment from Snowprint on how terrible things are going to be. Any minute now, folks. :-)

  2. lurkingator1August 27, 2014, 7:43 am

    leave it to snowprint eat the yellow snow

  3. snowprintAugust 27, 2014, 9:03 am

    You asked, how can I refuse such gracious requests? I don’t think we’ll learn anything from the first two contests, they are against two of the worst teams in college football.The only thing I think we can learn is if the Gators have become a more disciplined team. A sign of that is the amount of times the Gators are flagged, especially on offense. Kurt Roper was brought in to upgrade Florida’s offense. He has said he has simplified it. His Duke teams were rarely flagged. It will be hard to evaluate anything about Florida due to the very low level of competition, so I hope to see a crisp, efficient unit that doesn’t have false starts, etc. A very low point, in a season of lows, was the time Humphries jumped early consecutively in a game. It was embarrassing and made UF look like they couldn’t do anything right.
    I won’t pull out a victory cigar (actually I hate cigars) or the equivalent until UF beats a good team. The Kentucky game may give a better read of how good Florida is this year, but they’re still Kentucky. I am anxiously awaiting September 20, when the real season starts. when that comes, it will have been 665 days since UF beat a good team, that’s a long time to wait.

    • keywesterAugust 27, 2014, 11:09 am

      I’ve come to look forward to SNOWPRINT’s sobering takes every day. It’s like that splash of cold water that wakes you from your drunken stupor.
      I was a Gator back during the 0-10-1 in 1979, but last year’s 4-8 hit me harder, I suppose because we hadn’t reached any lofty heights prior to 1979, but we had many times prior to last season. Call it being spoiled by success.
      Anyway, keep it comin’ SNOWPRINT. You give us the “floor”. Let the on-the-field-play give the “ceiling”.

    • GI-GatorAugust 28, 2014, 7:21 am

      Well, no one can say you are Bipolar and you are consistant.

  4. oleg8rAugust 27, 2014, 11:55 am

    Pretty funny stuff. Miller says he will be furious if Muschamp takes the air out of the ball in the 3rd qtr–which means of course that the Gators have the game in hnad; then he says he hopes the back biting among the fans is over.

    Typical Gator commentary.

    • Mark Miller
      Mark MillerAugust 27, 2014, 7:13 pm

      There is a difference between me being angry at what I think is the wrong approach and me coming here to trash the coach. I can disagree with Muschamp’s approach without trashing him publically. I feel, and I think most agree, that we should have that game in hand in the third quarter. However, I also believe that part of the problem with our offense in the past is that we did not take advantage of the opportunity to build up game reps, confidence and depth when we had games in hand and that came back to bite us in the butt when we needed offense or depth. Therefore, I see nothing contradictory in my stance.

  5. caribe5August 28, 2014, 2:29 pm

    Mr Miller, you are so correct , it is a different year for beginning softie games, I agree with you ref let the players out of the cage , let the second team make plays all over the playbook, all that is good, the complete most important 2 things are CONFIDENCE for the team , and THE GATOR NATION , which 3 years have been in a boring mode which translated from tolerance to denial last season , not only due to 4/8 and to a disengaged coach , and UF is feeling it in the pocket book, to regain players confidence , swagger and gain the fans back , yes they do need to go out in a blowout mentality , explosive plays and 50/10 type scores first 2 games for sure, YOU ARE 100% CORRECT and who does not understand this is simply DUMB

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Florida_Gator_Band_Gator_Walk-150x150.jpg Mark Miller FeatureFootball ,,
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It’s here, finally it’s here. It’s game week. That’s right, on the day following this work week the Florida Gators will actually play a real football game against a real opponent. I know, it seemed like it would never get here. That was an incredibly long offseason. But it is finally over.

Saturday night the Idaho Vandals come to Gainesville. This is a team that went 1-11 last season giving up over forty points nine times. There should be no question about who will win the game. I know, I remember. This game is all about seeing what this year’s team can do on the field in an actual game, especially the offense.  Kurt Roper gets to showcase his offense to the Gator Nation and the rest of the nation Saturday night. It would be hard to find a better opponent for that debut. The Gators should get the opportunity to play everyone on the bench.

I know that many of you will be at the game. If you are show this team some love, they need it. If you are not, this is the kind of game that you should watch with some fellow Gators and revel in the opportunity to enjoy a contest without anxiety or concern. Cook some good food, enjoy some great company and get a look at the future of Gator football. Enjoy this one. The games will become brutal all too soon.

I will not make it down to Gainesville until the Kentucky game. I will watch this game at the lake in Alabama. There will be some pork on the smoker. There will be some ice and lime (among other things) in the blender. I will have the first victory cigar of the season waiting to be smoked (I almost quit cigars last season). Friends and family will gather around the tube at 7:00 (who am I kidding I will have been in front of the TV since ten in the morning) to watch the Gators take the field.

Idaho should provide this team a chance to put last season behind them. The goal Saturday should be to regain some confidence and swagger. And, of course, the goal is to stay healthy. As much as you would like to get the starters out as early as the score allows it is also important to let the starting offense play enough downs to build confidence and continuity. As important as it is to come out of this first game healthy it is just as important to use these early games to prepare this offense for SEC play and that means getting as many game situation reps as possible.

While we learned last year that nothing is a given, the Gators should go into the Alabama game 3-0. From that point on it gets real tough real fast. What I will be looking for Saturday night will be signs that this team can play toe to toe with Alabama, LSU, Georgia, South Carolina and FSU. As I said in an earlier piece, this game needs to be an absolute blowout. I will be furious if I see Florida let the air out of the ball in the third quarter, not that I expect the coaching staff to care what I think.

I hope Will Muschamp and his staff understand how important this game is to the psyche of the fans, and I believe to the players. Let the players have some fun. Let the backups get in and run the offense they have been practicing all month and not just run out the clock. Please let these young men build some swagger for the gauntlet that lies ahead. They need to walk off the field Saturday night feeling like they can beat anybody.

And perhaps most important, this game will hopefully put an end to most of the backbiting among the Gator faithful as 2013 officially becomes history and 2014 becomes reality. I hope this game will unite the Gator Nation for a fun ride and a historical season of college football as the playoffs finally arrive. Let’s use the game to put the past in the past and rally around this team, Will Muschamp and his staff. If I may quote Gregg Allman- “please don’t confront me with my failures, I’m aware of them”.

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