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Previewing the 2017 Florida
Gators spring game: Podcast

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Written by Andrew Spivey, April 6, 2017, 0 Comments,
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GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we preview the Florida Gators Orange and Blue game on Friday night in the Swamp.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down what they’re looking to see at each position, plus what the biggest things to look for.

Andrew and Nick also talk about the prospects expected in attendance on Friday, plus talk Masters for this weekend.

TRANSCRIPT:

 

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, had a little bit of a hiatus, but we’re back. We’re ready. Let’s do this thing.

Nick:                         I’m ready to be back. This is probably the best week of the year. You’ve got what I think should be a national holiday in Opening Day for Major League baseball. You’ve got the National Championship for college basketball. Congratulations to UNC. And it’s Master’s week. Then, you throw in a little Orange & Blue game, and you’ve got a beautiful week.

Andrew:                 Got a great week. It’s kind of weird. I mean, it’s not weird, but the National Championship game is kind of third in that whole deal. Master’s weekend is, in my opinion, the greatest sporting event out there, and then you have Opening Day. Then it’s probably the National Championship game. Kind of in the shadows.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think it was a great game. Obviously, the big talking point was–

Andrew:                 Hold on, there’s a whistle being blown. There’s a whistle being blown again.

Nick:                         Big talking point was the officiating, but to me it was a good game. They kind of let them play those last six minutes, and that was a great way to finish it. I think you and I are also a little biased when it comes to baseball. Opening Day for baseball should just, to me that’s sons, dads going to games, skipping work. It should just be a holiday. Cancel work for Opening Day.

Andrew:                 I did cancel work in the afternoon.

Nick:                         You cancel work for most Braves games.

Andrew:                 That is true. I have to say, was able to go to SunTrust Park last Friday, and, Nick, I do, and I am biased. Do not disagree with that, but there are certain ballparks that when you walk in you just feel on top of the action. That is SunTrust Park. It is unbelievable. I said it was a lot like Cincinnati’s ballpark. I know some people have said other parks. I haven’t been able to go to as many parks as I would like to. Cincinnati was a park that I thought it was a lot like, and it was on top of the field. For a guy like myself, I want to be on top of the action. I don’t like to be far away. SunTrust park’s beautiful, Nick. Beautiful.

Nick:                         They’re doing a really good job, all the new ballparks really. You got into a situation where baseball was going crazy, and owners were thinking money, money, money, and they built these huge stadiums. That’s not really how baseball’s supposed to be watched. I grew up having to watch the Marlins play in a football stadium that was way too big for them.

To me, when the Marlins got their new park, when that snake, Jeffrey Loria, was able to steal $500 million from the city of Miami to build a baseball park, that was my first experience. That’s the same thing. There’s no bad view. You’re right on top of the action. Even if you’re sitting in the nosebleed seats, you feel close, because you’re not pushed back like you would be in a football stadium. All these new baseball stadiums, I think they’re really realizing that we’re fighting HGTV, we’re fighting streaming. We need to create an intimate experience that’s something that what you’re going to get at home.

Andrew:                 Fenway Park and Wrigley Field have been around for 100 years for that reason.

Nick:                         I got to go to Fenway a couple years ago, or Wrigley a couple years ago, and I’m actually planning a trip this summer to Boston. My buddy made the team up there. Robbie Scott was one of the 25 playing for the Red Sox. Actually got in Opening Day. Got his guy out.

Andrew:                 Several Gators made Opening Day rosters. AJ Puk, Logan Shore are two guys that advanced all the way up to single A ball, but, Nick, we got to go to Orange & Blue game, because there is a lot to talk about for that 7:30 kickoff. 7:00 or 7:30? 7:00 right?

Nick:                         I think it’s 7:00.

Andrew:                 7:00 kickoff on Friday night. I’ve seen some people gripe about that Friday night. I personally liked it. I’m not even going to lie. I liked the Friday night deal. For two reasons, A, you’re not into Master’s coverage on Saturday, and, B, you’re not fighting other people for attention. You have every bit of attention on Friday night. Right now, in the beginning of April, not a lot of Friday night TV. They’ll only be fighting baseball. For the people that really want football, are going to watch it. I think it’s a great idea. Know some people are against it. I’m for it.

Nick:                         I think the knock on it is people that can’t travel, people that normally, if it was on a Saturday, would travel down after work on Friday, get dinner in Gainesville Friday night, and then go see the game Saturday. In the afternoon, you either drive home or stay Saturday. I think that’s the biggest gripe. I don’t think anyone would fight you on it’s good for recruiting. It’s good for that atmosphere. I think that’s undoubtable. You’re starting to see other schools kind of copy what McElwain did. You and I loved the idea the first year they did it, but I get the people that say, “I want to come, but I can’t.”

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         Because it’s Friday.

Andrew:                 Right. I see that. I also kind of see where there is the argument that if you were going to go, chances are you’re going to slide out of work a little early and make it down there. I think it’s a little bit of that. I am interested to see how the crowd is this year. I know that Florida has got a bunch of their players and people marketing to get a bigger crowd. No way they’re getting 90K, but it’ll be interesting to kind of see how it is, see how the excitement is. You got a quarterback battle going on, and that’s the talk of the town. I am going to be interested to really see how the crowd is on Friday night. Last year, I don’t remember it being great. I remember it being okay. Let’s see if it does better this year.

Nick:                         This will be the third year they do it. I remember the first year distinctly having that excitement, that vibe, because it was new.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         You and I both, we hyped on the podcast. I wrote about it. It was just, you’ve found something. I think last year was kind of more subdued. I would say it’s still better than the first two that I saw, which were the Will Muschamp specialties.

Andrew:                 Glorified practices?

Nick:                         Yeah. Those were horrendous. Those were hideous. I think you’ve got some depth problems again this year. You’re still going to get a scrimmage, but I think Florida’s got some depth issues at cornerback, defensive tackle, and linebacker that you might see pop up, creep up during the game.

Andrew:                 You’ll see a lot more walk-on guys go, but let’s move on to a little bit of the key points. I think the talk is absolutely going to be the quarterback play. How does Feleipe Franks–

Nick:                         That’s really front and center, right?

Andrew:                 Right. Someone asked that to Mac on Monday, how he expected Feleipe to bounce back from that. I think that’ll be something that will be interested to see is how Franks does. Last year I think we all walked out of their thinking, well I know you and I did, Nick, thinking that’s what we thought he was. Everyone’s talked about his improvement. He still throws interceptions, but his improvement. Let’s see that improvement.

Let’s see Kyle Trask. How close is this battle? Mac says on Monday that there’s starting to be separation. Let’s see what the separation is, who makes the team better around them. I expect both quarterbacks to get times with the ones in the game.

Then, I’m not even going to lie. I’m excited to see Kadarius Toney out of the Wildcat. Don’t expect to see him throwing the ball a ton, but every time we’ve talked about scrimmages we’ve heard Kadarius Toney makes a wild moment. Interested to see Kadarius.

Nick:                         I’m interested to see what he does. I think I’ve seen enough of him throwing, if I’m going to be honest.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         You get that Wildcat. I think it can be effective, but he’s going to have to throw the football. You can’t bring him in and never have him throw, because then you start teams keep coming up, and you can’t say, Jim McElwain can’t say in a press conference, “Well, Kadarius Toney can throw 50 yards, 70 yards.” At some point, by the time you get down to that FSU game, we’re going by not what you’re saying in Monday’s press conference. We’re going to by what we see on film. If this kid’s only coming in to run the ball, you’re not going to be very successful there.

Andrew:                 Let me chime in real quick on that. I think the biggest thing with Toney is throwing across the middle. Can he throw the deep ball? Yes. I think that there is enough.

Nick:                         He’s throwing wobbly outs.

Andrew:                 I’m saying. Does he do enough to keep the defense honest? I think so. I think so. I also need to see it in here. I’ve seen it in high school. Seen it in seven on seven camps, but I need to see it now, is I think the biggest point we’re both making.

Nick:                         Yeah. I just don’t know. I haven’t really seen much of him in terms of haven’t seen enough to give me confidence that he can be an effective passer.

Andrew:                 Okay. As far as Franks and Trask?

Nick:                         I think, and you had mentioned this to me before, I think Feleipe Franks is going to be a high interception guy. I think it goes along with he has a big arm. He knows he has a big arm, and he trusts it. It’s not as accurate as Kyle Trask. That combination and that gunslinger mentality kind of leads you into, “Man, that’s tight. I don’t know if I should throw that. There’s a better option, but that’s more yards. Let’s try it.” You try to zing something in, and it gets picked.

To me, I think, if Feleipe Franks wins, and he’s taken most of the first team reps from everything that we’ve seen, I think he could be a big turnover guy. Not to say that he’s not going to throw for a bunch of touchdowns and a bunch of yards, but Florida’s got a lot of question marks on defense. Is this going to be a team that can overcome turning the ball over?

Andrew:                 Yeah. That’s going to be the biggest thing there with him. I’ve said it. He’s a gunslinger. He’s a guy that is going to, if there’s a two-inch gap, he’s going to think he can fit that football in there. Sometimes he is, sometimes he’s not. I think that’s going to be what it is. I’m interested to see pocket presence and footwork as well. I’m interested to see that as well. That’s something we’ll be able to see a lot of in the game. Does he get nervous back there? I think a little bit in the Orange & Blue game last year he was trying to get rid of the ball so quick he was nervous.

That kind of brings me to my next point, offensive line. We’ve heard about. We’ve seen about it. Want to be able to see them go at it. I want to see Brett Heggie. Heard a lot about Brett, that he’s doing really well at the guard spot. Want to see that as well. See how that attitude has changed. How many times last year, Nick, did you and say, it’ll all depend on how the offensive line comes out, they come out soft, or they come out wanting to hit.” That was the question mark every week. We always said, it depends on how the offensive line comes out of the locker room. Let’s see how it is this week. Is that something that carries on week after week after week?

Nick:                         Yeah. Is it Heggie? It’s going to be Jawaan at right. It’s going to be Martez at left tackle. You’ve got TJ McCoy at center. Then we talked about it the last time we were on the podcast, you’ve got those three guys to play at two guard spots. Is it Heggie, Johnson? It is Heggie, Jordan? Is it Jordan, Johnson? What’s your combination down there?

It’s like you said. It’s got to be just that nasty attitude, what Jim McElwain called them out for, not having it at the end of last year. You’ve just got to have a nasty attitude, and you also need to find some depth there as well though. I think you’re still looking for Nick Buchanan to step into a role. Is it going to be Antonio Riles that steps into that role? I think you’d like to have maybe a younger player do it, but Riles being a redshirt senior I could see him getting time playing inside as well, if you stick with that rotation.

Andrew:                 I’ll say that I think it’ll be Heggie and Jordan. That’s who I’m going to go with. I still feel as if Johnson doesn’t bend well enough to be a guard. I’ll stick with that as well throughout, until I see differently. I’m going to go that it’s going to be Jordan and Heggie. Everybody I’ve talked to said Heggie might be the nastiest offensive lineman on the team, and that’s saying something as well, because TJ McCoy is a freak as well, as far as being nasty.

I think it all goes back down to how well this team does as far as their mentality. Are they nastier overall? What’s kind of the mentality? Everything we’ve heard is they’re nastier. Everything we’ve been told is that they’re taking after Brad Davis. Let’s see it. Let’s see how that goes about. It’s tough, because if the offensive line does really well, people are going to say the defensive line sucks. If defensive line does really well, they’re going to say the offensive line sucks again. As Mac says, it’s kind of both sides. We’ll see how it is. Me personally, I’m not worried about the defensive line. I want to see how that offensive line does. I want to see them be mean and nasty.

Nick:                         You’re returning a lot there. Florida keeps talking about, the coaches keep mentioning, how deep they are at receiver. Do you see it? I don’t see it.

Andrew:                 No, I don’t.

Nick:                         I don’t understand. I’ve even asked them. I was like, “What do you mean, you’re deep there?” They started naming players, and I’m like, “You’ve got one proven guy, who had a down year last year, and a sophomore-to-be in Tyrie Cleveland, who showed flashes. That’s it. That’s all you have.” I don’t understand where you’re getting that this is the deepest. If you’re listening to this, and you’ve got a different opinion, tell me how I’m wrong, but wide receiver position, outside of those two, outside of Callaway, Cleveland, I’m not really getting excited about it. I think Josh Hammond could be a good player.

Andrew:                 I think Hammond’s going to be the guy that surprises people.

Nick:                         I think he needs to be. To be honest, Florida needs to find that third guy. It could be Massey. He’s moving much better. Is it Brandon Powell? I don’t know.

Andrew:                 No. I think we’ve talked about this a lot with Brandon Powell. The foot’s not healthy. Doesn’t look like it’s ever going to be healthy. I do think Massey is going to be that guy. I do think Massey’s going to be that guy, but I think Josh Hammond’s going to be this guy, and I say this, and I know someone’s going to take this the wrong way, but he’s going to be that possession receiver that you can count on. It’s not to discount Callaway or Cleveland, but he’s sure-handed. Hammond’s sure-handed.

He’s a guy that’s going to do everything, all the little things, right. Going to do everything good, but not great. That doesn’t mean he’s not a good player or got a chance to be a great player. It just means he’s going to do everything correctly. He’s going to be where he’s supposed to be. He’s going to block the guy. Does he blow the guy 15 yards off the ball? Maybe, maybe not. He’s going to be the guy that’s at least in front of his guy. I do think I’m expecting a big year from Hammond.

I say Massey as well, based off of what we saw last year in fall camp, what we think he can be. Still not proven. I think you still have to remember a guy like Freddie Swain, who’s injured. You still got to remember a couple of the freshmen coming in. I think when Mac says it’s a deeper bunch, what are we comparing it to? Are we comparing it to Ahmad Fulwood? Because you and I were making a deeper bunch than that.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 At least the guys he’s putting out there can play. Let me say that.

Nick:                         Maybe. Maybe.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this. Would you rather have Josh Hammond running the post route or Ahmad Fulwood running the post route?

Nick:                         Yeah. Ahmad was more of your blocking tight end last year.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s what I’m saying. Maybe that’s what Mac means. I’m with you. Is it a deep position? No, especially from what Kerry Dixon says, in that he wants to run six guys out there, seven guys out there. You don’t have seven guys right now that you legit want to run out there. I’m with Mac that he has a better group. I think he’s done a great job of improving that position from when he got here to now.

Nick:                         Yes. I believe there’s more talent now than when they came. I would not call it a deep position. Moving on, though, we’ll see that. You’ve got to get some damn production from the tight end position.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         Time has come.

Andrew:                 We’ve been saying it. You and I talked about this beginning of last year when we said we thought C’yontai and Goolsby were going to have a good year. C’yontai didn’t really show up until end of the season, and Goolsby had the drops.

Nick:                         Became a better blocker.

Andrew:                 And had the drops all year, and he was the one hit, go down to the ground. I’m still not sure Goolsby broke a tackle last year, because it was, let’s throw him the two-yarder.

Nick:                         C’yontai did improve himself as far as a blocker.

Andrew:                 Not much.

Nick:                         I would say he did. From a guy when he first came in that we didn’t think would block at all.

Andrew:                 He still liked the lookout block.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Kemore Gamble though is a guy that everyone’s talking about. Mac’s said that he’s going to be a factor in that. He’s a guy that has size on him. I think he’s going to be a guy that’s going to catch the ball. Now, is he going to block much? Probably not. I think he’s going to be in that H back role of being a guy that motions, and is going to be the guy that catches those two-yard out routes, or those two-yard little dig routes, or stand passes. It’s going to be what he is for this team. And he’s going to be a guy that can stretch the field.

I think it’s safe to say that right now all three of them are in a battle, because none of them have shown that they can be that guy. That’s not Gamble, because, of course, he’s first time on campus, but Goolsby and Lewis still haven’t proved to be great players yet.

Nick:                         No. It’s something, I think the writers, me included, I think every year we kind of just wrote what the coaches told us about Goolsby and Lewis are really getting it. They’re going to be great. They’re going to be great. Then we get yelled at when the season comes along. I haven’t written anything, and I really haven’t read anything about these two. It’s kind of just like fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Hey, I think there is more talent than what the production shows.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         But you’re going to have to show me before I start talking about it again.

Andrew:                 Yeah. That’s a good point, for sure. We’ll see where that is. Got to go to the next position, Nick, though, and that is DB. It’s a question mark, we’ve heard throughout spring, as far as scrimmages go, and that is that still looking for those cornerbacks. I have heard, and I’m sure you have as well, Nick, and that is that Marcell Harris is being that guy at safety. Mac said he was a standout. We heard he was a standout in the last scrimmage. I think he’s finally showed us what he could be out of high school. He’s finally healthy, and that’s something there. I do feel like him and Nick Washington will be fine at safety.

We’ve heard Chauncey is getting better at corner, still struggling some. Duke still struggling on the outside. Still question mark at who’s going to be that nickel. It could get ugly on Saturday. Franks could look like a million bucks out there, because of the DBs.

Nick:                         Yeah. I don’t think there’s a question about nickel. You know why?

Andrew:                 Why?

Nick:                         I think Duke Dawson’s your nickel.

Andrew:                 Yeah, but who’s your corner?

Nick:                         You need a freshman. That’s the problem that you’re in. I think Florida has a chance to go from DBU to DB Who. You look at these guys. Is Chauncey getting better outside? Duke’s getting better outside. They’re not Jalen Tabor, Vernon Hargreaves, Quincy Wilson. They’re not those guys on the outside. You’re going to need a freshman to come in and start, and you’re going to need the other freshman to come in and play serious minutes.

Andrew:                 Hello, Marco.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s not the secondary that we’ve come to know in the past. I think Chauncey’s a great player. I think Duke’s a great player. I think Marcell Harris is playing his best football, and really maybe things finally slowed down, the light came on, got his opportunity. Nick Washington is a good player. You know what you’re going to get from those guys. There’s no depth after that. I’m not high on CJ McWilliams. I’m not high on Chris Williamson.

Andrew:                 Wait. Breaking news. You’re not high on CJ?

Nick:                         No. No. I’ve seen 14 playing safety. When you’ve got a cornerback who’s an outside cornerback, and now they start testing him out at safety, means things probably aren’t going well on the outside.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Now we’re just putting you in places until you realize it might be time to head out.

Andrew:                 I think that’s something we’re going to definitely have to pay attention to.

Nick:                         That and defensive tackle, biggest question marks.

Andrew:                 I don’t disagree with that. I will say at defensive tackle that there has been some positive reports on Jachai playing some inside as well. You’ve got Taven and Khairi. I feel like, and I’m not saying this because I don’t believe in him, but I feel like it’s every year we hear about Taven. It’s every year he’s doing this. He’s doing that. He’s going to have a big year, and then where? What happens? Now it’s kind of do or die time for him, so we’ll see how that translates on the field for him. There is some depth there. There is some players there. It’s just a question mark of is he ready.

Nick:                         Chris Rumph, I asked him, I said, “Hey, you gave us that fantastic nickname a couple years back about the Wyoming Wild Man. You still call him that?” He said, “No. He gets no more nicknames, because he played like the Wyoming Woman.” I was like, hello. I’m sure that’s not the first time Taven’s heard that from Chris Rumph. Rumph is not saying anything to the media that he hasn’t said to them.

Sometimes it takes kids longer to come around, and we said that with Taven his first year, that he was going to be someone that needed some time to come around, to learn, for things to click. I’m also with you, though. It’s kind of like I put Taven in the category of Goolsby and C’yontai. Believe it when I see it.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s exactly where I am as well. I’ll believe it when I see it. Here’s the thing, with all of those guys it’s not a question of do they have the talent. I think they all have the talent. It’s just being consistent with it. We saw plays last year where Taven was really good, and then we saw plays where it was like, there’s the Taven that we’ve grown to see, and that’s that he doesn’t do much. It’s not a question of talent there.

It’s same thing with Khairi Clark. I don’t think that there’s a question there with Khairi Clark of can he make plays. I think he can. It’s can he be consistent with it. Can he get in good enough shape to where he’s ready to do it play after play? With Jachai, I think it’s a situation where we see whether he’s ready to take that step up to be that guy there.

Then you look at a guy like Kyree Campbell. We’ve heard a lot about Kyree Campbell as well, the prep school guy. I think for Florida to be really successful on the defensive line it’s going to depend on a guy like Kyree. Can Kyree come in and be a guy that’s ready to go and to give them solid minutes? Not be a starter or anything like that, but just be a solid guy that collects minutes.

Nick:                         Haven’t really seen enough from Kyree, but that’s a guy that you’re going to need.

Andrew:                 Right. Then, when you look at the end position, you feel pretty good about the end position, or at least I do.

Nick:                         I think Florida is stacked at defensive end.

Andrew:                 They’re still looking for that one.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think Jabari Zuniga, Cece.

Andrew:                 Sherit.

Nick:                         Sherit. It’s tough, because you look at Cece. I can’t remember what game it was, but you and I both recall putting out a missing person’s report for Cece during the first couple games, and then all of a sudden, I think it was Bryan Cox got hurt. Someone got dinged up, and they moved Cece back outside, and you and I both were like, there he is.

Andrew:                 He’s alive!

Nick:                         They’d just been using him incorrectly.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         Cece has slimmed down. He’s not going back inside, so it’s going to be how do you get all of those guys that are playing the same position on the field?

Andrew:                 Right. I think, even a guy like Antonneous Clayton, I think Clayton’s gotten bigger, and I think he’s going to be a guy that makes some plays. I think he’s going to be a guy that figures into the mix in some way. That position’s not there.

I know we talked a little bit about the depth at linebacker. I’m going to be honest, Nick. It’s concerning right now, because you’re missing Reese, and your freshmen haven’t come in yet, but once Reece is back fully healthy, I’m not concerned about linebacker.

Nick:                         Yeah. Right now I think really where I worry about Florida is the run defense.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         I think you’re going to see some of this on Friday. I think you’re going to see a bunch of run fits getting missed, with guys like Cristian Garcia, guys like that.

Andrew:                 Which all that gets fixed as soon as David Reese, the headhunter, comes back.

Nick:                         Vosean’s the headhunter. David Reese is your dude, your Antonio Morrison kind of, your quarterback.

Andrew:                 Right. Vosean’s been the leader, but I’m saying I feel like Reese is that leader of that defense at that Mike linebacker position.

We kind of went through all the positions here. Anything else looking forward to? I’m going to be honest. I’m really just kind of wanting to see the atmosphere from the fans, just to see how the guys really go about it. Is there a sense of excitement? I’ve personally been told, Nick, and I’m sure you have as well, that there is some excitement. These younger guys have really bought into things. We talked about this. It’s nothing against the older guys, but the older guys weren’t fully bought in as much as the younger guys. These younger guys are ready to go.

I’m very excited to see that. Very excited to see how the new coaches interact out there. That’s something we didn’t even talk about with Ja’Juan Seider and the running back position. In my opinion, I’m just looking to see really overall the feeling from the team.

Nick:                         I think everyone will be excited. I think the environment will be exactly what you expect it to be.

Andrew:                 I didn’t mean exactly the environment from the fans. I meant from the players. Is it a lot of just going through the motions, or is it excitement from themselves to be out there really going about it?

Nick:                         Yeah. I forget what year it was. They had the opening kickoff returned for a touchdown. Any kind of gimmicky things that you’ll see?

Andrew:                 Not really. I think you will see Kadarius out there doing his thing. I think you’ll see a lot of that, but that’s about it. Will be some recruits in there as well. We can talk a little bit about that. We’re taping this Wednesday at noon, so not a full list, by any means, but a couple of the headliners that are coming in are receiver, Jacob Copeland, from Pensacola. You’ve got Anthony Schwartz, who ran the 10.15, Nick. Broke Jeff Demp’s record in the 100 meter the other night.

Nick:                         That’s moving.

Andrew:                 Moving. He’s coming into town. You got the two commits, CJ Smith and Divaad Wilson. Both of the DBs coming in. You got tight end, Jarrett Jackson, coming in. Another receiver in Dominick Watt, and then one of the guys should be a headliner is Dax Hollifield, the linebacker from up in Bullard and Brandon Spikes country, up in Shelby, North Carolina. He’s one of their top targets.

Several more guys will be coming in for visits. That’s just a preliminary list. Should be good. Get those guys in there. Get them to meet with the staff a little bit. Do their thing, and then set it up, because on April 15, a week from Saturday, staff gets to go back on the road for some recruiting.

Nick:                         That’s a pretty big crowd coming in. What is a visit like when you’ve got a Friday game, as opposed to a Saturday?

Andrew:                 Obviously, you would like for guys to stay over, since it’s a Friday night, and some guys will. The good thing is, in the case of Jacob Copeland and Jordan Miner, two guys that are going to be able to hit two games this weekend. Copeland is going to Florida on Friday, and then turn around and going to Clemson on Saturday. Jordan Miner’s going to Florida on Friday, and then going to Florida State on Saturday. You wouldn’t have been able to get both of those visits had you had it on a Saturday. For me, it’ll be interesting to kind of see who else does that. Is there more guys that try to hit both Florida and Florida State, or is it a situation where you get some guys to stay over?

Florida would, obviously, like to have a couple of their guys stay over, and you have a Saturday, but if they’re just coming in on Friday, they probably get in a little early, go in for the team meetings, do all that stuff, get to see the Gator Walk that they always do before the game, and then they get to see the game. Then usually meet with the staff post-game as well, before departing, unless they’re coming back on Saturday.

Nick:                         Okay. Most popular question that you’ll be asked.

Andrew:                 No idea.

Nick:                         All week. How many? Who? When?

Andrew:                 Why not now?

Nick:                         Why not already? Andrew, will Florida have 20 commits and finish their class on Friday?

Andrew:                 Yeah. Don’t we all wish. No, we don’t, because then we wouldn’t sell subscriptions. No. It’s tough to say, Nick. You know how it is. I’m throwing this out. I’m not saying this kid, but just say a guy like Anthony Schwartz comes up, doesn’t expect that he’s going to come up and decide that he’s going to commit. He has no idea he wants to commit, but gets up there, falls in love with it, his parents fall in love with it. He says, “All right, Coach, I want to commit.” Very possible.

Do I expect anyone to commit? No. Would I be surprised if someone did? No. Events like this something can always happen. That’s the way I’m going to leave it.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 Good enough for you?

Nick:                         No. I hope someone yells at you for this.

Andrew:                 I was trying to take the political way out.

Nick:                         Yell at Andrew on Twitter @AndrewSpiveyGC for him taking the easy way out there.

Andrew:                 Nick, we’re going to have a little fun. It’s Masters Week.

Nick:                         A tradition unlike any other.

Andrew:                 Nick, it’s on my bucket list to go.

Nick:                         My gosh.

Andrew:                 It is on my bucket list, Nick. I want to go. I want to go and enjoy Masters Week. Everyone says to go for the practice round. I would love to do that as well. Not even going to lie, going to the part three wouldn’t even be a bad thing.

Nick:                         Just get on the grounds.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Then if somebody would like offer to let me play and shoot a 300 out there, because that’s what I would shoot if I did get the chance to play, I wouldn’t be upset either.

Nick:                         Jim McElwain played last year.

Andrew:                 Really?

Nick:                         We were talking about that with him on Monday, and he said, “The course is more beautiful than even TV really can show you,” but he said, “You could drive a semi-truck, a couple semi-trucks, down that first fairway.” He said, “It’s just wide open.” He goes, “There’s just something that gets to you. You’re standing there, and you’re on the first tee box at Augusta, and it’s just overwhelming, and I duck hooked my first one.” He said they have caddies that go out, and the caddies, that’s their job. They know this course inside and out, better than the back of their hand.

McElwain said his buddy, one of the guys that was playing with him was putting, and he lines up the putt. It’s a tough one, but the caddy walked completely away from the hole, and he knelt down, put his hand down on a spot, and said, “If you make the ball die in my hand,” like if you make the ball stop in my hand, he goes, “it’s going to trickle down. You’re going to make it.” Jim McElwain says, “The guy had to be 15 feet away from the pin, and we’re all looking at him like, you’re crazy.” He goes, “Sure enough, guy putts the ball right where the guy’s hand was, it dies, catches a ridge, and just funnels down into the hole.”

He said it was undulations, just it was an amazing experience. Maybe you can talk to your buddy there and get us on.

Andrew:                 Definitely. Nick, we wanted to kind of pick some guys here. You and I are both going to pick four guys. The lowest score for combined will win.

Nick:                         Got you.

Andrew:                 I think the loser has to wear the opposing team’s hat in Hoover in a couple months.

Nick:                         All right.

Andrew:                 There you go. I’m going to go first, Nick. My guy, the Goat, Jordan Spieth is my first one. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win, if he can get past #12.

Nick:                         That’d be really cool, really cool to see Spieth do it. I’m going to go with Rory.

Andrew:                 Rory. Rory’s kind of been a guy that’s kind of just went out, not gone away, but he’s just not talked about as much anymore right now. Maybe that’s a lot because of him playing overseas a lot.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think it’s time for him to get over his little hump, his little Masters bugaboo here. He’s never won it. Has played well there, but I think this is the year Rory can get over the hump.

Andrew:                 Okay. We’ll see. Maybe this is it for him. My next one’s going to be DJ, Dustin Johnson. Playing well. The world’s #1 right now. We’ll see. I’ll be honest. I have no faith whatsoever in Dustin Johnson winning the Masters, because he simply cannot putt when it’s clutch time, but maybe he has one of his good weeks. It depends. It’s either a good week or a bad week putting. There’s no in between.

Nick:                         I’m going to go with Justin Rose.

Andrew:                 Okay. Any explanation of why on Mr. Rose?

Nick:                         I don’t know. I kind of have a feeling that it’s going to be an international guy this year.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         I don’t know why. Americans typically have …

Andrew:                 Done well.

Nick:                         Done well. Rose hasn’t missed a cut, I think, since the US Open last year. Played well at the Olympics. He was fourth at Torrey Pines. I’m not picking him to win. I’m predicting him to finish strong. That’s what we’re doing here. We’re trying to find, create the lowest scoring team here.

Andrew:                 I went with Zach Johnson. Zach’s always just seems to be in the mix, Nick. It just seems like it doesn’t matter how he’s played all year. He just seems to always be at least in the conversation year in and year out. That’s kind of why I went with Zach.

Nick:                         I’m going to go with Jon Rahm.

Andrew:                 Okay. Any explanation of why?

Nick:                         He’s playing really well right now. I think he’s playing well. He’s young, only 22 years old. I think he’s just confident, and I’m running the risk of, straddling the line of is he so young that he’s going to show up and be like crap, crap the bed, or show up and almost too naïve, too ignorant to really take it all in, and you don’t choke because of how high the stakes are.

Andrew:                 Right. We’ll see. That’s an interesting pick. I had to go with this one just because he was still out there, Nick. That’s Mr. Rickie Fowler.

Nick:                         I love Rickie.

Andrew:                 I do too.

Nick:                         Love Rickie.

Andrew:                 Funny story, and it’s off topic. My grandmother passed away a few years ago. Me and my grandpa, Nick, you’ve met my grandpa, we love our golf. Play it a couple times a year. She could not stand to watch golf until Rickie came on. When Rickie started playing, she would love to watch golf. Her explanation was, “He’s a cutie pie.” My grandmother being 70 years old, would watch golf because she thought little Rickie was cute.

Nick:                         Good for her. God bless her.

Andrew:                 I’ll go with Rickie, just because.

Nick:                         Okay. That’s your four. My last, I’m going to go with Adam Scott. I told you, I’ve got an international flavor here with McIlroy, Rose, and Scott. Scott’s just another guy who I think hangs around, shoots low. What is his ranking right now?

Andrew:                 He was in the top 10, but not sure if he’s still hanging in that top 10 or not.

Nick:                         Rahm’s 12. I think Rory’s in the top 10. I’m pulling it up. Official world rankings, Scott’s 9 right now. Those are my four.

Andrew:                 Okay. We’ll see. Nothing is for sure, that’s for sure, but one thing is for sure, and that’s that it’s always exciting. Sunday is never a boring Sunday, as Jordan Spieth let us know painfully last year. Love my guy Jordan Spieth.

Nick:                         I think that’d be really cool to …

Andrew:                 Rebound?

Nick:                         To rebound, yeah.

Andrew:                 North Carolina did it.

Nick:                         Yeah. So did Clemson.

Andrew:                 There you go. All right, Nick, we’re running out of time here. Tell everybody where they can find us. If you haven’t joined us yet, we still got a cool little coupon. Come hit one of us up. We’ll get you in. We’ve added basketball. Our man, Zach, is killing the basketball recruiting as well. You got it all now. You don’t have to go anywhere else. Hit us up if you want to join. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com, for all your Florida Gators news. You can catch us on the podcast. If you have iTunes, go to the podcast store. Search @GatorCountry. The podcast is also in transcript and audio form on the website. Do your social media thing, @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. You can find me, @NickdelaTorreGC, and him, @AndrewSpiveyGC.

Andrew:                 There you go. As always, guys, we appreciate it. We’ll see everyone next week for a recap of this. We’ll get going now. Baseball, softball still going hot. Basketball rounding up. Guys going to the draft, and then the NFL draft’s around the corner as well. As always, guys, we appreciate it. Check us out. As always, chomp, chomp. Go Braves.

Nick:                         You stay classy, Gator Country.

Andrew Spivey

About Andrew Spivey

Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.

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GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we preview the Florida Gators Orange and Blue game on Friday night in the Swamp.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down what they’re looking to see at each position, plus what the biggest things to look for.

Andrew and Nick also talk about the prospects expected in attendance on Friday, plus talk Masters for this weekend.

TRANSCRIPT:

 

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, had a little bit of a hiatus, but we’re back. We’re ready. Let’s do this thing.

Nick:                         I’m ready to be back. This is probably the best week of the year. You’ve got what I think should be a national holiday in Opening Day for Major League baseball. You’ve got the National Championship for college basketball. Congratulations to UNC. And it’s Master’s week. Then, you throw in a little Orange & Blue game, and you’ve got a beautiful week.

Andrew:                 Got a great week. It’s kind of weird. I mean, it’s not weird, but the National Championship game is kind of third in that whole deal. Master’s weekend is, in my opinion, the greatest sporting event out there, and then you have Opening Day. Then it’s probably the National Championship game. Kind of in the shadows.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think it was a great game. Obviously, the big talking point was–

Andrew:                 Hold on, there’s a whistle being blown. There’s a whistle being blown again.

Nick:                         Big talking point was the officiating, but to me it was a good game. They kind of let them play those last six minutes, and that was a great way to finish it. I think you and I are also a little biased when it comes to baseball. Opening Day for baseball should just, to me that’s sons, dads going to games, skipping work. It should just be a holiday. Cancel work for Opening Day.

Andrew:                 I did cancel work in the afternoon.

Nick:                         You cancel work for most Braves games.

Andrew:                 That is true. I have to say, was able to go to SunTrust Park last Friday, and, Nick, I do, and I am biased. Do not disagree with that, but there are certain ballparks that when you walk in you just feel on top of the action. That is SunTrust Park. It is unbelievable. I said it was a lot like Cincinnati’s ballpark. I know some people have said other parks. I haven’t been able to go to as many parks as I would like to. Cincinnati was a park that I thought it was a lot like, and it was on top of the field. For a guy like myself, I want to be on top of the action. I don’t like to be far away. SunTrust park’s beautiful, Nick. Beautiful.

Nick:                         They’re doing a really good job, all the new ballparks really. You got into a situation where baseball was going crazy, and owners were thinking money, money, money, and they built these huge stadiums. That’s not really how baseball’s supposed to be watched. I grew up having to watch the Marlins play in a football stadium that was way too big for them.

To me, when the Marlins got their new park, when that snake, Jeffrey Loria, was able to steal $500 million from the city of Miami to build a baseball park, that was my first experience. That’s the same thing. There’s no bad view. You’re right on top of the action. Even if you’re sitting in the nosebleed seats, you feel close, because you’re not pushed back like you would be in a football stadium. All these new baseball stadiums, I think they’re really realizing that we’re fighting HGTV, we’re fighting streaming. We need to create an intimate experience that’s something that what you’re going to get at home.

Andrew:                 Fenway Park and Wrigley Field have been around for 100 years for that reason.

Nick:                         I got to go to Fenway a couple years ago, or Wrigley a couple years ago, and I’m actually planning a trip this summer to Boston. My buddy made the team up there. Robbie Scott was one of the 25 playing for the Red Sox. Actually got in Opening Day. Got his guy out.

Andrew:                 Several Gators made Opening Day rosters. AJ Puk, Logan Shore are two guys that advanced all the way up to single A ball, but, Nick, we got to go to Orange & Blue game, because there is a lot to talk about for that 7:30 kickoff. 7:00 or 7:30? 7:00 right?

Nick:                         I think it’s 7:00.

Andrew:                 7:00 kickoff on Friday night. I’ve seen some people gripe about that Friday night. I personally liked it. I’m not even going to lie. I liked the Friday night deal. For two reasons, A, you’re not into Master’s coverage on Saturday, and, B, you’re not fighting other people for attention. You have every bit of attention on Friday night. Right now, in the beginning of April, not a lot of Friday night TV. They’ll only be fighting baseball. For the people that really want football, are going to watch it. I think it’s a great idea. Know some people are against it. I’m for it.

Nick:                         I think the knock on it is people that can’t travel, people that normally, if it was on a Saturday, would travel down after work on Friday, get dinner in Gainesville Friday night, and then go see the game Saturday. In the afternoon, you either drive home or stay Saturday. I think that’s the biggest gripe. I don’t think anyone would fight you on it’s good for recruiting. It’s good for that atmosphere. I think that’s undoubtable. You’re starting to see other schools kind of copy what McElwain did. You and I loved the idea the first year they did it, but I get the people that say, “I want to come, but I can’t.”

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         Because it’s Friday.

Andrew:                 Right. I see that. I also kind of see where there is the argument that if you were going to go, chances are you’re going to slide out of work a little early and make it down there. I think it’s a little bit of that. I am interested to see how the crowd is this year. I know that Florida has got a bunch of their players and people marketing to get a bigger crowd. No way they’re getting 90K, but it’ll be interesting to kind of see how it is, see how the excitement is. You got a quarterback battle going on, and that’s the talk of the town. I am going to be interested to really see how the crowd is on Friday night. Last year, I don’t remember it being great. I remember it being okay. Let’s see if it does better this year.

Nick:                         This will be the third year they do it. I remember the first year distinctly having that excitement, that vibe, because it was new.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         You and I both, we hyped on the podcast. I wrote about it. It was just, you’ve found something. I think last year was kind of more subdued. I would say it’s still better than the first two that I saw, which were the Will Muschamp specialties.

Andrew:                 Glorified practices?

Nick:                         Yeah. Those were horrendous. Those were hideous. I think you’ve got some depth problems again this year. You’re still going to get a scrimmage, but I think Florida’s got some depth issues at cornerback, defensive tackle, and linebacker that you might see pop up, creep up during the game.

Andrew:                 You’ll see a lot more walk-on guys go, but let’s move on to a little bit of the key points. I think the talk is absolutely going to be the quarterback play. How does Feleipe Franks–

Nick:                         That’s really front and center, right?

Andrew:                 Right. Someone asked that to Mac on Monday, how he expected Feleipe to bounce back from that. I think that’ll be something that will be interested to see is how Franks does. Last year I think we all walked out of their thinking, well I know you and I did, Nick, thinking that’s what we thought he was. Everyone’s talked about his improvement. He still throws interceptions, but his improvement. Let’s see that improvement.

Let’s see Kyle Trask. How close is this battle? Mac says on Monday that there’s starting to be separation. Let’s see what the separation is, who makes the team better around them. I expect both quarterbacks to get times with the ones in the game.

Then, I’m not even going to lie. I’m excited to see Kadarius Toney out of the Wildcat. Don’t expect to see him throwing the ball a ton, but every time we’ve talked about scrimmages we’ve heard Kadarius Toney makes a wild moment. Interested to see Kadarius.

Nick:                         I’m interested to see what he does. I think I’ve seen enough of him throwing, if I’m going to be honest.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         You get that Wildcat. I think it can be effective, but he’s going to have to throw the football. You can’t bring him in and never have him throw, because then you start teams keep coming up, and you can’t say, Jim McElwain can’t say in a press conference, “Well, Kadarius Toney can throw 50 yards, 70 yards.” At some point, by the time you get down to that FSU game, we’re going by not what you’re saying in Monday’s press conference. We’re going to by what we see on film. If this kid’s only coming in to run the ball, you’re not going to be very successful there.

Andrew:                 Let me chime in real quick on that. I think the biggest thing with Toney is throwing across the middle. Can he throw the deep ball? Yes. I think that there is enough.

Nick:                         He’s throwing wobbly outs.

Andrew:                 I’m saying. Does he do enough to keep the defense honest? I think so. I think so. I also need to see it in here. I’ve seen it in high school. Seen it in seven on seven camps, but I need to see it now, is I think the biggest point we’re both making.

Nick:                         Yeah. I just don’t know. I haven’t really seen much of him in terms of haven’t seen enough to give me confidence that he can be an effective passer.

Andrew:                 Okay. As far as Franks and Trask?

Nick:                         I think, and you had mentioned this to me before, I think Feleipe Franks is going to be a high interception guy. I think it goes along with he has a big arm. He knows he has a big arm, and he trusts it. It’s not as accurate as Kyle Trask. That combination and that gunslinger mentality kind of leads you into, “Man, that’s tight. I don’t know if I should throw that. There’s a better option, but that’s more yards. Let’s try it.” You try to zing something in, and it gets picked.

To me, I think, if Feleipe Franks wins, and he’s taken most of the first team reps from everything that we’ve seen, I think he could be a big turnover guy. Not to say that he’s not going to throw for a bunch of touchdowns and a bunch of yards, but Florida’s got a lot of question marks on defense. Is this going to be a team that can overcome turning the ball over?

Andrew:                 Yeah. That’s going to be the biggest thing there with him. I’ve said it. He’s a gunslinger. He’s a guy that is going to, if there’s a two-inch gap, he’s going to think he can fit that football in there. Sometimes he is, sometimes he’s not. I think that’s going to be what it is. I’m interested to see pocket presence and footwork as well. I’m interested to see that as well. That’s something we’ll be able to see a lot of in the game. Does he get nervous back there? I think a little bit in the Orange & Blue game last year he was trying to get rid of the ball so quick he was nervous.

That kind of brings me to my next point, offensive line. We’ve heard about. We’ve seen about it. Want to be able to see them go at it. I want to see Brett Heggie. Heard a lot about Brett, that he’s doing really well at the guard spot. Want to see that as well. See how that attitude has changed. How many times last year, Nick, did you and say, it’ll all depend on how the offensive line comes out, they come out soft, or they come out wanting to hit.” That was the question mark every week. We always said, it depends on how the offensive line comes out of the locker room. Let’s see how it is this week. Is that something that carries on week after week after week?

Nick:                         Yeah. Is it Heggie? It’s going to be Jawaan at right. It’s going to be Martez at left tackle. You’ve got TJ McCoy at center. Then we talked about it the last time we were on the podcast, you’ve got those three guys to play at two guard spots. Is it Heggie, Johnson? It is Heggie, Jordan? Is it Jordan, Johnson? What’s your combination down there?

It’s like you said. It’s got to be just that nasty attitude, what Jim McElwain called them out for, not having it at the end of last year. You’ve just got to have a nasty attitude, and you also need to find some depth there as well though. I think you’re still looking for Nick Buchanan to step into a role. Is it going to be Antonio Riles that steps into that role? I think you’d like to have maybe a younger player do it, but Riles being a redshirt senior I could see him getting time playing inside as well, if you stick with that rotation.

Andrew:                 I’ll say that I think it’ll be Heggie and Jordan. That’s who I’m going to go with. I still feel as if Johnson doesn’t bend well enough to be a guard. I’ll stick with that as well throughout, until I see differently. I’m going to go that it’s going to be Jordan and Heggie. Everybody I’ve talked to said Heggie might be the nastiest offensive lineman on the team, and that’s saying something as well, because TJ McCoy is a freak as well, as far as being nasty.

I think it all goes back down to how well this team does as far as their mentality. Are they nastier overall? What’s kind of the mentality? Everything we’ve heard is they’re nastier. Everything we’ve been told is that they’re taking after Brad Davis. Let’s see it. Let’s see how that goes about. It’s tough, because if the offensive line does really well, people are going to say the defensive line sucks. If defensive line does really well, they’re going to say the offensive line sucks again. As Mac says, it’s kind of both sides. We’ll see how it is. Me personally, I’m not worried about the defensive line. I want to see how that offensive line does. I want to see them be mean and nasty.

Nick:                         You’re returning a lot there. Florida keeps talking about, the coaches keep mentioning, how deep they are at receiver. Do you see it? I don’t see it.

Andrew:                 No, I don’t.

Nick:                         I don’t understand. I’ve even asked them. I was like, “What do you mean, you’re deep there?” They started naming players, and I’m like, “You’ve got one proven guy, who had a down year last year, and a sophomore-to-be in Tyrie Cleveland, who showed flashes. That’s it. That’s all you have.” I don’t understand where you’re getting that this is the deepest. If you’re listening to this, and you’ve got a different opinion, tell me how I’m wrong, but wide receiver position, outside of those two, outside of Callaway, Cleveland, I’m not really getting excited about it. I think Josh Hammond could be a good player.

Andrew:                 I think Hammond’s going to be the guy that surprises people.

Nick:                         I think he needs to be. To be honest, Florida needs to find that third guy. It could be Massey. He’s moving much better. Is it Brandon Powell? I don’t know.

Andrew:                 No. I think we’ve talked about this a lot with Brandon Powell. The foot’s not healthy. Doesn’t look like it’s ever going to be healthy. I do think Massey is going to be that guy. I do think Massey’s going to be that guy, but I think Josh Hammond’s going to be this guy, and I say this, and I know someone’s going to take this the wrong way, but he’s going to be that possession receiver that you can count on. It’s not to discount Callaway or Cleveland, but he’s sure-handed. Hammond’s sure-handed.

He’s a guy that’s going to do everything, all the little things, right. Going to do everything good, but not great. That doesn’t mean he’s not a good player or got a chance to be a great player. It just means he’s going to do everything correctly. He’s going to be where he’s supposed to be. He’s going to block the guy. Does he blow the guy 15 yards off the ball? Maybe, maybe not. He’s going to be the guy that’s at least in front of his guy. I do think I’m expecting a big year from Hammond.

I say Massey as well, based off of what we saw last year in fall camp, what we think he can be. Still not proven. I think you still have to remember a guy like Freddie Swain, who’s injured. You still got to remember a couple of the freshmen coming in. I think when Mac says it’s a deeper bunch, what are we comparing it to? Are we comparing it to Ahmad Fulwood? Because you and I were making a deeper bunch than that.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 At least the guys he’s putting out there can play. Let me say that.

Nick:                         Maybe. Maybe.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this. Would you rather have Josh Hammond running the post route or Ahmad Fulwood running the post route?

Nick:                         Yeah. Ahmad was more of your blocking tight end last year.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s what I’m saying. Maybe that’s what Mac means. I’m with you. Is it a deep position? No, especially from what Kerry Dixon says, in that he wants to run six guys out there, seven guys out there. You don’t have seven guys right now that you legit want to run out there. I’m with Mac that he has a better group. I think he’s done a great job of improving that position from when he got here to now.

Nick:                         Yes. I believe there’s more talent now than when they came. I would not call it a deep position. Moving on, though, we’ll see that. You’ve got to get some damn production from the tight end position.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         Time has come.

Andrew:                 We’ve been saying it. You and I talked about this beginning of last year when we said we thought C’yontai and Goolsby were going to have a good year. C’yontai didn’t really show up until end of the season, and Goolsby had the drops.

Nick:                         Became a better blocker.

Andrew:                 And had the drops all year, and he was the one hit, go down to the ground. I’m still not sure Goolsby broke a tackle last year, because it was, let’s throw him the two-yarder.

Nick:                         C’yontai did improve himself as far as a blocker.

Andrew:                 Not much.

Nick:                         I would say he did. From a guy when he first came in that we didn’t think would block at all.

Andrew:                 He still liked the lookout block.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Kemore Gamble though is a guy that everyone’s talking about. Mac’s said that he’s going to be a factor in that. He’s a guy that has size on him. I think he’s going to be a guy that’s going to catch the ball. Now, is he going to block much? Probably not. I think he’s going to be in that H back role of being a guy that motions, and is going to be the guy that catches those two-yard out routes, or those two-yard little dig routes, or stand passes. It’s going to be what he is for this team. And he’s going to be a guy that can stretch the field.

I think it’s safe to say that right now all three of them are in a battle, because none of them have shown that they can be that guy. That’s not Gamble, because, of course, he’s first time on campus, but Goolsby and Lewis still haven’t proved to be great players yet.

Nick:                         No. It’s something, I think the writers, me included, I think every year we kind of just wrote what the coaches told us about Goolsby and Lewis are really getting it. They’re going to be great. They’re going to be great. Then we get yelled at when the season comes along. I haven’t written anything, and I really haven’t read anything about these two. It’s kind of just like fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Hey, I think there is more talent than what the production shows.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         But you’re going to have to show me before I start talking about it again.

Andrew:                 Yeah. That’s a good point, for sure. We’ll see where that is. Got to go to the next position, Nick, though, and that is DB. It’s a question mark, we’ve heard throughout spring, as far as scrimmages go, and that is that still looking for those cornerbacks. I have heard, and I’m sure you have as well, Nick, and that is that Marcell Harris is being that guy at safety. Mac said he was a standout. We heard he was a standout in the last scrimmage. I think he’s finally showed us what he could be out of high school. He’s finally healthy, and that’s something there. I do feel like him and Nick Washington will be fine at safety.

We’ve heard Chauncey is getting better at corner, still struggling some. Duke still struggling on the outside. Still question mark at who’s going to be that nickel. It could get ugly on Saturday. Franks could look like a million bucks out there, because of the DBs.

Nick:                         Yeah. I don’t think there’s a question about nickel. You know why?

Andrew:                 Why?

Nick:                         I think Duke Dawson’s your nickel.

Andrew:                 Yeah, but who’s your corner?

Nick:                         You need a freshman. That’s the problem that you’re in. I think Florida has a chance to go from DBU to DB Who. You look at these guys. Is Chauncey getting better outside? Duke’s getting better outside. They’re not Jalen Tabor, Vernon Hargreaves, Quincy Wilson. They’re not those guys on the outside. You’re going to need a freshman to come in and start, and you’re going to need the other freshman to come in and play serious minutes.

Andrew:                 Hello, Marco.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s not the secondary that we’ve come to know in the past. I think Chauncey’s a great player. I think Duke’s a great player. I think Marcell Harris is playing his best football, and really maybe things finally slowed down, the light came on, got his opportunity. Nick Washington is a good player. You know what you’re going to get from those guys. There’s no depth after that. I’m not high on CJ McWilliams. I’m not high on Chris Williamson.

Andrew:                 Wait. Breaking news. You’re not high on CJ?

Nick:                         No. No. I’ve seen 14 playing safety. When you’ve got a cornerback who’s an outside cornerback, and now they start testing him out at safety, means things probably aren’t going well on the outside.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Now we’re just putting you in places until you realize it might be time to head out.

Andrew:                 I think that’s something we’re going to definitely have to pay attention to.

Nick:                         That and defensive tackle, biggest question marks.

Andrew:                 I don’t disagree with that. I will say at defensive tackle that there has been some positive reports on Jachai playing some inside as well. You’ve got Taven and Khairi. I feel like, and I’m not saying this because I don’t believe in him, but I feel like it’s every year we hear about Taven. It’s every year he’s doing this. He’s doing that. He’s going to have a big year, and then where? What happens? Now it’s kind of do or die time for him, so we’ll see how that translates on the field for him. There is some depth there. There is some players there. It’s just a question mark of is he ready.

Nick:                         Chris Rumph, I asked him, I said, “Hey, you gave us that fantastic nickname a couple years back about the Wyoming Wild Man. You still call him that?” He said, “No. He gets no more nicknames, because he played like the Wyoming Woman.” I was like, hello. I’m sure that’s not the first time Taven’s heard that from Chris Rumph. Rumph is not saying anything to the media that he hasn’t said to them.

Sometimes it takes kids longer to come around, and we said that with Taven his first year, that he was going to be someone that needed some time to come around, to learn, for things to click. I’m also with you, though. It’s kind of like I put Taven in the category of Goolsby and C’yontai. Believe it when I see it.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s exactly where I am as well. I’ll believe it when I see it. Here’s the thing, with all of those guys it’s not a question of do they have the talent. I think they all have the talent. It’s just being consistent with it. We saw plays last year where Taven was really good, and then we saw plays where it was like, there’s the Taven that we’ve grown to see, and that’s that he doesn’t do much. It’s not a question of talent there.

It’s same thing with Khairi Clark. I don’t think that there’s a question there with Khairi Clark of can he make plays. I think he can. It’s can he be consistent with it. Can he get in good enough shape to where he’s ready to do it play after play? With Jachai, I think it’s a situation where we see whether he’s ready to take that step up to be that guy there.

Then you look at a guy like Kyree Campbell. We’ve heard a lot about Kyree Campbell as well, the prep school guy. I think for Florida to be really successful on the defensive line it’s going to depend on a guy like Kyree. Can Kyree come in and be a guy that’s ready to go and to give them solid minutes? Not be a starter or anything like that, but just be a solid guy that collects minutes.

Nick:                         Haven’t really seen enough from Kyree, but that’s a guy that you’re going to need.

Andrew:                 Right. Then, when you look at the end position, you feel pretty good about the end position, or at least I do.

Nick:                         I think Florida is stacked at defensive end.

Andrew:                 They’re still looking for that one.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think Jabari Zuniga, Cece.

Andrew:                 Sherit.

Nick:                         Sherit. It’s tough, because you look at Cece. I can’t remember what game it was, but you and I both recall putting out a missing person’s report for Cece during the first couple games, and then all of a sudden, I think it was Bryan Cox got hurt. Someone got dinged up, and they moved Cece back outside, and you and I both were like, there he is.

Andrew:                 He’s alive!

Nick:                         They’d just been using him incorrectly.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         Cece has slimmed down. He’s not going back inside, so it’s going to be how do you get all of those guys that are playing the same position on the field?

Andrew:                 Right. I think, even a guy like Antonneous Clayton, I think Clayton’s gotten bigger, and I think he’s going to be a guy that makes some plays. I think he’s going to be a guy that figures into the mix in some way. That position’s not there.

I know we talked a little bit about the depth at linebacker. I’m going to be honest, Nick. It’s concerning right now, because you’re missing Reese, and your freshmen haven’t come in yet, but once Reece is back fully healthy, I’m not concerned about linebacker.

Nick:                         Yeah. Right now I think really where I worry about Florida is the run defense.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         I think you’re going to see some of this on Friday. I think you’re going to see a bunch of run fits getting missed, with guys like Cristian Garcia, guys like that.

Andrew:                 Which all that gets fixed as soon as David Reese, the headhunter, comes back.

Nick:                         Vosean’s the headhunter. David Reese is your dude, your Antonio Morrison kind of, your quarterback.

Andrew:                 Right. Vosean’s been the leader, but I’m saying I feel like Reese is that leader of that defense at that Mike linebacker position.

We kind of went through all the positions here. Anything else looking forward to? I’m going to be honest. I’m really just kind of wanting to see the atmosphere from the fans, just to see how the guys really go about it. Is there a sense of excitement? I’ve personally been told, Nick, and I’m sure you have as well, that there is some excitement. These younger guys have really bought into things. We talked about this. It’s nothing against the older guys, but the older guys weren’t fully bought in as much as the younger guys. These younger guys are ready to go.

I’m very excited to see that. Very excited to see how the new coaches interact out there. That’s something we didn’t even talk about with Ja’Juan Seider and the running back position. In my opinion, I’m just looking to see really overall the feeling from the team.

Nick:                         I think everyone will be excited. I think the environment will be exactly what you expect it to be.

Andrew:                 I didn’t mean exactly the environment from the fans. I meant from the players. Is it a lot of just going through the motions, or is it excitement from themselves to be out there really going about it?

Nick:                         Yeah. I forget what year it was. They had the opening kickoff returned for a touchdown. Any kind of gimmicky things that you’ll see?

Andrew:                 Not really. I think you will see Kadarius out there doing his thing. I think you’ll see a lot of that, but that’s about it. Will be some recruits in there as well. We can talk a little bit about that. We’re taping this Wednesday at noon, so not a full list, by any means, but a couple of the headliners that are coming in are receiver, Jacob Copeland, from Pensacola. You’ve got Anthony Schwartz, who ran the 10.15, Nick. Broke Jeff Demp’s record in the 100 meter the other night.

Nick:                         That’s moving.

Andrew:                 Moving. He’s coming into town. You got the two commits, CJ Smith and Divaad Wilson. Both of the DBs coming in. You got tight end, Jarrett Jackson, coming in. Another receiver in Dominick Watt, and then one of the guys should be a headliner is Dax Hollifield, the linebacker from up in Bullard and Brandon Spikes country, up in Shelby, North Carolina. He’s one of their top targets.

Several more guys will be coming in for visits. That’s just a preliminary list. Should be good. Get those guys in there. Get them to meet with the staff a little bit. Do their thing, and then set it up, because on April 15, a week from Saturday, staff gets to go back on the road for some recruiting.

Nick:                         That’s a pretty big crowd coming in. What is a visit like when you’ve got a Friday game, as opposed to a Saturday?

Andrew:                 Obviously, you would like for guys to stay over, since it’s a Friday night, and some guys will. The good thing is, in the case of Jacob Copeland and Jordan Miner, two guys that are going to be able to hit two games this weekend. Copeland is going to Florida on Friday, and then turn around and going to Clemson on Saturday. Jordan Miner’s going to Florida on Friday, and then going to Florida State on Saturday. You wouldn’t have been able to get both of those visits had you had it on a Saturday. For me, it’ll be interesting to kind of see who else does that. Is there more guys that try to hit both Florida and Florida State, or is it a situation where you get some guys to stay over?

Florida would, obviously, like to have a couple of their guys stay over, and you have a Saturday, but if they’re just coming in on Friday, they probably get in a little early, go in for the team meetings, do all that stuff, get to see the Gator Walk that they always do before the game, and then they get to see the game. Then usually meet with the staff post-game as well, before departing, unless they’re coming back on Saturday.

Nick:                         Okay. Most popular question that you’ll be asked.

Andrew:                 No idea.

Nick:                         All week. How many? Who? When?

Andrew:                 Why not now?

Nick:                         Why not already? Andrew, will Florida have 20 commits and finish their class on Friday?

Andrew:                 Yeah. Don’t we all wish. No, we don’t, because then we wouldn’t sell subscriptions. No. It’s tough to say, Nick. You know how it is. I’m throwing this out. I’m not saying this kid, but just say a guy like Anthony Schwartz comes up, doesn’t expect that he’s going to come up and decide that he’s going to commit. He has no idea he wants to commit, but gets up there, falls in love with it, his parents fall in love with it. He says, “All right, Coach, I want to commit.” Very possible.

Do I expect anyone to commit? No. Would I be surprised if someone did? No. Events like this something can always happen. That’s the way I’m going to leave it.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 Good enough for you?

Nick:                         No. I hope someone yells at you for this.

Andrew:                 I was trying to take the political way out.

Nick:                         Yell at Andrew on Twitter @AndrewSpiveyGC for him taking the easy way out there.

Andrew:                 Nick, we’re going to have a little fun. It’s Masters Week.

Nick:                         A tradition unlike any other.

Andrew:                 Nick, it’s on my bucket list to go.

Nick:                         My gosh.

Andrew:                 It is on my bucket list, Nick. I want to go. I want to go and enjoy Masters Week. Everyone says to go for the practice round. I would love to do that as well. Not even going to lie, going to the part three wouldn’t even be a bad thing.

Nick:                         Just get on the grounds.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Then if somebody would like offer to let me play and shoot a 300 out there, because that’s what I would shoot if I did get the chance to play, I wouldn’t be upset either.

Nick:                         Jim McElwain played last year.

Andrew:                 Really?

Nick:                         We were talking about that with him on Monday, and he said, “The course is more beautiful than even TV really can show you,” but he said, “You could drive a semi-truck, a couple semi-trucks, down that first fairway.” He said, “It’s just wide open.” He goes, “There’s just something that gets to you. You’re standing there, and you’re on the first tee box at Augusta, and it’s just overwhelming, and I duck hooked my first one.” He said they have caddies that go out, and the caddies, that’s their job. They know this course inside and out, better than the back of their hand.

McElwain said his buddy, one of the guys that was playing with him was putting, and he lines up the putt. It’s a tough one, but the caddy walked completely away from the hole, and he knelt down, put his hand down on a spot, and said, “If you make the ball die in my hand,” like if you make the ball stop in my hand, he goes, “it’s going to trickle down. You’re going to make it.” Jim McElwain says, “The guy had to be 15 feet away from the pin, and we’re all looking at him like, you’re crazy.” He goes, “Sure enough, guy putts the ball right where the guy’s hand was, it dies, catches a ridge, and just funnels down into the hole.”

He said it was undulations, just it was an amazing experience. Maybe you can talk to your buddy there and get us on.

Andrew:                 Definitely. Nick, we wanted to kind of pick some guys here. You and I are both going to pick four guys. The lowest score for combined will win.

Nick:                         Got you.

Andrew:                 I think the loser has to wear the opposing team’s hat in Hoover in a couple months.

Nick:                         All right.

Andrew:                 There you go. I’m going to go first, Nick. My guy, the Goat, Jordan Spieth is my first one. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win, if he can get past #12.

Nick:                         That’d be really cool, really cool to see Spieth do it. I’m going to go with Rory.

Andrew:                 Rory. Rory’s kind of been a guy that’s kind of just went out, not gone away, but he’s just not talked about as much anymore right now. Maybe that’s a lot because of him playing overseas a lot.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think it’s time for him to get over his little hump, his little Masters bugaboo here. He’s never won it. Has played well there, but I think this is the year Rory can get over the hump.

Andrew:                 Okay. We’ll see. Maybe this is it for him. My next one’s going to be DJ, Dustin Johnson. Playing well. The world’s #1 right now. We’ll see. I’ll be honest. I have no faith whatsoever in Dustin Johnson winning the Masters, because he simply cannot putt when it’s clutch time, but maybe he has one of his good weeks. It depends. It’s either a good week or a bad week putting. There’s no in between.

Nick:                         I’m going to go with Justin Rose.

Andrew:                 Okay. Any explanation of why on Mr. Rose?

Nick:                         I don’t know. I kind of have a feeling that it’s going to be an international guy this year.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         I don’t know why. Americans typically have …

Andrew:                 Done well.

Nick:                         Done well. Rose hasn’t missed a cut, I think, since the US Open last year. Played well at the Olympics. He was fourth at Torrey Pines. I’m not picking him to win. I’m predicting him to finish strong. That’s what we’re doing here. We’re trying to find, create the lowest scoring team here.

Andrew:                 I went with Zach Johnson. Zach’s always just seems to be in the mix, Nick. It just seems like it doesn’t matter how he’s played all year. He just seems to always be at least in the conversation year in and year out. That’s kind of why I went with Zach.

Nick:                         I’m going to go with Jon Rahm.

Andrew:                 Okay. Any explanation of why?

Nick:                         He’s playing really well right now. I think he’s playing well. He’s young, only 22 years old. I think he’s just confident, and I’m running the risk of, straddling the line of is he so young that he’s going to show up and be like crap, crap the bed, or show up and almost too naïve, too ignorant to really take it all in, and you don’t choke because of how high the stakes are.

Andrew:                 Right. We’ll see. That’s an interesting pick. I had to go with this one just because he was still out there, Nick. That’s Mr. Rickie Fowler.

Nick:                         I love Rickie.

Andrew:                 I do too.

Nick:                         Love Rickie.

Andrew:                 Funny story, and it’s off topic. My grandmother passed away a few years ago. Me and my grandpa, Nick, you’ve met my grandpa, we love our golf. Play it a couple times a year. She could not stand to watch golf until Rickie came on. When Rickie started playing, she would love to watch golf. Her explanation was, “He’s a cutie pie.” My grandmother being 70 years old, would watch golf because she thought little Rickie was cute.

Nick:                         Good for her. God bless her.

Andrew:                 I’ll go with Rickie, just because.

Nick:                         Okay. That’s your four. My last, I’m going to go with Adam Scott. I told you, I’ve got an international flavor here with McIlroy, Rose, and Scott. Scott’s just another guy who I think hangs around, shoots low. What is his ranking right now?

Andrew:                 He was in the top 10, but not sure if he’s still hanging in that top 10 or not.

Nick:                         Rahm’s 12. I think Rory’s in the top 10. I’m pulling it up. Official world rankings, Scott’s 9 right now. Those are my four.

Andrew:                 Okay. We’ll see. Nothing is for sure, that’s for sure, but one thing is for sure, and that’s that it’s always exciting. Sunday is never a boring Sunday, as Jordan Spieth let us know painfully last year. Love my guy Jordan Spieth.

Nick:                         I think that’d be really cool to …

Andrew:                 Rebound?

Nick:                         To rebound, yeah.

Andrew:                 North Carolina did it.

Nick:                         Yeah. So did Clemson.

Andrew:                 There you go. All right, Nick, we’re running out of time here. Tell everybody where they can find us. If you haven’t joined us yet, we still got a cool little coupon. Come hit one of us up. We’ll get you in. We’ve added basketball. Our man, Zach, is killing the basketball recruiting as well. You got it all now. You don’t have to go anywhere else. Hit us up if you want to join. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com, for all your Florida Gators news. You can catch us on the podcast. If you have iTunes, go to the podcast store. Search @GatorCountry. The podcast is also in transcript and audio form on the website. Do your social media thing, @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. You can find me, @NickdelaTorreGC, and him, @AndrewSpiveyGC.

Andrew:                 There you go. As always, guys, we appreciate it. We’ll see everyone next week for a recap of this. We’ll get going now. Baseball, softball still going hot. Basketball rounding up. Guys going to the draft, and then the NFL draft’s around the corner as well. As always, guys, we appreciate it. Check us out. As always, chomp, chomp. Go Braves.

Nick:                         You stay classy, Gator Country.

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