Gator Country’s podcast is back as the gang breaks down the Florida Gators football win over FAU on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville, Florida.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down the ugly win for the Florida Gators football team but they tell you why it was ugly and tell you what they think they can do differently going forward.
Andrew and Nick break down Treon Harris’ play, plus they get into talk about the Florida Gators football rivalry game against the team out west this Saturday night in Gainesville.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? This is your man, Andrew Spivey, back after a thrilling overtime win, I guess you could say. It was thrilling, because it was a big play at the end, but it was a not so good football game. Nicholas, it was a doomy day, and it was a doomy play.
Nick: Happy about the win. I don’t know if anybody, any Gator fan, is thrilled about that game on Saturday though.
Andrew: Championship teams find a way to win.
Nick: Blah, blah, blah. Championship teams like Alabama crush the teams that they pay a million dollars to come in before rivalry weekends.
Andrew: Sure. It is what it is. My thing was I was glad to see Mac say he knew they overlooked that ball game, because, for me, that was more to me of trusting Mac in the long term that he was man enough to say, “They were dead. They didn’t play well.” It was good. I think the thing that we maybe don’t look at as much is I went to look back, and while we talked about a lot of young guys playing, actually a lot of young guys did play in the game, including a couple of first time starters in Matt Rolin and Khairi Clark.
Nick: Actually Matt Rolin was kind of dictated by what FAU’s personnel was on their first offensive series, so Florida comes out in the nickel, and all of a sudden FAU comes out and Matt Rolin’s on the field. I kind of saw 25 run out there, and I thought, “What? Matt Rolin?” Not only did he start against FAU on Saturday, that was the first time he’s ever played for the Gators. In now his third year, the end of his third year. The first time Matt Rolin has ever played a down for Florida, and he played a lot.
Andrew: He played some for Florida in the Florida State last year on special teams. He played a little bit on special teams. I think this is definitely the first time he’s started.
Nick: It’s definitely the first time he played defense. I don’t remember him playing last year against Florida State.
Andrew: If you remember correctly he was trying to get a redshirt, and once he found out that he wouldn’t be able to get a medical redshirt last year they went ahead and played him in the special teams for the Florida State game. I know you remember you and I talking about that we had spoke to his brother at that. They were going to hold him out hoping to get the medical redshirt, but once they found out he didn’t, he played special teams.
Nick: So his first time playing defense.
Andrew: To my knowledge.
Nick: I talked to somebody, a UF spokesperson, yesterday, and to their knowledge it was the first time he had played. That’s why I said it. I do remember talking to you about that last year for the FSU game. I think the defense, and those players, answered the bell. It was the first time we say Keivonnis Davis last week. This is a guy who Florida got in on late, got to commit. He had a little trouble getting into school. Ended up getting into school late, but a guy with a lot of talent. He comes out there, hasn’t really played all year, looks kind of destined for a redshirt, and then because of injuries it’s like, “Hey, bud, not really what we talked about, but you need to get in there.” He has three tackles in his first game.
Andrew: It was interesting to see, because last week it was Luke Ancrum that traveled with the Gators as that backup lineman, but he’s not the first one to go in. It’s Davis.
Nick: To me, at this point when you get enough guys banged up, and we’re talking about Florida really had guys banged up. Jordan Sherit didn’t play. Jon Bullard went down and missed some time. Vernon Hargreaves was out for a little while, left in the 2nd quarter and never came back. Florida on Friday had to go to Antonio Riles, who had been playing offensive line for two years, and say, “We need you to play some three technique on Saturday. I know you really haven’t practiced it, haven’t done it much, but we need to get you back out there.” I think maybe you look at a guy like Davis, and you think, he’s probably not going to get in, destined for a redshirt, but you’re not too upset about it. You’ve got Jabari Zuniga who is still redshirting. You’ve got some other guys back there. You still got guys like Taven Bryan, Justus Reed, that got to play some on defense as well. All is not lost on the defense having to burn a redshirt, and to me the defense played fantastic football all Saturday.
Andrew: Yeah. You don’t come to Gainesville, you don’t come to school to redshirt.
Andrew: Come down to play, and is ready to go. The good thing is they’re there. You had that opportunity. A guy like Riles who is a defensive tackle by trade got to go back to his old position and actually made a few plays. I’m not Jim McElwain. I’m not Chris Rumph or any of those guys, but he looked a heck of a lot better on defensive line than he did on offensive line. That brings my next point. Holy cow, that offensive line on Saturday was dog shit. Period.
Nick: Kelvin Taylor willed himself to 98 rushing yards on 25 carries. Willed himself, because the offensive line did him no favors.
Andrew: No favors at all. It led to Martez Ivey getting benched in the game. Tyler Jordan went to right guard. For the most part Tyler Jordan did well at right guard. Nick, you and I saw him play some guard last year in the Under Armor game, because that’s kind of his natural position. He started moving to center to go to Florida when Florida recruited him as a center, but he had played guard most of his career at Bishop Kennedy. He’s a guy that is there. He was there, he was kind of like a second center on the field. He was helping Dilliard point out different assignments, was helping point out the defense on that. Overall I thought it was a good move. He did well. I’ll be the first one to say it. Sharpe struggled. Ivey struggled. Dilliard may have played the best of the bunch, and he’s the guy that a lot of people like to pick on.
Nick: Yeah. Cam has really kind of turned the corner, in my opinion. You’re starting to see a little bit more. When he was a recruit you kind of talked about…
Nick: No, when you watched his film. His team ran the football a lot, but you saw a kind of edge for him, the way he finished blocks. The way he was able to shed a first guy, pass him along, and climb to the next level. I think you’re starting to see him, maybe things slowed down for him, and he’s starting to be able to play with that edge and play with that attitude again.
Andrew: That’s the thing. That’s the biggest thing. I don’t know. It’s like you look at FAU, their defense isn’t that good, and Florida’s offensive line was…
Nick: FAU had five sacks on Saturday against Florida.
Andrew: Seven total, right? In their whole season.
Nick: I’m not sure how many they had on the whole season, but they hadn’t had a sack in their last three games.
Andrew: I think they had seven total entering the Florida game, and they had five. It was awful. It was downright embarrassing at times for the offensive line. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on with this offensive line. Something has to be done, and something has to be done in a hurry. I will say this. To their credit, the defense no longer has to respect the passing game, so they’re bringing more than Florida can block, but there are times where Florida is one on one with a guy and just straight up missing. That was a large part of why Ivey came out of the game, because he’s had back to back games now where he’s just straight whiffed over and over and over. You and I talked about it on the second play of the game. If he gets his butt out in front and makes the block, Kelvin Taylor’s got reservations for six on the screen pass.
Nick: Yeah. It’s a struggling trend that we’re seeing, because you talk about going up against Georgia, and I think both you and I really recognized how well the offensive line did that game, and thought to ourselves, “Maybe this is turning a corner.” You’re getting some cohesion. You’re getting these guys, they’re playing together. They’re learning how to play together. A lot of playing offensive line is that communication between guys, and that takes trust, and it takes time to build. Since that Georgia game, nothing against Vanderbilt, nothing against South Carolina, nothing against Florida Atlantic, and these are teams that are worse than that Georgia team.
Andrew: Where’s the offensive line that blocked for Ole Miss? That is by far the best defensive line they’ve faced all year long.
Nick: Then we’re getting into quarterback talk.
Andrew: I’m taking quarterback talk out of this. It does, it goes one dynamic hits the other dynamic, and I know quarterback play affects offensive line play. I’m understanding that, but I’m talking strictly lining one on one with a man head up on another man, and you’re getting beat. Not just getting beat, but you’re getting left at the line of scrimmage. That’s the thing that I’m wondering where is this offensive line? Now, quarterback play is affecting it in a hurry. Treon Harris yesterday played like dog doo-doo. There is no other way to say it. He played like not a Division I quarterback, and that affected the line for sure.
Nick: With Treon it’s the same thing. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. It’s just the anticipation. By now people are seeing it. Jake McGee was wide open. So-and-so was wide open in that play. Why isn’t he looking at them? Why is the ball coming out late? It’s just the anticipation with him. He’s not throwing guys open.
Andrew: I’m going to take it a step further, Nick. You’re dead on. You’re dead on in your assessment of that, but now it’s becoming a joke.
Nick: It’s bringing the entire offense down.
Andrew: It is. It’s becoming a joke, and it’s becoming a factor where it’s like, you’re not this bad, dude. What are you doing? You’re not this bad. There was no way Treon Harris is as bad of a football player has he has shown the last two weeks. I’ve watched Treon Harris play. Treon Harris throws a good ball. What’s he doing? He throws the ball to Callaway, and I see Twitter blowing up with all these reporters saying, great throw. No. That was not a good throw. A good throw that ball’s put onto the goal post right there almost. Callaway runs underneath it, and nobody even tries to touch it. That was almost picked off.
It’s a situation where he’s just not. It’s becoming a pattern of throwing the ball up for grabs. We’re not playing Booker T versus Blancha Eli, or whoever some of these teams are that are down south that I don’t even know who they are, the University Christian East West School, whoever they’re playing down there. This is not them. This is big boy football, FAU, FIU, whoever it is, they know how to catch the ball. This throwing it up for grabs business is getting old. It’s becoming hazardous.
The fumble that they had, that’s strictly Treon Harris trying to be too much. Just play your game, Treon. Throw the ball to the guy that you’re supposed to throw it to. He wants to throw it to one guy. Every play he has one guy he wants to throw it to. Fine and dandy, but look to the opposite field, and then turn your head real quick and sling it up for grabs the other way. I’d rather him do that then whoever he’s going to he watches the whole entire play, and it becomes a pattern of if it is one on one, if the coverage dictates it’s one on one, and it’s a good play, it’s no longer one on one, because you’ve watched him for so long that now it becomes three on one, two on one, four on one.
Callaway, for instance, had one time it was a one high safety. One high safety, that means the fade route, or the go route, or the seam route, whatever you want to call it, is going to be open. Callaway had his guy beat, but Treon had waited so long that he allowed that safety to cross the hash mark, come over, make a play. Instead of looking the safety off, making a good play to Callaway, and letting it go for six. He’s not doing that. It’s becoming mental. Someone said to me today, and I laughed about, but when I started to think about it it was true. Treon Harris and Austin Hardin have the same problem. They both need to go see a psychiatrist this week and get a mental rest for a day and figure out what’s going on.
Nick: That’s a lot to process there, Andrew. That’s a lot of stuff going on there. I think you and I were both talking about it. A lot of people just see the result. 53 yard touchdown pass, that’s really good. They don’t think, or they don’t take time to really think about what they just saw. You’re right. That ball is not a good pass. Callaway had to slow down. It gave the FAU defender time to make a play. It didn’t need to be that way. That’s not a great pass. It’s an okay pass, because it’s complete, but that’s not a good pass. To me, even when something like that happens, you can’t just say look at the end result. It’s good. Treon Harris did a good job, because the end result’s good.
Andrew: Especially in this game.
Nick: I don’t know if it’s mental. Definitely Treon Harris, growing up, has played in big games. He has played against great competition. This is obviously a step up, but everywhere he’s gone he’s had success. Now to me, even though I say I don’t think it’s mental, does it start getting to him? Just because he’s not having that same kind of success, and it’s the first time his entire life. Does that start to get to him? Does he start to maybe doubt himself?
Andrew: I think it came about with the play where he tried to force the turnover to D Rob, tried to force the ball to D Rob, and it was three on one. He threw a pick. It happened when he was rolling out trying to throw the ball. He tries to make too much happen. My thing is is Treon Harris going to win the Heisman Trophy at quarterback? No. I think we can all agree on that. Can Treon Harris be good enough to win football games for Florida? I think so. Do what Treon does. That is throw a good ball, and it may not look pretty, and it may not be the most pretty offense. It may not be the offense Jim McElwain wants it to be, but he’s not the bad football player he’s showing right now. I know people are going to say, “Why isn’t he showing it?” He’s pressing. It’s mental. It’s something. That’s not the Treon Harris that I have seen since he was a junior in high school. This is not even Treon Harris in the Will Muschamp offense. That’s what bad is he was doing better things with a dong dong in Will Muschamp and Kurt Roper calling plays for him last year.
Nick: Dong dong.
Andrew: I was going to say something else, but…
Nick: Let’s keep it at dong dong then. Maybe it being kind of a mental thing, or a confidence thing makes sense, because I do agree with you, and I think everyone is really piling on Treon. No, he’s not playing well. I don’t think he would tell you that he’s playing well. Yes, I think he’s a better player than what he’s shown, but you had chances against, okay Vanderbilt was a good defense. Yes, but you had a chance against a really bad South Carolina team, a very bad South Carolina team. You had a chance against a two win FAU team, and now you haven’t gotten that done, and who’s waiting for you? FSU. That’s a rivalry game. You can kind of throw some things out of the way, but the defense that’s coming in to Gainesville this week is much better than the two you just struggled with.
Andrew: The ball that he throws to Callaway’s picked off by Jalen Ramsey.
Nick: I think Ramsey’s first or second pick of the year.
Andrew: You know what I’m saying. We’re talking about FSU, and I’m talking like Jalen Ramsey’s going to be probably matched up on Callaway. I no longer see Demarcus Robinson as Florida’s best receiver, or the #1 guy you stop. I think you put your best on Callaway, and that’s going to be that guy. My thing is this. Florida Atlantic, you think about Florida Atlantic. You could exploit them deep. Every one of Florida’s guys are better than their DBs. You would have thought that would have played into Treon’s advantage, but he struggled. There was a play going in in the 1st quarter, Florida’s on about the 34, and it was again a single high coverage. Demarcus Robinson’s one on one. It was a just a quick little fade route that they were going to go to to Robinson, and he threw it out of bounds, 5 yards out of bounds. It’s like, you are playing FAU, but at least put it in a spot where it’s D Rob or nobody to catch the ball. 5 yards out of the bounds the fans can catch it, but that’s not a 1st down.
Nick: I do think, and I’ve kind of said it all year, that Treon even throws a little nicer of a deep ball than Will Grier. I really do think that arm might be a little bit stronger, but he has the ability, and he’s shown the ability to throw a nice deep ball, to complete those passes, and then to me it’s just why aren’t you seeing that? Is it there’s not confidence in the offensive line to draw some of those plays up, or to draw more of those plays up? Then again I’m still thinking, where are the stand passes? Where are the swing passes? Fans need to stop asking for these jet sweeps. They’re not going anywhere.
Andrew: That’s because a lot of that is the tackles. Jake McGee, I love Jake McGee. Jake McGee is a fabulous guy, but I am starting to see Jake McGee’s struggles. That is run blocking and getting out on the edge. He’s not able to retain the edge. I’m going to say this, Nick. The reason I don’t think you see the stand passes and the swing passes against FAU is I think they were trying to build Treon Harris’s confidence up by letting him use his deep balls and that kind of stuff. Florida shouldn’t need to go to stand passes, swing passes, to beat FAU. I’m saying this, and of course somebody’s going to hit me up on Twitter and say, “Damn, they almost lost a game. They should have went to it.” Yes, they should have went to it at the end of the game, and they ultimately did go to some little rinky dink little play action roll out back to McGee for the touchdown to win the game, but what I’m saying is in the game plan I think they were trying to go to the game plan to expand the playbook a little bit, because the stand pass, swing pass, should be there for next week.
Nick: I actually like that play call. It’s just a little misdirection, and even though it scored FAU had it covered. They had two guys there on Jake. It wasn’t a play call that kind of caught anyone off guard for a touchdown. It was just Jake McGee going and making a play there.
Andrew: It was a good ball.
Nick: I do like the play call. A little misdirection, get everyone moving right. Throw it back the other way. It’s kind of a very slow developing play, which Florida doesn’t really have the luxury of calling a lot of, because of their offensive line and those struggles.
Andrew: You don’t agree that it was a good ball?
Nick: No. It floated a little bit, but it’s a really long pass. It’s a really long pass that you’re making, you’re running right, then stopping, turning real quick, and throwing the ball the entire length of the field. It’s a long pass. I don’t expect him to throw it shoulder high from one end to the other on a line to McGee the whole way, but it hit McGee in time for him to turn and see those guys in front of him rather than make the catch and immediately get hit.
Andrew: Right. I don’t know. I thought it was a good play overall. I thought it was a good play call. I don’t mean to call it a bad play call.
Nick: You just called it a rinky dink.
Andrew: When I say it was a rinky dink I did not mean that. I meant they went back to something basic that should be there. I’m saying overall I think Florida was trying to expand the playbook by running their deep go routes, their post patterns, trying to let Treon get comfortable with his deep ball again. That’s what I was saying. Coach Mac, I loved that play call. It was a good play. I liked the play. I’m just saying, it shouldn’t have took that play to win the game. I’m going to throw something else out there at you, Nick.
Nick: Hit me.
Andrew: This is something that you and I have talked a little bit about, but it’s something that I think is becoming more and more of a possibility. I think the last two weeks Florida’s been throwing some Treon zone reads, some spread option looks with Treon, for the next two weeks. I don’t think Mac and Nuss think that they can win with the offense they’ve been going at. I think they’ve got some wrinkles in for the next two weeks. Are you feeling that at all, or am I just losing it?
Nick: No. Here you go. Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeyer don’t think that they can win with this offense that they’ve used the past couple weeks. They know that they cannot win with that. Do I think that we’ll see them just roll the ball out there and kind of go with what they’ve shown offensively the past couple weeks? Absolutely not. That’s how you get your ass beat. That’s how you lose your next two games, and you go from possibly a playoff contender to, no disrespect to any of the bowl games, but playing in the Belk Bowl or playing in the Citrus Bowl. It’s not a playoff, which we were talking about seriously for Florida up until they’ve looked the way they have the past couple weeks.
I really do think that the way to beat, especially when we’re looking at Alabama, we’ve talked many times. Alabama is built to stop that LSU team, that team that runs the ball. Alabama’s built to stop that with their interior defensive line, with their linebackers. They’re built to stop that. How you get Alabama, how you kind of take advantage of them, is to spread the field and make them run east to west. Something like a spread offense, a spread option offense, where the quarterback can take advantage of them. Chad Kelly took advantage of them a little bit running the ball on his own. I think that, especially against Alabama, is something that you want to do, but you’re kind of between a rock and a hard place, because, believe it or not, everyone was asking yesterday. Believe it or not, Treon Harris is the best quarterback that Florida has available to them right now. It’s not even close. He’s the best quarterback they have available.
Andrew: Let me say. That’s no disrespect to Josh Grady. Josh Grady’s more of a receiver than that. He wasn’t brought in to be the starting quarterback for this Florida team. Let’s not throw, and people shouldn’t throw shade or blame at Josh Grady. That’s not Josh Grady’s fault at all. That was not the plan for him.
Nick: No. Josh Grady was brought in to be a third quarterback and maybe play some wide receiver. He was only playing wide receiver until Will Grier was suspended, and practice. It’s no disrespect to him, but that’s just what it is. Treon Harris is the best quarterback the Gators have to offer right now. Don’t want to put him in harm’s way, but once you get to that Alabama game, possibly even this week in the Florida State game, we’ve talked about how Jim McElwain really embraces rivalries and really embraces tradition. That’s this week. Maybe now that you only have two games left you see some more spread option, getting Treon out, running the ball. There were a couple times yesterday where, I don’t know if it was a designed quarterback draw or if it was just Treon using his instincts, where he took off. The middle field was open, and he took off, and he picked up 9, 10 yards. I’d like to see more of that.
Andrew: I think that’s something you will see more of.
Nick: He’s a very instinctual runner, and I know he got banged up yesterday, which kind of shows you probably can’t do a ton of this. I think that shows you that, but you can see how because he’s an instinctual runner he doesn’t take really big shots. He doesn’t get hit hard a lot.
Andrew: I think that’s something you hit on. I think that’s something else you have to remember is you look at they could have ran quarterback draw every play yesterday. When Florida went to five wide FAU was not keeping a spy on Florida until the very end of the game. They could have ran quarterback draw every time, but it is those hits on Treon you worry about. I’m going to give a hot take here, Nick. Are you ready for it?
Nick: Hit me with it.
Andrew: I think Grady tail comes out this week.
Nick: That would be interesting.
Andrew: I think you see some of that to take advantage of a FSU defense that struggles with the outside run. You and I talked about it at FSU last year. They’re not good with anything on the perimeter, and if Florida’s able to get some zone reads with Grady maybe as well, we’ll see. Nick, we have to go to the hot take of the week, for real. Buddy, you struggled this week. You look like Florida’s offensive line when you were picking players on Friday.
Nick: For real?
Nick: I’m going to go ahead and give myself…
Andrew: I’m going to give you a half a point because Treon got the win. I’m a fair guy.
Nick: I turn that down. I turn that down vehemently. I am going to give myself a point for Jon Bullard, only four tackles on the day. Did have a pass batted down, but I’m going to give myself a point because Jonathan Bullard is two or three games away from realizing a dream and playing in the NFL. He got hurt early in that game, and easily could have just stayed in the locker room and like Instagram pictures like Vernon Hargreaves. He came back out and played football. To me, that shows a lot. Almost sick to my stomach thinking Bullard has made a lot of money by coming back and almost sick to my stomach seeing trainers do knee stabilization tests on the field and thinking, they do that to see if the ACL/MCL/PCL are intact. That’s not a good sign when that stuff is happening. To me, sick to my stomach seeing him go to the locker room, and then to see him walk back out you’re thinking, he still has his pads on, maybe it’s not serious. Then they throw a brace on, and he gets back in there. I’m going to take a point just for what he was able to do coming back in the game.
Andrew: Did Mac update that after the game?
Nick: No. He just said obviously it was the knee injury. I think everyone saw that.
Andrew: I told you in the box, you laughed at me when I told you this, but it was something that I went back this morning and looked again, and on the play that he gets hurt he gets a chop block, and it looks like he had helmet to knee. When I told you in the box yesterday that I thought they were messing with his kneecap it looked like from that that it might have been a bone bruise on that kneecap, because the way he was gingerly walking. We all know how we’ve hit our knee on something. Think about a helmet hitting you in the knee. That hurts.
Nick: We’re talking about a helmet of a 300 pound offensive lineman coming down with force. We’ve got to do something about these chop blocks.
Andrew: I have no problem with it when it’s a good chop block. When I say it’s a good chop block, a good chop block is to take out the ankles of a defensive lineman. Stay below the knees. Don’t hit the knees, guys. It sucks. I’ll be honest. I’m surprised more teams haven’t done it to Florida, because chop blocking is the best way to stop a defensive line as quick as Florida’s is.
Nick: That’s true. I’m going to give myself a point for Bullard.
Andrew: Yeah, but hold on. Your first pick of the game was Treon. We’re agreeing that’s a loss, right?
Nick: Yeah. Absolutely. No way.
Andrew: Kelvin Taylor was my first one. 98 yards and a touchdown. I’m single-handedly saying this man got every bit of his 98 yards on his own.
Nick: Willed himself, really didn’t get much help to those 98 yards. I absolutely give that a point.
Andrew: Then you go to…
Nick: I had Brandon Powell. Nope.
Andrew: No way, shape, or form. Callaway was mine and had 52 yards receiving and a touchdown, and several big punt returns. One of them that was taken back that had Bullard just looked the opposite way that he was looking he probably gets a touchdown. Then another one that was on a phantom block in the back by Jalen Tabor. Goes for another one. Nick, I’m giving myself another W for Callaway.
Nick: Yeah. Absolutely. No argument there. I’m getting one point for Brandon Powell, John Bullard, Treon Harris. Your third player was Antonio Morrison. He have five tackles, four solo, a sack, tackle for loss, forced fumble. I would give you a point for Morrison too, even though Jarrad Davis was the better of the two linebackers.
Andrew: Did you pick Jarrad Davis?
Nick: I sure did not.
Andrew: So what does that mean?
Nick: Andrew gets the W this week.
Andrew: I took a commanding W this week, as I said. As I said, it was going to be wild. Your boy was going to get back on track, and he did. Callaway almost had them two touchdowns, and that would have been a thing of beauty. Neither one of us took Jalen Tabor. We both bounced around with Tabor, and it seems when we pick him he does shitty, and when we don’t pick him he does well. Gator fans may want both of us to stop picking him. Maybe we should just automatically get a point for Jalen Tabor and stay away from him.
Nick: We’re not picking him, and he’s doing well, so maybe just keep not picking him.
Andrew: Let’s head back real quick. We picked a couple games. We both went with Bucky up in Ohio State. My heart told me to go with Michigan State, I mean my gut told me to go with Michigan State, because I figured they would find a way to shake up this playoff, but it didn’t happen. We both went with the Tigers, LSU, but I am so glad those Cajuns got beat up in there. Hotty toddy wins. Is Les Miles in trouble now, Nick?
Nick: I actually think so, and that’s the dumbest thing I have heard. That is so stupid to me, but I actually think yes, he is in trouble there.
Andrew: I’m going to share something, Nick, with you that I learned this morning from a couple people that I know that are kind of close to the LSU program. They said that it wasn’t so much about the winning, but it was getting to the point where the program was stale. There was an excitement around the program, and it was stale. Someone brought that up to me, and I started thinking about it a little bit. I guess they can say they’re right. When has there been a lot of buildup for LSU? My follow up to this, and I kind of made their point when I said this, was LSU was predicted to finish like fourth this year in the West. They said, yeah, why is LSU ever predicted to finish fourth in the West?
Nick: Yeah. That’s one year, though. You know what I mean?
Andrew: It has been a couple years. They brought it back to this. The person I talked to brought it back to this. They said, “Really since Alabama crushed LSU in the Sugar Bowl for the championship momentum has gone away from LSU.”
Nick: I don’t think they’ve beaten Alabama since then.
Andrew: Right. When I think about it that way I understand, and I agree with that a little bit. You don’t see the excitement as much around that. Then it always goes back to recruiting. They go back to the guys from Jerrell Willis, Jerrell Willis and his buddy. What was his buddy’s name? The little receiver. Speedy Noel.
Nick: Yeah, Speedy Noel.
Andrew: Some guy that’s going to Bama out of the state, and starting to lose some more guys out of Louisiana. That ultimately is what got Mack Brown fired at Texas. Maybe that’s ultimately what gets Les Miles at LSU fired.
Nick: That’s crazy to me. Les Miles for Florida defensive coordinator. Sorry, Geoff.
Andrew: No. I think he should be the grass keeper.
Nick: The grass keeper.
Andrew: I will say this. I did see Mark Richt’s life go flash before my eyes in that Georgia Southern game.
Nick: Georgia Southern.
Andrew: I just kept seeing it, and I kept seeing it, and I kept getting ready to tweet my tweet of don’t talk shit no more, Georgia. You know what it was, Nick?
Nick: What was it?
Andrew: Georgia needed a reason to give Mark Richt a five year extension, so they found a way to win the game.
Nick: You think the Richt extension is coming soon?
Andrew: It’s coming. It’s a vote of confidence. All about next year, Nick. It’s all about next year.
Nick: He was out tweeting recruiting pictures today as well. I’m sure he’ll have plenty of recruiting pictures to tweet out.
Andrew: Next Monday.
Nick: In two weeks, yeah.
Andrew: While Florida’s prepping for this big game up in Georgia. In Georgia. Where Athens is. The Gators are going there, and while Georgia’s out saying, “We’re going to do this next year,” Florida’s calling them and saying, “We’re doing it now. Watch us in Atlanta, and by the way, our team’s not very good this year, and we’re still in Atlanta.”
Nick: That’s a reality.
Andrew: This team’s a year ahead of where they should be. I thought next year was the year they should be contending for Atlanta.
Nick: There’s a lot of question marks that we will address probably after the year that might have me changing my school of thought that this might be Jim McElwain’s worst team that he ever has at Florida, because there’s a little shifting going on.
Andrew: I think next year’s going to be a really good football team. That’s for another day. FSU coming to town, Nicholas. It’s going to be wild. It’s going to be big. The dead fish of the Gators are gone. They will be ready to go at 7:30 next Saturday, and it will be loud as hell in the Swamp. I’m fired up, buddy.
Nick: Florida State hate week is here. It’s upon us.
Andrew: Hit us with some good trash talk. I live off of trash talk. I love trash talk, Nick. Did you know that?
Nick: I think I figured it out.
Andrew: You think you figured it out. I want this week to be lit, lit, and that recruiting visitor’s list, by the way, Nick, guess what it’s going to be?
Andrew: Fire. Fire. I have been told that they may have to tell some underclassmen guys that they can’t visit, it’s going to be that big. Hold on Nick, I think we should give the people a couple of names that are going to be in town. What you think?
Nick: A little teaser.
Andrew: A little teaser.
Nick: Hit them.
Andrew: First, tell them where they can find the full visitors list.
Nick: You can find the full visitors list at www.GatorCountry.com, as always. Andrew Spivey kills the recruiting game. If it’s happening with Florida Gators recruiting he’s got it up on the website.
Andrew: Five star, Mack Wilson. Five star, Shavar Manuel. Five star, Nate Craig-Myers. Four star, Janarius Robinson. Trey Nixon, Sam Bruce, Nick Eubanks, Chauncey Gardner. If they’re a big time recruit, chances are Gainesville’s the place to be this week. It’s going to be wild, my man.
Nick: Is it going to be bigger than the Tennessee week?
Andrew: I think so. I really think so. I really do. I think it’s one of those games where, in my opinion this game is always a game that if there’s a prospect Florida just can’t seem, or Florida State just can’t seem to get on campus, they can get them on campus this game, because they want to see a good football game. Some may say, “Why would Florida let them come?” It’s easy. Get them on campus. Get them in Mac’s office. Let’s see what Mac’s made of. I don’t mean that we don’t know what Mac’s made of, but I’m saying let’s see Mac work his magic with a kid. Some of these guys that haven’t been on campus a lot. One guy is Nick Eubanks and Bryan Burns, two guys from American Heritage. Tight end and defensive end, haven’t been on campus since July. A lot of people are like, Florida’s fading for those guys. Not so fast. Florida’s not fading for those guys. Get them on campus. That Swamp’s going to be loud, and if Florida finds a way to get a W, could be good.
Nick: It should be live in the stadium. Late kick, rivalry week. I’m looking forward to it. Dalvin Cook’s first trip to Gainesville.
Andrew: Gator fans going to hate him?
Nick: I don’t think it will be a warm welcome for Dalvin Cook, no.
Andrew: And it’s Senior Day. I forgot about that. It’s Senior Day. With Senior Day, massive props to those guys. I never tell people to hit players up on Twitter, but hit these guys upon social media. I know Morrison doesn’t, but guys like Bullard, all of the seniors that are on this football team, hit them up. Let these guys know that you’re proud of these guys. Especially a guy like Bullard. Nick, I think you and I both agree this man went through a lot to play ball at Florida, decided he was going to come back. That was great.
Nick: This senior class has been through a lot. When they got to Florida Florida was going good. Their freshman year was a Sugar Bowl, that 2012 year. These guys have been through a lot of trials and tribulations during their time. I’ll run through the names real quick.
Andrew: Hold on, before you do that. I want to say something. You know a guy that you and I both don’t talk about enough, and I think he’s could be a big piece missing next year? I’m going to give you a guess. Who’s somebody you think is going to be a big piece missing that we don’t talk about?
Andrew: Brian Poole. Brian Poole is a guy that is a very good football player. You listen in the stadium, you listen on TV, you’ll hear Brian Poole’s name a lot. He’s a guy that gets overshadowed by the Morrisons, the Quincys, the Tabors, the Hargreaves, those guys. He’s a good football player.
Nick: Very good football player. Made two huge plays in overtime where we might have been singing a very different tune.
Andrew: I didn’t think we were singing a very happy tune in the first place.
Nick: Might have been singing a very different tune if not for those two plays, those two pass breakups that Brian Poole gets. Real quick, the guys that you know will go. Jonathan Bullard, Mark Herndon, who’s been through walking on, earning a scholarship, a knee injury, been through a lot. Antonio Morrison, Latroy Pittman, Brian Poole. Some guys maybe you don’t know, Dallas Stubbs, who’s a walk on kicker. Donovan White, another walk on kicker. Roger Dixon, a walk on receiver, somebody I always see Vernon Hargreaves with. Vernon Hargreaves is always like playing catch with Roger Dixon, something that’s interesting. Then the dentist. The dentist is also a senior. We also have redshirt seniors, Josh Grady, Mason Halter, another transfer Anthony Harrell, Jake McGee, Valdez Showers is a redshirt senior. I feel like he’s been here as long as, I think he’s been here as long as Albert’s been the mascot.
Andrew: As long as Gatorade’s been around.
Nick: Trip Thurman, and then another walk on in Dakota Wilson.
Andrew: I think it’s big. You and I talked about at the beginning of the year we didn’t think Trip would make it through the year with his bubblegum holding his shoulder together. He’s played hard. Played hard football.
Nick: Yeah. Good for him. He’ll obviously continue and try to play at the next level. For him to be able to remain healthy this year is great for that effort. Just happy for him.
Andrew: Absolutely. Good day for Senior Day all around. That’s another thing. Get there early. Celebrate the guys. Let them know. Coach Mac says, and that saying goes all around, Florida’s the best to play in. Gator fans are the best. This is a time to show those recruits that, and show these players that. I’ll be the first to agree everywhere you go there’s Gator fans, but show up Saturday. Let them know. Let them hear you that you’re appreciative of those guys. Get them to 11 wins.
Nick: Moving on to 11 wins would be huge. It’s always nice.
Andrew: Trivia question, Nick.
Nick: Always nice to beat that team out west. Go ahead.
Andrew: How many coaches at Florida have won 10 games in their first season?
Nick: Just Jim McElwain. Answer would be one.
Andrew: One. Jim McElwain. Guy that replaced Willy. Willy Muschamp. Coach Mac can make big, because if he does, if he beats that school out west, he’s perfect in rivalry games, and, as we all know, rivalry games are what makes you or breaks you as a football coach.
Nick: Yeah. He started off well against Georgia, against Tennessee. Not so well against LSU. You’d like to be able to go 3-1 your first year. Stay above 500 instead of at 500. Big game this week. As always, we’ll have some senior sendoffs for you. We’ll be previewing the game.
Andrew: Our extra little thought. You should let these guys in on our little secret of what’s going to come with those senior sendoffs.
Nick: Andrew, this senior class was really Andrew’s first recruiting class that he covered. So we’re going to have him write a little memory. His favorite memory, either about the player’s recruitment, about a memory that he has of them from their time at Florida, just a little something. These are nice little sendoff pieces. When we talk about the offensive line, and we’re critical of the offensive line, Trip Thurman gets dumped into that. We’ve talked about Brian Poole blowing coverages. These stories are not about that. These stories are about celebrating guys who came to a school, played football, and stuck around long enough to earn degrees, to play four years. They’ve made a very big commitment to the university, and this is not about football. This is about just celebrating them as they head into their last home game. It’ll be a nice touch to add Andrew’s firsthand experiences. Talk a little bit about his relationship with these guys coming into those senior sendoffs as well.
Andrew: I was really talking about the graphics.
Nick: We always have graphics. Our graphics have been on fleek all year.
Andrew: These graphics are awesome. I think we should find a way to make these, I don’t know. I think we should tell Coach Mac to put these in these guys frames for this week. Maybe we should do that. I’m going to make a call.
Nick: There you go. Make a phone call.
Andrew: I think I’m going to make a phone call. What you think, Nick? Should we make a phone call?
Nick: Make the phone call. I think we’re running out of time here. As always, @NickdelaTorreGC on Twitter, @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter. GatorCountry.com for all your news, latest, greatest, breaking, and even nonbreaking news over at GatorCountry.com. It’s @NickdelaTorre on Instagram, @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. That’s all I got. We hope to have Bud Elliot of Tomahawk Nation. He joined us last year for our behind enemy lines series. We hope to bring him on for the Wednesday podcast or Friday podcast. He is just a wealth of knowledge about Florida State, and Florida opened at a 3 point favorite. That has dropped down to 1.5 already, so the money’s swinging towards Florida State early. Nighttime kickoff in the Swamp. Senior sendoff. Last game in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for the year. You stay classy, Gator Country.
Andrew: Hold on, Nick. I have a question real quick before we get off.
Nick: I said my classy thing. I feel like you don’t understand.
Andrew: I do, but I didn’t want to interrupt your speech.
Nick: There’s classy, and we drop the mike with class.
Andrew: I never drop the mike with class. You can forget all that. I think I have a little fun with Mr. Bud this week on Twitter. I just feel like FSU Twitter needs me riling them up a little bit. I just feel it in the air that it’s going to be a wild week, Nick. It’s going to be a wild week, buddy.
Nick: Go ahead. Keep me out of FSU Twitter.
Andrew: Follow with precaution.
Andrew: Definitely. Nick, I’ll let you say your few words to get off of here in just a second. As Nick said, recruiting is going to be hot this week. Keep up with the visitors list. It’s a holiday week, but it’s FSU week, which means we’ll be working through the week. Hit us up with questions, as always. Podcast tomorrow night. I haven’t got the prospects that I want yet, but I’ll get those. As always, Butch and Mark Richt, you still suck, buddy. Go Braves.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.