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    Florida Gators receiver Dre Massey runs in the Orange and Blue game in 2017- GatorCountry photo taken by David Bowie

Recapping the Florida
Gators spring game: Podcast

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Written by Andrew Spivey, April 11, 2017, 0 Comments,
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GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators spring game that took place on Friday night in the Swamp.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down what they liked in the game, plus what they were able learn about the position battles during the games.

Andrew and Nick also talk about the latest recruiting news as the Gators picked up four commits over the weekend, plus talk about the diamond sports.

TRANSCRIPT:

 

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, the Gators on the winning track on Friday in the Orange & Blue game.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s always weird. I was joking with somebody. We were talking about baseball, and somebody says, “At least the football team’s going to win this week.” I said, “Well, they’re also going to lose.” He said, “But they could tie.” I said, “If you tie, everyone loses.”

Andrew:                 This is not Will Muschamp football where it’s tied. Wanted to talk about something real quick before we really dive into this. You and I were talking about this mainly in the press box about the game being boring. Had a chance to watch the Florida State game, and then the Auburn game, and spring ball just really has, the spring game really has just taken a turn for the snooze fest. It wasn’t just Florida. It was all three of them that I watched this weekend was just a snooze fest. I’m not sure what the answer is to make it exciting, but it’s just not anymore.

Nick:                         I think you’re right. It’s not just Florida. Florida State, who else did I watch? I watched Ole Miss. I just wanted to see Shea Patterson. I didn’t see Auburn.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         Ole Miss, same thing. I think coaches are still working on things. The coaches want to treat it as more of another practice than a game, but I don’t like Jim McElwain’s we didn’t want to show Michigan anything. Come on. Don’t make an excuse for it. Just say, “Listen, we only get 15 practices. We don’t think just throwing a ball out there and letting guys play a game is the best use of our fifteenth and final practice.” Okay. To say, “We don’t want the team we’re going to play in five months to see our spring game and know what we’re going to do then.” Come on.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Do you see the point in throwing out your new packages? Sure. You don’t throw out your new packages in the spring game, but don’t make an excuse. Like I said, it wasn’t just Florida. It was the Florida State game. Good grief, the crowd at the Florida State game was awful.

Nick:                         Looked like a baseball crowd.

Andrew:                 I don’t know what the announced attendance was, but if it was anything over 10,000 they were lying. Auburn was the same way. Like I said, I don’t know if there’s a good way to really do it, to make it exciting. If you talk to some fans, they did find it exciting. I guess it just depends on what you wanted to see. There was some exciting moments in the game, but as far as exciting all the way through, no. I think you can almost cut it to a half, and be fine with it. Second half is a snooze fest.

Some positives. Some, I don’t want to say negatives, some head scratchers in the game, Nick. It all starts with the quarterback play. I think you and I said this on Friday, or Thursday of last week, when we did our podcast. We were all going to focus on the quarterback play. I don’t think we learned anything from Friday’s game for the quarterback play.

Nick:                         No. I kind of don’t know why people were, I guess you have every right to be excited. I just don’t think we saw much from the quarterback play, and I don’t like that we only saw one quarterback play against the …

Andrew:                 First team?

Nick:                         Yeah, the first team. I want to see what Franks does against the first team. In my opinion, you kind of stacked the deck for Franks. We don’t see everything in the spring. Has he taken over that starting job? Is that his? Cool, but let me see what he does. Maybe not even like Trask had to do with second team vs. the first team. Go ones vs. ones.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I understood Mac’s thinking in doing that, and that is everyone wanted to see each side dominate. That’s what makes it exciting. You didn’t want to see that, but I also see your point.

Nick:                         But you didn’t get that.

Andrew:                 Right. You didn’t. You see Trask get one possession with the ones against the twos, and he goes two for two for 35 yards. Then when he’s against the ones with the two offense, which, to be fair, had a lot of walk-ons, he’s only four for 13 with a pick and 31 yards. I’m not going to lie to you, though, Nick. When Trask was with the ones, he looked just as good as Franks did.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Now, when you put Trask with the twos against the ones, he looked like a disaster. What is it? I think it is what it is. I think we knew exactly what … Let me rephrase that. We didn’t know exactly what we were going to see, because we can’t predict the future, but I think what we’ve seen is exactly what we would expect to see. That is, Franks still hasn’t become the guy yet. He still has tons of question marks with it. Trask still has question marks about it. You’re still going into the summer thinking, what do you do at quarterback, if you’re Florida. Franks throws 100-mile an hour fastballs everywhere he goes. Misses high. Can throw the deep ball well. Trask still is very, what’s the word I’m looking for? Just playing at the game still. He’s still learning the game.

Hello, Malik Zaire? Maybe? Hello, Luke Del Rio? I threw this out to someone, does Del Rio now enter back in the competition? Someone said, “Hell, no,” to me. My question back to you is what you saw on Friday, are you really that impressed? Can’t say you are.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think, people won’t like it, but Del Rio got a bad rap from after he got hurt.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         You and I, we never said, “Luke Del Rio’s going to be a Heisman contender.” We never said that. We almost cautioned people to say, “Listen, he is an average to above-average quarterback. That’s what he is.” You can win with that quarterback play. You just have to be strong around the quarterback. I think somewhere along the way people thought he was going to be better than what he was.

But you’re in year three now, at what point do you need to develop a quarterback and not just have stopgaps? You’re not a smaller school like an FAU, where you might have to rely on transfers and stuff like that. University of Florida, you should be able to get someone in, and then have the coaches to be able to develop them. It’s got to be Franks or Trask, you would hope.

If Malik Zaire comes in, I think that’s your starting quarterback, and I think he’s an average to above-average quarterback, which maybe says everything you need to know about what we’ve seen from the two redshirt freshmen. I don’t think Zaire’s bad in any way, but, again, I don’t think that’s your All-SEC. You look around at the SEC, the one thing I did notice, you’ve got Jalen Hurts, Jarrett Stidham, he looked great. Shea Patterson, Jacob Eason. You’ve got some guys around the SEC now at quarterback. You look at Florida, and I don’t know where Florida’s guys stack up right now.

Andrew:                 You look at, and I heard this the other day, and that is the last few years quarterback play in the SEC has been atrocious. It’s starting to be on the up and up again. I’ll say this back, Nick, and this is no disrespect to the two guys I’m about to talk about, but Franks and Trask weren’t your top guys that year, when you landed them. I think you and I cautioned people when they looked and Franks and saw he was the four-star quarterback, or the #1 this or the #1 that. We said, “He is a work in progress.” I think you and I said that constantly, and I think it shows now. Not that you and I need anyone to prove us right, but we’ve been proved right. There’s still there.

I had someone tell me in the know the other day, and that is Franks has really got to become a different person through the summertime if Florida can win in the fall. I think that’s accurate. You bring in Zaire. If Franks takes that next step, and Zaire is your backup quarterback, win. If Franks doesn’t, and Zaire is your quarterback, win. At the end of the day, if Zaire’s playing quarterback, if Trask is playing quarterback, if Jordan Scarlett’s playing quarterback, if you go to Atlanta and win, not a damn soul cares about who it is. You just have to go back to the drawing board once again next year and say, “Who’s your quarterback?”

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Am I accurate in saying, at the end of the day, if you get to Atlanta, and you win, people aren’t going to care if it’s Johnny or Feleipe or Kyle, whoever it is at quarterback?

Nick:                         Yeah. If you’re winning games, they don’t care if Andrew Spivey’s playing quarterback. As long as you’re winning football games.

Andrew:                 We would win games if Andrew Spivey was at quarterback. I just got to let you know that.

Nick:                         No. I’m not going to even entertain that thought. I was going to.

Andrew:                 Can I play against Tennessee?

Nick:                         At some point, I can’t allow you to run amuck. I just can’t allow the …

Andrew:                 I could beat Butch, now.

Nick:                         You would not beat Tennessee.

Andrew:                 Yes.

Nick:                         I don’t think you would be any seed in the SEC.

Andrew:                 I’d be worse than Treon.

Nick:                         Yeah. You would be.

Andrew:                 Okay. You know what I’m saying though? I think it’s just a question mark. You and I said it, and I think we even said on Thursday, without looking back, that we wouldn’t get an answer on the quarterback position in the game. You can look at it a couple ways, too. That is did Florida’s secondary improved, and they’re better? Is the receivers that are out there not doing as well? Is Franks not doing as well?

It’s kind of what we said. No matter what happened on Friday, you were going to have question marks on one side of the ball, because if the offensive line did great, did the defensive line suck? Are the offensive line better? The offensive line didn’t do as great as I thought they would. Does that mean the defensive line is that much better? Who knows? We’ll see in September.

Nick:                         That is the beauty of spring practice. Man, we really got after the quarterback today. The defensive line was firing off the ball, and then you say, “Well, is the offensive line any good?” You’re like, “Well, I don’t know, but the defensive line was great today.”

Andrew:                 Exactly. I will say this, Nick, and I want to move on from the quarterback position a little bit. I did like some of the things I did see from a couple of the offensive linemen. One being Martez. Thought he looked good at left tackle. The other being Brett Heggie. You and I talked about this. He had a couple plays where he was simply just pulling, picking up guys. Looked the part. Didn’t see him being slow like a center. See that he was a very athletic guy at guard, despite putting on that weight. Thoughts on that as well? Did you see that as well?

Nick:                         See Heggie putting on weight?

Andrew:                 No. See Heggie looking athletic at that guard position, despite him putting the weight on. What were your thoughts of him at the guard position in general? Like I said, I knew you and I had talked about it a little bit.

Nick:                         I think Heggie might be, I think right now you’ve certainly got three guys, both tackles and center. I think Heggie is probably coming close to being that fourth guy. You say, we’ve got four starters. You know, what I’m saying is we’ve had two positions, two offensive guard positions, and three guys, four when Riles gets back, trying to fill those. I think Heggie might be closing the battle down at left guard. Then you’re look at Tyler Jordan’s got some work to do to unseat Fred Johnson and not lose his starting job.

Andrew:                 Right. That was something that, to me, was a little telling is that Fred got the start. Now, I know that’s not the starting job. Jordan was working as second team center as well. Fred was the guy that got the more reps at right guard, compared to Jordan. Mac’s been tough on Jordan. I don’t know. Johnson still didn’t look good. Did Jordan look good? 50/50. I’m with you. It’s kind of a job for the taking.

Nick:                         Yeah. Where was Nick Buchanan? A guy that they talk about, and I know he played, but where is his development coming along?

Andrew:                 I don’t know if it is. Same thing with a guy like Andrew Mike. It’s there. Overall impressions of the offensive line, Nick? Couldn’t tell much.

Nick:                         I don’t think you couldn’t tell much, but I would have liked to see them get more of a push when they were going ones vs. twos.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I agree with that. I will say this. I was talking to someone about this. You got to remember, the defensive line pretty much knows what’s coming.

Nick:                         Yeah. They know what’s coming. They know what the offensive line is going to do with their hands, as far as trying to, if I go to swim, or if I go to rip, this is how he’s going to react, so I can fake one. I know where he’s going to react, and do that. That is tough.

Andrew:                 Right. I think it’s one of those things of can we really say that the offensive line didn’t give push? Can we really say that the defensive line did well? What can we say? I will say this, and that is Antonneous Clayton looked good coming off the edge. Jabari looked good coming off the edge. Someone you and I kind of talked about during the game was Kyree Campbell looked good. Kyree Campbell was getting a nice little push up front. I think he might have wiggled his way into that four man rotation at defensive tackle.

Nick:                         Yeah. Rumph joked that he’s still, what did he say? He’s still eating like baby food. He’s still eating at the kid’s table, in terms of what they’re giving him, stuff like that. As he gets more comfortable, you start giving him a little bit more, and maybe we’ll see that. This is such an important time now though for these guys. I kept asking him after the game on Friday, “What do you do now? Do you take a week off and relax?” It’s, “No. We’re back in the gym tomorrow. We’re watching film.” Antonneous Clayton says, “I’ll probably call Coach Shannon, and if Coach Shannon can’t see me Saturday or Monday, then I’ll call Coach Rumph. If Coach Rumph can’t see me, I’ll call Ryan Young or Ryan Smith. I’m going to find someone to watch film with me.”

Andrew:                 That was pretty clear, and that’s something that you do see a lot of development with guys through the summer, when it’s the player run workouts. That’s a very important thing. Nick, you got what you wanted. You got a two-man crew at running back, and that’s Perine and Scarlett. It was very evident, especially the first half when it was eight carries for Perine, eight carries for Scarlett, and a simple for Mark Thompson. My oh my, somebody tie Mark Thompson up with a football.

Nick:                         You need to go like Little Giants, and just dunk his hands into some stick-em. The fumbling, it’s going to be an issue. He did look good. He had a nice 21-yard, what was that? A screen pass or a swing pass. I can’t remember right now.

Andrew:                 That was against the first mixed with the third and walk-ons.

Nick:                         Yeah. Right now it’s Jordan Scarlett’s team back there. That’s your go to. That’s going to be your horse, and when he taps his head, when he needs a blow, 22 comes in. It’s Lamical Perine after that, and I expect Jordan Scarlett to leave after his junior season. Then it’s Lamical Perine’s team, and it’s his time to run the show. Mark Thompson probably didn’t think he was going to be here for this spring game. Probably thought he was a one and done at Florida, and I don’t know where he factors in, especially with the fumbles. I don’t know where he factors in, unless somebody is battling an injury or somebody gets hurt.

Andrew:                 See, I would caution you to remember this as well, Nick, and that is that you got two freshmen coming in that are a little bit different guys, in that they’re speed guys. I think one of those guys might factor in as that third back, because of their speed. A little bit of a change of pace.

Nick:                         You don’t really redshirt running backs.

Andrew:                 No. Here’s the thing, second and 1, game on the line in the third quarter, Scarlett is tapped out, or Perine’s tapped out, the other is dealing with a little ankle injury. I’m not trusting 24 to have the rock in his hands.

Nick:                         No. Do you talk about early in the game? Sure. Man, at some point, like you said, you just can’t be trusted.

Andrew:                 He can’t be trusted. I said he couldn’t be trusted last year.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 I think it’s to the point now where it’s really a situation where you can’t. One-two punch, a nice little one-two punch. Goes forward with that, in my opinion, when you go forward. I don’t think it’s a bad one-two punch. I think it’s a great one-two punch, and you see what those two guys can continue to do. Why not? Why not make those guys that are your one-two punch?

Nick, I wanted to talk real quick next, before we move on out of the spring game, a couple of the linebackers that looked good. Jeremiah Moon, a guy returning from injury, looked extremely athletic in the game. Vosean Joseph, hit stick central. Is that what we can start calling him now?

Nick:                         He’s a headhunter. He goes after them.

Andrew:                 Yeah. What were your impressions of Moon?

Nick:                         I think he had that one really good pass breakup in coverage with C’yontai. He’s definitely athletic. I don’t know if I love him in coverage, to be honest, but I think he’s a different kind of linebacker in terms of versatility. I think he has a really high ceiling, and it’s just about him continuing to put on a little bit of weight. But you’re going to have to do it the right way, because you’re going to have to use him in that. They’re really using him in that nickel with a linebacker, to take a tight end. I was impressed.

Andrew:                 Hybrid.

Nick:                         Yeah. I was impressed with him overall. Overall impressed. Just not sure. I don’t know. I don’t have anything bad to say. I don’t know why it’s coming off that way. Nothing bad to say. I think he’s good. I just know about that whole using a linebacker in that nickel role in general.

Andrew:                 I think it’s a thing of if it’s first or second down, and you get a guy, then you’re cool with that. I agree that if it’s third down, and you need a nickel in, that he’s that guy. I agree with that.

Nick, we’ve got to move on a little bit. My oh my, people griping about recruiting, they got their wish this weekend.

Nick:                         Are you sure we should even be taping this podcast? Someone could probably be committing right now.

Andrew:                 For real. Florida gets two, goes two for two in the 2018 guys, with wide receiver, Corey Gammage, and then tight end, Jalen Goss. Both of those guys committed. Gammage is a 6’2”, 188-pound receiver out of Delray Beach down there, and is a guy that puts up big numbers. A guy that is not rated as high as I think he will be at the end of the time. Is someone that’s a very good player, and has got that size that Mac and them are trying to find this year. That’s one big thing that is noticeable with all of the receivers they’re recruiting is they want size. They want size at that receiver position. Gammage fits that role.

Go to a guy like Jalen Goss, out of Valdosta. 6’7”, 250. Plays offensive line in high school, but Florida recruited him as that big wide tight end, that blocking tight end. Nick, I think it’s something you and I have talked about a ton, and that is Florida doesn’t really have a blocking tight end. Goss is going to fit that. You bring him in as a tight end, get him there. Chances are he probably gains weight. He’s a 280-pound guy that probably ends up playing tackle, but if he doesn’t, he’s a good blocking tight end. 35” arms, long arms. I like the pickup, and I think it’s something like we talked about. You needed that big guy at tight end.

Nick:                         Was standing down on the field right when it happened, and I pull up his recruiting page, because I want to see his size. I think he listed at 6’5”, 250. Almost looked like it. Maybe not like a full 250, but that’s a big dude. Certainly looks the part to be that blocking tight end. Right now I think that your best blocking tight end is probably C’yontai Lewis, and after that it’s Moral Stephens. That’s just a role for him there.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Those guys are gone.

Andrew:                 That’s true. Like I said, some people were gripping that they didn’t like the move, but I thought it was a good move. I thought it was a move that when you look at it you can understand why they want that blocking tight end that’s a big guy, and it’s a low risk pickup, because if he does end up growing into a tackle, then you’ve got another tackle in the class. While I see people being upset about it, I thought it was a good pickup. And he’s from Valdosta, Lowndes High School, a school that produces athletes all the time, so not a bad move to get a guy out of that school and in this class. It could pay dividends down the road.

Nick:                         It’s so important. We talk about it all the time, creating relationships.

Andrew:                 Creating relationships.

Nick:                         So important to do that at a school like Lowndes. Important to start getting some players from there.

Andrew:                 Right. Exactly. Then they go big time in the 2019 class. There’s some speculations on whether Jashon Watkins out of Nashville actually committed or not. His high school coach says he doesn’t, says he’s got to talk it over with his family. He told the staff, from everything we’ve been told, that he was committed. We’ll say he’s not committed right now. Still, Florida goes two more. Picks up wide receiver, John Dunmore, from down in Delray Beach, and then picks up athlete Tyrique Stevenson, a guy that’s going to likely play DB, down from Homestead, South Dade.

When you look at Dunmore, 6’3”, 170. It’s that same build. Get bigger at the receiver position. A guy that I like a lot. I think he’s going to be a highly rated guy when it comes next year, as far as being in state. He is good friends with Marco Wilson, good friends with James Houston and Josh Hammond, those guys that are either coming in or already on the team, so that’s a good move. Then Tyrique Stevenson is teammates with the other 2019 receiver, Frank Ladson.

Nice little build going. Don’t look now, Nick, but the Gators have the #1 2019 class in the country.

Nick:                         Are we still freaking out about Miami and Miami class?

Andrew:                 I’m sure they are.

Nick:                         It’s a good class. We’ll watch the finish again.

What is coming up in terms of Junior Days, recruiting days? When is Florida getting kids back on campus?

Andrew:                 They actually on Monday, as we’re taping this, have the linebacker Channing Tindall on campus from Columbia, South Carolina. He’s on campus right now. Next Saturday is the first day this staff can get out on the road and start to see kids. Visits are pretty much coming to an end as far as getting kids on campus. You’ll have some here and there, but you really won’t see a ton of kids back on campus until June, when they start the camp dates.

Overall, Nick, I just have to say it, and you have to read my stuff every day, Florida did a great job of getting kids on campus this spring. With Ja’Juan Seider, Drew Hughes, and the rest of that coaching staff, nothing but positives. You were able to see it on Friday as well. Times have changed.

Nick:                         What coach is the best in terms of recruiting right now? Who’s impressing you the most?

Andrew:                 Seider. I have to say it. Tim Skipper continues to be a guy that I think is a sleeping giant, that people don’t discuss enough. People told us. Everybody told us Ja’Juan Seider was that guy, and you and I said, “We think he’s really good; we’ll see how he does when he’s in the SEC.” My, oh my, the guy. Just talk to him for a second, and you understand why kids talk to him and like him. He’s just very down to earth. He understands it. He’s wearing his Jordans every day, and his Jumpman. He relates to these kids so well that you can understand why kid after kid after kid just really likes him a lot.

Every kid you talk to says they talk to Ja’Juan Seider, whether that’s the guy that is in Georgia or the guy that’s in Pensacola, guy in Jacksonville. No matter where it is, they talk to Ja’Juan Seider a little bit. I’m very impressed with him.

Also, Brad Davis, Nick. Offensive linemen, to hear them talk about their position coach for a change. Richard Gouraige out of Tampa is one of the nicest kids in the world, doesn’t say a bad thing about anybody, but he simply put it. He said, “No disrespect to Coach Summers, but ever since Coach Davis has been here I’ve liked Florida.” That’s coming from a kid that doesn’t like to badmouth anyone.

Nick:                         Brad Davis, to me, another guy that’s impressive. Just his energy. You probably saw it, his energy. He really relates to the recruits well. I think they’ve put a good staff together.

Andrew:                 I would agree with that. I think it’s a good staff, and I think it’s one of those that is really starting to pay dividends. There has been no question ever about how good of a job Drew Hughes did of getting guys on campus. Never a question mark about it.

Nick:                         Never.

Andrew:                 But at some point, Nick, the assistant coaches have to help him get kids on campus, and once they get on campus, they have to sell them on them being a great position coach. That is being done now. I said this on our message board on Saturday, and that is times are changing with this 2018 class. Things are coming down, and coming down soon, that could make this class be really special. Some of the guys that are nearing a decision or leaning towards Florida are big time guys that can make this class go.

We laugh about it all we want, but five commits in the 2019 class created energy on Friday. That helped get other guys to commit. That helped get a guy like Corey Gammage to go ahead and make his commitment. Once class can help another. Your name on Twitter, people like myself tweeting Florida gained somebody. Ja’Juan Seider tweeting out his Gator lurking in the swamp, whatever it may be, creates free advertisement, Nick.

We always talk about free advertisement, but that’s exactly what guys in 2019 committing did. They helped Florida get guys. I’m telling you, something special is going on with this class, and you know that I don’t say that very often, Nick. I was very hard on the 2017 class going down the stretch, talking about they had to finish.

Nick:                         Was this, I mean 2018 is important, but I think I agree with that, that 2019 class, as far as setting a good foundation now. You look at, everyone’s mad that Miami’s got 18 commits right now. In the next class, that might be Florida. You’ve got five already. It’s good to see that the staff is building those relationships. The 2019 kids are the ones that probably have talked to this coaching staff the most, in terms of as Florida coaches. I know you’ve got three new ones, but Nussmeier and McElwain, these 2019 kids are probably the ones that they have the best relationship with, just in terms of they’ve been on that radar, been looking at them, for three years.

Andrew:                 Agree. Guys like Seider have been recruiting these guys to West Virginia. Bell’s been recruiting them to FAU. Maybe not so much with Brad Davis, being at North Texas, but especially Bell and Seider have been doing that. Definitely. I think it’s a move that is going to help. Like I said, I think some chips are going to fall for 2018 here in the coming weeks that are going to be big for Florida, and it’s going to be big for this class. It’s going to really start to get things going for the staff, for this team, that’s going to lead for a big year. I really, truly believe a top ten class is there, with the potential to be pushed up into a potential top five class. I really do. I think this class, 2018, has something special in store.

Nick:                         Any other recruiting news, notes?

Andrew:                 Not really. Little bit of news on myself. I’m going to be hitting the road on Tuesday, as you guys are listening to this. Going to be checking out a couple kids up in the Birmingham area, before going through Georgia. Going to see several kids in Georgia. Stay tuned this week. We’ll have plenty of that stuff for you guys as I make my way through Georgia and Bama. Seeing about 10 or 15 guys this week.

Nick:                         You’re doing your own little recruiting trip.

Andrew:                 That’s right. Got to go check out some kids. Get some photos for the site, and just see some guys that I haven’t had the chance to see yet. Get some photos. Get some stories. Talk to some coaches, and just see a little bit of what’s going on out there. I’m pulling a Jim McElwain trip, or a coaching trip, going to go see a lot of schools in a short amount of time.

Nick:                         It all ends where?

Andrew:                 All ends in Atlanta, for Turner Field, for Opening Night, Friday night.

Nick:                         Knew you wanted to get that part in there.

Andrew:                 I had to get that part in there. Let’s move on, Nick. I wanted to talk some diamond sports here. We got about 10 minutes. I’m going to start with softball, Nick, just because that’s a positive. Your baseball team is still on the struggle bus over there. Nick, my, oh my, this softball team. 36-2, Nick. Out of the 38 games they’ve faced, 30 of those games they’ve either shut out their opponent or given up one run.

Nick:                         Channel my Scott Stricklin. Is that good?

Andrew:                 That is very good. A note that I didn’t know about until this weekend, and it’s part of me not checking out the stats on the SEC site as much as I usually do, but Florida is #1 in ERA, and #1 in batting average, in the SEC. #1 in the nation in earned run average. To be #1 in both of those, Nick, that’s a little on the crazy side.

Nick:                         Yeah. They’ve just been really dominant this year, and even you were a little worried in the beginning, just with the way that they were kind of made up, as far as where the freshmen were hitting and trying to figure out the rotation. It seems like they figured it out.

Andrew:                 I think you and I really talked about this second or third week, and that was they were really lacking that middle of the order hitter to protect Kvistad. I think they found that with Jordan Roberts there.

Amanda Lorenz is one of those, I call it the new age leadoff hitter, and that is a leadoff hitter that can hit for power as well as average. Isn’t just the typical bunt, get on base and steal base kind of leadoff hitter. The new age leadoff hitter is what I call her, and it’s doing so well. Just to think about this team though, in the circle, Nick. I mean, 38 games, and they’ve allowed 36 runs.

Nick:                         The game came on yesterday, and they showed Barnhill’s stats during Florida’s game yesterday.

Andrew:                 Yes.

Nick:                         Good Lord, those strikeouts.

Andrew:                 158 in 87 innings.

Nick:                         Oh my God.

Andrew:                 Almost two an inning.

Nick:                         That means she’s slacking, because at one point she was over two an inning.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         What a bum! Get rid of her.

Andrew:                 87 innings she’s only given up three earned runs.

Nick:                         That’s wild.

Andrew:                 Wild. Wild. Wild. Finished the series Monday night against Georgia. They’ve won nine straight SEC series. Only one loss in the SEC. Two games up in the standings in the SEC. The softball train’s rolling. I’ll be honest. This might be Tim Walton’s best team he’s had, and that’s saying something. There’s two National Championship banners hanging, and this might be his best. Good luck. Do play Florida State on Wednesday, who’s #1 in the country by some polls.

Nick:                         Home?

Andrew:                 At home.

Nick:                         Florida State. That will be packed. They actually had the biggest crowd ever for a softball game. It was what? Just about 3,000?

Andrew:                 I think it was like 2,800 on Saturday.

Nick:                         They were three short. I’ll find it. I’ll find the number.

Andrew:                 Something like that.

Nick:                         Maybe break that on Wednesday.

Andrew:                 Yeah. You think about that. Next year they’ll definitely break it, or the following year, when they have the softball expansion. They’ll definitely break it. It’s there. Nick, my, oh my, man. What’s going on with your team? I’m going to say this. You told me they were ranked #12 in the country Monday. They’re not top 25 material. I know you’re going to disagree with me, but you can’t convince me they’re top 25.

Nick:                         I think they are a top 25, when you look at the rest of the top 25, sure they are.

Andrew:                 They can’t score.

Nick:                         They did score. Here was the problem. They scored this week.

Andrew:                 They couldn’t keep the pitch this week.

Nick:                         They scored this week, and other than, Jackson wasn’t bad. Alex Faedo’s got to be better on Friday night. If your Friday night guy, this goes for pretty much every team in the SEC, if you give your Friday night guy five runs, you expect to win that ball game.

Andrew:                 You should win.

Nick:                         You’re winning that ballgame. If your Friday night guy gets five runs, no excuse for that. I asked Kevin O’Sullivan. A mixture of because of Alex’s last start and kind of how he’s looked, and how Brady’s looked, “Hey, are you going to make a chance there?” He said, “Not this week,” but didn’t really blow it off completely.

Andrew:                 Okay. Something to watch then.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think this is a top 25 team. Right now you’re struggling. You’re in fifth in the SEC East. Here we go. You’re fifth in the SEC, but you’re playing Vanderbilt and South Carolina your next two weekends. Tough part, Tuesday you’re going at Tallahassee, and then the Vanderbilt series is Thursday, Friday, Saturday. So, you’re at Tallahassee on Tuesday. Bus back from Tallahassee, probably get in around 12:30, 1:00. Then you bus up to Jacksonville on Wednesday, fly to Tallahassee. That’s a tough series.

You can’t afford, because of losing two to Tennessee, you can’t afford to lose to Vanderbilt. You’ve got to find a way to win that series now. That’s tough. Vanderbilt just took two of three from South Carolina. Then you come back, and you’ve got South Carolina. Kentucky right now looks like the best team in the SEC East. I think it’s premature people saying they’re not going to make the post season.

Andrew:                 That’s retarded.

Nick:                         You sound foolish when you say that. Florida made the post season my first year covering the team, at 28-27.

Andrew:                 They’re making the post season. The question now for Florida is do they get a chance to host. I think they do. You probably go on the road for your super regionals if you were to make and out, but that’s what you’re playing for.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Any idea of what Schwarz and the rest of the guys did to get suspended?

Nick:                         I do, just a violation of team rules, and I could get in trouble for talking about it.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         Violation of team rules.

Andrew:                 They did play Sunday.

Nick:                         Jonathan India did not. What’s going on is Dalton Guthrie was able to come back. He had elbow surgery in the off season. It’s ulnar nerve transposition, transponding. I’m saying it wrong. Ulnar nerve in his elbow. He got smacked in the hand when they were playing Stetson the first time, at Stetson, and experienced some numbness, or got smacked in the elbow diving back to first, a pickoff, and experienced some numbness in his fingers. He ended up going back to getting it rechecked, and actually a couple weeks ago they were worried that he might have to have Tommy John surgery. Doesn’t have to do it. He was able to come back in the lineup and play in the field this weekend.

Jonathan India’s having elbow issues. Not the same thing. He’s never had surgery or anything like that, but he can’t play in the field. They’ll hope that he can, maybe by the time you get up to Vanderbilt, but Christian Hicks is hitting the ball really well right now, so where do you put him? You got to figure that out.

They all played, except for India. He was available to play Sunday. They all came back and played Sunday.

Andrew:                 Okay. Got you. Florida State this weekend, before going to Vanderbilt. Need a three of four.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think best case this week is probably two and two, but you need to get three out of four.

Andrew:                 You need a sweep.

Nick:                         I just don’t see that happening.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Exactly. Nick, we’ll get out of here. We probably won’t have a second podcast this week, since I’ll be traveling, but we’ll definitely be back next week. Check us out. Zach Hughes, our new basketball guy, is pumping out the basketball news and the basketball recruiting news. If you haven’t come over and checked us out on that, might need to do that. Check out recruiting, football, baseball, softball, all the good stuff. If you haven’t joined us, and want a coupon code, hit us up. One of us will get it to you. Nick, tell the people where they can find us, and we’ll see everyone later this week or next week.

Nick:                         Of course. Www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. It’s also on the podcast store on iTunes. Just search Gator Country. You can find us on social media. @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 you listening. Give us a rating on iTunes. We haven’t asked for that in a while. Join us over here at Gator Country. Got a lot of good things going on. As always, guys, 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 recap the Florida Gators spring game that took place on Friday night in the Swamp.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down what they liked in the game, plus what they were able learn about the position battles during the games.

Andrew and Nick also talk about the latest recruiting news as the Gators picked up four commits over the weekend, plus talk about the diamond sports.

TRANSCRIPT:

 

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, the Gators on the winning track on Friday in the Orange & Blue game.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s always weird. I was joking with somebody. We were talking about baseball, and somebody says, “At least the football team’s going to win this week.” I said, “Well, they’re also going to lose.” He said, “But they could tie.” I said, “If you tie, everyone loses.”

Andrew:                 This is not Will Muschamp football where it’s tied. Wanted to talk about something real quick before we really dive into this. You and I were talking about this mainly in the press box about the game being boring. Had a chance to watch the Florida State game, and then the Auburn game, and spring ball just really has, the spring game really has just taken a turn for the snooze fest. It wasn’t just Florida. It was all three of them that I watched this weekend was just a snooze fest. I’m not sure what the answer is to make it exciting, but it’s just not anymore.

Nick:                         I think you’re right. It’s not just Florida. Florida State, who else did I watch? I watched Ole Miss. I just wanted to see Shea Patterson. I didn’t see Auburn.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         Ole Miss, same thing. I think coaches are still working on things. The coaches want to treat it as more of another practice than a game, but I don’t like Jim McElwain’s we didn’t want to show Michigan anything. Come on. Don’t make an excuse for it. Just say, “Listen, we only get 15 practices. We don’t think just throwing a ball out there and letting guys play a game is the best use of our fifteenth and final practice.” Okay. To say, “We don’t want the team we’re going to play in five months to see our spring game and know what we’re going to do then.” Come on.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Do you see the point in throwing out your new packages? Sure. You don’t throw out your new packages in the spring game, but don’t make an excuse. Like I said, it wasn’t just Florida. It was the Florida State game. Good grief, the crowd at the Florida State game was awful.

Nick:                         Looked like a baseball crowd.

Andrew:                 I don’t know what the announced attendance was, but if it was anything over 10,000 they were lying. Auburn was the same way. Like I said, I don’t know if there’s a good way to really do it, to make it exciting. If you talk to some fans, they did find it exciting. I guess it just depends on what you wanted to see. There was some exciting moments in the game, but as far as exciting all the way through, no. I think you can almost cut it to a half, and be fine with it. Second half is a snooze fest.

Some positives. Some, I don’t want to say negatives, some head scratchers in the game, Nick. It all starts with the quarterback play. I think you and I said this on Friday, or Thursday of last week, when we did our podcast. We were all going to focus on the quarterback play. I don’t think we learned anything from Friday’s game for the quarterback play.

Nick:                         No. I kind of don’t know why people were, I guess you have every right to be excited. I just don’t think we saw much from the quarterback play, and I don’t like that we only saw one quarterback play against the …

Andrew:                 First team?

Nick:                         Yeah, the first team. I want to see what Franks does against the first team. In my opinion, you kind of stacked the deck for Franks. We don’t see everything in the spring. Has he taken over that starting job? Is that his? Cool, but let me see what he does. Maybe not even like Trask had to do with second team vs. the first team. Go ones vs. ones.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I understood Mac’s thinking in doing that, and that is everyone wanted to see each side dominate. That’s what makes it exciting. You didn’t want to see that, but I also see your point.

Nick:                         But you didn’t get that.

Andrew:                 Right. You didn’t. You see Trask get one possession with the ones against the twos, and he goes two for two for 35 yards. Then when he’s against the ones with the two offense, which, to be fair, had a lot of walk-ons, he’s only four for 13 with a pick and 31 yards. I’m not going to lie to you, though, Nick. When Trask was with the ones, he looked just as good as Franks did.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Now, when you put Trask with the twos against the ones, he looked like a disaster. What is it? I think it is what it is. I think we knew exactly what … Let me rephrase that. We didn’t know exactly what we were going to see, because we can’t predict the future, but I think what we’ve seen is exactly what we would expect to see. That is, Franks still hasn’t become the guy yet. He still has tons of question marks with it. Trask still has question marks about it. You’re still going into the summer thinking, what do you do at quarterback, if you’re Florida. Franks throws 100-mile an hour fastballs everywhere he goes. Misses high. Can throw the deep ball well. Trask still is very, what’s the word I’m looking for? Just playing at the game still. He’s still learning the game.

Hello, Malik Zaire? Maybe? Hello, Luke Del Rio? I threw this out to someone, does Del Rio now enter back in the competition? Someone said, “Hell, no,” to me. My question back to you is what you saw on Friday, are you really that impressed? Can’t say you are.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think, people won’t like it, but Del Rio got a bad rap from after he got hurt.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         You and I, we never said, “Luke Del Rio’s going to be a Heisman contender.” We never said that. We almost cautioned people to say, “Listen, he is an average to above-average quarterback. That’s what he is.” You can win with that quarterback play. You just have to be strong around the quarterback. I think somewhere along the way people thought he was going to be better than what he was.

But you’re in year three now, at what point do you need to develop a quarterback and not just have stopgaps? You’re not a smaller school like an FAU, where you might have to rely on transfers and stuff like that. University of Florida, you should be able to get someone in, and then have the coaches to be able to develop them. It’s got to be Franks or Trask, you would hope.

If Malik Zaire comes in, I think that’s your starting quarterback, and I think he’s an average to above-average quarterback, which maybe says everything you need to know about what we’ve seen from the two redshirt freshmen. I don’t think Zaire’s bad in any way, but, again, I don’t think that’s your All-SEC. You look around at the SEC, the one thing I did notice, you’ve got Jalen Hurts, Jarrett Stidham, he looked great. Shea Patterson, Jacob Eason. You’ve got some guys around the SEC now at quarterback. You look at Florida, and I don’t know where Florida’s guys stack up right now.

Andrew:                 You look at, and I heard this the other day, and that is the last few years quarterback play in the SEC has been atrocious. It’s starting to be on the up and up again. I’ll say this back, Nick, and this is no disrespect to the two guys I’m about to talk about, but Franks and Trask weren’t your top guys that year, when you landed them. I think you and I cautioned people when they looked and Franks and saw he was the four-star quarterback, or the #1 this or the #1 that. We said, “He is a work in progress.” I think you and I said that constantly, and I think it shows now. Not that you and I need anyone to prove us right, but we’ve been proved right. There’s still there.

I had someone tell me in the know the other day, and that is Franks has really got to become a different person through the summertime if Florida can win in the fall. I think that’s accurate. You bring in Zaire. If Franks takes that next step, and Zaire is your backup quarterback, win. If Franks doesn’t, and Zaire is your quarterback, win. At the end of the day, if Zaire’s playing quarterback, if Trask is playing quarterback, if Jordan Scarlett’s playing quarterback, if you go to Atlanta and win, not a damn soul cares about who it is. You just have to go back to the drawing board once again next year and say, “Who’s your quarterback?”

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Am I accurate in saying, at the end of the day, if you get to Atlanta, and you win, people aren’t going to care if it’s Johnny or Feleipe or Kyle, whoever it is at quarterback?

Nick:                         Yeah. If you’re winning games, they don’t care if Andrew Spivey’s playing quarterback. As long as you’re winning football games.

Andrew:                 We would win games if Andrew Spivey was at quarterback. I just got to let you know that.

Nick:                         No. I’m not going to even entertain that thought. I was going to.

Andrew:                 Can I play against Tennessee?

Nick:                         At some point, I can’t allow you to run amuck. I just can’t allow the …

Andrew:                 I could beat Butch, now.

Nick:                         You would not beat Tennessee.

Andrew:                 Yes.

Nick:                         I don’t think you would be any seed in the SEC.

Andrew:                 I’d be worse than Treon.

Nick:                         Yeah. You would be.

Andrew:                 Okay. You know what I’m saying though? I think it’s just a question mark. You and I said it, and I think we even said on Thursday, without looking back, that we wouldn’t get an answer on the quarterback position in the game. You can look at it a couple ways, too. That is did Florida’s secondary improved, and they’re better? Is the receivers that are out there not doing as well? Is Franks not doing as well?

It’s kind of what we said. No matter what happened on Friday, you were going to have question marks on one side of the ball, because if the offensive line did great, did the defensive line suck? Are the offensive line better? The offensive line didn’t do as great as I thought they would. Does that mean the defensive line is that much better? Who knows? We’ll see in September.

Nick:                         That is the beauty of spring practice. Man, we really got after the quarterback today. The defensive line was firing off the ball, and then you say, “Well, is the offensive line any good?” You’re like, “Well, I don’t know, but the defensive line was great today.”

Andrew:                 Exactly. I will say this, Nick, and I want to move on from the quarterback position a little bit. I did like some of the things I did see from a couple of the offensive linemen. One being Martez. Thought he looked good at left tackle. The other being Brett Heggie. You and I talked about this. He had a couple plays where he was simply just pulling, picking up guys. Looked the part. Didn’t see him being slow like a center. See that he was a very athletic guy at guard, despite putting on that weight. Thoughts on that as well? Did you see that as well?

Nick:                         See Heggie putting on weight?

Andrew:                 No. See Heggie looking athletic at that guard position, despite him putting the weight on. What were your thoughts of him at the guard position in general? Like I said, I knew you and I had talked about it a little bit.

Nick:                         I think Heggie might be, I think right now you’ve certainly got three guys, both tackles and center. I think Heggie is probably coming close to being that fourth guy. You say, we’ve got four starters. You know, what I’m saying is we’ve had two positions, two offensive guard positions, and three guys, four when Riles gets back, trying to fill those. I think Heggie might be closing the battle down at left guard. Then you’re look at Tyler Jordan’s got some work to do to unseat Fred Johnson and not lose his starting job.

Andrew:                 Right. That was something that, to me, was a little telling is that Fred got the start. Now, I know that’s not the starting job. Jordan was working as second team center as well. Fred was the guy that got the more reps at right guard, compared to Jordan. Mac’s been tough on Jordan. I don’t know. Johnson still didn’t look good. Did Jordan look good? 50/50. I’m with you. It’s kind of a job for the taking.

Nick:                         Yeah. Where was Nick Buchanan? A guy that they talk about, and I know he played, but where is his development coming along?

Andrew:                 I don’t know if it is. Same thing with a guy like Andrew Mike. It’s there. Overall impressions of the offensive line, Nick? Couldn’t tell much.

Nick:                         I don’t think you couldn’t tell much, but I would have liked to see them get more of a push when they were going ones vs. twos.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I agree with that. I will say this. I was talking to someone about this. You got to remember, the defensive line pretty much knows what’s coming.

Nick:                         Yeah. They know what’s coming. They know what the offensive line is going to do with their hands, as far as trying to, if I go to swim, or if I go to rip, this is how he’s going to react, so I can fake one. I know where he’s going to react, and do that. That is tough.

Andrew:                 Right. I think it’s one of those things of can we really say that the offensive line didn’t give push? Can we really say that the defensive line did well? What can we say? I will say this, and that is Antonneous Clayton looked good coming off the edge. Jabari looked good coming off the edge. Someone you and I kind of talked about during the game was Kyree Campbell looked good. Kyree Campbell was getting a nice little push up front. I think he might have wiggled his way into that four man rotation at defensive tackle.

Nick:                         Yeah. Rumph joked that he’s still, what did he say? He’s still eating like baby food. He’s still eating at the kid’s table, in terms of what they’re giving him, stuff like that. As he gets more comfortable, you start giving him a little bit more, and maybe we’ll see that. This is such an important time now though for these guys. I kept asking him after the game on Friday, “What do you do now? Do you take a week off and relax?” It’s, “No. We’re back in the gym tomorrow. We’re watching film.” Antonneous Clayton says, “I’ll probably call Coach Shannon, and if Coach Shannon can’t see me Saturday or Monday, then I’ll call Coach Rumph. If Coach Rumph can’t see me, I’ll call Ryan Young or Ryan Smith. I’m going to find someone to watch film with me.”

Andrew:                 That was pretty clear, and that’s something that you do see a lot of development with guys through the summer, when it’s the player run workouts. That’s a very important thing. Nick, you got what you wanted. You got a two-man crew at running back, and that’s Perine and Scarlett. It was very evident, especially the first half when it was eight carries for Perine, eight carries for Scarlett, and a simple for Mark Thompson. My oh my, somebody tie Mark Thompson up with a football.

Nick:                         You need to go like Little Giants, and just dunk his hands into some stick-em. The fumbling, it’s going to be an issue. He did look good. He had a nice 21-yard, what was that? A screen pass or a swing pass. I can’t remember right now.

Andrew:                 That was against the first mixed with the third and walk-ons.

Nick:                         Yeah. Right now it’s Jordan Scarlett’s team back there. That’s your go to. That’s going to be your horse, and when he taps his head, when he needs a blow, 22 comes in. It’s Lamical Perine after that, and I expect Jordan Scarlett to leave after his junior season. Then it’s Lamical Perine’s team, and it’s his time to run the show. Mark Thompson probably didn’t think he was going to be here for this spring game. Probably thought he was a one and done at Florida, and I don’t know where he factors in, especially with the fumbles. I don’t know where he factors in, unless somebody is battling an injury or somebody gets hurt.

Andrew:                 See, I would caution you to remember this as well, Nick, and that is that you got two freshmen coming in that are a little bit different guys, in that they’re speed guys. I think one of those guys might factor in as that third back, because of their speed. A little bit of a change of pace.

Nick:                         You don’t really redshirt running backs.

Andrew:                 No. Here’s the thing, second and 1, game on the line in the third quarter, Scarlett is tapped out, or Perine’s tapped out, the other is dealing with a little ankle injury. I’m not trusting 24 to have the rock in his hands.

Nick:                         No. Do you talk about early in the game? Sure. Man, at some point, like you said, you just can’t be trusted.

Andrew:                 He can’t be trusted. I said he couldn’t be trusted last year.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 I think it’s to the point now where it’s really a situation where you can’t. One-two punch, a nice little one-two punch. Goes forward with that, in my opinion, when you go forward. I don’t think it’s a bad one-two punch. I think it’s a great one-two punch, and you see what those two guys can continue to do. Why not? Why not make those guys that are your one-two punch?

Nick, I wanted to talk real quick next, before we move on out of the spring game, a couple of the linebackers that looked good. Jeremiah Moon, a guy returning from injury, looked extremely athletic in the game. Vosean Joseph, hit stick central. Is that what we can start calling him now?

Nick:                         He’s a headhunter. He goes after them.

Andrew:                 Yeah. What were your impressions of Moon?

Nick:                         I think he had that one really good pass breakup in coverage with C’yontai. He’s definitely athletic. I don’t know if I love him in coverage, to be honest, but I think he’s a different kind of linebacker in terms of versatility. I think he has a really high ceiling, and it’s just about him continuing to put on a little bit of weight. But you’re going to have to do it the right way, because you’re going to have to use him in that. They’re really using him in that nickel with a linebacker, to take a tight end. I was impressed.

Andrew:                 Hybrid.

Nick:                         Yeah. I was impressed with him overall. Overall impressed. Just not sure. I don’t know. I don’t have anything bad to say. I don’t know why it’s coming off that way. Nothing bad to say. I think he’s good. I just know about that whole using a linebacker in that nickel role in general.

Andrew:                 I think it’s a thing of if it’s first or second down, and you get a guy, then you’re cool with that. I agree that if it’s third down, and you need a nickel in, that he’s that guy. I agree with that.

Nick, we’ve got to move on a little bit. My oh my, people griping about recruiting, they got their wish this weekend.

Nick:                         Are you sure we should even be taping this podcast? Someone could probably be committing right now.

Andrew:                 For real. Florida gets two, goes two for two in the 2018 guys, with wide receiver, Corey Gammage, and then tight end, Jalen Goss. Both of those guys committed. Gammage is a 6’2”, 188-pound receiver out of Delray Beach down there, and is a guy that puts up big numbers. A guy that is not rated as high as I think he will be at the end of the time. Is someone that’s a very good player, and has got that size that Mac and them are trying to find this year. That’s one big thing that is noticeable with all of the receivers they’re recruiting is they want size. They want size at that receiver position. Gammage fits that role.

Go to a guy like Jalen Goss, out of Valdosta. 6’7”, 250. Plays offensive line in high school, but Florida recruited him as that big wide tight end, that blocking tight end. Nick, I think it’s something you and I have talked about a ton, and that is Florida doesn’t really have a blocking tight end. Goss is going to fit that. You bring him in as a tight end, get him there. Chances are he probably gains weight. He’s a 280-pound guy that probably ends up playing tackle, but if he doesn’t, he’s a good blocking tight end. 35” arms, long arms. I like the pickup, and I think it’s something like we talked about. You needed that big guy at tight end.

Nick:                         Was standing down on the field right when it happened, and I pull up his recruiting page, because I want to see his size. I think he listed at 6’5”, 250. Almost looked like it. Maybe not like a full 250, but that’s a big dude. Certainly looks the part to be that blocking tight end. Right now I think that your best blocking tight end is probably C’yontai Lewis, and after that it’s Moral Stephens. That’s just a role for him there.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Those guys are gone.

Andrew:                 That’s true. Like I said, some people were gripping that they didn’t like the move, but I thought it was a good move. I thought it was a move that when you look at it you can understand why they want that blocking tight end that’s a big guy, and it’s a low risk pickup, because if he does end up growing into a tackle, then you’ve got another tackle in the class. While I see people being upset about it, I thought it was a good pickup. And he’s from Valdosta, Lowndes High School, a school that produces athletes all the time, so not a bad move to get a guy out of that school and in this class. It could pay dividends down the road.

Nick:                         It’s so important. We talk about it all the time, creating relationships.

Andrew:                 Creating relationships.

Nick:                         So important to do that at a school like Lowndes. Important to start getting some players from there.

Andrew:                 Right. Exactly. Then they go big time in the 2019 class. There’s some speculations on whether Jashon Watkins out of Nashville actually committed or not. His high school coach says he doesn’t, says he’s got to talk it over with his family. He told the staff, from everything we’ve been told, that he was committed. We’ll say he’s not committed right now. Still, Florida goes two more. Picks up wide receiver, John Dunmore, from down in Delray Beach, and then picks up athlete Tyrique Stevenson, a guy that’s going to likely play DB, down from Homestead, South Dade.

When you look at Dunmore, 6’3”, 170. It’s that same build. Get bigger at the receiver position. A guy that I like a lot. I think he’s going to be a highly rated guy when it comes next year, as far as being in state. He is good friends with Marco Wilson, good friends with James Houston and Josh Hammond, those guys that are either coming in or already on the team, so that’s a good move. Then Tyrique Stevenson is teammates with the other 2019 receiver, Frank Ladson.

Nice little build going. Don’t look now, Nick, but the Gators have the #1 2019 class in the country.

Nick:                         Are we still freaking out about Miami and Miami class?

Andrew:                 I’m sure they are.

Nick:                         It’s a good class. We’ll watch the finish again.

What is coming up in terms of Junior Days, recruiting days? When is Florida getting kids back on campus?

Andrew:                 They actually on Monday, as we’re taping this, have the linebacker Channing Tindall on campus from Columbia, South Carolina. He’s on campus right now. Next Saturday is the first day this staff can get out on the road and start to see kids. Visits are pretty much coming to an end as far as getting kids on campus. You’ll have some here and there, but you really won’t see a ton of kids back on campus until June, when they start the camp dates.

Overall, Nick, I just have to say it, and you have to read my stuff every day, Florida did a great job of getting kids on campus this spring. With Ja’Juan Seider, Drew Hughes, and the rest of that coaching staff, nothing but positives. You were able to see it on Friday as well. Times have changed.

Nick:                         What coach is the best in terms of recruiting right now? Who’s impressing you the most?

Andrew:                 Seider. I have to say it. Tim Skipper continues to be a guy that I think is a sleeping giant, that people don’t discuss enough. People told us. Everybody told us Ja’Juan Seider was that guy, and you and I said, “We think he’s really good; we’ll see how he does when he’s in the SEC.” My, oh my, the guy. Just talk to him for a second, and you understand why kids talk to him and like him. He’s just very down to earth. He understands it. He’s wearing his Jordans every day, and his Jumpman. He relates to these kids so well that you can understand why kid after kid after kid just really likes him a lot.

Every kid you talk to says they talk to Ja’Juan Seider, whether that’s the guy that is in Georgia or the guy that’s in Pensacola, guy in Jacksonville. No matter where it is, they talk to Ja’Juan Seider a little bit. I’m very impressed with him.

Also, Brad Davis, Nick. Offensive linemen, to hear them talk about their position coach for a change. Richard Gouraige out of Tampa is one of the nicest kids in the world, doesn’t say a bad thing about anybody, but he simply put it. He said, “No disrespect to Coach Summers, but ever since Coach Davis has been here I’ve liked Florida.” That’s coming from a kid that doesn’t like to badmouth anyone.

Nick:                         Brad Davis, to me, another guy that’s impressive. Just his energy. You probably saw it, his energy. He really relates to the recruits well. I think they’ve put a good staff together.

Andrew:                 I would agree with that. I think it’s a good staff, and I think it’s one of those that is really starting to pay dividends. There has been no question ever about how good of a job Drew Hughes did of getting guys on campus. Never a question mark about it.

Nick:                         Never.

Andrew:                 But at some point, Nick, the assistant coaches have to help him get kids on campus, and once they get on campus, they have to sell them on them being a great position coach. That is being done now. I said this on our message board on Saturday, and that is times are changing with this 2018 class. Things are coming down, and coming down soon, that could make this class be really special. Some of the guys that are nearing a decision or leaning towards Florida are big time guys that can make this class go.

We laugh about it all we want, but five commits in the 2019 class created energy on Friday. That helped get other guys to commit. That helped get a guy like Corey Gammage to go ahead and make his commitment. Once class can help another. Your name on Twitter, people like myself tweeting Florida gained somebody. Ja’Juan Seider tweeting out his Gator lurking in the swamp, whatever it may be, creates free advertisement, Nick.

We always talk about free advertisement, but that’s exactly what guys in 2019 committing did. They helped Florida get guys. I’m telling you, something special is going on with this class, and you know that I don’t say that very often, Nick. I was very hard on the 2017 class going down the stretch, talking about they had to finish.

Nick:                         Was this, I mean 2018 is important, but I think I agree with that, that 2019 class, as far as setting a good foundation now. You look at, everyone’s mad that Miami’s got 18 commits right now. In the next class, that might be Florida. You’ve got five already. It’s good to see that the staff is building those relationships. The 2019 kids are the ones that probably have talked to this coaching staff the most, in terms of as Florida coaches. I know you’ve got three new ones, but Nussmeier and McElwain, these 2019 kids are probably the ones that they have the best relationship with, just in terms of they’ve been on that radar, been looking at them, for three years.

Andrew:                 Agree. Guys like Seider have been recruiting these guys to West Virginia. Bell’s been recruiting them to FAU. Maybe not so much with Brad Davis, being at North Texas, but especially Bell and Seider have been doing that. Definitely. I think it’s a move that is going to help. Like I said, I think some chips are going to fall for 2018 here in the coming weeks that are going to be big for Florida, and it’s going to be big for this class. It’s going to really start to get things going for the staff, for this team, that’s going to lead for a big year. I really, truly believe a top ten class is there, with the potential to be pushed up into a potential top five class. I really do. I think this class, 2018, has something special in store.

Nick:                         Any other recruiting news, notes?

Andrew:                 Not really. Little bit of news on myself. I’m going to be hitting the road on Tuesday, as you guys are listening to this. Going to be checking out a couple kids up in the Birmingham area, before going through Georgia. Going to see several kids in Georgia. Stay tuned this week. We’ll have plenty of that stuff for you guys as I make my way through Georgia and Bama. Seeing about 10 or 15 guys this week.

Nick:                         You’re doing your own little recruiting trip.

Andrew:                 That’s right. Got to go check out some kids. Get some photos for the site, and just see some guys that I haven’t had the chance to see yet. Get some photos. Get some stories. Talk to some coaches, and just see a little bit of what’s going on out there. I’m pulling a Jim McElwain trip, or a coaching trip, going to go see a lot of schools in a short amount of time.

Nick:                         It all ends where?

Andrew:                 All ends in Atlanta, for Turner Field, for Opening Night, Friday night.

Nick:                         Knew you wanted to get that part in there.

Andrew:                 I had to get that part in there. Let’s move on, Nick. I wanted to talk some diamond sports here. We got about 10 minutes. I’m going to start with softball, Nick, just because that’s a positive. Your baseball team is still on the struggle bus over there. Nick, my, oh my, this softball team. 36-2, Nick. Out of the 38 games they’ve faced, 30 of those games they’ve either shut out their opponent or given up one run.

Nick:                         Channel my Scott Stricklin. Is that good?

Andrew:                 That is very good. A note that I didn’t know about until this weekend, and it’s part of me not checking out the stats on the SEC site as much as I usually do, but Florida is #1 in ERA, and #1 in batting average, in the SEC. #1 in the nation in earned run average. To be #1 in both of those, Nick, that’s a little on the crazy side.

Nick:                         Yeah. They’ve just been really dominant this year, and even you were a little worried in the beginning, just with the way that they were kind of made up, as far as where the freshmen were hitting and trying to figure out the rotation. It seems like they figured it out.

Andrew:                 I think you and I really talked about this second or third week, and that was they were really lacking that middle of the order hitter to protect Kvistad. I think they found that with Jordan Roberts there.

Amanda Lorenz is one of those, I call it the new age leadoff hitter, and that is a leadoff hitter that can hit for power as well as average. Isn’t just the typical bunt, get on base and steal base kind of leadoff hitter. The new age leadoff hitter is what I call her, and it’s doing so well. Just to think about this team though, in the circle, Nick. I mean, 38 games, and they’ve allowed 36 runs.

Nick:                         The game came on yesterday, and they showed Barnhill’s stats during Florida’s game yesterday.

Andrew:                 Yes.

Nick:                         Good Lord, those strikeouts.

Andrew:                 158 in 87 innings.

Nick:                         Oh my God.

Andrew:                 Almost two an inning.

Nick:                         That means she’s slacking, because at one point she was over two an inning.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         What a bum! Get rid of her.

Andrew:                 87 innings she’s only given up three earned runs.

Nick:                         That’s wild.

Andrew:                 Wild. Wild. Wild. Finished the series Monday night against Georgia. They’ve won nine straight SEC series. Only one loss in the SEC. Two games up in the standings in the SEC. The softball train’s rolling. I’ll be honest. This might be Tim Walton’s best team he’s had, and that’s saying something. There’s two National Championship banners hanging, and this might be his best. Good luck. Do play Florida State on Wednesday, who’s #1 in the country by some polls.

Nick:                         Home?

Andrew:                 At home.

Nick:                         Florida State. That will be packed. They actually had the biggest crowd ever for a softball game. It was what? Just about 3,000?

Andrew:                 I think it was like 2,800 on Saturday.

Nick:                         They were three short. I’ll find it. I’ll find the number.

Andrew:                 Something like that.

Nick:                         Maybe break that on Wednesday.

Andrew:                 Yeah. You think about that. Next year they’ll definitely break it, or the following year, when they have the softball expansion. They’ll definitely break it. It’s there. Nick, my, oh my, man. What’s going on with your team? I’m going to say this. You told me they were ranked #12 in the country Monday. They’re not top 25 material. I know you’re going to disagree with me, but you can’t convince me they’re top 25.

Nick:                         I think they are a top 25, when you look at the rest of the top 25, sure they are.

Andrew:                 They can’t score.

Nick:                         They did score. Here was the problem. They scored this week.

Andrew:                 They couldn’t keep the pitch this week.

Nick:                         They scored this week, and other than, Jackson wasn’t bad. Alex Faedo’s got to be better on Friday night. If your Friday night guy, this goes for pretty much every team in the SEC, if you give your Friday night guy five runs, you expect to win that ball game.

Andrew:                 You should win.

Nick:                         You’re winning that ballgame. If your Friday night guy gets five runs, no excuse for that. I asked Kevin O’Sullivan. A mixture of because of Alex’s last start and kind of how he’s looked, and how Brady’s looked, “Hey, are you going to make a chance there?” He said, “Not this week,” but didn’t really blow it off completely.

Andrew:                 Okay. Something to watch then.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think this is a top 25 team. Right now you’re struggling. You’re in fifth in the SEC East. Here we go. You’re fifth in the SEC, but you’re playing Vanderbilt and South Carolina your next two weekends. Tough part, Tuesday you’re going at Tallahassee, and then the Vanderbilt series is Thursday, Friday, Saturday. So, you’re at Tallahassee on Tuesday. Bus back from Tallahassee, probably get in around 12:30, 1:00. Then you bus up to Jacksonville on Wednesday, fly to Tallahassee. That’s a tough series.

You can’t afford, because of losing two to Tennessee, you can’t afford to lose to Vanderbilt. You’ve got to find a way to win that series now. That’s tough. Vanderbilt just took two of three from South Carolina. Then you come back, and you’ve got South Carolina. Kentucky right now looks like the best team in the SEC East. I think it’s premature people saying they’re not going to make the post season.

Andrew:                 That’s retarded.

Nick:                         You sound foolish when you say that. Florida made the post season my first year covering the team, at 28-27.

Andrew:                 They’re making the post season. The question now for Florida is do they get a chance to host. I think they do. You probably go on the road for your super regionals if you were to make and out, but that’s what you’re playing for.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Any idea of what Schwarz and the rest of the guys did to get suspended?

Nick:                         I do, just a violation of team rules, and I could get in trouble for talking about it.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         Violation of team rules.

Andrew:                 They did play Sunday.

Nick:                         Jonathan India did not. What’s going on is Dalton Guthrie was able to come back. He had elbow surgery in the off season. It’s ulnar nerve transposition, transponding. I’m saying it wrong. Ulnar nerve in his elbow. He got smacked in the hand when they were playing Stetson the first time, at Stetson, and experienced some numbness, or got smacked in the elbow diving back to first, a pickoff, and experienced some numbness in his fingers. He ended up going back to getting it rechecked, and actually a couple weeks ago they were worried that he might have to have Tommy John surgery. Doesn’t have to do it. He was able to come back in the lineup and play in the field this weekend.

Jonathan India’s having elbow issues. Not the same thing. He’s never had surgery or anything like that, but he can’t play in the field. They’ll hope that he can, maybe by the time you get up to Vanderbilt, but Christian Hicks is hitting the ball really well right now, so where do you put him? You got to figure that out.

They all played, except for India. He was available to play Sunday. They all came back and played Sunday.

Andrew:                 Okay. Got you. Florida State this weekend, before going to Vanderbilt. Need a three of four.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think best case this week is probably two and two, but you need to get three out of four.

Andrew:                 You need a sweep.

Nick:                         I just don’t see that happening.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Exactly. Nick, we’ll get out of here. We probably won’t have a second podcast this week, since I’ll be traveling, but we’ll definitely be back next week. Check us out. Zach Hughes, our new basketball guy, is pumping out the basketball news and the basketball recruiting news. If you haven’t come over and checked us out on that, might need to do that. Check out recruiting, football, baseball, softball, all the good stuff. If you haven’t joined us, and want a coupon code, hit us up. One of us will get it to you. Nick, tell the people where they can find us, and we’ll see everyone later this week or next week.

Nick:                         Of course. Www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. It’s also on the podcast store on iTunes. Just search Gator Country. You can find us on social media. @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 you listening. Give us a rating on iTunes. We haven’t asked for that in a while. Join us over here at Gator Country. Got a lot of good things going on. As always, guys, chomp, chomp. Go Braves.

Nick:                         You stay classy, Gator Country.

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Florida Gators softball sweeps UGA behind a dominant Barnhill

The Florida Gators softball swept UGA behind a dominant performance from Kelly Barnhill.

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