Gator Country brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators big win over LSU on Saturday in Death Valley, plus talk about the Gators winning the SEC Eastern division championship.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down how the Gators stopped LSU over and over again in the red zone, plus recap how the Gators offense found their running game.
Andrew and Nick recap how their picks did on Saturday, plus start to look ahead to the Gators vs. Florida State game next Saturday night.
Andrew:What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey here, with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we are headed to Atlanta to cover another SEC Championship game, my friend.
Nick:No thanks to your prediction.
Andrew:No thanks to my prediction, and, Nick, just like I told you on Friday, I am here to eat crow, and I will gladly eat crow. My reverse jinx worked completely.
Nick:No. No. No. No. I said you can’t do this.
Andrew:You said I couldn’t do it, but…
Nick:No. You did not reverse jinx. What you did is you didn’t believe that Florida had a chance to beat LSU. There was no reverse jinx. There was a lack of belief.
Nick:You were down.
Andrew:I was down. I was.
Nick:You were in the dump for a week, and you let that affect your pick.
Andrew:What did I tell you last week? That was the most nervous I’ve been for a game, and it was by far the most exciting football game I’ve witnessed in a long, long time, probably since Death Valley when they played Arkansas, and it went to triple overtime. I mean, Nick, raw emotions were there. We were standing on the sidelines. We were in the back pylon on the goal line stand, and you one time told me, you said, “I’m going to need you to breathe here.”
Andrew:I don’t know.
Nick:I think Jim McElwain was talking to you in his post-game press conference.
Andrew:Oh, he was?
Nick:I think so.
Andrew:About not believing?
Nick:He said, “I just can’t tell you how proud I am of our players, our staff, and happy for the Gator fans. You know, don’t think we’re very good.” Said, “Happy for the Gator fans that you don’t think that we’re very good, but all we do is end up back in Atlanta, right? So that’s pretty cool.”
Andrew:I am one of the very few people that said that Florida was going to go back to Atlanta next season, and I think you would agree with me when I say that. I was one of the very few people. I will say this.
Nick:You backed off of it though. Here’s a funny story. So we’re in the, me, Ryan Young, and Zach Abolverdi, we flew out together from Jacksonville to New Orleans, and we’re sitting there, and these guys, the Gator fans who are flying on the same flight, ask us what we’re doing. We say, “We’re sportswriters. We cover Florida.” “What do you guys think is going to happen?” Ryan and Zach, kind of like everyone else, said, “Not a chance. Not happening.” Zach points over to me and goes, “He picked Florida to win.” I said, “I did. I picked them to win.” We ran into them today. They were on our return flight, and he goes, “Hey, Nick.” He goes, “Nice pick.” I said, “Thanks, buddy.”
Andrew:I will say this. I mean, I give you your props. Props is due. You took it.
Nick:It’s taken us three years of podcasting, but I’m getting my props.
Andrew:You have to admit, we were probably two of the few that actually thought there was a chance. I’ll say it. You won’t say this, but I’ll say this. So, people criticized Florida’s writers, their beat writers, for being negative people. I agree with you. We have, there’s one beat writer, who will go nameless, looks up and says, “I’m glad David Sharpe’s playing left tackle, so I don’t have to go to Atlanta.” Bro, you cover football. You cover football. You don’t want to go cover football? Not only is that lazy, that’s a jackass. That’s everything you want to say about persons, but that is why that gets there. People, it’s just crazy to me that you cover a team, okay, I understand you don’t want to be a homer, but to say you don’t want to go cover a game is crazy to me.
I wasn’t that person. I’ll try to explain myself the best I can. I felt like if I would have picked LSU, or Florida, they were going to lose. I just had that worry about it, but, Nick, I talked about this with someone earlier on Sunday. I wanted to bring this up. This is the year of streaks being ended. Florida’s streak with Tennessee ends. Florida’s streak over Arkansas ends. LSU’s streak over Florida ends. Does next weekend end Florida’s in Tallahassee?
Nick:Lot of streaks. I want to celebrate the team, but I also want to point out, and I don’t think anyone kind of wrote it, and it was something that Ryan and Zach and I were talking about today, you look at these stats, and we kind of did it last year a little bit some. Look at these stats, and that doesn’t look like, if I just showed you the box score, that doesn’t look like a game that Florida would win. So I think it comes down to, I got to credit the defense, and how much do you credit the defense versus credit LSU? LSU gets down into the red zone five times, and they get six points off of it. That last defensive stand, that’s impressive.
Andrew:Here’s my thing, Nick.
Andrew:Here’s my thing, and, yes, you look at it, you look at the box score.
Nick:I mean, LSU, yards 423-270, rushing 219, passing 204. Florida only had one penalty. That’s incredible. Hadn’t happened since New Mexico State last year. They’re down 7-14, Florida’s only four of 13. It’s like, dang, where? You look at the box score, and you’re like, how the heck did that happen?
Andrew:Here’s my thing, and this is what I kind of wanted to point out to you a little bit was, yes, Florida didn’t have the yards. They should have, and Mac said this on Saturday, should have been worse that 16-10. Should have been worse. Had Florida converted those field goals, the 3rd and 1 where they go to the pitch play should have been converted. When they had the fumble on the kickoff, should have been converted into touchdowns. We’ll get into that, that play calling there of why it should have, but I want to start somewhere.
Nick, I think you will take my back here. I’m not sure. You’re wanting to throw me under the bus to Gator fans today, so I’m not sure, but when the pregame fight happened, it was over with. The game was over with. Florida won the game when the pregame fight happened. In my book, that was it. That was it. You wanted to see energy, and it all started really for me when Teez Tabor was the first guy out a good 20 minutes before the rest of the team came out to stretch. He was in his sweats and just going through some pregame stretching, stuff like that, with his music. You could tell he was focused and ready.
Then the pregame fight happens, and you automatically seen that team that may have been a little split, offense/defense kind of split, came together, came for one thing, and said, “You come after us, we’re going to get you.” The fire was fueled even more so than it was coming into the game, and it was over with then.
Nick:I don’t know if it was over with, but I cannot, and nobody can, can say that that didn’t help.
Andrew:Here’s my thing, and this is why I said that. I know, it wasn’t over with to the point, but I’m just saying for me it was, that was what set it up. When Florida has done well this season it’s, when they’ve gotten beat this season it’s because of lack of energy. The lack of energy in the second half of the Tennessee game, the lack of energy in the Arkansas game, they were flat. The Vanderbilt game they were flat, almost lost the game. That was there.
Nick:That prevented any kind of coming out flat.
Andrew:Right. What I’m saying is that took the momentum of the game the rest of the way. You look at the red zone stops, Florida didn’t do anything different than they have done all year. LSU didn’t do anything different, but when it’s run against a run defense like Florida it’s who wants it more. Florida was pissed off. They wanted it more. I mean, they did.
Nick:I think you can say that. Yeah. I think you can say that Florida wanted it more. One of those games where it’s kind of, Joey Ivie said it, “If you can’t get ready for this, if you can’t get up for this,” and I said it on the Friday podcast. I said, “You got to find a balance between getting too up for it, and letting that make you nervous, or getting too up for it and letting that fuel you.” I think what that post fight did is kind of just settle it in. Florida really bought into the fact, and the coach, I’m sure it was the coaching staff selling it to the players, that you’re being disrespected. LSU is disrespecting you. They’re calling you scared. They’re challenging your manhood, and what happens when, it’s kind of like we said with the opening drive. If you score on the opening drive, you believe everything that the coaches said. What happens when that LSU player, I’m blanking on his name right now, when the LSU player comes over and gets in the way of Quincy Wilson doing his, I’m pulling up the name.
Andrew:It was Saivion Smith and Dwayne Thomas.
Nick:So when Dwayne Thomas comes over, and Quincy throws his shoulder in, and then Chauncey Gardner, the mouth of the South, comes over, to me that, after hearing about it, you’re being disrespected, this and this and that, to have something like that happen before the game even starts is that, boom. Quick dry cement is poured. That statement that we’ve heard, yeah. They’re still disrespecting us. Our coaches were right. We need to go teach them a lesson that you’re not going to disrespect the Florida Gators. I think that’s kind of, I don’t know if I would go as far as you saying the game’s over from there, but that cements what the coaches have been saying, and that’s what you had been using to get up all week, and it’s right there in front of your face. You have an hour until the game starts, and there it is, boom, already.
Andrew:I shouldn’t, when I said it was over with I was using that kind of almost just a talking point, a metaphor. It was you knew right then and there it was about to be a war. It was about to be a war. You hear people, and they’re like, “It’s going to be a 28 point game. They’re going to win 31-3.” I’m sitting here thinking like, “This is about to be a war. Whether Florida wins this game or not, it’s about to be a war.” This was going to be a war, because you had Florida mad. You had LSU over confident. It was just a war. Fournette puts his hands on Torrian Gray. Chauncey Gardner comes up, mouth of the South, as you say, but as a guy that is going to defend his coach. It was war.
It all set it up for the, it was like all of those were battles, and then the final piece of the war came on that 4th and 1, and it was Florida wanted it more. They stopped it. Celebration erupts. Death Valley goes quiet, except for that Gator section, and, Nick, you have to admit, that was awesome. That was an awesome sight to see that one section erupt of Florida fans.
Nick:Yeah. It was right there in the south end zone. We were right down there. We were down there in the goal line, in the corner of the end zone, watching that last goal line stand, and it seemed like it took forever. There was a time out. LSU called a time out right before, or maybe there was a TV time out right before the 3rd down.
Andrew:No. It was a review, remember, of inches.
Nick:Yeah, that’s what it is.
Andrew:LSU called a time out. Then Florida called a time out to review the spot.
Andrew:It was inches, and then it was the stopping. Someone said this, and said, “Well, why did you review that, Mac? It was only inches.” Mac’s like, “Well, we won the game by inches.” You had to review that play. I’m not going to lie. It was probably the longest 10 minutes ever. I was literally feeling like I was going to have a heart attack on the field.
Nick:Yeah. It gave Florida a lot of time. What I liked to see was during that time out where they’re challenging the entire offense comes out. You can tell. I mean, Duke Dawson takes three steps and immediately takes a knee, takes his helmet off. That defense was on the field for a long, long time. LSU had the time in possession 34 minutes. That defense was out there for a long time, and you’re missing starters. Those guys aren’t getting breaks like they’re used to getting breaks. They were out there playing snaps. To me, the offense comes out, and the entire offense, and just says something, just says anything to give those guys a little boost. I think that was something that I mentioned briefly, but might be bigger than even we could say. You might not be able to know, but it could be bigger than you even know.
Andrew:You’re talking about long run?
Nick:No, I’m talking about on the 3rd and 1, the 4th and 1, when the play’s being reviewed, and the defense has time, you know, while the play’s being reviewed they’re sitting on the field. The entire offense came out onto the field.
Andrew:Yeah. No, I’m talking about like I feel like that is what could set it up for a…
Nick:I wasn’t saying like that. I was just saying in that moment, just getting them ready for the next play.
Andrew:To me it felt like a unity, finally.
Nick:Yeah. We talked about how the offense being so bad could be divisive, and, listen, the offense wasn’t good again on Saturday.
Andrew:Right. That’s what I’m saying. I thought that’s what you were talking about, it could help the unity going down, because we talked about this. This was a program changing game. You were at a crossroads of if you lose this game you maybe lose five games this season. You’re recruiting goes to the bed. Everything starts to dwindle downhill. Unfortunately, the stupid talk of Mac continues. Now you went the opposite way where you could go into Atlanta with two loses with a lot of momentum ending streaks against LSU and Florida State, recruiting on a high. Possibly getting to the Sugar Bowl. Mac gets that signature win. Fan base reunites. The team reunites.
It just, and this quote hit home for me a little bit, and I’m just paraphrasing what Mac said, you may have the quote. You may know the quote right off the top of your head, but Mac said something along the lines of, it’s about building a program. It’s about building the organization with good people and stuff, and this game to me just seen that. If you were able to see this, and, Nick, I know you were, you see the whole sideline, offensive guys picking defensive guys up, defensive guys picking offensive guys up. When Eddy Pineiro makes the field goal, TJ McCoy is telling David Reese, “Go out and play ball.” Chris Rumph’s got his guys around him saying, “Sacks are going to make the difference in this game.”
You just are able to see so many different things. It is just, it was just a sight to see, and it was great to see this team come together, the older guys, the younger guys. It was just, it was great to see, and, quite frankly, the younger guys played a large part.
Nick:The quote you’re remembering is he said, Mac had said a bunch of stuff about people doubting him as a coach.
Nick:Doubting the team. So the question was kind of like, what does that have to do with it, them doubting you? He says, he goes, “I don’t know.” He said, “We came here to build a program, build an organization people can be proud of, and doing it the right way. That’s the way we’re doing it. Things aren’t always pretty. This time of year is pretty in Atlanta. It’s the second year we’ll go see it.”
Andrew:Yeah. By the way, Nick.
Nick:Dude, Mac was throwing shade.
Andrew:You have to take my back and not, I was never doubting Mac. I know you want to throw shade at me about not picking, but I have been the biggest Mac supporter there is.
Andrew:Okay. Just making sure we’re clear on that. Don’t throw me too far under the bus here. He was. At the same time though, he deserved to throw shade. When you question, not only was his team questioned, the integrity of the team questioned, he was questioned, and I think it did, I think it just all boiled up inside, and it was like, boom. Punch them in the mouth. LSU has Orgeron as their coach. They don’t have Les Miles. That’s still a pretty good football team. That defense in 11 games has only given up 10 touchdowns. That’s pretty impressive.
Nick:Yeah. That was a very good defense, and I think that kind of plays into Florida’s offense. Listen, Austin Appleby, take out the 98 yard pass, and he is 6 for 16 for 46 yards. That’s not good. Jordan Scarlett, dude toting the rock, 22 carries, 108 yards. Lamical Perine, said, “Hey, Jamal Adams, you’re an All-American, why don’t you hope on my back.”
Andrew:First class ride to the red zone.
Nick:Go for a little ride. Jamal Adams is not a small dude, not someone afraid of tackling, not someone afraid of running his mouth. He jumped on a true freshman’s back, and got taken for a ride. Best thing I think I saw on the offense is the only other player, other than the two I just mentioned, that got a carry was Austin Appleby. There was no running back rotation.
Andrew:No. It was great.
Nick:Scarlett, 4.9 per carry. Perine, 5.4 per carry. Those are your dudes. That’s it. Cut down that rotation. I think, I hope, we’ve seen the end of that rotation. Let 24 and 32 get some carries if you find yourself up 20 points late in the game.
Andrew:Yeah, because those are your dudes, and you see that in, those two have the common, a common theme with them. Never stop their feet. Never stop their feet. They are both running, running, running. There was a couple times you and I looked, and we were like, Scarlett’s down, and then we turn around, and Scarlett’s popped out of the pile, 10 yards. Same thing with Perine when he gave Jamal the road trip to the red zone. It just is a common theme there.
I want to say this about Appleby real quick, Nick, and I feel like, yes, his, he was 7 of 17, 144, isn’t good, but it felt different with him. He did, he had a lot of pressure, missed some throws, and that wasn’t good, but it was a different feeling with the offense, because of it just seemed like he was going to be able to make the play he did, but the offensive line…
Nick:In the first half I thought, so Florida, and I think you’ll agree with this, Florida will get into a situation where they let one 3 and out turn into several. So you had, you open the game, 10 plays, 28 yards. Okay, you stalled, but 10 plays. Next drive, 10 plays, down the field, end up getting a field goal, but then you end the half punt, punt, punt. It’s just like, once that first one happened, you think, you get the feeling where you’re like, “Is this it? Is this when it’s going to happen?” To their credit, Florida comes out the gate in the 3rd quarter, when they had been terrible on offense, you get that huge turnover, or you get the turnover on downs.
Nick:In the 3rd quarter, one play, 98 yards. Touchdown. You don’t have another 3 and out the rest of the game. I think that’s important.
Andrew:Right. It was looking for a playmaker to step up. Tyrie did, made a play, and it was there. Here’s the thing.
Nick:Dante Jackson just hopped on his back, and he threw him off. Said, “No, thank you.”
Andrew:He said, “I’m a Houston boy, not no Louisiana boy. I’m a Houston boy,” and he went at it. I’ll say this about Nuss, and I thought Nuss called a good plan, except for a couple times. The 2nd and 2, where Scarlett comes out on the drive, they punt, after the 98 yard touchdown. Not sure why he went two straight throws, then run. That was bad. Then on the pitch on 3rd and 1, 3rd and goal on the 1. I understood the play call. It was poor execution, and I understood why he called it, but I question why not just give it to Scarlett. It’s 10-10 there. You give it to Scarlett at fullback, because they lined him up at fullback. Lamical was at running back. Give it to him, or let Appleby, at 6’4”, try to sneak it in. At worse, it’s 4th and inches, and you do it again.
When you pitch you just have so many problems. I understood the reasoning for that was they up the gut, up the gut, up the gut. They put Scarlett in at fullback. He was expecting it to be a sellout. It didn’t. Arden Key was there. He was going to hit Lamical anyway had he caught the pitch. So I understand that, but I still just would have liked to see them go Scarlett or Appleby, or even give it to Lamical for a little.
Nick:Yeah. So I didn’t like the play call, but it’s because I know what Scarlett can do as a lead blocker. At St. Thomas they used him as a fullback in the red zone, because of his blocking ability. So when I saw that, to me it was, they’re going to give Lamical the ball, and they’re putting Scarlett in there as a fullback. In the past, that’s where you would throw in a Bryan Cox.
Nick:Didn’t make the trip, hurt. So Jordan Scarlett, he can do that. I would have rather seen you go up the gut, but I do get your thing. It’s like, we’ve just run this play four times in a row; let’s see if we can catch them off guard.
Andrew:Right. Here’s the thing. I am the biggest critic, and also the biggest supporter, of the offensive line. When they well, when they do bad, I’ll let you know. Outside of David Sharpe in the first half, against Arden Key, the offensive line played outstanding. TJ McCoy, Martez, Fred, and Jawaan played outstanding. Nick, we’re hard on Fred Johnson, but he played a great game at right guard, because in the second half where were they running? Right side most of the time. Right behind Waany and right behind Fred and TJ McCoy, and they were doing really well. The offensive line finally came about, did things that they were supposed to do, which is get a push. If the offensive line continues to get better and get a push, things are going to be bright.
Here’s my thing too. Jawaan, freshman. Fred Johnson, redshirt freshman. TJ McCoy, redshirt freshman. Martez Ivey, sophomore. It’s young guys up front, young guys up front.
Nick:Fred’s a sophomore, but still young.
Andrew:What’d I say? Redshirt freshman?
Andrew:My bad. I was looking ahead at TJ McCoy. So sophomore, redshirt freshman, sophomore, and then Waany’s a freshman, of course.
Nick:Lot of young guys, and Tyler Jordan, who didn’t play, sophomore.
Andrew:Right. That’s what I’m saying. When you look at that, you think…
Nick:But Jim McElwain doesn’t recruit well.
Andrew:It’s such a dumbfound notion. I don’t want to get too much into this, but I’m going to say it real quick, Nick. You and I actually talked about this. Five stars, four stars, three stars, it’s all about which website wants the interview. Get over yourself with it. Jordan Scarlett is not a five star. Perine’s not even a four star. Come on, guys. Let’s just be real. Jawaan Taylor might end up being the best freshman offensive lineman in the country, and was a three star. Let’s cut the star rating crap. Cut the website crap. I mean, the one website guy doesn’t even want to go to Atlanta. I guess he wants to go to the East West Shrine game to bump up a three star that’s committed to LSU, so he can be a five star.
Nick:Are there any 37 stars?
Andrew:That was a good quote by Mac.
Nick:He said, “Yeah, they aren’t 37 star guys, but you know what? They’re guys you can be proud of, and I’m proud of. They came in and played hard. Older guys showing them the way. They committed to something bigger than them. When you start doing that, you’ve got a chance to be successful in life.”
Andrew:Yeah. That’s exactly what it is. This was just a great football game all around. This was a great program win to see this. It was great for November big win that they got. It sets them up to go to Florida State to play a good game, to end that streak. That’s a game that you got to have. I mean, it’s a got to have game. Not only because it gives you momentum to go to Atlanta, but it’s also a momentum game in recruiting. This LSU game gets you back to Atlanta, gets you another national TV game by yourself in the SEC, on CBS on December 3rd, when Tennessee’s watching from the house.
You get that game, but beating Florida State in state it sets up a mojo of just we’re back. If Florida beats Florida State, they can say, “We’re the top team in the state.” Then go get their State Championship rings, even though they didn’t play Miami. They can go get their State Championship rings, and that’s what you got to have. You got to have that win. If Florida can run the ball, good luck, Florida State. Good luck. No Derwin James? Good luck.
Nick:Florida’s going to run the ball.
Andrew:Yeah. I think finally they’re committing to it, and finally they’re committing to 25 and 22. It’s something we’ve said. Red hair needs to stay on the sideline.
Nick:Have we said that?
Andrew:I don’t know about you, but I’ve been saying it for a long time.
Nick:In those words, have we said that?
Andrew:Probably not, but it might as well be said. I mean, it is what it is. When you see those two guys, and, listen, I’m the biggest, I never separate myself from it. I don’t hide from it that I’m a Perine supporter. He’s from here, but I, Jordan Scarlett’s playing great football. If Jordan Scarlett gets 22 carries, and Perine gets 7, I’m perfectly cool with that. I’m just saying, when Scarlett comes out of the game, it’s got to be 22. It can’t be 24 and 32. It can’t be.
Nick:That’s it. That’s what we’ve always said is when 25 comes out, 22 has got to come in. When 22 comes out, 25 has got to go in.
Andrew:It has to be that way. There is no other way of doing anything. That’s it.
Nick:What do you think, so I mentioned when I said, I think it was you asked me, maybe, or maybe it was Chad Wilson. I did his radio. Asked me, “How do you see Florida winning? What do they need to do to win?”
Andrew:I think it was me.
Nick:I said, “You’ve got to have an electric play.” I didn’t think it was going to be from the offense. I thought you would have to get it from somewhere else, but 98 yards is pretty damn electric. So you get that from the offense. I said, “You got to win the turnover battle.” Florida does that. I think, 2-0?
Nick:Florida does that 2-0, and you’ve got to be able to run the ball. Scarlett and Perine ran for more yards than Guice and Fournette.
Nick:So there it is. I was impressed by Danny Etling. I thought Danny Etling showed a lot of toughness. Vosean Joseph wasn’t playing none of his nonsense trying to run the ball in, but a lot of toughness. I think he made some good throws. Maybe these, whoever’s at Purdue, they’re not winning many football games, but not terrible quarterbacks that they had. Appleby didn’t have a good game, but he…
Andrew:He commanded the offense.
Nick:That’s what I was going to go say. He didn’t lose you the game. That’s what we’ve been saying all along he needed to do. That any quarterback leading this Florida football team, this year’s team, they need a quarterback who’s not going to lose them the game. They’re not going to be asked to win the game. They’re going to be asked not to lose it, and I think that’s what Austin Appleby did.
Andrew:You have to respect Appleby, deep ball.
Nick:You have to respect the deep ball.
Andrew:Right. I think that’s there, and also his athleticism to get out of sacks. The Tyrie Cleveland pass on the slant route, and I think it, I want to say it was 18 or 19 yards. It was a 1st and 10 play. He was about to be sacked on the left. He spins around, rolls to the right, throws the crossing route, or the drag route, to Tyrie for a 1st down. It was the athleticism that was there, and is it Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson athleticism? No, but it’s athleticism that is able to help you out, and it’s just Appleby is running the offense, and it’s better. I think that’s where it is.
My thing with this is with Appleby in there you feel like Florida can score. They can drive and score. When Del Rio was hurt at the Georgia and the Arkansas game, you just never got that feeling that at any time they could have a 10 play, 80 yard drive and score. You never felt that way, or at least I didn’t feel that way.
Nick:You felt they could with Appleby and couldn’t with Del Rio?
Andrew:When he was injured, the last few times. The last two games I felt like at any time Appleby could take them down there and score. That Georgia and Arkansas game it never felt like Del Rio could sustain a drive, and that’s what I was saying.
Nick:No. It felt like nothing was ever going to happen in Fayetteville.
Andrew:Right, but you know what I’m saying? It felt different with Appleby.
Nick:A little bit. I still, I’m still not, I think the offense just is what it is.
Andrew:You don’t feel better, you didn’t feel better about things? I just feel better about things. I mean, running game especially.
Nick:Do I feel better about what was, you know, a 10 car pileup? Yeah, I feel better. It goes back to what I think I said in the beginning of the year though is that it’s a very average offense. Sometimes very average offenses will look good, and sometimes they won’t. I don’t feel good about Florida’s offense. Do I feel better…
Andrew:I feel like it’s improving. That’s the thing that I see. It all starts with the running game, and it all starts with offensive line play. Is the quarterback play where it should be? No. Is the passing game where it should be? No. I’m just saying that outside of that, the passing game is not where it should be, but it’s getting better, and the offense, in my opinion, is getting better.
Nick:The rushing offense is, I think Jordan Scarlett’s the only player this year to run for 100 yards against LSU. I feel better about the running back rotation.
Nick:126 is the fourth highest amount of yards that LSU’s allowed on the ground this year, but if I’m being honest I don’t feel better about the offense. Do I think that Appleby’s better than unhealthy Luke Del Rio? Yeah, but I still don’t feel better about the offense.
Andrew:I mean, it’s there. Before we go into recapping our picks and stuff, wanted to hit on the young guys real quick, Nick. We talked about the offensive line, those are young guys. Tyrie, Antonio Callaway, both young guys. You look at Perine and Scarlett, both young guys. Josh Hammond is playing. Freddie Swain, those guys are playing.
Man, go to this defense, and, Nick, I don’t want to say this too soon, but you always say, and you said this, you always think the defense is going to take a step back, and it just never seems to. David Reese, that’s a monster. That guy’s a monster. That guy’s a football player. Kylan Johnson, that guy’s a football player. Vosean Joseph, that guy’s a football player. He might have made the play of the game, hitting Danny Etling and not letting him score, and then they miss in the field goal because it was dropped.
Andrew:You look at Marcell Harris playing his best game, and I know he’s not a young guy, played his best game. Taven Bryan played one of his better games. He’s really coming into his own. Only has one tackle on the day, but his pressure and his ability to get in the backfield is there. He’s not a young guy, but going back to the young guys, Reese, Vosean, Chauncey Gardner’s playing really well. Jachai Polite is playing really well. Antonneous Clayton is starting to play really well. Vosean, as we said. Gardner’s playing, is starting to get a lot of minutes.
Nick:Caleb Brantley probably his best, the best game of his career.
Andrew:He’s had some really, really good ones. He’s had some really good ones, but he had a great game. Like you said. Joey Ivie as well.
Nick:It doesn’t show up. I mean, Caleb Brantley getting that, poking that fumble out. That was huge.
Andrew:Yeah. I was trying to remember if he was the one that poked it out or if it was…
Nick:Brantley got the hand in, and Kylan Johnson came in and picked it up.
Nick:I mean, David Reese, 12 tackles. In on everything. Kylan Johnson, eight tackles. Marcell Harris, he’ll be back, 11 tackles. Nick Washington, he’ll be back, six. Jalen Tabor got in on the action. He had five solo tackles. He made up, Jalen Tabor, Quincy Wilson got beat on a play early in the game, and Jalen Tabor came out of nowhere and knocked the ball out. There was just like, just those effort plays.
Nick:Those effort plays, Cece crushed JD Moore. Moore was going in, and Cece came, launched himself sideways, and Moore went sideways.
Andrew:Right. Cece played one of his better games. The defensive line’s pad level is incredible. Before we get there, talking about plays, Chauncey Gardner comes off the top rope.
Nick:I loved it.
Andrew:He wanted to get Fournette so bad for hitting Torrian Gray that he just decided he was going to jump on the pile, and, man, Chauncey may have set a vertical jump record. He was up there.
Nick:I thought that was hilarious.
Andrew:That was awesome.
Nick:That was fun. That was fun and funny.
Andrew:Yeah. I mean, it’s fun. Alright, Nick, let’s go couple of things. Do you have the buy and sell in front of you?
Nick:I do not. Did not go well for me.
Andrew:Okay. I know one of the buy or sells was 200 for Fournette and homeboy. They didn’t get it, so you lost. Are you ready to take that?
Andrew:You ready to take that?
Nick:I did lose.
Andrew:We both lost the DBU comment.
Nick:What was that?
Andrew:We said, no, we did not lose. It was who would have more interceptions. Neither had interceptions, so neither of us lost. So that was a good thing. I’m trying to remember what our other ones were. I’m not even sure the rest. Anyway, that was the two I remember right off the top of my head was the Fournette, Guice deal going over 200. I also lost, Colorado beat Washington State, so you got the W.
Nick:The Buffs were real.
Andrew:Yeah, but your boy right here goes undefeated again in picks on his players.
Nick:I did not.
Andrew:Let’s recap them. David Reese, for myself. 12 tackles and a tackle for a loss. Leads the team in tackles. W?
Nick:You’re just trying to gloat over here. You didn’t even pick Florida to win, and you’re trying to gloat?
Andrew:W. Who was, your first pick was Scarlett.
Nick:W! Every week.
Andrew:Every week. Every week. My second pick was Caleb Brantley, and that’s a W. Who was your second pick?
Nick:I don’t even remember. I know my third was C’yontai Lewis.
Andrew:Nick Washington. Nick Washington was your second pick.
Nick:I’ll take that as a W, and I’ll take a loss for C’yontai. Go two for three.
Andrew:Nick Washington had six tackles. Yeah. Okay. I’ll give you the win. C’yontai, no. C’yontai’s got to stop dropping the ball. Alright, so Gators go up to 13 in the Coaches Poll, and 13, was it 13 in the AP as well? Two seconds, and I’ll tell you. Yes. 13 in both polls. Florida State is 14 in the Coaches Poll and 15 in the AP Poll, and that’s the matchup. Already an eight point underdog going to Tallahassee. Not digging that. What do you think?
Nick:Here, so I have, we talked about my best case and worst case scenario, right? We talked about that in the podcast.
Nick:Worst case is out of the window now. Best case is still available. If you go in, you’re an underdog, to FSU, and you come away with a win, now you’re playing Alabama. Two loss team, you beat Alabama. Two loss team with an Alabama win on their record. Might be hard to keep you out of the playoff. This is not, in my opinion, a playoff team, but if you win your next two games I’m going to be making the argument for you.
Nick:Am I being negative in saying I don’t think that they’re a playoff team? I think that’s just my opinion, from what I’ve seen.
Nick:If they win the next two games, better believe I’ll throw a fit if they’re not in it. You beat Alabama, you’re already a 21 point underdog in that game. You beat Alabama as a 21 point underdog? You go on the road you’re last three games, your last two games, three being a neutral site, and get wins?
Nick:You’re a playoff team. Is Florida that caliber of team, the teams that they would play in the final four? I don’t think so, but you win the other games, I might think differently.
Andrew:Can I ask you a question real quick? Are you rooting for not a playoff so you don’t have to go cover it, like some people?
Nick:Dude, send me to, the Tostitos Bowl? Where are the playoff sites?
Andrew:It’s Atlanta and Tampa.
Nick:What do you mean?
Andrew:Atlanta is one semi.
Nick:No, Tampa’s the championship.
Andrew:Atlanta and Phoenix are the other two semi-finals.
Nick:Yeah, but Florida would not be a #1 seed.
Andrew:Right. I’m thinking they’d be a 4.
Nick:So we were talking about this. Alabama’s going to be the 1 seed, or a 2 seed. I don’t think Bama drops out of the top four if they beat Auburn and then lose to Florida. I don’t think you drop a one loss Alabama team out of the top four.
Andrew:Right. So I’m saying Florida would be a 4 if they got there. They would be in Atlanta.
Nick:Michigan or Ohio State, whoever won that would be a 1? Or Clemson? Because Clemson, I mean Clemson should not lose to South Carolina this week, and then they’ll play, I think, either Virginia Tech or UNC in the ACC Championship game. You shouldn’t lose that game either, but I think a one loss Ohio State or Michigan would be #1 if Bama were to lose.
Nick:The committee would try to separate, I’m just talking out of my head. Then the committee would try to separate Florida and Alabama, so you wouldn’t have a rematch again.
Nick:So they’d maybe make Bama the 2 or a 3, and then Florida a 4.
Nick:No. The #1 team goes closest. So they don’t have to travel as far. If that would Ohio and Michigan, I guess that would be Atlanta?
Andrew:All of them is going to be Atlanta. That’s what I’m trying to explain to you, Nick. It’s Ohio State and Michigan, Clemson and Alabama.
Nick:Florida’s a 4, but if Florida were a 2 or a 3. Let’s say because Florida beat Alabama they move Alabama to 4, then they’d pop Florida just ahead of them, because you just beat them last week.
Nick:Move Florida ahead of Alabama, but keep Alabama in the 4. Then that’d be the Fiesta. I don’t want to go back to Atlanta. I’m not trying to do Atlanta again.
Nick:I want Tostitos.
Andrew:So you’re going to be that…
Nick:Send me to the Fiesta Bowl.
Andrew:It’s the PlayStation Bowl now.
Nick:Whatever it is. You want to try to go out there and maybe get a free PlayStation?
Andrew:I absolutely will.
Andrew:I’m just asking you.
Andrew:If they’re going back to Atlanta, if they say, “You get to go to Atlanta and cover a semi-final game,” are you going to be that media member that says, “I don’t want to go.”?
Nick:Man, I watch football. I watch football for a living. It’s cool.
Andrew:I’m just making sure.
Nick:I’m not going to turn down watching football.
Andrew:Just making sure. I mean, we have people out there. I’m just making sure.
Nick:I’d love to go to the Fiesta Bowl.
Andrew:I mean, I’m not going to sit here and lie to you, I absolutely will. You and I enjoy seeing new teams, so I’m cool with that. I’m just saying, don’t be that guy. Anyway, my quick thoughts real quick, and we’re running short. We got three minutes here. My quick thoughts on this game is it’s going to be another really good football game. It’s personal for Jordan Scarlett. It’s personal for Dalvin Cook. Scarlett’s personal because everybody thought he was going to Florida State, and he’s got friends there, yada, yada, yada. Dalvin Cook, ya’ll know the story or that. I don’t have to tell you about that. So it’s personal for a lot of guys in this game.
It’s personal for Florida guys. They don’t want to end their Florida career, guys like Quincy Wilson, Jalen Tabor, Jarrad Davis, and I’m not saying Jarrad Davis is playing. I have honestly no clue as of Sunday at 9:30, whatever time we’re taping this, if he’s going to play. I’m saying it’s personal for those guys not to go their whole Florida career without beating Florida State.
Nick:I mentioned that to Jalen Tabor and mentioned that to Quincy Wilson about LSU, and they said, “Yeah.” Jalen said, “Quincy and I talk about it all the time. Hey, man, we never beat LSU. Hey, man, we never beat FSU. We can’t go out like that.”
Andrew:Right. Exactly. Alright, Nick, basketball coverage this week. We’ll have recruiting coverage this week as well. Am I missing anything? I think that’s about it. We’ll have plenty of coverage this week. Holiday week, but still got time to bring the coverage. So stay tuned and be ready. At least you guys are listening to a podcast that actually cares for the Gators to do well. Remember that when you guys are choosing websites. Tell the people where they can find us.
Nick:www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. You can find the podcast there. You can find the podcast on iTunes. Search @GatorCountry. Follow us on social media. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. You can follow me, @NickdelaTorreGC, and you can follow Andrew, @AndrewSpiveyGC, on Twitter. You can follow me on Instagram, @NickdelaTorre. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button on iTunes, if you’ve got an Apple computer, and you’ll never miss a podcast. We will be in Tallahassee. It’ll be my birthday Friday. So we’ll have a birthday podcast on Friday.
Andrew:There we go. Yeah. Nick, I feel like I have to do this. I feel I have to tell Tennessee fans where we’ll be December 3rd, because they have an open week.
Nick:They’ll have a good seat for that.
Andrew:Yeah. They have a great seat, behind that 60” TV. By the way, LSU fans, you guys might be scared of the Gators now. They had to come to your home and play the game, so just get that out of the way. For all SEC fans, besides Alabama fans, that are waiting to see this, December 3rd they’ll be in Atlanta playing Alabama. The rest of you guys will be behind the screen. So, as always, Butch, Mark, you suck, and you ain’t going to title games this year. Chomp, chomp. Go Braves.
Nick:You stay classy, Gator Country.