Spivey Senses is back again this week as Andrew Spivey gives you his in-depth breakdown of what he liked and didn’t like in the Florida Gators win over New Mexico State on Saturday night.
Andrew also breaks down a few plays and explains why they worked or didn’t work and what he thinks the Gators can do to improve their offense this coming week against East Carolina.
Before Andrew ends his podcast he also talks about the recruiting visitors that were on campus this past weekend and what they liked about the game/visit at Florida.
What is up, Gator Country? Man, Andrew Spivey back. This is the first edition of Spivey Senses where we get to talk game time and some game action. The Gators defeated New Mexico State 61-13 on Saturday. Big game for the offense. Treon Harris, Will Grier both had really good games on offense. The running backs had some good games as well. Kelvin Taylor had a nice touchdown, had a couple of long runs and a good reception as well. Jordan Scarlett got in the end zone. Jordan Cronkrite got in the end zone. Demarcus Robinson had a good game receiving the ball. Callaway had a good game. Overall just a really good game for the offense.
Defense played well. First half there was three plays that kind of turned the game for New Mexico State to get them really on the board. You had a long 30 yard run. Then you had a long 31 yard catch and a 40 yard catch. So you’re looking at 101 of their 200 yards was on three plays. Really besides the safeties having a couple breakdowns, which they were the backup safeties with Keanu Neal and Marcus Maye out. New Mexico State didn’t really do too much offensively. You had a lot of guys get in there, get some action. Cece Jefferson, Bryan Cox got in there. Justus Reed got in there. Alex Anzalone was probably the best linebacker of the day. You see Quincy and Jalen Tabor get in there. Vernon Hargreaves had his first pick. Overall just really good. Austin Hardin booming the ball on kickoffs. He had seven kickoffs go for touch backs before McElwain wanted to try a little squib kick just to get the kickoff coverage some work. Then he had two good field goals that were hit very well, very solid kicks. Overall just a really good day for the Gators. Looked good. McElwain’s offense looked really good as well.
The game plan was about what I expected it to be. Really the offense was what I had expected it to be. I was able to watch a lot of his games at Alabama, and a lot of the plays were very similar to what it is. The popup pass or the screen pass that they threw to Demarcus Robinson. It’s not really a screen pass. It’s just a simple, stand up, throw the ball to Robinson. That’s a play Julio Jones made very famous when he was at Alabama, and that’s what they’re trying to do with Demarcus Robinson is simply get him the ball quick. Let him have one on one and get up field and go. Not really making the plays that Julio and other guys in McElwain’s offense did. That’s something that Robinson’s going to have to do better at is catch the ball, get physical, get up the field. That’s something that probably led to him being 3rd string on Monday when the depth chart came out for the Florida ECU game.
Brandon Powell looked really good as well, had a long touchdown catch from Treon Harris. Callaway, CJ Worton looked good as well. Fulwood did not look good. Let’s see. I think that’s about all the receivers. Josh Grady did have a catch. Alvin Bailey did have a catch in kind of mop up duty. Both looked good catching the ball. Overall a lot of receivers played, 15 guys in total made catches.
The tight end position, Goolsby, C’yontai Lewis, and Jake McGee all had catches. Camrin Knight, freshman, also made an appearance in the game. Didn’t make a catch though. C’yontai Lewis is the guy that I’ve been bragging about and saying how much of an athlete and how much of really a playmaker, he has that Vernon Davis kind of athleticism that is just kind of unnatural for a guy his size. I think he’s going to be a big time playmaker for this offense going forward, had two touchdowns over 40 yards receiving in the game. He’s going to be a great guy to be a 1-2 punch with Jake McGee, and then DeAndre Goolsby kind of played more of an H back role. I think that’s what you’re going to see from him a little bit more, because he is a little shorter than the other guys. He’s a guy that does very well in that H back role, and you saw with the play action passes.
Overall pretty much what I expected it to be from McElwain’s offense, and recruits were very happy about it. Nate Craig, Sam Bruce, those guys, they all talked about how much they absolutely loved the offense and how it was it was expected to be, what they really liked about it. Perfect game for the first game to be, in my opinion.
When you start to dig into the in depth portion of the game, the 2 minute drill was what was very impressive to me. You go back, and you look at that, and it was a 1:30 drive, ended up with 20 seconds left on the clock when they had it. Brandon Powell makes the first play of the game right there, up the drive right there. Then Will Grier hits Demarcus Robinson on back to back out routes that in my opinion were just really good plays for the 2 minute drill for Grier and for Demarcus Robinson. Then they hit C’yontai Lewis down the seam for that 30 yard touchdown pass. You just can’t say, and you can’t really talk about how big and important that drive was and how that’s something we just haven’t see at Florida lately. It’s a huge confidence boost to the team, to the coaching staff, everybody, to see that they’re able to do it, and now when it is the 2 minute drill against LSU or Ole Miss with the game on the line you feel like your team’s going to be able to do it and is going to be able to succeed. Now it’s going to be a lot tougher against those guys, but overall it was very positive for me to see that 2 minute drill work out the way it did.
You look at the way both guys command the offense, Will Grier and Treon Harris, both of them looked good. I know the biggest question for you guys to me has been, Andrew, what do you think about these guys? I’m going to be honest with you guys. I think both quarterbacks played really well. Here is where I have the difference of the two. Treon Harris, heck of an athlete, very good player. He can make plays when things break down. He’s a guy that doesn’t get scared when the play breaks down, but Will Grier didn’t either. The thing that separated things for me was Will Grier was able to go through his progressions in his reads and was able to throw the ball on time compared to Treon Harris who threw some balls behind the receivers and not on time.
Let me say this. Treon Harris’s mechanics are a heck of a lot better than they were two years ago when he was in high school. They’re a heck of a lot better than they were last year when he was in college his freshman year. He throws the ball a lot better. He is really driving through with his throws, really setting his feet and getting his feet in good position to throw the ball. When I say that that means that he’s still driving off of that front foot with that arm still pointed at his target of his receiver, and he’s just really driving through the ball. That’s something Will Grier’s also doing better. When Will Grier first got to Florida he was kind of a guy that threw all arms, and when I say that you say, yeah he throws it all arms, but that’s not the way a quarterback should. He still has to plant that front foot and drive through the ball like Will Grier does, and that’s something that I really saw from Will Grier in that. He didn’t make progressions.
The thing I can say though, without a shadow of a doubt, Will Grier showed me a lot on Saturday just because of the way he responded. He could have been a guy that put his head between his legs, was crying, upset. He wasn’t the starter, but he came out, he showed the game. When you come in after Treon Harris is 7 for 7, I’m not going to lie, I sat there, and I thought, this is going to be the end of the Will Grier show. Will Grier’s going to come in, he’s not going to look good. He’s going to fail, because Treon’s 7 for 7. He’s down. He’s panicking, and he’s trying to live up to Treon’s numbers. Not happened at all. First ball was way outside, very bad throw, but then he led the team down for another touchdown.
The second drive was a fumble, and I’ll dig into that in a second of who I put that responsibility on, but overall Will just impressed me a ton by the way he sat there and rebounded, and he came out, and he just really showed me that he’s a guy that can take adversity, and I think that that is maybe what Jim McElwain was wanting to see. How would a guy like Will Grier take failure in a football game? How would he take failure in football? He took failure on Saturday by the head. He responded. He went out there. He did what he’s supposed to do. If I’m Jim McElwain I think that’s what I wanted to see from Will Grier on Saturday.
When I go back, and I look at the overall stats, pretty accurate here of what we got. Treon Harris 14 and 19, 215. Will Grier 15 and 17, 164. Pretty accurate right there. Both are pretty good of what we usually see from a New Mexico State or Western Kentucky or Eastern Michigan or Eastern Kentucky, whoever you want to talk about every week. That’s exactly what we wanted to see from that. I do think that maybe McElwain will flip up and let Will Grier be the starter this week and then Treon come in, and then may the best man win after this ECU game coming up next week. Then going to Kentucky you have your starter. That’s kind of where I’m at on quarterback. Both of them look very good there.
I want to go to the offensive line a little bit. I want to go to the fumble with Will Grier on the second drive. It was play action left. It looked like it was supposed to be a play action off of a counter play. From me, not knowing what McElwain calls his protection on that play, I do not know that, because I’m not in the meeting rooms. I’m not on the practice field with them. When I was coaching ball we had two ways that we would do that. We would either see that when we see that guy that it was going to be an overload to the right hand side in this particular occasion. We would either tell the offensive line, you have to shift to the right, and we’re going to allow Kelvin Taylor or our running back, which was Kelvin at this particular instance, to pick up that defensive end on the left side, after he carries out his play thing. I don’t know if that was the call. If it was, then that’s a mess up on the offensive line.
Or you can tell Kelvin Taylor, you don’t carry out your fake to the left side. You’re going to simply on the snap you’re going to go pickup that guy, the outside linebacker that was coming off the right hand side, and don’t carry out your fake. Without me knowing I can’t say either one. I’m going to say that it was probably Kelvin Taylor, because the offensive line never shifted to the left. David Sharpe still kicking out his end on the left side, so I’m still going to say that it was probably Kelvin Taylor instead of carrying out his fake he should have picked up the linebacker there, but Will Grier’s got to hold onto the ball there and really just not cause a fumble, just take a sack there. Without me knowing, I don’t know what that is, but the common rule that McElwain and the coaching, and I know all coaches in America, tell their running back is you never pass up color, which simply means you never pass up a pass rusher for the opposing team that’s coming in. That’s kind of all my recap on the offense.
I do want to hit on some freshmen, since I am recruiting. I love these freshmen. I get to see a lot of these freshmen. Jordan Scarlett, as expected, a horse, a bulldozer, whatever you want to call him, simply not going to go down. Jordan Cronkrite, more physical than I expected him to be. Really ran behind his pads really well there. He’s going to be a solid combo with Jordan Scarlett and Kelvin Taylor this year. I’m really glad to see that he ran behind his pads like he did, very impressed with him as well. At the receiver position, Antonio Callaway, like we expected to him to be after hearing reviews from summer and fall camp, good as advertised, playmaker, just a very good football player and is going to be one of the Gators’ probably top two-three receivers this year behind Robinson and Powell in some kind of order. Callaway may end up being more of a playmaker than Powell or Robinson, you never know. McElwain did try to funnel him tunnel screens a lot, get him the ball a lot, and he made McElwain happy. Three catches, 26 yards, even though he didn’t have a touchdown.
To go to the defensive side of the ball, well let me go back to the offensive line. Tyler Jordan played center and guard. I do like him better at center. I am not sold on him being a guard, but he looked good in some of his snaps at center. So overall good first day for Tyler Jordan. Fred Johnson showed me some glimpses of him being a good right tackle. Then he showed me some glimpses of him being a freshman that needed some work, but overall the future looks bright for Fred Johnson. I think we’ll see Martez Ivey this week at left tackle, and we’ll get to evaluate him. So far so good with the freshmen class on the offense.
On the defensive side of the ball, Cece Jefferson, he answered a lot of questions I had. Him not being able to play most of last year because of a shoulder injury, he looked like he was just as good as he was when he was on the field. Very strong guy, as good as advertised. No doubt in my mind, as good as advertised. He simply pushed back the right tackle, I believe in that play, simply pushed the right tackle back about five yards. Looked good there. Bulldozed the guy backwards. I think that’s about all of the freshmen that played on the defensive side of the ball. Chris Williamson and Kylan Johnson both played some on special teams. They got to earn it from there. I think that’s all the freshman class. Overall freshman class looked good for their first game. Very happy for those guys. I still think you’ll see Ivey get in there. I think you’ll probably Zuniga get in there some. I think that’ll probably be the only two guys you see from the freshmen class that didn’t play. I don’t think you’ll see Kalif Jackson. I don’t think you’ll see Desir-Jones. Maybe Nick Buchanan on offensive line, but it looks like Tyler Jordan and Fred Johnson have passed him up at that guard position and tackle position for the freshman class. Overall good day for the Gators on the field.
Recruiting wise, Nate Craig was in attendance. Sam Bruce was in attendance. Freddie Swain was in attendance. Jordan Woods was in attendance. 2017 Ohio State athlete commit Bruce Judson was in attendance. 2017 running back Adarius Lemons was in attendance. Rick Wells was in attendance. Brett Heggie was in attendance. Just a lot of really good players there. Nate Craig sent out a tweet saying that the new era of Florida football was exciting. He loved the energy. From everything I’ve heard the Gators are definitely trending up there. He really liked the offense there. His family really liked the offense there, and him and Javon are very close. Right now Gators are trending up there, and I like the Gators chances as of September 7, on Monday, when I’m recording this. Again, this is a long ride ahead of us. Nate Craig will probably be back for the Tennessee game most likely.
Sam Bruce, same thing, Gators are trending up there. He spent the night in town in Gainesville with the Scarletts. That’s who he rode up with, was hanging out with Jordan Scarlett on Saturday night, really impressed with what he saw from Scarlett. He showed up in Gator gear on Saturday night, very positive of the offense, talked about Brandon Powell playing the slot receiver. He liked that. Liked Callaway playing. He liked that the offense was going to get the guys the ball if you were a playmaker. Both him and Nate Craig and Freddie Swain talked about how they liked seeing that the freshmen were playing. That showed that they had a chance to play early next year.
Very good things for Florida with those two guys, and Freddie Swain continues to say Florida’s in good shape. Said Florida was a plus, because of him being close to home. He wants his mama to be able to see his game, and he says he’s going to visit Tennessee, USC, and Miami, and then Florida as well. He announced it October 29th. Right now I’m predicting him to the Gators, and it’s going to be a very good pickup for Florida if it happens like it should.
Bruce Judson, I think it’s just a matter of time before he possibly becomes a Gator. He’s good friends and teammates with Chauncey Gardner. He’ll be back up to Florida this weekend for the Eastern Carolina game. Florida likes him at the slot as well. Him and Sam Bruce kind of favor each other a little bit. Sam’s a little bit more electrifying, but Bruce Judson also is a very good athlete and can be a kick returner as well. That’s kind of what’s McElwain’s selling him on. 2017 athlete Bruce Judson, I put him on flip watch as well.
Stone Forsythe and Brett Heggie, they both love what they’ve seen. They’re both Gator commits on the offensive line. They both love what they’ve seen. Notice they can play early, if they come in and work hard. Gators commit Lamical Perine really liked the offense, really liked the running back rotation, and he’s a guy that believes he can get in and play next year and believes he could be a 1, 2, 3 punch with Scarlett, Cronkrite and Mark Thompson. He believes he can get in the rotation. At 5’11”, 6’, 215 pounds, Lamical Perine can play some football, just watch and see what he does when he gets to Florida. I still think that he may redshirt to get in there, but maybe not. He’s a guy that I expect to have a good career at Florida. He loves Gator Nation, drove all the way from Mobile, Alabama to watch the game, and he’ll be back for the Tennessee game.
Let’s see here. I think that’s about all the guys that came in. Adarius Lemons, 2017 running back from Clearwater, continues to say Florida leads. He said his grandmother loves Florida and said that she welcomed him to go to Florida. I think it’ll be a little while before he announces, but the overwhelming thought was that all the prospects that were in attendance noticed the energy that the fans brought. I think that’s big time props to the fans for getting out there and cheering it on. None of them expected 90,000 people to be there for the first game when they were playing New Mexico State, but they did. That impressed the recruits a lot. The place was rocking. McElwain noticed that as well.
Overall good for those guys, and they just noticed the new energy that the coaching staff has. The coaching staff told them exactly what to expect, and that’s exactly what they showed those guys. If Florida can just continue to go positive, continue to do what they’re doing, maybe win that Tennessee game and start 4-0, recruiting’s going to be popping for these fellas. They’re going to start landing some big time prospects. Florida is doing really well with these guys, showing these guys what they need, and showing they need playmakers. Things are just going to continue to go positive for this coaching staff if they continue doing what they do.
Props to Drew Hughes, his staff as well. They got a ton of big time playmakers in for New Mexico State, which was not a very good game to watch for recruits, but they came in. Nate Craig, Sam Bruce, Freddie Swain probably your three top remaining targets at the receiver board. He was able to get all three of those guys in. Benjamin Victor did not show up, wasn’t expected to. He should be in for the Tennessee game, but still you got three of your top four targets in there. You got Jordan Woods to come in. You had a lot of big name guys come in to this game for a small game. The Tennessee game should be popping as well.
For this weekend against ECU it looks like it’s just going to be some commits coming in, and then Bruce Judson, 2017 commit from Ohio State that we just talked about. He’ll be in there. Just stay tuned to Gator Country on our recruiting board. As always, I’ll keep you guys updated. I’ll have the visitors list up probably on Wednesday. That’s probably when I’ll start asking these guys. They don’t really know what they’re going to do until Thursday or Friday most of the time, but I usually try to ask them about Wednesday to see who’s coming in, unless it’s a big game like Tennessee, and then I’ll ask them probably on Sunday or Monday so that you guys can have a look ahead preview to what’s going to happen.
This is all for this show. I’m glad you guys liked it. If you’ve got anything you want me to talk about next week just shoot me either an email or a message on the message board or on Twitter, and I’ll make sure to answer your question next week. As always, stay tuned to GatorCountry.com. Nick and I we had 12 stories up Saturday night and Sunday on just the game, 20 as of Monday morning on the game. If you want Gator content, want the latest on Gator recruiting, Gator football, even Gator basketball, I forgot to even mention that. Tyler Cook, big time power forward for St. Louis, Missouri Chaminade, he came in on official visit, Florida Iowa leading for him right now. Florida’s going in the right direction with him. So look for that, him to be making an announcement probably over the next couple weeks as he goes to Iowa next weekend then probably decides shortly after that.
As always, stay tuned to GatorCountry.com. I appreciate you guys listening to me today. As always, Gator Country, I appreciate you and stay tuned to me next week. Thanks, guys.