Sunday rants and raves

This isn’t going to be a pleasant read for those of you who are faint of heart, so consider yourselves forewarned.

The Gators’ effort Saturday vs. LSU was an epic failure. I wrote a piece on Friday openly questioning what we knew about this team, and that after the game we’d probably have most of our answers – for better or for worse.

For worse.

I’m going to do my best to balance every rant with a rave here. But it’s going to be hard. Fair warning, tender reader

with a desire to read puff pieces that may mask the ugly truth: I’m better at tricking others into whitewashing fences than Tom Sawyer. Leaving that bit to others who are a little calmer and rational. Huck?

And I love you, Becky Thatcher.


1. THE OFFENSIVE LINE: Here comes a really bad joke. This offensive line is offensive. Insofar as it should be considered “offensive” as defined – “unpleasant or disagreeable to the sense: an offensive odor.” There are no more excuses at this point. This unit’s coach has been here long enough. We’ve got veterans on the unit. We’ve got talented players there, but this line is a sieve. It’s as bad as any I can remember and it’s concerning that our OL recruiting does not appear to be going all that well this year. I’m getting soooo tired of saying it – and even more fatigued trying to make myself believe it’s possible – but we have a coach who has a philosophy rooted in winning games with the run, protecting the ball and controlling the clock. It’s year three in this regime and we’re doing none of those things well enough to beat the upper tier teams in the SEC.

2. THE OFFENSE:  Despite the aforementioned struggles of the offensive line, which is obviously a key component of any offense, we coached and played incredibly poorly on that side of the ball Saturday. I asked in my prior column what might happen if we were to fall behind by double digits? Would Tyler Murphy be able to respond? Would the coaches open it up and make some good calls? Does this offense have the ability to rally? Hard to tell. No. And no. Tyler Murphy could have been picked off three times Saturday. But he had shackles on him the entire game. Someone pointed out in one of the many post-game catharsis threads that our longest completion Saturday was from our punter and our longest punt was from our quarterback. Forgive me for this but that’s just freaking ridiculous. It’s embarrassing and shameful. Good luck selling that to the high school players we want to come in and fix this mess. Murphy has answered every challenge in front of him and we had no reason not to let him play some wide open football. What’s the worst that could have happened? No touchdowns? Two trips to the red zone? Six points?

3. TIME OF POSSESSION: It’s one of the most deceiving stats in football. Those who are baseball fans and study sabermetrics fully understand how certain stats that seem to tell you one thing may frequently be telling you another. A Gator fan may glance at the stats and see we “won” the time of possession battle. This inquisitive fan may also find solace in the fact that we held yet another SEC opponent to fewer than 20 points. Said fan, who probably didn’t watch the game, may walk away from his or her glance at the stats and have a mental picture of a game that just didn’t happen. Lies, damned lies, and statistics. I’m not going to make this more complicated than it needs to be. We ran too much. We had no urgency. We wasted too much time.  We should have thrown more.

Because we ran too much a lot of time ran off the clock limiting the possessions for both teams. This can be deceptive because the final output for the opposition seems low but upon examination of the entire product one finds that they, too, had few opportunities to score but they took advantage of more of theirs. On paper holding this LSU offense to 17 points seems like an achievement. But those who watched the game know this was far from a dominant defensive effort. We just wasted a lot of time … plodding towards nothing … like a Harlequin romance.


1. FRANKIE VELEZ:  No idea who this guy even was before the game. But he split the uprights. Twice. Cooly, confidently and in a hostile environment. Maybe he’s the answer to the placekicking dilemma. We can hope.

2. KELVIN TAYLOR: Yeah, he missed blocks. Yeah, he’s raw. But even behind this embarrassment of an offensive line he ran hard and ran well and showed explosiveness that just hasn’t been there. He’s going to see a lot more PT – he’s got to – and he’s going to be special, just like his dad.

3. MICHAEL TAYLOR: Stud. Was all over the place Saturday.

4. GEORGIA LOST:  We still control our own destiny. A very good Missouri team has to beat us next week without James Franklin, who makes their offense go. Georgia’s injury-riddled and is down to third string playmakers. South Carolina looks fine. Trying to fish the inner optimist out of me right now is tantamount to trying to pull a hooked grouper out of a deep coral. But we can still make it to Atlanta if we can get this ship together.

Sorry for the negative tone but I am a fan before I am anything else and I am not one to sugar coat things. It’s always great to be a Gator and sunny skies likely await us. Go Gators.

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Thor Kolnes
Sports and writing have always been passions of mine. I was unfortunate enough to be born in Cincinnati, Ohio and even more unfortunate to be born with an unwavering sense of loyalty. I chose the Gators in a Cub Scout meeting as a young boy after my parents moved us to Florida and I have never looked back. Suffice it to say the loyalty to the Gators has paid off but the Bengals and the Reds are withholding their dividends. Geographical determinism made me a Reds and Bengals fan, but God's grace made me a Gator.


  1. good write up and echoing many of my thoughts. why do our freshman seemingly lag behind most other college football teams freshman; arkansas plays 2 freshman rb’s, uga plays freshman ol, one team yesterday had 2 freshman guards starting. Our defensive freshman seem to make the transition, just not the guys on the offensive side (double meaning intended) of the ball. Love seeing kt, wouldn’t mind seeing lane out there too. and how woeful are our freshman offensive lineman that they can’t get any playing time behind this group, and sadly there doesn’t seem to be urgency on recruiting guys on the o.

  2. Yeah….what he said. The negative tone is warranted, no need to apologize. My biggest gripe has been we are so one dimensional on offense that we don’t know what to do when we fall behind and can’t afford to be. The ‘no playmaker’ argument has run it’s course, I’m concerned now that we just don’t know how to coach them up on offense. I love the identity on defense, but half way through season 3 we have yet to develop one on offense. After 3 very good to exceptional recruiting classes – there are no excuses. We play offense with über conservative play calling, some call that an identity …..I call it playing scared of making mistakes and not having confidence. This coaching staff really needs to get it together.

  3. I am sorry, but this isn’t rocket science. when you become PREDICTABLE you put your players at risk. period.

    the O line had no shot at blocking these guys because everyone was jammed in a box between our tackles and 3 yards off the line. even our pass plays couldn’t spread them out. Murph can clearly play on the move so why wouldn’t you roll the pocket out a few times, and AT LEAST, loosen up the defense???

    instead we run a fumblerooskie (whatever the hell that call was) on the ten yard line and look lost every time we move into the red zone. we put no fear in our opponents and that is a bad place to be in the SEC

    LSU’s defense couldn’t stop a nose bleed two weeks ago and now they look like juggernauts…really?

    time to mix it up a little more, and like the thread said, whats the worst that could happen by doing it? score less than 6 points?