GLOOM, DESPAIR AND AGONY ON ME
This is getting ridiculous. Tyler Moore, who finally had a decent game at offensive tackle against Georgia, won’t have the chance to see if he can do it two times in a row. He had a scooter accident Tuesday night, fractured his elbow and now he’s gone for the season. Moore is now the third offensive tackle to go down (Chaz Green done for the season; D.J. Humphries gone for a few weeks) and the fifth offensive player lost for the season (wide receiver Andre Debose, quarterback Jeff Driskel, and running back Matt Jones are the others). Altogether, Florida has lost nine players to season-ending injury. Will Muschamp must be thinking if it weren’t for bad luck he’d have no luck at all.
INJURIES ARE ONE REASON MUSCHAMP GETS A MULLIGAN FOR 2013
Injuries are not the only reason the Gators are 4-4 this year and in danger of breaking their 33-year streak of non-losing seasons and their 22-year streak of going to a bowl game, but their significant contributions to Florida’s problems are duly noted by athletic director Jeremy Foley. There is no way to determine if the Gators would have been that much better in 2013 with everybody healthy, but Foley will at least give Muschamp another year to get the program on solid footing for the future. If everybody is healthy in 2014 and it’s more of the same, then Muschamp has reason to sweat.
FORTUNATELY, VANDY DOESN’T GET A LOT OF PASS RUSH
Max Garcia will slide over from guard to left tackle and Kyle Koehne probably takes Garcia’s spot at left guard for Saturday’s game with Vanderbilt. Over on the other side, Trenton Brown will get his second straight start at right tackle. Although silver linings are hard to find at this time of the year when you have to shuffle your offensive line, the Gators might catch a small break in that Vanderbilt only has 15 sacks on the season, just eight in their last six games. Vanderbilt has tried all season long to get its pressure with the front four to keep seven in coverage, but seeing Florida’s problems it would figure the Commodores will dial up a steady blitz package but that’s no guarantee of pressure. Florida could catch a break and breaks have been few and far between lately.
GOOD CHANCE MICHAEL FRAZIER IS BACK FRIDAY
Although he’s not 100% after a bout with mononucleosis, the word is that Michael Frazier will be able to give the eighth-ranked Gators some minutes off the bench Friday when they open the basketball season with North Florida in a 3 o’clock pre-Gator Growl afternoon special at the O-Dome. Even if he’s not fully recovered, Frazier is such a pure shooter that he will stretch the defense, which, of course, opens things up down low for Patric Young. It’s unclear how many games Dorian Finney-Smith and Damontre Harris will miss because of their suspensions, but there is a decent chance they will be back by next Tuesday when the Gators travel to Wisconsin.
#5 BAYLOR VS. #12 OKLAHOMA
If you haven’t seen Baylor play this year, then think Oregon on steroids and you’re getting close. The Bears are AVERAGING 717.3 yards and 63.9 points per game. The Bears average 9.03 yards per play, 6.25 yards per rushing attempt and 13.3 yards per pass attempt. Quarterback Bryce Petty has thrown for 18 touchdowns against only one pick while averaging 13.9 yards per pass attempt. Tailback Lache Seastrunk (869 yards) averages 9.05 yards per carry and wide receivers Antwan Goodley (894 yards, eight touchdowns) and Tevin Reese (824 yards, eight touchdowns) average better than 23.5 yards per reception. And Baylor doesn’t pad its stats by playing the starters deep into the game. Only once in seven games have the starters gone beyond the first offensive series of the third quarter. This is the first of three straight games against ranked opponents for Baylor, which could move up in the BCS standings with three impressive wins.
#2 OREGON VS. #6 STANFORD
Last year Stanford ended Oregon’s BCS national championship dreams with a very physical, 17-14, win over the Ducks in Eugene. This year’s game is tonight in Palo Alto and the Ducks’ game plan is to turn it in to a track meet that Stanford is ill-equipped to win. Stanford runs the ball about 40 times a game, throws it about 20. Oregon, on the other hand, runs nearly 80 plays a game out of a no-huddle attack that just wears people out. Oregon averages 632 yards and 55.6 points per game while averaging 9.9 yards per pass attempt and 6.92 per rush attempt. The first thing on Stanford’s agenda is to win the toss and take the ball. Deferring against this offense is insanity. If Oregon gets the ball first and scores, Stanford might have difficulty recovering. If Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota comes up big in this game it could go a long way toward a Heisman Trophy.
LITTLE BROTHER TELLS BIG BROTHER THANKS BUT NO THANKS
The Texas A&M Aggies are so comfortable in their new SEC digs that they actually have the audacity to tell big brother Texas to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. With the hire of new athletic director Steve Patterson, there was a lot of Thursday buzz that he would make amends to heal the rift between the Aggies and Longhorns that ended their longstanding rivalry. Since leaving the Big 12, the Aggies are thriving, winning the recruiting wars, and taking in record amounts of cash from boosters. Texas, meanwhile, has a lame duck coach and has to be envious of its traditional little brother. When told of the Thursday buzz, Texas A&M senior associate athletic director Jason Cook told ESPN, “We hope to play them (Texas) again in a BCS bowl or playoff game at some point.” Translation: We don’t need you.
EVERYBODY LOVES COACH O
Since taking over as the interim coach at Southern Cal following the firing of Lane Kiffin, Ed Orgeron has given the linemen cookies, reinstated ice cream to the training table menu, passed out In-N-Out burgers and fries after practice and let his team dance during timeouts and even during games when music is being piped in over the loudspeakers. Having fun must be working. The Trojans are 3-1 since Coach O took over and it’s to the point that local LA columnists are warning Pat Haden that he shouldn’t even think about hiring Coach O as Kiffin’s permanent replacement. Yeah, we can’t have a team having fun out there, can we? Now, I think Coach O has no chance to get the USC job permanently, but I do think there is a school out needing a head coach that could do far worse.
MUSIC FOR TODAY
During the early to mid-1970s I was a big fan of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. Bonnie Bramlett was a terrific songwriter as well as a rather good singer. In 1969, while Delaney and Bonnie were touring with Eric Clapton, who was fronting for Blind Faith at the time, Bonnie Bramlett and Clapton teamed together to pen “Let It Rain,” which became the best songs on Clapton’s solo album “Eric Clapton” which hit the stores in 1970. This is a pretty cool album that features Leon Russell on the piano, Rita Coolidge and Bonnie Bramlett on vocals, and Stephen Stills on guitar.