Vince Ferrara joins us to preview Florida Gators vs. Tennessee

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as Vince Ferrara joins us to preview Florida Gators vs. Tennessee as Vince covers the Volunteers.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre ask Ferrara what the feeling is in Knoxville and how the Volunteers match up with the Gators.

Andrew and Nick also break down what Jim McElwain had to say on Wednesday and how they move of Doug Nussmeier to the press box could help him call plays.

TRANSCRIPT:

 

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, two days in a row coming at them live.

Nick:                         Yeah. New schedule this week. Two days in a row. That works for us.

Andrew:                 Three days in a row technically.

Nick:                         Yeah, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with a prediction show. Schedule got pushed back. Thanks a lot, Irma. #thanksIrma. But it’s Tennessee hate week.

Andrew:                 We’re not calling them Tennessee no more. Nick, they’re not Tennessee.

Nick:                         We’re calling them what?

Andrew:                 We’re calling them the trashcans.

Nick:                         That’s unbelievable.

Andrew:                 The fighting trashcans.

Nick:                         This gets me fired up. Our buddy, our old intern, Richard Johnson, with SB Nation now, he wrote a story about all the different ones. He texted me about it, and I got so worked up. Because I’m a very calm tempered person, and Richard was like, “I don’t know what this trashcan does to you, but you can’t keep your control.” I don’t get it. It’s so stupid. Like I can’t wrap my mind around it, and it riles me up. I don’t understand why.

Andrew:                 Only Tennessee could do this.

Nick:                         Not much riles me up, but I don’t understand this stupid trashcan.

Andrew:                 Only one team would do this.

Nick:                         God.

Andrew:                 Well, two. I could see Mark Richt doing it.

Nick:                         Man, with that gangster chain. This 1980s Run DMC size chain with a huge U. That thing’s fine.

Andrew:                 Then you get homeboy with a trashcan.

Nick:                         I’m cool with Texas A&M and their little pimp cane, whatever they call that that they strut around with. I’m cool with that. I was cool with the sign your name with Geoff Collins. Sign your name. I was even cool with the stupid money down people jumping up and down like idiots on the sidelines. I’m cool. I yelled yesterday about Baker Mayfield and letting people have fun. I love fun. We watch sports. This is a fun thing. But you’re holding a trashcan up, homey. You’re holding a trashcan.

Andrew:                 It’s because Butch is trying …

Nick:                         On the sideline. You’re just parading around with it.

Andrew:                 It’s Butch is trying to let people understand why he is …

Nick:                         It’s impossible to be excited and dunk a football into a trashcan that somebody’s holding, and have it stay in there. Not only are you holding a trashcan, but then you got the ball flying out of the trashcan. You’re accomplishing nothing.

Andrew:                 Butch is just trying to let people know what kind of football team he puts on the field every day. I mean, everybody has a mascot.

Nick:                         I need to do some temper meditation on this damn trashcan.

Andrew:                 Everybody has a mascot, and Tennessee is trashcans. Florida can officially take out the trash on Saturday at 3:30 in the Swamp. We’re going to bring on our buddy here in just a second, our buddy Vince from Sports Radio, WNML in Knoxville. I don’t like very many people in Knoxville, but Vince is a good dude. Nick, I don’t know how he’s going to explain this trashcan business. We’re going to talk trashcan when Vince comes on in a second.

Nick:                         Yeah. We got to ask him about it. Knowing Vince, Vince is not a homer. Vince shoots it straight. I don’t know you defend the trashcan.

Andrew:                 I don’t know either, but we’re going to ask Vince. Let’s ask Vince. We’ll talk to Vince about the trashcan, talk to Vince about this game, and then we’ll come back, and we’ll wrap this podcast up. Let’s go to Vince now.

Welcome back, guys. We’re with our guy, Vince, from Knoxville. Vince, this is my favorite week of the year. Not only because we get to talk to you, but need to talk about your friend up there, Mr. Butch Jones.

Vince:                      What’s up, guys? Thanks for having me on.

Andrew:                 What is going on, my man? How’s things going in Knoxville? You guys have gotten to play two games. How’s the feeling up there?

Vince:                      It’s split, just like it was going into the year. There’s plenty of people that have already made a determination on Butch Jones, and feel like he’s not going to lead Tennessee to championships and what they wanted, and then there’s plenty of people that are sick of the negativity of that portion of the fanbase, and feel like Tennessee is still on the right track, and they like Butch Jones and everything that he has done since taking over what he took over.

Then I think probably the biggest chunk of the fanbase you don’t even hear from, and those are the ones that go to the stadium, that support the team, that are not the hardcore message board posters or Sports Talk callers. They’re just the ones that wear orange to work and wave the flags, and are just going to be to support Tennessee football, regardless of what happens.

I know that’s not a totally unusual percentage of the fanbase, but it is divided. I think they kind of get after each other. “You’re too negative. You’re drinking the Kool-Aid. You lowered your standards.” It’s kind of all over the place, to be honest with you guys.

Andrew:                 Pretty much what it is down in Gainesville.

Nick:                         I was going to say that. That’s pretty much where Florida is. You’ve got people that want to fire Jim McElwain, and I tell him, “He has six years left on his contract. Florida’s not eating six years of guaranteed money for Jim McElwain. He’s not getting fired this year.” “We’ll see when they lose to Tennessee what you have to say.” I’m going to say the same thing, man. They’re not eating six years of guaranteed contract.

Vince:                      I don’t think Tennessee would do that too, with Butch Jones, especially people, they want to simplify and say, “How many games does Butch Jones have to win in order to save his job this year?” I don’t think it’s that. There isn’t a magic number. That’s exactly right. As you guys know, a lot of factors are connected to the record. How you win, who you beat, who you lose to, and maybe more than anything, attendance. If people stop showing up by the tens of thousands in your stadium, that’s the biggest message to the university and to the key players, the boosters, that can really have some influence and pull and make a difference.

That has not happened at Tennessee yet. If the fans are still going, and they’re losing games, and there’s injuries and other reasons, and fans are still optimistic, and they’re still showing up, they’re not letting go of Butch Jones if he has seven wins. In my opinion.

Nick:                         We talked about that with Will Muschamp. The social media, message board, vitriol is one thing, but the way that fans and boosters affect change is through the pocketbook. When those donations don’t start coming in like they were, when ticket sales are down, when the university starts seeing that they’re telling us that we need to make a change through our pocketbook, then that’s when changes are made.

Andrew:                 And recruiting.

Vince:                      You’re right. Recruiting, absolutely. That’s right now a positive for Butch Jones. He has a bounce back year last year. They let some players, some high ranked players in the state, leave, and there was a down year. They were still what? Fifteenth in the recruiting ranking, something like that. It just wasn’t to the standard of what fans wanted. This year they’re in a much better track. They’re getting a lot of the better players in the state. You got to hold onto them. They got a long way to go to December and February signing dates, but at least that is a positive the way it sits right now.

Recruiting is absolutely a factor, but going into the year it was that way too. I think the fans felt like the trajectory was going in the right direction, and they showed it by having the second highest season ticket sales in the last 10 years, second only to last year, when a lot of people around the country, including most of the fanbase, thought they’d win the division. Right now, the numbers and the attendance still show that there’s still a lot of people that are buying in. That can certainly change.

Andrew:                 I think the biggest difference, and I think, Vince, you would agree with this, and I think this is where we talk about Florida fans have to kind of back up. Had Butch been to Atlanta two years in a row, Knoxville would be happy. I don’t understand. I see Florida fans being upset, because the offense hasn’t improved. You can argue that it’s regressed. Don’t know how you argue that, because Will Muschamp didn’t have very much offense, but still, you found a way to get to Atlanta. Like it or not, you found a way to get to Atlanta.

Vince:                      Well, yeah. I think Florida is in a better position to argue their case and say, “Y’all relax. I know your standard is National Championship, but you can’t do that every year.” Maybe fans think that they should do it every year. Here’s the thing. Tennessee’s standard right now for a big part of their fanbase is just getting to that East Division, like you mentioned. Once they get there, it’s on. Then they’re going to want the SEC Championship. Then they’re going to want to compete for the National Championship, which the two should normally come hand in hand, if you win the conference.

The people that are mad at those that complain about Butch Jones, that he hasn’t gotten them to the East, they say, “Well, we haven’t even won the division. We won nine games,” and all these stats that Butch Jones typically puts out there, they regurgitate them. Then they say, “Well, we’re acting like we should win the National Championship every year.” No. I think people that are upset, that are demanding more, at least want the next step. The next step is a division title. Once that comes, then there’s going to be similar to Florida. There’s going to be the demand for that next step. It’s just Tennessee hasn’t taken the first one, hence the frustration.

Nick:                         I think a big frustration too, last year, is probably beating Florida, and then that puts you in the driver’s seat to win the East, and then falling short.

Vince:                      Exactly. Beating Florida and Georgia.

Nick:                         Right. How do you do that and not win the division, Vince?

Vince:                      No one envisioned that scenario, honestly. If you had them beating Florida and Georgia, you had them in Atlanta taking on Alabama.

Nick:                         You probably have a loss to Alabama chalked up.

Vince:                      Right.

Nick:                         But probably don’t see a double overtime loss at A&M. You don’t see South Carolina. You certainly don’t see one to Vanderbilt at the end of the year.

Vince:                      Well, those are the ones that left a really bad taste in fans’ mouth. The South Carolina game and the Vanderbilt game. The South Carolina game very well cost you the division, and then even when that was already out of play, when Florida won at LSU, you still, if you take care of business against Vanderbilt, you still go to a great bowl game in the Sugar Bowl. It was right there. The defense, all the injuries. They got guys back. They got Sutton and Kirkland back. They weren’t anywhere close to the way they were when healthy. It was just the totality of the year.

So, yeah, you can’t win the big games and then cancel those out. Fans will take the Florida win. It means more than any of them, but they want both now. They want to beat Florida, and a lot of them are very confident they’re going to do so, and they want that next step of winning the division. We’ll see what happens with it this year.

Andrew:                 Let’s move into a little bit of this game. Obviously, Florida had the one game against Michigan. I guess, what is the mindset up there? Is the mindset that this a Florida team that’s that bad, or is that a mindset of Michigan might be pretty good? What’s kind of the mindset going into this game?

Nick:                         Well, from my standpoint, I give a lot more stock in Michigan being really good. Michigan is in the same boat as Florida, when you want to trot out the preseason magazines that people look at, in terms of number of returning starters. Ten starters lost on defense. Obviously, the tenth came when Marcell Harris went down, but Michigan was in the same boat. I knew that both of these two teams were going to have much better defenses, because they play guys, and then guys work their way into larger roles, into starters, but it’s not a brand-new type of thing. By the way, there’s a lot of talent there.

Tennessee fans, obviously, because of the emotion in it, and because they hate Florida so much, they believe that Florida is a complete mess. A lot of them do. They still have no quarterback. The defense lost all those starters, so they’re not as good, and they’re still bad on offense. We took a caller today. “I’m not worried about Florida.” I’m not saying everybody feels that way, but there are some that are dismissing this Florida team, that think they’re in shambles.

Then there’s the suspensions on top of that too, which is a factor, but the game is still in Gainesville against a team that historically has had a ton of success against you. You haven’t won there since 2003. I can try to caution them to not make too much and amplify all of the issues that Florida has and deemphasize Tennessee’s flaws, but because of the emotion, you know how that works. That’s the way it’s playing out with a good number of the fanbase.

Andrew:                 Nick and I talked about this on our show yesterday. You go into this game, and it’s almost the traditional whoever wins the rushing battle wins the game. I think it’s even more so this year, because that’s been Tennessee’s downfall so far in the year, and that’s kind of what Michigan beat Florida at was the running game. Is that kind of where you see this game as well?

Vince:                      Well, downfall I think you probably mean rush defense, right?

Andrew:                 Rush defense. Sorry.

Vince:                      Right. No. Look, Florida with Jordan Scarlett would be much more difficult to defend for Tennessee’s defense. Yes. They still have guys that are part of that committee that are still very capable, but I do think it’s a different dynamic with Scarlett. Tennessee was better in rush defense against Indiana State than Georgia Tech, but, yes, the opponent is one.

Then Indiana State actually outrushed Tennessee in the game too, which is not a good look. Third down was the key thing. They couldn’t get off the field against Georgia Tech, with all those yards. Plus they were on the field for 96 plays. But Tennessee can run the ball. They ran the ball better against Georgia Tech as the game went on. They actually ran the ball better against Georgia Tech than they even did against Indiana State.

Now, they were sprinkling some of their backups in there a little bit more, but I think Tennessee, with their run defense, they haven’t played a team like Florida, in that Florida is a little bit more traditional and normal, unless you call spread teams normal. That might be normal today. They played a triple option team that Bob Shoop, Tennessee defense coordinator, said, “They ditched the triple option after the first two series.” Because Tennessee defended it really well, and Shoops said, “Yeah. He stopped doing the triple option. They did a lot of dive bellies and some different types of things that weren’t what we’ve always seen them run, but they ended up being successful and still gashing Tennessee.”

Then last week, Indiana State, it was like Matt Canada’s pre-snap movement that he now has at LSU, where guys are shifting around and changing formations and all that. It was like that squared. Those guys were all over the place, and they were very awkward and untraditional.

It’s a little bit still of a wait and see. When they play someone they have more familiarity with, that’s a little bit more normal in base, will they now be better? We’ll see. I still think that that’s a big issue for this team that’s going to be tough for them to overcome against the elite rushing teams.

Nick:                         I know this has been a hot button subject with fans. Did Tennessee make the right call at quarterback with Dormady over, not going to attempt to pronounce.

Vince:                      Yeah. Jarrett Guarantano.

Nick:                         There you go. Paisan.

Vince:                      Yeah. Paisan. That’s right. We’ll give you a pass on that, de la Torre. No. I think they did. This has been played out as more of a competition, and a tighter competition, than what it probably was. Not that Guarantano isn’t skilled. I mean, there was even a time where he flirted with Florida for a while. Florida fans are familiar with him.

There’s some similarities with Feleipe Franks. Both are big guys that are athletic, with just massive arms, that are redshirt freshmen, highly rated. There’s some similarities with those two. I think Franks is probably a little bit more filled out than Guarantano, a little bit slimmer, but still they haven’t been through the game experience, the presence in the pocket, the getting rid of the timing, getting rid of the football. Just little nuances that you need experience.

You didn’t have that yet, and I think that’s why he was behind Quin Dormady, who also has a very strong arm, and he’s 6’5” also. He’s a different type of a quarterback than Josh Dobbs, certainly. He doesn’t bring the running threat and the designed runs. He’ll keep it on the zone reads from time to time, maybe a couple times a game if they need to pick up a key 3rd down, and the end is crashing, and it’s right there for the taking, but it’s not a regular run threat.

I think there was a enough of a gap to where he’s the guy. They mixed Guarantano in fairly early against Indiana State, and gave him some series. He settled in as time went on, but he didn’t see a backside rusher coming and just got hammered. Another time just too hot with an underneath throw. Then he settled in a little bit, showed off his arm strength, missed on a couple deep throws, but still, I think, you can see that the kid has talent. He just, like Franks, he doesn’t have a lot of the game experience as of yet.

Dormady is the guy that has a lot of those intangibles and the poise and command, and a ton of respect from his teammates. Yeah, I think they picked the right guy.

Andrew:                 Is Tennessee, you kind of look at the stats, and it’s never going to be 50/50 pass to rush, but I say it’s about as close to being balanced as possible run to passes. Is that something Tennessee’s focused on with the young quarterback?

Vince:                      Definitely. Because they felt really good about their running backs with John Kelley, and then the freshman in Todd Chandler, and they have a couple of other guys, including a Florida kid who looked pretty good last year, Tim Jordan. Another Florida kid in Carlin Fils-aime, from Naples, who really we hadn’t seen much of, other than bumping into Josh Dobbs in the South Carolina game and causing a critical fumble that led to a South Carolina win, because he hadn’t really played in the early season game. He ran for two touchdowns last week, showed both power and speed. They feel good about the group of running backs they have.

Another reason why they felt good about the running game and wanted to have more balance is because of the experienced offensive line going into the year. Some of that has gone by the wayside. They lost Chance Hall, who was one of their top candidates to start at right tackle, and they’ve been dinged up an awful lot. Drew Richmond was suspended for the opener, their starting left tackle. He’s back now. Trey Smith is an absolute beast at right guard. You guys are going to be impressed by 73. True freshman, ESPN’s #1 overall player in last year’s class, and he is going to be a special offensive lineman. They just don’t have to rush him to left tackle as of yet.

So those are the reasons they wanted to have balance. Certainly, they have more of a pocket type of quarterback that isn’t going to have the carries like Dobbs did. Actually, it was much more run heavy last year than this year. They want more balance, because they feel like they can do more pocket passing this year. The balance is going to come in more traditional passing and traditional runs, as opposed to a lot of the designed runs and the called passes that turn into Josh Dobbs’ runs, because of how elusive he was a year ago. I think Tennessee’s going to miss that playmaking, make something out of nothing that they had from Dobbs a year ago.

Andrew:                 We know a lot about Trey Smith and the fights he picked down in the Under Armour in the hotels. We have to move off of a non-football topic here for a second, Vince. You know I can’t bring you onto the show without talking about the trashcan in Knoxville. What is going on with the trashcan? Does Butch Jones not understand that he writes his own jokes?

Vince:                      He knows what people say about him, first of all. He pays attention to what people say, what people write. Whether it’s him …

Andrew:                 You’re saying me and him wouldn’t be friends.

Vince:                      No. I’m sure.

Nick:                         Not getting a Christmas card this year.

Vince:                      I know that’s devastating to Andrew Spivey, but no. He tries to defend that. He says he thinks it’s humorous that people still bring up the five-star hearts and all of that kind of stuff. He puts himself in those situations by adding to what people make fun of. His reputation is why people pay attention to these types of things more than other schools that have trashcans. Now, you’re highlighting it by holding it up on national television in the final game of Weekend 1, and it’s got HTB on it, hunt the ball, and Maria Taylor’s doing stories on it on the sidelines. Reisen and Curb Street are talking about it. It’s going to get highlighted when you do those types of things, as opposed to having it in between your benches on the sideline.

He wants things that impact his players, and then they’ll have to deal with the jokes. The jokes will go away if they win enough ballgames. He thinks they will. That, to me, fans wouldn’t even, their own fanbase that makes fun of it. Some of them do, some of them are fine with it, but they wouldn’t talk about it if they would win enough games. It’s just that what’s happened has set the table for now everything to get amplified when they do bring these things up.

I think belts and chains and all that have a much cooler factor than a trashcan, but the players don’t seem to mind it. They like it and try to have fun with it, make the most of it. I can see how everyone else is going to make fun of it.

Andrew:                 It’s not cool. I hope Butch listens to our podcast. It’s not cool.

Vince:                      I’ll send him the link, Andrew.

Andrew:                 There you go. I mean, I thought Butch and I were on good terms. Not. I’m just kidding. Anyway, Vince, I’m looking forward to seeing the trashcan. I will be taking a photo, so you can check it out on Twitter. As we do every year, we’re going to ask you. How do you think the game turns out? Do you think it’s two in a row for Tennessee? How do you think it comes about?

Vince:                      I don’t. I think Florida wins. I think it’s going to be a low scoring, ugly type of game.

Nick:                         Fun.

Vince:                      You have strengths versus strengths, and you have weaknesses versus weaknesses. Obviously, everyone’s talking about Florida’s offensive struggles. Tennessee fans, a lot of them have been complaining about Bob Shoop and the defensive struggles. Who wins that battle of attrition? I think Tennessee’s got some really good playmakers on offense, even though they won’t have Jauan Jennings, and I know Florida fans are devastated that they won’t get Jauan Jennings to come back to Gainesville and give them some. Tennessee, I think, has more ability on offense, and Florida, that’s the strength of their team is on defense. I still think they’re very good.

Then maybe the part of the game that is being talked about the least, that I think might be the deciding factor, is special teams. Both of these teams, these might be the two best special teams, top to bottom, in the league. I think punters, they’re both elite. Both have a block this year. Both have good coverage units. I think Florida has the advantage with placekicking with Pineiro, especially with long distance kicks, which is a huge issue from 40 plus for Aaron Medley. They may even bring out a long distance freshman kicker for long distance kicks, so look for that. Brent Cimaglia.

I think Tennessee has the return advantage, whether it’s Evan Berry, who’s questionable, one of the best in the country. If he’s not able to go, Todd Chandler, the freshman from Nashville. He returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown last week. Then Marquez Callaway, I think he’s going to have a couple this year. He is dynamic in the punt return game.

I think it’s pretty much a wash. I think the difference ends up being …

Nick:                         I think Tennessee has a disadvantage if Evan Berry is there and healthy returning, because Florida won’t kick to him. They just won’t. I don’t know why people keep kicking the ball to him.

Vince:                      Here’s the thing. You’re right, Nick. What happened last year, two years ago led the nation in kick returns. Last year very few teams kicked to him. He only had 14 returns all of last year, and that’s something that, to me, was a big topic of conversation that I talked about, that I tried to get reaction from Butch and players, is how are you going to handle that second returner? How are you going to counter teams not kicking to Evan Berry?

What they did early in the year is they had a safe guy and a good blocker in front of him in Micah Abernathy, Malik Forman, some other guys. Then later in the year they started putting guys that were more of a threat as a second guy, and I think Evan Berry got a few more opportunities there. That’s what I want to see. If Evan Berry can go, are you going to go back to going safe second guy, and taking the sky kicks and the kicks to the safe guy out to the 30, as opposed to a guy that can take it to the house, or are you going to put another homerun threat, like I think they should, in Todd Chandler, to make teams pay if they’re not going to kick to Evan Berry? That’s what we haven’t found out yet, because it’s been one or the other so far this year with Berry being dinged up and missing the Indiana State game.

You’re right. I don’t think Townsend’s going to kick much to Callaway. If he does, that could be dicey. I know Florida’s got good units, but, man, Callaway is explosive. You’re right. They’re going to try to kick away from those guys, but Tennessee needs to have a counter to that.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I’m a big Callaway fan. Was when he came out of high school. Vince, we appreciate it so much. Quick, tell everyone where they can follow you for Tennessee action.

Vince:                      Appreciate it. @VinceSports on Twitter. Got a blog, Vince’s View. It’s powered by Jim Style CPA, does great work here in the area, and appreciate having him on board. I did a video, opponent preview on the Gators. Talked a little bit about them for our fans, and then a ton on the SEC. I’m 25-1 in the first two weeks of picking SEC games, so happy with that start. I’ll do predictions and analysis on the league, Tennessee players in the NFL. Just a lot of content on there, even beyond Tennessee. On our website, SportsRadioWNML.com.

Nick:                         I’m going to need a link to that, so I can, if I was a betting man, to potentially start placing some hypothetical wagers on those games.

Vince:                      You don’t want to do that. I’m taking the easy way out. It’s just straight up. It’s not point spread. We won’t tell anyone the first two weeks have been easier with all these FCS matchups.

Nick:                         25-1, that’s all we need to know.

Andrew:                 Yeah. That’s all we need to know.

Vince:                      That’s right.

Andrew:                 All right, Vince, we appreciate it so much. We’ll be talking to you soon, my man.

Vince:                      All right, guys. Always enjoy talking to you guys. Appreciate you having me.

Andrew:                 That was good stuff with Vince, Nick. Always good stuff with him. Made some good points, and some points that you and I maybe haven’t thought about. Special teams should be an interesting battle, as he said. Even something McElwain said on Wednesday is that this is going to be a battle for who wins field position. Special teams is what is the difference in a ballgame.

Nick:                         Yeah. Eddy Pineiro, he’s only 1 for 2, but certainly you feel comfortable any time he’s on the field kicking balls. Same thing with Johnny Townsend. It’s become a joke with me with punters, but Townsend really does have an imprint on the game when he’s able to flip fields and do things like that that help the offense. Quite frankly, the offense has needed all the help they can get. You’ll take flipping the field by the punter, and trust in your defense.

Andrew:                 Then Wednesday the news comes out, and Nuss is going to the box. It’s something that we have been hearing a little bit. I know you and I both were very skeptical when we first heard the news that he was going to go to the box. Just because Mac’s a guy that doesn’t want people to think anything different of Nuss. Is it surprising? No. I think Mac’s more involved in the play calling. That’s what I want to say. Mac’s going to be more involved in the play calling. There’s no doubt in my mind that is.

Nuss has called some of his better games from the box. The Ole Miss game in 2015 was one of his best. Tennessee, that was one of his best. As an offensive play caller, it’s tough to call plays from the field if you’re used to calling it from the box, because on the field the game is moving faster. You have more distractions, that kind of stuff.

Someone said it best to me today. They said, “Maybe it makes him speed up his play calling.” It’s something you and I’ve talked about, the slowness. The ability to get in and out of the huddle is just it’s almost boring, I guess.

Nick:                         Yeah. To me, just as far as being able to see and see how things are developing, personally I think I’d rather be in the box, have that aerial view. You and I, not a Florida, they don’t let us down there at Florida, but I think you kind of miss things when you’re on the sideline. It can be different for different coaches. I think you can kind of miss things. I just think you have a better view from the box. Randy Shannon, he’s up there in the box for the defense, and you kind of get that same view. Personally, I think you made the move back in 2015, because you had two young quarterbacks in Will Grier and Treon Harris.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Why not move back? You got a young quarterback this year, but you certainly didn’t last year.

Andrew:                 Right. Here’s the thing that I think too with this. Yes, Feleipe’s a young quarterback, but he’s not young in his experience there. Let’s face it. Let’s call Del Rio what he is, and that is a very smart guy. Probably has a future in coaching. He’s down there. You have to rely on Seider. You have to rely on Dixon and Brad Davis and those guys as well. Then you put the headset on Feleipe. You put the headset on Zaire or Del Rio or whoever else is in the game at that time in between series, to talk to. Again, I think this is a move to allow Nuss to do that. Also a move that it doesn’t show Mac calling as many plays as is. I expect Mac to make calls on Saturday.

Nick:                         I don’t think there’s any way to hide it though.

Andrew:                 I think there’s plenty of ways to hide it.

Nick:                         I don’t think so. I don’t know if Jim McElwain wants to call plays. I don’t think he wants to throw Doug Nussmeier under the bus.

Andrew:                 He doesn’t.

Nick:                         I don’t know how you hide that McElwain is calling plays now. To me, it’s difficult to hide that. I guess we’ll see how it plays out.

Andrew:                 I think the way you hide it is simple. That is that Mac puts on a headset.

Nick:                         He always has a headset.

Andrew:                 No. I’m saying he puts his headset on, and he listens in, and as he is talking to Del Rio or whatever—to Nuss, it’s simple. It looks like he’s talking to Nuss back and forth, but he’s actually telling Nuss what to call.

Nick:                         I don’t know. He’s always worn a headset. Nuss has a headset when he’s down there, and he’s closer and easier. I see where you’re coming from. I just don’t know. I just don’t know if it’s that easy to hide that Jim McElwain’s calling plays versus Doug Nussmeier. I don’t know that Jim McElwain calling plays is better than Doug Nussmeier, to be quite frank. It’s like they said, a lot of what you do and a lot of what you practice is negated by a bad offensive line. At the end of the day, that comes back to you, and your coaching, your recruiting.

Andrew:                 Let’s go back to what we talked about with the Michigan game, and what we talked about forever. That is simple. The scripted plays are the best plays of the game. Guess who’s involved in those scripted plays?

Nick:                         Yeah. That’s probably McElwain, and probably the entire offensive unit.

Andrew:                 Right. Also, what is the other biggest thing about it is there’s tempo. I think, I really do, and I say this, and I don’t mean this to be the only thing that’s wrong, but when you’re so slow.

Nick:                         It’s like molasses. It’s just slow.

Andrew:                 It’s so slow that you basically allow the defense time to process. Okay. What did we see this time? That kind of stuff. You’re never catching anybody off guard. You’re never doing nothing. I don’t know. Like I said, it just is slow. Like you said, slow as molasses. It’s terrible. I mean, it really is. There’s teams that run five plays in the amount of time Florida runs one.

Nick:                         Yeah. Right now Florida’s pretty much dead last. It’s only been one game. Everyone else has gotten two games, but dead last in every offensive category, including amount of plays run. I think, I have to go back and look and check it, but I think if you go back and look at the time that Florida’s been here, they might be dead last in that pace, in that plays run category, in the SEC. They just have no interest, it seems, in moving fast and getting to the line, and getting the next play off.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s what I’m saying. A lot of that is because they don’t get the play call in quick enough. That’s because, I think, a lot of it is Nuss trying to decide in his head what he’s going to call.

Nick:                         Maybe. Certainly, that can’t be an excuse. If you’re saying, if that’s brought up, and I’m sure the pace and stuff, the pace and things like that, I’m sure that gets brought up in meetings. If you’re Nussmeier, you got to say, “Hey, it’s too hectic down on the field. I got so many things running through my head. I need to sit in a quiet booth. I can see the entire field. I can call plays in.” Does it take longer though, for him to call plays in?

Andrew:                 No.

Nick:                         Sitting in the box?

Andrew:                 No. I mean, on the field it’s the same thing. It’s a radio headset. I believe it was Del Rio that had the headset on in Michigan, at the Michigan game. Is that right?

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Del Rio’s the one signaling it in. It’s still Nuss calling it over the headset. As an offensive coordinator, especially in the booth, you’re able to call the play, see it, but you’re able to, after you call it in, already starting thinking about next play, the next play, the next play. You should always be thinking a play or two ahead. When you listen to offensive coordinators all the time, they tell you, “You’re always thinking a play ahead. You run one play to set up the next play. You run that play to set up the next play.” It almost seems like you’re not doing that.

Again, we could all be talking about nothing. I mean, it could end up next week and we bet talking the same old shit. I don’t know. Here’s my thing, and this is what I would say to fans. Mac is working to fix it. He’s trying different things. Had he done the same old thing this week, I think more people would be pissed off. At least he’s trying something different.

Nick:                         Yeah. You had to try something different. I don’t think he’s going to take over play calling. How bad would it have to get for him to take over play calling?

Andrew:                 I think it has to, I just don’t think he’s going to come out and say, “I took over play calling.” I think behind the scenes he does. Maybe that’s me just being optimistic. I don’t know. Maybe so. I’ll be the first to admit it if I find out differently. Like I said, I just think that, and from what I’ve heard, that Mac’s going to be more involved. Again, I could end up looking like the biggest dumbass out here. Who knows?

Nick:                         I think you and I just disagree on that. I just don’t know how you hide that you’re now calling the plays.

Andrew:                 Right. Listen, it may not. It may not. I expect Mac to at least be more involved.

Nick:                         I think you want Mac to call plays.

Andrew:                 I absolutely want Mac to call plays.

Nick:                         More so than you think that he’ll actually call them. He’ll never say that he’s calling them.

Andrew:                 No. Hell no.

Nick:                         I don’t know how bad it would have had to have gotten for him to say, “I’m calling plays now.” I don’t think we got there.

Andrew:                 I 100% want him to call plays. Just because of a couple things. I watched at Alabama. I thought he called great game. Nick, you and I both know that everyone you talk to say he’s a genius when it comes to figuring out the mismatches and the X’s and the O’s. Garrett Grayson, everyone you talk to, AJ McCarron, who I’m pretty close with, Preston Dial, former tight end for Alabama, those guys that I’m close with just rave about him as an offensive coordinator.

Nick:                         Yeah. All of them.

Andrew:                 I want to see that. That’s all I’m saying. I want to see that. Mac didn’t lose his offensive genius, you know what I’m saying? He just didn’t lose it overnight. I just think that Nuss is watered down. Nick, I have to go back to that quote that he had in Dallas. He said, “We just simply didn’t get there on the get-it-to-him players.” Do what? How do you not get there?

Nick:                         It’s a story and quote we keep hearing.

Andrew:                 Once again, that goes back to Nuss. How does Mac fix that? If Nuss is calling the plays, he didn’t get to it.

Nick:                         We’ll go back to what we said yesterday about Antonio Callaway. At some point, it’s not mistakes anymore. You’re making choices. If you’re choosing to let your friend, someone that you trust, continue to bring you down with him, if he is the problem, then at some point you’re making that choice. That’s all you. If it is Nussmeier, if it is his play calling, if it is him just choking or not knowing what to play, not being able to plan things out, then that’s on Nussmeier, but it’s been three years now. He’s still here. Still calling plays. You’re still doing the same thing over and over again. I blame McElwain as much as I would blame Nussmeier.

Andrew:                 I agree. I agree with you. Here’s the thing. I’m not calling for anything with Nuss. I wish Nuss would go out there on Saturday and call a great game, and the offense would pick up the pace, and that kind of stuff, and not look stale. I hope for it. Nuss is a good guy. I don’t hope for anything bad with him. I’m just saying that when you ask me who would I rather have call plays, I want the guy that won national championships calling plays. That’s just me. Sorry.

Let’s move on real quick, before we get out of here. Kylan Johnson going to likely miss the game with his hammy. That’s tough. Good thing Jeremiah Moon got some experience.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think he kind of looked the part of a redshirt freshman at times. Still think he is talented.

Andrew:                 He’s trying to feel his way out more so.

Nick:                         Yeah. More so …

Andrew:                 Reacting.

Nick:                         More so reacting rather than anticipating. Almost like you turn the lights out in your room, or in the house, and you’re kind of like, “Crap. I know where things are, but I can’t see them right now.” You’re walking with your hands out, trying to feel for things, so you don’t stub your toe. Not the most efficient way to get around your house. When you’re playing, and things are still swimming in your head, that’s kind of akin to me of you’re not getting around as efficiently as you can. Things will slow down for him, but until they do there’s going to be some mistakes. It’s part of the growing process. You deal with it.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s a key. Goolsby and Kemore Gamble coming back. I’m excited to see Kemore. Everyone you and I both talked to has said that Kemore looked good. Kemore looks the part, that’s for sure. I know, as well as you, that you’re looking forward to seeing that.

Nick:                         Do you think Kemore will play?

Andrew:                 Yeah. I do, because here’s the thing. You played Moral last game. You and I both know how bad that had to be. I mean, yeah. My thing to this is can it be any worse?

Nick:                         Maybe. Hopefully not.

Andrew:                 I mean, he gave the, oh shit watch out block. I laugh about it, but that’s what he did. I guess he could not show up on the field. Maybe that’s it. Anyway, that’s that.

Mac says the team is going to get there. Like we said yesterday, they had two days no school to really practice. Mac said it kind of will be a cram session a little bit. At the end of the day, I think the guys will be ready. You lost a day, but you actually added a day with that Saturday practice, so I think they’ll be all right.

Nick:                         We kind of got differing mentions from the players. Duke Dawson said they practiced Friday, Saturday. Chauncey said they practiced Sunday. Haven’t got really clarification on that. Technically they have not missed a practice, even though they didn’t go on Monday.

Andrew:                 Right. I’m sure the days were kind of running together. Again, it should be okay as far as preparation goes. You had two full days. They’ve been able to have a lot of meetings, walkthroughs, that kind of stuff. Like Mac said, it’s a chance for those guys to get back out in the Swamp, and a chance for those guys to kind of get their mind off of things. It’s a pride factor on Saturday of playing for your state that just got hit. Also, it’s a rivalry game. As Mac said, “It’s against a team that kind of beat your ass in the second half of that game last year up in Knoxville.” It’s a chance to get the goal of getting back to Atlanta on the right foot.

Nick:                         Yeah. Don’t start off 0-2. Don’t start off 0-1 in the SEC.

Andrew:                 There you go. We’ll be back on Friday, tomorrow, to give our predictions. No surprise, guys. You don’t have to worry. I don’t pick the trashcans. Also, I promise that the Butch hate will be turned up to a level 10 on Friday’s podcast, so be ready.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. You can get the podcast on iTunes. Subscribe. Never miss an episode. Follow us on social media, @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter, @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.

Andrew:                 There you go. If you haven’t come over to join us yet, hit us up. We got some deals going on to get you over here. Some good things are going on. We’ll be adding some new bodies to the team here soon, so that’s always fun. Guys, as always, we appreciate it. You guys be ready for the trashcan talk on Friday’s podcast. As always, go Braves. Chomp, chomp. Butch, you still suck.

Nick:                         You stay classy, Gator Country.

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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.