Podcast: Talking Florida Gators recruiting & bye week

    Florida Gators running back Montrell Johnson Jr. #2 rushes into the endzone during the first half as the Gators fall to the LSU Tigers 45-35 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 15th, 2022. (Photo by David Bowie/Gatorcountry)

    GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we prepare for the Florida Gators’ match-up against Georgia on Saturday in Jacksonville.

    Andrew Spivey and Nick Marcinko break down the latest in recruiting for the Gators and how things are headed after the bye week.

    Andrew and Nick also quickly look back at the LSU game and talk about some things they would like to see going forward starting with the Georgia game.


    Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, back with Nick. Nick, bye week is over with. It’s Florida-Georgia week. World’s Largest Cocktail Party, and I don’t care what anybody has to say. That’s what it is. Great atmosphere. Georgia’s a big favorite in this game, probably wins this football game on paper. We’ll see what happens in the game. No matter what, the atmosphere is always amazing in Jacksonville. It’s always a game you want to see. The results on the field are somewhat unpredictable at times.

    Nick: Absolutely. Andrew, I don’t care what anybody says. This is the best weekend of college football. When Florida is matching up with Georgia, the game is always insane. It doesn’t matter how good Florida is, how good Georgia is. This game is always fun to be there as a fan. If you haven’t been to that game, it’s a must-go. You have to be there. Incredible atmosphere.

    In this particular matchup the Gators are heavy dogs. I think it’s around 21 points right now. Like you said, this game is always unpredictable. Anything can happen. We have seen over the last 20 years just the most insane kind of wins. It’s just a game that’s super exciting to be there. It’s super exciting for me, and I’m sure, Andrew, you’re super excited as well. We’re both excited. Everyone should be excited. It’s one of the best weekends of college football.

    Andrew: Will Muschamp won this game. Treon Harris had a winning record in this game. Florida won, I think, throwing five passes in this game. Anything can happen in this football game. Let’s just say what it is.

    Like you said, it’s an incredible atmosphere to go, to pull into the tailgate, to see it, to sit in the press box and see half the crowd cheering at all times and half the crowd booing at all times. It’s a great atmosphere. To me, it’s what college football is about.

    I know there’s a back and forth. Georgia doesn’t want the game in Jacksonville. They want the home game. Listen, I can make the case for it. Would I like to go up to the Hedges and see a game in Athens? Sure. But also this game in Jacksonville is just cool. It represents everything that college football is about, in my opinion. I can’t say that I don’t want to see it there.

    Nick: I think when you look at it like that the only thing for me was when recruits weren’t allowed to be at the game. To me, that’s just a missed opportunity for recruiting. If Florida had a home game against Georgia, that would do absolute numbers in recruiting. We can get into this, if you want, Andrew, or we can do it later. How important is this Florida-Georgia game in terms of recruiting for the Gators?

    Andrew: It’s big because of a couple things. It’s in Jacksonville, one of Florida’s biggest hotbeds. When Florida’s successful, in the Spurrier days, in the Meyer days, it was because they were getting the top players from Jacksonville. Florida should not be losing the top players in Jacksonville to Georgia, to Ohio State, to Alabama. You look at some of the better ones, Derrick Henry, for instance. I know he was Yulee, but still in that Jacksonville area. You look at Mack Jones. You’ve had several guys go to Georgia. You’ve had several guys go up to Ohio State as well. You can’t lose that.

    I think it’s a big thing to beat Georgia and show that, but also it’s big because you’re showing how close you are. This is the one game every year where you can measure yourself up against the team who’s leading the SEC East right now. That’s Georgia. I know it’s a tie between them and Tennessee, but when you look at the last few years, Georgia’s been the team to beat. You have a chance to measure yourself there.

    Again, I understand the recruiting argument, but I also will say this. Outside of the LSU game, Florida has hosted zero official visits. They hosted four for the LSU game, and that’s it, because of the fact that the coaches do not have time to spend all evening Friday, all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday with the recruits. First of all, Saturday is game day. If it’s an early game, then they have a good part of the day to do it, but then Sunday is time to turn the tables to the next game. They’re not hosting official visits.

    I will say this. The majority of kids that are coming to this Florida-Georgia game on Saturday are kids who’ve been to your campus. Are you really concerned about showing them your campus and your atmosphere in your stadium? No. Again, it’s one of those things of does it really matter where they see the game and talk to the coaches at? I don’t think so. Again, I’m glad to see that they’re allowing the recruits to get tickets to this game to see this game. I think it’s an awesome game to see. Oklahoma-Texas has been doing it for a while at the State Fair. I don’t get the argument that this hurts recruiting by not having this game at a home game one way or the other.

    Nick: I think you make a good point about the Gators haven’t hosted very many official visits this year. At what point do you draw the line? At what point does it really matter? We’ve seen sellout games against Utah, sellout games against LSU. Obviously, Florida-Georgia game in Gainesville would just be insane.

    Then you look at it like this. Is this the first year that the high school kids are allowed to go?

    Andrew: Yes. It’s the first year that Florida-Georgia have agreed to let them come.

    Nick: Have agreed. Okay. Yeah. I think that is what kind of has made me now in favor of this matchup staying in Jacksonville. Now that the recruits can go, and they can kind of just be in a professional stadium, that’s cool to them as well. Like you said, a lot of those kids that are going to the game have been to Gainesville. They’ve probably been to Athens. They’ve seen both campuses. Now they get a chance to see an NFL stadium, which is probably pretty cool for them.

    Andrew: Yeah. For instance, Treyaun Webb, he’ll be at the game. Kelby Collins will be at the game. How many times have those guys seen the Florida facilities? Hundreds? Both of those guys have been on campus multiple times. First of all, on a typical game day visit for those guys, they don’t even go on campus tours anymore. They go straight to the facilities, talk to support staff members. Then they go to the stadium, talk to the coaches on the field for pregame, talk to them postgame, and then leave. They can do all that there.

    I just don’t get that. Again, would I like to see they rotate maybe a home game here and there? Maybe once every 10 years. Maybe go at Florida, at Georgia, and then Jacksonville for four or five years in a row, and then go back to one and one. Would I like to see that? Sure. I would. I think it would be cool. I’m a guy who likes tradition and likes seeing other campuses and stadiums and all that stuff. I would like to go see a game between the hedges, and I’m sure Georgia fans would like to come down and see a game in the Swamp. But if that means taking away fully the game in Jacksonville, I’m opposed to it.

    Nick: I agree. Like I said, I was on the fence for a while about it, and now I’m pretty much fully in support of the game being in Jacksonville. Mainly because of the recruiting aspect. Like I said, if you haven’t been to that game in Jacksonville, you need to go. You need to get your butt out of your chair and get to the game. I actually went for the first time last year. I went to UF for four years, and I just never made it down there. It was my senior year, and I was I got to go. I went, and we got destroyed. The game wasn’t close, but I will say, I left that game and said, there’s no chance I can ever go a year without going to this game again. That’s how good it was. I’ve never left a football game feeling like that, like I have to go now. This has to be an every year thing for me. That’s how I felt when I left that game.

    Andrew: I’ve had the opportunity to go to Alabama-Auburn. I’ve had the opportunity to go to LSU-Arkansas, which was a big rivalry back in the day. I’ve had the opportunity to go to some big rivalry games. They’re great. Florida-Georgia in Jacksonville is spectacular. It just is. It is the energy is constant there. I will say this. Obviously, I don’t think it’s going to be this way for Florida this year, but we’ll hope and pray that. To see the Georgia fans leave with five or six minutes left in the game and all you see is blue and orange, or vice versa. It’s a cool experience. It’s just cool.

    I’m just not one of those people who have to stick to the this is what it has to be, and if you don’t whatever. Here’s my thing too, Nick. We can move on after this. You’re seeing more and more of these games. Look at it. Alabama seems like they open up at a neutral site game every year. LSU-Florida State was a neutral site game this year in New Orleans. Obviously, it was more for LSU fans, but you’re seeing more and more of these games where it’s neutral site to play these games to get more attention on it.

    I just feel like that Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville is a game that we shouldn’t touch. If I’m Greg Sankey, I hope you tell Georgia to shut up, and that you’re going to play that game in Jacksonville every year.

    Nick: Yeah. FSU and LSU, they open up in Orlando again next year.

    Andrew: Yeah.

    Nick: Not just that, and like you said, we can move on after this, but the city of Jacksonville, the people that live there, they love it. They love it. They don’t even have any affiliation with UF or Georgia. I have family that lives in Jacksonville, and they just go to the tailgate, because that’s what you do when you’re there. That is the city.

    Andrew: Right.

    Nick: It’s a cool experience. It’s fun. I personally love it. I think they should keep it there.

    Andrew: Let’s quickly, we did not podcast last week, but we’ll quickly recap LSU. The defense still hasn’t stopped anybody, and both offenses may still be scoring. I don’t know. Anthony Richardson still might be running on that 81-yard touchdown, if he didn’t Superman jump. LSU’s improving. They beat up on Ole Miss on Saturday. That was an Ole Miss team that was pretty decent, and they beat up on them. This is a defense for Florida that’s just it is what it is. They’re full of guys who can’t make plays.

    You and I will get into this in a second. The scheme I think is okay. Guys are in position to make plays. They’re not making plays. These guys that are Dan Mullen guys and Todd Grantham guys just aren’t making plays and aren’t good enough to make plays, unfortunately. It’s continuing to show its ugly head.

    Nick: Yeah. We saw the same kind of defense, like me and you have been saying all season long. This is unfortunately the Gators identity. The defense, I’ve said it all along, it’s a long-term project. It’s going to take- it may not even be fixed next year. It’s just going to take time. It’s going to take development. It’s going to take talent, which I think is the most important part. You can develop all you want, but if you don’t get the talent in the room, it’s just not going to happen.

    You may see improvement with development, but, Andrew, how important is just a great defensive recruiting class this year? They just need it, because when you look at the Gators defense this season, and, Andrew, we’ve had many conversations about this, how many NFL players do we see on this starting defense right now? Two to three, maybe.

    Andrew: Maybe.

    Nick: Maybe. I would say no more than three. That’s something that we just haven’t seen for a while. This is something that Patrick Toney and the defensive staff, they have to deal with this. They have to kind of work around it. I think it’s difficult. I think it’s really difficult.

    Like I said, just to quickly recap LSU, it was just one of those games where the Gators couldn’t get a stop. They just couldn’t get off the field. We’ve seen it. We’ve lost games this way before. Just couldn’t get a stop. Offense did a decent job of keeping pace, and when the defense finally got a stop, there was kind of a BS call, in my opinion, that kind of shot the Gator’s chances there at the end. That penalty wasn’t the reason why the Gators lost, although it was an unfortunate penalty. Offense did a decent job keeping pace. Had a few hiccups here and there, but no turnovers, which is a good thing. The defense just couldn’t get off the field, Andrew.

    Andrew: We’re going to talk about that penalty.

    Nick: We’ll do it.

    Andrew: We’ll talk about it in just a second. I’m sick of that penalty, by the way. Sick of it. As an Atlanta Falcons fan and now a Gator, no. I’m sick of that. We’ll get into that in a second.

    Listen, you scored 35 points. You should win most football games.

    Nick: Agreed.

    Andrew: Period. End of discussion. You just should. Florida did well enough offensively to win a football game. Period. Were there plays that Anthony Richardson would love to have back? Sure. Are there plays the offense would love to have back? Sure. You can do that in every game. You could score every possession of the game, and there’s going to be plays that you can nitpick to do that. Obviously, Anthony is still a project that is building, that is getting better.

    Defensively, it just cannot happen. 528 yards for LSU. An offensive line that is mostly freshmen and sophomore. I think three of the five are freshmen and sophomores playing. You had a starting right tackle who was a true freshmen, and Brenton Cox still has not gotten to Jayden Daniels. That’s the problem for me, Nick.

    That’s where, guys that have listened to this podcast have known, I’m pretty straightforward. If I think the coach is not very good, I tell you. I’ve said that for Dan Mullen. I’ve said that for Todd Grantham. I’ve said that for John Hevesy. Patrick Toney is a very good defensive coordinator. Let me just say that. People who know this game way better than I, you, and everybody else, will tell you he is a really good defensive coordinator. You look at his Louisiana defenses and stuff. He’s a really good defensive coordinator.

    He cannot force Brenton Cox to tackle Jayden Daniels. He can put Brenton Cox in position, and they can play, and he did multiple times, where he had Jayden Daniels wrapped around his ankles, wrapped around his waist, and he lets him go. Surprise, surprise. It’s happened all year. It’s happened for the last three years. Avery Helm, in perfect coverage, never turns around. LSU receiver goes up and catches the ball. Again, what do you do? What do you do if you’re Patrick Toney? You can’t get out there and turn his head around.

    Touchdown late in the third quarter. Double coverage Jadarrius Perkins, Jalen Kimber both there. Neither one of them turned their heads. Touchdown. Guy catches the ball over both of them. If you’re Patrick Toney, what are you doing? How do you stop that? There’s nothing you can do. All you can do is put your guys in position to make plays and hope they make plays. You can only tell Trey Dean and Rashad Torrence to be in certain areas to make the play. If they don’t break down and make a tackle, I don’t know what else you want the man to do.

    It is a talent deficiency. We said it was a talent deficiency. Everyone talked about how it was a talent deficiency, and it is rearing its ugly head right now. You and I have talked about this. Maybe it’s time to go to the freshmen and see. You’re going to take lumps there, and I think that it’s going to not calm the masses too much, but, Nick, I ask you this. If you’re Patrick Toney, what do you do?

    Nick: Yeah. You just made a ton of really good points, Andrew. I think the only thing to do is kind of lean on the young players, lean on the freshmen a little bit. I say this because of this. When you’re playing a freshman or a young redshirt freshman, sophomore, whatever the case may be, in a football game in the SEC, you’re worried about him not knowing the playbook, not knowing the plays and making mental mistakes, right?

    Andrew: Right.

    Nick: We’re seeing those mental mistakes from the veteran players on our defense, so what are we worried about? I understand being worried about easing the freshmen in a little bit. I do. I get that, but those veterans on our defense are making those mistakes that we’re worried the freshmen are going to make. That, to me, is something has to switch. Something has to give. Something has to change.

    ame him for the start to this:

    Andrew: Right.

    Nick: We gave up 45 points to LSU. What are we worried about? To answer your question, Andrew, there’s just not much that Toney can do right now in Year 1. Not to call anybody out. I’m not going to call anyone out, but the same people saying Patrick Toney needs to be fired or let go or demoted or whatever the case may be are the same people that said after the first two games that Billy Napier needs an offensive coordinator.

    Andrew: Yup.

    Nick: I don’t know about you, Andrew, but the games that I’ve watched recently, I don’t think Billy Napier needs an offensive coordinator. I don’t think he needs a playcaller. He’s doing a hell of a job, in my opinion.

    Andrew: There’s always going to be somebody that has to take the blame. Right now, Patrick Toney is the guy taking the blame.

    Nick: Exactly.

    Andrew: Listen, he’s a grown man. He’s done this for his entire life. Is he going to be bothered by it? No, he’s not. But it’s just a situation for me, Nick, where it’s like you know these guys are bad. Okay. They’re just bad. I don’t know what else to say. You got fifth- and sixth-year seniors still making boneheaded plays. I think you do kind of have to take the lumps.

    I do think, you and I have both heard all week that we do think there will be some changes, that some young guys are going to play. Kamari Wilson made a tweet where he said it was his time, and it wouldn’t shock me at all to see it be his time on Saturday. It wouldn’t shock me to see Miguel Mitchell playing more. He got in and was playing some nickel late in the LSU game, so it wouldn’t shock me at all if he’s playing a lot on Saturday.

    For me, Nick, and you’re talking to one of the biggest competitors out there. I want to win in everything I do. I beat my kid in PlayStation, and he’s five years old. I don’t care. I’m almost at the point where what else do you have to lose? Does it really matter? To Georgia, does it really matter if Trey Dean’s giving up the long ball or Kamari Wilson is giving up the long ball? Does it really matter? For me, it’s almost like let me see what you got. Let me see what Kamari’s got. Let me see what Shemar James has got. Let me see what Devin Moore’s got when healthy. Let me see what Miguel Mitchell’s got. Let me see what some of these younger guys have that can get in there and play.

    Obviously, you’re still battling that whole do I want to redshirt him kind of deal there, and that’ll battle into some cases. For instance, Devin Moore, I think he may be more now leaning towards that redshirt. I’m at the point where I’m like, let me just see what I got, because I know what I have now, and they’re gone after this year. Let me see what I got behind these guys.

    Nick: Right. It just comes down to something has to change. I’m not talking schematically or with the defensive coordinator. I’m talking personnel on the field. When you see someone get beat over and over and over again, there has to be a switch there.

    Andrew: Right.

    Nick: It just can’t keep happening. I do think that that’s what you’re going to see in these last final five football games for the Florida Gators. I think you’re going to see. Andrew, the Gators are 4-3 this season. They’re out of SEC East contention. They’re still fighting for a bowl game. What really do you have to lose? When you’re looking at should I play Devin Moore over Jason Marshall, should I play Shemar James over Amari Burney, what do you have to lose with those switches right now?

    Andrew: The biggest thing is will it hurt those guys more to play than not to play? Obviously, you don’t want to throw a guy out there who’s not ready, because then it crushes their confidence. A couple of those guys we’re talking about have played enough that you feel like they’re ready to go. They’ve already burnt their redshirt, so it’s kind of like there is nothing to lose there.

    Obviously, getting bowl eligible is a must. This team absolutely, 100%, needs the extra practices, so you 100% have got to get bowl eligible. To be fair, you should get bowl eligible with a freshman in games against South Carolina, which they did beat Texas A&M. Texas A&M is not very good either. Vanderbilt, and then against Florida State. You got to figure out a way to get that.

    You just have to figure out a way to take some positives from this year. Obviously, there is a lot of positives. The penalties have went way down. The discipline is better. Offensively, they’re more physical. Defensively I think they’re more physical. See what you got going forward. This recruiting class is about to be very good, especially in the defensive backfield, so see what you got going forward. Especially in the bowl game, I want to see Kamari Wilson and Miguel Mitchell play in the bowl game. I could care less about the two seniors playing in the bowl game.

    Nick: Right. Exactly. You mentioned trying to find a way to take small wins from this season. Getting a bowl game and getting those extra 15 practices, that’s a huge win. What have we been talking about this whole podcast? We’ve been talking about talent, and we’ve been talking about young players.

    Andrew: Right.

    Nick: Making a bowl game gives those young players reps. Let me tell you something about how bowl practices work. They rotate, at least most coaches do, rotate everybody in. Everybody gets first team reps. Everyone gets an equal amount of reps. Bowl game is crucial for a younger player’s development. The Devin Moore, the Shemar James, the Miguel Mitchell, these players that we’re talking about that are potential leaders of this Gators defense. Making a bowl game is huge.

    In my opinion, if you’re the Florida Gators, you are trying so hard to get six wins. I think it’s possible. I think Gators could even finish at 7-5. Again, just hit that six win mark. Get those extra practices for your team. Some of you are going to say, it doesn’t matter. Who cares? It’s the Birmingham Bowl or whatever. It doesn’t matter.

    Andrew: Please, God, not the Birmingham Bowl. Please. Please, God, not the Birmingham Bowl.

    Nick: You wouldn’t go to that, Andrew?

    Andrew: It’s better now. It’s been now than it was when it was at Legion Field. Nick, that’s not a fun bowl. That’s not a fun bowl. No. That’s not a fun bowl.

    Nick: I was just throwing a name out there. One of those lower tier bowls. It’s just to the point where, like you said, Andrew, you have to take every small win this season. You’re 4-3. You got to take every small win, and making a bowl game, guys, is just huge for this team. There’s a ton of young players on defense that just need more experience, and that’s how you get it.

    Andrew: It is. It’s definitely a big thing. I want to talk a little bit about that roughing the passer before we move onto Georgia.

    Nick: Right.

    Andrew: Something’s got to be done, my friend. This roughing the passer crap has gotten out of control, man. The inconsistencies of this rule has gotten uncontrollable. Gervon Dexter is called for roughing the passer there, because he fell with all of his body weight on Jayden Daniels. Okay. I get that.

    It’s four to six seconds is what most football plays take from the snap of the ball to the whistle blown to call the play dead. Think about that now to Gervon Dexter’s timing of how long he has to make a decision on whether to hit the quarterback or not hit the quarterback. Then think about it. Once he hits the quarterback, falling to the side or falling on Jayden Daniels. I ask you this, Nick. Unbiased opinion here. Was there anything dirty? Was there any intent there, or was it just a football play?

    Nick: No. Absolutely not. Andrew, we’ve talked about this many times. I just don’t think people realize. I played a year of high school football. I was not a defensive end, defensive tackle. I played wide receiver. I was never in position to sack the quarterback. But I can only imagine, and I’m sure that we can get people on this podcast to tell you how hard it is, but I’m sure, especially when you’re Gervon Dexter’s weight, I can promise you it’s very difficult to make a tackle and move your body off the guy. And worry about all that while also trying to sack the quarterback.

    When you watch the play, you look at it, there is no bad intent there. That was not a dirty play. I would have to go back and watch the replay, but I don’t think Jayden Daniels got up and was asking for a flag.

    Andrew: No.

    Nick: I think if you ask Jayden Daniels about the penalty after the game, you know what I’m pretty sure he’s going to tell you? I’m pretty sure he’s going to say, I should have made a better pass. Right? That’s what Jayden Daniels was worried about. I don’t think Jayden Daniels was sitting there, where’s my flag? No. Not a dirty play.

    I get why the flag was called. I know that’s technically the rule. You’re not supposed to land on the quarterback when you’re hitting him. I think it’s unfortunate that that’s when it was called. To me, he should have left it in his pocket. He saw the interception. I know that the ref is supposed to do his job. I get that. I just think in that moment that was just an unfortunate time to pull out that flag, a very unfortunate time. I personally would have kept it in my pocket.

    Andrew, in my opinion, and this goes for everything, roughing the passer, targeting, all of these penalties that we’re seeing. In my opinion, the flag should only be thrown if there was clear intent to hurt or injure the opposing team. That to me is when I pull the flag. Hitting someone super late, things like that, those are flags. I want those to be flags. However, that play that Gervon Dexter hit, zero bad intentions there. To me, that cannot be called. It cannot be called.

    Andrew: I agree. I’m with you. I don’t know how this rule has gotten so to the point of tossed up. You know what I'm saying? Again, I’m a Falcons fan. The Brady hit’s BS. I still say that. We watched the Alabama-Tennessee game in the press box during the LSU game. Multiple plays that was just like what’s going on here? What’s the rule? They’ve got to figure this rule out. I hate this rule of it being up to the referee. No. That’s not the way this works. The quarterback either put a freaking flag on him and a blouse and say, don’t touch him, or let me hit my quarterback. If it’s not late, it’s not dirty, okay.

    Nick: When is it going to turn into flag football?

    Andrew: Anthony Richardson had his knees taken out multiple times in the LSU game, and there was one call. That’s dirty. That’s dirty. No offense, but Gervon Dexter having all of his weight on Jayden Daniels is not going to hurt him more than it’s going to hurt for someone to sling you down or dive at your knees.

    Nick: No. It’s sad, because we’re seeing this at the college level, and it’s worse in the NFL. It’s worse. There was a call on a primetime game last week, and I put a tweet out about it. There was a call against Justin Herbert, and he legitimately got pushed. He stumbled backwards. He did not even hit the ground. It most the most least physical push I’ve ever seen. The guy just like tapped him, and they called roughing the passer. It was a play where you see more physicality literally at every other position on the football field, literally more physicality everywhere else, so why are there no other flags?

    To me, when are they going to put a flag on the quarterback and just call it flag football? That’s what I’m watching right now. That was just an infuriating call on Gervon Dexter to me. I rewatched it, and I get it. I get the penalty, because I know that’s technically a penalty, but to me the rule has to change somewhere. Andrew, we’ve talked about the possibility of them pulling an NFL and saying, the NBA does this, you get one review on a penalty a game. What else are you going to do? That 15-yard penalty dictated the outcome of the game. I’m not saying the Gators were going to win, but they had a chance to.

    Andrew: The whole thing about refs should not be noticed is gone. It’s gone. It is what it is. It’s gone. There’s no more of that. The referees are gone to the point where now, for better or worse, they’re continuing to be a part of the game. They’re continuing to dictate the game, and that’s not the way it should be. Me personally, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of seeing it. I’m tired of it.

    Ricks is reclassifying to the:ond Ricks reclassification to:

    Andrew: I think it helps. I say that. There’s two ways to look at this. I think it helps them, because if they land him, as you and I have talked about multiple times, this defensive back group is terrible. That’s on the current team. If you’re able to get a push of new players to come in there, especially guys like Ricks. And if McClain is to go and Ricks is to come, and some of the guys you got now, you think you have a pretty good shot of talent going up and developing those guys into good players.

    The bad thing about it is it’s going to be tough to sell Ricks on a big class like this. You’re thinking about it. Florida’s going to have six to seven guys in this DB class, depending on McClain. McClain commits, they got seven. If he doesn’t, it’s six. You’re going to ask Desmond Ricks to either be the seventh or eighth. I think Florida has to shift somebody out of the class, maybe two people out of the class, to lure Ricks.

    I will say this. I think it’s Bama or Florida for Ricks. I know Desmond Ricks absolutely loves Corey Raymond. He loves Corey Raymond. That’s his guy. He talks about that all the time. He’s said multiple times Florida is the home away from home. Obviously, I think this process goes into January and February for Ricks. He’s not going to be able to enroll until June, as he reclassifies. Florida has work to do.

    Great coaches find a way to win these big battles, and they find a way to figure out a way to get seven and eight guys in the class.

    Nick: I think you make a good point. This is all a long ways away, right?

    Andrew: Right.

    Nick: Money McClain, he hasn’t committed anywhere yet. Desmond Ricks hasn’t committed anywhere yet. There’s a lot of what ifs that we’re talking about here. If it were the case, if Ricks and McClain were to both join the class, in my opinion, at least one would have to leave, like you said. You probably have a better gauge on this than I do, but I would say at least one. I don’t know if it’s Ricks as much or kind of the lower rated players that are like, we got three top 100 DBs in the class now. I may not see the field.

    Andrew: Right.

    Nick: It could be one of those deals as well. Like I said, lot of what ifs with the recruiting scenario right now. In my opinion, things are looking good in Gainesville. Billy Napier is doing a hell of a job on the trail. Like you said, it’s been just wild recruiting ride. We’ve seen cold stretches, and we’ve seen just scorching hot. Three commitments in three days. We’ve seen it all. In my opinion, Andrew, and it may be fun for you as well, more fun for you than it has been, but just from a fan perspective, recruiting is finally fun again. It’s certainly fun to cover, in my opinion.

    Andrew: I think the biggest thing for me is this. I’m glad to see coaches not scared to go after the big guys. Coaches who are in the mix for guys. That for me is the biggest thing. Past coaching staffs would have never been in it for Money McClain and Desmond Ricks. For me, that’s the thing that I think is fun is just seeing that these guys they get it. They want to be great. They understand the way to be great is by having great players, and that starts by recruiting. Again, I’m very impressed by it. Hoping that the recruiting class is able to come in and give this team a boost from there.

    I know we were going to talk about Georgia, but I think we need to take a detour here a little bit and kind of talk about that. I think personally you’re going to see a lot of attrition in December from the current roster to allow for transfers to come. I think you may see some guys that some people say, he’s a really good player, why is he transferring? The answer to that is he doesn’t fit the program.

    Nick: Right. This is Year 1 under Billy Napier. He’s learning a lot. He’s learning a lot as a head coach. This is still only his fifth year as a head coach, and it’s with a new team, a new division. He faces new teams, new players. Everything is new. I think when you look at it like that, after Year 1, you notice a lot of things. You pick up on some things that you may not have realized when you first took the job.

    I think that’s important to keep in mind, because, like you said, I wouldn’t be surprised if come December, January, we see a lot of in and out. Lot of players on both sides of the ball hit the portal. I wouldn’t be surprised. Florida has a big recruiting class this year as well. What are we at? 21 commits right now?

    Andrew: Yeah.

    Nick: 21. There’s some time to go there as well. I just think this is a new team next year, in my opinion. I think it’s going to be an entirely new team. We’re already going to have a big recruiting class, and then I can think of four to five positions right now that could really, really use a piece or two in the transfer portal. I think it’s going to be a huge change. I think we’re going to see a totally different roster next year.

    Andrew: Yeah. Again, I don’t know that’s a bad thing.

    Nick: No. I don’t think it is.

    Andrew: I don’t know that’s a bad thing at all. We’ll see. Obviously, there is a lot of time to go in this whole thing. It’s going to be interesting. Again, I think when you look at this team overall, it’s a team that needs a boost. Needs a boost from a lot of areas. Again, I say this feeling very comfortable when I say this. I think that you’re in good hands. I think this is a program that under Billy Napier is going to continue to improve. I think this is a program that is going to continue to do it the right way. I believe in this program under Billy Napier that things are going to be okay.

    Nick: I’m a big fan of Billy Napier. He said something after the LSU game that I thought was really awesome. He kind of just sat there and took the heat from the questions. The one thing that stood out to me was he said, “We’re going to be sick.” He said, “We’re going to be sick watching this tape.” He said it over and over again. It had to have been four to five times. He just didn’t sit up there and kind of half ass it and say, we played all right. No. He said, “We’re going to be sick.”

    To me, that’s what I want from a head coach. I want a head coach to stand up there and just say, we were just awful. Obviously, he said good things, about the offense in particular. Special teams as well had a good game. But you could just see it on his face, he was just, “We’re going to be sick.” I love that. I think Billy Napier is the right man for the job.

    Andrew: I agree. We’ll come back Friday. We’ll break down this Georgia game more. We had a lot to talk about today, so we’ll come back Friday. We’ll break this game down a little bit more and get you ready for Jacksonville and what is to be a good football game, hopefully. Great atmosphere. If you’re in Jacksonville, make sure to come up and say hello to us. We will see everybody on Friday. Make sure to stay tuned this week for coverage of Billy Napier, and then Money McClain on Thursday.

    Nick: Yes, sir.

    Andrew: We will talk to you guys on Friday. Make sure to check us out on the web at GatorCountry.com. Thanks, guys.

    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.