GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we continue to preview the Florida Gators game vs. Texas A&M on Saturday night in Gainesville.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre are joined by Ryan Brauninger of TexAgs to help preview the game as Brauninger breaks down the Aggies.
Andrew and Nick ask Brauninger the tough questions on Texas A&M and also update you on the Gators and the recent injuries.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, A&M week. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about this game, for some reason. It’s just because A&M’s different. Those spiraling back and forth opinions of these uniforms. I mean, after last week’s game.
Nick: We’ll get to the uniforms.
Andrew: We’ll get to the uniforms. Don’t worry. It is. I say this. It’s kind of refreshing to play A&M a little bit. It’s kind of fun to see a team that you don’t see all the time. Let’s roll the ball out and see what happens.
Nick: Yeah. I love that. I didn’t get to go. I wasn’t working here when they went to Kyle Field, but that’s a great spot I would love to go to. I’m most excited because this is a good football team in A&M. I know they’ve had their struggles, but it’s a good football team, and they got a little offense. They got a freshman quarterback, who we’ll talk to Ryan Brauninger about. A freshman quarterback, and they’re doing some stuff. I’m excited to see offense.
Andrew: Am I wrong in saying this is almost like a bowl matchup? Just because.
Nick: It almost feels like that, and that’s weird, because it’s a conference match. It almost feels like a bowl matchup, yeah.
Andrew: I say that, and that’s no disrespect to A&M at all. You don’t see A&M, and it’s just kind of like a bowl matchup. Florida’s only played them once as a member of the SEC. It’s kind of like that bowl matchup where it’s like they’re here. Here’s another thing, and maybe I’m going to catch some heat for saying this, and I’m sorry if I do. It’s one of those offenses that’s that old Big 12 style of offense a little bit. Spread them out, and air it out. It’s kind of like the old Varsity Blues. Five wide? Five wide? It’s just that kind of offense. I’m excited to see it. Listen, any offense we get to watch is offense. I don’t care if it’s A&M, or if it’s Missouri, or if it’s South Carolina. Offense is offense.
Nick: What’s that? What’s offense?
Andrew: Yeah. We’re going to talk to our buddy, Mr. Ryan Brauninger, from TexAgs. Those guys at TexAgs do an amazing job, man. They do really good work. Nick, you and I have got to spend a lot of time with Ryan in Orlando at the Under Armour events. We talked to him a little bit with baseball. For a program like Texas A&M that doesn’t get a lot of talk, they’ve got some really good sports. Women’s soccer is really good. Their baseball team is really good. Softball program is on the uprise. Basketball is doing good. They do a good job over there. I’m excited to talk to Ryan, our good friend. Nick.
Andrew: What are your quick thoughts on A&M as a program?
Nick: I think it’s interesting. I think it’s a program that has a lot of promise. They’re huge in terms of alumni, in terms of fanbase, especially crazy, cool game day experience from them with their traditions. My cousin’s actually in their band, and they’ll be traveling with their band down. That’s another cool thing, I think, that a lot of teams in the SEC do. Vanderbilt didn’t do it. Traveling with your band, I think that’s a cool thing.
Andrew: The midnight yell.
Nick: Yeah. They’re also kind of in limbo. I personally think Kevin Sumlin’s a heck of a ball coach. I think John Chavis is a heck of a ball coach as well. You’re almost kind of thinking, why haven’t they had more success? It’s easy to point to they play Alabama every year. They’ve actually had some success against Alabama. I think it’s those weird endings to seasons that they’ve had, where they go 0-4, or 1-4 down the stretch, and you’re wondering how are you crumbling after starting off a season 4-0, 5-0, 6-0?
Andrew: They need Arkansas’s finish. They need to put them and Arkansas together.
Nick: Yeah. I think they come in interesting. We’ll talk about it. Kevin Sumlin’s seat was red hot when they went out UCLA and blew that game out there in Lala Land. I think they’ve come back, and I think he’s quieted some of that. It’s such a pivotal game, and such a swing game, I think for both programs this week.
Andrew: I agree. Just one thing real quick. I think the biggest thing is they’re getting their defense there. They’ve always had the offense. They’re getting the defense there. Let’s go to Ryan. We’ll talk to Ryan. We’ll come back. We’ll get injury updates, all that good shenaz. Here we go. Let’s talk to Ryan.
Welcome back, guys. We’re joined by my good buddy, and Nick’s good buddy, Mr. Ryan Brauninger of TexAgs. Ryan, first of all, appreciate you tuning in. How jacked are you you actually get to play Florida for a change?
Ryan: Yeah. It’s been a while since the Aggies and Gators have matched up. Obviously, the first game of A&M’s SEC career was here in Kyle Field against Florida. Really entertaining game. A lot of NFL talent on that field. For Aggie fans, it was the first glimpse of Johnny Manziel, and that was a game, when A&M fans go back and look at that 2012 season, if they could have figured out a way to solve Will Muschamp’s defense in that second half, they may have been playing for a national championship. It’s been a fun game in the past, like I said.
Then for A&M fans to be able to get to go to Gainesville. With kind of how the schedule rotates, you don’t know how often you’re going to get out there. I think you’ll see a really large contingent of A&M fans make the trip.
Nick: I always contended that if A&M and Florida had met, say in November, and not when they did, that probably would have been a different game.
Ryan: Yeah. At the end of that season, the end of that 2012 season.
Nick: Johnny was firing on all cylinders.
Ryan: Yeah. If you talk to any of those players and coaches on that team, they’ll say that they feel like they could have won the National Championship, and were the best team playing in the country at the end of that season.
Andrew: I agree.
Nick: You touched on it a little bit. How is A&M? I know it’s a ton of history, passionate fanbase. How is it as far as a traveling fanbase? Then do you think that we’re not going to be in Gainesville again for Lord knows? Lord knows when we’ll be back in Gainesville. What’s the, I guess, environment like in College Station, and how many people do you think are trying to make this a trip to come down and see a place like the Swamp?
Ryan: Again, I think it’s going to be really important for a lot of these A&M fans. A&M has an extremely extensive alumni network. One of the largest living alumni bases in the country, and they’re spread out pretty good. I know that us, here at TexAgs, we’re taking an entire travel group, through a charter plane and through a travel package. We’re bringing about 125 people just through our website. I mean, I would put the number at probably 3,000-5,000 A&M fans easily making the trip over there. Because it is a passionate fanbase. It’s such a large fanbase. They’ve done a good job of really spreading out and expanding their network.
Andrew: Ryan, I may be in the minority here when I say this, but I like these games. I wish it was more often than it was, but I think it kind of brings a different aspect to the season a little bit when you have this Florida-Texas A&M matchup. Next year Florida will go to Mississippi State. I just think it adds an interesting standpoint. I guess, is that your take as well? With A&M still being the “new member” it’s refreshing.
Ryan: Yeah. Certainly it gives you, if you’re an A&M fan, you’d like to go back to places like Gainesville or Athens, or even Knoxville. You’d like to go back there, probably, more often, but it makes these trips more important, and it makes these trips something that every year you look forward to seeing who your cross-division game is, and if it’s a place that you’ve never been. I think the A&M fans understand that.
With as many media outlets as we provide, we have a radio show. Essentially, here in College Station there is 10 hours of radio probably a day just about local sports. The fans here locally are inundated with that. Like you said, it’s just a refreshing. It’s something to look forward to. I think it does help kind of build the hype of the game.
Andrew: Let me tell you something, Ryan. You don’t want to go to Knoxville. Rocky Top gets old after five minutes of being in that place.
Nick: Knoxville’s got a nice little downtown bar scene. Ryan would enjoy that.
Andrew: They don’t have no Texas two steps.
Ryan: That Tennessee country scene is a little bit different up there than what we’ve got down here.
Andrew: Let’s move on. Had we talked to you a couple weeks ago, I think I would have been asking you how hot is the seat for Kevin Sumlin, and how cool is the seat for Jim McElwain? I think you go into this game now saying the seat is probably hotter for Jim McElwain, not that anything’s going to happen to him, but that things have to be changed for Florida. The pressure’s on him. I think Sumlin, in my opinion, may have quieted down the fanbase a little bit, especially after Alabama’s game. What is the feeling there? Is the fanbase quieter on Sumlin, giving him more of an opportunity? What’s the feel over there?
Ryan: I think it’s certainly, A&M has played 30 freshmen, true or redshirt, and when you lose your starting quarterback to start the season, you lose one of your top defensive players in Donovan Wilson to start the season, and you’re breaking in so many new faces, there are going to be some growing pains. I think most of the fanbase right now is taking a wait and see approach. They’re certainly very encouraged by what they’ve seen over the last two or three weeks.
You look at what happened last week here against Alabama, and it’s a game that in the 3rd quarter is 24-3, and what typically Alabama does when they’re up 24-3 is that they turn that into a 41-10 final or a 45-17 final. Over the course of the last quarter and a half, A&M outscores Bama 16-3, and is kicking an onside kick with under a minute to go, with a chance, if they recover it, a chance to try to go down and tie it.
A&M certainly still has holes, and they’re working on those, but you have seen this team get better every week. You’ve seen this team get tougher every week. You’ve seen that confidence grow in Kellen Mond. He’s making plays now. He made plays against Bama that in the opening game against UCLA he would have never even. He wouldn’t have given himself the opportunity to even see those plays develop. There are encouraging signs.
Again, I’d go back and say that the fanbase is still kind of taking a wait and see approach. This game against Florida could go a long way and determine a lot of things here in College Station.
Andrew: Nick, I know you want to say something. Let me ask one follow-up real quick to that. I think the difference between the two programs right now is you guys over at A&M have got Kellen Mond, who’s playing good football. Florida still doesn’t have that quarterback. I think any time you look at a program it’s what is the quarterback position doing? You guys have got a freshman that’s doing well. Florida has a redshirt freshman who has been benched twice.
Nick: Stop me if I’m wrong here, Ryan. There has to be some trepidation with Aggie fans by the way Sumlin’s teams have ended seasons.
Nick: Even though you bounce back, and we hung in there with Alabama. If you look at what’s happened in late October, November, there’s kind of like a foreboding of it’s all going to turn downhill, because that’s what’s happened the last two, three years.
Ryan: Yeah. Nick, that’s why I said the A&M fanbase is probably taking more of a wait and see approach. There’s signs that this season may be different, but this next two months of the season will determine that. A&M goes to Florida, a really tough place to play, a solid defense with a freshman quarterback. If they can find a way to manage to win this game on Saturday, they head into a bye week with a chance to get a guy like Donovan Wilson back, and you head into the stretch against Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn, and LSU. Then you have a non-conference game against New Mexico.
All these games on A&M’s schedule, even Florida, they’re all winnable, but they’re all still losable, outside of maybe New Mexico. With a young team, even with the way they’re training and getting better, there’s still a lot up in the air. Again, I think this game this Saturday is really important, for both teams.
Andrew: I agree with you. I think that this is a point where, I mean, we can talk about Florida’s bad game against LSU all you want. Florida’s goal going into the season was win the East. Florida has to take care of business on Saturday to go into that Georgia game with a chance to take over the East again. I think it’s also big for Florida in this game to quiet the naysayers with Florida, with their offense. That’s nothing against A&M, but just it’s another step for them.
My question to you is this, Ryan. What are your keys for this game? As far as, for A&M on offense and then A&M on defense.
Ryan: Offensively, maybe you guys can help me out with this. When I look at Florida, to me, their front four is very active. It’s a typical Florida front. Let me ask you guys this. Florida, I think they’re 55th in the country overall on defense, but does it worry you that the offenses that they’ve played have not been hugely explosive? I read a stat this morning that Florida has given up more yards than opposing offenses then they’ve averaged throughout the season. Let me ask you guys this, and it’ll help me make my assessment on the game. Where do you guys feel like Florida’s at defensively? Then how big will the injuries play a role in their season going forward?
Nick: You’re going to get two very different answers, one from Andrew, and one from me, about the defense.
Andrew: Florida’s defense is atrocious. Period. End of discussion. When you look at a spread offense, I truly expect Texas A&M to put up 400+ yards of total offense against this game. Florida has receivers running wide open. Randy Shannon is the most vanilla defensive coordinator in America when it comes to that. Florida doesn’t get pressure, because they bring four consistently. If A&M is blocking with five, six at a time with a running back chipping in, you have all day to throw. A spread offense is going to cause major problems for Florida. Randy Shannon as a defensive coordinator is just a problem.
Nick: Ryan, see what you did there? My biggest thing for Florida is when A&M goes into any kind of option with a quarterback and a running back. Florida’s edge players, Florida’s defensive ends, have not set the edge. They don’t play contain, and teams have used their aggressiveness to get up field, to get them out of position. It turns a play that might have been a loss, or a 1, 2-yard gain, into this big play where now you have to have a safety come up, or you have to hope a cornerback makes a tackle on a big quarterback like Kellen Mond or on a running back. That’s an issue.
Another thing is, like Andrew said, with the spread offense, putting these young players. Florida’s playing a bunch of freshmen out wide. To put them in space and say, “Hey, you’re going to have to make 15 tackles, 10 tackles, among the cornerbacks on these quick passes and quick screens and stuff, and you have to fight through that.” I think that could also be an issue for Florida. The way that they play, I think a spread offense, especially one where you have a quarterback who can run, could gash Florida’s defense.
Ryan: Kellen Mond has shown a good propensity through high school here in Texas, and even at IMG, and so far this year, of having a good feel with the zone read game. For me, my key to the game, now listening to you guys talk about that, is A&M has had trouble getting Christian Kirk the football. Mainly because everybody’s been rolling coverage to his side. They’ve used him in motion a lot, and when they use him in motion it’s to get the defense to move, so it helps Kellen Mond, the freshman quarterback, kind of understand what’s going to be happening post snap.
I could see this week as a big week. A big emphasis for the A&M offense is finding a way to get #3 the football, because when he’s got the ball in his hands, he’s one of the most electric players in the conference and the country.
Ryan: To me, that’s going to be a huge key for A&M, will be Kellen Mond’s legs, and then finding a way to get Christian Kirk the football.
Defensively for A&M, they have been so much better against the run this year than they have in years past. The star power isn’t there, but you guys know kind of how that goes, when you lose the Miles Garrett and Daeshon Hall. It feels like this year the defense is playing with more of a chip on its shoulder. The linebacker play has been just night and day better this year. A big reason for that is a kid named Tyrel Dodson, who’s a sophomore linebacker out of Tennessee. That has allowed them to move Alaka, who has been another highly productive kid at linebacker, back to his normal Will linebacker position.
The defense has been really encouraging for A&M. They’ve given up some gash plays to Alabama, and certainly the second half against UCLA. Josh Rogers really went to work, and I think you saw why he’s going to be the top overall cornerback in this coming up draft. Again, the defense has kind of been the thing for this A&M team, in that it’s encouraging. Everybody’s kind of hopeful, because this is the best defense A&M has rolled out there in the last three or four seasons.
Andrew: Yeah. Here’s my thing. I know Nick likes to make fun of me on my rants on this defense, but when you’re a team that’s playing an offense like a Texas A&M, you better be very, very disciplined. Florida hasn’t shown that ability to be disciplined. Their linebackers haven’t shown their ability to break down and make a tackle in open field.
When you show me a team like A&M, you show me a team that’s going to try to get Kellen Mond out of the pocket, maybe move around a little bit, maybe make some runs. It’s going to be an A&M team that’s going to throw to that running back, or throw that quick screen to a Christian Kirk or something. Then, once again, now you’re putting Chauncey Gardner in a position where he has to make a one on one tackle. Outside of last week, he hasn’t shown that ability to do that. I just see Texas A&M’s offense causing a problem for Florida’s defense, unless they’re able to play more disciplined football on Saturday.
Ryan: Let me ask y’all this. How many points do you think Florida needs to get to to win this game?
Nick: You’re talking about points and Florida.
Andrew: If I was making a prediction on this game right now, I would say Florida would need high 20s to win this game, and I’m not sure they get that.
Nick: Might need overtime there, buddy.
Ryan: That was kind of my number. I think if A&M can get to 24, I think they would give themselves a really good chance to win. I still worry about, Andrew, you and I go out to Orlando every year, and I see these guys that Florida’s recruiting. I know they’ve got talent. I know Chauncey Gardner’s a talented kid. I know they’ve got athletes all over the field, just like Florida always does.
It does worry me that Kellen Mond is still getting his feet wet. Florida has shown a propensity to come up with footballs and turn them into points already this season. It has been a big part of why they’ve scored points is because of their defense. A&M, again, I don’t know if they’re out of the woods if they get to 24, but if they can get to the mid-20s, I think they give themselves an excellent shot to win the game.
Andrew: I agree. Here’s the thing for me, and that is where is Florida’s psyche as a team? It’s kind of like LSU was last week. We’ll see where this team is. Florida has issues coming out of the gate with passion, with an ability to come out and want to win the game. They’ve been accused of playing not to lose the game, and I think that’s a bad omen for A&M. For me, right now, I agree with you, Ryan. I say that. I’ll hold out my judgment on a final score of this game until Friday, but I think the first half is where this game is won or lost for Florida, offensively and defensively.
Ryan: Can you guys share a little bit of light on Florida’s injury situation before we get out of here? I’m sitting here looking at the list that we’ve got here at TexAgs, and it seems like Nick Washington’s for sure out, right?
Ryan: Then Chauncey Gardner’s on the list. Jeremiah Moon, Brett Heggie. A&M fans will know all about Tyrie Cleveland. To me, the most explosive guy y’all have had on your offense, Kadarius Toney.
Nick: Yeah. I would say Brett Heggie, he’s going through concussion protocol, so that one’s kind of up in the air. Duke Dawson, McElwain kind of had that same ominous tone about Duke Dawson last week that he had about Heggie, and Dawson played. That’s kind of out of the coach’s hands when it comes to concussions. I would say wait on Moon. Chauncey Gardner will play. Tyrie Cleveland will still likely be out. I would also except Chauncey. I said Chauncey already. Chauncey will play.
Ryan: Kadarius Toney.
Andrew: I would expect Kadarius.
Nick: Yeah. Toney will play. He went back in. I think he took a shoulder pad like directly to the shin last week. I mean, he played through it, but that doesn’t feel good.
Andrew: All right, Ryan. We always ask this. Don’t have to say anything. Do you see the Aggies coming into this game and being able to pull off the upset or the win? I guess it’s still an upset. Florida was favored in this game. How do you see this game being played out, if you want to say?
Ryan: It’s very difficult. I go back and forth between feeling really good about A&M, and then not feeling really good about A&M. You know, I think offensively A&M can move the football. One of the big keys to me will also be when they get inside the red zone. They can’t kick field goals. A&M’s field goal kicker has been excellent. I know Florida’s got a very strong special teams unit as well. A&M’s been really good on special teams. I think this one’s close, guys. I think it’s 27-24, 24-21. I think this is a tight ballgame.
I can’t pick a winner. I could see either squad coming out of there with a win. I also could see either team winning, and still either the winning team could still falter down the stretch, or the losing team could get hot and win some games down the stretch. It’s just the SEC is so wide open this year, and I think anybody can beat anybody on any given week. You saw that last week with LSU there in Gainesville. I’m really going back and forth. I haven’t seen enough or thought about it enough, or been confident enough, to make a pick either way.
Andrew: I appreciate it, Ryan. Tell everybody where they can find you over at TexAgs. We’ll get you out of here, and we’ll see you in Gainesville on Saturday.
Ryan: Again, I’m always appreciative of you guys. You guys do great work. Y’all are the best in the Florida market in terms of recruiting cover, and all the sports there at Florida. Really successful athletic program, and one that we here in Texas highly respect. You guys do a great job of covering it.
You can find me on Twitter, @R_Brauninger, or you can search TexAgs.com. Staff page will have all my information there. We kind of do the same thing you guys do. Again, really respect what you and Nick do at Gator Country, and really respect the University of Florida athletic department.
Andrew: We appreciate it, Ryan. I know for myself, I’m jacked to see this game. I love the Texas A&M game, and I’m not even going to lie, I kind of wish it was in Aggie Land, so we could come over there and see Kyle Field for ourselves. Again, we appreciate it. Good luck to you guys. We’ll see you on Saturday.
Ryan: Thank y’all.
Andrew: Guys, we’re back. Nick, good stuff with our buddy Ryan. It kind of leads me to be a little more jacked up about this game, just because it should be fun. I mean, Florida football hasn’t been fun. I want to see a fun football game. Is that wrong?
Nick: I would love a fun football game. Hey, man, maybe the defense will play as bad as you say they are, and A&M’s defense will play bad, and we’ll get a 41-40 game. I’m here for it.
Andrew: You laugh about the defense, Nick, but I don’t think you understand that they haven’t been good.
Nick: What do I need to ask Chris Rumph tomorrow?
Andrew: What do you need to ask Chris Rumph tomorrow?
Nick: We talk to Chris Rumph on Wednesday.
Andrew: It’s not Chris Rumph. It’s Randy Shannon. Randy Shannon’s hidden right now.
Nick: We don’t talk to coordinators.
Andrew: He’s hidden right now. I have no issues with anybody but Randy Shannon, and his vanilla ass defensive play calling, and his dumbass safety plays. That’s what I have a problem with. Give me some blitzes. Turn the pressure up on these guys. Make them make quick decisions. Help your young defensive back field play, be able to play with some confidence. Know they only have to guard them for two seconds, and then there’s going to be pressure there. Know that. If you get beat one of out of five times, cool with it.
If you’re allowing these quarterbacks to have seven, eight, nine, 10 seconds back there to throw the ball, guess what? Quincy Wilson’s going to get beat. Richard Sherman’s going to get beat. All these guys, Deon Sanders is going to get beat. The best of the best is going to get beat. Stop allowing that to happen. Put yourself in a position to play to win, not scared to lose.
These guys are in Game 6 this weekend. Marco Wilson is a damn good cornerback. I’m okay with CJ Henderson. I’m okay with Shawn Davis and those guys. Duke Dawson is a guy that’s going to make plays. He’s going to make a few mistakes. Play with aggressiveness of Florida football, and not be playing with your tails tucked between your legs. I’m just tired of it.
Nick: That’s true. I was watching. Who did the Cardinals play? Cardinals-Eagles. The Eagles were kind of a West Coast offense, and that’s a lot of shallow, double-crossing screens, stuff like that. What they’re doing is teams know that. When they get into certain down and distances, they know that this West Coast offense is going to do something like this.
Then they showed Patrick Peterson getting beat. Why is he getting beat by Tory Smith? Because Tory Smith, the safeties creep up to play that, and Tory Smith has got 50 yards to run on a post. Patrick Peterson, who’s probably the best cornerback in the NFL right now, isn’t going to be able to run with a receiver for 50 yards.
That’s, I think, to your point there. The counterpoint of not blitzing is you have more people to defend the pass, right? If you’re not bringing anyone extra, you’ve got more people in the back end. If you’re asking someone to cover for five, six, seven seconds, because those four guys aren’t getting pressure, that’s an issue.
Andrew: Here’s the thing, Nick. I have some people argue with me saying, “You’re being hard on the defense. They only gave up 17 points to LSU.” Correct. They only did give up 17 points to LSU. When you’re getting just run over at the point of attack, and it’s just constant running, running, running against you, they’re killing the clock. For an offense that is struggling at times, you need to get them the ball back.
Allow a team to drive like they do, Dan Tomlinson had a good point in his little stat breakdown thing that he had on Tuesday. I forgot the exact stat, but he said that the bend but break defense is starting to get to Florida. That’s where it is. Again, 17 points is fine. Be aggressive. Be aggressive. This play not to lose the game is retarded.
Now, let’s go to the offense. Nick, nothing on Monday from Coach Mac made me believe things are going to change this week.
Nick: Nothing’s going to change. What did you think was going to change? Not what did you want to hear, or what did you want to have change. What did you think was going to change? I thought nothing was going to change.
Andrew: I didn’t think anything would either, but I thought it was a situation where maybe, just maybe. I mean, listen, Nick, the heat’s there. We can laugh about it. We can joke about it. People, fans can get on Mac and all this other stuff. The pressure’s on Mac to fix this, and fix this now. I don’t know if the heat’s ever been on Mac like it is now, but the pressure is on him now to get this fixed. I didn’t think anything would happen with Nuss. I mean, it’s just not going to happen mid-season with him.
Nick: Here’s a question I keep getting, and I’ve had a consistent answer. Do you think there will be a mid-season change?
Andrew: No. Because I don’t see Mac being that guy. I don’t see him being that guy. No, I don’t. I don’t think it will. I just, I think it should. I mean, I just have to say it.
Nick: See that’s where I’m telling you, like I’m not asking what you think should happen or what should happen. It’s what will happen.
Nick: That’s a question I get, and I’ve been trying to answer it based on what I hear and what I think. I don’t see a change happening mid-season.
Andrew: Here’s the thing too, Nick. Listen, I’m as down on Doug Nussmeier as an offensive coordinator as anybody else. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Nick, because Nick sees it through my texts. People may say, “Nick’s not wanting change.” Nick wants change as well, but he’s also a realist and knows that it’s not going to happen. Trust me. If you could see our text messages throughout the game, you would understand that.
Here’s my thing too, Nick. I don’t know what you can change right now, because you have no quarterback. As crazy as that sounds, I don’t know what you do. Can you realistically change something with the offense right now? Franks isn’t even doing the little things right, getting in and out of the huddle, getting his guys lined up, making the proper changes at the line of scrimmage. I mean, on 4th down he throws to a quadruple covered Brandon Powell that has no chance of catching it, when he has a wide open Mark Thompson there. What you can change, I don’t know.
I’m in the opinion that Malik Zaire isn’t an SEC quarterback. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he can come in and do something. I don’t know. Unfortunately, I don’t have the privilege of watching practice, so I don’t know. I just know that we all know how bad Feleipe Franks is, and if they’re not even thinking about playing Malik Zaire, something’s wrong.
Nick: Malik Zaire is not going to help your passing game. He’s just not. Can you do some other stuff where you run an option? I wouldn’t mind seeing Malik Zaire in the shotgun with Lamical Perine and Malik Davis next to him, or with Davis and Toney, Perine. I think there’s stuff you can do with him, and Malik Zaire, honestly, gives you a better passing threat than a Kadarius Toney. I’ve said it when people started calling. I know you frustratedly during a game, more jokingly, said, “Put Toney in at quarterback.” He’s not a passing threat. Yeah, he threw a very nice ball while rolling out, on the run, but he’s not throwing the ball 10 times a game.
Nick: Not throwing the ball 15 times a game.
Andrew: It was a joke.
Nick: Yeah. He two hopped a screen pass in his next pass. He two hopped a screen pass, which is a pass that you and I can throw.
Andrew: Let me ask you this, Nick. Maybe this gets to the point that I’m trying to make, and you’re trying to make. We heard about some packages for Zaire. I haven’t seen Zaire play a game since Michigan.
Nick: Here’s the problem. We hear about a lot of shit, and then we ask about it. On Monday, Mac was asked, “You only took three deep shots. You only threw the ball 16 times.” “Well, we had some stuff. We didn’t get to it.”
Nick: How are you not getting to it?
Nick: Other than you’re only running 60 plays a game. How are you not getting to this stuff? Make a point to get to it. There’s stuff going on with the coaching staff, and it starts with Jim McElwain. There’s just excuses. We didn’t get to that. Well, we need to play with more of a sense of urgency. Why didn’t you? How do you fix it? We’re going to work on it in practice. How? Specifically, how? We’re going to do it. There’s just no answers to anything publicly. I’m wondering if there’s even answers to player’s questions to coaches privately at this point.
Andrew: Here’s the thing, Nick. I think this is what you’re getting at. How do you not get to those plays? Okay. You have 60 plays. Damn. If they’re that good of plays, you think you want to try to run them multiple times out of different formations, that kind of stuff. What’s your deal? Why are you not running those? We heard about the not getting them to Toney and those things. Okay. That’s cool. Whatever. Fine. You got to them. That’s fixed. What about all this other stuff?
Here’s the thing I will say with Zaire. If you do bring him in, you could go to some of your spread attack a little bit more. Malik Zaire can throw a quick slant across the middle. Let’s get that cut off. He can throw the crossing route, that kind of stuff. If there’s a package, let’s see. Mix something up. This stale ass offense can’t get worse.
Nick: They can. It can absolutely get worse. We always say that, and it always finds a way.
Andrew: That’s true.
Nick: It can get worse.
Andrew: That’s true. It would take a lot to get worse. I just don’t have answers for it, Nick. I don’t understand it. Part of me says, “Get in your goal line package and just run.” Just run. At least there you’ve got an opportunity. I mean, was it Muschamp’s last year where there was times he was running the goal line at like the 30-yard line? We laugh about it, but at least the offense was moving. At least something was going on here. Your best three players are Toney, Perine, and Davis, as far as moving the ball and scoring. Do something with that. If Tyrie’s not there, then do something there.
Here’s my thing too, Nick. Maybe I’m just dumb. I don’t know, but LSU’s running the flat sweep, the jet sweep. Dre Massey, Kadarius Toney can’t run that?
Nick: Apparently not. Dre Massey …
Andrew: He’s MIA.
Nick: Why can’t they both be on the field at the same time?
Andrew: Because that’s too smart. Because they haven’t got to it yet. They haven’t got to it yet. That’s my new phrase. They haven’t got to it yet. When people ask me where is the offense? They haven’t gotten to it yet.
Nick: Where is the offense? They haven’t gotten to it yet.
Andrew: There you go.
Nick: It’s coming though.
Andrew: Will Muschamp’s line was we’ll get it fixed. Coach Mac’s line is …
Nick: We haven’t gotten to it yet.
Andrew: We haven’t gotten to it yet. Can we make that stick, Twitter? We haven’t gotten to it yet. There we go.
Nick: Need shirts. We need people making shirts. We just haven’t gotten to it yet.
Andrew: There you go. Nick and I would like 5% of all shirt sales with that. We will be trademarking that before the podcast comes out. Nick, let’s talk about these uniforms. Before you say it, Nick, I want to say one thing. Okay? You and I can hate them.
Nick: I’m going to surprise you, I think.
Andrew: Okay. You and I can hate them. Fans can hate them. Everyone can hate them. This uniform is for one thing, and one thing only. What do you think, Nick?
Nick: It’s for recruits. The players like them too.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s right. Here’s the thing, Nick. This is my opinion on this. At first, I was like, “Oh my God, them things are ugly.” Then I started looking at them more. I saw some photos of the actual shirts, jerseys, that kind of stuff. They’re wearing on me a little bit here. I’m thinking, “Maybe this is okay.” The only issue I have, and I told you this, Nick, I love the helmet color, all that stuff. I think the Gator should have been a little smaller, but those gloves are fire, bro.
Nick: Okay. It’s absolutely made for recruits, for players. I’m looking at a tweet right now from Jawaan Taylor. He loves them. A tweete from Anthony Schwartz, loves them. Antonio Riles. The players love them. I like the helmet. I like the oversized logo. I don’t know what’s on the other side. I hated, and hate still, the one that Nike is selling, the one that you and I could go buy. I hate that one. I think that looks a little bit different. I think the tighter look around pads, I think that looks different than the loose flowing one that the public can buy. I think the cleats are probably the best part.
Andrew: The cleats are fire too.
Nick: I also think you missed an opportunity to throw on some damn real ass gator boots, some real gator skin cleats. That would have been badass. I would have signed up for whatever you wanted to wear if you rolled out with gator boots onto a football field.
Andrew: Somebody somewhere would have been …
Nick: PETA would have been putting blood all over them. They would have done their thing.
Andrew: Somebody somewhere would have said, “They had to kill gators.” Then you’d have had the activist’s rights and all this other stuff. They probably dodged a bullet there. Here’s the thing. It’s got people talking.
Nick: Here’s the thing. I’m running a Twitter poll. 54% of 1,500 votes so far, people like them.
Andrew: That’s what I’m saying. I mean, we can joke about it all we want, but, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters is that the kids like them, and the recruits like them. You have a target area that you try to hit, and they hit it.
Nick: Yeah. Jerseys are not for boosters. I know boosters like traditional ones, and boosters give money, and this and that. This kind of stuff is for 16, 17, 18-year-old kids.
Nick: They like them.
Nick: The target likes them.
Andrew: I was texting with some recruits last night about it. Just saying, “What do you think about it?” The overwhelming response was, “Love them. Love them. Where can I buy those gloves?” That’s the thing. It’s different. I don’t know. I don’t know what it’s going to look like on Saturday, but at first I was like, “Oh my God, this is so ugly.” Then I see it some more, and I’m like, “Okay. This might not be too bad.” We’ll see how it is there.
Nick, real quick, I know we ran through it with Brauninger, but run through the injury report for me.
Nick: I don’t think the injury report that we got Monday is really going to be as bad as it will be Saturday. I think Tyrie Cleveland will be out again. I haven’t really heard anything on Moon and the severity of it. I’m going to be out at practice on Tuesday and practice on Wednesday. We’ll see if he’s out there, and what he’s going through. I think Moon and with what’s going on, with who you’re playing against this week, I think having all linebackers on deck is important. Then I wouldn’t expect Nick Washington to play. We’re going to see somebody different playing safety this week.
Andrew: Yeah. There you go. I’m in the vote that it’s Shawn or Jawaan Taylor. We’ll see where that is. Nick, let’s get out of here. We will see everyone on Friday with our predication podcast. Tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out. We’ll see you.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. Podcast is also on iTunes. Search @GatorCountry. Subscribe there. Leave that five-star like, rating. We’re still working on getting it onto other platforms. If we can’t, it’s on the website, as always. Social media, @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter, @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew: There you go. Be a fun week. I’m excited to see this. Here’s the deal. Nick and I complain about this team not being fun at times, but we have the opportunity to watch football for a living. I think Nick and I both need to take this opportunity to say we appreciate you guys following us, appreciate you guys listening to us and everything.
Nick and I are just trying to be honest with everyone. There is a lot of people saying, “The media doesn’t want to do this. Doesn’t want to do this.” Nick and I are both trying to be honest with you guys and say what needs to be done, without being too down on it. There are some positive things going around the program. There’s some great players on this football team as well. Some changes have to be made, and I, for one, am not one to hide behind the computer or anything else and hide my feelings.
Nick: No. You’re going to always tell it like it is, Spivey.
Andrew: You know what I’m saying though, Nick? I say this jokingly, but being for real as well. We have a job to do. We have to say what we feel. Someone said, “You guys are hiding behind your press credentials.” I’m not hiding behind my press credentials. I’m not hiding behind nothing. Nick’s not hiding behind nothing either. You have to be balanced. You can’t be just negative, and you can’t be just positive. We’re trying to bring both of that. I mean, face it. There’s things that need to be fixed. There’s things that are going well. Recruiting’s going well.
Anyway. All right, guys, we’ll see you guys on Friday. Get out of here. As always, chomp, chomp. Go Braves.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.