I don’t want to come across as negative, especially after reading the piece by Carlos Alvarez last week but I want to be as truthful as possible. As we all know we are handcuffed with injuries and there are rationale reasons why we find ourselves where we are. However, our pride kicks in yelling and screaming, “WE ARE FLORIDA DAMN IT!” Well, the source of that pride and bravado is a group of kids that literally give sweat, blood and unfortunately bone so we can walk around in Gator Gear with much swag. I can guarantee none of these kids signed up for this. I feel for each and every one of them. That said do I retract any prior article I wrote? Nope! It’s what I honestly felt and believed at the time. Remember that lack of filter I admitted to prior?
What can I say about losing other than it’s the one state of performance that nothing goes unnoticed? The Gators aren’t winning which means Will Muschamp is under the microscope. I have heard complaints about the man’s hair, wife, dog and just about everything in between. I listened to his call-in show this week as it devolved. Questions asked went beyond the pale and there were a couple of responses that were extremely unfortunate regardless of how you spin it.
A quick word: A leader delving into suppositions to validate his tenure in a job is not a good look. Any reference to Urban (truthfully challenged) Meyer’s exit state is out of bounds. You own the product fully after three years. Each and every kid is yours. Also, we were not an offense that was within a game of the national championship. Our offense ranked in the 100s . The mere numerical quantification of that ranking denotes we were an offense whose performance in several games almost precluded us from being competitive, much less the driving engine of an 11-2 team. We had and still have a spectacular defense that’s a joy to watch and gets after people. Our offense is akin to watching paint dry, undisciplined and not as well coached as two hungry bowlegged monkeys trying to walk a single file line juggling bananas. This is blatantly obvious to the trained, untrained, lay person, neophyte and even the blind man on University Avenue selling tickets. Just admit there needs and will be changes. Statements to the counter give those of us pulling for you little intellectual ammunition in a debate about why we believe in you.
After this week’s votes of confidence by the University of Florida administration, it’s pretty useless for fans to continue to demand his head. It ain’t coming as the executioner has not even talked about taking the axe out of the sheath. That leaves a lot of fans lost and the message board camps of Realist, Sunshine Pumpers and Negative Nancies in debates as dysfunctional as congress. In which camp I fit? I really don’t care as I readily stir the pot under various aliases. Sue me. I’m a late night message board troll.
The staff and players probably feel like they are swimming in quicksand as people in glass houses throw bricks and rocks while they struggle to stay positive and post a win. As I clean my glass wall, I hope they continue to fight every week. There are still some very attainable goals left for the year. A lot can be forgiven with a knock off of the injun in the Tallahassee tu-tu. For the young guys these are invaluable reps for development and as the competition dances in the end zone it creates a nice little mental note for the years to come. Believe me it sticks.
So what do we as fans get for our administration’s vote of confidence? We get one the brightest young coaches that will have grown immensely in his job thanks to the perseverance of even living through this hell. That is, if he doesn’t implode. Yes we are spoiled with coaches making it happen quickly but we hired a rookie head coach who needed development and perhaps a little refining. We don’t want to invest in that development without reaping the rewards. We will have a lot of natural attrition and early departures to the NFL but what remains is a slew of four-star athletes, hopefully all healthy and with a desire to stand by the head man as they plot and plan to stick it to the world. Don’t forget a top three recruiting class with desperately needed pieces. So, as your aggravating FSU, Miami and other co-workers dance and say silly little things, stay strong in the belief that this is only a temporary state. If that doesn’t work, superglue, tacks and stink bombs are on sale this week.
South Carolina Synopsis: Small ball will only get you so far. You eventually have to put the ball in the air. The guys played hard and with a lot of heart, showing they have not given up. There are no moral victories. However, there is something to be said about showing that you can still hold your head up high.
Defensively: Hell of a game, lights out at every spot. The only flaw in coverage was the tight end. Eventually we will learn to cover that position at crucial times. It just seems that at linebacker and safety we lose this position in coverage.
D-Line: Great effort inside just needed better push and penetration to compliment Ropo (Ronald Powell) and (Dane) Fowler’s pressure.
Linebackers: Young Jarrad Davis played outstanding, actually blanketing a few backs and the ever elusive tight as the entire group did a good job overall. We still have issues disengaging from blocks leading to a few creases but as usual Mr. (Mike) Taylor played hard and aggressive.
Secondary: Overall good game save for Brian Poole getting caught looking in the backfield and not being able to rotate his hips with the ball in the air. I really thought he was going to recover and pick it. Great tackling by Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins when needed.
Summary: At this point I’m numb. I probably should be mad but the effort was outstanding, particularly considering all the circumstances. We played small ball again and hoped and prayed to win as South Carolina played tight and not to lose. Yes, we need to improve exponentially on offense but the talent is there to win with a healthy roster, some changes in philosophy and better coaching. As stated, stink bombs, tacks and superglue are on sale and the only way out of this for the guys is to keep fighting.
Thank you for your time,
Ephesians A. Bartley II