Florida Gators vs FSU Breakdown with Bud Elliott: Podcast

Bud Elliott of Tomahawk Nation joins the Gator Country podcast for this edition to talk Florida Gators football versus Florida State on Saturday night in Gainesville.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre talk to Elliott about how the Florida Gators football team matches up with the Florida State team on the field on Saturday.

Andrew and Nick also talk about the latest injuries for the Florida Gators as the head into the game versus Florida State, plus they break down how recruiting is going between the two schools.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? This is your man, Andrew Spivey, at the school out west hate week. We do not refer to it as the three letter word. Nick, what’s up? Are you feeling the hate?

Nick:                         Yeah. Jalen Tabor on Saturday called it a school down the road. Jim McElwain called it personal. It is the school out west hate week, big week for recruiting. Big week on the field. Always an interesting dynamic. All of these kids have kind of played together in the backyard, pop warner, in high school, and now it’s kind of on the biggest stage for them. I love rivalry weeks. We had Tennessee rivalry week. We had Georgia rivalry week. Now it’s school out west. We got it going.

Andrew:                 Hold on. Hold your horses. Butch, he sucks. Butch sucks. Mark Richt sucks. Does Jimbo suck? Is he like those two guys? I don’t think so. You just compared them all to that, and that’s not good. Jimbo, I’m going to be the man of peace here and say you’re not like Mark Richt, and you’re not like Butch Jones. You actually know how to coach a football team.

Nick:                         Jimbo’s got four wins against Florida. That’s almost as many as Mark Richt does in about a quarter of the time.

Andrew:                 Wow, and he does know how to at least get his team to a championship. Maybe Mark Richt should take Georgia to the ACC.

Nick:                         That might be the best thing you’ve said on the podcast.

Andrew:                 That was lit.

Nick:                         If you get that, hit me and Spivey with a hashtag, UGAtotheACC on Twitter.

Andrew:                 Definitely. Nick, we got a special guest coming on with us today, our good friend, Bud Elliot from Tomahawk Nation. Good friend of both of ours. He’s going to come on, drop some knowledge in just a second. He’s going to break down this FSU game for us.

Nick:                         It should be good. A ton of recruits. You’ve got a running visitors list. Everybody and their mama is coming down to this game. Bud is the only guy we’d want to talk about FS, school out west, with. Let’s just cut it out. I’m out of breath. Let’s bring Bud on.

Andrew:                 Let’s go right on to him. I need somebody else to talk to besides you. Let’s go to Bud Elliot.

Nick:                         We’re joined by Bud Elliot. He is the creator, owner, operator of SV Nation Recruiting, and also Tomahawk Nation. He is also the ringleader of FSU Twitter. Bud, how’s it going?

Bud:                          We’re throwing barbs like that early?

Nick:                         Maybe it’s a compliment.

Andrew:                 It’s a compliment.

Bud:                          I lost all these followers because I told them to f- off earlier in the year, because they were, I don’t know. I’m not an overly sensitive dude, but they were saying stuff to the female journalists, and I was like, I’m not down with this. Had nothing to do with her work. They were basically just, it was just over the line sexist, and I was like, Twitter, if you follow the analytics, Twitter is just a very small portion of where the traffic comes form, and it’s a great time suck as well. I don’t need you all to follow me. I make plenty of money without you all there. I was kind of glad I did, because they have a really bad reputation. I’m like, I don’t want to be associated with that.

Nick:                         You’re like Dr. Frankenstein. You just lost control of your creation.

Bud:                          I guess so. Those folks, and I’m sure there’s a lot of good people that use that hashtag, but there’s a few…

Nick:                         It’s the vocal minority that really kind of ruin things.

Bud:                          The lunatic fringe, if you will.

Andrew:                 Here’s the deal. Bud, I heard there’s a way that you can get a lot of followers and never get caught.

Bud:                          How do you do that?

Andrew:                 It’s called being a catfish. Florida, we can give you some example of how to do this. We had to cover, not really cover, we had to see that on our timeline last week. It was pretty cool.

Bud:                          I’d like to learn more about this catfish. I will say, I do not eat fresh water fish. I don’t like tilapia, and I don’t like catfish. I live in Florida, and there’s no excuse to eat like folks in landlocked states. Salt water fish only for me.

Andrew:                 What about dead fish? That’s what Coach Mac likes.

Bud:                          I heard that. He is so, he loves analogies, doesn’t he?

Andrew:                 He likes analogies. He likes basketball. He likes no socks. He likes 1940 music, and he loves his Montana.

Bud:                          He also looks like the guy, the TV show where that family has a billion kids.

Nick:                         19 Kids and Counting.

Bud:                          Yeah.

Nick:                         Jim Bob Duggar.

Bud:                          I looked at him, and I was like, he really looks like this guy. I don’t know if that’s a negative statement or not. Hell, for having 19 kids the guy looks pretty good. I’d be really stressed out and have a few more wrinkles.

Andrew:                 Coach Mac has 115 kids on the roster. Bud, it’s rivalry week. I don’t like you this week. You’re from the school out west, so we’re not friends this week. What’s it like right now? You and I had a little talk about this yesterday. It’s been a long time since this game had two good football teams. What’s the feeling in Tallahassee about the Gators? Just the general feeling going into this game.

Bud:                          I think it’s kind of bounced around some this year. At the start of the year I think most people thought Florida State was pretty clearly the superior team, and I was a little bit worried about this, because they set an NFL record for the number of draft picks in a three year span with 29, an all time record. I’m like, this is probably going to be a rebuilding year. I don’t know how confident you should be. Of course, Florida was also rebuilding. Then you guys had that great start, and Florida State lost to Georgia Tech, had some other close games, and lost to Clemson. Then Will Grier had the flu, and got suspended for a year. Treon has not looked so good. I think it’s kind of back to being a little more confident in Tallahassee.

Andrew:                 I don’t think I would be worried if I was Florida State. As Coach Mac said, he said, “Those guys in Tallahassee probably expect to come in the Swamp and kick the Gators’ ass.” That’s exactly what he said. I don’t think either one of us could argue.

Nick:                         That’s been a motivational tactic of his. We’ve heard that. That’s probably the fourth game this year that we’ve heard it. I’m not buying into that this time around.

Bud:                          Florida State has only scored six touchdowns on the road this year in four games. It’s really difficult to blow anybody out if you’re only scoring 14 points. They did it to Boston College. They won 14-0. Still, that’s not an easy thing to do.

Andrew:                 No. Here is my thing, and this is kind of where I keep going back and forth on this game. I think neither team really scores very many points. I’m going to be honest. Both defenses are really good, but FSU has the big time advantage in special teams. Aguayo doesn’t miss. Hardin doesn’t make. Maybe it’s a field goal game some way or another?

Bud:                          I think particularly when you have offenses that are not necessarily great in the red zone. You have a significant chance to stall, and if the ball’s at the 30 or the 25 for Florida State is a likely 3, and Florida has to get 5 or 10 yards deeper, then I think that’s certainly a special teams advantage. FSU’s punter is better this year, but not nearly as good as Townsend. He’s been great. I would give FSU the special teams advantage because of the kicker. I think the gap between the kickers is bigger than the gap between the punters. You’re right. In a low scoring game field goals really do matter.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this, Bud. This is something I’ll be the first to admit. I haven’t seen a ton of Florida State games, but how are they in kick coverage? Are they good on kickoff return? Do they allow a lot of kickoff returns, punt returns, that sort of thing?

Bud:                          They’ve been pretty good in the coverage. I don’t think anybody’s really hit a huge return on them this year. They had a couple times where Aguayo I guess was just trying to be too fine. He’s had like four kickoffs out of bounds this year. That’s kind of impacted the starting field position a little, but they’ve been pretty good in coverage. What they’re terrible at this year, on both punt and kick, is returns. They get like no return yards on punt, pretty much share catch everything. They don’t block a single gunner, and on kickoff returns they’re just about equally as bad, and they fumble it some too. We had one last game against Chattanooga.

Nick:                         That’s been Florida’s problem. As far as kicking returns, Brandon Powell’s been there all year, and fans are kind of quick to point out the guy with the ball in his hands, but the coverage, the kick return coverage, for Florida just hasn’t been there. So many times Powell has taken the ball seven, eight yards out of the end zone and not making it back to the 20. Antonio Callaway has been a huge bright spot on punt returns, and that’s a big thing where Florida’s been able to kind of take advantage of people.

Bud:                          I guess the thing I worry about with the punting game, if I’m Florida State, is getting one blocked. I feel like they’ve had a couple this year that were close. I’m sure Florida has looked at that. If I’m Florida the chance to make a game breaking play in this game would be a punt block is certainly a roll of the dice that I’m willing to make, because the chance my offense has to move the ball a whole bunch is probably not great. The chance of Florida State’s offense moves the ball a whole lot, even if you don’t block the punt, and let’s say you get a roughing the punter, is also kind of small. I think it’s very much worth it to roll the dice, try to block a punt, even if the down side is a 15 yard play.

Andrew:                 Let’s dive in here a little bit. Let’s start with Florida’s defense versus Florida State’s offense a little bit. What do you see being the biggest keys? For me I think it’s Florida’s defensive line versus Florida State’s offensive line. Florida State’s offensive line is struggling a lot, like Florida’s, but do you see another area that is key to the game, or did I kind of hit the nail on the head right there?

Bud:                          I think that’s certainly it, because I think both these defenses are going to have a big time advantage if it gets 3rd and long. Whatever team can stay ahead of the chain better is very likely going to win this game, especially because neither of these passing attacks are all that scary at this point. For Florida State I think this is their 7th or 8th different combination of offensive linemen they’ve used this year. I know that they’ve had 9 or 10 guys play due to injury. It’s been kind of a match unit they’ve been rotating out in and out all year. Really they lost their entire line to the NFL. That quite an adjusting period for fans having to watch the stuff this year.

Getting up to the second level I think is going to be very important, because Dalvin is a guy, you can tackle him for loss occasionally, but he’s also the most explosive element of FSU’s offense, and he’s a true home run hitter from the running position, and we don’t see that a lot. You see a lot of guys who are good runners who grind out yards, but Florida State really has a true explosive threat with Cook where if he gets past linebackers most of those dudes in the secondary don’t do a very good job of tackling him. He runs the arm tackles extremely well. You’ve got to get a piece of those linebackers if you’re FSU’s offensive line.

Andrew:                 I think that’s where maybe this game turns into a kind of low scoring game is that is one thing Florida’s been very good at is their safeties have been really good tacklers. Maybe the corners have suffered a little bit, but the safeties have been pretty good about that. I think another thing is Florida can go man to man with those guys with Tabor and Quincy and Vernon. I think it’s shut down Dalvin Cook and make Maguire or Golson, whoever comes in at quarterback, beat you.

Bud:                          For sure. Maguire is still having a little issue with his back he’s had the last couple weeks. Our guy yesterday in the practice report noted that he was still constantly bending over. To me it looks like he’s adjusting his sock, but we know different. He’s actually trying to stretch out his lower back. He looked really bad in warmups before the NC State game, and then he went out, and he threw darts all over the field. I don’t know if they shot him up or something, but he looked a lot better.

I assume that they’re going to do whatever they need to do in order to get him out there, because they do not want to have to play Golson, who really doesn’t know the offense, doesn’t really check. We had Syracuse’s defensive coordinator after the game against the game against Syracuse say that he would much rather have seen Golson, because “Golson doesn’t make checks.” That’s probably a feather in Maguire’s cap that at least helps them to get out of plays that are just by alignment of the defense dead at the line of scrimmage before the snap.

Nick:                         For me all year I’ve kind of been saying Florida State’s offense goes as Dalvin Cook goes. He’s had to run on one hamstring through portions of the season, and a lot of Gator fans are quick to poke fun at the ACC, mention the schedule, but Dalvin’s faced five top 50 rush defenses nationally this year. He’s averaging 22 carries for 163 and 1.6 touchdowns in those games. Is he healthy now? How did he make it through that stretch? I know he missed the Syracuse game. Is he healthy? This will be the second best after Boston College, who leads the country, this will be the second best rush defense he faces. Florida’s dealing with some injuries. Can Dalvin be successful against this team in the environment? 7:00, nighttime at the Swamp.

Bud:                          I think Dalvin can be successful really against anybody. He’s just a once in a generation type back. I think he’s the best back Florida State has ever had. I’ve never seen a guy in Tallahassee run like Dalvin does consistently, and he is so much better than when we saw him in high school. High school he looked to bounce everything. He knew he could use that speed. I don’t really recall a guy who had that sort of Pop warnerish tendency in high school becoming such a good inside running with vision and running and making cuts in tight spaces like Cooks been able to do. He’s done it in short order in Tallahassee. The thing is can you get Florida blocked? I guess that we mentioned defensive linemen missing for Florida. Ivie’s out. You said McAlister is out.

Nick:                         Joey Ivie’s missed about a month. He’s a big nose tackle, big defensive tackle. Alex McAlister kind of providing that rush off the end. Jon Bullard’s dinged up. Florida’s been able to run about 11 guys on the defensive line, and four of them are now showing up on the injury report. They actually had to move a defensive lineman who had been playing offensive line for two years back to defensive line last week just to be able to keep a rotation and keep guys fresh.

Florida’s been able to kind of stay away from the injury bug, but it’s really starting to kind of show up. Injury bug making up for lost time these past couple of weeks. To me that’s a really big concern when you’re facing somebody like Dalvin Cook, not having not only some of your better players in, but not being able to rotate and keep them fresh for four quarters.

Bud:                          Right. I guess the good thing there for them is that FSU, and I think Florida too, they both play at a pretty kind of grinding slow pace. Neither of these teams are going to get up there and try to run 100 plays a game. In some regards that’s a blessing for them. I don’t think Florida State will necessarily try to go up tempo or anything. I’m not sure they can operate at that pace and avoid a bunch of procedure penalties. That’s going to be a fun matchup to watch.

Andrew:                 Let’s go a little bit now to Florida’s offense versus Florida State’s defense. I guess you call it Florida’s offense. It’s a shit storm, Bud. Let me just tell you, it’s a shit storm. Demarcus Walker surprisingly is one of the, and I say surprisingly, I don’t mean that. I always thought Demarcus Walker was going to be a good player, but he didn’t have a good year last year. Now he’s one of the top defensive linemen as far as statistics go. Where do you see the biggest matchup? Of course they’re going to play nine guys in the box, but give us a look of the Florida State defense in general.

Bud:                          FSU’s going to play a defense that looks very similar to what Muschamp ran in Florida, what they run at Auburn, what they run at Bama. Honestly, I don’t think Geoff Collins’ defense is that much different than what they run. It’s pretty much you just don’t have a whole lot of time in college football to run that many variations of defense, especially if you’re going to play this sort of hybrid 3-4, 4-3 type look. They’ll base that nickel for the most part, with the exception when they play heavier sets, when they’re playing like 22 personnel they’ll go and play their 3-4.

The best thing about this defense right now is they have two NFL corners in Jalen Ramsey, who’s been excellent, and Martez White, who doesn’t really get a lot of talk, but actually might have been the better cover corner so far this year. White’s a former basketball player, stolen away from Nick Saban at the last minute, not stolen but held off Nick Saban at the last minute. He quit basketball. He put on 20 pounds of muscle in the off season. They’ve been really able to on the outside say, “Fine. You guys take those. We’re going to help to supplement the middle of our defense, which has really been ravaged by injuries this year.”

Linebacker they’re incredibly thin. They’ve had some major issues at safety as well. Thankfully Derwin James has come in and played like a stud. They do kind of flood the middle of the field with pass defenders and force you to work the ball outside the numbers, and most college quarterbacks don’t have the arm to consistently drive the ball outside the numbers, especially not against corners of that type. That’s been a good formula for them. Deshaun Watson hit them over the middle and stuff, but Deshaun Watson is really damn good. I figured they were going to lose that game anyway.

The defensive line does have really good depth. They’re not perfect. I think you could probably say they’re a top 10 defensive line group in the country, but they have Nile Lawrence-Stample, who’s a dependable nose guard. Behind him they have Demarcus Christmas, who you remember played for Manatee. They have Derrick Nnadi. Josh Sweat has been shockingly good considering he blew out his knee a year ago.

Nick:                         Incredible how he’s been able to turn around in that recovery time.

Bud:                          He was on a Javy, like one of those scooters that you see advertised on daytime TV for old folks. He was on a Javy during the official visit last year, which was in late November. You’re talking about a guy who wasn’t even healthy enough to walk around FSU’s campus to now. Whoever that doctor is that did the surgery, this is something I want to do a story on eventually, but they have certain doctors now that they send guys to. If you have a groin issue that’s very complicated there’s a dude in Philadelphia they fly you to. If you have a complex knee thing, apparently the New York Giants’ surgeon is the really good guy. If you have an elbow or an shoulder they still want to send you to Andrews in Birmingham. It’s kind of neat to see that. Apparently the Giants’ guy was the one who consulted on Sweat’s knee.

Nick:                         Real quick. We have a lot of fans who will remember, obviously Dalvin Cook, Travis Rudolph, and then Ermon Lane. He put up a little Instagram picture, maybe calling out Vernon Hargreaves a little bit. Hargreaves has four interceptions and a reception this year, so that’s five times he’s caught the ball. That’s just one less than Lane. What I wanted to bring up is Ermon Lane is blocking, and I think you, Andrew, and I all talked together about that’s not something we ever thought Ermon Lane would do watching him in high school. What are the impacts that he makes, and also Travis Rudolph, as guys that Florida fans might be familiar with?

Bud:                          Travis came in as a receiver who was, I think we all agree, very college ready.

Nick:                         Yes.

Bud:                          Maybe not like the highest, because he didn’t have elite like 4-3 speed, and he’s not 6’4”, but from a route running standpoint, from a catching standpoint, from an understand of how to work both against man, which you see in high school, and zone, which is something a lot more college teams play and play effectively, especially with all this match coverage type stuff. He’s done a really good job for them. He’s not a superstar, but he’s a dependable solid receiver.

On the other hand, Ermon Lane has really not developed in his second year, and I think it’s safe overall to call him a disappointment so far. He’s not catching the ball. Different sites keep different catch rates and what not, but Ermon’s is hovering around 50%. It’s never good when you have a catch rate that low, especially when you’re not a major deep ball threat, which so far he has not been. I know he dropped a wide open touchdown against NC State last week, or two weeks ago. Jimbo said, “We’re going to keep throwing him the ball.” You’re right. He’s big, and he blocks really well. I’m shocked. He’s a high effort blocker, but he also is long and strong and is able to get some of those guys blocked on the outside. If you run the ball as much as Florida State does with Dalvin Cook, blocking is a big time priority.

Nick:                         We’ve talked about it a lot. Florida’s receivers, Antonio Callaway, guys have done a really good job blocking for each other. He’s just, Lane in particular, watching him in high school was just a player that I thought would kind of be a diva wide receiver in that if the ball’s not coming my way I’m not blocking. I’m probably not going to run my route. Let me know when you’re throwing me the ball, and I’ll actually play. Blocking is probably the ultimate unselfish act as a wide receiver, and he’s doing it. Hats off to him. It surprised me.

Bud:                          Very surprisingly. He actually blocked pretty well last year. It surprised me that it really didn’t take him a full year to learn how to block. I don’t remember him dropping balls like this in high school. I don’t know if it’s a confidence issue or an eyesight issue or whatever, but he’s not catching the ball like he used to.

Nick:                         I know Andrew is itching, and you are also an expert as far as the recruiting field goes.

Andrew:                 Hold on, Nick. I have one thing to say. I have a comment. Bud, I know how you can make Ermon better. Just let him follow Dalvin to the Jugs machine.

Bud:                          Exactly.

Andrew:                 Bud, let’s go. Let’s talk a little recruiting here. You and I talked about this all the time. The rivalry is on and off the field for Florida and Florida State. It’s recruiting as always. Now they have one guy in particular they’re really battling over. It’s Janarius Robinson. You and I talked about this a lot. Where do you think this ends up, and how much of this do you buy that Janarius is really looking around? How much of this is Janarius being Mr. Four Star prima donna?

Bud:                          I don’t know. I think it’s some of both, but I’m kind of reluctant to criticize high school kids unless they do something that’s actually illegal or really underhanded. I don’t think any of us made great decisions in high school. Janarius has been committed for a while, and he is looking around. There’s no doubt that he’s intrigued by Florida. he’s intrigued by Alabama. You can talk to different people at Florida State. One guy will tell you, “I think Florida’s a bigger threat.” Another guy will tell you, “I think Alabama’s the biggest threat.”

The one constant here though has been that J Rob’s mom wants him at Florida State, and has always been in FSU’s corner. I know he came back for another visit this weekend, and things seem to be trending back in FSU’s corner. I know that he’s tight with another recruits who are committed to FSU, to UF, to Bama. He’s very tight with Josh Brown, the Florida State commit out of Mallard Creek, North Carolina. They saw each other together at one of the Nike events, I believe. I think he’s tight with Antonius Clayton. He knows some guys who are going to Alabama. I think he does have legitimate interests in Florida and Alabama.

FSU’s side I think is more confident now than they were a couple weeks ago, just based on him actually taking those visits to FSU the last couple weeks and maybe, I don’t want to use the word solidifying, because that makes it sound like this thing is over, and I don’t think it is, but certainly they’re a little more confident now than they were a couple weeks ago when he was checking out UF and Bama so much.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this, Bud. This is something that I’ve really started to think about a lot the last couple of weeks. Again, it’s been a long time since Florida and Florida State were both good. I guess, what do you see as that affecting in state recruiting? Is that better for in state recruiting? What are your thoughts? You’ve done this a little bit longer than I have, so I’m interested to hear your thoughts on that.

Bud:                          I think it is a big deal for recruiting, at least the game it’s a great atmosphere whoever’s hosting the game, so you typically have an advantage if you can take that great atmosphere and turn that into a win. There’s a palpable sense of pride in the university from all the fans who the recruits see when they’re at the game, particularly if the school wins. That way they don’t see those fans booing those players. I think that it’s always better to visit, if you’re going to visit on a game weekend and not after the season, it’s always better to visit during a big game. We’ve seen TV specials before. I think Travis McGriff was talking about how he went to Florida over Florida State because Florida won that year when he was senior, and so that’s when his mind up, if I recall from back when Sunshine Network used to do all those kind of specials and stuff. I think that’s the one I remember.

It’s certainly a big deal. I’m kind of of the opinion that Florida and Florida State should both recruit at an elite level, especially as long as Miami is not really investing a big and elite program. They don’t have a stadium. They really haven’t spent serious head coaching money in more than a decade. If you’re not having to split the state three ways in the state, you’re both going to recruit at a serious level, but I do think winning this game and holding the edge in the series could have an advantage for one of the schools.

Nick:                         We do know that Miami does send a lot of emails out to their fans, and that’s really where they drum up support for the fan base. I don’t know how that helps recruiting, but they do have a nice internet presence. I was worried that the weather last week was going to affect the fan attendance for Senior Day, really like to see the seniors get a good sendoff, but I’m glad to see that that person stayed throughout the entire game. I do want to ask you, we’ve kind of had to deal with coaching changes or the threat of coaching changes, and how that’s impacted recruiting. Last year when Jim McElwain took over Florida had six kids in the recruiting class. With Les Miles looking like his days are numbered, unbelievably to me, at LSU, and Jimbo Fisher’s name being thrown around, how can that affect Florida State down this stretch run for recruiting?

Bud:                          I think it certainly could if it lingers. It seems like LSU wants to fire Les Miles and wants to pay a $15 or $17 million buyout, which is a whole lot of money, even for the richest of schools. Granted, it’s over 8 years, going back to the high school formulas here, that’s probably what? About $12 million due to inflation. $12 million still seems like a lot of money to me, but at the same time if Les Miles isn’t the guy for the job in their opinion, then get rid of him. Jimbo Fisher would be the top choice, or one of the top choices. I did a really good podcast on this today for TomahawkNation.com. We talked about this for about 40 minutes, the advantages, the disadvantages.

I just don’t know if the timing is right. Jimbo just put in all this work to groom this rebuilding team, and he thinks it’s absolutely a loaded squad for 2016 and 2017. Golson is the only scholarship senior on offense. They returned 39 out of 40 guys on that side of the ball. They really don’t lose all that much on defense. They get Clemson and Florida in Tallahassee next year. They’re probably going to be favored in every game. I’m not sure he wants to pass that up. I don’t know. We’ll see. I’m also not sure that LSU, after paying that buyout, is actually in a position to offer him a lot more money that FSU could offer in any real significant difference, especially considering at some point you’re kind of into this hypothetical where LSU’s offering him more than Saban or Ohio State. You know what I’m saying? Those guys have one national titles. It just doesn’t seem realistic that they would go ahead and be the first school to offer $8 million or something.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this, Bud. This is a thing Nick and I have going on this thing. I’m going to go into a rant, so get ready. You’re like me. You’re a lawyer, so we can discuss this. What do you think of this Les Miles garbage that he’s going to get fired? Is it fair to him when a guy like Mark Richt sits in Georgia doing nothing except for being mediocre every year, and he’s staying for a job, but a guy like Les Miles, who actually has chances to win championships, appears in championship games, is going to get fired? Are you agreeing with this, or is this just off base?

Bud:    I don’t necessarily agree with it. I think that pretty much any program you want stacked up against Nick Saban’s Alabama is going to look like a failure. Right?

Andrew:                 Right.

Bud:                          He just happens to be in Nick Saban’s division. He has to play Saban every year. Look at the couple times Georgia has faced Saban. They lost close one time, and they got their ass beat the other two times, 2008, and then also this year.

Andrew:                 Right.

Bud:                          What if Mark Richt was in Nick Saban’s division? He probably wouldn’t be around still, because the losses would be that much more embarrassing. There’s nobody in the East that has consistently crushed Richt, well Florida has kind of, but losing Urban Meyer sort of disrupted the continuity of that a little bit. We look at this. Is it fair? No, but from a contractual relationship standpoint this is why you negotiate that buyout. You want to fire me? Cool. Give me $15 million. I’m sure Les Miles will find a job where he’s more appreciated.

Nick:                         I’ll take $15 million and a couple million from Fox or ESPN to talk about football where my main stress is that I stumble on a word rather than did I win a football game that made a booster happy.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Bud:                          Exactly. Do you think if you’re a coach, this is something I was tossing in my mind here a little bit. Do you want that LSU job now, given those crazy expectations?

Andrew:                 No.

Bud:                          It’s like anything short of beating Nick Saban is going to be labeled a failure. I know coaches are always super optimistic. When we deal with them when they’re talking about who they’re going to get recruits wise, and they always overshoot. You know how this is. In the back of your mind you’re like, “That kid’s going to Alabama, or that kid’s actually going to go to Ohio State. I think you guys have done a good job trying to get him.” They’re always super confident. I think coaches are always confident they can do the job, but at some point you got to have that in the back of your mind, “Look what they just fired this guy for doing.”

Nick:                         This is a guy that averages 10 wins a season.

Bud:                          In the SEC West.

Andrew:                 This is my thing, Bud, and this is what I was telling Nick. I tweeted about this yesterday, and I had a Twitter no it all. I said, “This is one of those things that when you look back in 5 years you’re going to say, we should have kept Les Miles.” In my opinion what happens now is they’re going to fire Les, because now it’s almost like a no turn back situation. Les doesn’t feel wanted in Baton Rouge, so he’s probably going to be fired. They swing and miss on Jimbo, and they have to go get some swamp donk out of wherever, and he’s going to recruit from nothing, and in four years they’re going to fire him, and they’re going to say, “Our program has sucked for four years.” That’s where I see this thing headed.

Bud:                          It’s not guaranteed, but it’s certainly a possible scenario. It’s entirely possible that the guy you bring in is not as good as Les Miles. Les Miles is quirky, and he’s different, and he occasionally mismanages the clock, but recruiting you could probably argue that recruiting is more important than coaching in college football. I know that Florida fans are going to say Muschamp, and that’s kind of an isolated incident. You have to be somewhat good at coaching, but Les Miles is not a bad coach. He’s a good coach/great recruiter. That’s a pretty damn good combination. I don’t if he’s going to be able to do it for everywhere. He’s already what? In his 60s, but he’s pretty damn good. The chance you hire somebody better is kind of slim.

Andrew:                 Yeah. That’s my thing. My thing is this. There’s always an opportunity for them to go to the championship. Georgia there’s never an opportunity for them to go to the championship. We don’t talk about Georgia going to the championship ever. LSU we always are talking about. Two weeks ago we were talking about them versus Clemson in the national championship game, because they were the #2 team in the country. This is just where I don’t see a good move.

Bud:                          In order to go at LSU you play Florida every year, and Florida over the last quarter century has been one of the best programs in the country. You have to play Bama every year, Auburn every year. Arkansas is always kind of a tricky game for you, based on when they play it. You probably shouldn’t lose to Arkansas as much as you have, but still. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are not great programs by any stretch, but at least they’re investing top dollar in facilities and coaches, and they’re getting better recruits than say Wake Forest and Syracuse, were kind of the comparisons I made for Florida State. An elite team doesn’t really worry about losing to these kind of dregs of the SEC, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to lose 5, 6, 7 ballgames in the SEC than it is the ACC. Undefeated wise you’re probably going undefeated in either conference if you’re actually that good, but your bad year could turn into a really bad year in the SEC West.

Andrew:                 Agreed. Bud, every week we bring on a guy, and we have to ask him his opinion on the game, how he thinks it’s going to play out. I’m putting you on the spot, Bud. FSU Twitter will not hate you, but will you give us a pick on this Saturday’s game?

Bud:                          I’m going to go Florida State. What am I going to do? Florida State, 17. Florida, 14.

Andrew:                 You’re a homer. You’re a homer, Bud.

Bud:                          You guys just said you can’t make field goals.

Nick:                         No. They sure can’t.

Andrew:                 I didn’t tell you. I’m kicking Saturday.

Nick:                         Okay. So then Florida won’t attempt a field goal.

Bud:                          I’m going to send you my tour de Orlando for my meals for the Under Armor thing based on our Atlanta Braves bet.

Andrew:                 That is fine. We will be at Orlando. You will be eating dinner on me, for sure. Bud, we appreciate it. We’ve got to get out of here, because the people are getting tired of listening to you from the school out west.

Nick:                         Go ahead, Bud. Tell them where they can follow you for both recruiting and for Seminole news.

Bud:                          For Florida State stuff, if your Florida fans want to find that, that’s at TomahawkNation, and then for the national recruiting stuff at SBNRecruiting, and enjoyed being on, guys. Good podcast.

Andrew:                 Definitely. Thanks, Bud. We will see you on Saturday. Just bring good luck for the Gators, and maybe a field goal kicker if you can find one.

Bud:                          Maybe FSU has one laying around. I’ll see if I can rustle you up one.

Andrew:                 Definitely, Bud. Thanks for coming on. See you Saturday.

Bud:                          Take care.

Andrew:                 Nick, I couldn’t rile him up. I tried to rile up the Nole, but the Nole wouldn’t get riled up.

Nick:                         Bud is like me, man. We appreciate our jobs, and we realize that, man, I’m going to get out of here, and I’m in the middle of a day. I’m going to go the gym, and then I’m going to go watch a little football practice, talk to some football players. Then I’m going to go home, because I’ve got a pretty cool job. You’re trying to rile Bud up, it’s not going to happen. He’s got a job that he likes. He does a great job over there covering recruiting for SBN Recruiting and also fantastic job, probably one of the best guys to follow if you’re looking for Florida State news.

Andrew:                 Absolutely. Bud’s a good guy, good friend of ours. Really good in recruiting as well. A lot of really good points. This is where I think we go back to talking about this special teams game. I keep thinking about it. I keep going back to this game. It’s crazy, and people are going to hit me with hate mail, or hate Twitter, but this is two similar football teams. I say that in they both suck with offensive line. They both have really good defenses, and believe it or not, Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves are two of the best corners in the country. I do think Vernon’s better, but where are these teams going to find points? I go back to special teams, and I love Austin Hardin. He’s a great guy, but his confidence is gone. Ricky Aguayo can make field goals. Where is this coming from? Where is Florida scoring points on Saturday?

Nick:                         Here’s what I think we didn’t touch on with Bud, and that’s punting. Florida State, and what he told us is that Florida State kind of tries to play the same way as Florida. That’s hold onto the ball, let your defense rest. Eat some clock. When you get into that that becomes a game of field possession, of where are we starting? If we’re getting pinned back in our 16, and we’re trying to play our conservative style where we’re just holding onto the ball, are we going to get out to maybe our 20? Our 25? Then Florida’s now starting on their 30, their 40. Field position really becomes a factor, and I think that’s where Florida has the advantage on special teams. Special teams at Florida are a mixed bag. Punting has been fantastic.

Andrew:                 Bud hit on that. He said that punting has been better than last year.

Nick:                         Florida State has hated their punter. I think it was Beaty, for two years now. They’re getting a little bit better. I wouldn’t say that they’re on that level where Townsend and Florida’s punting game is. I would give Florida the edge as far as punting. Place kicking not even close.

Andrew:                 Absolutely. That’s dog doo-doo for real, for real. Again, I think Mac, and I think Nuss, have a plan somewhere or another to get some points on the board, whether that’s the zone read, whether that’s Josh Grady playing some Gator tail, whether that’s Jim McElwain playing quarterback, Clarabelle playing quarterback, I think they’re going to find some way to put some points on the board. I don’t know how, but they do. Hopefully.

Nick:                         I don’t know what the under is. If I was a betting man I’d be taking the under.

Andrew:                 If it’s over 10 I’m taking the under.

Nick:                         I think this is going to be a very low scoring game. The key is to stop Dalvin Cook.

Andrew:                 No. You know what the key is, Nick?

Nick:                         What’s the key, Andrew?

Andrew:                 The key is just to win the game. Find a way to win. Championship teams find a way to win. If it’s 2-0, 3-0, 1-0, 5-0, 6-0, whatever it is. Find a way to win the game.

Nick:                         The Florida’s offense has looked the only championship their winning this year is the SEC East championship, which they’ve already won.

Andrew:                 No, Nick. They have an opportunity next week to win the SEC, and that’s what you want, an opportunity. You’re thinking about next week, but, Nick, you need to win today.

Nick:                         Nick Saban and Jim McElwain might need to come up with a safe word for when things get out of hand in two weeks. We’re talking about a team that just had to go to overtime to beat a two win FAU team. That’s where the offense is. I don’t want championship teams that barely beat FAU. I want championship teams like Alabama who beat you by 50 when you pay a million dollars to come play us. That’s what I want.

Andrew:                 Just win the day, Nick.

Nick:                         I’m winning the day.

Andrew:                 Here’s the deal, Nick. In the record book what does it say for both teams on Saturday? One question.

Nick:                         It says pfft.

Andrew:                 No. It does not, Nick. It says, Florida, 1, and it says, Alabama, 1. It says Florida’s 10-1, and it says Alabama’s 10-1. Meet you in Atlanta, big boy. That’s all you got to think about, Nick. I don’t need you to come over here bringing all this nastiness to my podcast here. You’re killing my vibe, Nick.

Nick:                         I’m just talking about what we’re seeing. I think most will agree with me. Anyway.

Andrew:                 Let’s get out of here.

Nick:                         It will be a good game. Bud is a great guy. Always look forward to getting to see him in person, whether it’s recruiting or at one of these games. We will be back on Friday with a post-Thanksgiving tryptophan wake up podcast on Friday. As always, enjoy your Thanksgiving. Enjoy your holiday. This podcast is actually going up on my birthday.

Andrew:                 I was going to give you a shout out.

Nick:                         Going up on my birthday. 27 years old, 27 years young on the 25th. Send me some love on Twitter. Send me some love on the message boards.

Andrew:                 You’re asking for love on your birthday.

Nick:                   It’s my birthday. I can do what I want to. I can cry.

Andrew:                 People would just do it for me. Nick, say those few magic words. Let’s get out of here, man. I’m tired of listening to you.

Nick:                         As a birthday gift I need to end the podcast. You go ahead and say what you got to say.

Andrew:                 No. Rattle on about where to find us.

Nick:                         Where to find us. You know it. It’s not changing. @NickdelaTorre on Twitter. Excuse me. I didn’t change, but I changed it. @NickdelaTorreGC on Twitter, @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter. TheGatorCountry on Instagram. We’ve got a ton of great stuff from some pretty talented picture edit guys going up there. @GatorCountry on Twitter. www.GatorCountry.com. Hit it, Andrew.

Andrew:                 Butch, Mark, you know the drill. Guys, send my boy some birthday love for real. Good dude. One of my best friends. Good dude, for real, so you all send him love. As always, go Braves, and see you this week.

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.