GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we bring you our prediction podcast for the Florida Gators vs. UAB Blazers game on Saturday afternoon.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down the keys in this game for Florida, plus talk about the latest injury news that the Gators are facing.
Andrew and Nick also discuss the latest coaching news, plus we predict our players to watch for the Gators this week.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, are you alive over there? This coaching search is getting wild, brother.
Nick: I’m over it.
Andrew: Me too.
Nick: I’m over it. Until that’s figured out, that’s what people want to know.
Andrew: I don’t know. It’s a rollercoaster ride, and we said it, and we continue to say it, and that is we believe that Florida and Chip Kelly side and agreed on what it’s going to take to make him Florida’s coach and what not. It’s just a situation now of getting some fine lines figured out. We reported on Thursday that there’s some holdup on the facilities. There’s some holdup on the speaking arrangements, of how many he’s got to do and all that kind of good stuff. That’s a question mark that they’re going to have to work out. It’s a wild ride.
Nick: Yeah. There’s a lot of things to consider there. We’re still told it’s not even AD and coach talking. Right now it’s all lawyers and people like that that are hammering out and ironing out those details.
Andrew: That’s kind of where we’re at as well. Like you said, it’s the hammering out the details. I’ve heard nothing that makes me believe what we reported on Tuesday night, that Chip Kelly is likely to be the guy, is wrong, at all. We know that Chip Kelly and Scott Strickland have worked out what it’s going to take verbally and all that good stuff. We’re talking at 12:15 on Thursday. I still think Chip Kelly is that leading guy in the race.
Nick: It’s not Lane Kiffin?
Andrew: Not Lane Kiffin.
Nick: What am I doing here?
Andrew: Not Lane Kiffin. Man, oh man, how fun would that be? I’m just going to tell you, man, I’m excited to see if Chip comes how offense goes. I don’t know about you, Nick, but I’m here for those 50 point games.
Nick: You’re not allowed to score 50. I think that’s like a monthly thing. You’re giving 50 points a month, and you can figure out when you want to use those 50. That’s how offense works, right?
Andrew: That’s how offense has worked lately, but Chip Kelly’s not going to run offense like that. He’s going to run offense where you score, and you score, and you score, and then, as the old ball coach used to say, “You put in the second string and allow them to score for a while.”
Nick: Can we get off coaching for a second? I got something that’s really hurting my heart.
Nick: Ray Guy Award came down to their finalists.
Andrew: It’s your fault, Nick. You’re a voter.
Nick: We aren’t allowed to vote until the semi-finals come out. I was given a Ray Guy vote this year, obviously, but I couldn’t vote until the top 10 came out. Our boy, Jonathon Townsend, is not there.
Andrew: Pretty ridiculous, Nick. I’m just going to let you know. Second in the nation in punt average, 48.5 yards. I mean, he’s Florida’s offensive MVP.
Nick: Probably just the MVP. You can say MVP. Not even going to specify offense or defense. Just MVP.
Andrew: Yeah. Wow.
Nick: I may be foregoing my vote. I may just not vote.
Andrew: You’re going to make a write-in.
Nick: Yeah. I will write in a vote.
Andrew: Okay. It’s what you got to do, my man. Whatever you got to do over there to make the dream come true. The good thing is you get to see him in the Senior Bowl.
Nick: Yeah, him and Duke.
Andrew: Are you going to be upset when he has to play for the North?
Nick: No. I just won’t be at practice with you. I’ll be at the North practice.
Andrew: Okay. You know that’s a 9:00 AM practice. Can you wake up that early?
Nick: I won’t be at the North practice. Never mind. I’ll see him at the game.
Andrew: Lordy. That’s where we’re at. We’re talking punters and talking coaching search, when Florida’s about to play UAB. Let’s get to some housekeeping notes here. Malik Zaire not practicing on Thursday, as you reported. As Randy Shannon said on Wednesday’s teleconference, that means he likely will not play this weekend. Antonio Riles is not playing as well. I know that might hurt some people’s feelings, but offensive line is getting down.
Nick: Yeah. You’re out TJ McCoy. Riles had actually played some this year, and you’re out Riles. Now what is the line right now? Ivey, obviously.
Nick: Geez. Ivey, Harkless, Jordan. It’s got to be Fred and Jawaan.
Andrew: What happens if someone else goes down?
Nick: I don’t even want to think about that.
Andrew: Just start praying?
Nick: I mean, Nick Benalcazar is a senior walk-on.
Andrew: Stone, big Stone.
Nick: Stone Forsythe, yeah. Shoot though. It’s rough.
Andrew: Yeah. Let’s just say that Mike Summer’s dream line of all these guys he recruited is starting to come true.
Nick: This is Mike Summer’s dream?
Andrew: I don’t know. I’m just being a smartass.
Nick: Sounds like a nightmare.
Andrew: I mean, he wanted it. This is what he wanted. He recruited these guys, and now they’re coming true. By the way, what does it say about some of these guys that still can’t crack the line though? The Andrew Mikes of the world.
Nick: He’s going to get a degree from the University of Florida.
Andrew: You look at some of these guys, and it’s like this is bad.
Nick: He’s going to get a degree from the University of Florida. That’s a pretty good deal.
Andrew: Yeah. Let me ask you this, Nick. This has been a conversation that everyone’s talked about. We hadn’t really dug too much into it, because of not really talking too much about the coaching search, but people always are asking me, “Should Brad Davis return to Florida next year with the new head coach?” They say, “His line sucked this year.” How much do you blame this line on him, and how much do you just say it’s bad players? I’m going to say I think he’s doing …
Nick: Who is his guy on the line?
Andrew: There is nobody.
Nick: So he’s coaching, and we talked about it. The line was bullied in the first game, and then kind of got better every game, until you lose your starting right guard and your starting center.
Andrew: I agree with you. My thing is this, Nick. Do I think he’s done a better job with these guys than Summers did? Yes. Here’s the thing too, and I guess this is what people might harp on, and that is has he done a great job? Maybe not, but I think for what he’s working with he’s done a great job. I think the energy is a lot better than it was. I think that the pad level and that kind of stuff is there. I mean, you can only get so much out of some of these guys. What he’s getting out of some of these guys, let’s just face it, he’s doing miracle work almost.
Nick: It’s tough to judge. I would not put it on Brad at all. Based on when he came in, what was there, and what he had to work with, I thought they were playing well until injuries started to happen.
Andrew: Yes. I agree. I think, when you go back and you look at the Kentucky game, and I think we can both agree that Kentucky has a pretty good defensive line, and they did okay in that game.
Andrew: I think they’ve done well in certain games. I mean, when you’re down two offensive linemen, and let’s just be honest, right guard was a question mark already, what are you doing?
Nick: Are you on the same page as me?
Andrew: Yes. I am. I think Brad Davis has done a great job. I think he’s just a victim of no depth. I think that’s the question mark. The only thing I will say to that is I think that Waany has maybe taken a step back, and I wonder why that is.
Nick: Why is that at Florida? Not just Waany.
Andrew: I don’t know. I mean, that’s the only question mark I have when I talk about Brad Davis is that. Some people say he didn’t take the off season as serious as he did the off season before. Maybe that’s the case. Maybe he didn’t. If that’s the case, that’s bad on his part, but in my opinion, he’s taken a major step back. I mean, I think we would agree that there was a lot of people that said that Waany was a guy that was going to be one of the top offensive linemen in the SEC, and I can argue he’s not even top three at Florida right now. I think you could argue Heggie and Martez Ivey were playing better than him.
Nick: I think Heggie was your best lineman. To me, Martez has been fine this year.
Andrew: Here’s the thing with Martez for me, and that is Martez is what he is. Martez hasn’t lived up to five-star status or any of that. I think that we sometimes want him to be something he isn’t. I don’t think he’s lived up to five-star status. He is what he is. He’s a guy that is put together by a bunch of screws. Would you agree with that?
Nick: What do you mean he’s put together by a bunch of screws?
Andrew: His shoulder’s been worked on five or six times, both of them. His knees are bad. I mean, we still believe that he’s playing with a bum knee right now from being hurt in fall camp. Right now, he is what he is.
Nick: Yeah. I think ever offensive lineman plays through some injuries, but he’s played through a heck of a lot.
Andrew: That’s exactly what it is. He’s played through more than a lot of people will play through in their entire career.
Nick: That’s a rough deal. That just gives more fuel to everyone that’s on the fire Mike Kent train. I mean, he’s not going to be retained.
Andrew: Yeah. I mean, here’s the thing, and we talked about this when Coach Mac was fired, and that is how bad was the strength and conditioning? It was bad. Florida’s one of the weakest teams in the country and in the conference, and that is on there. People ask me all the time, “Is injuries on Mike Kent?” No, but there are some things that could be done to maybe prevent it.
Nick: Here’s a question. Everyone said that Dillman sucked, because of the injuries in 2013, 2014. South Carolina’s had like six guys hurt this year.
Andrew: I was about to say. They’ve got injuries too.
Nick: Not really. I mean, Deebo Samuel was the big one, but I remember reading through their game notes. I think they were down six guys last week.
Andrew: Wasn’t it six starters?
Nick: No, not six starters. I think it was four starters.
Andrew: Okay. I just know that earlier in the year they had a lot of injuries as well, as our buddy, Chris Clark, said. It’s bad luck, and then there’s some injuries. A sprained ankle, it doesn’t matter what it is. When you start having a lot of knee injuries, you wonder are they doing things the proper way, that kind of stuff. That’s what I’m saying.
Nick: Yeah. It’s gotten to the point at Florida where can you even say it’s bad luck? How much bad luck? We’re looking at this year Randy Shannon said they have 51 healthy players. That’s less than an NFL roster goes into a game on Sunday. In 2013 I think there were 26 or 27 guys that were hurt, so at what point is it not bad luck, and is it something else?
Andrew: Yeah. You’re right. Nick, we got a game to talk about though. Florida and UAB, you’re going to mix it up. What are you expecting? Don’t give me that.
Nick: I don’t feel like I have any confidence in being able to say Florida. I can’t say that I’m confident in Florida at all when it comes to can they play disciplined defense, set an edge, contain the edge, and make smart decisions when it comes down to playing defense against a run, not even RPOs, but just a run spread team. To me, I’ve seen nothing to give me confidence to think that they can do that. I think we mentioned it on Wednesday, UAB’s not a team that’s built to come from behind.
Andrew: Neither is Florida.
Nick: Neither is Florida. If UAB, I mean Spencer Brown, kid from Kimberly, Alabama, he’s already got 1,177 rushing yards this year. Averaging over 5.5 yards a carry and 10 touchdowns. I know you’re not playing SEC competition, but I just haven’t seen enough from Florida’s defense to tell me they’ll play disciplined defense this week. If UAB gets ahead early, they’re built to run the ball and control the clock, and win games like that.
Andrew: Right. Exactly. I feel like Florida has to come in and play sound defense, and play with some energy. The offense, how the offense started at South Carolina was bad. They need to figure out a way to start the offense out quicker, and get the game going a little bit in their direction. I just feel like Florida has to find a way to start the game on a positive note. In front of the home crowd.
Nick: Yeah. It’s been over a month since they’ve been able to play at home. What is your confidence level then?
Andrew: I don’t know. It’s tough. You’re playing UAB, Nick. I mean, you should be more talented than them. Should. But, yeah. I mean, my confidence isn’t high in this team at all though.
Nick: I keep going back and forth, because you know me, I go back and forth with at some point you have to blame the players, and you can’t keep blaming coaches. No way. Florida has more talent than UAB. Florida has more talent than South Carolina.
Nick: At some point, I go back, and I blame coaching then.
Andrew: All right. Give me your keys then.
Nick: You have to get ahead early. I think that, to me, that’s the biggest one. You can’t fall behind. To me, the biggest key is getting ahead early, building a lead, and then really only two keys for me. The second key is you have to play disciplined defense. When you’re playing a team that wants to run a spread run option, you’ve got to set the edge. You’ve got to be able to contain the edge. I don’t understand why Florida can’t do it and why they haven’t done it. To me, it’s easy. It’s easy. Just do what you’re coached, and nothing more.
Nick: There’s not like an extra play to be made. Just sometimes your play is to set something up for somebody else, and that’s your play.
Andrew: Right. That’s what they have to do in this game. They have to go out and just play as a team finally. That’s something that hasn’t been the case lately. Then offensively, they got to come out, and they’ve got to find a way to run the ball. I don’t know what you do with Feleipe. I don’t.
Nick: I don’t know how you can say come out and play as a team. It’s like Week 11, Week 12. If you haven’t done it by now, I have no confidence that you’re going to do it.
Andrew: Do you expect that the same game plan will be made, trying to throw across the middle?
Nick: No, because it works too well.
Andrew: You know what I’m saying though? It seems like with Malik there was that wanting to throw across the middle.
Nick: Why can you do that with your 6’ quarterback and not your 6’6” quarterback?
Andrew: Because stuff gets batted down in his face.
Nick: This team’s no fun. Here’s a question for you. How far away, whoever the new coach is, how far away is this team?
Andrew: I don’t think it’s far, Nick. I don’t. I don’t think it’s far away. I think it’s a quarterback away, and it’s a system away. It’s a system of building around the quarterback, and that is exactly what I think is going to be needed is a team to come, or a coach to come in and build around his players.
Nick: So then you think there is talent on the roster. I still think you need a quarterback. You’re of the opinion that there is talent on the roster, and all they need to do is get a coach that can mold his offense to the players they have, not the other way around.
Andrew: Correct. You have to go into this game, or you have to go into next season, with whoever your quarterback is, if that’s Matt Corral, if that’s Feleipe Franks, and you’ve got to build around him, and you got to make him comfortable. You got to make him comfortable.
Nick: Could it be Kyle Trask?
Andrew: Could be. Could be.
Nick: Man, what a lost year.
Andrew: Yeah. All right, Nick, anything else you want to talk about in this game, or do you just want to go ahead and do picks?
Nick: Do you want to talk any more about coaches? I mean, there’s not much to update until, I guess, it actually happens.
Andrew: Yeah. I personally have said what we needed to say on that, unless you got something to add. Fire away.
Andrew: Fire away.
Nick: Do you think it’s gotten to the point where, from a perspective, where if it’s anyone but Chip fans will be disappointed?
Andrew: Fans are going to be pissed off.
Nick: Even if it’s Scott Frost, who they would have loved two weeks ago, a week ago? Even if it’s that they’ll be pissed off?
Andrew: It’s tough for me to say. I think that they’d be okay with Frost, but yeah. I don’t know. I think everybody wants Chip, and I think they’d be okay with Frost. Anybody besides those two, I think they’d be pissed off.
Nick: Yeah. I think, in my opinion, and I’ll ask you what yours is, Chip Kelly is pretty low risk. To me, it’s a proven winner. He’s done it with guys that are not as talented as the guys he would be able to recruit and the guys he’ll have on the roster at Florida. To me, Chip Kelly’s a very low risk hire.
Andrew: Low risk hire? Yeah. It’s kind of what we said before, and that is you have a situation where Frost is a guy that still has a chance to bust. Does Kelly? Yes, but he has a hirer risk of succeeding. There’s no guarantees. Kelly is more of a guarantee than Frost.
Nick: You think Kelly’s no more of a guarantee than Frost?
Andrew: No. I’m saying Kelly is more guaranteed to win than Frost, but there’s no true guarantee.
Nick: Okay. I think, and I like Scott Frost, but it’s almost kind of like why hire, if you can, why hire the assistant when you can hire the head coach?
Andrew: Right. Exactly.
Nick: It’s almost like the Saban tree, and we talk about that and how both of us are over that whole thing. Stop hiring Saban assistants. Maybe that’s what it is.
Nick: Maybe we’re going crazy.
Andrew: Maybe so. Nick, let’s do some picks. Terrible week of games this week.
Nick: Awful. Rival week is next week. Everyone takes the cupcakes before that.
Andrew: Exactly. One big game, top 25, is Michigan and Wisconsin up at Camp Randall, where they do the little happy dance, and they’ll get wild. Why is this game at noon, 11:00 standard time, out there in Wisconsin?
Nick: That’s a Big 12 thing, or Big Ten thing.
Andrew: That just seems like a great 7:00 kick.
Nick: Especially with this slate of games.
Andrew: Exactly. Who you got?
Andrew: I’m going Wisconsin as well. Michigan is a fraud. Just is what it is. Jim Harbaugh, man. When does the seat get hot for him?
Nick: I think this year was always going to be a rebuilding year for Michigan. You look at them, and they have eight wins.
Andrew: Okay. You got a point. Let’s go to the next one. Let’s go up to Rocky Top, where LSU will take on Tennessee, without Lyle. Lyle is not the coach anymore.
Nick: What did you call him?
Andrew: Yeah. That’s what they’re calling him up there in Tennessee country. I don’t know why.
Nick: Why Lyle?
Andrew: I don’t know, but it just sounds fun. I mean, who wants to call him Butch?
Nick: I like Butch.
Andrew: Okay. All right, Butch, without Butch.
Nick: Man. Can Brady Hoke lead these guys to a win?
Andrew: That’s like say Randy Shannon can win football games. Get out of here. Get out of here. LSU rolls. Get out of here.
Nick: Yeah. I’ll go with LSU.
Andrew: Get out of here. Did you see the running back, Kelly, calling out saying that they need a coaching staff that they can trust?
Nick: Well, talk about piling on.
Andrew: Here’s another one for you. Mississippi State at Arkansas. Long, Jeff Long is out as AD, so we know Bert is following.
Nick: That’s how that works.
Andrew: That’s how it works. What you got?
Nick: I got the fighting Mullins.
Andrew: Fighting Mullins. Okay. There you go. I guess this is a big game. This is a game you and I think is going to be closer than people think. The Cavaliers travel down to the U.
Nick: It is so Mark Richt to get to the conference championship game, be the #3 ranked team in the country, and then have a game like this. Right?
Andrew: Every part of me wants to say that this a game Mark Richt slips up on.
Andrew: But, since I want Mark Richt to actually slip up, I’m going to say …
Nick: You’re trying to do a reverse psychology.
Andrew: Virginia wins.
Nick: You’re going Virginia?
Andrew: I mean, Miami wins.
Nick: No reverse psychology.
Andrew: Miami wins, sorry. Miami wins.
Nick: So reverse psychology.
Nick: I’m going to go with Miami.
Andrew: That’s what I said too.
Nick: You’re kind of picking them, but not really picking them. You’re picking them, because you think that you picking Virginia has some bearing on how the game will play out.
Nick: I’m saying Miami is a really good football team, and they’re playing confident, and they’re playing well. I think they win today, and then I’ll probably pick them against Clemson in two weeks, or in three weeks.
Andrew: Okay. We’ll see. Here we go. Gators-Blazers. Who you got?
Nick: I’m going to start with Lamical Perine, probably score the only touchdown of the game, for Florida.
Andrew: Taven Bryan has a big game.
Nick: Beautiful. David Reese will lead the Gators in tackles.
Andrew: David Reese will? Okay. Cece Jefferson, one of his last few games at home, has a big game.
Nick: Not going with anyone on offense here?
Andrew: Probably not.
Nick: I want to pick Johnny Townsend, just because. I’m going to go with Johnny Townsend.
Andrew: I’m going to go Eddy Pineiro.
Nick: Johnny, I would have voted for you. I didn’t have a vote until they got to the finalists, and now I’m going to abstain.
Andrew: Eddy. Eddy. That’s what I’m going to be hearing a lot, because Randy thinks it’s okay to just score field goals.
Nick: If you score enough field goals, and don’t give up any points, you’ll win.
Nick: What a disaster.
Andrew: That’s what I’m going with. Who you got? Who you got winning this game?
Nick: I’m picking UAB.
Nick: I’m to the point where I was in 2013. I’ll pick Florida after they win another game, after they show me they can win a football game again. I think this team’s gotten to the point where they don’t know how to win.
Andrew: They don’t. They really don’t. I’m going to say Florida, man.
Andrew: I’m going to say Florida. I think they find a way to pull this out. I do. I’ll say Florida wins. That’s my pick. Nick, got some coupon codes if you want to come check us out. Hit one of us up, we’ll get that for you. We got basketball going. Nick, tell the people where they can find us. We’ll get out. We’ll see everyone on Monday.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. You can also find the podcast on iTunes. Search @GatorCountry. Subscribe there. Have it sent to you as soon as it publishes. Do your social media thing, @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter, @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew: There you go. Guys, we appreciate it. As always, chomp, chomp. Go Braves.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, are you alive over there? This coaching search is getting wild, brother.