Podcast: Breaking down the 2020 football schedule and the start of practice

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we breakdown the 2020 football schedule for the Florida Gators that was released on Monday night.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre give you their thoughts on the games and look at some key moments in the schedule for the Gators.

Andrew and Nick also discuss the start of fall practice that started on Monday and what Dan Mullen had to say during his press conference.


Andrew:                What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we have the football schedule. We have football practice. Only thing now we need is a football game, and we’ll be good and 2020 will be somewhat normal again.

Nick:                         Yeah. I’m sitting here, and there’s some people like, what about the College Football Playoff, what about bowl games? How do you do all this stuff? I’m like, listen, just get me to September 26th. I don’t care about any of that stuff. We will talk about it later. Let’s just get to some football games. You got guys on the field. As we tape this Tuesday, it’ll be the last day in just helmets. On Wednesday they’ll be in shells. So, helmets and shoulder pads, Wednesday, Thursday. Then they get a day off, or a couple days off, before going into full pads. Soon. Full pads and real football soon.

Andrew:                 Like you said, that’s the biggest key is getting to September 26th. We’ll see what happens. I think the Big 10 right now is having some questions that’s going to have to be answered as well, because some players are wanting to play. We’ll see where that goes. I don’t know that I’m fully ruling out the Big 10 not playing football this year.

Nick:                         Certainly. I haven’t checked today, but last I saw yesterday Justin Fields’ petition had a quarter million people that had signed it already. You’ve got the Penn State Athletic Director coming out and saying he doesn’t even know if the chancellors and presidents even voted. How does an Athletic Director for one of the schools not know? To me, it seems like there might be, depending on the ground swell and if this stuff keeps going on, at the very least I could see lawsuits being filed and this going to court.

Andrew:                 That’s what I was going to say. Then if they do play, what is the situation of playing? They’ve pretty much shut down practice. I mean, they have shut down practice, so there is nothing going on right now. What’s the revamp period for those guys, that kind of stuff? The saying that Greg Sankey had a while ago, and that is there’s still a ton of unanswered questions. That’s still accurate today.

Nick:                         There’s going to be questions. There will be questions if we get past September 26, and we get to October 10, Week 3. There’ll probably still be questions Week 3. Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, there’ll be questions. I think what the SEC did, what the Big 10 and the PAC-12 didn’t do, is I think the SEC’s model early on to push everything back and just allow them more time to collect data and to kind of figure things out. I think what you’re seeing is now the SEC, the ACC, and the Big 12, with their models, are pushing forward. We’ll see what happens when students come back to campus and stuff like that. UNC had a difficult first week, so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens when the students come back to campus. You’re putting a lot of trust in the football players to make smart decisions. Don’t go out to Midtown.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Know who you’re hanging out with and what they’re doing as well.

Andrew:                 It’s kind of like they’re saying in the MLB right now, and that is for three months or whatever it is you have to kind of be locked up. You kind of have to be in your own little prison cell kind of thing. It’s got to be go to class, go home, and make sure that you know who you’re around and make sure that you know what you’re doing in every situation, because of the simple fact of if one person tests positive then it spreads like wildfire. Next thing you know, you got five games cancelled.

Nick:                         That’s not great. I wonder if they could use the open weeks. Obviously, December 12, the week before the SEC Championship, is an open week, universal open week for the conference, and that can be used as a makeup date. I wonder, ever team has an open date in their schedule, and let’s say something happens in Florida’s schedule, and they can’t play A&M on October 10. Does Florida and A&M, can they make it up on Halloween, on October 31, the week before the Georgia game? Is that something? I know you don’t want to play Georgia when Georgia gets an open week before playing you and to not have that bye week, but in the interest of trying to finish all 10 games, is that something that’ll be on the table? I think so.

Andrew:                 Right. I think there’s going to be a lot of things that’s on the table. We ran into the situation a few years back where you had to play the certain amount of games, when the LSU game was cancelled and that kind of stuff. Does the SEC adopt kind of like what the MLB is having to adopt, and that is maybe having to go on winning percentage, that kind of stuff? Here’s thing, and it goes back to your point earlier. Just get to September 26. Get some games in, and then see what it is. It might be a situation where there’s zero games that get cancelled, and everybody does what they’re supposed to do. You get this season off with a bang, and you have no problems, and the SEC and the Big 12 and ACC look smart and make all their money. There’s so many what ifs, but it’s what ifs in 2020. It’s kind of the norm.

Nick:                         Yeah. I like that they’re at least trying.

Andrew:                 You look back. Obviously, you don’t want to take away from what this is. This is very serious. There is some risk involved here, but you continue to see different things. You had the Big 10 say that some of their doctors say that they don’t see an issue with playing. You have one of the leading heart doctors at Duke saying, you can play ball. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal. You have all these things coming out. You start to kind of wonder of what’s real, what’s not real, as far as what people are being told in these meetings. Is it simply a thing of we don’t want to be the one to get everybody sick? Is that the reasoning for postponing the Big 10 and the PAC-12 is fear? If it is fear, Lord forbid, I don’t live in fear.

Nick:                         Yeah. Me either. I think we’ll learn a lot. It’s nice that we’ve got a schedule. Today they came out with some safety guidelines. Really kind of just leaving it up to the schools to do their due diligence based on what local guidelines are, stuff like that. It is what it is. We’re being glum. Let’s talk the schedule.

Andrew:                 There you go. Let’s do it. Some interesting things. First off, I want to say that ending the season with Tennessee is awesome.

Nick:                         My initial instinct, my first thought when I saw that, and I think a lot of other fans have the same thought, I immediately went back to 2001, when the game was moved because of 9-11, and I immediately saw, who was that? Was that Dallas Baker?

Andrew:                 Yes. No. No, it wasn’t Dallas Baker. Dallas Baker was way later than that, Nick. Now that you put me on the spot.

Nick:                         Can’t remember the wide receiver, but that’s what it was. It was the smack? Was that the year? It might not have been the year, different year.

Andrew:                 Yeah. That’s exactly the memory that it brough back for me was that game. That was what kept Florida out of the SEC Championship game that year. So, that one stood out to me for sure. Not the normal Halloween game for Georgia, pushed back a week. The biggest thing is no back to back road games. I think that’s a big thing there. Having the bye week before Georgia is good. You get that extra rest. Both teams do. I think, Nick, and correct me if I’m wrong here, nobody else has a bye week before playing Florida, correct?

Nick:                         Yeah. A couple notes that I put out on Twitter and then on the message board, like you just said. There’s no back to back road games. Florida won’t leave the state, Gators won’t leave the state of Florida from, when is it? They go to A&M on the 10th, and then they play LSU at home, Missouri at home, open week, Georgia in Jacksonville, and Arkansas at home. That’s five straight weeks of not leaving the state of Florida before going up to Vanderbilt. Then other than Georgia, nobody has an open date the week before playing Florida, and Florida gets to play, who is it? Florida plays, who plays Alabama before?

Andrew:                 A&M, right?

Nick:                         A&M plays LSU before Florida. That’s not good. They get Kentucky plays Alabama the week before Florida, and who else? There’s another one. Somebody. There’s two teams that play Bama before Florida.

Andrew:                 You look at the schedule, you still feel pretty good about it. I know there was a lot of fans that were griping, because Florida had a very favorable schedule this year, but after looking at that, I don’t think that it’s a bad draw for Florida by any means. You have that game against Tennessee at the end of the year, and that one could be big. You look at, still circle that one game, Jacksonville.

Nick:                         I think, if I look at this objectively, I think Alabama, LSU, Florida, Georgia, and maybe Auburn were all treated much nicer than the other teams. If you look at what was added to Arkansas and Missouri’s schedules, you’re like, if that would have happened to Florida, Florida fans would have rioted.

Andrew:                 Oh yeah.

Nick:                         I think it’s certainly, I’m putting on like a tin foil hat here and being like a conspiracy theorist, but if I look at this schedule, I think the SEC protected the five best teams. Definitely the four. I think Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and LSU got easier draws that some other teams. Who did LSU draw? They drew Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Missouri, and I think they were already playing Georgia.

Andrew:                 Yes.

Nick:                         Yeah. Then if you look at Week 1, all four new coaches have to play. Missouri, new coach, have to play Alabama.

Andrew:                 Arkansas has Georgia.

Nick:                         Arkansas had Georgia Week 1. New coach, play Georgia. Lane Kiffin, Ole Miss, you get Florida. To me, it’s just the new coaches in the league are not being welcomed kindly. Missouri, Alabama. That’s a tough draw. Good luck, Drinkwitz.

Andrew:                 Good luck there. The one thing Georgia did get though was they don’t have Alabama Week 2 anymore, so they get a little bit of time to get their quarterback situation taken care of before having to go up to Tuscaloosa. I guess, if you want to look for a silver lining on the Georgia case, there’s your silver lining there.

Nick:                         Yeah. To me, if I’m a Florida fan, I’m looking at this, and really I think the stretch of– not South Carolina. South Carolina’s not great. I don’t they’re very good. Might be the last time Will Muschamp’s coaching in Gainesville. Interesting. Who knows what Ole Miss will be? Plumlee’s certainly a threat at quarterback, and Lane Kiffin can drop some ball plays and call some ball plays. I’m looking at the schedule, and I think Florida starts off 2-0.

It’s a big trip to College Station to play A&M. I don’t know. I was talking to a buddy out there, and Ross Bjork is determined to have like a 50% capacity, or a little bit under 50%. He’s determined to have like 50,000 people. Regardless, even if you have 50,000, that’s a half full stadium. Kyle Field is one of the tougher places to play in the country when they’ve got 102,000 people and the stadium is swaying, and it’s going nuts. To me, you’re getting kind of lucky to not have to go there. Would you rather go and play Alabama in an empty stadium at Alabama or with 105,000 people at Bryant-Denny? You’ll take the empty stadium.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         I think Florida could be 3-0 heading into that home game with LSU. It’s really that stretch, A&M, LSU, obviously Missouri, open, Georgia. That four game stretch I think is really where the season is made, and I think you can make an argument that Florida-Georgia is probably the biggest game of the SEC schedule in 2020.

Andrew:                 I don’t see any way they have 50,000 fans there.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s a huge stadium, but if you’re going six feet apart, I don’t think you can get 50,000 in it.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I could be wrong and everything else, but I would be extremely shocked if there’s 50,000 people in there. I will honest. I’ll be extremely shocked if there’s 30,000 people in there. Just the way things are going. I don’t see it. Like you said, that’s a big one. There’s a lot of pressure on Jimbo. Kellen Mond is one of the guys back at the quarterback position overall, so where does that team go this year with that? Then, like you said, that’s a game that you’re okay with, because of that crowd, not having the full crowd there. You like Florida’s chances there. Again, I go back to that Georgia game. Like you said, that is the game. If you can win that game, you feel pretty good about it. Then LSU coming to Gainesville for the third time in four years.

Nick:                         I mean, fricking Georgia, their start. First off, poor Felipe. Poor Felipe with his schedule. Georgia starts off with Arkansas. Easy, easy game, but then you immediately host Auburn, host Tennessee, at Bama, and at Kentucky. I think Kentucky’s a good team. You could potentially have a two loss Georgia coming into that game in Jacksonville. Where if Florida goes through and has, I can honestly see Florida starting 5-0. I could see them starting 4-1. If you’ve got a 4-1 Florida coming into that Georgia game, shoot. Win over Georgia there, you win the East potentially by November 7th.

Andrew:                 That’s kind of what we talked about before the new schedule was even released, and that is was it going to take a win in Jacksonville to even win the East. I don’t know that it will. Again, I think the schedule got a little bit easier for Georgia with getting Bama later on instead of Week 2, but still it is Bama, and you still got to go play them. We’ll still see where the quarterback is. Getting Auburn, I think Bo Nix is a good enough quarterback that it will give Georgia some problems there and make them score some points. Week 2 there, that’s not easy.

Nick:                         Kentucky gets a tough draw with Auburn to start, but then Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and then a road game at Tennessee, which could potentially be tough, but I think Kentucky is a good football team. I put a lot of, probably just because of how well they’ve played Florida, and obviously that’s the game that you and I see the most of Kentucky’s schedule. We’ll catch a couple games, and then obviously, as we prepare for Florida-Kentucky, we’re looking into the team more, but when you’re covering a team you don’t get to watch as many full games of other teams as you’d like to.

I think they’re such a good team, the way that they’ve been able to play Florida. I think Mark Stoops is a hell of a coach. I’m looking at that, and I think, shoot, Kentucky has an easy road up to that Georgia game, and Georgia’s got Kentucky at the end of a hellish month. Can Kentucky potentially pull an upset of Georgia? Not saying they will, but you look at that four-game stretch, that’s going to be a beat up Georgia team going to Lexington.

Andrew:                 It’s a game that you can’t take lightly, by any means. Florida’s found that out the hard way. I think for me, again, it goes back to Georgia. How does the quarterbacks go? How quick do they adjust? You go there. What does Sam Pittman do against Georgia? He kind of knows that system a little bit. How does that go in Week 1? Do they get off to a hot start in Week 1 and get things going? If you get things going, we could talk about Georgia all you want, they may be two undefeated teams playing in Jacksonville, if they get their quarterback position going.

Nick:                         Yeah. Georgia’s schedule is completely front loaded with Auburn, Tennessee, Bama, Kentucky before the open date. After Florida it’s just Missouri, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vandy. Their schedule after the Cocktail Party is just a vacation. Like we said, if we’re talking about a two loss Georgia coming into Jacksonville and a one loss Florida or an undefeated Florida, Florida still after that game is going to have to play, then you get the Feleipe homecoming, and the storyline writes itself there. An emotional game. I don’t see Florida losing to that team. Then a trip to Vandy. That should be a win. That tough Kentucky team that I talked about, and then, like you said, the ending at Neyland.

I just see more potential for Florida to trip up after that Georgia game. So, it’s not like, unless you’ve outright won the East in that game, you can’t have a letdown. Beat Georgia, awesome, and then trip up against one of those four teams. Three of which I think you absolutely should beat, and then I think you still should be Kentucky, but I anticipate that being another close game.

Andrew:                 Jeremy Pruitt would love nothing better than to end the season for Florida on a bad note. Yeah. Again, I see that. I see everything with the schedule and everything else. I just think Florida drew really well in the schedule. I think that when you look back at the first schedule, or whatever you want to call it, then you look at this schedule, it’s not too bad. I think, like you said, there’s a lot of ways that Florida got lucky. I don’t want to say lucky, but you don’t want to travel back to back anyway, but especially in all this mess you don’t want to travel back to back. Again, the biggest question will be how healthy do you stay?

Nick:                         Yeah. Not just healthy in terms of football injuries and sprains or breaks or ligaments, stuff like that. How available are you in terms of Coronavirus and things like that? I think the team that’s able to adjust, improvise, adapt, and overcome everything that’s thrown at them will be the team that probably has the best record at the end of the year. It might not be the best team. It might be the team that gets lucky with not having players miss because they’re sick. It might be the team that’s just lucky in terms of we only had one bad week where people were missing, but it just happened to be LSU week, or it just happened to be the week that Alabama was playing Auburn before the Iron Bowl, and Mac Jones gets sick.

Andrew:                 Right. It’s definitely going to be a survive kind of season. You and I have talked about this with baseball a little bit. Would there be kind of an asterisk beside it? Maybe. But at the same time, I think you can say that whoever comes out on top is going to be the team that has taken care of itself the most and has stayed healthy and done everything they’re supposed to do to that.

Biggest thing though, Nick, I’m hoping, and we’re going to move on to what Dan Mullen had to say on Monday now. Biggest thing that I have is I just hope that you’re not seeing multiple games that are just impacted. I don’t want to see LSU with their third-string quarterback. I don’t want to see Alabama with their third-string quarterback. That’s not the way I want to see the football season play out. I’m hoping that you at least get good competitive games from that standpoint. I don’t want to see a bunch of the fifth-string quarterback’s in here now and the third-string defensive lineman, all that good stuff.

Nick:                         I agree with that. Yeah. One, you don’t want anyone to have to go through Covid, first and foremost. Then second, you just want the season to go as smoothly as it possibly can and to get high quality games. When we’re looking at this, I’m looking at the first week, and I’m like, damn. Florida-Ole Miss. Not Florida-Eastern Washington? Hell yeah.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         The week before the last game, and I’m like, damn, Florida-Kentucky? Much better than Florida-New Mexico State. Sign me up.

Andrew:                 Alabama-Auburn. Give it to me. Yeah. Let’s get into what Dan Mullen had to say a little bit, and let’s first hit the elephant that’s out there in the room, and that is the four guys not practicing. There’s some rumors that they were opting out. I feel pretty good in saying that I don’t believe they’re going to opt out. They haven’t came out with their decision. They haven’t posted anything or let anyone know anything about that. I think that it maybe was jumped to some conclusions there, I guess is the best way to say it. I don’t expect Jacob Copeland or Zach Carter, Kadarius Toney or Trevon Grimes right now to opt out. Obviously, that could change, but right now I don’t think they have made a decision to opt out just because they weren’t at practice.

Nick:                         Yeah. Zach Albaverdi had a really good story, our buddy Zach, had a good story. Talked to Zach Carter’s dad. He said, my son is just concerned about what’s going on. Didn’t say anything. He said he wants to play. Never mentioned not playing, just kind of wanted to see how things go. I think the initial report wasn’t that these guys were sitting out. It was these guys didn’t go to practice, and they’re kind of in a wait and see.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Then, of course, in today’s day and age, that news immediately turns into they’re quitters and guys getting bashed. You don’t want to see that. It’s not what the report initially was. I agree with you. I think if you look at these guys, I think there’s definitely concerns. There’s probably going to be concerns, and Dan Mullen even mentioned it. He said, I think coaches might opt out. If you look at the way the virus has affected it, especially when it comes to death, and obviously that’s the last thing you want, but it’s older people. You’ve got coaches all over the country in their 60s and 70s. They’re certainly much more at risk than 19, 20, 21-year-old, physically fit, peak of their physical fitness athlete.

Andrew:                 Right. Well, and again, I think there is some concern, like you said there, on some of the players’ parts. They wanted to see how things were going to be handled. Now that I think that they’ve seen how things are going to be handled, I think that you’ll see those guys back and at practice and ready to go.

Here’s the thing for me, Nick. To kind of detour a little bit. If they do decide to opt out, and again I don’t think they are, that’s their opinion. That’s their prerogative to do. They’ve earned that right. That’s not for you and I or anyone else to judge what they want to do. Is it our job to break down what it’ll mean for the team? Yeah. It’ll be a big, big loss if any of those guys leave or don’t play, but at the end of the day, like you say, it is at some point or another life or death in some situations for these guys. If they don’t decide to play, that’s their prerogative. I didn’t like the whole quitter mentality kind of deal out there when it came out there. I just think that that was jumping a little bit overboard by doing that.

Nick:                         Yeah. I agree with that. That’s just kind of how things go though, right?

Andrew:                 It is.

Nick:                         Little bit of information, and then it gets run off, and all of a sudden, you’re like, what were we even talking about? We’ve gone completely off the rails.

Andrew:                 Completely off the rails. Listen, I want to see football, and you and I benefit the most from Florida winning. It helps our website and everything else. At the end of the day, it is just football. Again, I don’t think you’re going to see all those guys opt out. Could you see some of them opt out? Sure. I think you could. I don’t think right now, from everything I’ve heard, that any decision has been made that these guys are going to opt out.

Nick:                         Here’s one real quick. I just saw this roll up on Twitter. Get back to the schedule real quick. Updated over-under win totals for SEC teams. Florida at 7.

Andrew:                 That’s a little low.

Nick:                         Alabama’s over-under win is only 7.5. They had Alabama at 7.5, Georgia at 7, Florida at 7, then 6.5 for LSU, Texas A&M. I look at that, and I’m thinking, 7?

Andrew:                 Where’s your losses coming from?

Nick:                         Yeah. I’m looking at that. I mean, we always talk about the grind of the SEC schedule, and maybe that takes a toll on everybody, because it’s literally only an SEC schedule.

Andrew:                 One thing that just popped up as well is Avantae Williams out for the year. They came across some stuff in his physical. Not going to be able to play.

Nick:                         That’s something I say good on Miami. Florida’s had that happen more times than we can count right now, between offensive linemen and Randy Russell and James Robinson with heart issues more recently. That was one thing when people start talking about myocarditis, the heart condition that some doctors are talking about that has been a symptom of Covid, I’m like Florida’s been doing that. They check not just football players, every player. Every student athlete gets tested and checked like that.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         Obviously, you feel terrible for the player, but it’s good that university is protecting the person over valuing what the player can do for the team.

Andrew:                 Absolutely. Let’s go back through some of what Dan Mullen had to say, Nick. Run us through the highlights.

Nick:                         Dan was not in a good mood and kind of, not testy, just seemed off. Seemed irritated yesterday.

Andrew:                 He doesn’t like Zoom.

Nick:                         He probably likes having us on Zoom rather than having us in the room.

Andrew:                 Maybe.

Nick:                         He just seemed to kind of be out of it. I think he’s really, at some point, obviously just excited to have guys back in. He seemed perturbed about one thing. They were able to have, for a little while they were able to do 20 hours in between practice and film and stuff like that, and then you’re kind of ramping up. As a coach, you’d like to have your schedule, and you want to ramp up. It’s almost like if you were preparing for a fight. You look at the UFC or a boxer, you don’t want to peak two weeks before the fight and then ramp down and not be at your peak. You want to be hitting your stride and hitting your peak when you get into the ring or when you get into the octagon.

I think in Dan’s mind they were peaking, or not peaking, but they were ramping up, so that they can peak for September 26, and all of a sudden it’s like, now you can’t do those 20 hours anymore. Then you were off of that schedule for like 10 days, 8-10 days, and now it’s like, back into it. I think he was a little bit of off of that, and then another thing is you’ve got 40 days from the day they started training camp, 40 days until the first game. That’s a long camp. The reason they did that was so that they could build in these mandatory breaks into camp. So, they made it a little bit longer, but now you’re trying to keep guys mentally focused for 40 days. We’re living in an unprecedented time, and I think the coaches are kind of trying to figure out how to adjust that.

Andrew:                 You think about a normal fall camp, and that’s a pain to keep everybody ready to go for that, and now you look at this. You got the usual when school starts back it’s time for the season, and now you’re going to have more weeks of preparation before that and everything else. Just kind of it’s one of those things where you better be able to adjust. Like we said, whoever adjusts the best may be the team that comes out on top, just simply for the fact of so much uncertainty and it never happen. How many guys have honestly not played a football game on Labor Day weekend before? Probably not very many.

I don’t know. It’ll be a test, because you’re limited, like you said, on what you can do, having to build in those breaks and everything else. What do you do to keep your team sharp? Then you have to rely on not overdoing it. You don’t want your guys to overdo it and then be burnt out by the season. You don’t want to start the SEC schedule and be burnt out already either. I think you’re in such, like you said, an unprecedented time of what’s the right way to do this and what’s not the right way to do this? The thing about it is nobody’s been through it yet, so it’ll be interesting to see who adjusts. I don’t know, Nick. I think there’s so much uncertainly, like you say. Unfortunately, that’s what 2020 had been all about.

Nick:                         Like I said earlier, it’s adjusting and improvising and adapting, and probably the team that’s able to do that the best is the one that will be the most successful this year.

Andrew:                 I’m glad I’m not Dan Mullen though, because that would be a pain in the butt. 40 days. When you really break that number down, that’s a long time to be going good on good, Florida versus Florida. There’s going to be some pent up aggression for these guys when it comes time to open the season at Ole Miss.

Nick:                         Shoot, you might just have to dial it back just so you don’t beat yourself up too much before you get to the 26th.

Andrew:                 That’s what I’m saying. You’ve got to in a way, because you didn’t have spring practice. So, in a way, you’ve got to keep it ramped up a little bit. Some of these guys that you’re going to, I don’t want to say count on, but you’re going to want to use on special teams and that kind of stuff, is going to need the reps, so you got to ramp it up to some extent. It’s just, like you say, how much do you ramp it up? Then when do you dial it back, and then do you dial it back and then try to redial it back up as it gets closer to the 26th? How do you do it? You want fall practice to start off with some intensity and everything else, but when you look at it, Wednesday? Was it Wednesday or Thursday is the first day of shells?

Nick:                         Wednesday. First day with shells.

Andrew:                 Do you really want to ramp that up with 37 days to go and try to get your team absolutely jacked? You say yes, but at the same time, kind of got to dial it back a little bit.

Nick:                         I think there’ll be days where, even though you’re allowed to be in full pads, like today’s just a walkthrough. We’re just in shells today. You won’t be going full bore in full pads for 36 days.

Andrew:                 Right. No. No, absolutely not. It’s just, again, I think it’s just the nature of the time, but it’s going to be interesting to see how teams adjust. You’re already starting to see a few injuries in the NFL and stuff from guys not having a traditional summer of camps and that kind of stuff. What team stays healthy? I think that’ll be a big key as well.

Nick:                         Big key.

Andrew:                 Good thing for Florida is they’ve been back at it for a little bit. I think Nick Savage and those guys have done a good job for it. It’s just going to be a long time of trying to fill space. That’s what it’s going to be.

Nick:                         Yeah. That’s one thing. Nick Savage. Keep paying him.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I think the biggest thing for me, Nick, and we’ll talk recruiting next, is just to have a schedule released to me was big. That showed that the SEC for real, for real is ready to go. Was that kind of where you were at?

Nick:                         Yeah. I mean, the Big 10 and PAC-12 released schedules, and then like six days later were canceling the season, so we’re not out of that territory yet, but yeah, I think absolutely it shows their intention to play. Then the day after they released the schedule, they come out with their safety precautions. It’s like, that’s just another step. To me, it says they’re determined not just to play, but they’re determined to do everything they can. It’s not like, screw the kids, we just need to make our money. We’ll put them out there, and it doesn’t matter if anyone gets hurt or sick, as long as we make some TV money. I don’t think that’s what they’re doing. I think they’re trying to do it the best way they can, and I hope that they do.

Andrew:                 Ratings are going to be incredible. The ratings for Week 1 are going to be insane, Nick. Let’s talk a little bit recruiting here. Florida picked up Corey Collier. They picked up Jason Marshall two weeks ago. Now it kind of looks like it’s going to be a little bit of a slow time, as high school football is supposedly going to ramp back up. We’ll see how that goes on that end. It kind of gets into that point of the traditional part of the season where a lot of guys are now going to focus on school and different areas, and so you won’t have as many commitments. Tunmise, the big defensive lineman who left the Ohio State class, says now he’s going to wait till Signing Day to do his. That kind of looks like where a lot of guys are going to do. They’re going to wait a while to make decisions. While there won’t be any news, or as much news for Florida, the good news is you’ve already banked 90% of your class.

Nick:                         At that point, this is weird, because we were talking before, talking yesterday, there’s not going to be visits and stuff like that. So, in this kind of weird year, is it better? We always talk about coaches wanting to have a good part of the class filled up before the games start, because you’re really then dividing your attention between the season and recruiting. You got to do that at some point, but is it better to have more of the class and less spots to fill, given that you’re not going to be able to have official visits and guys coming to games and stuff like that?

Andrew:                 I think so. One of my biggest things is going to be to watch and see if there is visits, because there is zero doubt in my mind a lot of these kids, or not a lot of them, but some of these kids pick a school just strictly on social media buzz, that kind of stuff, to see how many of these kids actually stick if they can take visits. If they can’t take visits, then all bets are kind of off on what happens there. That’s my biggest thing is just to kind of see who sticks, if they can take visits. They got to be able to take visits sooner or later. I mean, at least before they sign. You can’t expect some of these guys to do that. I say you can’t, obviously they don’t have to open it back up, but you would think they would open it back up at least a little bit to have some kind of visits there.

That’ll be my biggest thing is to see how many guys actually stick for that. If you’re Florida and other schools, you kind of got to keep recruiting these guys for that simple reason that if they are going to take visits to schools they haven’t seen, they’re not going to have as much time to kind of decide. Do they make rash decisions and go somewhere that they see for the first time, like an Oregon that they fall in love with?

Nick:                         That’s true. I was surprised by his decision to wait all the way until Signing Day. I always tell, if anyone asks me, I don’t even know why they would ask me, but I would always say take as long as you need. Take all the visits you can. You want to make a right decision. I know transferring has become much more commonplace now, but make the best decision for you. Granted, you could make the best decision for you when you’re 18, and then a coach leaves or your situation can change.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         To me, take as much time as you need. Like you said, it’s such a different year this year.

Andrew:                 Like I said, there’s no way all these kids are going to stick. I’m not talking about Florida in general. I do think for the vast majority of Florida’s class they’re all going to stick in the class. There’s a lot of guys who committed to schools sight unseen, just strictly off of a Zoom visit or what they were seeing off of social media or any of that. I thought that would be the case anyway, but as it continued to go on, and you continue to see guys commit sight unseen, it got to become more of a clearer picture in my mind that this might be a huge year for decommitments. Which means I’ll probably be wrong.

Nick:                         What do you think the timeline would be on that kind of stuff?

Andrew:                 You would think probably November, December, when it’s time to get close to putting pen on paper, but again, do you have visits by then?

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 I don’t know. Right now they’re saying it could be January before you have a vaccine. Are you going to allow kids to visit schools? I don’t know. I’ll say this. I would much rather have my class in place than be scrambling to get my class in place this year with the potential of when visits could happen. I don’t know. It’s just it’s so crazy, because nobody’s ever done this before. Nobody’s ever been through this. You think about a guy like Tunmise, he’s probably already taken three or four of his official visits by now in a normal year. Kid hasn’t been on a visit now since March.

Nick:                         And when can he?

Andrew:                 Yeah. Exactly. When can he? That’s all for me, Nick. Any final thoughts? Kind of jampacked podcast here with schedule and all that good stuff. I think that’s all for me.

Nick:                         More signs of football today.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         The Swamp is getting a fresh paint of coat. Fresh coat of paint on Tuesday.

Andrew:                 That’ll be interesting to see. That’s another step in the right direction. You wouldn’t want to spend that money for that. Let’s talk about that real quick, Nick. Give me that note that you had on the season ticket holders.

Nick:                         Oh. I’m still trying to figure it out. It’ll be on our message boards whenever I can. Obviously, full attendance is not going to be a thing. I think maybe 20% in the Swamp. There’s like a buyback program where you can give your tickets back to bid on experiences. There’s deep sea fishing with Mike White, watching a game with Spurrier, like a Zoom call with Dan Mullen, merchandise, on field merchandise, game worn stuff that you can buy. I just need to get my hands on the link. We’ve talked about that too, like how. I think ticket offices, this is the hardest year they’ll ever have trying to get creative with ways, because if I was paying for season tickets for 15 years, I’m going to be pissed off that I can’t use my tickets, or I have to put them towards something else. That’s not what I’ve been paying for.

Andrew:                 Exactly. Stay tuned. We’ll have more on that. I would take the watching the game with Spurrier. That’s a fascinating man to watch ball with.

Nick:                         Absolutely.

Andrew:                 Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here, and we’ll see everyone next week, as we’ll continue talking 40 days of fall camp.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. You can find the podcast wherever you consume podcasts. Just search Gator Country. Never miss an episode. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.

Andrew:                 There you go. Guys, as always, we appreciate it. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp.

Nick:                         You stay classy, Gator Country.

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.