Podcast: Friday prediction podcast for Florida vs. LSU

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators win over Tennessee, plus we bring you predictions for the LSU game.

Andrew Spivey is joined by Seth Varnadore as we breakdown what the Gators need to do this weekend against LSU at home for Senior Day.

Andrew and Seth also give you three players to watch for the Gators this weekend at home against LSU.


Andrew:                 Guys, we’re back. New Gator Country podcast. We’re back. I got a new guest. We’re going to miss Nick de la Torre. Welcome him to Rivals. We got a new partner, Mr. Seth. Seth, tell everybody about yourself and let everybody know what you’re going to bring to the podcast.

Seth:                        Thanks, Andrew. My name is Seth Varnadore. I was a high school and college football coach for nine years. I just started writing about college football the last couple of seasons. Got my Masters from Florida. Lifelong Florida fan. Look forward to talking ball with you a little bit.

Andrew:                 We’re going to have a little coach talk. We might bore people with some coach talk here, but it’ll be good stuff. I’m excited. Nick was a good partner to the show, and I appreciate everything he did, but I’m excited for this. I guess, let’s start with what happened last week up in Knoxville, Seth. The Gators won. You and I will get into this a little bit here in a second. The game wasn’t as close as the score dictates at 31-19.

Seth:                        No.

Andrew:                 I guess, give me your overall take on the game first off, and then I’ll kind of get into mine. What was your overall take?

Seth:                        I think it was, a lot of people were saying ho hum. I think that’s probably a good way to describe it. It’s that same kind of issue rearing its head that’s reared its head a few times. Just kind of that killer instinct. Finishing drives, finishing the team off. When you got somebody that fakes a punt in their own territory, and you get the ball, you got to go down and score. When you got somebody backed up 3rd and 8 inside their own 10, you got to get a stop and convert that into an easy score and put the game away early. I thought it was just kind of a lethargic performance.

Like you said, it was not nearly as close as the score indicated. You never felt like the game was in jeopardy, even when Tennessee had a lead.

Andrew:                 I put this out on the site on Monday. Some people inside the program had told me that Dan’s kind of went vanilla, and he’s kind of gotten to the point where he’s wanting to save some things for Alabama. I’ll say this from a coaching standpoint, and even a fan standpoint, for a second and say we’ll believe it when it gets to Alabama. Everybody can say, we’re playing conservative because the team looks bad.

I tend to believe it here a little bit, Seth. Tennessee was playing cover two shell all day long. They were dropping eight most of the game. Florida never took advantage of it fully. They could have went to Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney all day long and thrown for 500, 600 yards if they wanted to. For most of the second half they went run. The running game hasn’t been there all year. On one particular drive they ran the ball three times, and one time in the red zone they even went quarterback power with Kyle Trask on 3rd and 3, and I think we’re all screaming no, what are you doing?

I guess in a way I maybe believe that, but isn’t a championship team kind of dedicated and dictated on being able to have that killer instinct every week? Put teams away like Tennessee, Kentucky, Vandy, and this week against LSU. If you don’t score 50 against LSU this weekend, did you really accomplish anything compared to Alabama?

Seth:                        Pretty vanilla. They were running a lot of the same concept over and over and over, in the passing game especially. It was working, but Tennessee was determined. To me, Tennessee was running a don’t get blown out, don’t get fired game plan. Keep everything in front of you. Don’t let anything get behind you. There’s guys playing 25 yards off the ball on 3rd and 12, and it’s just an easy corner route. They tried to kind of frustrate Florida a little bit, but like you said, and like I mentioned earlier, that killer instinct, you got to have that in these big games.

When you get opportunities, when you’re looking forward to Alabama, if you get an opportunity you’ve got to take advantage of it against them. You’ve got to finish drives. If you get them 3rd down backed up, you’ve got to get them off the field. That’s your chance to win that game. If you don’t, if you just don’t take advantage of opportunities against a team that good, you’re not going to win. It’s fine to play vanilla, but you also want to make sure you’re not getting into bad habits either.

Andrew:                 That’s what I was going to say. When you have a fake punt for Tennessee, and you take over the ball on the 30-yard line, against Alabama you better score 7.

Seth:                        If that’s not a touchdown, that’s a win for Alabama.

Andrew:                 Yeah. At that moment, Florida missed a field goal. Evan McPherson missed a field goal. You got zero points out of a drive there. Then Tennessee has two drives of over 90 yards.

I guess, let’s start on the offensive side of the ball here for a second. Maybe Dan Mullen was vanilla, and I’ll agree with that in a way. I’ll ask you this opinion, because I’ve never ask you this opinion. Nick and I have talked about this before when we were on. Dan Mullen has one particular play, it seems like, in every game that he goes to multiple times. I go back to the Mississippi State game where he had the option his first year. The LSU game it was the crossing routes and the wide receiver screen. Georgia this year was the wheel route. It seems like every game Mullen has something he has pinpointed on the defense to go against. The last three games he hasn’t. That is why I would say maybe it is.

For me, it’s the lack of pass protection and run blocking up front I think is what is starting to really show its ugly head. I’ll point to three guys in particular. Jean Delance, obviously. Pro Football Focus has him ranked as one of the worst offensive linemen out there. Then you go to a guy like Stewart Reese and Richard Gouraige. None of those guys are getting a push up front. That’s where I’m getting concerned here, as we get into talking about Alabama and whoever they play in a bowl game. If you’re Alabama, you’re just going to go at Jean Delance all game and force Kyle Trask to throw the ball quickly. You’re going to probably win that matchup 9 out of 10 times.

Seth:                        It’s hard to see this is something you can fix in two weeks. Now, they may also have some other plans to help in protection in that game. Maybe that’s something they’re saving. That’s not anything, that’s not like a crazy wrinkle they’re not going to be able to figure out. It is troubling. You can’t run the ball.

Now, according to the broadcast, Pruitt wanted to stop the run, and they played a lot of man coverage and had eyes on the backs a lot, so they were able to get in some gaps before guys got there. It is concerning. It’s hard to win big time without a lot of production up front. We kind of talked previously off air, the biggest difference between the Alabama offense and the Florida offense is Alabama has got pros up front. I don’t know if Florida has any.

Andrew:                 Right. Half-jokingly we talked about on the message boards the last few days of seniors possibly leaving. Brett Heggie, Stone Forsythe, and Stewart Reese all have the opportunity to leave early. While Stone’s had a really good year, is he really a guy that’s going to get drafted above the fifth round? I would say the answer is no. With Heggie and Stewart Reese, I’m not drafting them in the top five rounds. That’s not to say that Brett Heggie hasn’t had a good year. I think he has had a good year. But when you look at Alabama, they got three guys that could potentially go top 30, top 40 in the Draft.

Dan Mullen said on Monday, he said, “We don’t necessarily focus on running the ball. We don’t really try to run the ball.” I’m okay with that. If you pass the ball well, then there’s no sense in running the ball. But when you’re trying to put a game away late, let’s just say you’re up by 10 on Alabama with five minutes to go in the game. You need to be able to run the ball a little bit there to ice that game. In my opinion, I don’t think Florida can ice a football game with running the ball. If it’s 4th and 1, I don’t trust them to run the ball. I think you have to throw the ball with Kyle Trask. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but when you go against Alabama, they can put up 300 rushing, and they can put up 300 passing.

Seth:                        Yeah. This is kind of that adjustment with Trask being kind of a different guy than Mullen’s ever had a lot of success with in the past. He doesn’t give you as much of that element to where I can spread the box thin like they did against Tennessee, go empty. Now, if you look at the box against Tennessee, you’ve got the linebackers out wide, because they’re playing man. It’s a four man box. If you got a quarterback that can run a little bit, you can run on that box. Now, they’re so good they can throw on it too.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        Listen, I’ve been covering USF football this season, so seeing 20 points in a game was something new to me. Let’s not get too down. There is stuff. When you look ahead, I think that’s where all the consternation comes is looking ahead to Alabama, measuring yourself against them, not measuring yourself kind of in the game you’re playing. There are some things that could be troubling, but they do have some time to get it fixed. Not a lot of time, but there’s some time left.

Andrew:                 I’ll ask you this. This is a statement that I have lived by for a while. Several passing plays are an extension of the running game. The wide receiver screen or what we used to call the stand pass is an extension of the running game. The swing pass to the running back is an extension of the running game. Those kind of things are there. I’m just kind of troubled with the lack of movement up front and that. We can get into that a little bit more here in a second.

I want to go to the defensive side of the ball though. Ventrell Miller was named Defensive Player of the Week. I think the front seven played well, but once again, the safeties and the corner kind of reared its ugly head again. I’m at the point, and I’ll ask you this. I’m at the point where I’m ready to see Rashad Torrence and Trey Dean start at safety. I’m at the point where I’m okay with Jaydon Hill and Chester Kimbrough start at corner, because I feel like those guys right now are giving you the better options to win football games.

Seth:                        Florida’s defense is so strange, because when you go back after the game, and you kind of look at the numbers you’re like, that really wasn’t that bad. But when you’re watching it they make you feel like, what is happening here?

Andrew:                 Uncomfortable.

Seth:                        It is. Then you go back and look after the game. I think before the two garbage time drives Tennessee had like 150 yards of offense or something. If I tell you that going in, you’re probably like, they played really well. But then you’re watching it, you’re like there’s definitely room for improvement. I know going back to the Georgia game you’re like, the defense played pretty well, but then you’re thinking, they had guys open deep.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        What’s Alabama going to do to that, right? It’s kind of that measuring stick out there. Alabama’s kind of lurking. Yeah. You got to have those guys on the back end play better against Alabama, because they don’t just got outside receivers that you can match up with your corners. They got the freak show tight end receiver hybrid guy. They got dudes that can play in the slot and flex outside, so every single one of those guys is going to be challenged in that game. You’re going to have to have them contribute.

Andrew:                 Go back to the play that you brought up earlier. 3rd and 9 on the Tennessee two-yard line. Harrison Bailey throws a back shoulder, I call it a fade route, back shoulder fade. He picks up 15 yards. That can’t happen.

Seth:                        No.

Andrew:                 That can’t happen. That’s Pop Warner football. Man to man coverage. You’re watching the quarterback’s eyes and the receiver’s shoulders. When you see that, you can’t get beat on 3rd and 9 for 14 yards on their own two-yard line.

I’ll go back. David Wunderlich, who does our stats, I’m sure all you guys listening are familiar with him. He brought up a good point. He said, several times when Tennessee was backed up, the Florida safeties Shawn Davis and Donovan Stiner were 18-20 yards off the ball. He also brought up a point when they went into wildcat. Florida was still only had seven in the box, and the safeties were 20 yards off the ball. I don’t know if that’s a Todd Grantham, if Todd Grantham is calling that, if it’s the guys not understanding. Once again in this game, Florida had problems lining up. They had problems knowing who to cover in this game. I don’t know who is to blame, but you can’t do that. 20 yards off the ball in wildcat is just absolutely insane to me.

Seth:                        Yeah. There’s been some issues with, like you said, getting lined up, lining up to certain formations, lining up to certain looks. The one, Tennessee’s first touchdown was it seemed like just a lack of communication. Once the back started motioning out of the backfield, now you got four to a side. You’ve got to bump. Linebackers got to bump over, safeties over. Number two’s got to be conscious of that. The safety just kind of went inside with the man. He just stayed locked on the receiver and let the back outflank him for an easy touchdown. They walked in untouched.

You could see there was no communication. It looked like the linebacker telling the safety, you got to bump. I’m bumping. There’s just a lot of things like that that you’re just not quite sure what the cause is, what’s the cause of these communications issues. I know Florida lost a senior middle linebacker that was probably calling a lot of the shots from last year. Is that the issue? But we’re long into the season now, some of this stuff should be getting itself right.

Andrew:                 We’re not even talking about young guys messing up.

Seth:                        No.

Andrew:                 We’re talking about Brad Stewart and Marco Wilson, two guys who’ve been in the program for four years. On multiple occasions this year, they’re looking at each other. You’re talking about Brenton Cox and guys like that, who know how to line up and not be offsides. Even Shawn Davis, as a fourth year guy, he should understand where they’re in wildcat you’re not 20 yards off the ball, or when it’s 3rd and 7 as a corner, and you’re in man coverage, you’re not 12 yards off the ball. Any offensive coordinator with common sense is going to tell their receiver to run a slant route or quick curl route and get the 1st down.

Seth:                        What do they call those? Free access throws. If you’re going to play off, that’s just free access. I can take that all day.

Andrew:                 Right. Exactly. That’s what Dan Mullen does. It’s beginning to get frustrating. I know everybody says it’s 3rd and Grantham, and they can say that. I believe in it sometimes. It’s almost like if it’s 3rd and 7 you feel like this team is in trouble, but if it’s 3rd and 2 you feel like this team might be okay. It’s weird. 3rd and 2 they kind of know what’s coming. 3rd and 7 it’s like, they can do several things, so we’re going to be caught off guard here. It’s weird to say that, but it’s becoming that. Like I said, I want to see Trey Dean play more. Trey Dean is just coming down, making the plays. I feel like he knows where to be.

I said this to you off the air yesterday. I can take a guy making a mistake if he’s giving me 150% effort. I’m not going to call out nobody for not giving 150% effort, but when you’re not getting lined up, that’s an effort play.

Seth:                        To that, kind of along the same lines, if I’m supposed to come downhill and fill that alley, I need to come downhill and fill that alley. That could be an effort thing. Could be maybe I’m confused, but I shouldn’t be confused at this point in the season and if I’m a veteran guy. One thing Trey Dean does, he doesn’t always make the play, but he does come downhill and fills the alley and comes downhill and tries to make a play on the ball. He does a pretty good job of that. It seems like some of the other guys are a little more tentative, and they haven’t been in the past, so it’s kind of weird to see what some of these vets, what the issue is. Is it confusion? Is it, like you said, maybe lack of effort? I don’t know. It’s odd. These are guys that have shown the ability to come down and fill previously.

Andrew:                 Right. As a safety, that split second that you fear is the split second you’re going to get beat. I’m sure you’ve had this as well. I’ve had coaches that have told me, I want a safety with no fear. No fear that if he gets beat, he gets beat. You say that. I know some people are going to say, they get beat enough. You’re okay with them getting beat, if they’re going hard on a play. Being in between something is just, it’s bad. Whatever your decision is, you need to commit to that decision. That’s kind of my thing.

Again, I thought they played well against Harrison Bailey for the most part. Those two garbage touchdowns, Todd Grantham said, “We were playing soft, because we didn’t want them to get big play.” My thing to that is the game was out of hand, so if they get a big play, who cares?

Seth:                        Yeah.

Andrew:                 Why are you not using this extra time in the game to continue to improve on your defense? You’re not in a position where defensively you’re good enough to just say, we’re done for the game. Offensively, yes. Defensively, no. You’re not.

Seth:                        I wonder if that’s a call from above Grantham. If it’s just make them chew up clock, make them take their time to get down there. Let’s not give up any cheap ones. Maybe that’s a call from above his head. If not, you need every rep you can get. It’s coming down to the wire here, and we’re about to play somebody a little bit better than Tennessee. You need all those reps you can get.

Andrew:                 I’m going to say this. I’m here voting that we get a butt chewing out from Mullen to Grantham before the Alabama game, before it even starts. It seemed to change in the Kentucky game, so let’s just have it out right before kick. Let Mullen get on Grantham, tell him how bad he sucks and how bad he doesn’t like his Christmas lights and everything else that he supposedly said. Let’s just get that out of the way early on in the game and get some aggression out of Todd Grantham.

Seth:                        He’s just going to see those Alabama receivers running around in pregame. That might set him off.

Andrew:                 I read a stat that Mullen’s never beat Saban. Maybe that gets him going.

Seth:                        There you go.

Andrew:                 There you go. Let’s go to LSU a little bit. I don’t even know where to start with this LSU football team. As great as they were last year, they’re regressing this year. That’s what’s insane to me. You look at Derrick Stingley. You ask people last year, Derrick Stingley might have been the best DB in the SEC last year, and he’s getting picked on this year. You and I are on the outside looking in of the program. What are you seeing from LSU? Is it a coaching situation? Obviously, they lost a ton of guys, but these freshmen are going backwards.

Seth:                        Stingley was a guy that if you would have let him come out last year, he might have been a first round pick, everyone was saying. It’s really strange. I think some of it, and I haven’t dug in a lot on them. I’ve watched them a little bit, but I remember thinking during the Alabama game, I think I even tweeted it out. If they’re just going to sit in man against Alabama, Alabama might score 100 points. They didn’t really get out of it. Are we putting our guys in the best position? I don’t know.

It just seems like starting with that Mississippi State game, they’re going to play man coverage, and they don’t care if they beat you. I like to pull stats. That’s always been my thing, to look at them. They are 107th in the country in explosiveness allowed.

Andrew:                 Wow.

Seth:                        I think they’re 120th against the pass. I know Mullen’s not going to be upset about that. He’ll be happy going into this week. That’s such a regression with them being in the fight for DBU. This is kind of turning into a pillow fight right now.

Andrew:                 Yeah. DBU is not DBU right now. I think the only guy that can claim he’s a part of DBU is Kaiir Elam. He was put up for the Jim Thorpe Award, and rightfully so.

That’s what’s strange about it. When you look at what LSU was about last year, and obviously their defense wasn’t great by any means. It was offense. Still, like you said, a guy like Derrick Stingley. You would think he’d be able to lock up man and do very well, but Devonta Smith owned him for Alabama. Now, Devonta Smith is probably going to win the Biletnikoff Award and everything else.

Even when you look at them offensively. Obviously, they had Myles Brennan. He went down. Now they have the freshman in TJ Finley playing, and it looks like they may go to Brad Johnson’s son as well. Quarterback play is not there, but I’m beginning to think that everything they did last year was because of Joe Brady and what he brought to the table. Obviously, Joe Burrow was a big part of it, Jamar Chase and those guys. I’m beginning to think it’s just a coaching staff problem there, and it’s not so much a player problem.

Seth:                        They’re trying to do some of the same stuff. You’ll see them put the receiver in the backfield at running back. They did that a little bit last year and would get Chase on mismatches. They’re trying to do some of the stuff. It’s just not quite the same when you got a bunch of studs out there, maybe three first round receivers. I think they lost four linemen from last season too. Then #1 pick at quarterback. It doesn’t hit quite the same as it did last year. They have talent though. I think they’re sixth in the team talent composite. It’s not like they’re lacking talent, so something’s going on there. I know Brady added a lot, and you can see he’s doing pretty well with Carolina in the NFL. So, he’s obviously a pretty sharp guy.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        Losing a lot. I don’t know if no spring practice and all that kind of stuff really hurt them, but they’ve never been able to seem to catch up.

Andrew:                 First of all, I wasn’t a fan of the Ed Orgeron hiring in the beginning. The guy has not won anywhere he’s ever been. They lucked into getting Joe Burrow. Jamar Chase is Jamar Chase. He’s probably going to be the first receiver, if not, the second receiver off the board this year. You lose a ton of guys. I mean, to come out and be one of only five teams to win a national championship and turn around and have a losing season. That’s just unheard of. We all remember how Florida dipped in between championship years, but it wasn’t this bad.

Like I said, I just feel like the players are regressing and not even improving as the year goes. You look at the Missouri and Arkansas tape, and then you look at the last two games, and there’s nothing different there. The defense is worse than it was. I think that takes me back to where I wanted to go, and that is if you’re Florida this week, yes, you don’t want to bring out any new wrinkles, but at the same time, isn’t this game about getting some confidence for your entire team heading into Alabama next week?

Seth:                        I think you got to take advantage of this opportunity. First of all, it’s LSU, so this is still a rivalry type game, even though it’s maybe not one of your big time rivals. It’s turning into one, so this is still a big game. It’s LSU. It’s at night. You got an opportunity to go out, and if you got an opportunity to go out and kill LSU, you got to take advantage. That’s that killer instinct, right? Great teams, if they can dominate somebody, they’re going to dominate, especially a rival at home at night.

You’d think this is a great opportunity for the offense to get any issues worked out. Defense same way. LSU is not great on offense. They got a couple guys, but this should be a game, it’s weird to call LSU a tune-up game, because they’re so talented, but this a game where you got to get right going into the SEC Championship. If you’re not, it’s going to turn out poorly for you.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Like you said, it’s crazy. First of all, rivalry game. The storylines we’ve all had to write about with LSU, that pisses me off just as a writer. Our good old buddy, their AD over there, with the hurricane and everything else. Go ahead and put your foot on their throat.

I said that with Tennessee last week. Dan Mullen’s in the Urban Meyer tree. If you ask Urban Meyer what he wants to do in a rivalry game, that’s kick stomp the opposing team. You would have thought that was what Dan Mullen wanted to do with Tennessee, and he pulled off. I know if Urban Meyer was coaching that team, he’d have tried to hung 60. That’s zero doubt in my mind.

You want to see Mullen do that. That’s kind of what I want to see this week. Like you said, there is mismatches to be made. If they’re going to man up on Kyle Pitts.

Seth:                        Good luck.

Andrew:                 There’s no sense in going anywhere else.

Seth:                        Florida, they’ve got so many weapons that it shouldn’t be too dissimilar to what you saw from Alabama. If you want to double up on Pitts, you going to go man to man with Toney? You going to go man to man with Grimes? Good luck. You going to put your third corner on Toney or your third corner on Grimes? Good luck.

Andrew:                 Who are you putting on Pitts? That’s my question. Are you going to try to put a guy like Derrick Stingley on Pitts? Derrick Stingley is a good player, but Derrick Stingley doesn’t have a chance against Kyle Pitts.

Seth:                        No. He’s just so unique. We’ll see. Tennessee dedicated a lot of attention to him.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        Especially down in the red zone. They did some stuff to kind of change up their looks they were showing. That’s where you got that overthrow in the endzone, because they kind of gave a different look than they showed the whole drive. It’ll be interesting to see how they play him, because Florida’s so talented outside of him that if you want to keep playing these man schemes, like you showed a lot this season, you’re going to have some trouble, I think, because Trask is so accurate.

Andrew:                 I think Tennessee showed something on Saturday that I think some teams are going to start doing, and that’s really high lowing Kyle Pitts. That’s about your best chance, honestly. You don’t have a chance with anybody one on one with him. A linebacker is too slow. A DB is too small. A safety is not athletic enough. You’re going to have to high low him. I think that’s going to be kind of your game plan.

Like you said, Kyle is very accurate with that. In this game, you would love to see the running game be able to get going, but again, just keep doing what you’re doing passing the ball and continue to improve with that. Defensively though, this is a game where the defensive line should absolutely have a field day. LSU is allowing a ton of pressure up front. You don’t really have to worry about quarterback play beating you deep. This is a game where I want to see those young guys come in at safety and stuff and really just come out and gain confidence. I think that that’s the biggest thing. Kind of my keyword this week is gaining confidence.

Seth:                        We talked about LSU’s defense allowing explosion earlier. Their offense, they’re 105th in explosiveness on offense. If there’s a week to take some risk and maybe play a little bit more aggressively and let those guys fly around, this would seem to be it. LSU has got talent, but they’ve got guys leaving the team even this week. Their talent is dwindling, and they haven’t shown that they’re very explosive on offense. Take some risk. Let those guys fly around, gain some confidence before the big game coming up.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this. This is a question that I’ve thought about a lot. Do you think that it’s a talent standpoint on defense, or do you think it’s a scheme and just being able to line up and know where to go and who to guard? Because I’m leaning towards it not being a scheme thing and it being a player thing.

Seth:                        I think there’s a variety. There’s kind of a mixture of things. I think one thing that’s kind of over everything is it’s really hard to play defense now with everybody RPO stuff. It’s hard. It’s a lot harder being a safety now than it was. It used to be, even when kind of the Saban stuff started to break out and you could just kind of, I’m a safety, I got a eyes on #2. If he shows run, or he’s blocking, I can come fill. Now my life is a lot harder, because of all the run pass conflict I’m getting put in. That’s kind of overarching. That affects everyone.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        But there are times when guys don’t look like they know where they’re supposed to line up, when stuff moves late, when there’s tempo. So, that would be kind of more of why don’t we know how to line up? This isn’t a talent thing. Then there’s also times where you’re one on one with a receiver. He makes a play. If you’re a coach, I’m putting you on this guy one on one. That’s all I can do. It’s your job after that. If my linebacker is coming up in the hole, and the guy’s breaking the tackle, I got you one on one with him in the hole. You got to make that play. That would be more on the players.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        I don’t think there’s one thing. I don’t think getting rid of Grantham would solve a ton of problems. I think he actually does some stuff, and I think I’m going to go over it later this week on video for the site. He does some stuff that people don’t really think about too much that really gives a defense an advantage that’s not really talked about a lot. There are some things that could be changed. There could be a little bit sharper, I think, on kind of all aspects. There a lot of times where it’s just you got to make that play. If you’re at Florida, that’s a play you got to make.

Andrew:                 We’ll get into this more next week when we kind of talk early Signing Day and recruiting here. I’ll hit on it real quick. Nowadays, true linebackers are not needed. They’re just not. You don’t need a 245-pound stiff linebacker that fills a hole and knocks your head off and comes up with a bloody nose. First of all, half the time you’d be called for targeting, so that throws it out there. Secondly, what teams are legitimately lining up in the I formation and running the ball at you? Not very many. A lot of them are running sweeps, running their counters and stuff out of shotgun, to where you just need somebody that can come downhill and fill a hole, an athletic guy. Guess what? If you do fill that, you better be ready to jump back five steps, because the quarterback is going to pull it and throw an RPO right behind your head. That’s where you’re at.

Couple things before we get out of here. Give me a key for Florida this weekend that you want to see in this LSU game.

Seth:                        My keys to every game, kind of they’re generic, but I had an old coach tell me, we win these, we win. 3rd downs on both sides of the ball. I’d love to see the defense get off the field on 3rd down, especially on 3rd and longs. Don’t let them get any momentum early. I’d like to see Florida come out and just jump out on them early. I think 3rd downs are going to be key. Defensively, getting off the field on 3rd and long. You’ve got to do that. You can put this game away early and get LSU into where they got to throw the ball a little bit more. Then once they start do that, now you can really tee off on them with that inexperienced line. I think those 3rd downs, you got to win there.

I think offensively just see if you can get the running game working. There’s going to be opportunities to make a lot of plays. Maybe you jump out to an early lead and then start working on some stuff.

Andrew:                 I’m with you. 3rd down is key for me. I’ll go back to what I said a minute ago, and that is confidence. Whatever it takes to get the confidence up with this team. If that’s a fake punt to get the confidence of this team, do it. Whatever it takes, get your confidence up in this game. Play like the team, we’re taping this on Tuesday night, Florida come out #6 again in the Playoff Poll. Play like the #6 team in the country. Play like the team that is going to go up against Alabama. Alabama’s already opened up as a 14-point favorite. Play with that chip on your shoulder, like you have in the past.

I think if that’s accomplished, you go into the Alabama game, and you say, we’re going to let our talent go up against their talent, and the best man wins. At the end of the day, that’s all you can hope for is to get to Atlanta and let things play out in Atlanta.

Seth:                        After the last few weeks, you just want to see a fast start on both sides of the ball. Kind of when you get to the end of the game the last few weeks, you look back and you’re like, that wasn’t too bad. Defensively, giving up points early. If you flip that, or they give up points late and they end up giving up 10 points to Kentucky or whatever, you’re like, whatever. When they give them up early you’re like, what is wrong here? I’d like to see them get out to a fast start, build a lead. I think that would give you, like you said, getting that fast start will give you the confidence going into next week.

Andrew:                 Yeah. We have a Thursday tradition. This is going to come out on Thursday, so we have a tradition. We pick our players. We both get three players. Since you’re the newcomer on the podcast, we’ll let you go. There’s two rules. You can’t pick Kyle Trask, and you can’t pick Kyle Pitts, because they win no matter what every week. I’ll let you pick. Who’s your first player to watch this wee?

Seth:                        I’m not going to take your boy Toney from you. I’ll talk Grimes. I think, like we talked about, who’s going to match up on him? You think they’re going to go Pitts, Toney, so who’s your third guy that you’re going to match up on him? Because he’s a matchup nightmare. He’s a big dude. I would look for him to have a pretty good game.

Andrew:                 I’ll tell you this, if I don’t pick Toney, he has bad weeks. The three bad games he’s had I hadn’t picked him. So, I have to go back to the well, because it is probably my guy’s last game in the Swamp. As we do on the podcast, we call him Mr. 251, because that’s the area code for Mobile. Kadarius Toney. Real quick, to get off the player picking. The guy, just an incredible season for the guy.

Seth:                        He’s been unguardable, and he’s been a lot more in control too. You can see his growth, I think. They got him back there returning punts, and they trust him to do that. I think you can kind of see the growth just in that gesture from the coaching staff.

Andrew:                 Yeah. You get the second pick. Who you got?

Seth:                        Let’s go with Kaiir Elam.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Seth:                        I’ll go with him. I think he’s going to match up one on one with any of those guys they got, and if they test him, I think he’ll make some plays. Let’s go with that.

Andrew:                 I like that pick. That’s a good pick. I think you might get a pick this week. I’m going to go on the defensive line and go Zach Carter. A guy that I think has a tough decision ahead of him. There’s not a ton of defensive linemen coming out this year. He’s had a decent season. I think he’ll have a decision to make here in a couple weeks. I’ll go with Zach Carter. I guess, potentially his last game in the Swamp.

Seth:                        Yeah. He’s really been coming on, and they’ve done some stuff to kind of get him isolated in pass rushing situations. He’s just bull rushing people and dominating. It’s been nice having him back since that Missouri game.

Andrew:                 You going to go defense or offense for your last pick?

Seth:                        This is tough. You think LSU is so bad on defense, you got to go with offense. Maybe I’ll go. This is tough. I’ll go with a running back. Let’s go with Pierce. I’ll go with him. I know hearing my vote of confidence will give him that confidence to tote the rock. Let’s do that.

Andrew:                 There you go. Listen, I like it. I like it. I bounce back and forth here. I want to say a defensive guy, and then I want to say an offensive guy, because they’re so bad. At the same time, I feel like as soon as I pick an offensive guy Dan Mullen is going to take his foot off the gas and give me 20 straight runs or some trash. Then I’ll look like an idiot. I want to go Jacob Copeland, but he had a drop last week, so that scares me off. I’m going to go a defensive guy. Even though I just said linebackers aren’t as important anymore, I’m going to go Ventrell again. They’ve got to try to establish the running game. If not, Carter and Cox are going to have a field day on whatever quarterback is back there. I’m going to go Ventrell to finish my picks this week.

Seth:                        I like that pick. I think Cox is another one that’s going to have a really big game. Him and Carter have kind of turned a corner together. They’re pretty nasty when they can put them on the same side.

Andrew:                 I think Brenton Cox is starting to kind of get comfortable again. I think that’s a big thing. Before we get off of here, we got to make our pick. Obviously, we’re both going to go with Florida in the game, but we’re going to go with the spread. I’m pulling it up now. Florida is a 23.5 point favorite. Do you have the over or the under on that?

Seth:                        I’ll go over. Let’s say something like maybe 45-17 type game. Maybe something like that.

Andrew:                 I’m going to be a happy camper on Monday’s podcast if that’s the case. I want to see it.

Seth:                        We’ll see. Nobody suffers a loss like the Gator fans right? Or suffers a win like the Gator fans.

Andrew:                 Win by 50. That’s 23.5. Guess what? It’s at the Swamp. Gators got a chance to go undefeated at the Swamp again. I’m going to go with you here. I’m going to go over this week as well. I don’t know why. I don’t know what my confidence level is, but I think LSU is just really bad football team. They might be worse than Tennessee. That’s bad.

Seth:                        I think after just getting waxed by Alabama, I think if you can get up on them early they may quit a little bit. Their season is just about wrapped up. They’re not playing for much. Get up on them early. Maybe they’ll kind of fold it up, and then that’s where you can get that margin. Just keep it rolling.

Andrew:                 I’m going to say this. I think Emory Jones has a big role Saturday.

Seth:                        Yeah. If you want to try to goose the run game a little bit, put him in there. He can give you some of those looks where you can spread it out and let him run against light boxes.

Andrew:                 I know Dan says he’s not thinking ahead and everything else, but if you get up by two, three touchdowns, you got to protect your Heisman trophy quarterback too a little bit. That’s why I say maybe Emory comes in. Again, you’ve went three weeks without showing a ton, so if you do get up a couple scores, you might as well bring Emory in, because everybody knows what Emory is going to do when he’s at quarterback. There you go.

Seth, I appreciate it. It was a great first podcast with you. Looking forward to the many more to come. Glad you decided to come join us. Hope everybody enjoyed the podcast. If anybody has any recommendations on how we can do better, as always, let us know. Seth, tell your Twitter, since nobody knows your Twitter right now.

Seth:                        I’m @SethVarnadore on Twitter.

Andrew:                 I know you said you got a couple things coming out. We’re excited about that. We’re going to be excited. Him and David are both going to have some good analytic stuff. Football is going to that analytics. I don’t know about you, but for me as a old school coach, it’s so tough for me to adjust to the analytic part.

Seth:                        Some of it’s pretty cool. I was the same way. When they’re telling me time of possession doesn’t matter, I’m like, there ain’t too many games I’ve won where I didn’t have the ball very much. There’s things like that, but there are some stuff that’s really interesting and can kind of really give you a good view of what teams like, without having to watch them. Then I think you got to throw on the tape and let it confirm. The tape’s got to be the final confirmation. You can’t just go off all numbers, but they do provide some good context.

Andrew:                 I’ll go to my grave saying if you win time in possession, you’re going to win 9 out of 10. I guess it’s a little different nowadays with the high-powered offenses, but a team that’s consistently out timed on time in possession is going to wear down as the season gets in. Anyway, Seth, we appreciate man.

We’ll be back on Monday. We’ll wrap up LSU loss to the Gators and get ready to talk some Bama and Gators. We’ll have a special guest next week. Got to go through the Bama contacts and see who we want to get on. We’ll have to razz them a little bit. I’m excited for the matchup. I really am. I know you are as well. We’ll be back on Monday. Make sure to check out Seth’s stuff this week and check out the site, as always. Check us out on Gator Country and on Twitter. GatorCountry.com. Thank you, guys.

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.