Podcast: Looking into the future of the Florida Gators football program

Nick de la Torre and Andrew Spivey return with the Gator Country podcast, previewing some of the Florida Gators football early enrollees and redshirt freshmen that could make an impact on the field in 2016. The podcast takes a look at young players that will be thrust into big roles for Florida this spring and into next season.

As always you can listen to the podcast on our iTunes page  or in the media player here. We also have provided a full transcript of the podcast below.


Andrew::      What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, the Goat, Andrew Spivey, back again today. Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, say hello to the people.

Nick::                         What’s going on everybody? Just another beautiful day here in Gainesville. Not much to talk about. We got some basketball going on, young team, young coach. They’re still learning. Tons of recruiting. Recruiting is crazy, and we still got football. It’s transfer season. People are moving. Pieces are moving and shaking.

Andrew:: :               I played golf today. Never a bad day when you can pull out the clubs and try to hit them straight.

Nick::                     That’s not bad.

Andrew::                 I said try. Don’t hold that against me. Try was the keyword. We’ll see. Not a very good day with the old flat stick. Like you said, transfer season. Grad transfers coming in. Guys deciding to leave, and coaches still being hired, as Auburn kind of made some news today by hiring Wesley McGriff from the Saints. If you’re an Auburn fan, are you a little worried? That Saints defense was not very good, and those are NFL players he’s coaching. Don’t get your hopes up, Auburn.

Nick::                         I think it’s a good hire. He was at Miami before. He was at Ole Miss as a DB coach. So he’s going to be the DB coach and co defensive coordinator at Auburn. You got to wonder. We both said that we thought, or we both thought that Auburn’s defense would be very good this year, because we both agree that Muschamp’s a very good defensive coach, and they simply weren’t. You got to hire somebody. So this guy has experience recruiting, has experience coaching at the college level. I don’t really hold success or failure at the NFL level against him.

Andrew::                 Yeah. The thing, I was talking about this with a couple people, is as bad as Will got a reputation for his defense this year, make no mistake. Auburn’s offense was Florida bad, not very good at all. At times it was really bad.

Nick::                         It’s amazing what a quarterback can do. The Gus bus was rolling along doing 60 with Cam, and you lose Cam. Now you’ve got a flat tire, and then a couple flat tires this year.

Andrew::                 A coach can only go as far as that franchise quarterback can take him.

Nick::                         Unless you are kind of like Alabama, and you build a factory, and you just have a guy who can come in and control the game and not lose the game for you.

Andrew::                 Or if you’re Auburn, excuse me, Ohio State or Baylor, where it’s just like #6 is coming in, so he’s only the 12th string quarterback for the day. He’s ready to go.

Nick::                         Unbelievable what happened to Baylor, first off, and then still to be able to win games, despite losing every quarterback on campus.

Andrew::                 Yeah.

Nick: :                        While Florida was trying out kickers Baylor was about to have walk-on quarterback tryouts on campus.

Andrew: :                Yes. Speaking of that, let’s dive into that real quick a little bit. Kind of some news broke on, today is Thursday we’re taping this, so news broke on Wednesday that some guys had off season surgery. We reported about Martez Ivey the other day. I guess catch us up to speed real quick.

Nick::                         It’s really not uncommon for guys to have surgery in the off season. The only time these guys are healthy for the most part is kickoff of the first game of the season. Jordan Sherit had a knee surgery. Brandon Powell, he had been dealing with a foot ever since he’s gotten to Florida. Had foot surgery. Joey Ivie and Quincy Wilson both had sports hernia surgeries. The Dentist, Neal MacInnes had an ACL surgery, and Martez Ivey a shoulder surgery. The interesting thing about MacInnes is he kicked with a torn ACL in his left leg in the Citrus Bowl. Kicked an extra point with a torn ACL.

Andrew::                 No idea how that happens. No earthly idea.

Nick::                         I remember you and I were both down on the field at the Citrus Bowl, and we see the kickers trot out, and Austin Hardin’s kind of dragging his foot with a walking boot, and we’re like, shoot. Neal MacInnes is hurt, and that’s why he hasn’t been playing. He has a big brace on his knee. Who’s going to kick? Gainesville native, Drew Stubbs was out there, and he handled the kickoff duties, and MacInnes. Would have been interesting to see if Florida had scored more than one touchdown, and he would have had to try to kick again. That probably goes to what Mac was saying after the game. Our field goal range was probably somewhere down inside the 10.

Andrew::                 Down inside the 10. That is awful.

Nick::                         I can kick them down inside the 10.

Andrew::                 I think I could kick them down inside the 10, and I’m not a football, soccer, whatever you want to call it, player. Ivey though, it kind of explains things, as we talked about on the show the other day. It kind of explains some things and maybe makes sense of some things as well. Then good to see Ivie finally get the surgery, because I know that had been a problem that he had kind of been dealing with all season. Kind of held him back a little bit. At the beginning of the year I would say that he was one of Florida’s best defensive tackles at the beginning of the season, and then that injury kind of came about, and it kind of, I don’t want to say hurt his performance, but he kind of didn’t stand out as much, I guess is the best way to say it.

Nick::                         Yeah. We kind of talked about, Joey Ivie is showing this speed and this burst that we haven’t seen from him. We always knew he was strong, but he was really coming into his own, and obviously we talked about Quincy Wilson with his sports hernia. That’s tough to walk around with and tough to breathe, so when you’re playing defensive tackle, and you’re going up against 300 pound monsters, that’s something very difficult. It’s just something that goes to show there’s a lot that happens that people don’t know about. You’re quick to bash somebody. He’s not playing well. He sucks. There’s stuff that goes on behind the scenes that sometimes even us in the media, who are friendly with coaches and people and families, even we don’t know about.

Andrew::                 Right. A lot of these guys simply try not to say anything about it, as they don’t want an excuse. I’m the world’s worst. I will be the first to admit that I am the first person to let a guy know he sucks or is not playing very well. Shout out, Joey Ivie. You’re exactly right. It’s something, I told you after the Citrus Bowl I didn’t even know that Quincy Wilson was playing with a messed up groin until his father told us, Chad Wilson did. That goes to show how well that he was playing, and then how well he was kind of able to cover it up.

Nick::                         Yeah. I don’t really think Quincy’s play dropped off dramatically, but that’s obviously a tough deal. My dad had a hernia surgery. They say it’s about a six week recovery process, but it’s something where you’re taking pain medication every 4-6 hours, something that is very painful even after the surgery. Good to see these guys getting cleaned up after a very difficult season.

Andrew::                 Got a little bit of time for there. Let’s move on a little bit. Let’s talk about some of the new toys that are in Gainesville. Some of them are new to campus, early enrollees. Some will be coming on campus in June or late May as they graduate high school. Then some of them are simply guys that were redshirting this year, and then maybe some of the freshmen that played we can talk a little bit about those guys as well. Maybe some guys that are going to play. Let’s start with the man himself, Mr. Odell Kick ‘Em, Eddie Piniero.

Nick::                         He’s already back to his vine ways on Twitter there.

Andrew::                 Already on his vine ways. What was it? 60 some yarder in the indoor practice facility?

Nick::                         62, yeah.

Andrew::                 Not too bad. I’ll say this. I think that Florida would love for him to take over kickoffs and field goals, but Florida will be very happy if he can just make field goals and allow Hardin to still kickoff. Hopefully he can get in there and do some work with Nord and some of the other guys that are there and get his mechanics in tune. I know you’re going to have a story on him this weekend. I think it’s good. I think it’s really good that he’s in there working. The one thing we can say is Eddie may not make every field goal, but it’s not going to be because of lack of practice.

Nick::                         Yeah. Good to see that he’s in there working and kicking. I do not expect, there’s a gigantic difference between kicking a field goal with nobody around you, whether it’s being held by, I think it was Johnny Townsend holding, whether it’s being held by somebody or being held by a tee on an empty field, kicking a 60, 70 yarder. Huge difference between that and kicking a 35 yarder with an offensive line and a defensive front in front of you with a stadium full of people screaming. Huge difference. Also, on those long kicks kickers are able to hit those, because they don’t have to worry about the ball trajectory. You can kick it low and really power through it, rather than having to worry to kick a little bit higher, which might take some distance off of it, just so you can get it up over those guys.

It’ll be interesting to me to see how Eddie kicks in the spring game, when he’s kicking in front of people. How he kicks in practice when he has people in front of him, but certainly an impressive leg, and we really kind of saw in the Citrus Bowl how Florida missed Austin Hardin. Austin Hardin, basically the opposing offense is going to start on their 25, because Hardin’s going to kick it into or out of the end zone. Then with Stubbs he doesn’t have that kind of leg, had never kicked before. You see it’s allowing Michigan to return it. You think with Eddie, the way that he kicks the ball he’s going to be able to kind of give you what Austin Hardin gave you as far as kickoffs.

Andrew::                 Exactly. I guess, where do you want to go next? Nick, you want start in the defensive back field? You want to start in the offensive back field? Where you want to go?

Nick::                         We’ll stick with the early enrollees. Obviously we’ll go with wide receiver, because after Antonio Callaway job’s up for grabs as far as playing and starting. Freddie Swain is an early enrollee, as well as Josh ‘Hot Sauce’ Hammond coming. We’ll even throw Dre Massey, who’s kind of a Brandon Powell type of athlete where Florida will look to get him in some different roles, but obviously one of those roles will be catching footballs.

Andrew::                 Let me hit on that real quick, Nick. This is something that you and I, I think, were talking about this with Dre Massey compared to Brandon Powell. Brandon Powell is just a really good athlete playing receiver. He doesn’t maybe understand the receiver position as a whole. Dre Massey’s a natural receiver that plays the slot. That’s where I want to talk about the difference of that is Massey understands how to get open more so as Brandon Powell just needs the ball in his hand. I think that’s going to be huge. I do, I think Massey’s going to be a guy running a 4-3 40, and that was legit from what I heard. I think he’s a guy that can be an asset to Florida, because he’s able to be a true slot receiver, much like a lot of these guys are, you look in the NFL, Wes Welkers, those type of guys that are slot receivers that understand the game. I think that’s what Massey’s going to be able to do for Florida.

Nick::                         If you look at them standing next to each other, they’re not the same kind of body type either. They’re not the same build at all. Massey’s a much bigger guy, maybe even moving as fluidly, as quickly, as fast as Powell is. It’ll be interesting to see how Florida is able to get creative. You look at the offense, and you kind of were limited based on what you had. This is kind of a new toy for Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier to maybe be able to design some other stuff, be less predictable. Florida’s offense down the stretch with Treon got pretty predictable, and that’s just basically being we can’t call half of the playbook that we used to call. Basically out of the window, and now we’re kind of handcuffed. To me, Massey’s a guy that can come in and even make an impact on special teams, maybe as a returner.

Looking at the other two guys, more of your typical kind of outside, X kind of receiver. Josh Hammond, I was very impressed with him, and I think maybe even in the beginning I kind of fell into the general consensus. It’s Frankie’s brother. Maybe he’s getting an offer because of his brother. Not falling for that anymore. This kid can play. He knows the position, has the talent, has the size. I really think he’s a guy that could come in, and depending on how he picks up the offense and how he gels with Luke del Rio and the quarterbacks, could make an impact.

Freddie Swain’s just an athlete, a guy with great athleticism, long arms, knows how to play. He’s a guy that I know fans are really excited about, and somebody I think can make an impact. At 6’1”, 188 already kind of has that build that you’d like to see in a receiver at the college level.

Andrew::                 I think when you say they got the build to play the X, or they’re an X, I think the thing that Mac is trying, you see it a lot with Callaway, and that is that he can play X, Z, even the F, that flanker position with his body style. That’s a lot what Swain and Hammond are going to be able to do. They’re not going to be limited to like a Demarcus Robinson where he has to play X, or he has to play Z. No. That’s not the way it is. He’s going to be able to play all over the place, and I think that’s going to be the biggest thing going forward is can they get in and learn the playbook to be able to play all three of those positions? Where does that go?

Hammond for me is probably a better Z, moving Callaway to an X. More so because I like Callaway giving me that burst more down the field. I like Hammond underneath. Again, like you say, either way Freddie Swain is just an athlete. Get him the tunnel screens. Get him that thing, and one thing’s different between him and Demarcus Robinson is he doesn’t play Dancing with the Stars. He plays football.

Nick::                         Yeah. I think what I meant more is just their skillset lends them more to that, where Massey’s kind of just an athlete, and you look for ways to get him the ball. I think Swain and Hammond, maybe even Hammond a little bit more so, you consider them more of your receiver type. That’s a guy that knows how to play out on the boundary.

Andrew::                 I see what you were saying. I was just trying to say it’s kind of more of a Callaway type of player. What’s Callaway? 6’1”? Maybe. I don’t even know.

:Nick::                         About 6’.

Andrew::                 I don’t even know if he’s that, so he’s that kind of player that can play all three of your receiver positions, whereas Massey’s probably just a slot receiver, maybe get a hand off here and there from that position. The thing about it is is you’ve got now three receivers that aren’t just guys, there guys that can come in and play football, and that’s the biggest thing.

Nick::                         Most importantly, they’re in now. They’re in for the spring.

Andrew::                 They’re in there for the spring. They’re going to get adjusted to working with Appleby, with Franks, with del Rio, and Trask. They’re going to get to work with all those guys to where they’re able to work in the spring game. They’re able to go through summer. By this time next fall they’re going to basically be a sophomore when they have time to go to the Swamp. That’ll be good for Florida to be able to have that guy.

The next guy I want to talk about is a guy that is going to play football for the Gators next year, and that’s Mr. Little Prime Time, Chauncey Gardner. He’s on campus. Guaranteed almost that guy’s playing football, unless he just has an atrocious spring and summer.

Nick::                         Chauncey’s the kind of guy that expects to come in and play right away, and he’s going to let you know that he expects to come in and play right away.

Andrew::                 He thinks he should already have the Heisman Trophy.

Nick::                         He might. That probably will not happen, but you know.

Andrew::                 I’m just saying he’s a guy that the Heisman was given away a couple of weeks ago, and he expected to win it. That’s Chauncey Gardner for you. I can guarantee one thing, Nick. He’s talking shit to somebody. I don’t know who it is, but right now he’s talking shit to somebody.

Nick::                         Hopefully not one of his professors.

Andrew::                 His professor doesn’t know who Still That Little Prime Time is, but, no, and this comparison keeps being thrown out about Gardner, and they say, he’s Brian Poole. He’s Brian Poole, but he’s more athletic than Brian Poole. As I talked about in the Under Armour thing, he’s able to play that outside corner position if he needs to. He’s able to play nickel, and he even could play a little bit of free safety for Florida. He’s able to play a little bit more free safety, because he does have that range, that ability to play a lot of things. He’s a guy that can blitz as well. Good speed. He’s the 100 meter, 200 meter, and 4×100 state champion last year at Coco, so he’s got speed.

Nick::                         Has speed. To me, I fell into that too. I thought he was a nickel or safety. Played well at Under Armour practice, and I kind of talked about it a little bit. In that setting some kids, and Herm Edwards kept saying it all week, I need somebody to be a leader, not a follower. Some kids going into that setting can be intimidating. You’re in an All-Star setting. Back at your high school you’re the man. Everyone’s looking at you. Now you’re on a field with everybody else who’s the man at their high school, and some kids might not have the personality to step up and be a leader in that situation. That is not Chauncey’s personality. It doesn’t matter if he’s in a room with Barak Obama. He’s going to try to be the leader in that room.

I think maybe that also helped him, just going in with that kind of swag, that kind of mentality where it doesn’t matter who I’m on the field with. I think I’m the best, and these guys are going to follow me. I think that’ll help him on the field this year. There’s not a lot of ego on that Florida Gator defense, so I don’t think it’s going to be a situation like when Patsy called out Ronald Powell and Dominic Easley, and these freshmen need to shut up and just play. There’s not a lot of ego, and I think the other guys in the secondary, the other guys on defense, will like to see that from him, like to see that kind of attitude. I think he’s going to fit in well, and certainly a guy that I think, and 100% expect, to play this year.

Andrew::                 Good luck telling that man to shut up.

Nick::                         Not going to happen.

Andrew::                 Not going to happen. Another DB we haven’t talked a lot about is McArthur Burnett. He’s a guy, he’ll be in school for Monday, had to finish up some loose ends this week, but he’ll be in school. He’s a guy that I think is a punt returner that’s going to play return game for Florida next year. From Pahokee, he gets compared to Janoris Jenkins because of that. It’s a fair comparison, because he’s very athletic, very fast. Played running back and cornerback in high school, which shows me he’s got good hips, he’s got good vision, and he’s an athlete. I really think he’s a guy that maybe doesn’t play a lot on defense next year, but finds a way on special teams next year to go in next year to get ready to play 2017 when Quincy Wilson, Jalen Tabor, and the rest of those guys are gone from the defense.

Nick::                         Maybe one of them will stay. Maybe there won’t be a complete mass exodus at corner, but sign me up for a defensive back from Pahokee. Every day, sign me up. Those kids are athletes down there in the muck. 100% believe that.

Andrew::                 Chasing rabbits.

Nick::                         There was too many to count. The muck just puts out athletes, and if they’re playing defensive back, you look at Janoris Jenkins. McArthur Burnett kind of an athlete, maybe a little bit raw as a cornerback as far as technique, but somebody who certainly you put him on special teams say, “Go hit the guy with the ball.” Maybe as a gunner, something like that. A guy that can come in and make an impact. I don’t think you need to wait for him to see the field either.

Andrew::                 Absolutely not. Then another guy on defense, and I think we can both agree this defensive player is going to have to play a good bit next year, David Reese, linebacker from Michigan. He’s a big boy already, 6’1”, 6’2”, 225 pounds, 235 pounds, somewhere in that range. Probably comes in at 230, 225 in that range. Athletic guy that is a prototypical Randy Shannon linebacker, and that’s he’s a headhunter, and Florida’s going to need him to play to come give depth behind Anzalone, McMillan, and Jarrad Davis.

Nick::                         Yeah. Not a lot of depth at linebacker. Reese is getting a head start. Linebacker’s a tough position, kind of like a quarterback where you have to know the playbook inside and out for 11 positions, because you’re telling people where to go. You’re telling people where they need to be. You need to know what you’re supposed to be doing. So getting a head start there, an early start, is important. Also a very smart kid. Having the chance to speak with him one time. Very smart kid. Can you pick up the playbook?

We talked about Rayshad Jackson last year, when I saw him I was surprised when I saw him at spring practice. It was physically this kid looks every bit of the part of an SEC linebacker, but like I said, it’s very tough to pick up the playbook and kind of be that leader. Getting a chance to come in early, sorry it was fall camp for Jackson. Spring for Reese, can you make the jump? The playing time is there for somebody, whether it’s Jackson or it’s Reese, the playing time will be there for somebody at linebacker.

Andrew::                 Completely agree there. It’s interesting. It’s interesting to see where Florida goes with that. Is Reese a guy that’s ready to go, or is it a Jackson, Rayshad Jackson that’s ready to go? Does Matt Rolin bump inside maybe? It’s going to be interesting to see for sure, because, like you said, somebody’s got to step up and somebody’s got to step up and be ready to play ball. To kind of round out the defensive side of the ball, let’s talk about a couple of freshmen that we think can play next year, or redshirt freshmen that we’re going to expect to play. One of those guys is Chris Williamson. I’m very high on Chris Williamson, have been very high on Chris Williamson. He’s an athlete that can play as well. I can’t see him not making an impact in some way, shape, or form this year, as he did redshirt because of injury this year.

Nick::                         Yeah. I think without the injury he might have been a player that Florida would have tried to get into the mix a little bit more. Looks the part again. Long arms, long frame. He’s also had the chance, and I think this is something that maybe I’m wrong, but something that people might take for granted, he’s had a whole year to watch some of the best cornerbacks and practice with some of the best cornerbacks. I know that he was close with Vernon Hargreaves. He’s close with Jalen Tabor, Quincy Wilson. Those are guys that you really don’t mind learning from. If you’re going to have a redshirt year, to be able to watch those three go to work every day to perfect their craft every day, going to be hard pressed to find three better teachers than that.

So hopefully he kind of took that in all year, was picking their brains, whether it was in the defensive backs meeting room, on the practice field, in the weight room, picking their brains, picking up on those little things that they do that’s not necessarily playing. Those little things as far as taking care of your body, taking notes, asking questions when you’re meeting with Callahan, when you’re meeting with Geoff Collins. Stuff like that. I guess it’s called being a pro. These guys aren’t professionals, but it’s the stuff that would say being a pro and handling your business like a professional. Physically all those tools are there, so maybe just being able to handle yourself as a professional, and those guys, Jalen, Quincy, and Vernon, especially Vernon, all handle themselves like professionals on and off the field. That’s what I hope that Williamson picked up on, and that can take him to the next level, but I think he’s a player.

You’re going to have two starters in Tabor and Wilson, and then Florida’s coaches like a healthy rotation there. Again, kind of like we talked about with linebacker, there’s going to be an opening for somebody, whether it’s Chauncey, who we both think will be in that rotation somewhere, outside, nickel, safety, he’s going to be in the rotation somewhere. Is there a spot for Williamson in that rotation? I think it’s going to be on him.

Andrew::                 There’s a couple of guys coming in in June. Aaron Robinson, if he’s able to get through his academics, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. He might be the best pure cover corner in this class. Then you look at guy like Jawaan Taylor or Quincy Litton. Those are two safeties that are going to come in, and they got a chance to figure into the rotation. I don’t think any of those guys start, but figuring into that rotation. At times Florida was playing four safeties, rotating four safeties, and we’ll see what Marcus Maye does. There’s an open spot will Neal gone to hope in.

Taylor, Jawaan Taylor and Quincy Litton are both guys that are there, and then Aaron Robinson is kind of in that Chris Williamson, Chauncey Gardner deal of where do they figure into the rotation? Then where does Duke Dawson go? Does he bump back down to nickel, or does he go back to safety? That’s a question that we don’t really know. He kind of played a little bit of both. I personally think he’s a safety, but we’ll see. There’s a lot of question marks in that defensive back field if they’re going to keep DBU alive.

Nick::                         I know that Duke wants to play corner, and he sees himself as a corner, as a nickel, but when it comes down to your junior year, and you haven’t played as much as you’d like to the first two years, it’s time to just walk up to the coaches and say, “How can I get on the field? How do you see me helping this football team, and what can I do to get on the field?” Maybe that is playing safety. Maybe it’s playing a position you don’t want to play, but that’s going to get me on the field.

Andrew::                 It’s money time. When you’re a junior it’s money time, make the best decision. Let’s finish off defense real quick. The defensive line, Cece Jefferson played a good bit, and then Keivonnis Davis played a little bit in there. You got Luke Ancrum as a redshirt. You’ve got Jabari that’s a redshirt guy, and then you have early enrollee George Smith that’s there. I think Jabari, Andrew Ivie as well. I think Jabari and maybe Ivie play next year. I think Smith’s probably a redshirt guy, and I’m not sure on Luke Ancrum kind of where he is. I’m not sure on that. I guess are you agreeing with that?

Nick::                         Yeah. Luke Ancrum was on the travel roster. I saw him on the road, never expected him to play, but he was on the travel roster, kind of getting that experience of playing in these other venues and what the schedule’s like when you go on the road. Jabari Zuniga, saying that correctly, Jabari Zuniga is a guy that I thought might have been able to sneak in last year in kind of a…

Andrew: :                3rd down role.

Nick::                         Yeah, kind of a 3rd down role, pass rush specialist. He looks the part, and I think maybe as a redshirt freshman you can kind of get him into that role, but you also have some freshmen coming in that could fill that role.

Andrew::                 Here’s the thing real quick on Jabari, remember this. This is only his third year this year of organized football. That redshirt year was probably, could he have played had he played a ton in high school? Probably. Did Florida really need him to? Probably not. That redshirt year was probably good for both parties.

Nick::                         There’s so much, even Cece Jefferson has been playing football his entire life will tell you that I came into Florida, and Coach Rumph probably showed me something in practice every day for the first month that I had never seen before. For Zuniga it’s probably what is he even talking about? Can I even do that? Is that legal? This year was probably a needed redshirt just in the sense of you’ve got a lot of learning to do about the game and how to attack certain things. This is what an offensive tackle is going to try to do to you, and what he’s doing, what his feet are doing, what his eyes are doing, can tell you what the offense as a whole is trying to do. There’s so many small things that he needed to pick up on, which I say maybe as a redshirt freshman you’re getting him into those 3rd down packages, those passing down packages where it’s less thinking. You’re not trying to dissect as much. Go get the quarterback.

Andrew::                 Right.

Nick::                         They’re going to pass the ball. Go get the quarterback. Just beat that guy in front of you.

Andrew::                 Then you got Shavar Manuel coming in at defensive tackle. Here’s the thing, and Caleb Brantley, don’t get upset when I say this, but he has a little bit of Caleb in him, and Caleb I think will agree that there’s some plays that he likes to take off. When he wants to play ball, and when he decides he’s going to play ball, it’s problems for the offensive line, and that’s exactly what Shavar has is when Shavar wants to play ball he’s ready to go. I think Shavar can get some time. Of course, he needs to stay healthy and get in better shape, but I think he can. Then Antonius Clayton is a guy that I think could play next year. I think it would maybe be wise to get him a redshirt year, but after watching him at the Under Armour game that guy might be playing ball for the Gators next year.

Nick::                         I 100% agree with you on Shavar. Kind of a guy where if you’re watching a highlight tape, obviously it’s just great play after great play, but if you’re watching a game he’s kind of a guy that you’ll see something from, and then you’ll watch four more minutes of the game, five more minutes of the game, and you’re where’d he go? To me, it’s that. it’s just learning the amount of effort that it takes to play successful college football at this level, and there’s no time to take plays off. There’s no time to take practice reps off. You got to understand that these guys are so good, and a lot of them mature faster, so they’re bigger, more physically developed than guys, and everyone else that they’re playing against is like playing catchup. They’ve been able to not go 100% and still win a rep, and that can create some bad habits in that it’s worked before. I’m going to save some gas for later in the practice, because I know we’ll have something else. Now you’re getting your butt whooped by Tyler Jordan. You’re getting your butt whooped by Martez Ivey, and the coaching staff sees that, and you get written off.

Andrew::                 Right. That’s exactly right. Let’s switch to the offense here. We’re running almost out of time here, but let’s go through the offensive line real quick. We went through receiver already. Let’s talk offensive line. Florida returns Sharpe, Ivey, Jordan, and Fred Johnson, all guys that are there. You got guys last year in Richard Desire Jones.

Nick::                         I think we can just go ahead and say Sharpe, Ivey, and Johnson just plug them in as starters now. Now we’re looking for two spots, one more guard, and a center.

Andrew::                 I think Jordan plays.

Nick::                         I think you very well could plug him in at either guard or center. Played more guard this year, so then do we discount Cam Dillard and say he’s out?

Andrew::                 I mean, he was out the last three games of the season, four games of the season. He kind of got benched. I would say maybe. I don’t know. Here’s the thing. Nick Buchanan, he’s a guard. Is he better than Jordan at guard and Jordan a better center than whoever it is? I don’t know. Richard Desire Jones is a guy that was playing guard. Is he better there, or is Brandon Sandifer. Those are three guys that are there. I don’t know if they’re better guards then what Tyler Jordan was this year. Next year, I don’t know if they’re going to be better than that there next year, or here’s a wildcard for you. Brett Heggie as a center. He did well in the Under Armour All-American game. Where does he figure into this mix? Here’s the thing though, Florida has a good problem right now. They have a lot of bodies to plug into those two spots. Who fits where?

Nick::                         We were both told that the staff was very high on Nick Buchanan and Brandon Sandifer. Brandon probably had a little ways to go as far as reshaping his body though.

Andrew::                 Yeah. When his Twitter name is Heavy, and he was heavy.

Nick::                         HeavyChocolate. That’s his Twitter name.

Andrew::                 That’s pretty cool. How do you come up with that kind of stuff?

Nick::                         I don’t know. A+ for creativity.

Andrew::                 I’m going to change mine to Goat.

Nick::                         Probably my second favorite Twitter name behind OdoKickEm.

Andrew::                 OdoKickEm. I might steal that.

Nick::                         I’m going to go OdoKickEm and HeavyChocolate.

Andrew::                 There’s some good ones out there. My boy, Lamical Perine has Superman.

Nick::                         If you’re listening to this, let us know who has the best Twitter name on the team.

Andrew::                Definitely. Anyway, let’s get back on track real quick. As we said, there’s a couple guys there. Offensive line coming in, Jawaan Taylor, Stone Forsythe, and Heggie. Heggie probably has the best upside to play early, and then I would say Buchanan is probably a guy that’s there that could play early, unless Florida sneaks a Juco offensive lineman in this class. That looks very unlikely right now, but never say never in recruiting.

Nick::                         I’ve taken this stance forever, and it’s that offensive linemen need a year to develop, but I definitely would agree with you that Heggie’s probably the most ready to play, and I think that’s based on what we saw from him at the Under Armour game, but you look at how young Florida’s offensive line was last year, and it’s hard. There’s not a lot of, at least starting spots there with the talent they have, and then you’ve got to wonder, last year Florida had a rotation. Do they want to continue doing that? Do they still want that rotation, or do you want to kind of cement guys down?

Andrew: :                Cement guys down in my opinion.

Nick::                         Last year I think you have the rotation thinking we don’t have any great offensive linemen right now, let’s get everyone some experience, and at the same time through getting them that experience we’re also keeping them fresh, so that when they go back into the game that gas tank is still closer to full than it is, it’s half full, not half empty.

Andrew::                 Right. That’s a good point. Then going to running back. You got the two Jordans, and you’ve got Mark Thompson. You’ve got Perine. I know we’re going to disagree here, and it is what it is, but I think all four of those guys play. I think you see Perine playing on some special teams a little bit. We’ll disagree there. Mark Thompson’s probably the guy going into the season though there. I don’t even think we need to talk about running back, right?

Nick::                         No. I think it’s Mark Thompson and then the Jordans. Thompson’s already on campus. He knows he’s a junior. I’m not afforded the same opportunity as Lamical Perine, because he’s a freshman. I’ve got one, maybe two years to reach my goal of being an NFL player, so it’s now. There’s no time to rest.

Andrew::                 Then going to quarterback, Franks, Trask. You and I have made it very clear we think those guys are going to redshirt going into the year, and we already talked about receiver. Again, it’s a situation where there’s a lot of talent, a lot of tools, new toys coming in. It’s all about just how they develop and plugging in those guys. We sit here, and we discount guys. We didn’t even talk about a guy like Keylon Johnson, a DB. We discount Nick Buchanan. We don’t know how those guys are going to develop over the next few months to that. They’re already guys that are on campus, so maybe finally the light clicks on them, and they come out and have great springs and are All SEC next year. It’s a thing about when it clicks for these guys. Maybe it clicks, but heading into the spring I think we both agree that’s kind of how we see things.

Nick::                         Yeah. There’s a lot of talent, and it’s young. This Florida’s in a rebuilding process, and we said that before this season. I think the team exceeded expectations this season, and maybe not bad to remind people that this team is still rebuilding. This is only Mac’s first full recruiting class. You saw it in how many freshmen played last year, and I think you’re going to see a lot of sophomores and a lot of freshmen playing this year as well.

Andrew::                 Right. Exactly. That’s kind of where it is. Again, this recruiting class isn’t done. Still a long way to go, and one thing is for sure, Nicholas, and that is there’s only one place to catch all the news. That is the Goat and Nicholas de la Torre at Gator Country.

Nick::                        That is us. You can follow me @NickdelaTorreGC on Twitter. Follow Andrew @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter. Of course, the mothership, @GatorCountry on Twitter. Follow us on Facebook. It is just Gator Country on Facebook. On Instagram it is TheGatorCountry. That’s about it. Hope you are enjoying the podcast. Let us know what we can do better. I know Andrew has a lot of room for improvement. I’m probably doing well.

Andrew::                 That’s why you’re not called the Goat. If you are listening to us on Apple, give us a rating, and give us a shout out and all that good stuff on there. Let the people of Apple know how great the Goat is.

Nick::                         What does that mean?

Andrew::                 Nick, you can’t ask me to give you props. I mean, this is what it is. Twitter world has spoken by me already. They have spoken. They’ve let me know I’m the Goat. When they let you know you’re something, Nicholas, you will know, and you will get the privilege of having the nickname of whatever. For now you’re just Nicholas.

Nick::                         So we’re waiting for me to get a nickname from Twitter.

Andrew::                 Okay. Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to start it, and it’s going to be the Minion.

Nick::                         No.

Andrew::                 The Horse. Let’s just call you the Horse.

Nick::                         We got to get out of here. You’re delirious.

Andrew::                 I like that. The Horse and the Goat. The Horse and the Goat talk Gator football. The Horse and the Goat go to town. I like that.

Nick::                         This is awful.

Andrew::                 This is awful. That’s right. As always…

Nick: :                        If you’ve listened this long, I apologize. You probably should have turned it off five minutes ago. I don’t know what Andrew’s doing now.

Andrew::                 I’m singing a song about Mark and Butch. The Horse and the Goat go round and round, round and round. As always, we appreciate you guys. Hit us up, GatorCountry.com, and Mark and Butch, you know the drill. Chomp, chomp. Go Braves.

Nick:                         You stay classy, Gator Country.

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.