Podcast: Midweek before the Florida Gators take on UT-Martin

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we continue to preview the Florida Gators vs. UT-Martin game on Saturday in Gainesville.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre talk about the keys for the Gators on Saturday and what areas they need to improve in against UT-Martin.

Andrew and Nick also talk about what happened last week in college football, plus we talk about the latest news regarding former Gators in the NFL.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we’re back finally. Your boy was down for the count this weekend, but we’re good. It’s Wednesday before UT Martin. The mighty UT Martin comes to town in Gainesville. Looks like the weather should be clear. Hurricane Dorian finally made that turn. Maybe it’ll keep turning to the east and get out of town again.

Nick:                         Yeah. Shoot, this has been one of the weirder hurricanes, and I’ve lived in Florida 30 years. One of the stranger hurricanes that I’ve followed. It kind of just got big and no one really knew where it was going to go. Then all of a sudden, it just stopped moving.

Andrew:                 Literally stopped moving.

Nick:                         It just stalled. I’ve never seen for a full 24 hours. Unfortunately, for the people in the Bahamas, in Grand Bahama it stalled right over them. Hurricane Dorian was literally, on Monday I think it was, just if it was moving was moving west at one mile an hour.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         We were all kind of just in a holding pattern. Florida cancelled everything from classes, and good for Florida, making sure the students are safe. Cancelled classes Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so there was nothing going on. Players were allowed to go home. We talked about that. Allowed to go home. They had to come back Sunday, but Monday was kind of just a meeting day. I think a light practice in the indoor, because you’re still wondering do you have anything you need. Got 100 guys on your team. You got to make sure they got water and batteries and all kinds of stuff, just in case the storm did come. Luckily, now it looks like it’s going to stay off the coast. The Gainesville Sun had an Alachua County official tell them that they don’t even think there’s a chance that Gainesville will get hurricane sized winds or winds that would register at hurricane sizes. Fortunate for us, and we’ll have football Saturday. This storm will kind of stay off the coast.

Andrew:                 I know this is Wednesday, and we usually don’t recap things, but since we didn’t get to recap things, and you had the UT Martin this weekend, so there’s not a ton to really preview here. We’ll do little bit more on Friday. Nick, what the hell happened on Saturday?

Nick:                         Saturday was wild. I mean, where do you even want to start? I guess we start with Tennessee.

Andrew:                 No. Let’s start with the first game that happened, and that was Florida State. Let me say this and get this out of the way, I was down sick all weekend. I only saw bits and pieces of every game. Did not watch a full game at all. I was in and out of falling asleep seeing Twitter was raving about Kendal Briles. Florida State was up big at half-time, or up pretty good amount.

Nick:                         Up 18 at one point.

Andrew:                 I wake back up, see Twitter, and it’s a three-point ballgame or four-point ballgame, Boise State’s about to take the lead. Flip it on there, and Boise State dominated the rest of the game. In a game that was supposed to be in Jacksonville.

Nick:                         Yeah. So, strange, it was originally scheduled as a home-and-home. Florida State wanted the game to be in Jacksonville. Then the game was moved from Jacksonville because of Dorian to Tallahassee.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Good on FSU, because they made sure if you bought tickets those are refunded, and if you need tickets, they’re going to be $10. General admission. Just give us your $10 and sit wherever you want. Really cool, I think Boise State, listen, if you’re from Idaho, and you book a ticket to Jacksonville, and they move the game to Tallahassee, you’re not going to be like, darn, I guess we’ll see if we can cancel our flight. You’re going to find a rental car or a bus or some way to get over from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. Boise State fans were there, and they were treated to a show.

Monday, Willie Taggert comes out and says he doesn’t think his team was hydrated. I mean, the team from Idaho didn’t think it was too hot. They were hydrated. So, that’s not a good look to me. Coming and out and talking about I don’t think our training staff had our team ready to play the game. That’s not where I’d go.

Andrew:                 First of all, way to call out your training staff. I mean, let’s not put blame on ourself there, Willie. It’s not like your team just absolutely laid an egg. First of all, Boise State’s playing a freshman quarterback. First game, on the road, against a team who, let’s face it, should be superior more athletic than Boise. Not disrespecting anything at Boise. First of all, what did you do at halftime? What did you tell the guys at halftime? Take your foot off the pedal?

Nick:                         Yeah. I mean, the final score ended up being 36-31. Florida State was up 21-6 in the first half, and then it was 31-18 at halftime. They get blanked. They don’t score a single point in the second half.

Andrew:                 That’s embarrassing.

Nick:                         Hank Bachmeier, Boise State’s quarterback, 30 of 51 for 407 yards.

Andrew:                 He took some big-boy licks and did not care.

Nick:                         Yeah. He was getting hit. I think freshman?

Andrew:                 Yeah. First game.

Nick:                         Freshman. First game on the road. I mean, yeah, you’re on the road, but it wasn’t a full stadium. I’m not trying to take a shot at FSU, because obviously there were some other circumstances as to why it wasn’t a full stadium. I don’t know if they’ll have a full stadium the rest of the year after a game like this. Credit to Boise State. I mean, that program. Between watching FSU and watching UCLA, my goodness, did Florida luck out not getting those, not getting Willie and Chip.

Andrew:                 Remember when I told you guys that people who work for Willie said, don’t hire Willie. He’s a control freak. He doesn’t let everybody do their job. Starting to look like it. Again, throwing the excuses out of not hydrated. If you’re not hydrated, big boy, that’s your fault. Listen, I am a Mac apologist for the most part, and I lay the blame on Mac about Mike Kent. You didn’t like what Mike Kent was doing, that’s your job. Fire him. Willie, you don’t like what your training staff is doing, do something about it.

Nick:                         Yeah. It’s just not a good look to do that.

Andrew:                 There is a lot of teams that are going to blow out FSU if they don’t get any better.

Nick:                         I thought Justin Blackman looked okay early on.

Andrew:                 Why don’t you just feed Cam Akers?

Nick:                         Cam Akers looked back. I mean, last year I think is an aberration. I mean, the offensive line. Listen, you can be the best running back in the world, but if you’re breaking four tackles just to get back to the line of scrimmage, your stats aren’t going to say that. I think Cam Akers is a great running back, and he looked great. He looked early.

Andrew:                 He had like 100 yards at the half, right?

Nick:                         Yeah. He looked really, really good early. He finished with 15 carries for 116 yards. It’s a 7.7 average, and a touchdown. I mean, you’ve got a great player. I wonder if Cam Akers is wishing he would have gone somewhere else at this point.

Andrew:                 Is his name in the transfer portal?

Nick:                         Not yet. He’ll be gone after this year though. He’s a junior.

Andrew:                 Guy’s like, I might just hang up my college cleats and go to the NFL. Forget this mess. Now, let’s go to Knoxville.

Nick:                         My goodness.

Andrew:                 Listen, I think Jeremy Pruitt is a good ball coach, but this is Year 2, and you didn’t look good at all. I know you don’t have the players, because Butch left you a bunch of trash, but still. That was bad. At times, Nick, it looked like they didn’t care. They just didn’t want to be out there, and, my oh my, do they have a quarterback problem up there.

Nick:                         Yeah. Jarrett Guarantano, I never thought super highly of him.

Andrew:                 Oh, I agree.

Nick:                         He had the big Bleacher Report commitment. I remember that. I remember it was like in Time Square, and it was thought to be huge that day. I mean, he had 300 yards, 311 passing yards. Second time he’s eclipsed 300 in his career. Two touchdowns. I mean, at the end of the day, you don’t lose to Georgia State. Georgia State collected $900,000 to play that game, and they walk out of Neyland with a 38-30 win, and that stadium was empty at the end of the game.

Andrew:                 I tell you what though, if you would have took the jerseys off the teams, okay, and gave them all just red jerseys, you wouldn’t have known who was who. You would have thought Georgia State was Tennessee by the confidence they played with. That Georgia State team was confident. Never did they look like they were scared, overmatched, or anything. I think that’s a lot of Shawn Elliott, their coach. Used to be at South Carolina, that kind of stuff. He’s a hardnosed guy. He coached under Spurrier, that kind of stuff. Former offensive line coach. I mean, that quarterback played lights out at times. That was a team that played inspired football. Tennessee couldn’t even run up the middle.

Nick:                         I mean, how do you come back from this? Obviously, this is only Butch’s what second year, third year?

Andrew:                 No. This is Jeremy’s second year.

Nick:                         Sorry. Jeez, calling him Butch, that’s not good.

Andrew:                 Yeah. It’s Jeremy’s second year. Him and Mullen are in the same thing. I mean, again, the leash is longer, because of how bad it was, but you have to show improvement in Year 2.

Nick:                         I think Jeremy, I don’t know. I mean, just getting him to Tennessee was also a big deal. You remember that whole coaching search.

Andrew:                 They wanted Schiano.

Nick:                         They wanted Schiano. The fans revolted about Schiano.

Andrew:                 Then they wanted me and you, and we denied the job. Then they wanted North Carolina State’s coach.

Nick:                         That was just such a disaster.

Andrew:                 It seemed like Jeremy Pruitt was pick number 757.

Nick:                         Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t know where they come back from this. I mean, obviously, if they beat Florida and beat Georgia and go on and win the SEC, the SEC East, then sure you forget about this Georgia State game.

Andrew:                 Spurrier didn’t mind throwing a shot at them though.

Nick:                         I missed that.

Andrew:                 He said, I think Rocky Top is at rocky bottom, at least until they win one.

Nick:                         He’ll never miss a chance to ding Tennessee.

Andrew:                 Never. Rocky bottom. I wonder if they can start singing Old Rocky Bottom.

Nick:                         I don’t think they’re going to sing that. Maybe you can come up with more words.

Andrew:                 I don’t even know the words to Rocky Top.

Nick:                         It’s so catchy. I mean, that’s a disaster. That’s a disaster going on in Tennessee, and things don’t get easier for them. They host BYU, another 0-1 team. BYU, that was a fun game to watch between them and Utah. BYU, that’s a really cool story with BYU. Their quarterback grew up a huge Utah fan. If you know anything about them, that’s a huge rivalry. That’s like a Florida-Florida State rivalry. You don’t grow up a Utah fan and then go to BYU, but Utah didn’t offer him. They interviewed his family, and he took some hits too. I imagine he’ll continue taking some hits when he gets to Tennessee on Saturday, but that’ll be a fun game. That’s certainly a tougher opponent than the one you just lost to, so you got to figure something out.

Andrew:                 Must win?

Nick:                         I mean, is anything in September a must win? You get Chattanooga after that, and then Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, Alabama, South Carolina.

Andrew:                 Can you really afford being 1-2 going into Gainesville?

Nick:                         No. No, no. If you’re 1-2 going into Gainesville, you’re going to be 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6 after losing at Alabama. Before getting to probably the next team we’ll talk about, which is South Carolina.

Andrew:                 Nick, did anybody listen to the Florida media in South Carolina?

Nick:                         I don’t think so. Clearly not.

Andrew:                 People got their wish, unfortunately, Jake Bentley’s now out, unfortunately. It sucks, because I never want to see a guy not play because of injury. They’re going to get the freshman, but this was a guy who lost to a coach who was calling games on ESPN at North Carolina to a team that was trash last year.

Nick:                         Yeah. This was the head coach versus the head coach in waiting game. Probably cool for Muschamp to see Mack Brown again, and then a lot less cool for Muschamp to see Mack Brown after the game.

Andrew:                 Yeah. 100%. Mack Brown was probably laughing saying, that’s why you were the coach in waiting.

Nick:                         They go down 24-20. UNC gets the win. You look at SC’s schedule, and it does not get any easier for them either.

Andrew:                 Who do they have next week?

Nick:                         They get Charleston Southern next week. Lick your wounds against a Charleston Southern team, but then you’re hosting Alabama, at Missou, hosting Kentucky, at Georgia, and then you host Florida before you get Tennessee. That might be the worst, some of the worst teams in the conference, South Carolina at Tennessee, Vanderbilt at South Carolina in back to back weeks. It doesn’t get any easier. You got Alabama coming in two weeks.

Andrew:                 That’s going to be rough.

Nick:                         Just overall, not even just to pick on these teams, you look at the SEC East.

Andrew:                 Missouri lost.

Nick:                         Missouri lost. South Carolina lost. Tennessee lost. Vanderbilt lost.

Andrew:                 Who’d Vandy lose to?

Nick:                         Vandy lost to Georgia.

Andrew:                 That’s right.

Nick:                         Ole Miss lost. Five of the 14 teams in action lost. What I really wanted to get to was with some of these loses that are happening, Florida was getting made fun of. Not by us. We thought Miami, we said we thought Miami was better than maybe we gave them credit for. Florida beating Miami doesn’t look bad anymore at all, when you look at what happened in Week 1. I guess it’s Week 1. I get confused with this stupid Week 0. We got to figure out a new name for it. How do you have a 0? It’s not a real number.

Andrew:                 Dan Mullen thinks it’s preseason.

Nick:                         Yeah. Bowl game, he said something.

Andrew:                 I mean, and we said this. Was it better to win that game, or was it better to lose that game? It’s always better to be 1-0 than 0-1. The saying always is an ugly win is better than a good loss. Period. It is what it is.

Nick:                         Urban Meyer said it, and I think it rings true. Best thing about being 1-0 …

Andrew:                 If Tennessee rebounds and beats Georgia State, we’d have been laughing at them, but it still would have been a win. If Florida State would have rebounded and beat Boise State, we’d have laughed at them, but it’d still been a win. It’s definitely a good win that you get a win. I’ll say this. The SEC is looking like it’s again top-heavy with the likes of Georgia, Bama, I would say Florida, LSU, and Auburn. Auburn goes out and beats Oregon. Gus Malzahn will keep his job now for a while. Go out and win. Bo Nix played really well. I guess you have those five teams that are kind of up there.

Nick:                         Obviously, it’s a big neutral game. I’m still out on Bo Nix. It’s his first game. I didn’t think he looked that great. I tried to temper my expectations, because he’s a freshman. It’s a good Oregon team, I think. Obviously, it’s Week 1, and they’re 0-1, but I think that’s a good Oregon team.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         I’m not ready to say that he’s going to be great though.

Andrew:                 I don’t know if he’ll be great. I don’t know.

Nick:                         Shoot, before we move off from South Carolina, Will Muschamp announced that Jake Bentley, I think you touched on it, but Jake Bentley has a foot injury, and he’ll be out about six weeks, I think.

Andrew:                 If no surgery. If he has to have surgery, he’s end of the year. I mean, we’ll see where it goes. I’ll say this. I know this won’t be popular, and it probably won’t be true. I highly doubt it could be true, but we could end up looking at the end of the year and saying Tennessee got really better, Florida State got a lot better, South Carolina’s freshman jolted them and they got a lot better, and Miami’s really good. We very well could. It’s Week 0, or Week 1, excuse me. This Week 0 thing, like you said, got me all confused. Week 1 going into Week 2. We’ll see what it means.

Nick:                         I thought it was funny that Mullen said it, because he said, “We don’t know. We could look back at the end of the year and both us, Florida and Miami, are really good, or we’re both really bad.” He said, “We just don’t know. We’ve only played one team.” None of the other games had been played at that point, so we don’t know.

Andrew:                 Yeah. We’ll see. We’ll see where that goes. We’ll see what the AP Poll comes out here in a little bit. We’re taping this on Tuesday, and AP Poll will come out later on Tuesday. Let’s turn our attention now to Week 2 against UT Martin. Obviously, UT Martin, we’re not going to dive too much into this. Won 42-20. Gave up 96 on the ground, 387 through the air. Let’s see. Anything else noteworthy? That looks like it.

Again, it doesn’t matter what they have. Whatever. This is a game that Florida should win and should win handily. Give me some keys that you can take away from this game, because I’ll be honest with you when I say that I don’t know what I can learn from this game that’s going to make me say this Florida team did this or did that. I mean, obviously, no dumb penalties. Play mistake free. We’ll see.

Nick:                         I mean, what I expect from Florida this week?

Andrew:                 Yeah. Is there anything you can see this week that will say, you know what, they improved, or this is better?

Nick:                         No.

Andrew:                 Obviously, no mistakes. Receivers catching the ball, obviously. Blocking. No fumbles between quarterback and running back, and you would love to see Feleipe not throw any interceptions. He shouldn’t in this game. I just, and I know some people are going to say you’re being hypercritical. It’s UT Martin. Okay. If Feleipe comes out and throws for 700 yards in this game, you’re not going to have me saying he’s back, because he should.

Nick:                         Right. I would fully expect to see Feleipe Franks for a half. I would like to see Emory Jones, Kyle Trask, Iverson Clement. I’d like to see some guys that you’re not typically see playing most of the second half, and that means that Feleipe Franks and those first team guys did their job.

Andrew:                 Right. Yeah. I would. I would like to see that. Some of the things I would like to see is, like you said, some of the young guys. I would love to see Copeland get some more touches in the game. I would love to see some of those offensive linemen getting in there. I’ll say that while I think the offensive line did really well in the past pro, we talked about how bad they were in run blocking. Let’s see if maybe there’s a front five that’s better in game action. Let’s see Gouraige. Let’s see maybe some of those young guys and see what it is. Then you can take that into next week and continue to build on that as you go into Tennessee in two weeks.

While there’s nothing, I will say, and I say this and kind of contradict what I say a little bit here, but even if the offensive line has a great game, you’re still going to walk away and say, you know what, UT Martin was overmatched.

Nick:                         Right. Not meaning to be disrespectful to UT Martin, but I think if you’re Florida you really kind of look at this as we really had two bye weeks. I think, obviously, after the first game we said it, and I think Florida probably, if they were being honest with themselves said it, we got a lot to work on. They only practiced Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday of the bye week before Mullen gave them and gave the coaching staff four days off. I don’t know if you and I totally agree with that, but gave them some time off. You really have another bye week. This is a team that you should be able to beat. Should we even be saying it after what happened last week with some of these teams, but this is another team that you should beat. Really, it’s just another opportunity to continue to work on yourself before you get into SEC play.

Andrew:                 Yeah. On defense, would like to see some of those young guys. Would like to see maybe Amari Burney slip out to safety a little bit, see him back there a little bit maybe. Would like to see some of those young guys up front, per se. Like you said, see some young guys out there going. Overall, Nick, for me, there’s no reason to have penalties in this game. You’re a better team. There’s no reason to have turnovers in this game. Work on that. It’s almost like you’re going against a scout team defense in a way. Work on that. Build confidence for yourself, not that this team needs confidence, and not that Feleipe needs confidence. I’m not going back into all that again. Work on that. Build that relationship between quarterback and receiver, quarterback and running back. Work on that kind of stuff and continue to improve into that. Get the little things.

Then you’re going to play a Kentucky team that is, I don’t want to say good, but Kentucky is an SEC team that you’re going on the road up there against. You got to go up there and play well, as you continue to take those steps forward.

Nick:                         This is a week that you should certainly be able to do that. I think it’s one of those games where you say you’ll learn more about Florida if it doesn’t go well than if it does go well. If the offensive line isn’t getting a push in the running game, then we got big issues. We can make excuses for it against Miami. That’s a really good front seven. But you’re not going to be able to make excuses for it when it’s a UT Martin team that you’re significantly bigger than in the trenches, and you should be able to kind of push them and bully them.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s what I’m saying. Is it fair? No. That’s life. There will be, like you said, probably more to take away from failure than from success. I know that’s not fair, and that sucks and everything else, but, like you said, that’s life. That’s kind of what it is. You’re going to look at this game, and you’re going to say, here goes. You got to deal with it.

Nick:                         Yeah. You’d rather have this game with another chance to get better than, like we said about some of these other teams, you’re happy to be 1-0 and going into this game than to be 0-1 going into this game. That’s for sure.

Andrew:                 Absolutely. You want to continue to improve. Again, there’s a lot that can be improved. We’ll see how good Miami is. I don’t think Miami’s a bad front seven team overall. We’ll see how much of it was Week 1, or Week 0, compared to how this team really is. The Perine-Feleipe fumble, that was probably a little bit more of Week 1. That’s a situation where later in the season Feleipe probably pulls that a little bit quicker in there. The misrun route by Hammond, and then Feleipe throwing the interception there, that’s a little bit of Week 1. The late hits out of bounds, that’s not Week 1. That’s just boneheaded plays. You can’t have those happen. The pass interference. You can’t have that.

Nick:                         Right. I mean, pass interference is going to happen. That’s an aggressive penalty. You’re trying to make a play. That stuff can happen. The hitting somebody out of bounds can’t happen this week. Offsides, procedural stuff, that’s got to be ironed out. That can’t happen this week.

Andrew:                 The personal fouls is what is going to allow a team like Kentucky or Tennessee to hang around.

Nick:                         Right. You need to start cleaning those up. Like I said, stuff out of bounds, come on. You know somebody’s intentions. You can see if they’re trying to get out of bounds. You can see that. There’s no reason for that. It happened at Florida so many times on 2nd and long or 3rd downs that were stops. All of a sudden, you go from the other team having to bring the punting team on to a brand-new fresh set of downs. You can’t allow that to happen.

Andrew:                 From a field goal to them having a 1st down inside the five. That kind of stuff. That just cannot happen. You look at this team, and I think they can overcome some adversity, but no team can overcome that. That’s a big problem that this team has got to fix, and I think they will. Let me ask you this though. We see the SEC after Week 1. Do you think that it’s still a two-team battle with Florida right there? Where do you see the SEC?

Nick:                         I think after this week, I kind of looked at Florida and Georgia as the two teams in the SEC East, and I think if anything all this has done is kind of make me feel that I was right in that assumption. This is a two-team race in the SEC East. I mean, shoot, did anything you saw change that for you?

Andrew:                 No. I mean, I will say that the biggest shock for me was just that I expected teams to improve, and they didn’t. I am interested to see this Texas A&M-Clemson game and the LSU-Texas game before I really decide on the West a little bit. Listen, I am a Nick Saban guy. I love Nick Saban as a football coach. I think he’s an excellent football coach. I think that what he has at Alabama is good, but Steve Sarkisian is a dodo offensive coordinator, and it showed on Saturday at times. I want to see who’s going to be that competition out in the West.

Nick:                         Yeah. That’ll be interesting. Obviously, when you look out in the west it’s Alabama. They look dominate over Duke. The only team to lose out in the West was Ole Miss, and Matt Corral did not look great. Texas A&M, I’m intrigued, because I think Kellen Mond is really good.

Andrew:                 Yes.

Nick:                         I think if I look at the SEC, he’s the second-best quarterback, in my mind. I think I would put him over Jake Fromm. I have Tua first, and then I think I put Kellan Mond second. I thought he had some really nice plays. He’s a guy that he might not be as consistent as you want, if he’s your quarterback. He made some of these throws, man, you’re like that’s a Sunday throw.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         That’s an NFL throw. He’s someone. When do they play Alabama? I’m looking right now at the schedule.

Andrew:                 It’s usually November.

Nick:                         Yeah. They’re playing Alabama in November, or October 12. Bit early.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         I think that’s a huge game. They have a huge game. We’ll learn a lot about them. They’re on the road at Clemson this week, so that’s a huge game.

Andrew:                 I got something for you that you’re going to laugh about. Are you ready? Do you know what’s coming?

Nick:                         I don’t.

Andrew:                 Will Muschamp, on the fan outrage. “We’re pissed off too, our coaches and staff. We’re in a bunker mentality. I don’t read your articles and podcasts. End of the day, it’s about what we do to win. Rally to win these games. Help us win games. That would be my message.”

Nick:                         Shocked. Shocking.

Andrew:                 Have you heard that before?

Nick:                         An us versus the fans mentality from Will Muschamp. Shocking.

Andrew:                 Have you heard that before?

Nick:                         Sure have.

Andrew:                 Me too. Guess what happens next, South Carolina?

Nick:                         Your bunker’s on fire, Will. You might want to get some water buckets.

Andrew:                 Guess what happens next, Will? You find a new coach.

Nick:                         Start hiring new coordinators.

Andrew:                 Well, you can only do that so many times. You can only do that so many times out there when your freshman quarterback comes out. Will Muschamp and quarterbacks, they do not get along.

Nick, couple recruiting updates here. September 1 was a Monday. That was the first day that Florida could contact underclassmen, or initiate contact with underclassmen. Florida reached out to a ton. You’ve seen the edits, all that good jazz that’s out there for that. It was a big day for them. That’ll really start the process of recruiting underclassmen more. They picked up a 2021 DB in Clinton Burton out of Virginia as well on Monday, so that was a big pickup. A guy that was very close to Torrian Gray, and Torrian Gray was big in that. This kind of starts that process of getting your board set for 2021. Who is really interested? Who’s maybe been pulling your leg a little bit? That kind of stuff.

Perfect timing. Florida will have the game this weekend. There won’t be a ton of visitors there. There’ll be a lot of commits, lot of underclassmen. Then you get the Tennessee game, and then the Auburn game looks to be the big draw to Gainesville this year. That’s set to be a big one. Then Florida State. September 1 means everything goes for 2021 guys. The phones get to blow up, and Florida’s recruiting staff gets to hit them up all the time.

Nick:                         Are they allowed then to take official visits, or you can’t official visit until your senior year?

Andrew:                 Yeah. Till spring of your junior year.

Nick:                         Heading into your senior year. Right.

Andrew:                 Yeah. It’s the first time they can actually, Keywon Ratliff can text a kid and say, this is Keywon or Coach Rat from Florida. Before then it was always, coach, can you have John Doe call me, because he’s a 2021 kid, and I can’t call him directly? It was always that, the working around, so it’s a big day. Now 2020 and 2021 kids are a free-for-all. Expect it to not big a weekend, but I expect to see decent amount of underclassmen and some of the commits in town.

Wanted to hit on something real quick. The commits have been doing well for the most part this year. Anthony Richardson in Week 2, Nick, he had a pretty good game.

Nick:                         Yeah. They ended up losing the game.

Andrew:                 One point. Yeah.

Nick:                         Yeah. That. Man, he threw for over 400. I think he had six total touchdowns, four passing, two rushing. There was the one play that became a huge highlight. It was at the end of the half, and he was getting held. They ripped his undershirt, and he threw just a prayer up into the endzone. It ended up being caught. He tweeted out after the game. He goes, “I’ll be smart enough not to do that at the next level, not to do that in college.” I’m thinking, yeah, probably not going to work in college. Looks really good on Twitter right now, but not going to be good in college.

Andrew:                 Eastside has lost last week, or Week 1, my missing a PAT in the 4th quarter, and then they gave up a field goal to lose by 1. So, they’ve lost two games by a total of two points. Anthony Richardson is well over 600 yards passing, though, already. Doing well, 20 of 30 for 403 yards and four touchdowns, no interception. He also added two rushing touchdowns. That was a big one. Really good game for the Florida commit. We’ll see where he factors in next year, but when you look at Anthony Richardson physically, I mean, he’s a guy that I think will be up there and will find time and fit perfectly into Mullen’s offense.

Nick:                         Right. He certainly looks it.

Andrew:                 He’s first off the bus.

Nick:                         Yeah. We love saying that. He’s the guy getting first off the bus and make sure the other team sees him. Yeah. He’ll have an opportunity. He’ll have an opportunity to maybe sit and watch for a year, two years, depending on what happens with Feleipe Franks, who still has a year of eligibility, and what happens with Emory Jones. So, interesting watch. He’s fun. He’s fun to watch. I might go out and see a game one of these weekends, because they play right here in town.

Andrew:                 I want to move to NFL news. You got anything else on the Gators real quick?

Nick:                         No. They’re back and–

Andrew:                 We lost you for a second there, Nicholas.

Nick:                         Yeah. They’re back on the practice field yesterday, and Florida will be back into normal things. Campus is closed, so right now the guys must be enjoying that, not having to worry about class. Class is cancelled, so you’re just a football player right now. Don’t do anything dumb.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Let’s move to the NFL news. Nick, what are you doing, Jachai Polite?

Nick:                         A lot of guys, and I’m sure you get it too, I get a lot of guys that either cover NFL teams or work for NFL teams. They ask us about so-and-so, ask about this guy. What’s this guy? NFL teams put a lot of money into these guys, and they will literally ask anybody, do you know anything about this kid? For me, Jachai Polite was a kid that didn’t like class early on, didn’t really take care of his body early on. We wrote a lot about that into his junior year when he lost weight, and he got better in that aspect of taking care of his body and stuff like that. That was a big change with Savage, and he gave up candy. A lot of kids, school’s not their thing. They’ll do what they need to do, just enough of what they need to do to pass their classes and do stuff like that.

But then, when you get to the NFL it’s different. Now you’re getting paid. You’re a professional. You don’t have to go to class. You just have to show up to meetings. All you have to do is show up to meetings and show up to practice, and that’s it. The reports came out after Jachai got cut that he’d already been fined $100,000 by the Jets in the couple months that he had been there for being late to things or just straight up not showing up to things. To be drafted 68th overall, and then cut three months later, means you weren’t doing a lot of stuff.

Andrew:                 To me, Nick, and I don’t want to rip on Jachai, and I don’t want to pile on, but I can honestly say that after everything we learned and some of the things we heard during the time, kind of doesn’t surprise me. He needed that one more year of maturation.

Nick:                         I agree. That’s kind of where Dan Mullen has said. Dan Mullen was not complimentary of Jachai’s decision to leave.

Andrew:                 People ripped on Dan for that, saying he just wanted him back for football reasons. Sure, Dan wanted him back for football reasons, but he also understood this, and that is you’ve got a long way to go.

Nick:                         I always thought Jachai was a little immature, but Dominique Easley was immature, and he’s still playing in the League.

Andrew:                 But I think it was a different story a little bit though. You knew Dominique Easley loved the game. Would you agree with that?

Nick:                         Yeah. There’s a difference between loving the game, loving the game itself, and loving what the game can do for you.

Andrew:                 That’s exactly right. We talked about that with Andrew Luck, and that’s exactly what it is. Tough break. He got picked up by the Seahawks practice squad. Pay is going to be not near what you were going to get, but still an opportunity.

Nick:                         Not near what you were going to get, and not guaranteed.

Andrew:                 Nope. You’re on a roster up there, practice squad roster. Make the best of it, Jachai, because this could be it. You get cut from this, or fined from this, and guess what? You’re going to be finding a job at home, working at home doing something else. Make the best of it. Teez Tabor. Sometimes it’s better to work than talk.

Nick:                         It had been really interesting to me. His first year he was a healthy scratch a bunch, which that means they’re not happy with you, because you’re not doing some stuff, or they’re not happy with how you look on the field. A lot of times when you say so-and-so didn’t dress out it was there was an ankle injury, or thumb, or there was an injury keeping you off the field. When they say healthy scratch, that means the coaches aren’t happy with you. They don’t think you’re ready to play.

Andrew:                 Right. Yeah. That was the case. Didn’t get picked up though. He still doesn’t have a job.

Nick:                         That’s not good.

Andrew:                 That’s not good at all.

Nick:                         Jon Bullard was cut but picked up the Cardinals. I think everyone on this podcast knows my feelings for Jon Bullard. Really hope that he does well at the Cardinals. I think it was just a bad situation in Chicago where he didn’t fit the scheme a ton, and it was just overcrowded.

Nick:                         It was the same thing going back when he was Florida. It was we need you to play this position. We need you to play this position or this one.

Andrew:                 Right. Then his senior year, when he does play where they have him, he does well. Duke Dawson traded.

Nick:                         Yup. Duke’s going over to Denver, and he was a guy that missed his whole rookie year with an injury. Still gets a ring. He was there, so he’s a Super Bowl champion. I think it was some of not being able to play, which hurt Duke, along with I think JC Jackson kind of filled a role there as well for them.

Andrew:                 Some cousin love.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 I think that’s all the NFL news for the most part. If not, we’ll catch up on it, as it starts on Thursday. You and I will be back on Friday. We’ll make some predictions. Some decent games are going around the country this week. We’ll put our players in for the UT Martin game and get you ready for that game. That will kickoff in Gainesville on Saturday night.

Nick:                         You got some catching up to do.

Andrew:                 Looks like it’ll be pretty weather in Gainesville. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here, and we’ll see everyone on Friday.

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

Andrew:                 There you go. Guys, we appreciate it. We’ll see everyone on Friday. As always, chomp, chomp, and go Braves.

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.