Podcast: Previewing Florida Gators vs Auburn with Tom Green

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we continue to preview the Florida Gators vs. Auburn Tigers game on Saturday in the Swamp.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre are joined by Al.com’s Tom Green to get his take on the game as he gives us the keys for Auburn on Saturday.

Andrew and Nick also continue to breakdown the game and discuss the ways the Gators can run the ball differently on Saturday against a very good Auburn defense.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, Auburn-Florida. It’s getting close. The momentum, I think, the anticipation is rising. Everyone’s fired up.

Nick:                         And every right to be fired up. It’s a huge game. Two top 10 ranked teams. Auburn and Florida, not really in our lifetime, yeah, in our lifetime, but not really recently, huge rivals. They played every year from 1927 through 2002. Obviously, except for when World War II was going on. Huge rival. Auburn holds a 26-8-1 advantage against Florida in Auburn, but they’re not playing in Auburn this year.

Andrew:                 Yeah. It’s definitely going back to the Spurrier kick, that kind of stuff. It was a rivalry. I’m like Dan Mullen. I’d like to see this game played more often.

Nick:                         Dan Mullen hasn’t really given, he’s basically been saying that he would like, I mean, Auburn’s only going to come to Florida once every 12 years. So, he’s on record saying he would like that to change. Hasn’t really given a way to change it, whether that’s getting rid of cross-divisional opponents, which I think people don’t want to do with LSU, because that game has come to mean so much, or going to nine games and basically have three teams from the West that you would play every year.

Andrew:                 I mean, I don’t know the answer. Somebody asked me that the other day on a radio show. What would you do? I said, I don’t know. I don’t want to get rid of the LSU game. I love that game.

Nick:                         You’re not going to do it, because Alabama-Tennessee.

Andrew:                 Georgia-Auburn.

Nick:                         Georgia-Auburn. Those games aren’t going away.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s what I said. Those games aren’t going away for sure. The response back was does anyone really care about watching Missouri-Arkansas, or does anyone really care about Ole Miss-Vandy? No. Absolutely not. Nobody cares about those few games outside of really the three, honestly. Alabama-Tennessee, Auburn-Georgia, and Florida-LSU. I think those are the only three that people really care about.

Nick:                         Yeah. I mean, I can’t imagine the hell that would come down if …

Andrew:                 If Alabama and Tennessee don’t play, hell will rise in Alabama, because people hate Tennessee. When I say hate, you know that I mean hate.

Nick:                         Yeah. I don’t know what the answer is. Dan Mullen doesn’t know what the answer is. It’s kind of like what I said about Georgia. We talked about that, I think, before the season. I’d like to see it be a rotate every four years between the three sites. That way, if you’re at Florida for four years, you get a chance to go and play at Athens, and you play twice in Jacksonville and once in Gainesville.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         I just think it’s really cool for fans. It would be really cool for fans and for the players. If I’m a Florida student, I would love the opportunity to go see a game in Jordan-Hare. That’s one of the great environments in college football, and certainly in the SEC. I’d love the opportunity to go see LSU. I mean, they’ll get that opportunity now, finally. It’s been a while since Florida’s been down to LSU. But to see Alabama. They got to see Mississippi State, but that won’t happen again for another 11 years.

Andrew:                 These starters never played at Ole Miss. Lamical Perine never played in the state of Alabama.

Nick:                         Right.

Andrew:                 Jeremiah Moon never played in the state of Alabama. Those guys, Kadarius Toney will never play in the state of Alabama. I’m with you. I wish there was a way. Don’t know what the way is. But there’s a lot smarter people than you and I that will take care of that. Nick, we’re going to bring on a good friend of the show, Tom Green of AL.com, here in a minute to talk about the game and really start to get into this. I wanted to ask you this before we brought Tom on. Does this have the feeling heading into the game of that Florida-Ole Miss game a little bit? Someone said, is it wrong of me to say Florida’s an underdog? I said, no. Florida’s an underdog in this game.

Nick:                         They are. The smart men that build palaces in the desert says Florida’s a 3.5-point underdog at home.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Someone asked me that, and I said yeah. I mean, I wouldn’t say anything to you about it. I’ll be honest. I think Florida’s an underdog in this game, but I also think that kind of plays into Dan Mullen’s hand a little bit. That’s kind of what Dan Mullen likes, and that’s cool, whatever. For me, I just see that. Maybe I’m wrong, just I get that feeling a little bit of that Ole Miss game where nobody, I don’t think nobody’s going to pick them, not on GameDay or anything. We’ll see as picks come out. I don’t think Florida’s going to be picked very much.

Nick:                         Kind of get that feeling. I harkened it more this week, and Dan Mullen kind of played it down, but I harkened it to the Mississippi State game last year, where I think Florida’s kind of got to muddy it up. They’re going to have to play a field position game. Tommy Townsend has only played, only punted the ball seven times, but if you remember that Mississippi State game it was that vaunted defensive line, a tough defense, an aggressive defense, and Florida just did what they needed to do. Hey, let’s get 15 yards on this offensive drive, pin them back, hope our defense can get a three and out. Get some more yards, pin them inside their 20, and now two, three drives down the line, now we have really good field position. Let’s get points now.

You kind of pick and choose your spots, playing a tough defensive game and a tough field position game. Florida hasn’t given up a touchdown since Feleipe Franks went down. This defense has been playing with their hair on fire. I see a lot similarities, I think, more so to the Mississippi State game, but I do agree with your point in terms of who’s giving Florida a chance this week.

Andrew:                 I said this, and maybe I’m wrong, but this is a game where Dan Mullen has to be the creative Dan Mullen. I don’t want to pick on him or say whatever, continue to criticize the play calling this year, but I think this is where Dan Mullen is Dan Mullen. When I say that, I mean a lot of people around the country say Dan Mullen is one of the most creative X’s and O offensive guys. This is where he’s got to get creative. I think you, I, and the rest of the country, including probably Dan Mullen, will sit here and tell you they’re not going to line up and run straight at Auburn. They’re going to have to find ways to run the ball. Wide receiver screens. Stand passes. Swing passes. Tosses. Option. Jet sweeps. They’re going to have to get creative to get that front seven of Auburn off of Kyle Trask. If all they can do is throw the ball on Saturday, Kyle Trask will get hit and get hit a lot.

Nick:                         Yeah. You got to find ways. Those quick passes to get the ball out, whether it’s pitch to the outside, get to the edge, try to use your speed. Make Auburn defend sideline to sideline.

Andrew:                 Right. Auburn’s not giving the stand pass up either, in my opinion. They’re not going to be eight yards off the ball. If they are, Gus, you really want to get fired.

Nick:                         Yeah. They’re aggressive. Kevin Steele is an aggressive, kind of like a Todd Grantham, an aggressive defensive coordinator. They’ve got enough players that they don’t need to play off the ball. They feel fine being able to press and to be right up in the faces of the receivers.

Andrew:                 Yeah. All right, Nick. Let’s go to Tom. We’ll talk to Tom, get his thoughts on this game. You and I will come back. We’ll finish talking about previewing this game and get some other notes in here real quick. Let’s go to Tom.

Welcome back, guys. We’re joined by Tom Green of AL.com. Tom, first of all, how’s the season going for you? Thanks for coming on the podcast.

Tom:                         It’s going well. It’s been an interesting first month so far for Auburn. I think they’re doing a little better than some people expected, have looked a little bit better than some people expected, and ready for a top 10 matchup this weekend.

Nick:                         I’m not sure what anyone expected when you name a freshman quarterback in August. I know Andrew has been saying that the Gus bus is going to lose a tire at some point. He doesn’t think he’ll be back next year, but you keep winning football games, it’s hard to get rid of you.

Tom:                         Yeah. I mean, Gus has been different this year. He seems a little more relaxed, a little more at ease, back in his comfort zone. He told us today that now that he’s calling plays again, he’s not as bored as he was the last couple years. So, he’s much more involved, and he’s really getting back into his own as playcaller and really just developing along with Bo Nix. Bo Nix has played a lot better than I’m sure a lot of people expected him to so far.

Andrew:                 As Nick said, I was very vocal at the beginning of the year that if Auburn got off to a rough start, the Gus bus could be losing a tire. I think you would agree with me that Gus getting off to this kind of start was needed for the program, needed for Gus, needed for Auburn in general, just to get things going. Let’s face it. Auburn goes against Alabama, no matter if they should or shouldn’t, but they get compared to Alabama no matter what.

Tom:                         Yeah. I mean, Gus hasn’t necessarily had bad seasons, it’s just everything that he’s done is compared to what Alabama’s doing, and he just happens to be the coach of Auburn during Alabama, most dominant run in college football history really. Gus knew that going into this season, that was going to be some hot seat talk. So far, he’s done a good job of kind of cooling that all down.

Nick:                         Should have been a coach when Shula was at Alabama. Wouldn’t have had the same kind of talk.

Andrew:                 Or DuBose.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Let’s move on to talk a little bit about this game, Tom. Obviously, this will be Bo, I mean, Bo’s played in big games. The Oregon game. He’s played in the …

Nick:                         Played at Kyle Field.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Played at Kyle Field. I think you would agree, Tom, when we say this, playing in the Swamp is different. I had the chance to kind of get to know Bo a little bit during the recruiting process, and he’s very even keeled, doesn’t seem like a freshman. Do you expect this game to kind of just be business as usual for him? How has Auburn done with silent counts, with being able to communicate without communicating?

Tom:                         I mean, I think it’s going to be business as usual for him. I think at some point this season we’re going to see him look like a freshman. It’s just a matter of time. I mean, nobody has a perfect freshman season, but he’s done a good job of coming along as a passer, getting more comfortable in the offense, with these first five weeks. We really saw it took another step last week against Mississippi State when he started connecting on those deep balls. He’s getting on the same page as the receiving corps, now that they’re all healthy.

He just hasn’t made mistakes since the first half of that opener against Oregon. I mean, he threw two interceptions in the first half, and now I think he’s gone like 111 consecutive passes without throwing an interception. The one fumble he has had he recovered. He’s just done a really good job of minimizing the stakes, and when you do that, you put your team in such a better position as a freshman. He’s still progressing, but he’s got a big safety net with that defense. Yeah. I mean, I think it’s going to be business as usual for him.

As for the silent count, they’ve been working on piping in crowd noise since the preseason, because they knew some of the road tests that they were going to have, like Kyle Field, which for as big as it is, I don’t think it’s as intimidating as the atmosphere that he’ll see this weekend. Kind of just the way the stadium is built. Obviously, the Swamp’s a little more vertical and holds noise pretty well. Obviously, for a top 10 matchup, that place is going to be pretty raucous, I’m sure.

Nick:                         I was going to ask you about that, because you went to school at Florida, and you’ve covered Florida, so you spent a lot of time in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for some big games. I was going to ask. I wasn’t there in 2012 when Florida was there, so I was going to see how the stadiums compared. I think, like you say, I’ve been to Alabama and Tennessee and Neyland Stadium, and they’re just kind of built differently than the Swamp. The Swamp, that noise kind of just reverberates and stays on top of you.

Tom:                         Yeah. I mean, I’ve been to every SEC stadium now, except the two in Tennessee, surprisingly enough. I never went to Neyland.

Nick:                         You’ve never been to the high school field in Nashville?

Tom:                         No. I’ve not been to Vandy. I’ve spent plenty of time in Nashville, mostly on Broadway.

Nick:                         That’s fine. You’re not missing anything. Broadway’s fine. You’re doing Nashville right.

Tom:                         But, no, the Swamp, when that place is packed, few places in the SEC compare to it. Obviously, Death Valley is up there. Alabama can get pretty rowdy. Auburn, when their home crowd is rocking for, whether it’s Alabama or LSU or Georgia in town, that place is nuts. But yeah, no, Florida’s definitely up there, and it’s going to be his toughest test yet, I think.

Nick:                         Now, I heard a stat about Bo. I think he wasn’t sacked very often in high school, and some of that’s probably a good offensive line, but also credit to him for being able to create with his feet. He does a really good job of also getting down or getting out of bounds, not really taking hits, but Florida’s defense really can create chaos. They come into the game with Jonathan Greenard leading the front seven with 6.5 tackles for loss. Is this a Florida defense, or at least a defensive front, that will be the toughest that he’s faced? Can you see Florida being able to get pressure on him? I know that’s going to be their goal when facing a freshman quarterback. Just try to affect him and see how he handles it.

Tom:                         Yeah. I think the stat you’re referring to, I could be mistaken on this, but I believe he was only sacked once over his last two years as a starter at Pinson Valley. It’s not like he was playing behind like a bunch of FBS players at offensive line. He had to do a lot of running to keep plays alive, so he’s kind of used to that by now. Yeah, no, he’s not a guy that takes many sacks, and Auburn’s done a pretty good job of keeping him clean this year. Florida, without a doubt is going to be, I think, the most talented front that they’ve seen so far. Every team so far has, obviously, tried to make him uncomfortable. I think that’s the key for any defense when you’re going up against a true freshman quarterback, but Auburn’s done a good job of kind of game planning around that to avoid him making mistakes or getting caught up or negative plays, especially in early down and distances. I think that’s going to be key again this week.

Andrew:                 Auburn and Gus are obviously known for, let’s face it, bringing out the kitchen sink of a playbook. Anything that Gus can draw up on a napkin he’s liable to do in a game. Has Gus gotten back to that? I guess, is the biggest difference between this offense and last year’s offense simply Gus returning, and then no turnovers? What’s been the biggest difference from offensive game calling from last year to this year?

Tom:                         I mean, he’s definitely gotten back to that. The thing about Gus, he doesn’t run a lot of formations, different personnel groupings within the formations. But they run a lot of different looks out of just a few formations, which makes it really difficult when they’re actually succeeding at what they want to do, which is run the ball down your throat, because they will lull you to sleep with that, and then they’ll just hit you with the deep ball or pull a reverse out and hand it off to Anthony Schwarz, who’s the fastest player in the country, or run a flea flicker or some other trick play that Gus has drawn up. He’s got a few of those that are just kind of staples for him.

The key this year, I mean, he’s really just getting back into his groove as a playcaller. He kind of took a hands off approach the last couple years, but now that he’s getting back into it we’re starting to see kind of a rejuvenated Gus, kind of like the one that had so much success as an offensive playcaller, obviously, in 2010, 2013, and 2014. I mean, this is what he made his name on doing, and he’s really betting on himself to succeed at that this year.

Andrew:                 Obviously, Auburn’s front seven gets the majority of the talk, the credit around the country. Give us a look at this secondary though. This secondary has done well this year overall. Give us a look at the secondary. Florida has made their, I guess, biggest gains, as far as when they’re not able to run the ball on the stand passes, the wide receiver screens, that kind of stuff. Is Auburn more of a man press team with this secondary? Just overall, what’s the secondary been like this year?

Tom:                         It’s a very veteran secondary. They’ve got two seniors at safety in Jeremiah Dinson and Daniel Thomas, who’ve been playing their entire careers. Dinson, he played as a freshman, before nearly having his career end against Texas A&M back in 2015, but he worked his way back. He’s been a starter the last two years. He’s kind of the Swiss Army knife. He can play at everything. Started out as a cornerback, and then played nickel before moving to safety the last couple years. Him and Daniel Thomas just hold things down on that back end. And they’ve got two really good backups there who are sophomores in Jamien Sherwood and Smoke Monday, who play a lot, especially Smoke Monday, who gets a lot of time in their dime package.

As for the two corner spots, Noah Igbinoghene is their shutdown guy. He started out as a wide receiver, moved over to cornerback before the start of spring his sophomore year. Last year was really his first time playing this position. Now he’s their number one guy. Opposite him is Javaris Davis, who’s another redshirt senior who’s been doing this for a long time. Then at nickel, kind of the guy that makes it all work right now is another sophomore in Christian Tutt, who’s ability to move in there seamlessly to play nickel really gave them the flexibility to put Javaris Davis back at cornerback, because he played nickel last year. They just feel real comfortable with what they’ve been able to do there.

Andrew:                 Tom, before we get you off of here, if you had to give us a key for Auburn on offense and a key for Auburn on defense, what would it be?

Tom:                         I mean, offensively, they’re going to need to establish the run early on. I mean, that’s what this team is built around, being able to run the ball. The last couple weeks we’ve really seen them try to attack the perimeter on teams to open things up, but I think that this week we could see them try to run the ball down the middle a little bit more, just because I think Florida’s defense is probably going to be a little bit quicker than what Auburn’s seen the last couple weeks, so those perimeter runs might be a little tougher. Might have to establish the run up the middle first.

Defensively, they want to win the line of scrimmage, and they want to make Kyle Trask uncomfortable, because they know he doesn’t have a lot of experience, and they know he’s doing a good job of completing a high percentage of his passes. So, they’re going to want to get pressure on him and challenge that Florida offensive line.

Nick:                         Those are good points. I know it’s early. We always tape this on Tuesday, so it can go up Wednesday. If you want, this is the time where we always ask the opposing beat reporter if they have a prediction for the game on Saturday.

Tom:                         I haven’t thought too much about a score yet, but my gut instinct right now, I think Auburn’s going to escape with a win there. I think it’s going to be a pretty close game. I know it opened as a pick’em, and then I think the line shifted. I think Auburn’s at -3 right now.

Nick:                         Last I saw.

Tom:                         I could see this being a game that’s like 24-17 or something along those lines, for Auburn.

Nick:                         I think it’s a game, we were just talking about it in the opening, where Florida is probably, similar to Mississippi State, needs to play a field position game and be fine with some drives maybe only going four of five plays, but then just get a big punt from Tommy Townsend and try to flip the field and try to work the game that way. It’ll be an interesting game. It might be one of those old-school SEC games where it’s 17-14.

Andrew:                 No 3-2 like Auburn-Mississippi State a few years ago?

Nick:                         No. I don’t want that, because it’s CBS, so that’s going to be a five hour 3-2 game.

Andrew:                 Yeah. There would be a commercial after every punt.

Nick:                         Yeah. Don’t need that.

Andrew:                 Tom, tell everybody where they can find your work, and we’ll get you out of here. We will see you on Saturday.

Tom:                         You can read my work at AL.com. You can follow me on Twitter, if you would like, @Tomas_Verde. Got a little Miami flavor in there.

Nick:                         Anthony Change could never.

Tom:                         Never. I am a true-born Miamian.

Nick:                         Hear that, Spivey? A couple South Florida boys on the podcast.

Andrew:                 It’s all good. I can handle you guys. All right, guys, we really appreciate it. Thank you so much, Tom, for coming on. We appreciate it, and good luck this weekend.

Tom:                         Glad to be on. Look forward to–

Andrew:                 Nick, good stuff from Tom on the game. Again, we’ll see where Bo Nix is. Like I said, I had the opportunity to get to talk to Bo, get to know Bo a little bit from his recruiting experience. Know some coaches who coached against Bo and stuff like that in high school. Everyone says he’s a veteran, very veteran base quarterback. I mean, his dad’s a former quarterback at Auburn, so it’s not like it’s going to be too big or something he hasn’t seen before. I don’t think that the game will get too big for him in this game. I just wonder how, and we talk about this all the time, how much will Gus put on his plate early? Will he allow him to come out and throw that deep ball like he did against Mississippi State, or does he let him ease into the game? Me personally, I think if he eases into the game it plays into Florida’s hand, because Florida lately has been easing into games.

Nick:                         Yeah. Well, I think they’ve scored on the first drive in two of the last three.

Andrew:                 Defensively.

Nick:                         Defensively, yeah, been easing into games. Almost, I don’t really like the more a second-half team, stuff like that. I don’t really like that kind of stuff, but Florida’s been very good.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I mean, everyone says Nick Savage is showing off how good he is, and that kind of stuff. Listen, that’s great and everything, but you can’t tell me you’re going to be able to do that, what you did on Saturday and really against Tennessee. They did okay against Tennessee on offense, but you do that against Auburn or Georgia or LSU, you might be down 17-0 at halftime.

Nick:                         Right. Yeah. I mean, the defense, I think, has been great, but, like you said, start early. I mean, a point of emphasis has been red zone defense for Mullen and Grantham. Florida leads the nation in that regard. They’ve only allowed five scores in 13 trips. Sure, there’ve been some missed field goals, stuff like that, but the stats are what they are. They blocked a field goal as well.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         They’re tied second nationally in opponent red zone touchdown percentage, only allow three touchdowns in 13 trips. So, that takes away the missed field goals that I know some people like to point at say, that’s not a great defense, that’s just bad college kicker. So, for me, that bend but don’t break style, at some point …

Andrew:                 It’s going to break.

Nick:                         At some point you break. At some point, you keep bending that plastic ruler, and it bends and bends and bends, and all of a sudden, it snaps. When it snaps, then everyone starts yelling. They don’t want to hear what you just said right now. They don’t want to hear. They want to point to the numbers that I point out, but then all of a sudden, when it does break, it’s this has been happening all along.

Andrew:                 Right. It has. Again, that’s what I’m saying. I’m not bashing this defense at all, because, again, I think they’ve played really well for the most part. But it’s like I say, you can’t rely on this offense to pull you out of a big hole if you get into a big hole, because I don’t know that they can against this defense. Like I said, if you’re not able to run the ball, I definitely don’t think you can do it against this defense. So, what would you do? That’ll be a question mark that we’ll see in the game.

Again, I think what Tom said is accurate. I think you will see this Auburn team come in and try to put pressure on Kyle Trask and try to make him uncomfortable. But just like I said about Bo Nix, I’ll say about Kyle Trask, and that is I haven’t seen the game get too big for Kyle Trask. I haven’t seen him get to the point where it looked like he was getting away from himself or anything like that. I can’t sit here and say that it’s going to work either.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think he does a really good job of staying within himself, within the offense, and within the game. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Kyle Trask get flustered or start rushing or anything like that. Granted, we haven’t seen him in a situation where that would necessarily would have forced that on him.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         But I think just a very even keeled guy. Not going to get too highs in his highs, too low in his lows. But Auburn’s going to do the same thing that we said that Florida’s going to try to do to Bo Nix. Hey, doesn’t have much experience.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Bo Nix arguably has more experience than Kyle Trask right now, because he’s started five games. One’s a redshirt junior, and the other one’s a true freshman. It’s which defense can impose their will, probably. I do think that Tom has a point, that Gus is probably getting back into the groove, back into the swing of things. It’s something that Steve Spurrier said. I think he said it maybe not directly at Jim McElwain, but he said during Jim McElwain’s time at Florida, and it was, I don’t understand, if you were an offensive playcaller, if you’re an offensive coordinator and you got a head coaching job, I don’t know why you would give up your play calling responsibilities. That’s what got you there. Spurrier always called plays. I think maybe Gus kind of got away from that, and maybe he is finding himself again and finding a rhythm with calling plays. So, I think there might be something to that.

Andrew:                 You want me to tell you the best way to fix that though? Get out to a big lead and make Gus start second-guessing himself.

Nick:                         That’s true.

Andrew:                 Because that’s when Gus struggles.

Nick:                         When the train comes off the tracks a little bit.

Andrew:                 You know how we used to always say with Doug Nussmeier, what do you do after you …

Nick:                         Shoot. He could draw up a great first drive.

Andrew:                 Right. What happens after that script, when things are starting to tumble a little bit? That’s when Gus Malzahn gets in trouble, when things start to tumble a little bit, and it’s what do I do here? What do I do here? What do I do there? Bo Nix is in trouble. What do I do? That’s when Gus starts getting a little crazy and calling some wild things that can either turn out to be really good or really bad. That’s one of those things where you say, oh … yes. Good play.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think the biggest question we’ll have, and there’s no way to answer it until we see it, is what happens with that defensive line? We touched on it a little bit earlier in the intro. How do you scheme around that Auburn defense? We hadn’t even really touched about the secondary.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         So, that was good that Tom was able to do that. It’s like you said, they’re not going to play off like an FCS team who’s worried about getting beat deep. Auburn’s not worried about getting beat deep. Dan Mullen and Brian Johnson and Hevesy and Gonzales are earning their paychecks this week. I know I don’t have answers to how Florida’s going to do it. I’m still trying to figure out ways.

Andrew:                 Does Gouraige start this week?

Nick:                         I think I would start him.

Andrew:                 Okay. Obviously, the depth chart came out and said that it was not, but we know the depth charts. I think they just send out the same email every week with the depth chart.

Nick:                         I’ve honestly stopped looking at it.

Andrew:                 I didn’t look at it, except for someone tweeted it at me. That’s the only reason I knew about it, because I stopped paying any attention to it, because it’s just …

Nick:                         I don’t even pay attention when they announce the starters before the game.

Andrew:                 Because it’s a lie too.

Nick:                         Yeah. I mean, that stuff doesn’t matter.

Andrew:                 It’s a lie too, so why worry about it? I think you have to start Gouraige. I mean, it worked. Worked well for the most part. Again, can you afford to wait until the fourth quarter or the third quarter when it don’t work?

Nick:                         Right. Then the other thing is that you’ve seen the other one not work, so try something different.

Andrew:                 Right. I mean, I know it was Towson, but that one did work. The other one didn’t work. Against Towson we can say, it was Towson. Well, one of them didn’t work, and one of them worked. That would be my way of looking at it is that. I am interested though, Nick, and we’ll get into this more on Friday, I am interested to see though how Emory Jones is involved. I think Emory Jones plays, and I think Emory Jones has some kind of role in this game. It’s too big of a football game, with a great defense, for Emory Jones not to have some kind of package in this game. I’ve said that before and looked like a liar, because he hasn’t played, but this is a game where I feel like Emory Jones has a role. I think Emory Jones could be a difference maker. You ready to say I’m a liar?

Nick:                         No. I think I’m interested, because there’s two ways we could think about it. You would rather, last week we talked about they showed Emory Jones running the whole offense, and that’s great, because we needed to see that. I think Dan Mullen probably needed to see that. It’s one thing to see it in practice. I think, would you rather have had Auburn be lulled into sleep thinking #5 isn’t in, which means they’re going to run the ball? They’re going to either do zone read or have him run the ball, do something like that.

Andrew:                 Auburn’s smart enough for that though.

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 There’s tape from last year.

Nick:                         That’s just thinking too much into it, mostly likely then, for me.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I mean, they see that. They see that from the Georgia game last year, that he can throw the ball, so I don’t think so. For me, and maybe I’m giving Auburn’s front seven too much credit, might be. I just think you got to get creative. I don’t think Kyle Trask can throw 35 balls in this game and Florida come out on top. Maybe I’m wrong. If I am, good. I don’t see it.

Nick:                         I don’t think I’m giving them too much credit. I think they’re really good.

Andrew:                 I am too. I’m just saying maybe I’m giving them too much credit, and Florida can come out and throw the ball 35 times. Maybe. I mean, I just would be shocked. That would be me, unless 10 of them are screen passes. If Auburn comes out and plays off there, then okay. I mean, if you’re Gus you’re saying, I’m waiting to get onto the unemployment line.

Nick:                         Gus is undefeated, Spivey. He’s not getting fired, until they lose to Alabama again.

Andrew:                 Until they lose to Alabama again. I’m just saying.

Nick:                         They’re not leaving Gus on the tarmac at Gainesville Regional Airport.

Andrew:                 No, they’re not, but the leash is just very short for the guy, even though he’s undefeated. I know that sounds crazy to say. I mean, you’ve seen it. You see the buzz. Bob Stoops, that kind of stuff. You see that buzz, so I’m not the only psychotic person to see that.

Nick:                         Where do you see, you asked Tom for his keys for Auburn to win the game, where do you see Florida’s keys to win the game?

Andrew:                 Offensively or defensively?

Nick:                         Each one. I mean, Tom’s was establish the run, and he’s 100% right. That’s what Auburn tries to do, no matter who the opponent is. That’s their game. Similar to Dan Mullen’s, their offensive game is built off of the run.

Andrew:                 I think offensively Florida needs to get them off balance, whether that’s jet sweeps, whether that’s little option game with Kyle Trask or Emory Jones, or whether that’s whatever it may be. I think the key is to get them off balance and make those defensive linemen think for a second. Maybe it’s an RPO game, where they make them think for a second before they just come flying at Kyle Trask. Whatever it may be, be off balance. Keep the opposing team thinking. To go along with that, you can’t get behind the sticks in this game. You can’t be looking at 2nd and 17, 2nd and 15, 3rd and 18. You can’t be looking at those and win the game.

Nick:                         Yeah. I agree. I’m done saying Florida needs to establish the run, because until I see them do it I don’t think they can.

Andrew:                 Agree. Then defensively, for me, Nick, it’s limit the big plays. Bo Nix has done it, but can Bo Nix put 15-play drives together in the Swamp multiple times? Can he put 13-play drives together in the Swamp? It’s tough. I think it’s tough for any quarterback, no matter freshman, senior, whatever it may be. It’s going to be loud in there. Auburn likes to go up tempo, so limit the big plays. Keep everything in front of you. I know we say this every week.

Nick:                         Make him earn it. Don’t let it be a missed tackle that turns …

Andrew:                 Right. That’s what I was going to say.

Nick:                         Four-yard screen gain into a 64-yard touchdown.

Andrew:                 That’s what I was going to say. Tackle. I know we say it, and it sounds so easy. Tackle.

Nick:                         Yeah. Make him earn it. I like that. I hadn’t really put much thought into that, but how many times can your freshman quarterback lead you on a 12, 15-play drive to score, rather than just getting that big homerun play? Listen, Anthony Schwarz, any time he touches the ball, has the opportunity to go ahead and do that.

Andrew:                 Right. Seth Williams’s the same way.

Nick:                         There’s been some talk about his recruitment and why he’s running track and playing football for Auburn and not Florida, when he’s got a teammate in Marco Wilson and some other teammates from Heritage at Florida. That’s a story for another day.

Andrew:                 There you go. Let’s wrap this up a little bit, Nick. We’re going to have a special this week. We’re going to have four podcasts this week. Tomorrow we will be bringing you guys a new podcast. We’re going to be joined by former Auburn quarterback who does a little radio for Auburn, Jason Campbell, who played in the Swamp in 2002 as the quarterback for Auburn. Then we’ll also be joined by Mr. Two Bits, Billy Horschel, Gator golfer who’s a big-timer in the PGAs. Came on the podcast before. Good friend of the show. That’ll be cool to talk to Billy Horschel. Him and his wife, Brittany, will be Mr. and Mrs. Two Bits. First ever couple to do that.

Nick:                         That’s pretty special.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         Billy, we’ll talk to him about why. He’s been asked in the past, and he’s turned it down, thinking there were some bigger people. I think the opportunity to do it with his wife, who was also a golfer at the University of Florida, was probably too cool to pass up, to be able to do it with your wife.

Andrew:                 Yeah. We’ll have to ask him who has the better golf swing.

Nick:                         Well.

Andrew:                 Usually they say a woman’s golf swing’s prettier, so we’ll see.

Nick:                         Just go ahead. Happy wife, happy life.

Andrew:                 There you go, so Billy will probably say that. For me, Nick, Billy Horschel’s a huge Gator fan. You see him tweeting during the games and that kind of stuff. Listen, I know everyone who’s been Two Bits is a fan and has ties, but for me, I think it’s a little cool or special to see Billy Horschel. I’m interested to hear what he thinks is going to go through his mind on Saturday. That’s a pretty special moment. It’s going to be a raucous sellout crowd. Be interested to hear what he says.

Nick:                         Yeah. He’ll be pumped up. I know Billy will be pumped up. He’s a huge Gator fan, so I’m sure he’ll enjoy watching the game. If not from the box, he might be down on the field.

Andrew:                 I wonder if he’ll bring his golf clubs.

Nick:                         No. Stop trying to get a free putter.

Andrew:                 No. I didn’t know if he’d like pull up his Ping driver and say, Two Bits. Ping pays him a lot of money. That’s a prime opportunity on CBS to throw up your Ping sponsorship.

Nick:                         No. He’s PXG. Is that Ping?

Andrew:                 PXG. That is Ping still, right?

Nick:                         No. I think PXG is its own company.

Andrew:                 Oh. Okay. He was Ping for a while. Yeah. There you’ll go. Glad I didn’t say that to Billy. He’d have got on my case.

Nick:                         Not Ping. It’s Parsons Xtreme Golf. PXG.

Andrew:                 Yeah. He was Ping for a while though.

Nick:                         Yeah. Most expensive clubs on the market, but they’re nice.

Andrew:                 Well, when they’re free, they’re free. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone on Thursday. You’ll be listening to it on Thursday as we have Jason Campbell and Billy Horschel. And then, we’ll be back on Friday for our prediction podcast.

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

Andrew:                 There you go. Nick, one final thing before I get you out of here. Postseason play starts this week. Give me your World Series pick.

Nick:                         I’m riding with the Cardinals. I always like the teams that kind of just sneak in.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         That are maybe playing their best ball at the time.

Andrew:                 That ain’t the Cardinals, because they were on a losing streak heading into the playoffs.

Nick:                         Well, they snuck in, and I’m rooting for my boy Harrison Bader. From the AL, I think it’s going to be the Yankees in there. I’m going to go Cardinals over Yankees.

Andrew:                 I have Astros over Dodgers.

Nick:                         God, what am I thinking? I’m going with the Astros. The Dodgers love to choke it.

Andrew:                 Yeah, but they’re going to get there and then choke.

Nick:                         I’m going to go Astros over Cardinals. Astros. My goodness, that pitching staff is incredible.

Andrew:                 I don’t even think the Yankees make it out of Round 1. I think Minnesota and their club knockers up there of most homeruns ever in a season.

Nick:                         Man, they went from so terrible to really good real quick.

Andrew:                 Good luck. Verlander, Gerrit Cole, then number three Zack Greinke. Yeah. Okay. That’s nasty. Nasty, nasty. I got Astros over Dodgers. Our former Gator commit, Kyle Tucker, balling out for the Astros, so that’s pretty cool.

Nick:                         Making the roster too.

Andrew:                 Yeah. There you go. All right, guys, we appreciate it, as always. You guys know I’m rooting for my Braves. So, 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.