GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we preview the Florida Gators game against Tennessee on Saturday in Knoxville.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre are joined by Trey Wallace as he gives us his take on Tennessee and what’s going on with the program.
Andrew and Nick also recap what Dan Mullen had to say on Monday, plus we talk about some keys for the Gators.
Andrew:What’s up, Gator Country? You man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we’re back and getting ready for an odd December showdown between Gators and Vols. Last time since the September 11th attacks forced the game back. I don’t think we’re going to have an incredible game like that game was.
Nick:Yeah. I think back late ‘90s, early 2000s, programs were a little closer than they are now.
Andrew:Just a little bit.
Nick:It’s weird. We’ve talked about it before. You and I, you can kind of tell how old a Gator fan is by who they hate the most. Obviously, you’re going to hate FSU, but you and I growing up Florida dominated Georgia. Steve Spurrier dominated Georgia. It was kind of like, whatever. Cool, the game’s played in Jacksonville, but it’s not really competitive. You and I growing up, born in ’87 and ’88, it was Tennessee. I mean, that was just every other year, no idea who’s going to win. Some crazy games between Fulmer and Spurrier. Then obviously you get a little bit older, and people hate Auburn. They hate Miami. Hate who you want to hate, but I’m just saying this Florida-Tennessee series has not been as competitive as it was in you and I’s youths.
Andrew:For years it was the first SEC game of the year for each team. It was on CBS. It was the first CBS game of the year. It was pretty much whoever won that game in September went to Atlanta. I saw a stat the other day that said that. I’ll have to find it again. It was something like six straight years or something like that where the winner of the game went to Atlanta. That’s crazy to say that in September, three games into the season, decided who was going to Atlanta, but that’s what it was.
I’ll say this. I love to make fun of Tennessee. I can’t stand Tennessee. As Sandra Bullock said on the thing, I don’t like that burnt orange looking color, or bright orange looking color. Can’t stand it. But I do kind of wish that rivalry would come back, because I know it’s fun to beat up on teams 100-0 and 50-10 or whatever it is, but I do like a good rivalry game. I do like the trash talk back and forth. Who was it? Was it Copeland that had the quote on Monday, Nick? That said, I don’t know.
Andrew:James Houston. Go ahead with that quote.
Nick:First off, it’s fun to beat those teams big, but you get to a point where it’s Kentucky, and it’s just like okay, we beat Kentucky again. If you get to a point like that, then it’s the not the same beating Tennessee, you know what I mean? When it got to like 12 years in a row beating Tennessee, it was kind of just like, it takes away the butterflies you get. It takes away that exciting feeling you get leading up to the game. This game isn’t as hyped as maybe even last year was.
Andrew:Yeah. That’s what it is. It’s not fun almost.
Nick:Yeah. I asked James Houston, where does Tennessee rank on the list of rivals for you? There’s Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, Florida State. He goes, “I personally never really played a Tennessee team that was too competitive against us. Tennessee-Florida, it’s a rivalry game. It’s got history. We’ve got beaten.” Bet you if I asked James Houston about LSU or about Georgia, he’s not going to say that.
Andrew:Right. Yeah. Real quick, and you can think about this if you need to think about it. We’re going to bring on Trey Wallace here from Knoxville’s Fox Sports station in a second to get his preview of the game. Real quick, I have to ask you this. What is your favorite memory of the game? I’ll give you a second to think about it, and I’ll give you mine. Homeboy laying on the ground crying. That’ll never go away for me. Tennessee coach laying on the ground just crying. That moment just summarizes Tennessee football the last 10 years. What would you say was yours, or do you need a second to think about it?
Nick:I’m trying to think about it. That one’s certainly a snapshot, like you said. A snapshot of the last decade for Tennessee football. I’m going to think about mine from longer, but as a fan, or as a writer it’s going to be Grier to Callaway. The whole train right, trips left. I can’t even remember. Whatever the damn, I don’t even know if that’s what the damn play was called, but McElwain was good at stuff like that, in terms of writing. Just saying stuff that it may or may not have been true, but it sounds good. Sounds good to write. That one even over the heave to Cleve.
Andrew:The heave to Cleve to me, Nick, is just, yes it was a big play, but with everything.
Nick:The game was tied. If that pass was dropped, you’re going to overtime.
Andrew:Right. Everything that happened in that season, it just takes away from it.
Nick:Yeah. The Callaway one, that was before Florida had lost to Tennessee, so that was to keep the streak alive.
Andrew:Right. I remember that moment, you and I just looking at each other and going, wow.
Nick:What the heck?
Andrew:I had already written the gamer that I always write and put it on the back end with the lead that says, Tennessee snaps the streak, and then it was, boom. It was good. All right, Nick. Let’s go to Trey. We’ll talk to Trey here, get his thoughts on the game. You and I will come back. We’ll wrap it up. We’ll think about some fan moments, and we’ll also talk about what Dan Mullen had to say on Monday. Let’s go to Trey. We’ll come back and finish it up.
Guys, we’re joined by my good friend here, Mr. Trey Wallace, fellow 251 boy from Fox Sports Knoxville. Trey, first of all, welcome back to the podcast. Secondly, how are you enjoying the good old cold weather up in Knoxville?
Trey:Man, it’s ridiculous up here. I appreciate you having me back on, but we already got some snow I like. I’m from the deep South. Any time I can see some snow, I’ll take it. Let’s just keep this thing at like maybe once every three or four weeks, and I’m good. Yeah, man. We’ll see if Tennessee-Florida gets played this weekend.
Andrew:Nick and I were talking. The last time this game was played in December we had a great game, during the 2001 season, when the September 11th attacks took over. I don’t think we’re going to get that great of a game though again.
Trey:No. No. I just don’t. I don’t know a way that it could turn into a good game. I think that you’re going to see a different starting quarterback on Saturday for Tennessee. You’re going to see a true freshman.
Andrew:Wait. Pick Six ain’t playing?
Nick:Hold on. We’re not letting you just slide by. There’s not a drive-by shooting with that bit of information, Trey.
Andrew:Pick Six isn’t playing?
Trey:Well, contact tracing seems to have gotten ahold of the starting quarterback at Tennessee, Guarantano. He wasn’t practicing last week with the team. I’m told that it was contact tracing, and there’s a lot of other players. With him, it could be other things, guys. Let me put that disclaimer out there. A bunch of players went into contract tracing last Monday, and he was not at practice last week and hasn’t been around this past weekend. Take that for what you will, but I think you see Harrison Bailey as your starting quarterback on Saturday against the Gators, unless Jeremy Pruitt somehow gets Guarantano out of quarantine on Friday night.
Andrew:That hurts my feelings.
Trey:I don’t know how that would happen.
Andrew:That hurts my feelings. I like watching Pick Six play.
Trey:Well, I’m sure every team in the Southeastern Conference wants him to play, but I don’t think you’re going to get anything any better with Bailey. You’re trotting a true freshman out there. Prime time, 3:30, against Florida. Tennessee’s game plan is going to be run the football about 50 times, try to get the clock out of there, and if they can, force some turnovers, get it to the 4th. I just don’t see how that happens, guys.
Andrew:Let me ask you this, Trey. Obviously, my relationship with Tennessee fans probably isn’t the best. They don’t like me very much, and that’s okay.
Nick:What happened? Are you sure?
Andrew:I do like Jeremy Pruitt. As an Alabamian, you kind of have to like Jeremy Pruitt. I know Jeremy Pruitt personally. Think Jeremy Pruitt is a good dude. But what is going on? What is the disconnect up there? It just seems like things are falling apart. You guys are starting to lose some highly regarded commits now. Let’s face it. The program hasn’t went forward this year at all. What’s going on? What’s the disconnect?
Trey:I think you saw last year, and this was pointed out to me from somebody inside the facility this weekend. You saw a program last year that went on that winning streak, but really who did you play that would be worthy enough? Also, look how they pulled out the games last year. Yeah, it’s fine. Then you go into that crazy, this pandemic that we’re still in, where Tennessee’s reeling off a bunch of recruits. That’s because Jeremy Pruitt didn’t give assistant coaches a day off. All they were doing was Zoom meetings and recruiting. I think that’s why you saw Tennessee get hot right there late spring, early summer.
There is, what’s the best way to put it? There is a little bit of a strife between assistant coaches and coaches, just because Jeremy Pruitt is such a fly by the seat of his pants type head coach. Meaning a practice will be scheduled on a Saturday, the team will get there, practice is cancelled. He says they’ll come back to practice on the Sunday. They get a message, come do testing, practice is cancelled. There’s not any consistence. So now, even the assistant coaches are like, what’s going on here? There is nothing going on to make this seem like it is on solid footing.
I think when you look at Tennessee’s situation overall, it’s just not good. Look, you could break it down to a couple plays in the Kentucky game. Don’t throw the two pick sixes, maybe it’s like 13-7 going into the fourth. The Georgia game happens. The Arkansas game, the Auburn 100-yard interception return. Maybe Tennessee is a few mistakes away from only maybe having three losses, but I just think there’s so many problems going on inside the program, where these guys are just worked to death. These coaches are just tired. Then even the players. The players are tired of practicing. All they’ve doing for the last five weeks is practicing.
Trey:They’ve gotten two games in, and it’s just it’s hitting that point where honestly I think you’re going to see some turnover on this staff, and I’ll go out and say this. If Tennessee loses the next three games, and I think they’re going to get beat by Florida. I think they’re going to get beat by A&M, and then you have that kind of morale going into Nashville, potentially the last game of the season, and you get Vanderbilt to beat you, it’s over for Jeremy Pruitt. I don’t think he survives three straight losses.
Trey:That’s kind of where we’re at. People are using it in recruiting. Looked what happened, guys. They lost a four-star and a five-star in a span of four and a half days. That’s just not a good look.
Andrew:That’s why I say I think things are looking bleak for him, because when you start to lose recruits and that kind of stuff, then that means other teams are starting to get in the heads of guys. You just don’t recover from that. Then you’re going to have a bunch of coaching turn over. If I’m Dan Mullen or Nick Saban or whoever it may be, I’m going to say, he made those changes to save his job. If he doesn’t win next year, he’s out. Do you really want to recruit on that? I think it’s tough to recruit on that. We all know how tough it is to recruit in the SEC as it is, but if you’re recruiting basically begging people to save your job, you’re probably going to lose a lot of guys.
Trey:Yeah. Look at it. There are two whoopings that should be coming over the next two weeks. I’ll say this about Tennessee. We’ll find out if Tennessee has checked out or not. We’ll find out if it’s because of mistakes, if it’s because Jeremy Pruitt started JG ever since the Kentucky game. If they get another quarterback in there that throws the football around, gets the receivers involved. The offensive line has not played up to their potential for most of the season. I thought they did good against Auburn, but Auburn’s front seven is kind of eh. You get Eric Gray to run for a lot of yards. I just think so many factors have gone into this. Add onto the fact now this weekend Tennessee could be without, and I use the word could because they’re trying to finagle the 14-day quarantine thing here, but they could be without multiple starters on offense and defense on Saturday.
Nick:We’ve been in that boat. That was not fun earlier in the year.
Nick:Yeah. Jeremy Pruitt, of MTV fame and notoriety, is 15-17. Listen, Florida’s coaches might not like each other. We saw Todd and Dan going after each other, but winning cures all. I can hate you, but if we show up to work and we’re winning football games, we’ll figure it out. When you’re 15-17, and now you got stuff like this going on, I always think about quality of life with coaches, and I think that’s what you were talking about there. What’s the quality of life? You’re like, hey honey, we’ve got practice at this time and this. I’ll be home for dinner. Then you get a text message an hour later saying, tell your wife that’s not the case. We’re doing this now. Some of it comes with the territory, but a head coach can make his assistant coaches’ lives easier or better, and then on top of the losing. I think that’s kind of where you’re getting at with expecting some changes.
Trey:Yeah, Nick. Take for instance small things. We all know that Tee Martin, his son is Amari Rodgers. He plays for Clemson, and his last home game was this past weekend. I’m sure Tee Martin would have loved to have gone and watched Amari play his final game, his Senior Day, at home, and then come to find out an hour before it’s supposed to kickoff in Clemson, Jeremy Pruitt cancels practice in Knoxville. Chris Weinke, I’m sure he’d want to go see his family in Charlotte. What I’m getting at is that now you’ve got the staff that’s kind of pissed off, in a sense, and agitated with what’s going on.
I’m not even talking about the players, who some of them drove six to eight hours rushing to be back on Saturday for Covid testing and then a practice, and then come to find out they do a Covid test, and they do a 15-minute team meeting, and then he says, just go home. His players are like, wait a minute, what’s going on?
Nick:Drove a long way to be here.
Trey:Right. Then also, you cancel practice on Sunday. It’s like, what’s the end game here? These players need a break. These players have been put through the ringer, with class and all this Covid stuff and practicing against each other every day, which you know that gets old.
Nick:They’ve been practicing since July. Normally the season would be done by now. In a regular year, the season would be done by now. They’ve been going at it since July, and they had to start and then stop and then ramp back up when they started again and things got pushed back. This has been a long season.
Trey:Yeah. I think that’s for everybody. I think Tennessee is magnified just because of their play on the field and how they’ve somehow in the second half, they’ve been outscored 108-14 over this five-game losing streak in the second half of football games.
Andrew:That Tennessee or Kentucky?
Trey:Could be both. Vanderbilt’s actually putting up points.
Nick:Florida’s defense will do that.
Andrew:Yeah. Don’t worry. Harrison Bailey will be up for Freshman All-American after this weekend.
Trey:He’ll get Player of the Week. He’ll do something to get Player of the Week, like Sarah Fuller at Vanderbilt, right?
Andrew:Yeah. Well. I don’t know. That’s a story for a different day.
Nick:Tell us a little bit about the freshman. We’ve seen JG a couple times here, but obviously haven’t seen the freshman.
Andrew:Guys Florida went after.
Nick:To make a move late in the season might just be signaling of canning this season and looking towards next, but what can Florida fans expect to see from the freshman quarterback?
Trey:I think you’re going to see a guy that is not fidgety in the pocket. Somebody that can throw the football away when he gets pressure. He’s going to be able to hit his players across the middle. Now look, his deep ball is not really good. He can probably throw a 45, 50-yard deep ball, per se, when he’s heaving it, but he’s a quarterback that has pocket presence. I don’t think you’re going to see the mistakes like you would get out of Guarantano when he’s pressured.
But you also have to understand that Tennessee is going to have play off their running backs. You’re going to see Eric Gray and Ty Chandler and Jabari Small. They’ll get a lot of carries. I think there might be some play action from Harrison Bailey. I don’t think you’re going to see many RPOs or anything along those lines, but Bailey is a quarterback that’s going to sit in the pocket. He’s going to try to sling it around. He’s got the receivers to do it, and that’s the thing. Josh Palmer, Jalin Hyatt. After Hyatt, you’ve got Velus Jones, Malachi Wideman.
He’s got some guys on the outside that can make some plays for him, and I think you’re going to see a quarterback that, they were going to start him against Vanderbilt last weekend, and they were going to try to go ahead and get a win underneath his belt by the time the Florida game came around and things got a little awry.
I look at Harrison Bailey as a quarterback that we don’t know a lot about when it comes to game experience, because he hasn’t got a lot of games, but he’s a quarterback that I think when you look at him it’s going to be completely different type of offense than what you’ve seen with Guarantano, just because of some of the passes he can make and some of the mental mistakes that I don’t see him making. Now, I say that to say this. Anything can happen when you’re starting a true freshman on CBS at 3:30 against the Florida Gators and Dan Mullen.
Andrew:In the snow possibly.
Trey:Right. Possibly in the snow. If you get a play behind, how much do you trust a freshman quarterback to play behind? I don’t know. It’s going to be interesting. I think we two quarterbacks on Saturday. Which two quarterbacks that is, we’ll have to find out if Guarantano gets out of tracing.
Andrew:I’ll tell you this. You can pass this message. I know you got players in a little while. Pass this message to Harrison Bailey. Don’t worry. Go up tempo, and just throw the ball, because two defenders will be looking at a wide open receiver somewhere. Don’t worry. Shawn Davis. When you see Shawn Davis, run right at him. He closes his eyes. That’s how you beat Florida. I’m telling you. Do that. If you want to see good quarterback play, there you go.
Trey:The pressure is on Florida this weekend. It is what it is. They’re fighting for a College Football Playoff spot. Really the pressure is not on Tennessee. You kind of know what you’re getting out of Tennessee. I’m not saying that Florida is going to come here and lose to Tennessee, but I’m just saying we’ll see if Tennessee can force them to make a few mistakes, put a little pressure on them, bring some guys off the edge, bring a Warren Burrell or a Kenneth George off the corner, bring a blitz in there. Just make Trask uncomfortable. You’re going to see Tennessee double teaming Pitts a lot.
Trey:Right. I know. Good luck. It doesn’t matter. It’s one of those things where even you put a spy on him or just somebody on him period, it’s not going to really do anything. Tennessee has got their work cut out this weekend. I don’t know a final score, but the spread seems about right.
Andrew:I’ll say this.
Andrew:I said I was going to say, good luck with Pitts. Good luck with making Trask uncomfortable. Can you guys please make Dan Mullen and Todd Grantham fight again, so that we can see a good defense? I don’t know about you, Nick, but I’m ready to see a complete game.
Nick:Yeah. The problem with double Pitts is then you get Kadarius Toney in single coverage. We saw it. Kyle Pitts went nuts the first couple games, and then we were like, shoot, where’d he go? In the meantime, Kadarius Toney was racking up seven touchdowns in three games. Then you start focusing on Toney, and then you’ve got Trevon Grimes and Justin Shorter get four touchdowns in a game. Trey, we’ve earned this. We’ve earned covering this team after covering Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain offenses. I’ve earned some points.
Trey:I agree. Look, I agree, man. Every reporter wants to cover a championship caliber football team. Tennessee just hasn’t been lucky for the last, I don’t know, 15 years.
Andrew:It could be worse. You could be Georgia.
Trey:You could be. I guess. I don’t know, man. Tennessee’s in a bad spot right now. I don’t know if Jeremy Pruitt’s the guy who’s going to be able to turn anything around here in Knoxville. I think either of two things are going to happen this weekend. You’re going to see a team that’s going to come out and play for their coach, go out there, try to bust heads when it’s freezing cold outside and 3:30 in the afternoon and you’re rolling with a freshman quarterback, or you’re going to see a Tennessee team that gets down by 14-17 points and some of the guys not wave a white flag, but just get so caught up in trying to come back that it just never happens. We’ll see. My score prediction is going to be right around the 34-17 range, Florida. I just feel like the Gators are too much for Tennessee, especially in the second half.
Now, don’t be surprised if Tennessee keeps it close in the first half with their running game, just because they’re taking so much time off the clock with them passing on 3rd down and picking up the four or five yards. I just don’t like this matchup for Tennessee this weekend.
Andrew:I have a two-part question before we get you out of here. My first question that I have for you is what’s your favorite memory of this game? Then my second part of this question is where do you feel Kyle Trask ranks in the Heisman conversation right now?
Trey:Favorite part of this game. So, I’ll be interesting. I was actually in the stands in the Swamp the December game after September 11th.
Trey:Me and my father were actually there. It’s no secret. My father is a season ticket holder for Tennessee. Has been for a long time. Grew up in the state. I’m a south Alabama boy. It is what it is, but he’s from Tennessee. We traveled down there, and we got to witness that game, which was a classic. Rex Grossman miss throwing it in the back of the endzone on the two-point conversation. Tennessee won, but there’s been a couple of those big games. I was in the stands for the Wilhoit game where Tennessee somehow got away with slapping a Florida player in the helmet. The other guy gets caught hitting him back, and that’s when the penalty comes, and Florida kind of gets screwed on that.
There’s been a bunch of good games that I’ve been to. I know recently it hasn’t been like that, but I think I would say probably 2001 game, just because of everything that went into it with September 11th and playing in December, and the winner is going to Atlanta the next week. GameDay was down there. Corso with all the roses and stuff. It was just a really cool environment, so that one.
Then Kyle Trask, I think two SEC quarterbacks are in the running here. I think the two SEC quarterbacks should be in the top four. Personally, I think Kyle Trask is getting more out of his offensive group than Mac Jones at Alabama, because Mac Jones just has so many weapons. I think Kyle Trask, in my opinion, has taken things to a different level and is getting a lot more. I know he’s got Pitts. I understand that. Grimes and Toney and all that good stuff. I feel like Kyle Trask right now, he’s got two games that I think you got to set the standard here, and that would be Tennessee and LSU. If he comes out throwing for four touchdowns and whatnot, putting up big passing yards, I think you’ll see Kyle Trask be invited to the Heisman. I just think it might come down to that championship Saturday, boys. I do.
Andrew:I do too.
Nick:Dan Mullen keeps saying that. I think he’s a little miffed. Dak Prescott took Mississippi State to #1 in the country, and then they lose a game and Dak Prescott doesn’t even get invited to the Heisman after that. So, I keep giving Dan Mullen opportunities to say, my quarterback should win the Heisman, and he just says, we need to keep winning games. I do agree. Trey, I couldn’t make it any easier. I’m like, is Kyle Trask having a Heisman worthy season? He’s like, I think if we keep winning he might. Okay.
I think you’re absolutely right, especially when it’s like Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence were so far ahead. Those were the guys before the season that we were going to be counting or, who’s going win between them. Justin Fields has played three games, four games. Trevor Lawrence missed a couple games. I think it’s really right now you’re looking at, and Devonta Smith probably should be getting in, the season he’s having.
Andrew:I’m telling you, Najee Harris too.
Nick:Yeah. Those guys should be getting talked about. I think right now your frontrunners are going to be, got to be Mac Jones and Kyle Trask. If Mac throws for 350 in the SEC Championship game, and Kyle Trask throws two picks and Florida loses by 21 points, the quarterback that lost that game isn’t going to win the Heisman over the one that won it. I think that’s kind of what we’re getting down to.
Trey:I agree. I don’t like the whole, and this is nothing against Trevor Lawrence, because I think he’s probably the best quarterback in college football, without a doubt.
Nick:He’s first pick in the NFL Draft.
Trey:Right. What I’m getting at is if you miss two football games, I’m sorry. The Heisman trophy has got to be for somebody that’s playing more than four or five games in a season. That’s kind of how I feel on that.
Andrew:I think Kyle Pitts should be up for it, but that’s just me.
Trey:That’s because Florida doesn’t know how to campaign for Heisman trophy winners ever since Tebow left.
Andrew:Also, he’s a tight end, and he missed two games too. It is what it is. He’s the best player in college football.
Trey:Yeah. And he comes up here and plays a depleted Tennessee team on Saturday. This ought to be a lot of fun.
Andrew:Trey, listen, we got to get out of here. Tell everybody where they can find your work and how they can follow you on game day, and then we’ll get you out of here. We’ll talk to you soon.
Trey:Absolutely. I appreciate y’all having me on. You can follow me @TreyWallace_ I do a radio show every day from 3:00-6:00 here in Knoxville on Fox Sports Knoxville. Covering Tennessee and the SEC every single day of the week. It never stops. We’ll continue putting out work. I appreciate you guys having me on. Nick, I will have the heater on for you Friday, bud.
Andrew:I’m hurt. I haven’t been invited.
Nick:Turn it on now.
Trey:I didn’t know you were coming.
Andrew:No. I haven’t been invited to radio, so I’m hurt. I didn’t even know you had a radio show.
Nick:Neither have I.
Trey:Bro, we’re on a Tuesday. Let’s get to like Thursday.
Nick:I was going to say sorry. I thought your radio show had been cancelled, because I hadn’t been invited on in so long.
Trey:Dude, you got to cut me some slack. We’re on a Tuesday, and I’m dealing with fans that are going crazy and want to fire Pruitt. We’ll get you on. We’ll get y’all on Thursday or Friday.
Andrew:I can add to the fire. They don’t like me either.
Trey:I know that.
Nick:That’s why you’re coming on Friday, because he doesn’t want to deal with it all week.
Andrew:Lordy. Trey, as always, 251, my man. Go Jags. We’ll talk to you soon, buddy.
Trey:Thanks, guys. Y’all be well. Thanks.
Andrew:Nick, back. Some good stuff from Trey. Nothing better than seeing Tennessee suck. That’s the best thing I can say, and seeing big fat Phil up there eating his donuts and crying in his office, because nobody likes fat Phil.
Nick:Yeah. Just tough. When Trey’s talking about that procedural stuff, I’m just thinking this is the stuff that happens to a first year head coach. We saw it. Or not first year, sorry, first time head coach. This is the stuff we saw with Muschamp. It’s just you’ve got so much stuff moving around. You’re trying to control it all, because it’s your first time being able to control it all. Then it just ends up being a cluster.
I think someone like Dan Mullen having been a head coach now for more than a decade, somebody like a Dabo Sweeney or a Nick Saban. Those guys, I’m not saying that they’re lazy, I’m just saying they know how to delegate when they need to delegate. They know when. There’s a certain feel of you don’t jerk people around like that, the way that Trey was just saying.
Andrew:They also have a feel of we need to give our players a day off, or I need to give my coaches a day off, or whatever it may be.
Nick:Listen, I forget his first name, but if Billy Gonzales’ son is a senior at Mississippi State, and Florida’s got like a spring practice on his Senior Day, you better believe Dan Mullen is saying, Billy, go be with your son on Senior Day. There’s stuff that as a coach that you just take care of the people that work with you. It’s just a quality of life thing.
Andrew:Also, they’d probably be on vacation during that time.
Nick:You know what I mean.
Andrew:I know. I had to throw that in there though. When you start to have that stuff, it’s the beginning of the end. You don’t recover from that, because here’s the thing. If you’re a good coach who has opportunities to leave, chances are you’re bolting from Tennessee this year at the first chance you get. If you’re Chris Weinke and, I don’t know, USC or somebody else calls and says, we have the OC position open for you for the same amount of pay, or maybe even a deduction, he’s like, yup. Gone. Period. I’m out. The same with Tee Martin and those guys. They’re going to bolt.
Then you’re going to be left with staff members who probably aren’t the best, and you’re going to try to refill it. Guess what? You’re going to have to put in a new offense and everything else, and then it’s going to be next year’s a winner, or you’re fired kind of job, if you keep your job. It’s a revolving door. I always say, if you got to fire your entire staff and you’re hoping that that’s going to fix things, probably 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t, and you’re just setting yourself up for more failure.
I don’t know. Like I said, I can’t stand Tennessee. I do like Jeremy Pruitt. I think Jeremy Pruitt is a hell of a DC, but it’s downhill. What do you think about Harrison Bailey starting though? What else you got to lose? Why not start him?
Nick:Listen, this is not the week I’d probably want to try that out, but in a Covid season it seems like their hand is being forced more so than they’re trying it out. You know what I mean?
Nick:Florida leads the SEC in sacks. Second in sacks allowed. I’m trying to find Tennessee’s. Tennessee has given up 17 sacks in seven games. Florida’s defensive line is really starting to figure things out right now. This is not the confidence booster game I would want my freshman quarterback to be making his first start in, that’s for sure.
Andrew:Right. Yeah. I don’t know.
Nick:You remember that Tennessee offensive line last year when Florida played them.
Andrew:That was bad.
Andrew:That was really bad. I mean, Trey has a point. They probably come in here and run the ball and try to control the clock and keep it close until halftime or so, and then Florida will run away.
Nick:Here’s Devil’s advocate. If you want to control the clock and run the ball, then you’re not running up tempo, and you might actually give Florida’s defense a chance to line up right.
Andrew:Right. That’s what I’m saying. At the same time, if you’re an opposing team, you got to be scared. Well, I say you got to be scared. I’m stupid. I shouldn’t say that. Sooner or later you think this team is going to put a complete game together, right? Sooner or later?
Nick:Well, a coach might say you never put a complete game together. Listen, other than the weather, which we might be making too much of a big deal about, this Tennessee team is hurting, and this is probably a good chance to put a complete game together. If Florida puts a complete game together, I see a big old number next to their name and possibly a 0 next to Tennessee’s.
Andrew:Yeah. I’m just sitting here thinking about it. If I’m Jeremy Pruitt, I don’t like my chances in this game.
Andrew:I don’t like my chances in this game. I think will be a game for some guys to get in that don’t normally play. When’s the last time Florida played in a snow? Was it Missouri? But there’s not been snow in Missouri. It’s just been super cold.
Nick:Yeah. I’ve been to all the Missouri games. There’s never been snow, but it’s been cold. Shoot, man. I couldn’t tell you. That’d be a good question to ask.
Andrew:I don’t think it’s been since we’ve covered the team.
Nick:I need to send an email in to Florida, to the historians. When was the last time, if ever, has Florida played in the snow?
Andrew:I remember three years ago or four years ago them talking about it was the coldest game in something like 20 years, the Missouri game, that they had played in. Again, I can’t remember. You got to think about it too. November, December Florida usually isn’t leaving the state very much, because you always got Florida State there. You always got Jacksonville there. Usually it’s South Carolina for the majority of the last few years, so it’s probably been a long time.
Nick:Yeah. Nothing off the top of my head, that’s for sure.
Andrew:Yeah. I don’t know.
Nick:Maybe we’re making too much of a big deal about it. Listen, it’s going to be cold. You wear some sleeves. You wear a long-sleeved Nike cold gear. I’m sure Florida’s asked for some cold gear from Nike. That’s not typically a request that they need to make. You wear your leggings. You wear some long sleeves. You wear even a long-sleeved t-shirt over that compression gear, and you deal with it. The people that are going to be the coldest are the people sitting watching the game, the coaches. Dan Mullen is going to be colder than the offensive lineman that is out there moving around 350 pounds for three hours.
Andrew:Unless he’s cussing Grantham and getting his blood pressure up.
Nick:Yeah. Grantham might get him hot. Unless you’re sitting around, if you’re playing, your blood starts flowing. You warm up pretty quick and stuff like that. We’re making too much of a deal about that. You’d rather have it be really cold and Kyle’s hands are cold than play in a rainstorm and try to throw this wet football 400 yards.
Andrew:Right. It’ll be interesting to see. It’s an environment that Florida hasn’t played in. Real quick, before we get out of here, things went a little longer than we planned with Trey, but that’s fine. It’s about previewing Tennessee. Let’s talk about the basketball team for a second. The Oklahoma game was cancelled because Oklahoma had a positive Covid test.
As you’re listening to this on Wednesday, Florida will be taking on Army on Wednesday evening. Then they’ll follow that up with Boston College, and then at home against Stetson over the weekend. Three games in a week. I think it’s a good thing, because when you look at the cancellation last weekend it hurt the preparation that they needed. I think that’s going to be good. At 2:30 Eastern time, Army will take on Florida on Wednesday, and then they’ll follow that up at 8:30 on Thursday against Boston College.
Nick:Yup. The start of the Mike White era Take 3, or Mike White’s 2020 season Take 3. This is certainly going to be a weird season with contact tracing on teams that only have 12 guys, 13 guys. Contract tracing can cancel games way quicker than football, where you’ve got 85 scholarship, and you only need 53. You could probably play with 50, 48. I think Vanderbilt said they played with 46 guys on scholarship.
Andrew:And the traveling. They’re traveling in the planes more, all that stuff. It’s crazy to say, but I think you can pretty much throw out this.
Nick:Traveling every week, sometimes twice a week.
Andrew:I think you can all but throw away the schedule and say whatever happens is going to happen.
Nick:Yeah. I think football, well I think baseball will be much easier to figure out. Let’s say they go to an All-SEC schedule, and you’re doing four games a week. You travel once every other week and knock those games out. I think basketball is going to be the trickiest and most difficult season to have. Everything is indoors. They travel possibly sometimes two times a week. Unless you’re bubbling up, and they’re calling all these different towns and cities they’re playing Bubbleville and all this stuff, but it’s not really a bubble. You’ve got to travel. If I were a fan of any college sport, the one I would be most concerned about having any kind of real season would be basketball. That one’s going to be tough.
Andrew:Yeah. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. See everyone on Friday, as we get some predictions up.
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 listen to podcasts. Just search Gator Country. Hit subscribe. Never miss an episode. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @delaTorre. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC. Tennessee hate week.
Andrew:Tennessee hate week. Wait one second. Did you think of your favorite fan moment?
Nick:No. I’ve been to a couple games. I think I’m just going to stick with that one. Maybe it’s because it’s so soon. I’ll keep thinking. Maybe on Friday I’ll have one. I think that, the train right Jill Big Ben in. That’s it.
Andrew:That or the Jabari Gaffney catch, or no catch.
Nick:I don’t have that great of a memory of that.
Andrew:I just remember that and walking away saying, Florida stole that game.
Nick:The only other play for me that sticks out like that is in 2001. I remember, because I’m sitting there, and I’m screaming at the TV, and I’m mad. It was just totally different memory than Grier to Callaway.
Andrew:Exactly. Guys, we’ll see everyone on Friday. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp. And we always hate Tennessee.
Nick:You stay classy, Gator Country.