GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we start to preview the Florida Gators game vs. Arkansas on Saturday in the Swamp.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre are joined by Richard Davenport of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to get his thoughts on this game and the keys for the game.
Andrew and Nick also breakdown what Dan Mullen and Brian Johnson had to say about this game and they give you their keys.
Andrew:What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we’re back, and we’re going to talk some Florida-Arkansas, or as people want to call it, Florida versus Feleipe Franks, this week. Should be a good one. Sam Pittman though has tested positive for Covid. Had a follow up test on Tuesday, as we’re taping this, and that came back positive as well. I would say confirming that he has the virus and doesn’t have a false positive. Arkansas is saying he’s not going to coach the game on Saturday. Always an interesting twist. There it goes. Prayers up to Coach Pittman and his family.
Nick:Little bit of older of a guy. Little bit heavier set. There’s just some kind of things that could complicate it. The best report that we’ve gotten out of Arkansas is that he’s been asymptomatic or very mild symptoms. Once you get it, that’s the best we can hope for after that.
Andrew:We’re going to bring on our man Richard Davenport here from the Arkansas Democratic Gazette, get his thoughts on this. Just kind of get his thoughts on what Feleipe’sdoing we’ll. We continue to talk about it, and get his thoughts on what Feleipe’s doing well and just overall feel of the Arkansas program. This Arkansas team has gotten so much better. This is a team that was the laughingstock of the SEC last year. Let’s face it, even in their losses, and they should have won the Auburn game. Got cheated in that one. Really outside of the A&M game, they’ve been in every game. The Georgia game was close for the majority of the game.
Nick:Till the second half.
Andrew:Until the second half. That was Feleipe’s first game action. I think overall this is a much improved Arkansas team.
Nick:Yeah. Credit to Sam Pittman. I think you liked the hiring immediately. I didn’t, and then he won me over in the opening press conference. He was emotional on how long he’d been a coach without getting the opportunity to be a head coach and just what it meant to him. We’ll say this. He’s got the Hogs believing, and it’s tough. We’ve seen that so much at Florida, towards the end of Will Muschamp and then towards the end of McElwain. You get a team that just not accepts losing, but just becomes accustomed to it, or just you stop hating losing more than you like to win. It’s just a whole culture that you’ve got to change. Look, they’re 3-3 right now, but like you said, could be 4-2. Probably should be 4-2. Got robbed.
Andrew:The thing for me, Nick, with Pittman, and the reason I said this with Sam Pittman is do I think Sam Pittman would have been a good hire for Florida? Probably not. Do I think he’d have been a good fit for Alabama? Probably not. But in a place like Arkansas, you have to win with less, and you have to win because of the mentality. We’ll talk to Richard more about this and get his thoughts on just what they have to do to win, but you have to win differently at Arkansas. I just think that his mindset and his just overall approach to the game was perfect.
That’s why I thought Sam Pittman would win at Arkansas, more so than a guy like Chad Morris. I just never thought a guy like Chad Morris was going to be successful out there. Now, I did think Bret Bielema, and he was at times successful for them. I do. I think the sky is the limit for Pittman out there. I think he can make some noise. Will he win the SEC? Probably not, but I think he can do some good things.
Nick:Doing them right now. We certainly keep him in our thoughts and prayers this week, as he won’t make the trip. But you got a former SEC coach who will take over in Barry Odom, so the game is still on.
Nick:It might not be the case for a couple teams in the SEC. We’ll get into that after. Florida-Arkansas, 7:00 PM, ESPN from the Swamp.
Andrew:Let’s go to Richard. We’ll talk to Richard, get his thoughts on all this, and we’ll come back, and we’ll break down kind of what Mullen had to say and break down kind of what Richard had to say. Let’s go to Davenport. We’ll be back.
Guys, we’re back, and we’re joined by our good friend Mr. Richard Davenport with the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, covering all things Arkansas. First of all, how are you, and how are things treating you in Hog land?
Richard:Doing well, buddy. Doing well. Just like everybody else, being cautious and trying to get through this pandemic. Hopefully, like I said earlier, this time next year we won’t be dealing with as much of it, I guess you could say.
Andrew:Know Sam Pittman has tested positive. I know he got his second test results back and confirmed he did indeed have it. First off, have you heard anything on how he’s doing? Is it just mild symptoms? I guess, give us any kind of update you can give us on the situation.
Richard:From everything that I understand, he doesn’t have any symptoms, but obviously he’s tested positive twice, Sunday and today, so he won’t be on the sideline on Saturday, but everything seems to be good right now. Hopefully it stays that way, because he’s 58-years-old, and you worry about people in that age group that get the virus. Hopefully, he continues to show no symptoms and is back once he’s able to get back.
Andrew:I think that’s the biggest thing. It’s football, but just be healthy through it. Like you said, he’s in that age group with that. I guess, how is the team reacting? Is it kind of business as usual, even though it’s definitely not business as usual?
Richard:The good thing is I don’t think Arkansas could be in better shape in this situation, because Barry Odom obviously was head coach at Missouri before being the DC. This is kind of a situation where he knows how to handle a team. If he was a defensive coordinator with no previous head coaching position, he would be kind of learning on the fly a little bit. Coach Pittman will still be in contact with him and be at Zoom meetings with the staff, so he’ll be involved as much as he possibly can, but obviously won’t be able to be on the practice field or some of the meetings with the players. For the most part, he’ll still be involved, and I’m sure it’s going to be quite weird for him being at home watching the game on Saturday. Again, I think Arkansas is in as good a shape as you could wish in a situation like this with Barry Odom.
Andrew:He can be an armchair quarterback like all of us now.
Richard:Yeah. I’m sure he will be. It’d be interesting to have a camera on him. Obviously, that won’t happen, but it’d be interesting to have a camera on him during the game, because you know when you’re on the sideline at least you feel like you have some kind of control. When you’re a thousand miles away, and you’re watching it on TV, I can imagine that could be pretty frustrating.
Nick:Yelling at the TV.
Andrew:It’ll be getting a chewing out. Let’s talk about this Arkansas team. You and I talked a little bit about this when Sam Pittman was hired, and we both kind of agreed that we thought this was a good hire for Arkansas. Obviously, it looks like it’s turned into be a great hire for Arkansas. What’s changed for this program? Is it just Sam Pittman’s attitude on things? What’s just changed on this team? This is a different Arkansas program in general. It just seems like there’s a life in this program that hasn’t been there in a long time.
Richard:There’s no doubt. Obviously, he and his staff have been able to connect and gain the players’ trust and also players have bought into how they are operating the program and how they’re coaching, and you see a different product on the field, totally different product. Especially I think during the season last year, I just could not believe the talent was as bad as it was showing, 2-10, 2-10, back to back. I just could not buy into Arkansas being that bad, and I think shows this. They’re very competitive in the SEC. A lot of people say that they should be 4-2, and I tend to agree, with the Auburn game turning out the way that it did.
They’re playing hard. They’re playing fast. They’re obviously just feel much more comfortable with this staff, for whatever reason. There seemed to be a disconnect with Coach Morris and this team the previous two years. Obviously, Coach Pittman and his staff have been able to get their trust and, again, for them to buy in, and it’s showing on the field.
Nick:Was there maybe like a culture change? We even saw it in Florida. It’s kind of like a team almost gets used to losing, or maybe not used to it, but accepting of it. What was the culture change that he kind of brought to the guys to kind of get them to start expecting to win? Honestly, this is an Arkansas team that probably should have beat Auburn, and you might be looking at them a little bit differently if you have another win on the roster. It looks like the guys are having fun and also get out there Saturday expecting to do well and expecting to win.
Richard:I think that’s what he brought. I think he told them that he expected them to compete and win. They’ve gone into every game thinking that they could win. Obviously, that hasn’t happened, but other than the Georgia game in the second half, they’ve been very competitive, and, obviously, you’ve come out with three wins. I just think that he has shown that he believes in them, and when you’re a beat down team like Arkansas has been the last two years, and you have a staff that has confidence in you, despite what’s happened previously, I think there’s a connection there. They’re feeding off of the staff, and it’s reflective on Saturdays.
Andrew:Let me take a step back. We’ve been asked several times about Feleipe Franks, and I’ve said this, and I mean zero disrespect when I say this about Feleipe, but I’m going to ask you this and get your take on it. I think Feleipe is playing really well. The biggest difference I think for me, Richard, and you can answer this, but I think the pressure is off of him. I don’t want to say there’s no pressure at Arkansas, but the pressure at Arkansas is a little different than it was at Florida with him being from the home state and expecting it. Do you think that’s the biggest difference right now for Feleipe is just playing loose?
Richard:Yeah. I think that is. I think that is. Really, no disrespect to the young men that are behind him on the depth chart, as soon as he walked on campus this was his job. You got two young quarterbacks that have very promising futures in front of them, but they’re still very young. Here’s a guy that obviously had SEC experience and had success on the SEC level. I think when he came to Arkansas it was a fresh start for him, and it’s obviously been reflected in his play. He’s only thrown three interceptions.
One of the keys in this team and why they’re doing so well, they’ve minimized their turnovers. They’ve only lost three fumbles, and they’ve had four interceptions. One, obviously, wasn’t Feleipe. It was a receiver throwing a trick pass. He seems to be each week just getting more and more comfortable with the offense, with his receivers. Because let’s face it, he didn’t have spring practice to go through and get to know these guys. Obviously, he threw to them, but not in a competitive, like going up against defenses and stuff like that. He is playing at a high level, and it seems like he’s even improving for the most part each game.
Nick:That’s a big thing. We talked about that with defenses overall. The defenses were so bad across the SEC, and it was just these guys haven’t really tackled since their last bowl game or their last game that they played, and that’s a big difference. Then we talked about it because Florida being one of the teams in the SEC that wasn’t changing a head coach, a new quarterback, or an offensive coordinator. It was like that continuity will help.
I think with Feleipe, exactly what you said. The timing with receivers, just getting to know the playbook. We’ve watched him. Andrew and I met Feleipe when he was probably 14 years old. Just to watch him grown kind of mature through the six years that we’ve known him, I had no worries that he’d get the playbook and have that down quickly, but all those little things, the timing, the relationship with receivers. You’ve got 13 receivers on a roster. That’s 13 different ways a slant pattern is going to be run. It’s the same pattern, same call in the playbook, just guys run it differently. I think, like you just said, as the season goes on he’s just getting more and more comfortable.
I think the biggest thing that jumps off to me, and Andrew will probably agree, is that the interceptions are down. We saw Feleipe, he’s kind of got a little Brett Favre in him, where if there’s a tiny sliver of opening, I think I’ve got a strong enough arm to fit it in there. How effective and efficient has he been at quarterback?
Richard:I think there’s been some times when he has made some ill-advised throws, but for the most part the last few games he’s just been very efficient and has thrown very few bad balls. I think obviously why he’s only had three interceptions. I think one thing with Coach Pittman, he’s kind of like many of the head coaches before him at Arkansas. At Arkansas, for the most part, you always focused on effort, win the turnover margin, and just being well coached. I think you see all three of those things with this team, and being well coached is reflected by his lack of interceptions. He’s just playing smart.
Also, another thing that he’s done the last few games, he’s seemed to be reluctant in the first games, he is talking it and running it, especially when it’s a 3rd down situation, 3rd and 7. If there’s no receivers, instead of just almost running trying to scramble and trying to just maybe force the ball a little bit or maybe even throw it away, he’s tucking it and running it and getting some valuable yardage. It’s keeping those linebackers a little closer to the line of scrimmage, where beforehand they could go back into pass coverage. I think that’s helped him, and I think it’s helped the running game too. He’s been running the ball a little bit more on the RPOs.
In the first part of the season, basically he was just giving it off to Rakeem Boyd and Treylan Smith, but now he’s keeping it a few times, and the defense cannot just focus on the running backs. They have to focus on him. Obviously, you guys know as much as I do. He’s not a speedster or anything like that, but he’s an adequate runner, and he can keep the defenses honest.
Nick:I was about to ask you. We’ve compared him to looking like a giraffe at times when running, but one of those times is like a 64-yard run against Texas A&M a couple years back, so it’s effective. It might not look like a running back with the ball, but it gets the job done.
Richard:Exactly. I think that’s so important. You don’t have to have a guy that’s going to go 80 yards for you or anything like that, but if you have a quarterback that’s not capable of getting you a 3rd and 7, 3rd and 8, by tucking it and running, that sure limits your offense, and the defenses notice that, and they just lay back in coverage. With him doing that, again like I said, those linebackers have to pay attention to that possibility and maybe not go as deep in coverage. It’s kind of really helped the offense, I think, in the last few games, especially the A&M game, where he rushed for 95 yards.
Andrew:Let’s go to the defensive side of the ball here.
Nick:What do you mean? It’s not just Feleipe versus Florida, Andrew?
Andrew:Yeah. That’ll be the matchup.
Nick:There’s other players?
Andrew:Trask versus Franks. Let’s move to the defensive side of the ball though. If Arkansas I going to have success on Saturday against Kyle Trask, what do you think the key is for Arkansas on defense with Barry Odom?
Richard:Trask has obviously been extremely high. He’s definitely one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC. The good thing with Arkansas, at least in the defensive backfield, they lead the SEC in interceptions, with 12. That’s something that last year about this time they only had six midway through the season. That number is helped by the six interceptions they had against Ole Miss, no doubt about that. If they can get a couple of turnovers on defense, being on the road and all that, they may be able to pull it out, but I think they’re going to need some help defensively, get some turnovers, and Arkansas going to have to obviously score some points. Defensively, they’ve been good against the run, not great. They’ve been probably in between good and very good in the secondary, but I’m not so sure that they’ve faced receivers like Florida’s going to have on Saturday.
Andrew:Good news for you guys. I mean, it’s not good news, because he’s hurt, but looks like Kyle Pitts will be limited or out in the game, so that’ll be a little bit of a challenge that Florida will have to step up in in this game. It’s going to be interesting. You look at what you just said, the 12 interceptions, Florida had zero interceptions from their defensive backfield heading in Saturday’s game. Now they have three, but they had zero entering the game. That just kind of tells you.
Richard: Yeah. Obviously, Feleipe, he’s going to be fired up about the opportunity to play in the Swamp. I’m sure he knows the talent on the team, and he knows some the guys, obviously, and their strengths and maybe their weaknesses. Maybe he’ll be able to talk to the coaches about that and come up with a game plan that will help them maximize their potential for success.
Nick:I think that probably goes both ways. We’ve kind of joked with some of the players, the defensive players we’ve talked to this week, and we’ve said, can you give us the scouting report on the opposing quarterback? They kind of just laugh, but I think it goes both ways. Feleipe might have walked into the defensive coordinator’s office and goes, here you go, throwing down a book and said, here’s the game plan. I don’t know what you’ve been doing, but I know these guys, and that’s it. It’ll be interesting to see that. I know a lot of the guys from Florida, we talked to a couple of his old roommates that are looking forward to it. Feleipe’s just a competitor. It doesn’t take him much to get up for a game, but a chance to come in and silence the Swamp and some fans that weren’t too nice to him at times during his career, I know that will get him ready for this week.
Richard:You just hope if you’re an Arkansas fan that he doesn’t try to press the issue sometimes. You know he’s wanting to make a big play, and like you said, trust that arm. He’s got above average arm. Maybe try to needle it in there when there’s really not much room to throw it. Then that could, obviously, backfire on him. He has to play smart and stay within his emotions.
Nick:It seems like the people out West, those guys that build palaces in the desert and make betting lines, aren’t giving Arkansas much of a chance, but we’ve reached the point where we ask our guest every week how do they see the game going. If you want to make a pick, whether it’s Florida or Arkansas, you can do that now, or if you’re not ready to make a pick, because we always tape this pretty early on in the week, you can tell me Arkansas wins the game if blank, if that happens.
Richard:I think Arkansas wins the game if they can be plus in the turnover margin. Obviously, they have to have a balanced offense. They can’t be one-dimensional, especially just not being able to run the ball. That’s just going to put even more pressure on Feleipe as he goes back to throw a pass. I would probably go with Florida, say 31-24, 23. Something like that.
Andrew:I’m all down for a good football game. That’s all I care about. Richard, tell everybody where they can find your work. We’ll get you out of here, and hope you stay safe through all this and you guys have a good rest of the year.
Richard:I appreciate it. You can follow me on Twitter @ARrecruitingguy. The newspaper is the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. WholeHogSports.com, we have all the Razorback coverage.
Andrew:Awesome. We appreciate it so much. Have a good rest of the year. Thanks, as always.
Richard:We’ll see you guys.
Andrew:Take care. Guys, we’re back. We had some good stuff with Mr. Davenport there. I continue to be asked that, Nick, by several people, about the whole why is Feleipe playing better, that kind of stuff. I’ve said that without trying to be ugly to Feleipe. I think the pressure got to him at Florida, and I think that now being at A&M, where there’s not much pressure there, I think that’s one of the reasons he’s succeeding. I think that was always a challenge at Florida was just the being the man and the pressure that was put on him. I think this has helped him a ton.
Nick:It takes a lot, not just quarterback. When you go online during a game, and you see the stuff people are saying about the backup right guard, you know what I mean? Then if you’re the quarterback at a team like Florida, and I’m guessing it would kind of be the same at Notre Dame, Texas, Alabama, maybe USC back in the day, it takes a lot to be the quarterback at Florida. I think it forced him to kind of grow up a little bit. But like you said about Sam Pittman, did you think he would have been a great pick to replace Nick Saban at Alabama? Probably not. But at Arkansas expectations are a little lower. The spotlight’s a little dimmer.
For me, honestly, I’m just happy to see that Feleipe is having the kind of year that he is. I told him at the Orange Bowl, when we were down in the locker room, I said, I know I’ve been critical of you and have had to ask you some tough questions. I was like, I’m just really hoping for the best for you, because I think you have, whether or not fans saw it as much, but I think you’ve grown up a lot. Like I said to Richard, you and I met Feleipe, he must have been a sophomore, because his brother Jordan was getting recruited by Muschamp?
Nick:That was still Muschamp. Getting recruited by Muschamp, and Feleipe was just this little six-foot tall string bean at the time. We had no idea who he was really. We’ve known him for a long time. So, I’m happy to see that he’s doing well at Arkansas. I’m sure Florida fans for the most part are happy to see he’s doing well, just hope that he has one bad week.
Andrew:Yeah. Listen, I was one of the most critical people of him. I’m not going to hide from that. I didn’t think at times he did well, and I didn’t think at times he was the man for the job. But like you said, there’s no ill will there. I don’t think any Florida fan should have ill will against the guy. The guy didn’t go out and purposely not play well or anything like that. I think you have to root for him and hope for the best for him. I’m sure most people are hoping he has a terrible game on Saturday. For me, go out and have a good game. Just let Florida win the football game. You know what I mean?
Nick:Have a great game. Score one less point.
Andrew:Yeah. Overall, like I said, I do. I think that that was a big thing of just getting away from the pressure and being able to settle down a little bit and say, I only have to do certain things. Again, at Arkansas the expectations aren’t as high. You’re not out to win a National Championship over there in Year 1 of Sam Pittman’s career. Again, I hope he does well on Saturday and the rest of the year, and I hope he finds whatever he wants to do in life with it. I don’t want people to take that the wrong way when I say he couldn’t handle the pressure. There’s a lot of people that can’t handle the pressure. Listen, I’m the biggest Jim McElwain fan there is, and the Doug Nussmeier thing …
Nick:Wilted under the pressure.
Andrew:Yeah. He wilted a little bit under the pressure. Look at what he’s doing elsewhere, and look what he’s done elsewhere. I say this all the time. There’s so many coaches in the NFL who are terrible head coaches but are Hall of Fame style coordinators.
Nick:Let’s be honest. Everyone listening to this is a Gator fan. Let’s be honest. Our expectations are high, and when they’re not met, those people who did not meet them hear about it. It’s good. It’s great for us, especially. Andrew, I’d much rather be covering a team with a fanbase that’s passionate and into it and hangs on every moment than a fanbase that’s kind of like, oh, there’s a football game today.
Nick:Oh, I guess I’ll turn it on the TV.
Nick:But it creates a pressure cooker.
Andrew:I’m guilty. I’m guilty of it with Feleipe, and I’ll admit it. It is what it is. You come to play, and it is what it is. You and I have been critical, and probably will be critical the rest of our lives, of certain linemen, and it’s just the nature of the game.
Nick:Yeah. This is one thing I wanted to bring up about Feleipe.
Nick:We said it last week about the difference, and I was talking about Florida’s defense, the line between playing fast and physical and aggressive and playing recklessly can be razor thin. Does Feleipe manage the emotions of being back in the Swamp, the emotions of playing against his friends, his former roommates, his former coach, back in a stadium that he played so many games in, does he manage that and use it as fuel, or does it at times get him to play a little bit too emotionally, and then we start to see I have to make the plays?
We saw that so many times with Feleipe at Florida, where you forget that you’re playing a team sport, and it’s like I have to make the play. I have to be the one to win the game. Then you start forcing things, and then you fall down behind. It’s like, now we’re behind, now I really have to make an even better play, because we’re behind. I feel like there is a situation that you can fall into that, especially you don’t have your leader with you. Maybe I’m making too big of a deal of it, but I think not having your head coach on the sidelines is a big deal for a football team.
Andrew:It is. There’s zero doubt about that. The thing for me is at times, and I’m saying at times, we noticed that the fuel would make Feleipe play better. When he shooshed the crowd and that kind of stuff, we saw him play better. Does that make him play better on Saturday? I don’t know. We’ll see. If you’re Arkansas, you’re definitely concerned, I would say, a little bit about him kind of keeping emotions in check and just playing his game and not getting out of his game.
Maybe that’s what will have a bad effect in not having Sam Pittman as someone there to really help him with that. Now, I don’t know enough about Arkansas, enough about their game plan and stuff over there, to know if there’s someone else that is closer to Feleipe than Sam Pittman. I don’t know. I don’t know the scenario over there enough to really say.
Nick:Yeah. It’s certainly a storyline for the game. Maybe I’m putting too much stock into what I just said, but certainly Feleipe, there have been times where adversities, like we said earlier, made him kind of wilt a little bit or press, force the issue at times, but, shoot, Florida started playing way better against South Carolina when he told everyone to shut up.
Andrew:It’ll be interesting just to kind of see where things go in this. Let’s get into some things that Dan Mullen had to say. Kyle Pitts is questionable. We knew that.
Nick:We talked to Dan on Monday, and I think the biggest thing that I take away from that is he was very complimentary to Arkansas, especially defensively. That’s probably a product of him being an offensive coach. He’s looking at their defensive film more than their offensive film. But he’s very complimentary to their defensive line, and it’s a big scary defensive line that the Razorbacks have. They’re athletic, and they can really get after the quarterback. I think that’s an issue that they’ll be looking at intently with Florida’s offensive line being able to handle that.
Andrew:Yeah. Like I was saying, Kyle Pitts is questionable in that, so it’ll be something they’ll have to monitor. I kind of thought Dan underplayed the struggles in the second half a little bit. It was after a win, and I get it. You’re up, and I’ve said this before, and that is I don’t know that that wasn’t simply the game plan to just come out and kind of kill as much clock as you could. I think that was part of the game plan. I definitely think that the offense looks different with Kyle Pitts, and I don’t expect Dan to come out and admit that, but the offense definitely looked different.
Nick:It’s one thing, he says, we’re playing the clock, and we’re playing the situation as much. Sure, you’ve got a big lead, but I think what you were doing was working. Sure, you can play the clock and just kind of coast home, but sitting there at halftime I’m like, Kyle Trask is on pace for 600 yards, eight touchdowns, Florida’s going to score 60 for the first time in this rivalry. They had never even scored 50 in Jacksonville. The one time Florida scored 50 against Georgia was up in Athens.
Nick:I think in Athens. That was Spurrier, hung half a hundred between the hedges. Listen, you win the game. Celebrate. You beat Georgia. It’s a huge hump to get over. It was critical, vitally important for what you want to do this season. But I think maybe just us, and some fans, because I definitely have heard it, just a little sour taste in your mouth, because at one point you’re only up 13 and Kyle Trask throws what should have been a pick six, and now you’ve got a six point game. So, the game could have gone differently. I just think you were so effective doing what you were doing. Just keep your foot on the pedal. Keep your foot on their throat. Win 50, 60-21.
Andrew:Like I said, I think a lot of that was a product of them not having Kyle Pitts in the game and having to adjust on the fly there. We’ll see. I would just say he’s highly doubtful in the game. I know Dan says he’s questionable and everything else. Just with everything going on with the concussion and everything else, you don’t want to rush that back. Me personally, I would be shocked to see him play on Saturday.
Nick:Yeah. That sucks. It’s not just because of how good he is. Listen, he’s going to go up and moss people. We’re even seeing him block. I think the biggest detriment is that he creates for everyone else by just being there.
Nick:By just being on the field, he’s creating one on one matchups for Kadarius Toney. Now Kadarius Toney can get doubled and vice versa. Watching the game back, a lot of those wheel routes and a lot of the plays that are open it’s because Kadarius Toney has linebackers making sure that he’s not going to be cutting across the field on a drag route, and then they’re out of place. Then Kyle Pitts on the other side, you’ve got the safeties shifted over. So now, when the running back goes out and runs his wheel route, he’s got a linebacker on him, and the safeties have shifted over to Kyle Pitts’ side of the field, or Kyle Pitts has run a go route and taken the safety with him. Now you’re able to hit those plays. That’s going to be something to watch. If Kyle Pitts is unable to play or even limited, how does that affect everything else you’re trying to do?
Andrew:Right. Yeah. You got to change your game plan. I wanted to hit on this before we get out of here, and that is defensively. Florida has got to be fundamentally sound on Saturday again. There’s no flying in and tackling Rakeem Boyd. You better be ready to stop Franks on the keeper. You have to. You have to stay home in games like this, with a quarterback who can run. You have to stay sound at setting the edge. Again, you can’t get your eyes caught in the backfield either, to where Feleipe’s able to take a shot deep. We know he can hit the deep ball, and that’s been a problem.
Nick:Yeah. He’s not afraid to throw the deep ball either.
Andrew:Right. You have to be disciplined overall, and you have to be able to be sound. At times, that’s been a major problem for Florida is not setting the edge. We’ll see.
Nick:I’m excited for it. I can tell you that.
Andrew:Let’s go. Let’s do it, and let’s see what you got and see how you bounce back. This is a game that could be a trap game, just off an emotional win against Georgia. You can’t let your guard down. You can’t go into this game thinking it’s going to be an easy W, because there’s no easy Ws in this season, especially with an Arkansas team that’s improved and with Feleipe, who’s ready.
I did want to give you a second. You and I were talking about this off the air. If you’re Florida, be careful. When I say be careful, you had a good point, and that is limit the contact between you and Arkansas. You know their coach has got Covid. In my opinion, and I might be the stupidest person alive and it may not come to fruition, but I just don’t see how Sam Pittman’s the only person in that building with a positive test. I just don’t. They’re around too many people too much. Just limit your contact.
Nick:I know you want to go and say hi to Feleipe and do stuff like that, but might want to limit the pleasantries before and after the game as much as you can.
Andrew:Yeah. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here and see everyone on Friday, as we’ll get our predictions going.
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 @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew:There you go. Guys, we appreciate it. We’ll see everyone on Friday. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp.
Nick:You stay classy, Gator Country.