Podcast: Recapping the Florida Gators 38-17 win over Vanderbilt

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators 38-17 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre breakdown why the Gators started slow on Saturday, plus how the Gators offense got going.

Andrew and Nick also breakdown some adjustments that the Gators made, plus we look ahead to Kentucky.


Andrew:​What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we’re back. Slow start in Nashville like usual, but Gators end up rolling, 38-17. They put up a 21 spot in the second half to just 7 for Vandy. That first quarter was testy.

Nick:​Yeah. Kind of a typical Nashville 11:00 local time performance for Florida.

Andrew:​No fans.

Nick:​Listen, they said 1,100, and I think they counted me. They counted all the trainers, all the players. There might have been 300, 400 people in the stands. It certainly was not a redo of Texas A&M. There was nobody there. Listen, go back to Urban’s days. Florida just struggles there. Florida struggles in Nashville.

Andrew:​Yeah. There was a lot of things that got into the way of being different for Florida. First of all, they arrived one hour before game time. They had taped, got their game pads for their pants and everything else on before they even got to the stadium. They literally walked into the locker room, put their bag down, went back out for warmups, ran back in, got their shoulder pads on, had a quick little pregame speech from Mullen, and then they didn’t use the locker room the rest of the game. At halftime they looked like some high school football teams that I’ve coached with and against that set out there in the end zone and talk shop out there with their whiteboards and ate their orange slices and everything else.

​There was a lot of obstacles that went into the game that I think you can kind of give Florida a pass for. We’ll get into it defensively, but defensively I think time is running out on Todd Grantham. Dan Mullen kind of sort of threw him under the bus, but didn’t throw him under the bus, if that makes sense. We’ll get into that a little bit here in a second. All things considered, you got a win. That’s all that matters.

Nick:​Yeah. Listen, we’ve gotten to the point where we’re being hypercritical of Florida. We’ll probably even be a little bit critical of the offense, but then you go back and look at it, and you’re like, shoot, you can’t be that critical. I think we’ve said it a couple times on the podcast. I’d rather be here with us being a little bit critical and maybe even a little bit too harsh about this team than trying to make excuses for a three-loss team right now.

Andrew:​Yeah. Like you said, it’s better to be negative during a win than it is positive during a loss, and that’s always there. Dan Mullen continues to say, yes, Kyle Trask might be winning the Heisman, but I’m going to continue to coach him up and that kind of stuff. That’s kind of where we’re at.

​I want to go back to that a little bit. Mullen’s quote after the game was they had to start talking to the defensive guys about playing some more young guys, and he said that’s something he’s going to look into. That kind of to me was not a complete throw Grantham under the bus, but also, okay.

Nick:​It’s not a resounding compliment either.

Andrew:​It’s one of those things like I’m about to have to go talk to Todd Grantham and see why some of these guys who are playing well aren’t playing more kind of things. I think that’s rightfully so. I think we saw Ty’Ron Hopper, and we heard so much resounding positivity about him in the fall camp that we expected him to play a lot. We’ve seen Jaydon Hill play really good ball. We’ve seen Rashad Torrence and Trey Dean play really good ball. I know Torrence had the missed tackle in the game on Saturday, and everyone wants to talk about that, but let’s talk about all the mishaps Shawn Davis and Donovan Stiner continue to have every game. It’s multiple times a game.

​There’s some guys that I definitely say, why are they not playing more? I’ll even go as far as to say, why is a guy like Princely not playing more at end? Florida, their lack of getting pressure on the quarterback shows at times, and it hurts the defense. A guy like Princely has shown he can get to the quarterback. Even if he only comes down on pass rush situations, if he can go get the quarterback, turn him loose.

Nick:​How about this? Twitter has called for mass benchings and only playing the young guys. Here’s one for me. Where’s just the rotation that you had last year? Last year we were screaming, stop rotating the safeties. Why are you rotating and taking these linemen off the field? You’ve gone complete 180 this year, where you’re not rotating anybody at all, to the point where now Dan is coming out publicly and being like, what the hell, Todd? Why aren’t we rotating on defense?

We’re talking about a Covid season, where all year, all offseason it was we don’t even know until like Friday at 1:00, an hour before the plane takes off, everyone that we’re even going to have on the plane. So, we have to have everyone ready. Now you’ve gone to such little rotation on defense, where last year you rotated guys all throughout. I don’t understand why they’re not rotating.

I’m not calling for Shawn Davis and Stiner and Marco and Kaiirand all these guys to be benched, but let me see a little bit more of Chester. Let me see a little bit more Jaydon. Let me see more Trey Dean. You and I, I don’t know if we’ve banged the tablereally to get Trey Dean to start, but we’ve definitely mentioned it. Us talking privately, we’ve both said I want to see more Trey Dean. You don’t need to start these guys. They don’t need to play 75 reps, but rotate these guys in.

Andrew:​Let’s just be honest. Listen, Shawn Davis got an invite to the Senior Bowl. My guy Jim Nagy invited him. He thinks highly of him and everything else. I guess I might just be the lone wolf here.

Nick:​Are you saying if Andrew Spivey was handing out Senior Bowl invites Shawn would not have gotten one?

Andrew:​No. No. There’s no way. I haven’t seen him play good enough ball to warrant that. No. I mean, I don’t care about the Senior Bowl. Let him go do his thing. That’s an NFL interview there.

Nick:​We’re not trying to take money off of anybody, take money out of anyone’s wallet or food off anyone’s plate. You got the invite. Go make the best of it.

Andrew:​Yeah. But let’s not say, he got a Senior Bowl invite, he has to be so great that he has to be playing every down, because he’s bad. Especially in pass coverage, when he’s lined up man to man, he gets so far off the ball that he’s making sure he ain’t getting beat deep. I know we’re picking on him, but there’s so many guys. I’ll say this. David Turner has kept up a lot of rotation. He’s probably the only position group that’s rotated his guys, and yesterday it burned them in the butt, where they couldn’t get lined up. Guys were misaligned at times, jumping offsides, because Vandy went up tempo. Why they ever went away from it in the game is beyond me. I’d have kept going up tempo all game long, because Florida had no answers for it.

​Again, I’m not in the fire Todd Grantham thing yet. I’m not there yet, but at some point, Nick, the problems have to be laid on his plate. The misalignment, guys not being ready at the line of scrimmage, guys continuing to get beat deep. Just guys lining 15 yards off the ball on 1st down. I’m going to tell you this now. Mac Jones will go 30 for 30 for 500 yards if you allow 10 yards and let him throw the slant every play, because it’s easy. Pitch and catch. Against Florida right now, it’s easy, because guys are not playing on the ball.

Nick:​So far off the ball.

Andrew:​Yeah. It’s easy. It’s pitch and catch.

Nick:​Listen, we’ve said nothing but nice things about Jawaan Taylor in terms of his football IQ, and we brought him on the podcast, and we said, it seems like there’s so much confusion, why is that? Is the scheme too hard? He goes, Nick, Andrew, look at these guys. I’ll try to speed through it. Andrew Chatfield, three years in the system. Kyree Campbell, TJ Slaton, Marlon Dunlap, Zach Carter, Jeremiah Moon, Ventrell Miller, James Houston, Amari Burney, Marco Wilson, Shawn Davis, Donovan Stiner, Trey Dean, Kaiir Elam. Everyone except for Kaiir Elam and Brad Stewart on that list has been in this defense for three years.

Kaiir did say, and watching the game back you can see, a bunch of guys kind of looking towards the sideline, and maybe the calls are getting in slow, but at some point, Todd Grantham isn’t changing his scheme. He’s not changing his defense. At some point, it’s got to be on the players. If it’s the scheme, and you’re not getting it, that’s on you at this point, three years in.


Nick:​If it’s the plays not getting called in, and there’s one play specifically where Marco’s looking at the sideline. He’s on the boundary, and he’s supposed to be covering the guy on the field side, and he’s waiting for the play to get called in, and the ball’s snapped. He’s in the middle of the field. That’s on the coaches and getting the play call in.


Nick:​If it’s a scheme, and a player being confused about the scheme and about the play and about their responsibilities, I’m past blaming Todd. That’s not Todd Grantham’s fault. You’ve been in this system for three years. No excuse for not getting the plays in on time though. That’s on the coaches.

Andrew:​That comes back to, and this is my thing, it is on the coaches if the players can’t get the play. If they don’t know it, and they can’t get lined up, get out. Get out.

Nick:​That goes to the Spurrier. It’s not your fault. It’s my fault for putting you in.


Nick:​If you’re in your third year of my defense, and you still don’t get it, you’re not playing.

Andrew:​You’re not playing.

Nick:​I don’t care if you’re a seventh year redshirt medical redshirt senior. If you’re not getting it, I don’t care if you’re 28 years old, and you’re in your ninth year. You’re not playing.

Andrew:​You’re not playing. That’s the thing. You get to the point where it’s like, I’m trying to say this in the nicest way. A guy can be the worst football player in the world. It can be CJ McWilliams, but if he can line up, and he’s in the right spot, he has a better chance of making the play than the guy who’s not lined up and not in the right spot. That simply goes back to this, and that is 10 other guys were relying on one guy to be in the right spot. If you’re Shawn Davis, 10 other guys are relying that you’re going to be in the right spot. They forget where you’re going to play, because they know that’s where you’re going to be.

I mean, if Zach Carter, and I say Zach. I think Zach’s played really well. For instance, if Zach Carter is supposed to be containing on the left side, nobody else is going to contain for him, because they think Zach has containment there. That has to be something. I don’t know. I don’t know. At some point or another you have to say, Grantham, figure it out. Either you’re not getting the plays in quick enough, or your guys haven’t picked up the plays, and they need to go.

Nick:​Yeah. I mean, you and I are not on the fire Todd Grantham, and I have said some of it needs to be put on the players, but to your point, to what you just said, if the player’s not getting it, if it’s not the play call is getting in late. That’s only on the coaches. But if it’s a player is not getting it, and you keep putting him out there, that’s then on the coach. You’re putting in a guy in a position that he’s not ready to be in at that point.

Andrew:​Right. And that’s on you.

Nick:​Yeah. So, the defense. There were some good performances on defense. Kyree Campbell, nine tackles. That’s a career high for him. Mohamoud Diabate, seven tackles. Career high for him. Five tackles for loss, two sacks. I thought you started to get pressure later in the game, and once you got pressure Ken Seals started to look like a freshman, but early on had all day to throw and was picking Florida apart. I think he’s going to be a good quarterback. He made some really good throws. Obviously, at times looked like a freshman, but I think that’s going to be a guy we look at in three, four years, when he’s a junior or senior, and we’re thinking, you got a good quarterback.

Andrew:​I think he watched tape, and I think he looked back at the tape and said, there’s certain guys that are a mismatch for my guys that I can simply just go at them and think my guy is going to win a one on one matchup. That’s what makes okay quarterbacks become elite quarterbacks, and that is trusting your eyes, trusting what you see on film. We’ll talk about it here in a second. That’s what makes Kyle Trask a great quarterback. Kyle Trask anticipates things. That’s the same thing.

You’re not always going to have a wide-open receiver. If you trust your receiver to go up and win that one on one matchup or whatever it may be, if you trust your receiver to do that, guess what? That number still goes in the book as a completion and passing yards, whether the receiver makes a hell of a play or whether you make a hell of a throw to a wide-open receiver. It doesn’t matter. I think that he really showed the game plan.

I think, like you said, there was some guys. I think VentrellMiller played really good ball. I think Diabate played really good ball. I think some guys played good ball overall. I just continue to look at different things on this team and think, man oh man, you’re asking these guys to go play Alabama in a couple weeks. You’re asking these guys to potentially go play Clemson or Ohio State. How do these guys matchup? Nick, I’m going to be honest. I don’t like my chances.

Nick:​How do you like the matchup of Devonta Smith? With Florida’s secondary. How do you like the matchup of John Metchie?

Andrew:​Which 11 guys are going to cover him?


Andrew:​Here’s the thing.

Nick:​How many guys can you put on the field on defense?

Andrew:​There’s a potential that Jaylen Waddle will be back.

Nick:​Oh no. I didn’t even know that. I thought he was done for the year.

Andrew:​No. Supposedly he’s ahead of schedule. Got his cast off or something already.

Nick:​In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. God bless you. Good luck.

Andrew:​The thing is when you go into that game, and I know we’re getting ahead of it, but when you go in that game, you need to put eight in the box to stop the running game, but you also need to drop eight to stop the passing game. So, better not be no confusion in that game. We can move onto this a little bit, and that is the offense yesterday at times showed …

Nick:​Real quick.


Nick:​Last thing on the defense before we start talking offense. To your point earlier, I think it’s on tape now. If I can run up tempo, if my offense is capable of doing that, Florida is so confused and can’t get lined up, I’m not huddling. I’m installing the old-school Oregon play card. Just like, we put this card up, and you know exactly what the play is. Just look quick, run. We’re not subbing. You guys get your Gatorade when the defense is on the field, because I’m running fast at Florida, and that’s what I’m going to do until Florida shows me that they can consistently line up and stop it.

Andrew:​The three teams who’ve done it, Ole Miss, A&M, Vandy.


Andrew:​A lot of points.

Nick:​Well, not Vandy.

Andrew:​I mean, yeah, but here’s the thing that worries me with Vandy, 406 yards. That’s a lot of yards. That’s a lot of yards for Vandy, a lot. They were averaging right at 300 yards. They threw for 319. That’s the concerning part. You can look at a final score, and the final score will tell you one thing, but this game was a lot closer than 38-17 for a majority of the game. I don’t know. I’m not inspired by it. I saw some kinks in the armor offensively yesterday on some things that said maybe we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves, just on a couple things. We can go to that.

​Kyle, 26 of 35, but, Nick, the guy could have easily been, well I say this, let me go twofold. He could have easily been 30 of 35 and it easily could have been 20 of 35. Multiple drops by so many guys in the game, but then several underthrows in the game that were caught. So, they kind of equaled out overall. I’ll say this, and you may not agree with me. That might have been Kyle’s worst game of the year.

Nick:​I texted you early on. I was like, man, he’s not having a good game. There was some stuff. There were only three writers that traveled to Nashville, so there’s some stuff you can’t see. There’s couple check downs. Vandy was dropping seven and eight guys at times, so you need to pick your spots, and you’re going to have certain windows you can throw to. I thought maybe check down sometimes when he had another pass that could have been a bigger play. He has no problem checking down, and that’s a good quality to have for a quarterback. You don’t need to force everything. I think that’s kind of what where Feleipe got in trouble a lot of times at Florida.

​I think just the fact that Kyle Trask was 26 of 35 for 383 with three touchdowns and no interceptions, and we’re talking about maybe that’s his worst game, just speaks to the fact of the kind of year he’s having. I counted at least five drops, six maybe if you count Rick Wells not knowing where the back of the endzone is. If you add those in, maybe those five drops aren’t dropped, and they’re caught, 31 of 35 for over 400. Maybe another touchdown.

Andrew:​Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. You can easily make that argument in that case. Again, like we said, it’s credit to Kyle that we say that might have been his worst game of the year. It very well could have been. I’m trying to think back of some games. I really do. First of all, it’s the first game without four touchdowns in the game, so yeah. Again, we’re nitpicking here to nitpick.

I thought there were several underthrows in the game, but then he had some amazing throws. I told you this yesterday, and that is that ball that he threw to Kadarius on the out route. I mean, if you go back and you watch it, he throws the ball before Kadarius is even out of his break. He throws it to a spot and basically says, I know Kadarius is going to be there and get that. That just shows. Then the out route to Jacob Copeland in the two-minute drill. He threw it, and he said, here’s a spot I’m going to throw it to. If Jacob don’t catch it, nobody catches it. Those are NFL throws that people are in love with.

Nick:​That pass to Jacob Copeland. We’re sitting here on Sunday taping this, and I’ve got RedZone on the TV behind me, and there’s quarterbacks right now getting paid to play today on Sunday that can’t make that throw that he made to Jacob Copeland on that out route.

Andrew:​Yeah. 100%.

Nick:​Kyle Trask, and I’ve said it probably a couple times now, just makes Sunday throws. Some of the touch passes that he makes, when you’ve got a man under, and on that pass that he threw to Copeland he baited the linebacker that he was going to throw into the flats and kept that linebacker low, which allowed him to even have the angle to throw and put some mustard on it and get it to that spot for Copeland.


Nick:​I give Kyle so much credit, but I think we also to give credit to Dan and to Brian Johnson for developing him. Because I will say this, and a lot of people have been like, how did these idiots not start this guy over Feleipe? I’ve been on the Trask train since he got here, but I don’t think this, what we’re seeing right now, is the Kyle Trask that Feleipe beat out, if that makes sense. I think we have to give some credit. We’ve given Kyle so much credit, and he deserves it. He’s worked his tail off. But I think we need to give credit to Dan and to Brian for helping him get to where he is now.

Andrew:​Yeah. It’s tough to say. You and I were really close to the previous staff, and we know there some guys in that room who though Kyle should have been starting.

Nick:​Beating the table for him.

Andrew:​Yeah. They were beating the table. Hey, this guy’s better than Feleipe. He needs to be playing. We know that. I’ve had multiple people, including one of the guys who said it, confirm to me, yes, I said that. So, yeah, I know what you’re saying, and I think a little bit of that has to come with simply experience. He’s finally getting that experience of playing that I think he’s at the point where he’s like, I feel comfortable. I trust myself. All that stuff that kind of comes with being a starter.

But yeah, like you said, you got to give credit to those guys. We can say a lot of things about Dan being wrong in certain things, this, that, and the other, but quarterback developing is never something you can question with Dan Mullen, and that continues to show. That’s a big reason why Brian Johnson is up for head coaching jobs, and people are saying he should be mentioned for the Carolina job because of that.

​You and I have went back and forth on this about whether we think long-term Kyle Trask is an NFL quarterback. I don’t know. At times I say yes. At times I say I don’t know. To say he’s even in the conversation for that just speaks, like you said, how far he’s come as a quarterback.

Nick:​100%. I don’t know. My team, my Dolphins aren’t looking for a quarterback. I don’t know if he’ll be a great NFL quarterback. I think he’s super impressive. I don’t want to take away, projecting NFL take away from the season he’s putting together. He leads the nation in passing touchdowns. I put a whole thread yesterday on our message board of Kyle Trask notes and records. It’s extensive.

Andrew:​I’m mad at Dan Mullen, by the way.

Nick:​Emory just vultured a touchdown away from Kyle.

Andrew:​Yeah. That would have tied the record for the most touchdowns through eight games ever by a quarterback. I’m mad at Dan for that. Dan, come on, man. Give the man the record.


Andrew:​Come on, Dan. What are you doing?

Nick:​We were talking about this last night on the phone. I was like, you got to have a graduate assistant, a GA, and his job is to just be aware of somebody having a chance at a record, and even if you’re going to walk up to Dan late in the game and tap him on the shoulder and be like, Kyle can set a record if he throws a touchdown pass, and we’re kind of driving right now. Even if Dan turns around and curses you out, because he doesn’t want to hear it, at least you’ve got a guy being like, we’re very close to history here. Maybe don’t sub the other quarterback in.

Andrew:​Right. Like you said, overall it was good. Some things we got to talk about with this offensive line though. I think a lot of it is not going to be very positive.

Nick:​Listen, let’s do this, because it’s not going to be positive. This offense is fantastic.


Nick:​We’re not saying that. We’re not trying to be Debbie Downers here. Kyle Trask is having an incredible season. Kadarius Toney is a revelation. He’s having an incredible season. I’m really hoping to see Kyle Pitts back. Can’t say enough about Kemore Gamble and Keon Zipperer and what they’ve done in Kyle Pitts’s absence. There is a lot of good things happening on this offense. This is the best offense I’ve ever covered at Florida. Probably the best offense since Tim Tebow. Not probably. This is the best offense since Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Riley Cooper, and those guys were running around in Gainesville.

Andrew:​Yeah. 100%. Like you said, 100%.

Nick:​Got to say the nice things, because we do have to talk about this offensive line. The right side specifically.

Andrew:​Yes. If there is one spot that you worry about offensively, it continues to be right tackle. I don’t know where you go. I don’t know if there’s anybody better, because if there was, you would think that even a smart man would know, get him out. Delance just continues, and it is runs, it is passes, you name it. It’s bad. I think that’s a major thing that has to be fixed going forward is what do you do there? There’s got to be something you do.

You get Ethan White back now. Do you feel comfortable enough with a guy like Stewart Reese bumping outside and playing some right tackle, because you could easily slide Josh Braun, who I thought played really good on Saturday. You could easily slide him to right guard and play Stewart Reese at right tackle, if you feel good enough for that. I don’t know. I’ve heard mixed reviews on him as a tackle. He hasn’t played in forever, so I don’t know if you feel comfortable enough there, but you’ve got to do something there.

I’ll even go a step further. I told you this. I think some people will call me crazy and call me stupid, but I also think you got to stop pulling Richard Gouraige. I’m not seeing good enough from him when he pulls. I don’t see the aggression from him when he pulls.

Nick:​I guess to me, whether it’s fair or not, and you and I don’t need to focus on Kentucky. We’re not calling plays. We’re not throwing passes. We’re not making tackles. We’re not being asked to block. Whether it’s fair or not, we started doing it last week. It’s all about Alabama. You’re on a collision course with Alabama. Right now, do you feel comfortable, Andrew Spivey, do you feel comfortable with Jean Delance at right tackle against Alabama? You’ll be fine against Kentucky. You’ll be fine against Tennessee. If the LSU game happens, you’ll be fine against LSU. But that’s not what this team has talked about. They haven’t talked about beating Kentucky or LSU. They’ve talked national championship. To do that, you’ve got to beat Alabama. You’ve put yourself in a position to play Alabama. Do you feel confident and comfortable with Jean Delance, the way he’s been playing, playing right tackle against Alabama?

Andrew:​No. There’s some monsters that you’re about to go up against. Straight up monsters. They may not even be humans.

Nick:​They eat people.

Andrew:​Yeah. No. Not at all. That’s where you’re at. Clemson’s got some dudes. Ohio State’s got some dudes. Notre Dame’s got some dudes that can come off the edge there and just whip you up. Yeah. That’s where you look at it and say, oh my God. That’s where it gets scary. Like you say, maybe you did that against Vanderbilt, and that’s why it was close. Guess what? You still won. I think you definitely have to see. See what you’ve got in the game. Nick, I’m trying to remember here. Did anyone come in for him late in the game, when the second string came in, or did he stay in the game?

Nick:​I can’t remember. I know they put Ethan White in at guard.

Andrew:​Did Tarquin come in?

Nick:​Yeah. Tarquin got some reps.


Nick:​Tarquin got some reps. He looked okay. That probably tells you why I think he looked okay is, like we always say about the offensive line, they kind of go unnoticed when they’re playing fine. When you notice them is when something bad happens.

Andrew:​Right. Yeah. I mean, I think that would be next man up at tackle, if you don’t feel comfortable with a guy like Gouraige. Maybe that’s where you come in and say, do we feel good enough with him there? A guy who’s never started before. I don’t know. Things can always get worse with the offensive line, but, Nick, I’m at the point where I’ve seen it. If I’m Jean Delance, what are you even saying in the film room? You have to be embarrassed. I mean, some of these are pure, I don’t know, just straight whips.

Nick:​Yeah. Well, then I guess the easiest shuffle would be, like you said, Stewart Reese, who’s played, he’s played literally five positions. Stewart Reese bump out to tackle, and then you would put, I guess you would do Braun, maybe Braun and kind of rotate Braun and, why am I blanking on his name? White. Ethan. Right?

Andrew:​Yeah. That would probably be your best bet. That would be where I think you look at it, and if you don’t feel comfortable enough with Braun being your starting guy, you can always slide Heggie out there. He’s played it forever, played left more than right, but still you got some options there. It all just comes down to does Stewart feel good enough and comfortable enough to play right tackle? I don’t know. Like I said, he hasn’t played it in forever. I don’t know if he does.

​I think going into the season they probably didn’t even try him, because Braun was a guy that they felt like needed to get up to game speed, so they knew they didn’t have really a right tackle. So, it was we’ve got to play Delance there, and we’ve got to play Heggie inside and Delance. I think that’s got to be a conversation.

​Again, we don’t even know the status of Stewart Reese. He didn’t travel. To our knowledge, he doesn’t have an injury. We know he came out of the game, so maybe it was just a situation of he’s a little banged up. They were playing Vanderbilt, so they felt good enough to go without him. That’s a question mark that still has to be answered. I just think that when you’re looking at going forward these next few weeks, you’ve got an opportunity to kind of play around with some things. That’s got to be the first position I want to play around with.

Nick:​Yeah. But here’s my thing. You’ve got a couple games. Granted, listen, you need to win the next two in order to get to Atlanta, so it’s not like throwaway games. I’m not saying that. But you’ve got a couple games against lesser opponents than Alabama to figure out some things. This would be, in my opinion, the time. If you’re going to make a move, if you’re going to fiddle around with the offensive line, the time to do it and figure it out is in these next two weeks, in practice and on the field. Don’t go through the same two things the next two weeks, and then get to the SEC Championship game and think, crap, we need to make a change, and we probably should have done it a week or two ago.

Andrew:​Right. Yeah. That’s where I’m at. You’ve got a couple games. Guarantano is going to win you the game by yourself against Tennessee, so you don’t have to worry about that. The guy’s a walking pick six. Kentucky, just play 11 in the box, and say I know you can’t throw the ball over my head, because you can’t. They’re probably the worst passing offense in America right now.

​Again, we’re nitpicking things, because you’re talking about a team who’s got aspirations and have gotten to the point to be there, like you say all the time. Also, they just played an awful Vandy team. They’re terrible. Probably the worst team in college football, outside of my Jaguars, who they suck too. Still, you’ve got to start making some improvements in certain things. Obviously, you know what you got to do defensively, and now you kind of know what you got to do offensively. There’s nothing wrong with your passing attack, except for please, please, please stop throwing the wide receiver screen to 15 and 8’s side. I’m tired of that.

Nick:​Yeah. I don’t know how many times you got to do it. Not working. Not going to happen. Stop it.

Andrew:​They do not block. Stop throwing it that way. The wide receiver screen only works if you get good blocking on the edge. Those guys don’t like to block.

Nick:​Yeah. I don’t know why you keep going to it.

Andrew:​I don’t know either. Maybe it’s I’m going to keep doing it until you do it, and they’re like, you can keep doing it, and I’m still not going to block. I hate to say this, but that’s just an effort play. That’s what it is. It’s an effort play. We were spoiled the last few years. Tyrie Cleveland is probably the best blocking wide receiver I’ve ever covered, simply because he loved it. He loved driving people. The thing where he drove him into the bus, he loved that. That might have been his favorite play. He might have got more passion out of doing that than it was catching touchdown pass. That was just Tyrie. Van Jefferson was one of the best we ever saw do it. You saw some of those guys, and then you kind of see this, and it’s like, what are you doing?

Nick:​Yeah. I forget who it was. It might have been Tate Casey who told me, he was like, if you don’t block, you don’t catch. You don’t catch, you don’t eat. If you want to eat, you got to block. I think he said that. That’s like a Billy thing.

Andrew:​I haven’t seen it.

Nick:​I think I was just talking. I can’t remember now. I’m getting old. I’m turning 32 Wednesday, and I can’t remember a dang thing now.

Andrew:​Have those guys been eating? They kind of look like they have.



Nick:​They’re eating just as a product of the offense being so good, but you know what I mean.


Nick:​It’s like if you don’t block, you’re not going to play.

Andrew:​I was taking it literally, because you always say special teams and that kind of stuff get to eat first.

Nick:​No, no. I meant like eating in terms of getting plays, getting balls thrown to you.


Nick:​That’s something that we saw very early on, the very first spring with Dan and Billy and these guys. I was like, Florida’s wide receivers have spent the first three practice periods working on blocking. I’m like, they haven’t even touched a football yet. I don’t even know if there’s a bag of footballs near them. They’re just blocking. That’s such an emphasis. You saw a guy like Tyrie Cleveland that we would probably call a finesse wide receiver, just a go route for most of his career. Billy Gonzales comes, and now Tyrie’s blocking 30 yards downfield for a running back.

Andrew:​Yeah. I mean, did Tyrie have the biggest stats in the world? No. He didn’t, but he was a guy who is now on an NFL roster with an absolutely loaded wide receiver class of rookies for the Broncos, and a lot of it I would say is because of the small things he does. Whether that’s special teams, because remember he was a special teams guru, and I’m not saying these guys aren’t, but I’m saying it’s the little things that make you an NFL player. Anybody can go out there and catch a ball. Now, certain guys do it better than others. Julio Jones is 6’6” whatever he is. He’s a freak of nature.

The little things are what separates the second tier guys. Freddie Swain for instance. Freddie Swain didn’t make the roster because he was the fastest thing in the world or because he was the best wide receiver in the game. He made the team because he can do everything. He can impact the game in more ways than one, and that’s why he’s on the roster. That’s why he’s making whatever he’s making right now, because of that.

Nick:​That’s something I would like to see. We’re finally seeing Trevon Grimes play like he’s 6’5” in terms of going up and getting balls, high pointing it. He’s always been tough to tackle, but show me that physicality in benefit of your teammate, in benefit of your brother. Use that physicality that we see when you have the ball in your hand or when you’re going up for a pass for yourself. Use that physicality and that length and that size and that strength that you have to block when you’re being asked to block on a screen.


Nick:​Jacob Copeland. Do that. Block for Kadarius Toney. I’m telling you, in this offense, if you block and you are selfless, it will come back for you. You will get a chance to make your play. Your number will get called, if you show that you’re willing to do those little things that aren’t self-gratification, that aren’t self-gratifying to you and are not going to show up in the stats sheet.

You know what I’m going to sit here and talk about? Keon Zipperer. Kemore Gamble gets a pass thrown to him. It’s probably going to get stopped around the 10-yard line, but Keon Zipperer is busting his ass and makes a block 15, 20, 30 yards downfield that allows Kemore Gamble to score. You coach football, that play, the block is going to be shown and applauded when they go over film more than Gamble, who goes in untouched because of the block.

Andrew:​100%. When you turn on the video for the Denver Broncos or the Atlanta Falcons or Dolphins or whoever it may be, and you show that block to them, they’re going to say, we need to watch this guy some more. We need to go back and watch him.

Nick:​We’re kind of ranting about it, but I think the core of what we’re really talking about is just I think I see a little bit of selfishness starting to creep out. You look at Twitter, and there’s a bunch of the defensive guys on Twitter yesterday, Princely and Lloyd Summerall, kind of complaining on Twitter about their playing time and stuff like that. I guess that’s what we’re talking about. You said it. Not blocking or missing your block on those wide receiver screens, that’s effort. If you’re not going to give 100% effort, because the ball is not being called, the play is not being called for you, to me that smells a little bit like selfishness to me. I think you’re seeing it a little bit. Lord help us if this team had three losses, because winning cures everything. Winning makes everyone happy. Shoot, if you’ve got guys that appearing to be a little bit selfish or just moping a little bit when you’re winning, goodness. I’d hate to see it after a loss.

Andrew:​The thing for me, and maybe I’m wrong here, but these guys are still getting the ball.

Nick:​Everyone’s getting the ball. Everyone’s getting a taste.

Andrew:​Now, if I’m a defensive guy, I might be pissed off. I’m not going to lie. I might be pissed off a little bit, especially if I’m like Princely. I’m sitting here thinking, I can get some pass rush here. Just put me in the game. I mean, he shouldn’t do it. I shouldn’t say it like that. Somebody’s going to take it as me being for real. I mean, I can understand that a little bit more than someone else. Look, nine different receivers caught the ball yesterday. It went around.

​Nick, we ranted long enough. Got the Kentucky game coming up. We are going to also talk a little basketball with Eric, even though the Gators have paused activities and will not be playing this week, due to several Covid cases. That is something to put on your calendar, if you were planning to watch the Gators on Wednesday.

Nick:​You know what that means for me?


Nick:​I don’t have to cover a basketball game on my birthday.

Andrew:​That’s right.

Nick:​Thank you. Thank you, Mike White, for the gift. I make light of it, but I hope everyone over there is okay. Shoot, might be a situation like we talked about with football, where you kind of got it out of the way early, I guess.

Andrew:​I think with basketball it’s a situation where basically if one guy gets it, you’ve kind of got to quarantine everybody, right?

Nick:​Yeah. They’ve been like even if you had a cold, if I was on the basketball team, and I woke up with the sniffles, I would text Mike White. Hey, I got sniffles. Stay home. Miss practice.


Nick:​He said they’re running practice at times with four guys, five guys.

Andrew:​Right. I think that it’s a little different and a little difficult for basketball, more so than any other one. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone on Wednesday, as we’ll talk some basketball with Eric, even though they’re not playing. We’ll dig in on what Dan Mullen has to say on Monday.

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 will see everyone on Wednesday. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp.

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.