Podcast: Recapping the Florida Gators loss to Georgia

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators loss to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday in Jacksonville.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre breakdown what went wrong for the Gators on Saturday on offense and defense.

Andrew and Nick also look ahead to what all is in front of the Gators going forward as they look to continue a good 2018 season.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, not the ending the Gators were hoping for in Jacksonville. The recipe to lose the game happened, and we talked about it, could not have turnovers. Florida giftwrapped them 21 points basically, or 13 points.

Nick:                         Yeah. You said the team that won the running battle would win. Georgia won 189-170, and the turnover differential, Florida didn’t cause any, didn’t create any, and gave three away. Set the tone. I mean, how differently would the game have gone if Feleipe Franks doesn’t overthrow a wide open Van Jefferson on the flea flicker? I thought that was brilliant, because Georgia ran a flea flicker, if I remember correctly, against Mississippi State last year when they beat Mississippi State and Mullen. It was kind of like a tip of the cap from Mullen, like we can do that too. How different would the game be if you connect on that play and that’s a touchdown, instead of miss on that and then fumble three plays later? All of a sudden, instead of 7-3 Florida, it’s 10-0 Georgia.

Andrew:                 It’s huge. I mean, it’s a turning point in the game. I say this somewhat being dead serious, because I think it’s still a mindset issue, but from there it kind of seemed like Feleipe was like, uh-oh, this is one of my days. I know people will say, that was the first play of the game, but that was there. You kind of saw the nerves that Feleipe has tried to get over in the game but didn’t. It was also something you and I talked about on Friday, and we said as high and as jacked as this team is, you could not come into this game too jacked to make mistakes. That’s what happened.

Then you have Jordan Scarlett. He breaks a big run, has a 1st down, and things are starting to move in the right direction, and then, boom, it’s a fumble. Before you blinked an eye, it’s 10-0, and Georgia hasn’t really done anything. Your defense in the first drive gave up some runs and stuff, but then you held tight and got a field goal. You’re thinking that’s a win for Florida. Then, boom, it was like that. Then it kind of just spiraled after that.

You had the ball that I don’t even know who Feleipe, what he was thinking on the play, where he just underthrew Josh Hammond by about five or 10 yards. He had a guy wide open. That was kind of the recipe for the day for Feleipe. It was old Feleipe, where it was nervous, antsy, let me get rid of the ball as fast as I can, not make the reads, not take the check downs, I want to make the homerun throws. That ended up costing them. Three turnovers in the game. You don’t gift Georgia three turnovers in the game and expect to come out.

As oddly and weirdly as it may seem, you were able to overcome the two first half turnovers, and you go out the second half, and you jump out to a quick 14-13 lead on the touchdown from Feleipe to Freddie Swain. That was a touchdown, but then the defense goes out and allows a touchdown. Then you start on your own one-yard line and Feleipe fumbles the ball again. It’s another one.

Then it starts to become a situation where it’s a mindset of there’s a quarter and a half to go, and I’m down two scores here. You don’t get going in the game. Georgia knew what they had to do then, and that was stack the box, shut down the running game, make Feleipe throw the ball. You and I both have said on the podcast and on Gator Country for the whole year, if you’re going out there, and you’re expecting Feleipe to win on his shoulder, good things ain’t happening.

Nick:                         I remember Friday I asked you, because we both said each team was going to come in pretty much with the same game plan of stop the run, force the other quarterback to win. I asked you, “Which quarterback are you more confident in if that happens, if both teams are successful and stop the run?” I mean, neither team really stopped the run. 170 yards is a good running day for Florida, and 189 is a good day for Georgia.

Andrew:                 Before you say that, I think that number is a little misleading for some. When you look at the quarter by quarter, and I’m pulling that up real quick here, in the fourth quarter alone Georgia had 80 yards rushing. A lot of that was kind of chump change that I call it. I thought for the majority of the game Florida did a good job of shutting down the Georgia running game. Really, outside of the first quarter, they did a good job of shutting down the running game for the most part. It was, and we’ll go to that in just a second, the injury to CJ Henderson. Go ahead with your point on the quarterback.

Nick:                         Right. I think what you saw with your eyes watching the game, when I went back and watched it, and then even in the numbers, what you saw is a composed heady smart quarterback in Jake Fromm making plays where he needed to, not overextending himself to try to make more, try to do more than what was being asked. Certainly a comeback game for him after what was probably his worst career game against LSU. Versus a guy in Feleipe Franks where that’s just not him. He’s not that guy. I think that really was probably, obviously, losing CJ Henderson is a huge deal, but I think that’s the difference. You see it in Jake Fromm and Feleipe Franks. I don’t know if Feleipe Franks has what Jake Fromm has. It’s just that game manager, the guy that you trust. Almost like an AJ McCarron, where you just trust that he’s not going to lose you the game.

Andrew:                 Greg McElroy.

Nick:                         Yeah. Just a guy that he’s going to make his throws. He might throw an interception here or there, but he’s just going to do what he needs to do. From what you just said about Feleipe, that was the complete opposite. Saturday was a complete opposite for Franks.

Andrew:                 The thing you have to remember too is Florida didn’t get that pass rush we all thought they would.

Nick:                         A little conservative on defense.

Andrew:                 Well, that’s a point that I want to get to in just a second, when we talk about CJ Henderson, but Florida didn’t get the pass rush. If you allow a guy like Jake Fromm to sit back there and pick on what he did. I mean, the whole drive to get them down there right before the half, it was pick on the Vosean-Isaac Nauta matchup. You and I both know and have said, if Vosean’s in coverage that’s where he’s a little bit of a liability. Then any time it was in the red zone it was let’s pick on CJ McWilliams. Nick, you and I would pick on CJ McWilliams. I’m not saying anything bad about CJ, but you and I would pick on him. We’re not dumb people. That’s the matchup you go to in the game. That’s exactly what Fromm did.

The biggest thing, and that’s when we talk about big plays, it was 3rd down. That’s where Georgia ended up with three touchdowns, on 3rd down. Three touchdowns on 3rd down. I know some people are going to say it was 3rd and Grantham, but you don’t give up three touchdowns on 3rd down. That’s just really bad. I mean, that is a key stat.

Nick:                         Coaches will tell you get off the field, and they don’t mean because you gave them a touchdown.

Andrew:                 Six of seven on 3rd down passing for Georgia. Yeah. Six of seven. They were eight of 14 on 3rd down. If you go into any game over 50% on 3rd down, good chance you’re going to win. Good chance you’re going to win.

Both teams, Nick, had good special teams, for the most part. Florida had a big return that set them up for a touchdown. Georgia had a big punt return that kind of set them up for a touchdown. The difference a little bit was Georgia was able to down some punts inside the 20. Florida was able to down one, but Georgia was able to really put the brakes on and put Florida on the one-yard line. Then Florida wasn’t able to down one.

Nick:                         There’s another Franks thing. You got to be smart with the football. You got to know where you are.

Andrew:                 I mean, wrap up. Put the ball high and tight.

Nick:                         Put the ball under your shirt. You’re on your one-yard line.

Andrew:                 What are you doing doing a spin move? No offense, but you’re not Tim Tebow. You’re not Hershel Walker, who was at the game.

Nick:                         I also don’t love the play call to be in … if you’re going to do that, your quarterback is 6’6”, put him under center and just let him fall forward. He’s six feet tall, he’ll get one yard.

Andrew:                 I won’t say that I’m mad about the play call. I think I like the whole go ahead and hand it to your big back in Scarlett or Perine or Pierce there, but again, Nick, I’m going to get to this in a second, but we have to stop making excuses too. Dan called the play. He’s an SEC quarterback, Nick. He’s got to hold onto the football.

Nick:                         Yeah. No. I said that to begin with.

Andrew:                 I know. I’m just saying a lot of people are harping on that. At the end of the day, he’s an SEC quarterback, Nick. Again, I mean this no disrespect to anyone, but if you and I are called out there go and run the play, we know our #1 job is to hang onto the football. Hang onto the ball.

Nick, we talk about Feleipe. We talk about everything in the game, Jake Fromm. The key in the game was the first drive when CJ Henderson went out. I mean, you could not have scripted a more terrible loss in that. Maybe Feleipe going down, and I know some people are going to criticize me for that. If you could have picked anybody not to lose in the game, it was probably CJ Henderson, after losing Marco in the only other loss in the season.

Nick:                         You’re basically playing in the biggest game of the year without either–Not basically, you’re playing in the biggest game of the year without either of your starting cornerbacks.

Andrew:                 Two guys who we thought could have been SEC All-American.

Nick:                         All-SEC, All-American. Absolutely. All everything kind of guys that you’re playing without. Somebody on our message board, I don’t know if you saw it, somebody on our message board said it looked like CJ collided with one of Florida’s own players during warmups before the game and was down for a little bit. So, it might have been an injury that was caused before the game. Looking back at it, I think it was David Reese when they were making a tackle also hit him. It might be like maybe it happened before the game and then reaggravated during the game. Shoot. You got to get CJ Henderson back, because Drew Locke is coming, and that secondary is suspect on the outside without him there.

Andrew:                 That brought CJ McWilliams into the game. I know this, people are getting on my case and everything else, but the poor kid doesn’t need to be starting. Shouldn’t be starting. It goes back to the depth at the position. It’s nothing against Grantham or Charlton Warren or any of those guys. That’s what they got. I mean, Brian Edwards is dealing with a little nagging injury, so he wasn’t playing in the game. That’s what you got. Unless you’re moving Chauncey out there, and the more that I think about it I think you had a better shot of moving Chauncey out there, if he was comfortable playing out there. Then maybe moving Amari or someone else into that star role. But you’re out of corners.

Nick:                         Chalk out of corners. Florida’s had some bad luck at corner with, obviously, Henderson getting hurt. There shouldn’t be an excuse.

Andrew:                 Depth is terrible.

Nick:                         Yeah. The depth. There should be no excuse. I can’t think of any reason why the depth is the way that it is. It shouldn’t be. Especially for a school that touts being DBU. If I’m a cornerback, I’m looking at that and saying, Marco and CJ have one more year, and I’m on the field. Chauncey’s probably gone. I’m on the field right away. Need to see more from Brian Edwards. He needs to get healthy.

Andrew:                 Trey Dean had a great game.

Nick:                         Yeah. He’s going to need to have another one.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Trey Dean had a great game. That was a thing that I was going back to a little bit when I was thinking about the game. Trey Dean, he had a really good game, and he had a good game in a lot of different ways. He was good in tackling and good overall. I know this, and, listen, I am the biggest critic of this. I was tweeting about it, and I was pissed off the way it was happening myself. Because CJ McWilliams was giving the guy 8-10 yards, and I’m thinking about it myself, and I’m sitting here thinking, wait, did I really want CJ McWilliams to be in press coverage against Riley Ridley? Again, that’s no disrespect to CJ. It’s just CJ McWilliams should not be in a big game against the University of Georgia. They’re freaks. I mean, Riley Ridley is a freak. Riley Ridley is going to be playing on Sundays in the NFL. You can go ahead and bet that.

When that happened, Nick, it seemed to me that Grantham got conservative. Like, okay, I don’t want to put my guys on an island right now, because of that depth, so maybe dial it back a little bit, not bring as many guys. Some people say that’s stupid, you should bring more pressure. If you don’t get there, it was going to be six quick. Grantham was okay with going with a 10-yard pass instead of a 70-yard pass. Again, at the time of the game when CJ went out, you were playing 50-some odd minutes with CJ and Trey Dean as your starting corners. Not to mention Brad Stewart out, so you were playing without really three of your starters at the beginning of the season out in the secondary. I can see why Grantham was a little conservative. I can see why Grantham was a little bit of better not bring one of my safeties in this on a blitz, because then it’s man coverage.

Nick:                         Yeah. Florida really didn’t get a lot of pressure, probably because of what you’re saying. Really didn’t get any pressure when only rushing four. But you’re really hamstrung when you lose a corner like CJ Henderson, because, like we said at the beginning of the year, Grantham can do whatever he wants blitzing because you’ve to these two lockdown corners. Then all of a sudden, you lose one in the second week of the season. Then you lose one in the first quarter of the game on Saturday. Now you’re thinking, there goes probably a bunch of what we wanted to do to be aggressive on defense.

Andrew:                 I mean, you and I said it at the beginning of the year. With those two sun of a guns playing corner, you just might as well take two players out, because they’re locking down things over there. They’re good. They’re not worried about anything. As a DB coach, as a DC, you’re not worried about what those two guys are doing. You know those two guys are going to be just fine over there handling their business. Then it kind of, I mean it didn’t kind of, it did, just threw you for a loop. That’s just what it is. There was nothing you could do about it. Marco had a freak torn ACL, and CJ goes down in that game. I mean, again, you’re not bringing in depth. You can’t just get depth out of nowhere and expect them to be okay.

Nick:                         Next point about the game. I thought they did a decent job in the running game. Like you pointed out, 80 yards in the fourth quarter. I pointed out either Monday or Wednesday Isaac Nauta. You were correct in saying they haven’t really used him this year, but I said that’s a matchup nightmare for Florida. They don’t really have a guy to cover him. I think Chauncey is probably a little small to cover him, because Nauta is a bigger target.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         I think Fromm found him for five receptions. He caught all five targets, 73 yards, and at one point there were three in a row.

Andrew:                 That’s what I was going to say. Was all of his catches on that drive?

Nick:                         I think four of the five were.

Andrew:                 Okay. It was something like that. I mean, it was bang, bang, bang.

Nick:                         Yeah. It was four straight plays. I think Georgia took over from their own 20 with 45 seconds left in the first half, and he found Nauta four times. That got like to the Florida 15 in 30 seconds. The defense, even losing CJ Henderson, I was very impressed with the way the defense played.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Don’t get me wrong. The defense played well enough to win this football game.

Nick:                         That goal line stand. Some phantom nonsense calls. That goal line stand was incredible. I think I’ve watched it probably 10 times now. Defense, even that bend but don’t break, Florida’s defense, when they get down inside the red zone, when they’re backed up on their 20, they’re vicious.

Andrew:                 Here’s the thing too. Well, let me make my point first on the defense. By no means am I saying the defense didn’t play well enough to win this football game. I mean, you take the 13 points away, and it’s 23-17, completely different ballgame. When I say the 13 points, that’s the turnovers, points off of turnovers. In no means am I saying the defense didn’t play well enough to win this football game. They did.

That performance on the goal line, Nick, was like that LSU game. What a bullshit pass interference call on CJ McWilliams. I’m giving him crap, and I’m going to give him credit here. That’s a bullshit call. Excuse my language. That was a bullcrap call. Dan Mullen come out there, and I thought for a second, Nick, he was going to punch the poor referee. If you go back and watch the video that someone posted on Twitter, you see Nick Savage and one of the support staff literally grabbing him by his belt, pulling him back. He ended up getting a personal foul call. It was such a bogus call.

Nick:                         He got an unsportsmanlike penalty for that one.

Andrew:                 I was watching the play, and I had already turned away from the play and was trying to see the replay up on the TV in the press box when it happened. Then there was a flag thrown. That was how late it was, and it was from a back judge, not even the guy who’s watching the play. It was just a bogus call. Again, it ended up in the same result. They both got three points in the game. Some people were saying Dan Mullen was like a baseball manager who was trying to fire his team up, and I started laughing about it. I mean, that’s what it was. But what a bogus call. I mean, there were some bad calls in this game and some miscalls. Jachai Polite was held all night. That was a bad call. That was horrible.

Nick:                         Yeah, Jachai Polite is held every night. One bad thing about the defense, no sacks.

Andrew:                 Right. They didn’t get much pressure.

Nick:                         That was a big thing that we talked about, you and I. I think I brought it up when we talked about it, how bad Fromm was under pressure, what those passing numbers were under pressure. We both thought that would be a key. If that’s where he’s struggling, put it back. Put him in that situation as much as possible.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Again, that was a key that we talked about. I thought that it would be, not easy, but I thought it would be okay, especially when their left tackle, Andrew Thomas, went out of the game. You really thought they’re going to really get pressure, but they didn’t. For the most part, it was a lot of quick stuff. Three set drops where it was either like a quick out route, or it was the stuff to Nauta that was quick. Wasn’t a ton of sitting back in the pocket, which was planned, of course.

The few times, Jachai was held a couple times, but the guy on defensive line that stood out to me, Nick, was Jabari. I mean, that boy. Get that man some oxygen today. He was everywhere. That was a really good game by him. I thought he played really well in the game. I thought Jeawon Taylor, for the most part, played pretty good at safety filling in for Brad Stewart. Then Vosean and David Reese, I mean, at the linebacker spot, played really well. I know Vosean was picked on in the passing game, but in the running game they both played really well.

Nick:                         Zuniga, especially on the goal line stand. My goodness. Vosean back there as well. I think Vosean will be back next year, but I don’t know about Zuniga and Polite. This is a defense that I had a lot of questions about. I think I’ve gotten a lot of answers. I’m so impressed with the way the defense played. I don’t think they gave up yesterday, even when Georgia scored that late touchdown. I think everyone was still in the game and playing. Tough loss for Florida, but still everything is kind of still there for you.

Andrew:                 The East isn’t there. I was thinking about this in talking with some people about this too. Had anybody said at the beginning of the year Florida would be 10-2, and that’s what is out there for them, 10-2.

Nick:                         You take it.

Andrew:                 You would take it. Florida is #14. We’re taping this 1:00 on Sunday. AP Poll hasn’t come out just yet. 14 in the Coaches Poll. Nick, you and I were talking about this before we came on the air. Florida’s still got a shot to go to the Sugar Bowl. That’s a big bowl. 10-2. Your rivals are sucking.

Nick:                         Give me Florida-UCF in the Sugar Bowl.

Andrew:                 That would be awesome. You have Miami playing terrible. You have the Willie train wreck in Talli, and you have Florida doing really well. Again, I know some people will look at that Georgia loss and look at the score. That score is so deceiving. That score is so deceiving. It was a nine-point game when Florida quit. Didn’t quit. That’s the wrong word, excuse me, when Florida realized it was over with, because it was four minutes to go. They punted, and then they scored two cheap touchdowns. They never quit the game. That’s not a Dan Mullen team at all. They never quit the game. It’s an improvement of the team.

Nick, I wanted to get to this point before we move on and talk about the rest of the season in general. I said this on the message board. Some people are giving me some backfire or whatever. It’s okay. I mean, we all have opinions. At the end of the day, nobody can prove this and no way we can ever make my point true or untrue or whatever. I said Florida was a quarterback and DB depth away from being a legit contender in the SEC. I truly mean that, Nick, and I truly believe that. To me, it just showed on Saturday.

I said this a little bit too. This, to me, shows about how good of an in-game coach Dan Mullen is, and that is you can only hide your weakness at quarterback for so long. You can only have a perfect game plan for so long before you have a slip in the armor at that weak spot. It happened in the Kentucky game, and it happened in this game. You hide your DB depth for so long. You hide your weakness at quarterback for so long. It finally caught up to them. I don’t want to say they were lucky at the beginning of the year, because that’s no way there, but you go into each game praying that your weakness doesn’t show up and that your game plan is solid enough to overshadow the weakness. Does that make sense to you, Nick?

Nick:                         Yeah. You’re handcuffing yourself.

Andrew:                 Yeah. You’re going into every game handcuffed. I said this to you too. The speed option play, it was so open in the game yesterday, Saturday, against Georgia, but Feleipe had no desire to keep the ball. After the second or third time, the defenders just started saying, I know you’re not going to keep it, so I’m just going to bury the running back. That’s a weakness that there’s nothing Mullen can do about that. There’s just nothing he can do about it. He’s handcuffed at that spot. He has to throw the ball. He’s handcuffed in that spot. Again, I know this might sound like we’re just harping on Feleipe, and I’m not. Feleipe is who he is. I’m just saying Florida is a quarterback and DB depth away from being a really, really good football team.

Nick:                         When we went to Atlanta the first time, when you I were there, and we watched the close, I mean, the game was not as close as the score, but I think our takeaway was now Florida sees how far away they are from competing with Alabama. Then they went the next year, and they got blown out. You’re thinking, that’s worse. You looked better last year. Then, obviously, last year the Georgia game. I mean, there were a bunch of extenuating circumstances with that entire season for Florida, but you thought Florida is not even close, and Georgia is just building. After watching the game, I don’t have that feeling. I don’t feel like Florida is not close. I thought coming into the year that the talent gap between Georgia and Florida was huge, and I don’t have that feeling after this game.

Andrew:                 Agreed.

Nick:                         I think that’s a positive that you would take away from the game. At least me personally, I thought Georgia was significantly better than Florida on paper, and that it would show on the field, before the season. Then I went back and forth. I know I picked Georgia on the Friday podcast, but I went back and forth all week. I didn’t know who I was going to pick when we started recording the Friday podcast. I think you come away from this game thinking Florida is a lot closer to Georgia than a lot of people would have thought they’d be in Dan Mullen’s first year.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Absolutely. I said the same thing. Someone yesterday was asking me about my pick and who I picked. I was telling them about how I picked against Florida. I just went with it. I said, but honestly, I wasn’t sure. I honestly thought this was a close football game between two good teams. I said, now, at the beginning of the year, I had this a blowout. I had this a blowout loss for Florida.

Nick:                         Not even at the beginning of the year. After what Kentucky did, I thought Georgia will run for a thousand.

Andrew:                 Absolutely. That’s another good point there, Nick, how far Mullen has come. Listen, there’s talent on this football team. There’s talent on this football team. Those running backs Florida runs out there every week, pretty damn good. Those guys on the defensive line are going to make a lot of money in the NFL, Nick. David Reese is going to make a lot of money in the NFL. Would you agree with that? I mean, there’s talent. It might not be, you know?

Nick:                         Yeah. Those are my questions. I questioned Reese. I questioned Vosean. I’ve done a 180 on the Vosean. He’s answered all those questions. I feel great about him now. Yeah, no, Florida has got NFL talent at a bunch of different positions.

Andrew:                 I think the biggest question that I have, and that I think will be a situation that has to be fixed, is the depth. There is not the depth in a lot of positions that is needed, but it’s getting there. Again, last year you didn’t have the depth at receiver. You added that with Trevon, and you added that with Van. At DB you’ve got to add depth there. I will say this. The offensive line is head and shoulders above where it was four weeks ago.

Nick:                         They had another good game.

Andrew:                 They had a really good game. They didn’t allow much pressure. Nick, I’m pulling this back up. You may already have this in front of you. I think Florida only gave up one sack?

Nick:                         Only allowed one sack.

Andrew:                 Yeah. And that was in garbage time, when they knew what was coming and Martez had a watch out block. Overall, I thought they played well. I thought that the offensive line was getting good run blocking in the game, and I thought that it was just showing really how much, how far they’ve come under Hevesy. That’s a big notch under his belt for what he’s done, because it was ugly. I mean, I don’t when the last time Florida’s had back to back to back good weeks on the offensive line. Again, this is a Georgia defensive line that’s still pretty good.

Nick:                         Yeah. I mean, they lost Will Carter and guys like that.

Andrew:                 They aren’t as good as last year, but it’s still pretty good. I mean, it’s not Vanderbilt.

Nick:                         No. Certainly not. Yeah. Florida’s offensive line, they’ve been the butt of jokes for a couple years, and they’re really starting to hit their stride as the season is going on and we get towards the back end of it here.

Andrew:                 I continue to go back to that, about Mullen. What he does on Saturdays, Nick, is pretty spectacular. I mean, it starts on Sundays watching film and breaking down teams and stuff like that, but his ability to really go out and just knock the weaknesses out of his opponents. That was the lateral running game and getting the edge, and you saw a lot of counters, saw a lot of stretches in the game. You hit the speed option. There was a lot of good stuff that came from Mullen in the game, and it was there. They attacked the middle of the field, or tried to attack the middle of the field, in the passing game. Everything he called was there. Just wasn’t taken. That’s what I say. I don’t want to say lucky, because that’s unfair, because they won games. It’s one of those things where Mullen has to pray he’s lucky that his weaknesses don’t show up, and they’re able to just execute his game plan. Does that make sense?

Nick:                         I mean, you said lucky, and then you said that’s not the right word. I was trying to think of what is the right word.

Andrew:                 You almost want to say you have to be perfect.

Nick:                         It’s just a very thin margin of error.

Andrew:                 Right. It’s a very thin margin of error for that. That’s why I continue to say Florida is a quarterback and depth away from being there.

While we’re talking about the quarterback, Nick, I said to you this, and I have to make this point again. Emory Jones’ mechanics, Nick, have improved so, so much. From the spring to now, he’s just improved so much. He had the one questionable pitch where it almost was a fumble in the game, but he threw a beautiful ball to Van Jefferson that if not for defensive pass interference is a touchdown.

Nick:                         Smart of Tyson Campbell. I’m beat, just give them 15 yards instead of giving the touchdown.

Andrew:                 Exactly. It ended up only getting a field goal in the game. It was a beautiful play. It was one of those things where Mullen was like, you know what, you wanted me to prepare for Justin Fields, you guys didn’t prepare for Emory Jones, and we prepared for Fields for nothing. I liked that package.

Nick:                         He said that after the game. There was a lot of talk about a freshman quarterback playing, and we were talking about the wrong one.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I liked it. You and I talked about it all year. I kind of wish we had seen that more. He still says that the plan is to redshirt.

Nick:                         So, he’s played in two games. He played in the season opener, and then played in Georgia. You can play him two more games and still maintain that redshirt. I think that’s what they want, but if you get another game, let’s say Florida goes out and loses next week to Missouri, do you think that affects Dan Mullen’s thought process? Do we play him more to give him more experience, or now the season is definitely done, do we just keep riding with Feleipe and don’t get him that experience, because we don’t want to burn the redshirt?

Andrew:                 You talking about just like maybe the Florida State game?

Nick:                         What I’m saying, a lot of people will say, the season is already done, play the young guys so they can get experience. Would you rather just let’s save Emory, because there’s nothing really to play for this season, why waste his redshirt if we’re not playing for anything? Versus the season is over, let’s see what we have for the future? I guess that would the big question that me, if I was the coach, that I would have to go through.

Andrew:                 Are you saying play him as a starter?

Nick:                         Yeah. Just Feleipe, thanks for what you’ve done. We’re going to check out to see what we have in Emory. Let him start the South Carolina game or the Idaho game or the Florida State game.

Andrew:                 Right. I mean, I don’t know that you go to him as the starter, because, at the end of the day, as wild as this sounds, and I don’t think it will be the case, but if Feleipe is your guy again next year, then where is his confidence in it? This is my thing. I said this on Saturday night. Emory Jones isn’t coming to Florida for four years or five years. If you’re sitting here thinking about redshirt him to get him for a fifth year, that’s crazy. If he’s here for five years, first of all, he must not be any good.

Redshirting a quarterback is like redshirting a running back. You’re recruiting over him next year. You got a 2019 and a 2020 guy. If Emory is not your guy and doing well for two years to go to the League or three years to go to the League, then chances are he’s getting passed up. I don’t know how you handle it, but I’m not going into the game saying I don’t want to play him, because I want to get an extra year out of him. If you’re doing that, that’s just crazy. If you’re saying he’s not ready, that’s a different story.

Nick:                         You’re not planning on having Emory Jones here for five years. I think I would lean towards only playing him in two more games. It doesn’t matter if he plays 90 snaps or he plays two snaps. He can play in two more games.

Andrew:                 Right. Let me ask you this. What’s your reasoning for that then?

Nick:                         Listen, Feleipe is not going in the NFL after this season, so he’s back. It’s going to be a competition. You’re also going to have Jalon Jones in, and he’s early. He’ll be here in December?

Andrew:                 January. When they get back for spring.

Nick:                         He’ll be back for spring. Sure, why not? I mean, how much are you going to gain from playing in three more games or four more games, as opposed to just the two?

Andrew:                 I don’t think you gain much, but I don’t limit myself.

Nick:                         Right. I think Dan Mullen, what he says, the plan is to redshirt him, but plans can change.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Dan Mullen did not say in unequivocal terms, no, he will only play in two more games, because he is redshirting. He said the plan is to redshirt him, but we’ll see on a week to week basis. He could play more. He might not play.

Andrew:                 Maybe. Like I said, I get it. I get your point. In my opinion, if you feel like Emory can help you win the game, don’t not play him because you want to get him a redshirt. In my opinion, he’s not staying for five years. Again, I don’t think Emory Jones is ready to be your starting quarterback and run the whole load yet. That’s where it is. Again, there’s still a lot to play for. 10-2 and a big-time bowl game is a lot better than, what are they right now? 6-2? Are they 6-2? Yeah. 6-2. They’ve got four more games. Sorry, my mind was blanking here. I was forgetting the Idaho game.

Nick:                         I was going to let you figure that one out on your own there.

Andrew:                 No. I was blanking. I was thinking Missouri, South Carolina, Florida State. I was just blanking the Idaho game. That’s a lot better than saying being 8-4. You talk about 8-4 at the end of Dan Mullen’s year or you talking about 10-2? That’s a huge difference of talking about this season. It’s a huge different in payout in the bowl game. It’s a huge difference in coverage.

Here’s another thing. This is what a lot of people forget, and that is 10-2 looks a lot better to recruits. They’re going to host big-time recruits for the Missouri game. They’re going to host big-time recruits for the South Carolina game. You want those games to be, I want to say you have to blow them out, but you want to go out there and win that game handily, and you should. Then that game in Tallahassee, Nick, that’s a must-win. For recruiting purposes, that’s a must-win.

Nick:                         Yeah. They look terrible.

Andrew:                 59-10. Some defensive lineman outrushed the FSU team.

Nick:                         Good Lord, they are a bad team.

Andrew:                 I want to say -21 yards rushing in the game. That’s awful.

Nick:                         Lethal simplicity. It’s just lethal trying to watch them do anything.

Andrew:                 Willie T. Listen, Clemson is not a world beater either.

Nick:                         They’re a good team.

Andrew:                 Are they 59-10 better?

Nick:                         Yeah. Than FSU? Yeah.

Andrew:                 That’s 49 points, Nick. That’s 49 points. I know. I think they are of what we’ve seen out of FSU, but should they be? 49 points over. I mean, Florida was bad, but they’ve never been beat by 49.

Nick:                         Is that the worst home loss?

Andrew:                 It was tied with a Florida loss in the ‘70s, I believe. Yeah. Bad. Nick, let’s get out of here. Gators host Missouri. 4:00, SEC Network on Saturday. Chance to get back on the rebound and get back in the win column. I know Dan Mullen and his team will be happy to get back in the Swamp. Been over a month since the Gators were there.

Nick:                         Three straight in the Swamp.

Andrew:                 Three straight in the Swamp. Good to get back. Chance to get back in the win column. The College Football Poll comes out on Tuesday night. I would expect Florida would probably be top 15, for sure, in that. That’s about where you want to be. Nick, don’t look now, but there’s a chance you could be top 10 at the end of the year.

Nick:                         By the end of the year, sure. For certain if you win out.

Andrew:                 I’m taking that. At the beginning of the year, you tell me you’re a top 10 football team. Listen, like you just said, in the past when Florida was top 10 it was like, they’re not really top 10. This is a good football team. They have a few weaknesses, but this a good football team. Again, perfect storm happened on Saturday in Jacksonville. It happened. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone on Wednesday as we talk about this Missouri game. We didn’t even talk about it today, because we had so much to talk about. We’ll talk about Drew Locke. I’m a big fan of Drew Locke as well, so we’ll talk about that on Wednesday.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. Wherever you listen to your podcast, search @GatorCountry. Subscribe. Hit us up with a like, a rating, and a comment. Let us know what you think. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. You can find me @NickdelaTorreGC, and he is @AndrewSpiveyGC.

Andrew:                 There you go. We appreciate it, guys. Check us out for all your coverage. As always, chomp, chomp and go Braves.

Nick:                         You stay classy, Gator Country.


Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.


  1. Mullen was posturing with Emory. He is gonna play Emory some vs South Carolina and Mizzou. Then sit him for Idaho. Then Willie T will think Emory is done for year and redshirting and instead Emory will ply and maybe even start vs FSU. Dans gotta win that game and use anything we can to win.