GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators’ loss to LSU on Saturday at home in the Swamp.
Andrew Spivey and Seth Varnadore recap what happened on Saturday and what can be done to fix things.
Andrew and Seth talk about the defense and what the Gators need to do this week.
Andrew:What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, back with my man Seth. We’re back for Round 2. Man, Seth, we commented on the podcast last week, and I thought we were going to come on and be talking about a big win, and, man, were we wrong. 37-34 LSU wins in the sloppiest weirdest 2020 game I’ve ever seen.
Seth:It’s a Florida-LSU game. They always seem to be weird. We talked about last week that this was not an LSU team devoid of talent. They’ve got some guys, and if Florida didn’t take them seriously you could be in for a game. When you let somebody hang around, stuff like this can happen. That’s kind of exactly what happened.
Andrew:From the get go, Seth, it was bad news. I say it was bad news, because it was. You drive down the field. You get the ball, you drive down the field, and I don’t know what in the world the play calling was in the red zone on the first drive. It’s beyond me. Anyway, you go to 4th and goal. You line up to kick a field goal. They jump offsides, so you have 4th and goal from the 1, and you run the ball, and your offensive line gets zero push. You actually get stomped for a negative gain. Why you’re running the ball there is beyond me, because you haven’t ran the ball good all year. Still, that set the tone.
You and I talked about this last week, and that is Mullen says he doesn’t exactly care for running the ball, hasn’t tried for running the ball. 4th and 1 on the 1-yard line in an SEC team like the University of Florida, you should be able to pound the rock for a touchdown.
Seth:Yeah. I liked the call of him sending the offense back out there, because if you do not make it, like they did, you’ve got them pinned back, and you’ll probably get good field position again, and your chance of scoring will be good for the next drive. But you send them back out there, and you’re thinking before the play, if you can’t get one yard against this LSU team, you got some problems. And they did not get that yard, so as we saw throughout the night, they’ve got some problems.
Andrew:It just kind of got worse. Kyle Trask throws the pick six. I say this, and I hesitate to say this, because I know somebody is going to bash me for saying this, but you had seen it coming. You had seen Trask at times anticipate routes being open and throwing the ball even though it maybe wasn’t open. Kentucky and Vandy both had drops where they should have took it back for a pick six, and they didn’t, for whatever reason. Still it was a bad pick six. Then he has the throw to KadariusToney, and that was a weird interception, but a ball Kyle should have just thrown out of the endzone. Then he has the fumble.
It was a game where the offense couldn’t carry you, and your defense had zero answer to an LSU offense that was playing a true freshman in his first game with 54 players before the game, and they lost multiple guys during the game. They were way under 50 at the end of the game, and you give up 418 yards, 179 on the ground, when they were missing two offensive linemen.
Seth:We kind of talked last week about starting fast and getting them pressing a little bit, and LSU seemed to almost flip the script on Florida. Florida seemed to press a little bit, especially after that pick six. That throw to Toney that got intercepted is definitely one to just throw it away. That’s a tough play to make when the guy’s running full speed to the sideline, and you throw it back behind him. If you are going to make that throw, you got to miss out of bounds instead of missing back in, and then you get the crazy tip drill interception, which it may not have even been an interception. All that kind of puts your defense on the field for a lot of plays. Then that’s the recipe to lose a game like this. Turning the ball over, not converting in the red zone. It just kind of was the perfect storm of crap really.
Andrew:I know we’re not going to get into Alabama just yet. We’ll get into that later in the week. But when Florida plays Alabama, guess what the recipe is going to have to be? The exact plan LSU did is going to have to be the exact plan for Florida against Alabama, if they plan to win that game. Seth, the issues just continue to shine.
Before we get into that, we have to address the Marco thing. I don’t even know where to start. It was immature. You name the adjective, and it was. Go ahead.
Seth:It’s never great when you’ve got young guys, you could see when you watched the replay of it, you’ve got the young guys coming over to him right after he throws it being like, what are you doing? That’s just tough on Senior Night for a senior to make a play like that. He made a great play on 3rd down, did a great job, dropped into his zone, saw the throw, came up and made a play. Then it’s one of those things maybe he just kind of blacked out and his emotions got the best of him, and he obviously made a boneheaded play there. That’s always tough to see a senior on Senior Night, and you got your younger guys in the program looking at him like, what are you doing?
Andrew:Yeah. I think that’s kind of the thing. You should have known better. Did you get caught up in the moment? Sure.
Andrew:If he’d have got a penalty for taunting or something, it would have been a little less embarrassing. First of all, I’ve never seen somebody throw a cleat. I’ve been doing this a long time and never seen anyone throw a cleat. Obviously, you never can blame one player for a loss. You could blame Evan McPherson for the missed field goal. You could blame Kyle Trask for the three turnovers. There’s a lot of blame, but you do have to kind of put it on Marco there.
I think the disappointing thing for me was he wasn’t pulled from the game. You have to show your team some accountability there. You make that penalty, he has to come sit by you for a little while. I think that’s the part that bothered me a little bit. Obviously, I don’t like the bashing of the kid on social media, his father on social media. I don’t like all that. I think it’s embarrassing, but it’s 2020, and that’s what everybody does. I didn’t like the fact that he continued to play in the game.
Seth:After the game, Mullen said he didn’t see it, he didn’t know.
Andrew:He’s full of you know what.
Seth:Yeah. There’s a couple things in this game that are kind of strange and send messages to your team that are probably the ones you’re not trying to send. That would be one of them. The other would be possibly the Kyle Pitts thing, depending on what his situation is. I think after that you got to at least make him come sit down for a second, talk with him and see what’s up, and then maybe give him a chance later. That’s one you probably want to get him out for a second, just to send the message to your team that we can’t be doing that kind of stuff. That’s a selfish play. We can’t be like that.
What happens if that happens at Alabama? You think Nick Saban is just, all right, man.
Andrew:I can you what. Nick Saban’s putting him in the transfer portal.
Seth:He’s going to walk him himself into the portal.
Andrew:Yeah. What would Bill Belichick do? Belichick will have you cut. This is my thing, and we’re going to go off topic here for a second. I’ve been bashed on the message board all day on Sunday, we’re taping this. I’ll ask you this. You may disagree with me. I don’t know. I don’t know your opinion. I haven’t asked you this opinion. It all starts from the top. The attitude of this team, the attitude of this coaching staff, it all starts from the top. Dan Mullen sets the attitude for the coaching staff and sets the mindset for the players and the staff. What does this signal? I think that’s what is my question. A lot of times a player’s attitude and their emotions signal. Feleipe Franks shushing the crowd showed that it was team versus fans. What is this showing?
Obviously, Marco by himself can’t fully speak for Dan Mullen, but this not a one-time thing. You’ve seen multiple guys all year get penalized for celebrations and stuff like that. I think it’s from the top. You’ve been on the sideline just as well as I have. I always say the head coach sets the tempo for the team.
Seth:I think with Marco, with this one in particular, it was just a kind of I think he’s probably been frustrated this year with his own play, and so I think this is one where he finally made a play, and he was just excited. He just kind of lost his head for a second. I don’t think he was trying to be malicious, but it was just a really bad mistake at a really bad time. I think for him it’s kind of like, he finally made a play. He was really excited. He just went nuts for a second, which is obviously not ideal.
Some of the other stuff, it’s just being loose. The one thing with that, kind of with the head coach setting the tone, and obviously Dan Mullen is a very good coach, very good head coach, but one thing that’s been odd this year a little bit is kind of there’s some disagreement between kind of what he’s saying early in the year and what’s kind of been happening after they beat Georgia. He talked about needing a killer instinct and that kind of stuff, but it’s hard to develop that when you’re just going out there and being ho-hum and maybe being vanilla in the game plan.
You’re not really projecting to your team, I don’t think, that let’s develop this killer instinct, let’s go out and kill everyone. It’s more like, let’s go out there, we’re better than them. Here’s our game plan. We’re going to make sure we win the game and just get to Atlanta, and that’s where we’re going to break everything out. That’s kind of been a little discordant between what he says and what they’re doing, and that’s one thing where I think he kind of maybe set the tone for some of these ho-hum performances.
Seth:Again, we’re not in the locker room. We don’t get to see that, how they’re approaching everything. He could be just trying to kind of cover up for his team not performing well, but that is one thing. That came back to bite him this week. We’re talking about this team need to develop a killer instinct. You got to help them develop it a little bit too.
Andrew:Right. Obviously, we’re not privy to every information with Kyle Pitts and with the Keyontae Johnson news earlier on Saturday. Obviously, the health of players is always the #1 thing and puts it into a little bit more perspective when you see Keyontae go down like that. If everything we’re hearing is true, and that is Kyle Pitts was healthy enough to play and wanted to play, you not playing him to rest him for next week, like you said, that sent a tempo to your team that you can sleepwalk through this game.
Obviously, you knew Orgeron was going to come out there with a fire up his butt after last week, and you knew that he was going to come in wanting to win this game to get things going heading into next week and then into the offseason. You had to expect a fight.
Seth:When we talked about the game, it was always you’ve got to get up on them early and maybe they’ll quit if you do that. You got to come out firing. You get up on them early, like Alabama did. Get up on them early, and then maybe they’ll lay down. Then you can kind of relax a little bit. Put everything into the early part of the game. Then seeing Pitts going through warmups and laughing and jumping all around and stuff, the video they showed, and them him not playing, in my mind, and I don’t have any insider info, but in my mind I immediately thought he might be a little dinged up, but they’re just saving him for next week, because they think they can win without him.
That does send, consciously or subconscious, sends a message to your team that we can beat this team without our best player. Maybe that kind of leads to a little bit of lethargic performance early, and then by the time you kind of realize we got to play it might have been a little too late.
Andrew:You know this as well as I do. It’s tough to have your team down and get them remotivated. That’s why we always talk about teams who have a big lead and then lose that big lead. We always talk about how it’s so tough for them to regain that focus if they do lose it, especially bringing out your guys and then putting them back in, why it’s so tough for that to happen. I don’t know. There’s a lot of questions that I have and very little answers to all these questions.
I just kind of think in a way, Seth, that this team kind of got exposed for what they are, and that is just a good team, but not a great team. A team that is all offense, no defense. When the offense struggles, they have no chance, or have very little chance in the game. You put up 34 points. You go 609 yards, 474 through the air. You should win that football game. You should win that football game handily.
Seth:The defense, going into the game we talked about LSU had not been very explosive on offense. They gave up some big plays to LSU, but the offense also kind of gifted LSU at least 10 with the pick six, and then giving them the fumble for an easy field goal right before half. Then they probably took some more points off the board not scoring in the red zone. As well as the offense played, if they played a little better, Florida probably wins this one easy, but you’re asking your offense to play better than scoring 34 and getting 600 and some odd yards of offense. Can you really ask them to play better? You can ask them to play a little cleaner, I think, but you should not lose games at Florida when you got 600 yards of offense and scoring 34 points.
Andrew:I think the thing for me too, and I’ll ask you this. Obviously, coach speak is one thing. The press conference is one thing. Not calling out people and that kind of stuff. To me, coach speak is only coach speak in the media. What he says is fine. What he does on Saturdays is the real answer to the question. I have not seen any accountability all year to say that he understands and is ready to fix the problems. There’s been no adjustments made on defense all year. There’s been no adjustments made on offense.
They finally in the middle of the game decided to put Gouraigeat left tackle and Stone at right tackle and bench Delance, and that worked for about two drives, and then they quickly went back, because Gouraige couldn’t play left tackle. He was getting beat on Trask’s backside, and you can’t have the backside having pressure. That’s just dangerous for the quarterback and turnover waiting to happen. So, they went back to it. You’re in Game 10, and you’re just now trying that offensive line adjustment, and it didn’t work, but you still tried nothing on defense. To me, that is the accountability that I’m not seeing.
Seth:Yeah. You thought going into this game, this is your game to get right and get some small stuff ironed out, and it seemed to be you’re coming out of this game with more questions than you had going in, which was kind of the exact opposite of where we thought we’d be. It was just a strange game overall. This is a game if you just look at the stats, other than the turnovers and 3rd downs, which we talked about as being a key last week, they lost 3rd downs to LSU on both sides of the ball.
Andrew:They lost special teams.
Seth:Then you lose the turnover battle. That’s where you can lose these games. You can dominate. I think yards per play Florida was almost double yards per play of LSU, or pretty close to it, at least three or four more yards per play, which is usually an indicator of killing somebody.
Andrew:8.2 to 4.9.
Seth:So, that’s usually a pretty good indicator of your dominating someone, but the turnovers, 3rd downs, not being able to sustain drives, letting LSU have 12 more plays, I think, than you. That’s where they can make up that margin a little bit. It was just an odd game, and you’re coming out of it with more questions on both sides of the ball than you did coming in. You thought this was a game where you’re going to get some answers and kind of get ready for the SEC Championship coming up.
Andrew:And we didn’t. We didn’t.
Andrew:I think we all go into this and say, this is going to probably get ugly in Atlanta. Then some answers have to be made, or some questions have to be answered here very soon. What do you do with your defensive coaching staff? What do you do with John Hevesy? The answer to John Hevesy is nothing, because they’re not going to get rid of him. That’s Dan Mullen’s best friend. So, what do you do defensively to get better? I don’t know. After the game Dan Mullen says he’s confident in him and that the defense has done well at times this year. I was sitting here to myself thinking, when? When? In practice? 418 yards to this LSU team is terrible. To lose this game is even worse.
I say this, and it’s true everywhere you go. Winning hides a lot of problems. It always does. When you’re winning, you don’t have to face some of the questions that you got. Now that you lose, and you’re going to probably have another loss to Alabama, unless you pull something out crazy, you’re going to have two losses in a row to end the season, and you’re going to be back to where you were last year, and that is with two or three losses. What do you say? I say this, because are you wasting a great team offensively because of how bad your defense is and how bad your offensive line is? The answer to that question for me is yes. I think you are wasting a great team.
I go even further and say the SEC is really bad this year. The SEC has been really bad the last couple of years, outside of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, and last year LSU. The SEC has been bad. What’s going to happen when the SEC gets better?
Seth:I think the biggest issue seems to be, and you’ll kind of see this, especially when you compare yourself to the Alabamas, and even on the recruiting front you got to compare yourself to Georgia. Those guys have recruited so well up front on both sides of the ball. That’s the biggest. Our buddy Will Muschamp always said it’s a line of scrimmage league, and he’s not wrong.
Seth:You can say a lot about him, but that is correct. Florida is not great on either side of the line of scrimmage. They’ve got some dynamic guys that can rush the passer a little bit on defense, but they’re not great through the middle. There’s not much you can do when you’re not great through the middle. You saw that a little bit last night, and I think you’re going to see it a lot more next week. That’s something that’s got to be fixed in recruiting, I think, and you’re just kind of lagging behind the Georgias and the Alabamas in that department.
I think what this staff does a really good job of is they develop skill position players pretty well, and you can see that at receiver. You can see that at quarterback. But up front, they’re having trouble, I think, getting the quality of player in they need. It seems to be turning a little bit, but they need to get some more NFL players up front. Alabama and Georgia have NFL offensive linemen.
Seth:They have got NFL defensive linemen, at every position probably. You got to fix that, and that’s going to help a lot, but until you fix that, you got to window dress a lot and kind of really scheme up around it. To where Alabama next week, if they wanted to, could probably just run the ball every play and be pretty successful, because they’re so good.
Andrew:The one thing is this. The offense chances, defense changes. In a few years we won’t be talking about the RPO game no more. We’ll be talking about something else. We may be talking about the wishbone again. It all comes full circle. I always say Urban Meyer just ran the shotgun and the wishbone, because that’s basically what he did.
Everything changes, but the one thing that does not change, and that’s the line of scrimmage. It doesn’t matter if you’re running the wishbone, the shotgun, the I formation, whatever you’re running your plays out of, you’ve still got to have a great offensive line. It don’t matter if you’re running the 3-4, if you’re running a bear defense, if you’re running the 4-3, if you’re running man, cover two, whatever it may be. You still got to have a great front seven. That’s it.
Seth:It’s funny. As a young coach you’re looking at all these schemes and all this stuff. You’re watching like a Bear Bryant team from way back when, and you’re like, look at this, this is archaic stuff, right? Then Bear Bryant, one of the things he would say a lot is it’s all about blocking and tackling. Then as you coach a little longer you’re like, he’s exactly right. If you can’t block and you can’t tackle, you ain’t going to win many games. It all really boils down to it’s a simple game with a lot of complex things around it. If you can’t block people, you’re in trouble.
Andrew:We make it even more complex. Here’s the thing. What Dan Mullen is doing out of the shotgun, or what Nick Saban is doing out of the shotgun, it’s the same thing that people are doing out of the I formation. They’re just doing it out of the shotgun. A zone run game is a zone run game. Period. End of discussion. A simple quarterback power is a simple power play. It’s just being out of the shotgun or being out of the I formation or whatever it may be.
The wide receiver screen, they’ve been doing it for 50 years. It’s just out of the shotgun nowadays, and it’s called different. Everything is called different. We used to call it a curl route, and now everybody calls it a comeback route. We used to call it the fly route. Now it’s a go route. Okay. At the end of the day, it’s the same thing. It’s a nine route.
Seth:I had a coach tell me, he got pretty close with Urban, that Urban told him he wanted to be an option coach, but he knew he could not get hired as an option coach. He just thought that offense was the way to go, but he’s like, nobody is going to hire a flexbone or wishbone coach nowadays. So, he put it in the shotgun, changed up a couple things, and now he’s a spread option guru, right? Now he’s the hot name in the coaching circles. It’s a lot of the same stuff, just window dressed a little bit different.
Andrew:Right. That’s exactly it. You get a quarterback or whatever it may be, and you’re going to adjust and be done with it, but at the end of the day, you’re going to still run the same stuff. It’s just called different or whatever it may be. What Kyle Trask is doing right now is no different than what Feleipe Franks was doing or anything else. It’s simple. Instead of him running the ball, the running backs are running the ball. What Tim Tebow was doing with his power game is what they’re doing with Dameon Pierce. The opposite is they had an extra blocker when Tim Tebow was running.
It’s all the same thing, but like you said, it’s all a line of scrimmage game, and it’s all about tackling. That brings me to my next point, and that is how many times last night did you see it taking five or six or even seven guys to bring down a ballcarrier for LSU? It was multiple times where they were fighting getting extra yards, because for whatever reason the defense could not bring them down on the first point of attack.
Seth:That’s been kind of a lingering issue all year is that tackling. That’s why it’s tough– it’s not tough to judge the defensive scheme. You can look at it and say there’s some things you’d like to change, and there’s some calls they’d like to have back. It’s also there’s a lot of times where guys are in good position. They’re just not making the play. So, that’s where it makes it tough to look at the coach’s performance a little bit, but there are other areas you can look at. That’s kind of been a lingering issue all year is just the inability to tackle.
Andrew:This is my thing. A coach once told me, he said, your position group may suck, and you may have the most unathletic guys in the world, and your guys may not be anything. He goes, but if you can’t get your guys to get in position, it’s on you. That was told to me multiple times. I’ll look at every one of the coaches on the defensive side of the ball, and I’ll look at every one of the coaches on the offensive side of the ball, and say your guys aren’t doing their jobs, and that ends up being on you. If you continue to put them out there every game, and they don’t know what they’re doing, that says on you. That says you’re not doing your job to get your guys ready, and you’re not doing your job of getting the younger guys ready to play over the older guys.
Seth:What’s the old saying? You’re either coaching it or allowing it to happen.
Andrew:Exactly. Spurrier used to always say, it’s not your fault, it’s my fault for putting you out there. That’s exactly where I’m at.
A play that sticks out to me is the touchdown in the third quarter to the wide open receiver where Kaiir Elam was coming on a corner blitz. There was a lot of question mark, because both corners blitzed, of whether Kaiir Elam was supposed to be blitzing or whether Marco was supposed to be blitzing. Once again, that’s guys that have been in your system. That shouldn’t be an issue. It shouldn’t be an issue that two guys are blitzing, and if two guys were blitzing, it shouldn’t be an issue that your senior in Brad Stewart did not get over to cover the guy, if he was in a cornerback blitz and he was the guy to guard the receiver. That is veteran players making mistakes. That has to go back to some bit of coaching and for them to continue to allow it. This isn’t the first time it’s happened all year.
Seth:Yeah. On that, you’re going to bring the corner, and then your safety is going to come over the top.
Seth:Well, you only had one back there.
Seth:If you bring both corners, the safety can only get over top of one of them.
Seth:Typically, that’s brought from the boundary a lot of times.
Andrew:That’s what makes me think it was Kaiir’sresponsibility to blitz, which tells me Brad Stewart didn’t do his job in getting back. I don’t know what the opposite side was doing, if that was supposed to be called. I’ve never seen doubles corner blitz.
I’ll say this too. You very typically see a corner blitz on 1st down, for LSU to be on your side of the field, for you to be in your territory, but you very rarely see a cornerback blitz. Usually that’s called for on a 3rd down and a long situation, and especially where it’s a lot of field to go. You very rarely see it that close to the end zone. It was odd call. Might have worked out, but it didn’t. A point you made last week, and that is the safeties. The safeties are still 20 and 30 yards off the ball trying to blitz. That’s never going to get home.
Seth:No. I’m just watching it back right now. You’ve got to be sound with those things when you call them. Bringing a corner from the field is kind of futile in itself. I don’t know why you’d bring a corner from the field, so the fact that they brought one from the field, whether it was intentional or unintentional, it’s got to be something. It’s like, it can’t be me blitzing, I’m to the field.
Seth:They usually bring it from the boundary, because it’s a short side. He’s going to get there. You got no chance to get there, if you go back and watch it. I believe it was Marco to the field. He’s got no chance to get there.
Seth:He’s not even inside the tackle box when the ball is thrown.
Seth:You just can’t have those busts, and it seems to be something pretty consistent where guys are not quite sure exactly what’s going on. It seems to kind of come in concert when teams go up tempo. The calls just maybe aren’t getting in, or guys aren’t communicating the calls well enough. It’s really strange. Like you said, it’s older guys back there that have been in this system for three years now, so that shouldn’t be an issue, but it is.
Andrew:You look back in the game where LSU was going up tempo. They were going up tempo inside the five-yard line, because guess what? It’s on tape that Florida can’t get lined up against an up-tempo team. This is Game 10, and you can’t get lined up against an up-tempo team. First of all, how are you not practicing that? Second of all, what’s the issue?
Seth:Yeah. You had a team that was down to probably under 50 scholarship players by the end of the game were going up tempo on you and almost wearing you out and getting you in confusion and giving you problems, whereas before the game, when you saw the numbers come out, you’re like, Florida’s going to go up tempo, give LSU a ton of problems. It’s something that guys have had to adjust to, like Saban and Smart have had to change how they call their defense because of tempo, and they’ve acknowledged I’ve had to totally change some things. I had to go in the offseason and look at it and say, I cannot be having these guys flip-flop all the time if it’s tempo. I can’t be just having a rule where this guy has always got to be the weak side, because teams will start putting formation in the boundary on me, and then I’m in trouble.
So, those guys have gone in the offseason and tweaked their rules a little bit and changed stuff to allow for easier communication against the tempo. Maybe that’s something they haven’t done at Florida, Grantham hasn’t quite done yet. That’s something they’ll need to work on in the offseason, because the guys are understanding that this is becoming a tempo game, and you can’t be real wordy on defense anymore. You’ve got to make it simpler, just as the offense is showing play boards and one-word calls, you got to the same thing on defense.
Andrew:The weird thing about it is they don’t exactly even go fast. It’s just they get lined up really quick and wait for Florida just to continue to bounce around and not know what they’re doing, and then they snap the ball. So, it’s not even like they’re just lining up real quick and then snapping the ball. They’re actually lining up, going over their plays, just basically going no huddle is all they’re doing, and that’s the issue. Again, I go that’s where it’s kind of on me for coaching wise, because you can’t tell me that they haven’t practiced that. And if they haven’t, then there needs to be some real serious conversations had, if they haven’t practiced the no huddle.
Again, is it on the players? 100%. I never will blame the coaches for all of it, because it’s not. Coaches can only do so much. They can only get you the play call. They don’t go out there and play the game. But at some point or another, if you continue to put the same guys out there, it is becoming your problem, because you are messing up. You are putting yourself in position. That’s always the thing for me and what I was always told. On game day, do you feel like you have your guys in the best position to win the football game? I think we can all agree that Dan Mullen does not have his team in the best position to win every week.
Seth:Yeah. Your job as a coach, just like you said, put your guys in the best position to make plays. They’ve been pretty good with it in on offense this year of putting guys in position. There’s been times, like on defense, that guys are just out of position. It’s been a strange year on the defensive side of the ball, for sure, with as good as they were last year. You obviously lost some guys, but you didn’t think you’d lost enough to where it would turn into this, where it just seems like a lot of communication issues and guys not knowing where to be. It’s a really bizarre year in that sense.
Andrew:I think a lot of times, not to interrupt you, it’s not even a situation of the guys not making the play. Obviously, some yes, but a lot of times, for instance last night with the touchdown, there was nobody there. You and I could have gone out there and caught the ball, and we’re both washed up.
Seth:Yeah. During the game, I think I tweeted out, this kid, Max Johnson, he’s pretty good, but he does not have a super strong arm. Make him make some throws outside the hash. Right after I tweet that out, that throw hits, and somebody is like, great call. I was like, I anticipated there being a defensive back in the picture when he was making these throws. Yeah. You can’t have that kind of bust this late in the season. It’ll happen. Sometimes it happens, but golly. They busted on that corner blitz. They called it again later and got smoked again. It’s like, let’s put that one on ice for the rest of the game. Let’s not call that one anymore.
Andrew:Be honest. When you saw Max Johnson’s first throw, did you not think this guy is not going to throw for 100 yards today?
Seth:I was like, make him throw. Make him throw to the field. Make him throw. Give him hits to the field, and you’re going to pick six one. He’s not going to be able to get out. That one that Elam almost got. If that’s a little better throw, he’s housing that. I’m like, this guy, he’s in trouble, but he was tough. He was smart, and he did a good job. He knew where to go with the ball, and he got it out of his hands quick, but they didn’t really make it hard on him. Don’t give him inside, the in breaking throws. Make him throw outside and over the top with a defender. When they made him do that, he wasn’t as successful. When there was guys on the screen, he had more trouble, but they gave him a lot of easy ones.
Andrew:He has a noodle arm. I don’t care what nobody says. He has a noodle arm.
Seth:He’s like a clone of his dad, but left-handed.
Seth:It was funny to watch.
Andrew:He is like the Stetson Bennett kid at Georgia. I mean, I tweeted the same thing. I was like, make this kid throw. Then sure enough, the 3rd and 1 or the 3rd and 2, when they threw the flat route, the swing route to the running back, and there was not a defender within eight yards. I’m like, same thing you did, I was expecting it to be contested.
Seth:People are like, great call, coach. It’s like, I anticipated them covering the people he was throwing to. That’s kind of a big part of it.
Andrew:Yeah. I didn’t anticipate we were having routes on air here. At least some seven-on-seven action. Man, come on. Frustrating.
Let’s go to the offense for just a second. We got about 10 minutes left here on this episode. We’ll talk about the offense. I’ll be honest. I think the thing that we were all scared of happened last night, and that was pressure getting to Kyle and him not having time. When he doesn’t have that safety valve in Kyle Pitts just to heave it up to, you don’t have much time. When you don’t have much time to throw, you can’t really take advantage of man-to-man routes.
That is the concept of running man is that you hope that your defensive line and your pressure gets to the quarterback fast enough that your DBs don’t get exposed, and last night they didn’t get exposed, because of how quickly they were getting to the line. I mean, at multiple times in the game they brough four guys and were getting home. One time they brought five that included a linebacker blitz, and two guys double-teamed the nose tackle and let the linebacker run free.
Seth:There were some protection issues. Even late in the game, I think you even tweeted out about it, they just rushed four and got home pretty easily. All they did was kind of move around a little bit up front. The pick six was just, anticipation makes great quarterbacks, but you can also get caught in it every now and then. That one it looked like he didn’t even look to that side of the field before the snap. He was kind of looking over left, and then he came back and kind of assumed what the coverage was, and they changed it up on him a little bit, and that led to the pick six. LSU had six tackles for loss and four sacks.
Andrew:That’s not good.
Andrew:I say this too, and I know you’ll agree with me, and I know you’re a numbers guy, so I’m hoping you’ll agree with me here. Sacks don’t tell the story.
Seth:No. There’s a lot of pressures too. He was under duress all night it seemed like. There were very few drop backs where he was totally clean.
Andrew:Right. A lot of times he was having to shift to his left, shift to his right, and different things like that, and that ends up being a terrible thing. He had eight quarterback hurries that they count as quarterback hurries, and the stats don’t always account for he sees a guy coming or that kind of stuff. So, people have been in my mentions all day Saturday and all morning on Sunday saying, Hevesy doesn’t allow many sacks. Again, sacks don’t tell all the numbers. I think we’re in such an era where we’re so numbers driven that we think he didn’t get sacked a lot. Sacked doesn’t mean anything.
I don’t know your opinion on Tom Brady, but we’ll go there. The reason Tom Brady, not the only reason, but one of the major reasons Tom Brady was so great in New England, he was always clean.
Seth:Yeah. He’s the master of doing those little subtle moves in the pocket, but they kept him pretty clean. Trask is really good at that too, kind of moving around and navigating the pocket, but it’s not just sacks. It’s how many times does the quarterback get moved off his spot. As I take my five-step drop, and I’m coming ready to throw that first route, if I got to hitch up again for my next read or whatever, how many times am I having to move off that spot, rather than being able to hit my back foot, either throw, hitch up and make a throw, or then probably have to escape at that point?
Seth:They moved him off his spot a lot last night. Pressure made him move around the pocket, and he’s really good at it, but it’s going to make it a little bit tougher on you when you got to move and keep your eyes downfield. He does a good job at it. They still were able to kind of rack up the yards, but the number one thing that kills drives in college football now, and what teams are kind of just going all out for defensively, because it’s so tilted towards offense now, is any time you can get a negative play on defense the chance of the offense scoring on that drive drops dramatically.
Seth:Teams are selling out for sacks. They’re selling out for tackles for loss. Any time you get one of those, the offense’s chance of scoring goes way down. Now, Florida’s able to combat that, because they’re so good. They can get into like 2nd and 20 and get a 50-yard throw.
Andrew:2nd and 26. Yeah.
Seth:But that’s not something, if you consistently put yourself in those situations, you’re not going to be able to get out of all of them.
Seth:You could kind of see that with Florida being only, what was it?
Seth:Five of 13 on 3rd downs. When you consistently put yourself behind the sticks, no matter how good you are, you’re not going to be successful. Whereas LSU, they ended being eight of 18 on 3rd down, so they were better than Florida.
Andrew:You get in a situation where you can’t even run the ball. 2nd and 26, and I know people hate this, but you know what I’m going to say when I say this. 2nd and 26 you love to run a good draw play. Make it 2nd and 15 or 3rd and 15. You like your chances a heck of a lot better at 3rd and 15 than you do at 3rd and 26. But Florida’s not able to do that. Even on 3rd and 1, 4th and 1, you should be able to line up in the SEC and get one yard. You should. I even say it in high school football. You should get it on one yard, because that is a situation of does the offensive line want it more than the defensive line. There is nothing nobody can tell me in the world. A one yard push up front is an effort play. That’s it. Effort.
Seth:Yeah. You can kind of see the coaches understand where they’re at, because I don’t think they’d like to do this very much, but look at how much they’re having to run Trask in the short red zone near the goal line. They need that extra blocker.
Seth:So, I think they realize that. They’re just kind of undermanned up front, and they got to use that extra blocker, because that’s the only way they’re going to be able to run the ball in those short yardage situations, which is not ideal.
Andrew:That’s the issue that I go back to. That’s recruiting. That’s what you go back to. It’s recruiting. You’re in Year 3 of your program, about to be Year 4 of your program. There is absolutely zero reason you should have these issues on your offensive line. You are playing at times four seniors. Four. Or not at times. Every time, except for the two drives with Delance. You had four seniors. Four. There is zero reason you should be having this many problems with four seniors on your starting offensive line. You should go back to this offensive line with four seniors and say, this veteran group kicks ass every week.
Seth:I think that was kind of the hope going into the season, especially when you got that late transfer of a guy that had played in the SEC and been pretty established. You thought this group is going to take a big step forward this year. I think they’ve been better than they were last season, but there’s not been a huge jump. That’s just probably none of these guys, I don’t think, I think they’re all solid college players, all good kids it seems like, but I don’t think many of them are going to get a shot in the NFL, and that’s where you got to be to take that next step as a program. You got to have NFL guys on the offensive line.
As bad as the Georgia offense has been at times this year, they’re probably going to have a couple guys get drafted off their offensive line. So, that’s the next step you got to take, I think. Like you said, that is in recruiting. Then we’ll see kind of coming up. It’s tough that it’s not happened yet, but the development of some of these guys they’ve gotten in the past that were pretty high-level recruits. Let’s see where they are at in the future and how they develop them.
Andrew:When you have an offensive line class that is going to sign on Wednesday, and you got five, and you’re thinking maybe three of them don’t qualify, and you’re going to take a class of two.
Seth:Might want to hit the old transfer portal this offseason.
Andrew:The thing about it is, and I don’t know if you told me this or who told me this, but when they told me it made perfect sense. Good tackles don’t transfer. They go to the NFL.
Seth:It wasn’t me, but that makes sense. I agree.
Andrew:Good tackles don’t go. They go onto the NFL. You’re not transferring from Harvard as a great left tackle. You’re just going on to the League. I don’t know if they still are, but at one time they were the highest average position group in the League. Guess what? They’re protecting the back side of a quarterback. The quarterback is the future. That’s the franchise. I’m not down on Stone. I think Stone has played a great year, and I think Stone has made some money for himself. I think he’ll end up getting drafted. But when you’re terrible everywhere else, it’s not good. I’ve said this. I don’t mean to call anybody out, and I hate to be that person, but the only two guys that have been consistently good year is Stone and Heggie.
Seth:I’m not a guy that’s going to call out college kids either, just because these guys are playing as hard as they can, and if they’re not you’d assume they wouldn’t be playing, and it’s on the coaches to kind of put the best player out there. So, if these guys are the best, then they’re giving their all for your school. But you haven’t had that consistency. You haven’t had that push you were hoping to get. You’ve been able to combat it schematically with the passing game and Trask being so good at processing information and getting the ball out of his hands. He’s helped to mask some of your issues, but when you play these teams that recruit a little bit better up front, LSU is one of them, like you’ll see next week, it’s tough to hide everything. So, that’s kind of the next step they have to take.
It’s crazy. We’re being obviously really negative, because of coming off of a loss. Not necessarily negative, but just kind of looking at the program. Just looking at some of the deficiencies. This is a game that you really lost because you turned the ball over. You didn’t convert 3rd downs, and you went 6 of 8 in the red zone. You didn’t score twice when you were in the red zone. You didn’t convert all your red zone opportunities into touchdowns. If you do that, some of these issues are still there, but you probably win last night.
Andrew:And you still had a chance to go to overtime.
Seth:Yeah. As bad as they played, as bad as they played against a talented LSU team, they probably still should have won the game. Take two or three plays away, and they win going away, but they didn’t. It’s a little more negative today, but it was just a weird game last night, and it’s been kind of a strange year all around.
Andrew:I’ll just say this, and then we’re going to hop off here. Great coaches who have built a great program don’t lose games like that.
Seth:No. They’ve had some weird ones like this, and they’ve found a way to kind of sneak it out, but you can’t put yourself in that position. I’m sure they’d tell you the same thing, the coaches would. You can’t put yourself in that position. When I was a kid growing up, and I’d play my dad in basketball, and he’d beat me, it’d be like, let’s play again. He used to always tell me, never give a sucker a chance. After I lost, it was over. I couldn’t get that second chance.
Andrew:That’s right. Don’t get that second chance.
Seth:When you watch these games, never give a sucker a chance. Don’t let these guys hang around.
Andrew:Put the death stomp on them early.
Seth:You got to put it away early.
Andrew:That’s right. Death stomp them early. That’s what Alabama, that’s what they do. That’s what Clemson does. That’s what these great teams do. They put the stomp and put the foot on the neck early and say, go get them. Seth, we’re going to get out of here. We’ll be back later in the week to talk Alabama-Florida for the SEC Championship game. Talk some playoff rankings. Talk recruiting. Wednesday is Early Signing Day. 23 guys are expected to sign with the Gators. Should be a big week. Seth, tell everybody where they can find you on Twitter, and we’ll get out of here.
Seth:I’m @SethVarnadore on Twitter. I’ll probably be tweeting stuff out during the week, possibly doing some live video this week with the site, so having people on where we’ll look back at the game, select plays, and kind of break them down and see what went right, what went wrong. Do that live, hopefully, so people can hop on and ask questions as we go through the tape. That’s what we’re looking to do this week. We’ll get more information out on that in the next few days.
Andrew:Seth, we appreciate it, man. We will talk later in the week. Check us out. Make sure you’re giving us a comment and a like. Thanks, guys.