Podcast: Recapping the Florida Gators loss to Missouri

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators homecoming loss to Missouri on Saturday.

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

Andrew and Nick also discuss the quarterback situation that Dan Mullen faces this week, plus we talk recruiting.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, I lied. I told you guys we’d be back on Monday talking about a Gators victory, and instead we’re talking about a Gator ass whooping.

Nick:                         Yeah. Missouri has got Florida’s number. I don’t know. I don’t even know how to explain it. Missouri, they’ve just got Florida’s number. The game looked a lot like it did last year in Columbia, Missouri. At no point of that game did I feel like Florida was competitive. That’s really not a feeling that you’ve had in any game this year.

Andrew:                 No. Here’s the thing for me, Nick. The same thing that happened last year in Missouri happened this year. Florida got their ass kicked up and down the field for the entire game. Entire game. Missouri put up 471 yards. Drew Lock looked like he was playing intermural football on the field at Florida against the students. 24 of 32 for 250. Nick, I’m going to have to go back and look here. Outside of the one sack, and it wasn’t really a sack, he kind of ran into it a little bit, did Drew Lock touch the ground?

Nick:                         He might have taken a knee on the sideline or something.

Andrew:                 Yeah. It wasn’t that. I’m going to say this, Nick. I’m going to catch some heat for it, and I don’t care. For the first time under Dan Mullen, this looked like a Jim McElwain-Doug Nussmeier offense.

Nick:                         I mean, yeah, but defense wasn’t any better.

Andrew:                 Defense looked like Randy Shannon was calling.

Nick:                         It’s like we said, you can’t give Drew Lock time to throw, because he’ll pick you apart, and that’s exactly what he did.

Andrew:                 It looked like 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 all over again.

Nick:                         It was bad.

Andrew:                 How do you come out with no energy to Homecoming, Nick? How do you come out with no energy? I guess this goes back to what Dan Mullen said a little bit, and that is you have to break the old habits of the past. You have to go back, and you have to break what happened last year. I get that point, but just how in the world do you come into this game and lay an egg on Homecoming against a team who physically, mentally, whatever adjective you want to throw out there, beat you down last year? How do you come out and lay an egg?

Nick:                         That was a big talk among all the players. We owe something.

Andrew:                 That was talk.

Nick:                         Yeah. It was just talk. That showed. It showed that it was just talk.

Andrew:                 This is a strange week for Florida coming up, Nick, for several reasons. We’re going to get into this in a minute. There’s quarterback controversy, big time. Whether Dan Mullen wants to sit up at there at the podium and admit it or not.

Nick:                         The controversy is why has Kyle Trask not been playing more and starting?

Andrew:                 Let’s talk about that a second.

Nick:                         Kyle Trask isn’t a Heisman guy. He’s not going to be an All-American, but he’s better than Feleipe Franks, and I’ve been saying that since they were both early enrollee freshmen back in 2016.

Andrew:                 Right. Let’s talk about that in a second. Let’s go back to Mullen’s week. He’s got guys who are buying in and not buying in. He’s got quarterback controversy. He’s got a defense who laid down. He’s got an offensive line who took a major, major step back. He’s got major issues that he’s going to have to address this week, like it or not. In my opinion, the next three weeks will show a lot about this team in the future. You’ve got to fix the problems now. The cancers on the team have got to be weeded out now. Now.

You’re at a point now where you’re at 6-3. You’ve come off back to back losses. You have nothing to play for. You’re not playing for Atlanta. The only thing you’re playing for is pride. You’re playing to be 9-3 at the end of the year and play still in a decent bowl game. You’re playing for a successful year, sure, but you’ve got to weed out the bad now. In my opinion, Nick, the bad showed up again on Saturday that was there last year and the year before. Those guys that are the bad apples on the football team who have the bad attitudes on the football team showed up again on Saturday. Would you agree with that?

Nick:                         I think there’s a lot of guys that are playing for the name on the back, not playing for the logo on the front. Not even really playing very well for the name on the back either.

Andrew:                 Exactly. One of the guys we used to pick on, back to his old self on Twitter. Time to shut up and play ball. You lost. 38-17. To a Missouri team that’s not very good.

Nick:                         That was Missouri’s first SEC win since November.

Andrew:                 First win on the road against a top 15 opponent in something like 15 years or something. It was bad.

Nick:                         Not a lot of good things to glean. Tommy Townsend got away with targeting. That’s a good thing.

Andrew:                 Let’s go to the quarterback situation, Nick.

Nick:                         Yup.

Andrew:                 You and I have said from Day 1, like it or not, Feleipe Franks is who he is. He’s gotten away with it. You know that statement you and I tried to figure out the best way to say it before the Georgia game, where Florida had to play perfect to hide their weaknesses? Last three games they haven’t been able to hide that weakness. They got away with it in the Vanderbilt game. Not getting away with it anymore. That 9 and 22, Nick, for Feleipe Franks on Saturday weren’t throwaways. I mean, I guess you could call them throwaways, because he was throwing it way over his receiver’s head. Poor Van Jefferson, poor Kyle Pitts would have had to been 14-foot-tall to catch the ball.

Nick:                         I think maybe three. I think two, maybe three of those were throwaways, but 12 of 22 is not great.

Andrew:                 No. Not when you’re missing wide open receivers. Kyle Pitts is running wide open. Throw him the ball. Van Jefferson is running wide open. Throw him the ball. Moral Stephens is running wide open. Don’t throw him a 100 mile an hour fastball. Throw it. Have some touch on it. Be a quarterback, not a thrower. Nick, what do we always say about pitchers? You can’t be a thrower. You got to be a pitcher.

Nick:                         There’s guys that throw 104, but that’s all they do. They don’t know where it’s going. They hope it ends up over the plate. Then you got a guy like Greg Maddox, who might throw a baseball at a window and have it bounce back and not break the window, but it’s going to hit wherever he wants it to go. That’s more effective than being a thrower.

Andrew:                 Tom Brady doesn’t throw 100 miles an hour. Drew Brees doesn’t throw 100 miles an hour. Listen, those are two of the elite, elite quarterbacks in the country, or in football history. Be Hall of Famers. First bound Hall of Famers. Will go down as top 5, top 10 quarterbacks of all time. Have some touch on the throw. Nick, I hate to say this to you, but people are seeing what you and I have tried to tell people all along, and that is pouty face Feleipe. When things don’t go his way, he goes into the gutter. It’s showing more and more and more.

People continue to harp on his mental ability, this, that, and the other. It’s showing. For the first time all year, because I understood in the Georgia game, but it was very clear in the first half of that football game Feleipe Franks had lost it. I understood you didn’t want to burn Emory Jones’ redshirt, but you still got a guy over there you can try out in Kyle Trask. Anything was better than what you were getting.

Nick:                         Mullen said after the game, because we asked, “When you made the change to Kyle Trask, was there any thought of Emory?” He said, “No. We didn’t even have the package in for him this week.” Emory is getting snaps in the regular offense, but they also are building packages for him that he can potentially use and they can potentially put him in, but Mullen is 100% on Emory Jones will play two more games. He can play two more. He can literally take 100 snaps in each of the games. It doesn’t matter how many snaps he plays. He’s only going to play in two more games, whether it’s 100 snaps or 8 snaps. They’re going to redshirt him. We spent a lot of time talking about that during the week.

Andrew:                 And that’s fine.

Nick:                         That’s fine. But you’ve got another quarterback. You’ve got Kyle Trask, who’s sitting there and waiting. I watched him throw the ball with touch. I watched him throw receivers open. The touchdown to Hammond, Hammond told us that there was an option route, and Trask checked him into the slant, and then put the ball right on the numbers for a touchdown.

Andrew:                 That was a ball that there was one place to throw that ball, and that’s where he threw that ball. You throw that ball high, it’s picked off or deflected. You throw that ball too far in, it’s incomplete. That was a ball that had to be thrown where it was thrown, and it was thrown, and it was a touchdown. It was a ball that’s not been thrown there for a touchdown.

I know some people might say, you guys are just harping on Feleipe because of the bad game. No. You haven’t heard very much of it. We’ve continued to say that there’s good and bad with Feleipe, whether anyone wants to admit it or not want to admit it, Feleipe is who he is. It’s all it is. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, Florida has been, and Dan Mullen has been doing his best to hide the faults of Feleipe, but at some point or another, defensive coordinators are going to adjust to that. When they adjust to that, guess what they’re going to do? They’re going to show those weaknesses that Feleipe has, and they have.

Go back to one play, Nick, the shuffle pass. Have you seen the caption? Have you seen just the photo of the play?

Nick:                         No. I haven’t seen the photo of the play. I did see that it went absolutely nowhere.

Andrew:                 Okay. If you go back and look at that play, and, Nick, I want you to do that when we get off. I’ve never asked you to do anything, but I want you to do that when we get off the air. You go back, and I want you to look at that play and look at how open the pitch was to the running back. Wide open. Wide open there. It’s a triple option. You have the ability to go outside to the running back. You have the ability to keep it, or you have the ability to give it to the pitch. Feleipe’s mindset is get rid of the ball as fast as I possibly can, not to get hit, and when he does, guess what? He went to there, and it was a loss. Had he gone to, I believe at the time, Nick, it was Lamical, might have been Scarlett. I have to go back and look at that from a wide angle to see who it was. It’s wide open, 15, 20, 30 yards.

I just sent you that. I want you to check your phone right now, Nick. We’re going to interrupt the podcast. I want you to check your phone and look at the closed caption and look at how open this play is.

Nick:                         Yeah. So, the ball is already there in C’yontai’s hands. Nick Buchanan has gotten beat. You’ve got Jawaan and Tyler Jordan double teaming a linebacker, while there’s a linebacker and two defensive linemen in the backfield. It looks like Hammond and Van are on the outside.

Andrew:                 Van. I see that now.

Nick:                         You’ve got two guys to block three on the outside. The pitch, yeah, wide open there.

Andrew:                 Feleipe takes it, makes the safety choose. At the time it was 28-10, might be talking about a 28-17 ballgame. Instead pitches to C’yontai, and it’s a 2-yard loss. To me, goes back to what we talked about in the Georgia game, Nick. Decision making. Would you agree? It’s all decisions.

Nick:                         I mean, that’s never been Feleipe Franks’ strong suit.

Andrew:                 That’s an issue. Here’s another issue I have, Nick. This isn’t a Feleipe problem. This is a play calling problem. Kadarius Toney, the guy just makes things happen. Three carries, 23 yards, 7.7 yards per carry. Two catches, 72 yards, 36 yards a catch. What are you doing? First time all year they’ve lined him out in the backfield and handed him the ball. Look what happened, 12-yard gain. What are you doing?

Nick:                         I thought the biggest thing, I’ve been saying all year Kadarius Toney doesn’t get more touches because he’s not a good receiver. The touches that he gets you can see they’re very manufactured, but you’re not asking him to go out there and hit a bunch of different routes from the route tree. I thought he did better job as an actual receiver this game, and I think that’s a very good step in his progression as a football player, and I think that’s encouraging.

If he keeps doing that, then absolutely, he’s putting himself in a position where I can be in more packages now, because I’m not just a gimmicky player. I’m a receiver that can also run the ball, that can also do wildcat stuff. Before he was just a guy that you could only throw a screen to or only have him take a direct snap. Now he’s running some slants, and he’s running some different routes. I think that’s going to help.

Andrew:                 Give him the crossing route. It’s not hard. Your offense is limited.

Nick:                         Crossing route. Run a little pick, and then all of a sudden you got him in space.

Andrew:                 The guy makes things happen.

Nick:                         He dances a little too much for me.

Andrew:                 On the direct snap?

Nick:                         Yeah. He kind of ran in. There wasn’t anywhere. I’m like, listen man, that might have worked in high school, but these are some big fast dudes on the field, and you dancing and running backwards, you’re not going to gain a lot of yards that way. It might work once, but it’s not going to work consistently at all.

Andrew:                 Guess what? Guess what the only fix to that is. Let him learn. He’s not learning very much, because you don’t let him play very much. You don’t give him the ball very much. Might be your most explosive playmaker you have on your football team. What are you doing? I mean, I don’t know.

Mullen said after the game, Nick, he’s going to evaluate everything in practice this week. Is the Feleipe Franks experiment finally over? You think so?

Nick:                         I don’t know. I hope it is.

Andrew:                 I’m going to say it’s not.

Nick:                         I hope it is. I don’t have any confidence in saying that it would be. I mean, Dan Mullen brought out the old saying, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. We’ve seen Feleipe Franks start 17 times. He’s been yanked from three of those starts. Not a winning record. He’s looked terrible the last three weeks. I guess not terrible at Vanderbilt, but he wasn’t very good against LSU.

Andrew:                 Listen, he was terrible against Vanderbilt. He threw for umpteen thousand yards, whatever he threw for, 300-some yards, in the game. That’s a terrible defense, Nick. I mean, he threw the ball, got it intercepted, and he fumbled the ball. He almost single-handedly cost them the Georgia game. I’ve seen enough.

Nick:                         I would absolutely go with Kyle Trask, if that were me, but I would have gone with Kyle Trask against Charleston Southern.

Andrew:                 I’m not even going to lie to you. I say play Emory. Once again, I’ll throw this back out there.

Nick:                         He’s not ready.

Andrew:                 He’s not going to play him, but it’s a situation, Nick, and I’m not telling you to start him. Start Kyle. Play Emory some. The guy is not going to be here for five years. It just is. If he is, he’s not worth it. Figure out a package for the guy. Play him some. Give him some experience. He’s going to be one of the guys that factor into the quarterback competition next spring. Get him some experience. I’m over it. I want to see him play.

Defensively, Nick, did anybody show up? David Reese maybe.

Nick:                         Defensively. Bad day for the secondary.

Andrew:                 Bad day. That’s an understatement.

Nick:                         David Reese had 14 tackles. Vosean Joseph had 12.

Andrew:                 Vosean Joseph got lost.

Nick:                         Yeah. He looked like the Vosean Joseph of 2017. I think Brad Stewart was out of position a couple times, but he played okay. I think Chauncey had an okay game. I mean, no one really stood out. Maybe David Reese, but a couple okay games. The defensive line, really no pressure again. Jachai Polite’s been on a milk carton since getting five games in a row with a sack. He’s been kind of gone. I saw a little bit more, Slaton and Conliffe were in the game more, especially late. No, really no big, nothing really to point out to say they had a great game.

Andrew:                 Defensive line is a fraud.

Nick:                         A fraud?

Andrew:                 A fraud. It’s fake.

Nick:                         Oh man.

Andrew:                 That whole …

Nick:                         I don’t know if I’m ready to go with that yet, but I don’t know if I’m ready to say you’re wrong either. I’m kind of stuck in the middle there.

Andrew:                 I was going to say, if you’re telling me I’m wrong, please explain. Missouri’s offensive line is not very good. They were just driving the defense back. Georgia’s offensive line is not very good. They were just driving the defense back with two backups playing in the game. This is a defense that can’t get a pass rush. This is a defense that can’t stop the run up the middle. This is a defense that can’t keep contain. It’s a defense that’s a fraud. It’s a defense that looks like a Randy Shannon defense. It’s a defense that can’t get off the field on 3rd down. It’s a defense that played 10 yards off the ball.

Nick:                         3rd downs. The 3rd downs. Where did I have this written down?

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this, Nick. This is a serious question for you. A good defense that can get a pass rush, okay.

Nick:                         You want to see a good defense, Alabama was getting a pass rush with four. I watched plays yesterday where LSU had six guys to block four, and Alabama is collapsing the pocket. That’s a defensive line.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I’m throwing a scenario out at you, Nick. A good defense, right, that can get a pass rush, like Florida did at the beginning of the year. What’s the quarterback looking to do? What’s the quarterback looking to do if they get a quick pass rush on you?

Nick:                         You’re looking to either get a hot route, or you should know I’ve got a check down. I’ve got something to get the ball out quick.

Andrew:                 Get the ball out quick. Okay. DBs are 10 yards off the ball. Can you get the ball out quick?

Nick:                         Sure can.

Andrew:                 That’s what happens. That’s what a makes a defensive line look even worse. One play in particular, Jeawon Taylor is playing, and, again, this isn’t on the guys, because they’re being told to play 10 yards off the ball. It’s 3rd and 12. Jeawon Taylor is going into a 15-yard drop back, and they throw an out route at the sticks. 1st down. Never had anybody guarding him the whole time basically. How do you do that? 3rd and 12. Here’s what Alabama does. They play matchup zone. You have a guy at the sticks, guy in between the sticks. Dare you to throw it.

Not Florida. They play man, and they play 15 yards off the ball. Don’t beat me deep. Pretty good when you’re down 28-7, 28-14, whatever it was at the time. 28-10. You’re not getting the ball back. I’m tired of seeing that loose thing. I get it. Your depth at defensive back isn’t good, but they’re on the field. They should be able to play. I need to see that. I need to see guys being able to at least play five yards off the ball and get there. Guys are just going untouched on crossing routes, on slant routes, on curl routes, on out routes, whatever it may be. They’re just running wide open, not being touched. We were told this was going to be an aggressive defense, Nick, a defense that was in your face.

Nick:                         Todd Grantham’s MO. It’s his style.

Andrew:                 Haven’t seen it in a while. What’s your take?

Nick:                         I think you had CJ Henderson playing, and you knew that you needed to be aggressive this week. Like we said, and it’s not groundbreaking, you and I weren’t inventing the wheel saying you need to get pressure on Drew Lock. We’re not smart for saying that. That’s just what it is. I don’t know how you don’t come with something more aggressive. I mean, what was one that I remember? There was a play where Chauncey, I forget who was covering. Chauncey was coming on a blitz and was lined up in man coverage to disguise the blitz.

Andrew:                 Oh yeah, 3rd and 5. 3rd and 5 play.

Nick:                         The safety doesn’t rotate up. You know the play. You know that Chauncey is coming to blitz. Because he’s blitzing, Drew Lock is going to try to get the ball out quick. You can’t sit at your spot 12, 15 yards off the line of scrimmage to try to come up and make that play. You need to start rotating down. I don’t care if that starts to show that the blitz is coming. It doesn’t matter, because now you’re out of position.

Andrew:                 Yeah. No, it was. What it was was a 3rd and 5 play. It was a quick out route to their tight end, and it was a 1st down. It was a situation where had the DB just creeped down a little bit and made the play, but a veteran quarterback like Drew Lock sees that kind of stuff, Nick. He knows where the blitz is coming from. All day long, wherever the blitz came from, Drew Lock threw to that spot. All day long, and all day long it worked. I get it. It was a linebacker covering, this, that, and the other. Nick, it’s not that hard. Every team in America has linebackers covering it. That excuse we’re giving every week is just an excuse.

Nick:                         Yup. You’re done making excuses for this team?

Andrew:                 Yeah. I said after the Georgia game I thought this was a different football team with a different mentality that wouldn’t lay down, with a different mentality of a football team that didn’t come in and lay an egg. No. No, this is 2017 football all over again. As much as it’s on Dan Mullen, it’s also on these guys. These are the same guys, Nick. These are the same guys that got whooped in the Missouri game. When does it become a pride factor for these guys? When does it become personal?

Defense is personal, Nick. Defense is who wants it more. And you know this, I’m not telling you nothing you don’t know. As a defensive player, it’s who wants it more. When you’re a defensive lineman, you’re standing over the offensive line, or the offensive line is standing over the defensive line, it’s who wants it more. On Saturday, who wanted it more? Missouri.

Nick:                         You were able to say that a couple times.

Andrew:                 Missouri wanted it more. Just is what it is. They wanted it more. Here’s my problem after the game with Dan Mullen though, Nick. You ready for it?

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 You know where I’m going?

Nick:                         Yup.

Andrew:                 Dan Mullen called out the fans. Let me find that quote. Do you have the quote in front of you, Nick? Let me see if I can find that quote real quick. Let me find his exact quote. Here it is. “When we sell out the stadium, we will win a championship. It doesn’t go the other way.” Mullen, Dan, sorry, buddy, but it does. Fans don’t show up to watch bad products. People have been on my case on Twitter because I made that statement, and said this team was 6-2 heading into the game. They were #11 in the country. Sure. What were you playing for? Wasn’t going to Atlanta. 6-2.

At the end of the day, these fans, they want to see a championship team. Sorry. Fans at Tuscaloosa didn’t show up when Nick Saban got there just because Nick Saban said show up. Fans didn’t show up in Athens Kirby’s first year. You have to build a program. When you put a good product on the field, fans come. $70 a ticket to watch Missouri play on Homecoming with a game that, fine, go to face Ohio State in the Peach Bowl. Fine. What have you shown that makes this team a championship team?

Listen, I’m not saying it’s the right thing to do. I say you support your team, but I’m a Braves fan. I supported my team when we lost 95 games a year. It’s not the right thing to do, but I also get it. It’s tough to bring a family of four, spend $60, $70 a ticket, when you can watch at home, if your team is not very good.

Nick:                         I think the message from Dan has not changed.

Andrew:                 It hasn’t.

Nick:                         I went to a bunch of his spring speaking tour, and it was we need you guys. We need you to pack the Swamp. He went to the sororities and the fraternities. Everyone liked him. They loved the message. I don’t know if, when you get outscored by 40 points in consecutive weeks, not losing by 40, but they’ve been outscored by a total of 40 points in two straight losses. That’s maybe not the time to keep going with your message. The message hasn’t changed, and I don’t think he was calling out the fans. Listen, the stadium was dead yesterday.

Andrew:                 See, I disagree. I think he called out the fans.

Nick:                         I think it’s been the message that he’s had since he’s been here. He knows Florida from when he was last here. When he was last here, that was the greatest stretch that Florida has ever had, so of course the stadium was packed. Dan is coming back to Florida and thinking, that’s what it is here. Then he sees it, and it’s not. To me, it was the message hasn’t changed. The perception of the message has now changed, because you looked really bad against Missouri. You lost to Georgia. Then you’re doing it after a loss. I think the timing is not good. That’s probably not the time to come out and say the message, but I don’t think it was a shot at fans, because he’s been saying it since he was hired.

Andrew:                 I get that, Nick, but here’s the thing. You go out, and you lay an egg. I didn’t listen to the press conference fully. I was working on recruiting stuff. Several times in that he blamed the coaches for the effort on the field on Saturday. Am I correct?

Nick:                         Say that again.

Andrew:                 I said on Saturday I didn’t get to hear every bit of Mullen’s press conference. I was working on recruiting stuff. At several different points in the press conference he blamed himself and his coaching staff for Saturday’s game as much as he blamed the players, correct?

Nick:                         Yeah. He blamed the coaching staff. He said, listen, the execution wasn’t there, so that’s saying it’s on players, but he also said, we need to go back as coaches, and we need to look if we’re putting the players in the positions to make them most successful. He put blame on everyone. On his staff, on players. It wasn’t just Dan was there saying, listen, I did my job. All these idiots didn’t do theirs. It wasn’t that at all. He put blame on everyone.

Andrew:                 Okay. Good. That was my point. That’s what I wanted to hear. You’re blaming yourself, and you’re blaming your players. Don’t blame the fans. Like it or not, the fans don’t win football games. Like it or not, the fans don’t change that game. That game could be 100,000 people, and it didn’t change the ass whooping that took place. For me, Nick, just like I said with the one player back on Twitter, this feels so much like the years before, where it was like, we got our ass kicked, let me blame somebody outside the building for this problem.

Nick:                         I also think the last two coaches, Muschamp and McElwain, probably more so with McElwain, created that us against the world mentality that we’ve talked about. Even against the fans sometimes, because fans will be frustrated. Fan is short for fanatic, so when the team is not playing well, fans are going to not be happy. Now in the social media age that we live in, it’s voiced. Anyone sitting in their living room now has a platform, so people see it more. I think that there is still a lot of guys that feel that. I’m part of this, I’m a Florida fan, a Florida graduate, I’m at school at Florida. I’m a part of this. I don’t feel like they were made to feel that way under the last two coaching staffs. I think that sticks around.

Then when you have the players that react on social media and get in shouting matches on Twitter with fans, you’re not going to get in anyone’s good graces by doing that. Then when stuff like this happens, and you want fans, we need you because we’re down, no, man. No. You were yelling at me last year. I’m not going to support you now.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s what I’m saying.

Nick:                         There’s a lot of that attitude still around.

Andrew:                 This is my thing. You have to build your program inside your program. Now, building your program does involve building your fanbase around your program. That does go hand in hand. Like it or not, it does go hand in hand. I’ve said forever, the student tickets should be taken away if they’re not going to show up. That new policy Nick Saban has where if they don’t show up, they go somewhere and take care of it, fine. Do that. I’ve said that forever. The student attending the games is an issue. It looks embarrassing on tv. It’s embarrassing to the team. It’s embarrassing for recruiting. It’s embarrassing to the coaching staff. It’s an embarrassment to the Gator Nation. It’s an embarrassment to the university. It’s an embarrassment to everyone. If you’re not going to show up, give your ticket to someone that will show up. Trust me, there is hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people around the entire state, the Southeast, the country, the nation, whatever you want to call it, that would love to attend a football game. Give them your ticket.

But blaming the fans and saying that you can’t win a championship if they don’t start to show up is just an excuse, Nick. It’s just an excuse. I’m not here for it. I’m sorry. People were on my case on Twitter when I said the team wasn’t playing for anything. I’m sorry. They’re not. I mean, I want them to win just as much as anyone else. It’s great for our business, Nick. I mean, you know that. There’s a lot of guys on this team that I like and I want to do good, but it is what it is. Guys aren’t paying, families aren’t paying hundreds of dollars to show up to games when you’re not competing for things. Lay an egg like you did in Jacksonville, like it or not, it is what it is. Sorry. I mean, you’re wanting to rebuild. Things don’t get fixed overnight. Just like Mullen says his roster don’t get fixed overnight, the fanbase don’t get fixed. It was just the wrong time to have that statement come out.

Nick:                         That’s the only point I’m making. I’m saying I didn’t think he was calling out the fans, just because I thought the message hasn’t changed. He’s been saying it since he’s been here. Listen, man, you just lost by 40 points.

Andrew:                 Was it the wrong time?

Nick:                         Yeah. Maybe it’s just not the time to say it, but it’s not a new message is what I was getting at. Listen, the crowd last night sucked. The crowd sucked.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         They said there were 80,000 paid. There were maybe 70,000 people in that stadium.

Andrew:                 Does 100,000 make a difference in that game?

Nick:                         No. No, but this team is so weak mentally. As soon as something bad happens, they kind of shut down. That’s lingering from the last team. I thought it had gotten better. I thought that it had changed.

Andrew:                 So did I.

Nick:                         But it showed again. I think Mullen is maybe even saying, listen, whatever we’re doing is not getting through to them. We just need to get new players in here. These aren’t my guys. We need to get new players in here, and maybe it’s coming from a standpoint of we need fans there, because the second something bad happens, these guys, their heads drop, and they don’t listen. They start feeling bad for themselves. If there were more fans there, and the fans were getting up, maybe that keeps them in the game.

Andrew:                 Feleipe was glad there wasn’t more fans there.

Nick:                         A lot of people, even though they’re not there, they’re watching on tv. They see it. They’ve seen it.

Andrew:                 Poor guy got booed. That was rough. That’s the first time I’ve seen somebody get booed in a couple years. That was bad.

Let’s try to move on. South Carolina this week. That’s a bad football team too.

Nick:                         Willie Muschamp just gave up 600 yards. They won, but just gave up 600 yards, which is probably not what you want if you’re Florida. Because Will Muschamp will be drilling and shooing that defense all week long. They will not, not give up 600 yards again.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Got to figure out a way this week to get things fixed. I do want to say this. Mullen said after the game, they’ll see what they got in the locker room. Thought you were going to see what you got in the locker room after the Georgia game, but you didn’t. Now things are a lot tougher. Mullen will know who buys into his philosophy and his mindset this week, because there will be a lot of guys who quit mentally, because the season is 6-3. There will be a lot of guys who mentally quit. Would you agree?

Nick:                         Yeah. This is the time when you have to fight off that, because now you’re not playing for an SEC Championship. You’re not playing for a New Year’s Six bowl. New Year’s Six bowl, that’s off the table. That’s not happening. Now is when you start having guys that are, whether it’s redshirt sophomores, juniors, redshirt juniors, guys that are thinking NFL, this when you start getting business decisions. You get guys that do I really want to try to lay out and make this play and maybe get hurt, or am I just coasting until I can get this season over with, hire an agent? Maybe skip the bowl game, hire an agent, and start getting ready for the next phase.

Andrew:                 Hold on, Nick. Sorry. Sorry to interrupt you. Who the hell are you talking about? There ain’t a guy on this football team that should be making that decision.

Nick:                         I think there’s going to be a bunch, a couple guys. Florida will have people leave early for the Draft. You know that’s true. Whether or not they should, or you think they should or shouldn’t, they will have people leave early.

Andrew:                 But please tell me which guy can quit right now and just do it? I know you ain’t talking about 99. He’s four straight bad games. Oh, he’s going to go pro early, but you don’t think he needs to play the rest of the year and have a good year?

Nick:                         I think he definitely needs to show more stuff, but I’m not saying what I said is the right thing or what should happen. I’m saying that’s what does happen.

Andrew:                 Oh, I agree. Please, God, tell me who it is. Sure ain’t 23. Sure ain’t none of the offensive linemen. I’m not saying you are, but people are seeing something I ain’t seeing if they think that they can quit. Sorry. They’re seeing something I ain’t seeing. I ain’t seen no offensive lineman look good all year.

Nick:                         Man. I mean, as a group they had put some good games together, but last night was not one of them.

Andrew:                 Exactly. We’ll talk more South Carolina on Wednesday. Nick, go ahead and give the trophy to Alabama. Please.

Nick:                         Oh, God. Nick Saban, we wanted to make a statement. Yeah, man. Cool. You made a statement. You’ve been making a statement all fricking year.

Andrew:                 Did you see his statement on Monday where he asked if they wanted the ball, if they were going to take the ball or not? He said, I hope we elect to kick ass.

Nick:                         You sure did.

Andrew:                 Geez Louise.

Nick:                         I think LSU has been shut out at home six times ever, and I think like four of them are Alabama, and the last time Alabama was in Baton Rouge they shut them out too.

Andrew:                 Last four shutouts in Death Valley have been to Alabama, and they have not scored a point in Death Valley against Alabama in 10 quarters. LSU fans are griping about Devin White. Devin White don’t make that game close. Devin White don’t make that game close. Good grief. Nick, you might have seen a team that I’ve seen, but there ain’t a team out there that I’ve seen that can keep it close with Alabama.

Nick:                         No.

Andrew:                 Not a team that can keep it close.

Nick:                         No.

Andrew:                 I mean, I legitimately believe this, and I may get ripped for this, Tua could be a first pick in the NFL Draft this year.

Nick:                         I don’t know.

Andrew:                 Find me somebody with a pocket presence better than that.

Nick:                         Yeah. He was playing on a bad knee and had a 44-yard touchdown run.

Andrew:                 The Hawaiian gunslinger. That’s what I want to start calling him. I mean, good grief, what an arm. What a player. What a defense. Defense says, you guys haven’t been talking about us all year, guess what, I’ll just go out and get a shutout. Don’t worry about it. LSU wasn’t good. We tried to tell people that. LSU is not very good. Georgia’s not very good either. Does Georgia score against Alabama?

Nick:                         I don’t know.

Andrew:                 Maybe.

Nick:                         Alabama is scary.

Andrew:                 Would not surprise me to see like 35, 38-0, Bama beats Georgia. Bad thing is Tua’s little brother is better than he is, they say.

Nick:                         I will probably be more surprised when teams score on Alabama than if Alabama pitches a shutout the rest of the year.

Andrew:                 I was more surprised in the game that Tua played in the fourth quarter. They still played their backup, or the third-string.

Nick:                         Mac Jones.

Andrew:                 Pride of Jacksonville.

Nick:                         Mac Jones. He went to be Bolles, right?

Andrew:                 Yes. I believe so.

Nick:                         Oh my God. Mac Jones. So, when Tua got crushed and had to be helped off the field, and Mac came in, and then they went off sides, he knew. He was like, oh man, took the snap, nothing bad happened. Mr. referee here’s the ball, and I’m running back to the sideline, and then Tua comes on, no, no, that was off sides. It doesn’t count as a play. You got to come back in here. Mac’s like, oh shoot, I got to do this again.

Andrew:                 Then he remembered, I got five-stars everywhere. It’s okay. Just throw it up. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone on Wednesday. We’ll talk quarterback situation, and we’ll talk Gators versus Willie, Willie Muschamp.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. The podcast is wherever you listen to podcasts. Just search Gator Country. Subscribe. Never miss an episode. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC, and he’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.

Andrew:                 There you go. By the way, Florida did pick up two commits on Saturday. 2021 Kamar Wilcoxson, big athlete out of Stone Mountain Georgia, and then also picked up a big defensive lineman, defensive end Gervon Dexter out of Lake Wells, top 100 kid, big-time guy. If you’re looking for some bright news, there you go. You got two commits. Not in the ’19 class, but two commits overall. Check out Gator Country as well. Hit all those links that Nick just told you about, and we have stories up on all those guys, plus Khris Bogle visited. Surprise Miami offensive line commit Michael Tarquin visited as well. Plenty of updates on the site from recruiting as well. Should be a big weekend for the South Carolina game with #1 prospect in the country, Kayvon Thibodeaux coming to town. As always, guys, we appreciate it. 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.