GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators loss to Texas A&M on Saturday at Kyle Field.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre breakdown what’s wrong with the Gators defense and what went wrong on Saturday.
Andrew and Nick also take a look back at how the offense looked and what the Gators have to do going forward.
Andrew:What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, what is going on in defensive football in the SEC? In particular with Florida, but even Alabama looked bad. When is the last time, Nick, you have seen a team line up and just run straight at Alabama for 260-some yards?
Nick:I don’t know. I don’t know when the last time. Shoot, probably Saban’s first year, maybe, or back in the Schula years. I don’t know.
Andrew:Maybe the first year of Saban, but I don’t know if it’s been any past years with Saban. It just doesn’t happen.
Nick:That’s where we are. Florida fans, if anything, you can just take comfort in the fact that even Alabama is giving up 600 yards.
Andrew:Here’s the difference, Nick, for me. When it was time to make a stop, Bama made the stop. The running game was there. That was pretty easy for Ole Miss at times, but Ole Miss was still having to go to 3rd down at different times. At one point in the game they were 3 of 7 on 3rd down. I hate to say that it’s easy, but A&M made it just look easy. There was no point in that game where I thought A&M’s offense, outside of the one three and out, did I ever think Ole Miss’s offense was out of rhythm or was struggling to move the ball.
Nick:Yeah. I guess, getting back to your question, we’re obviously talking about Alabama, but you’re seeing it all across the SEC.
Andrew:Right. All across the country, in general.
Nick:All across the country. We keep saying it. We keep saying it’s like pitchers and catchers reporting early, and the defense has to catch up. When LSU comes to Florida, we’re a month in.
Nick:Time to catch up. Or maybe this is just what it is.
Andrew:Let me ask you this. I hate to interrupt you, but this question was posed to me on Friday doing a radio segment. Is the SEC offense just getting so much better that the defense hasn’t caught up with that yet, or what is it? Here’s a little bit that I say, Nick, and you can tell me if you agree or not. I think that the SEC is recruiting different style of athletes for different style of offense, and what we’re accustomed to seeing in the SEC on defense just isn’t working. 240-pound linebackers, 230-pound linebackers, aren’t needed anymore in the SEC for the most part.
Nick:Yeah. Everything starts at the high school level, right? That’s kind of where the spread offenses came from, because you would get high schools, and we don’t have a quarterback that can drop back and sling it 40 times a game, but we’ve got this kid who’s really face, and let’s run some option stuff. Cool.Then that’s what they start running in high school, and it moves up. Then you start seeing it work its way from high school to college to the NFL. You saw Steve Spurrier change the way offenses, and then in turn defenses, had to play in the SEC back in the ‘90s. You saw Urban Meyer and Dan Mullen do it again in the mid to late 2000s. Maybe the defenses need to adjust again. I don’t know. I’m not sure if this is just a product of Covid.
Andrew:It’s not. No.
Nick:I’m not ready to say this is what it’s going to be forever, because I don’t think there’s the same rules. When you look at the NFL, the NFL has changed the rules completely. You can’t touch a wide receiver, and you can’t touch a quarterback. That’s why you’re getting so much crazy passing in the NFL. They’ve changed the rules. They literally changed the game, because they want offense, and they want offense in order to be able to have exciting games, and people want to watch scoring, and that drives up TV ratings, which drives up ad revenue. I don’t think they’ve changed the rules that much in college yet. But I know this, you can’t practice the same way you used to.
Nick:Urban Meyer used to have bloody Tuesdays. Listen, it was called bloody Tuesday for a reason. You can’t do that anymore. You’re not getting that same level of tackling and that same level of physicality. So, maybe in that aspect the game is changing at the college level, because you’re not getting that kind of toughness, that kind of grittiness and nastiness from your defense. It’s not that they’re soft. It’s becoming more of a finesse game, because you can’t tackle as much.
Nick:And because you’re not practicing that.
Andrew:Yeah. Here’s the thing. I agree with you on a lot of what you’re saying.
Nick:I think it’s easy to call it soft. I’m not ready to call it soft yet. I think it’s just more finesse.
Andrew:I call it soft. What I see on Saturday is soft. That’s soft as hell. I’ll just be blunt. I told you before we went on the podcast this is about to be a fire podcast. It is. It’s soft as hell. Here’s the problem. Grantham has one dial, and that is to go hard, to go fast, to be physical, and when he’s not, his defense sucks ass. Plain and simple. Sorry for the words. It is what it is. When he’s not going fast, he’s not playing physical and not bringing 7-8 guys, his defense sucks. And right now it sucks, because they’re not. They’re not. When they are bringing pressure, it’s not getting home. When you’re dropping eight into coverage, there is absolutely no reason a slant pass is wide open, and on 4th and 3, what are you doing allowing a slant pass? You’re 3rd down in the 4th quarter. When they were driving to kick the game-winning field goal, it was 3rd and 3 with less than two minutes to go in the game, and he had every one of his defenders 7-8 yards off the ball. If you’re Kellen Mond, why don’t you just tell your receiver to turn around? Boom. They did. Got a 1st down. Ballgame’s over. That’s what they do all throughout the game.
I know there are people all on Twitter. They’re calling out guys. Marco had a bad game, and they’re calling out Marco. They’re calling out Brenton Cox and everyone else on the defense. And rightfully so. They all had bad games. But it also comes back to what is being called. I said this on Twitter. I said, I don’t know what it is this defense does good, but whatever they do good, they have to just lock into that and stop trying to be so complex.
You brought it up on our Zoom meeting a couple days ago. You said, Todd Grantham’s defense is very complicated. For whatever reason, this bunch that’s playing is not getting that complicated defense, so you have to slim it down. I don’t care if it’s we’re going to man up to the guy in front of you. Get in his face. Everybody else, blitz. If it has to be that simple, it has to be that simple. You have to find a way to get more than one stop in a football game if you’re going to win, and I’m sorry, this offense is too good just to waste. Right now, with this defense, you’re a four to five loss football team.
Nick:Okay. You meant you were bringing the fire.
Andrew:Yeah. Let me ask you. Let me start with the end. Do you think that this team right now honestly can end the season with one loss? Playing like they are right now.
Nick:No. If we’re looking at the defense that we saw, excuse me. I was going to say last week. If we’re looking at the defense we’ve seen the entire season, you’re going to lose to Georgia. You might lose to Tennessee. I would say three. I think you beat LSU. I think LSU’s even worse off than Florida is. I mean, that’s a 7-3 year.
Andrew:You’re going to be in a shootout with LSU, because LSU ain’t going to stop Florida’s offense.
Nick:At this point, you’re going to be in a shootout with everyone.
Andrew:Right. That’s what I’m saying. For as bad as LSU, LSU’s defense is awful, like Florida’s. LSU’s offense, I think it’s okay, but okay offenses look great against this defense. Okay. Whose defense gets the stop? LSU or Florida? We’ll see. It’s the same with Missouri. You’re going to be in a shootout with them. Who’s going to get it? As bad as Kentucky is, they’re going to score points too. Their offense isn’t terrible.
Nick:I think their offense is terrible. Kentucky’s offense, Terry Wilson was like 6 of 20.
Andrew:Yeah, but he can run the ball, and this defense can’t stop the run.
Nick:They were getting turnovers.
Andrew:Yeah, but they can’t stop the run. Florida can’t stop the run.
Nick:That’s the thing. I want to get into that.
Andrew:I mean, stay right here for a second though with me. Are you okay with wasting the best offense they’ve had since ’08, because your defense is just pure out piss poor? That’s what it is. Mullen said after the game, we’re going to look at all the defensive changes. Why are you waiting till Week 3 to wait till the defensive changes? What were you doing Week 1 and Week 2?
Nick:Yeah. Not to say that I think he’s lying, I just don’t trust him to say, we’re going to go and evaluate everything. You say you evaluate. You evaluate the film every week, after every game. After every practice you evaluate the film. So when you tell me, we’re going to go and evaluate this stuff after the game, sure, I guess. Yeah. You were going to do that even if you won. You’re going to evaluate everything. I don’t think– Here we go. I’ll even say this. There won’t be a midseason change. For everyone that wants Todd Grantham fired, Dan Mullen’s not firing his defensive coordinator.
Andrew:There’s not going to be wholesale changes as far as who’s playing.
Nick:No. Then he wants to say, Dan’s been so secretive about injuries and stuff like this, and I get it. A lot of coaches are secretive, but for weeks you’ve been saying Kyree Campbell, we should be getting him back. Khris Bogle had the accident this week, and that’s why he couldn’t play, but Dan says after the game, I think we’ll get these guys back, and that’ll help. Will it help some? Sure. Is it going to stop you from giving up 600 yards and giving up 60% of your 3rd conversions? No.
Nick:They’re not a miracle vaccine for your defense, which is sick.
Andrew:Yeah. Whoa. We’re taping this podcast on Sunday, and the Falcons have finalized a deal to fire Dan Quinn, and it’ll be announced Monday or Tuesday. Thank goodness. Sorry.
Nick:I don’t think that Dan Quinn, that’s another thing. As soon as he’s fired, I mean, I’m sure there’s already message board posts up about it. I don’t think Dan Quinn’s coming back to college.
Nick:I could be wrong. He’s been in the NFL for so long now. I don’t think Dan Quinn’s coming back to be a coordinator at college, at any college, whether it’s Florida, FSU, wherever.
Andrew:Yeah. No. I don’t think so either. Yeah. So, let’s go back to this for a second though, of Mullen. That is he wants to be secretive. Cool. But all the stuff, and I guess it was on purpose? Was your defense was going to be really good. You were going to be versatile. Brenton Cox was the freak, the best player since Brandon Spikes on defense. Yada, yada, yada. It’s all lies. You know what I’m saying? So, people, fans are getting to the point that I told you they were going to get, Nick, and that is sick of the secrets.
Nick:Yeah. We’ve said this on the podcast once, and it’s hard to admit, because we pride ourselves in getting information, but I’ve said before I think this is probably the least prepared I’ve felt for a season. I mean in the sense where I don’t get to see it with my eyes. When we talk to sources, we trust them. You may trust one source more than another, or one more for this than that, but for the most part, you can hear something, but then you get to go to practice, and you get to see it. Okay. They told me this, and just by the way the reps are shaking out, that’s not the case. Your source might be biased to one player over another.
Because we weren’t able to go out and see anything for ourselves, we kind of just had to give information off of what we were hearing. Right now, we’re seeing. Some of our sources didn’t know what they were talking about. Not just us. There were lies all offseason from everybody. Where is the Brenton Cox that I was told is a beast, is a monster? Maybe he’s a five-star guy in terms of pass rushing, but he’s a liability in the run game.
We were told the defense wasn’t going to take a step back. Yeah. Maybe not, because they feel down the mountain. They didn’t take a step back. They slipped, and they fell down the entire mountain.
Andrew:Right. Here’s my thing. All we’ve heard about is how flexible and how this team is the most flexible, and they have so much versatility and everything else. Is it time to stop recruiting that and go back to recruiting true linebackers, true D ends, true D tackles, true safeties, true corners? Guys that can just play the certain position. I say that in that when you look at some of the best defensive minded coaches around the country, they recruit. They have a style they want for a linebacker, a style they want for a D tackle, a style they want for a D end. It’s not this guy’s a really good athlete on defense. We’re going to sign him and figure it out.
Look at David Reese. Doesn’t have a spot. Look at Tyron Hopper. Not playing, because they don’t have a spot. You look at Mohamoud Diabate. He’s doing several different things. I mean, he’s doing some okay things, but nothing great, because why? He doesn’t have a true spot.
Nick:Played buck all freshman year, and then now trying to play inside linebacker. To me, when I look at him, I see buck, and then maybe they made a change. Whether they made a chance because of something they saw in practice, again, I’m not able to go out and see it for myself. I can only see it on Saturdays, and then he gets 15 snaps on Saturday, so I don’t know.
Nick:Actually, I have all the snaps. I wanted to pull it up later for the thing. I’ll get to it again. Right now, he doesn’t have the body of a buck linebacker.
Nick:When you look at a Brenton Cox, I don’t think Brenton Cox should be playing strong side defensive end. I think Brenton Cox should be playing buck.
Nick:Then that’s the other thing. Not having KyreeCampbell has kind of forced you to slide everybody down.
Andrew:Yeah. Like Zach Carter’s a strong side defensive end.
Nick:Should be playing strong side defensive end. Brenton Cox should be playing buck. Now you’ve had to slide Zach Carter down to fill in for where Kyree Campbell would be. They’re just moving. It’s not an excuse.
Andrew:You’re Week 3 of the season.
Nick:You should be figuring it out by now in Week 3. I’ve made a lot of excuses, and I’ve written a lot of things off. I’m not even saying Todd Grantham should be fired yet. I’m certainly a lot closer than I was last week, but I’m done making the excuses. So, the Friday podcast, the prediction podcast you heard from me, those will be the last excuses I’m making for Florida this season.
Andrew:Here’s the thing. Listen, I’m a huge Kaiir Elam fan, but to me it looks like Kaiir Elam’s taken a step back. That’s crazy. I was talking to guys from the Senior Bowl about Shawn Davis, and they all thought Shawn Davis was end of the season great and was going to have a really good offseason and be one of the true best safeties in the country. I still haven’t seen it in pass coverage. I mean, yeah, he’s good in run, but there. Donovan Stiner’s a fifth-year senior. What is he doing? Brad Stewart comes in, and I know he’s been laid off for two weeks, still didn’t look good. What are you doing at star?
I go back to the versatility thing. Amari Burney, still doesn’t have a position. Okay. You wanted him at star. That’s not working out. Where’s he playing? You move Marco all around the field. Where’s he playing? What are you doing here with just different things all around? I’ll ask you this, Nick. Who looked good on Saturday on defense?
Andrew:You just answered my question, because you couldn’t even tell me. You know what I’m saying? No disrespect to you, and I’m not blaming it on you, but you had to think about it.
Nick:I was trying to find somebody.
Nick:Shawn Davis had 12 tackles, but then on the big touchdown Marco Wilson gives up, I watched it back, and I was talking to our friend, one of our coworkers, Richard Johnson, and we’re sending gifs and clips back and forth while I’m in the airport today. Shawn Davis was supposed to be up top helping out Marco Wilson on that play.
Nick:Instead, he looks and sees that Ventrell Miller’s back is now to Kellen Mond, so he bites and tries to come up to help Ventrell Miller in space, because Ventrell Miller’s not good in pass coverage, and Marco, all of a sudden, is thinking the guy’s got a step on me, but I’ve got help over. Okay. I don’t have help over top. Try to catch up. Try to catch up. To Marco’s credit, he was there. He made up the ground, but you put yourself in position to make a play. You don’t make a play, and now it’s a touchdown.
Nick:Even talking to Chad, Marco’s dad, after the game, I said, I thought Marco was supposed to help. He goes, doesn’t matter. The help wasn’t there. He put himself in position to make a play. He didn’t make the play. End of story.
Andrew:Here’s the thing. People were jumping in Chad’s mentions and everything else. Listen, I’m not making excuses for Marco. If Chad’s listening, I’ll be the first to say, I thought Marco played really bad on Saturday, but I think if you ask Chad, he’ll tell you the same thing. Marco played really bad on Saturday. So, stay out of his mentions, first of all. He’s a father first off. He didn’t need to know that Marco played bad. I’m not making excuses for Marco, again. I wanted to say that. But yeah, like you said.
This is my thing too. I feel like last year Marco makes that play. You know what I’m saying? Then even on the touchdown where Marco was underneath, and they had man coverage, it looked like it was man with some underneath help, man on the outside. Marco was in the middle of the field, and I think it was Jaydon Hill outside, and Jaydon lets this guy beat him inside on the goal line at the snap of the ball, because he’s three yards off the ball. I just don’t understand it.
Then how many times, Nick, do we have to watch Ventrell and James Houston get beat by running backs and tight ends in pass coverage. It doesn’t work. The thing is I know everyone says, you’re an armchair quarterback. It doesn’t matter. If I know from home watching those two guys, and I can go to Vegas and bet $1,000 on it, if that was my last thousand bucks, then I’d guarantee myself to win money.
Nick:Back to your first point, there’s no need to be tweeting at the players, at the players’ parents. There’s no need. They’re the first person to know, I screwed up that play.
Nick:They don’t need you to tell them. I understand everyone’s mad, but if you’re mad, just stay off social media. If you can’t stay off social media, just stay off the athletes’ handles. You don’t need to tweet at them.
Nick:Tweet at Spivey. If you’re pissed off, and you want to yell at someone, it’s @AndrewSpiveyGC. Send him all your angry tweets.
Andrew:That’s fine, but when I’m a smartass back, don’t get mad. That’s all I can say.
Nick:That’s true. If you come with fire, he might send the fire right back at you.
Andrew:Don’t get mad.
Nick:To me, and I talked to a former player. I had a long night drive back to Houston from College Station after the game. Tried calling Spivey. He ignored my call. Didn’t want to talk to me.
Andrew:You didn’t try to call me.
Nick:I tried to call you. You didn’t answer. Wanted to talk about the game. So, I ended up calling a former player. They’ve played for McElwain’s staff. They played for this staff. I asked him, you brought it up earlier. I said, is this system too complicated? He goes, it’s not. Because that’s what I said. I’m like, I’m watching players not line up, and I know that defense you’re reacting to the offense, but three weeks now you’re seeing guys, right until the ball is snapped linebackers moving and guys being moved. Don’t go over here. You’re supposed to be over there. That’s why I thought it was too complicated. He goes, Nick, look at them. In the two-deep you’ve got 13 guys who have been in this system for at least two years.
Nick:It’s not like you’re playing a bunch of freshmen and sophomores that haven’t been in the system. Even Brenton Cox, it’s only his first year playing, and I gave him a little leeway, because he hadn’t played football in over a year, but you were in the system all last year. This shouldn’t be new to you either.
To me and you it might be complicated. If they threw the playbook in our lap, might take me some time. He goes, having played in it, it’s not complicated. I can’t make an excuse for guys who have been in the system for two and into their third year that it is complicated. He goes, there’s no excuse for that. He blamed a lot of it on not tackling and Covid. While I was in the car, Alabama was losing at the time to Ole Miss. He goes, look, it’s happening to Alabama right now. I said, listen, man, I can’t look. I’m on Highway 6. There’s no lights. The only lights I have are my headlights here. I can’t look at it.
That might just be him. Maybe it wasn’t complicated to him. Maybe it’s more complicated to a James Houston than it was to the player I was talking to. I don’t know. I’m saying it’s one player’s perspective, having played. He has more perspective than we do, because we haven’t played for them. We haven’t been in those meetings and on the field with this coaching staff.
Andrew:Here’s the thing though. You just said, not just but you made the point, and I’m not directing this to you.
Nick:It might be not complicated for him, but it might be complicated.
Andrew:I’m saying the Covid thing. When you say the Covid thing, that’s an excuse if you’re young. You know what I’m saying? That’s an excuse if you’re young. You’re not young. Okay. I can use that excuse for Ole Miss, because they’re putting a new defense in with DJ Durkin. Bo Pelini, this is his first year. I guess you could use that excuse for LSU. This isn’t an excuse at Florida.
Let’s just run through the four highest tacklers on defense right now. Shawn Davis. Senior. Been in there for a while. Ventrell Miller. Senior, been there a while. James Houston. Been there a while. Marco, been there a while. Mohamoud Diabate, been there two years. Brenton Cox, no. He hasn’t, only one year. Donovan Stiner. This is his fourth year. All those guys know the defense. That’s not an excuse for me, Nick. Okay. Yeah, poor tackling. It’s Game 3. That’s out. I don’t want to hear that excuse no more about that. I just don’t.
Here’s the thing for me. Sure, the defense may be behind the offense, but, Nick, Florida had one stop in the game. One. One. They had one in the turnover.
Nick:I just learned about this, shoot. What is it? It’s like the total number of yards. Somebody, I forget who it was, somebody did it for Ole Miss yesterday. It’s like the total number of yards an offense could gain. How many yards did the defense actually stop them? So, like if a team starts on the 75, and they score a touchdown, obviously the defense prevented 0 yards. Florida prevented, out of all the possible yards A&M could have gained, Florida prevented 46 yards total in the game.
Andrew:That’s awful. That’s awful.
Nick:If you take away the fumble, I think it goes to 106, out of a potential 600. Still awful.
Andrew:Yeah. That’s what I’m saying, Nick. Again, you’re looking at a situation here where your offense knew if they were not perfect, and I’ll ask you this question. When Malik fumbled, I said, ballgame is over. Did you not?
Nick:Well, yeah. Listen, there was a lot of they should just lay down and let them score. You’re not going to give up.
Andrew:Gervon had just blocked a PAT, and it somehow got over the goalpost. So, no. It’s just you had to be perfect in that game, and that’s unfair for this offense. That’s just unfair for this offense, when you look at how good they are. It’s unfair for them to have to be perfect, or it’s game over. I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is. Like I said, and we’re going to move onto the offense here, this is on the defense. This is on Todd Grantham. This is on his defensive staff. You have to figure out what this team can do decent and do it. Do it.
Nick:Yeah. Listen, I get what fans are saying.
Andrew:Just slow them down.
Nick:The buck stops at Dan Mullen’s desk.
Nick:Right now, listen, you’re not going to get wholesale changes in season, but at the end of the day, if this is what the defense looks like the entire year, with how veteran they are, and you don’t make a move after the year, like if it doesn’t get any better, and you don’t make a move, then it falls on Dan Mullen. Right now, this is Todd Grantham’s defense. This is Ron English’s safeties, who are not in position to make plays.
Nick:Who are constantly making mental errors. It’s Christian Robinson’s linebackers.
Andrew:Torrian Gray’s DBs.
Nick:David Turner’s line. It’s the defensive coaching staff. Florida’s offense is fine.
Andrew:Yeah. Here’s the thing. Even the defensive line is playing bad. Again, would the defensive line getting a better push help the secondary? Yes. That’s what I’m saying. That’s why it’s not just one particular position. It’s every particular position. Here’s the thing for me. I know you’re being nice about it, but the buck does stop at Dan Mullen. The buck 100% is on him to fix it, because guess what? You’re the head coach of this team. You have to do everything as far as being the leader of that. If that’s walk into Todd Grantham’s office and say, it’s put up or shut up time this week, then that’s what you do. Great football coaches around the country don’t put up with this for a whole year. They fix it and fix it quick.
Nick:Yeah. I think the only time Dan Mullen’s ever fired an offensive coordinator …
Nick:Yeah. It was literally when he fired somebody and then hired Todd Grantham.
Andrew:Yeah. Here’s the thing for me, and this is the last thing I’ll say, and we’re going to go to the offense. When you look at Todd Grantham’s history, it is what it is.
Andrew:Is what it is. Let’s go to the offense. Overall, the offense played great.
Nick:Real quick. Last thing on the defense. Where’s my notes? Got my notes right here. Okay. The drives. First off, it was looking like a boat race to begin with, but then Texas A&M comes out after halftime. You get your first punt of the game. You’re thinking, Florida has had four possessions. They’ve scored four times. Here you go. You’re going to start getting stops. Then the Aggies come out for a 10-play, 75-yard drive where they ran the ball nine times right down Florida’s throat. Jimbo looked at what just happened, and he goes, we can just bully Florida up front.
I think it’s what we were talking about earlier, where you don’t have Kyree, and now all of a sudden you’ve got a 240-pound strong side defensive end, and you got guys playing where they probably shouldn’t be playing. The Aggies ran the ball in the first half 11 times for 4.3 yards per attempt, and they threw the ball 23 times. Still not leading until late in the game. Ran the ball in the second half 27 times at just under 6 yards per attempt and threw the ball only 13 times. It wasn’t like the numbers are skewed, because they were winning. No, no. They came out, and they saw Florida’s not physical enough up front. We’re just going to run the ball down their throat, and that’s exactly what they did. Because of that, they were able to keep the ball.
Now two weeks, three weeks in a row, we’ve seen Florida only run 56 plays to somebody else’s 74. Right now Florida’s averaging 61 plays on offense, and their defense is averaging 78 plays on the field. Somebody asked me, why isn’t Florida scoring more? There you go. They’re not on the field. It’s a mixture of, mainly because the defense can’t get off the field. So, you’re getting a situation now where Florida’s just not getting enough possessions offensively, because the defense can’t get off the field. I wanted to hit that last thing on the defense before we get to the offense, because I think the offense is doing fine.
Andrew:Yeah. The only gripe I have, Nick, with the offense is that at times it feels like they get away from the game plan and try to score quicker, if that makes sense. You had the pass where Trask almost threw an interception. The offense is working so well that it seems like at times they try to force the issue a little bit. With the defense being so bad, you almost want to say, it’s okay just to slow it down some more. That’s tough to say with the offense, but I’m just saying if we’re nitpicking it, that would be kind of be there overall.
Running game still wasn’t there at all. Just 90 yards rushing. So, the running game still wasn’t there. The tackle play is just pitiful in the running game. That’s just what it is.
Nick:Yeah. The only thing I don’t understand, I mean, they’re really splitting the carries. Nay’Quan Wright had an awesome drive. Loved to see him. We just forget about him, dude. You know what I mean?
Andrew:I almost say he’s pushing to be RB1 soon.
Nick:I am afraid Malik Davis will get buried, because it’s just too many times you see him put the ball on the ground.
Andrew:Right. That sucks for him.
Nick:I should have looked the number up, because I think it’s such a great story, how many injuries he’s come back from.
Nick:It’s just it’s every season at some point he puts the ball on the ground once or twice, and then he gets buried. He did it late in the game. Listen, he’s not the reason Florida lost that football game. That fumble is the play that allows A&M to go down and kick a field goal, but Malik Davis is not the reason you lost that football game. I think he’ll get buried because of the fumble, and that sucks for him.
Nick:Dameon Pierce comes out. He just comes out, and he’s the first guy on the field. He’s the starter, and then he’ll get five, six carries in the first drive, and then he’s like, take a seat. Then you’re done. Interesting to me. He did have the touchdown on the catch, but then you see Nay’Quan Wright take over. Listen, I have no problem with playing Nay’Quan Wright. I just haven’t wrapped my mind around how they’re rotating the running backs.
Nick:Not a complaint. Just me just talking.
Andrew:Yeah. No. I think it goes a little bit to what we said at the beginning of the year, and that is none of these guys do everything well. You don’t have, again, I’m sure somebody’s gong to call me biased, but Perine could do all three and do all three really well.
Nick:I think Nay’Quan, at least to me, and you can disagree, but I think Nay’Quan’s probably the closest to that.
Nick:Watched him blow people up in pass pro. He can catch the ball. Obviously, looked great running it too.
Andrew:Right. Yeah. He’s the closest. I don’t think you trust Dameon too much in pass pro. I don’t think you trust Malik too much in pass pro there. Both of them are okay in catching the ball out of the backfield. I think Malik’s pretty good at catching the ball out of the backfield, but Malik’s not a very in between the tackles runner. So, I would say that that would be the kind of nitpicking there. It’s just, again, I don’t understand the lack of running again. I’ll continue to hit it on the head, and I know people have told me that I’m stupid, but the run blocking of this offensive line is pathetic. It still is.
Nick:That goes back to what we were talking about earlier about the defense. You’re just not physical enough. You’re not nasty enough. That’s what run blocking is.
Andrew:Right. It’s that killer instinct that you talked about. None of them have this killer instinct. I jokingly said, your most physical guys are Kadarius Toney, Kyle Pitts, Nay’Quan Wright, and Dameon Pierce. That’s bad when those are your four most physical guys. You know what I’m saying? The biggest hits of the game were those four guys. You know what I’m saying? Florida’s three running backs, that was the biggest hit of the game.
Andrew:Again, Kyle Trask had a really good day, outside of the one throw that I think he’d love to have back, but 23 of 32 for 312 and four touchdowns. Kadarius continues to do big things. Over 100 yards all purpose. Kyle Pitts, slow day. 47 yards and a touchdown. Out for a lot of the game. Didn’t play several times.
Nick:ESPN reported that …
Andrew:Something wrong with his foot.
Nick:Foot injury. There were internet rumors that he wasn’t going to play, and I thought that was crazy. We hadn’t heard anything like that. He looked fine warming up when I was there. I mean, I went to Academy. We don’t have Academy here in Gainesville. Went to Academy and got myself some binoculars. Who, boy. I was high up. At Kyle Field, I was high up, and I could see sweat on people’s foreheads with these binoculars from Academy. I’ll tell you. Also, Kyle Field, beautiful. Great stadium. Bluebell Park.
Andrew:What do you make of Mullen’s comments about the crowd?
Nick:I think it was a frustrated coach, an angry coach from losing a game misplacing his anger.
Nick:Everything looked fine from where I was sitting. If you’re watching at home, the Texas A&M logo, you’re facing the bottom of it. You’re looking at it head on, right? I’m at the top of it, so I’m looking at it upside down. I’m on the other side. So, apparently all of the packed sections were below me, harder for us to see. People are saying, the stadium is packed. You’re crazy. I’m like, it’s not packed. I’m looking at it. I’m here. What do you mean? It’s not packed.
I don’t think the count, I think they call them the war cadets, the men and women that are in the tan uniforms. I don’t think they count them towards attendance, because they’re there. They serve a purpose, but they’re also the loudest people at the stadium. They were packed into their two sections. I don’t know if they’re getting tested like someone on a sports team is. I don’t know.
They did not convert 80% of their third downs. They did not force you to miss 18 plus tackles.
Nick:They did not force Malik Davis to fumble. They did not lose the game for you. If you’re mad that they had more than 25%, which isn’t an SEC rule. There’s no SEC rule. The SEC shrugged its shoulders and said, we’re going to let the schools and the local government and the state governments decide how many people can be in the stadiums. Texas A&M could have had 102,000. If you’re complaining that they had 40,000, when you think they were only supposed to have 26,000, shut up. That didn’t affect the game at all.
Nick:When Texas A&M’s offense is on the field, they’re not loud until after something good happens, and your defense allowed good things to happen, so maybe they got loud after the play. A home crowd, when you’re on the road, is not going to affect the defense. When you go onto the road, and let’s say Florida goes into Death Valley last year, they’ve got a silent count. Florida’s defense is thinking, shoot, we’re going to be playing in a pretty quiet stadium for the most part when we’re on the field, because smart fanbases aren’t loud when their offense is on the field. They want them to be able to communicate.
So, no. It was just Mullen being angry. Him probably wanting more people at his stadium. It had come out that Ron DeSantis moved Florida into Phase 3 of opening everything back up, which means that Florida technically, not just Florida but the Dolphins, the Rays, every stadium can have 100% capacity. Florida’s president, while we’re recording this, President Fox, came out and said UF is firmly committed to following CDC guidelines. Every part of our campus, from classrooms to athletic venues, is being guided by our experts at UF health. They’re not going to have 90,000. They’re sticking to their 20%, which is just shy of 17,000.
I think it was just misplaced anger on Dan Mullen’s part. He knows that the crowd didn’t have that big of an effect. He wants more people at the Swamp. It’s not going to happen. It didn’t matter. The people in the stands, whether they were socially distant, whether they were wearing their masks, whatever, that had no affect on the outcome of the game.
Andrew:Yeah. We got a few minutes left here. Florida takes on LSU. We’ll get into that more on Wednesday, just had a lot to dissect here in the game. Let’s go over some players. I’m going to tell you this. Neither one of us get credit for a defensive guy. After that performance, no way. No way, Jose.
Nick:Yeah. I went through mine. Just quickly, three nos. Mine were Dameon Pierce, I said no. Shawn Davis, no. Marco Wilson, resounding no. You get no credit for Trevon Grimes. You get no credit for Zach Carter. You get a two-thumbs up, nailed it, bullseye, for Kadarius Toney though.
Andrew:My 251 boy knows what’s up. By the way, that poor A&M guy didn’t even know who he was about to fight.
Nick:Who? Oh, no, no, no.
Andrew:He thought 5’11”, little kid.
Nick:Kadarius Toney wants all the smoke. He’s about that. I don’t even know which kid it was, but I can tell you right now, he was biting off more than he could chew.
Andrew:He’s looking at Kadarius saying, you’re a little slot receiver. Yeah, boss.
Nick:Biting off more than he could chew.
Andrew:Yeah, boss. Wait till he throws that right hook. Yeah. Okay. Kyle Trask might have saved that poor A&M guy. Might have saved that poor A&M guy. Some good games around. Again, Florida-LSU. Got to get back on the winning note here. You hope Alabama knocks off Georgia, who looked really good in the second half against Tennessee. Tennessee’s better than I thought they were, and Georgia’s a lot better than I thought they were.
Nick:Look at the games real quick. We both picked Clemson right. Killed it. Both picked Oklahoma. That’s correct. I picked Georgia over Tennessee.
Nick:That’s a win. Oh, to cover.
Andrew:Did they cover?
Nick:They didn’t win by 12.5? What was the score?
Andrew:I think they did cover actually.
Nick:They did cover.
Andrew:Yeah. So I lost.
Nick:The little walk-on quarterback goes, I guess we cover, that’s good, right? I’m like, he gets it. He gets it. Keep the boosters happy. I picked that right. I’m picking games better than you this year. I picked VA Tech to beat UNC. Before I knew that they were going to be out 13 players.
Andrew:Yeah. Well, is what it is, my friend. Yeah. We both picked Auburn.
Nick:No. They actually won.
Nick:They won 43-41. I picked that one right too. That’s another win for me. We picked Notre Dame to beat FSU. We both hit the over on Florida-Texas A&M. I’ll be picking the over. Throw out a number, and I’ll be picking the over for Florida games the rest of the year. We both picked Florida. That’s a loser. I picked one, two, three, four, five, six out of seven this week. Not so much for Andrew.
Andrew:I’m 1-0 with the players, and that’s where it counts. Arkansas got screwed.
Nick:Sad day for me Saturday, only two punts in the entire game, and Jacob Finn shanked his.
Andrew:Yeah. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone on Wednesday. We may have a special guest. We may bring on some former defender and get him to break this down. Maybe do that instead of bringing on an LSU person, because I think fans right now would care more about learning more about what’s going on with the defense.
Nick:Yeah. www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. You can find the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Just search Gator Country. Hit subscribe. Never miss an episode. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew:There you go. Guys, we appreciate it. Getting ready for my Bravos to hopefully not lose to the Dodgers, so looking forward to that. Yankees are gone, go good day. Yeah. As always, chomp, chomp and go Braves.
Nick:Go Heat. Force Game 7. Burn the boat.
Andrew:There you go. Maybe you will. I don’t want LeBron to win. I’m just a LeBron guy. MJ is the goat.
Nick:Let’s go Heat. What time is the game? Is it 8:00?
Andrew:I don’t know. Here we go. See you guys on Wednesday.