Podcast: Recapping the Florida Gators win over FAU

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators 35-14 win over FAU on Saturday night.

Andrew Spivey and David Soderquist breakdown on the Gators looked on offense on Saturday and who stood out to them.

Andrew and David also breakdown how the Gators defense improved on Saturday as they now look ahead to Saturday’s game against USF.


David:               What’s up, folks of Gator Country? This is none other than your boy David Soderquist, along with Andrew Spivey. Andrew, we had quite a week of college football wrapped up in the books. Lot of teams struggled coming out of the first game of the season, and a lot of teams who actually looked impressive in Week 1 as well.

The first and foremost, we have to break down our takeaways from Gainesville, FL. The Florida Gators defeated the fighting Willy Taggarts here, 35-14. Now, Andrew, I know we talked a little bit last night on the phone about the game. I got to watch some of the highlights and go over the stat lines, but taking away what you did from the naked eye, what did you, first off, think about the crowd, because the crowd was pretty packed. The student section was sold out over there. I looked over there. It was completely sold out. Secondly, what was your overall basic takeaways, first off, just from the offense as a whole?

Andrew:           First off, how have we missed the crowd? Again, you take it for granted. In our lifetime, have we ever not seen, obviously, Florida’s had 70,000 for some games, 80,000 for some games, but we just take for granted what it is. You even saw it. FAU had some trouble at different times in the game getting calls in. Took a couple timeouts because of the crowd noise. Really crowd noise all around the country. Florida State, for instance, that was an electric crowd. I will say this. Good for them with Bobby Bowden being honored. Good for them. Good for them to sell it out and honor Bobby in that way. That’s coming from a guy who’s not a Florida State guy. I don’t care anything about them. Can’t stand them. If they lose every game for the next 50 years, I’ll be perfectly fine. It was good to see the atmosphere. It’s good to see the atmosphere in general.

Offensively, there was some struggles, but you put up 553 yards. It’s tough for me to say the offense struggled. To put it in perspective, and not to toot my own horn, not to toot the podcast’s own horn, but we said it. We said it last week. This team’s going to be 60-40, 70-30, run to pass. It is what it is. If you’re expecting anything else from this offense, you’re going to get disappointed all year. You might as well turn the TV off and cut off all your Florida Gator football stuff, because it’s just not. Maybe next year, but not this year with Emory Jones. I’m not saying that to get on the Emory Jones train. We’ll back that up in a little bit. We’ll talk about the Emory/Anthony Richardson battle a little bit.

When you look at the stats, 400 yards rushing and 153 yards passing. 153 yards passing is bad, really bad, but, again, when you put it in perspective that this team was going to be more of a run first offense, they had 400 yards of rushing. Most since the Cocktail Party in 2014 when Willy Muschamp decided he wasn’t going to bring any air for the football and throw it. It’s tough for me to say that the offense struggled. I said it on the podcast on Friday, I wanted to see the offensive line just get up and mash.

David:               They did.

Andrew:           For the most part of the game, they mashed.

David:               Yeah. You said 400 yards total rushing, which actually leads the nation for Week 1. #1 in rushing. 400 yards. A big part of that, and a lot of people were talking about it, and I was too. I was right there, right beside the tunnel. I got a bunch of good videos. It was a great atmosphere around there.

My buddy Joe that was with me there, we couldn’t stop talking about Anthony Richardson. 7 carries, 160 yards, and one touchdown. 22.9 average rush yards per rush. Anthony Richardson, I’m telling you what, man, he’s going to be challenging Emory Jones for that starting job, and that’s something you want to see is the backups being able to challenge the starter, because that’s going to make the starter just play that much better. You think Emory Jones, especially after his performance, which we’re going to get into later, you think after the performance he had last night, he’s going to go into that USF game next week and not think, I need to play better than this guy, or he’s going to take my job eventually?

Anthony Richardson, granted, his passing stats weren’t spectacular or anything like that, but you saw the athleticism. You saw the explosive playability that Anthony Richardson has. You saw him breaking tackles, stiff arming guys, jumping over dude’s heads. That guy was all over the place, and we haven’t had a quarterback like that since, I’m not going to say it, because I don’t want to compare quarterbacks, but definitely really good to see from a backup quarterback that was getting all the accolades in the scrimmages. Now you’re thinking maybe the scrimmage notes and everything were real. Maybe Emory Jones was struggling. Maybe Anthony Richardson was playing better than him in these scrimmages.

We’ll get all into that, but from what I saw, especially just from Anthony Richardson and the push that the offensive line was getting, I really like that. Hats off to Malik Davis too. 14 carries, 104 yards, one touchdown, 7.4 yards per rush. That is really good statistics for a running back. I’m really proud of Malik Davis. 2017 had an injury set him back and put him down past the depth chart. Now to see him in 2021 rush for 104 yards in his first game and a touchdown, that’s really good to see.

Andrew:           Malik’s freshman year. That’s freshman year Malik Davis. I couldn’t agree with you more. Proud of Malik. Happy for Malik. Finally healthy. The foot injury was definitely something that continued to bother him, and when you’re a guy like Malik, who relies on cutting and the shiftiness, a foot injury sucks. To see that, 14 carries, 104 yards, it could have been more. It could have been more. You see Dameon Pierce with the six rushes for 31 yards, and then he also had the five catches out of the backfield.

The backfield’s loaded. That’s what it is. Demarkcus Bowman had four carries for 20 yards. Like you said, Anthony Richardson had seven carries, and Emory had 10 carries. The carries, the 46 carries that they had in the game was divided by seven guys, including Nay’Quan Wright and Lorenzo Lingard also. You had a lot of guys touching the ball, but to see that was awesome. I think you’re going to really start to see some of the two back sets and maybe even have Malik split out wide a little. Now that he’s shown that he’s fully healthy and can make those cuts, get him those swing passes out of the backfield and just let him go. It’s going to be something to watch overall.

Like you said on the offensive line, really good. I was really impressed with Kingsley. Kingsley did really good at center. Stewart Reese, I’m starting to wonder if Stewart Reese wasn’t battling an injury or something last year, because Stewart Reese looked a lot quicker.

David:               He looked different.

Andrew:           He looked different on Saturday. Maybe it’s confidence. I don’t know. Looked different. His pull blocks were terrible last year. His pull blocks on Saturday were really, really good. Now, let me put that into context. Florida Atlantic’s defensive line wasn’t that good. Was that because of that? Here’s the thing for me, and I said this on Friday. I don’t care how good Florida Atlantic is. I needed to see this team push them around. That’s it. Mission accomplished on Saturday. Guess what? Do it again this week. Then you’ll really see what things are like in the Alabama game. I haven’t seen an offensive line make a push like this against a defense in a long time, so I’m very happy to see that.

I guess one negative was not too high on the tight ends’ blocking. We kind of knew that going in, that they weren’t very good blockers. Was a little concerned still with a couple of receivers and their blocking on the outside. Overall, a lot of positives. Rick Wells, man, props to the guy. He might be in his 25th year and graduating with his super, super doctor’s degree and might be a neurosurgeon by the end of all this, but get your first touchdown. All reports say the guy is a team player and everything else. You never have any troubles with him after his one incident his freshman year. Props to Rick Wells. Glad you stuck around and glad you finally got your touchdown. Even if it’s your only touchdown ever, guess what? You’re in the record books as scoring a touchdown in the Swamp.

David:               That’s right. 5 receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown, Rick Wells. That crowd when Rick Wells got that touchdown, they went off. There was a little section behind us that was chanting for Wells. They were going Wells, Wells, Wells. We were chanting for him. We were really proud of Rick Wells when he caught that first touchdown, finally, in the Swamp. Like you said, the offensive line, hats off to Jean Delance too. I know I picked him last week and said, let’s go. He wasn’t the best of the offensive linemen out there, but I did see some improvement from Jean Delance.

Andrew:           Here’s the thing for me, David. Not to interrupt you.

David:               Go ahead.

Andrew:           You didn’t have to say during the game, Jean Delance messed this up. Jean Delance did this. You didn’t have to say that. Guess what? It’s fine. I’m not sitting here being a Jean Delance apologist or anything else. I’m one of the hardest people on Jean Delance, because I love offensive line play. When you didn’t have to call his name, it was a good thing. Did he have some missed blocks? Yeah, he did. Was there some times where he allowed his guy? Sure, he did a little bit. Guess what? Overall, A+. Good job.

Braun came in and played a little bit of right guard too. Thought he played okay. I thought Ethan White played pretty good. Gouraige struggled a little bit with the speed rush on the outside, but in passing was really good as well. I’m going to give you a win on Jean Delance.

David:               You have to give the offensive line at least an A in this game, because there was not one play that I think that Emory Jones was pressured. Maybe once or twice. Maybe, if you want to put that. I didn’t really see anybody struggling in pass protection or, obviously, in rushing either with 400 yards of rushing.

We were just talking about this, despite the depth chart that you guys dread the depth chart when it comes out, we would see appearances from Lorenzo Lingard and Demarkcus Bowman. They both combined for 26 yards rushing on six attempts. Not really much of an appearance from those guys, but Dan proving that the depth chart is just the depth chart. It’s going to change consistently throughout the whole season and throughout the games. All you people that see the depth chart every game, don’t worry about it. You’re going to see more of Bowman. You’re going to see more of Lorenzo Lingard out there, for sure, with these two running back and two tight end sets.

How about Ja’Markis Weston, leading receiver here? Three receptions for 44 yards. Another guy that I had picked last week, I guess for the return game mostly, but I didn’t know he’d be out there receiving. Hats off to him too for leading the team in receptions.

Andrew:           When you look at that, you finally see what we’ve all heard with Ja’Markis Weston, and that is a guy who has that big play ability, the guy who is really quick after the catch. You saw that. To lead the team in receiving yards with 44 yards, it’s not great, but it’s leading the team in the receiving yards. It was good to see. I think overall it’s tough to gauge the receiver position in general, because you only had 20 catches in the game, and most of them were dink and dunks. You had Rick Wells with five, Justin Shorter with four, Ja’Markis Weston with three. Trent had one. Cope had one, and that was it. Xzavier Henderson was targeted once.

Would like to see the Henderson thing, that’s got to change. You saw that on punt return. The guy’s just electric. That’s got to chance. You got to get him more touches in the game. You got to get Copeland some more touches as well, somehow. Some shape or form. He’s just too good of a player to only touch the ball one time.

I think it’s tough to say. Shorter had the four catches for 11 yards. Nothing spectacular there. It was good see Ja’Markis get out there. It was good to see Xzavier Henderson on punt return. By the way, get Kaiir Elam off punt return. I understand you want him for hands team, but just no. No, no, no. Put Xzavier Henderson back there and let him go. Xzavier Henderson’s a receiver. He should have better hands than Kaiir Elam. That’s why Kaiir Elam’s playing DB is because he can’t catch the ball.

David:               Right. You make a point, man. I do like seeing Henderson. Henderson was pretty explosive in the return game. He didn’t return anything, but he pretty much was. Offensively, those were pretty good takeaways. To me, Spivey, and let me ask you this opinion too, it looks like Dan Mullen is trying not to give too much away before Week 3. I noticed that the offense was more dink and dunk. There wasn’t that many deep shots until you had Anthony Richardson into the game.

I don’t think Dan Mullen is trying to give too much away before Week 3. I wasn’t too upset offensively with the play calling, because I figured going into this game that Dan was going to try to dumb down the offense a little bit, try not to give too much away. If you look at Alabama, they put a hurting on Miami. I ain’t even going to go into that game, because Miami didn’t even have a chance. It was like 27-0 at halftime, and all the Miami fans aren’t back anymore, like they are always in Week 1. Dan, to me, looks like he’s not trying to give away too much. I wouldn’t even really expect anything in the USF game coming up either. I would expect them to try get up early, get up by two or three touchdowns, kind of dumb it down like they did with FAU.

There is a takeaway, a bad takeaway I have to take from this too. Florida could easily have been up 28-0, maybe even 35-0, before halftime, but Emory Jones passing wise, he wasn’t that good. He was, I think, 17 for 27 for 113 yards and one touchdown. Two interceptions for a QBR of 56.1, that’s not a good QBR. At the same time, one of the interceptions was in the redzone on the third drive of the game. Ill-advised throw. Emory Jones stares down his first read, which seems like forever. He doesn’t even go to his second or third read. Stares down the first receiver, tosses it right to an FAU defender in Deshawn Moss for an interception.

When you stare down your receiver for that long, it’s not that hard for your defender to get into the way and get an interception. He stares him down and throws it right to the defender. That was just a dumb play call, and this was about to be 21-0. You had FAU already on their heels at the beginning of the game. You take up seven minutes to eight minutes on two drives, scored two touchdowns. Then you get a forced fumble from Zachary Carter that was picked up by Gervon Dexter, and now you’re at the 49-yard line about to score again right at the 12, and then you throw an ill-advised interception.

Andrew:           They ran a high low concept there, where they had the safety kind of over the top. They had the corner underneath. I believe it was Malik. It was the running back out of the backfield. I believe it was Malik. Didn’t write that down. I believe it was Malik out of the backfield, and he had him wide open underneath. Take it.

David:               I think that was Nay’Quan Wright.

Andrew:           Nay’Quan. Okay. Take it. Dump it to Nay’Quan. Let Nay’Quan see if he can score. It was at the five. You like your running back one on one with a defender in the open field. Do that. Dump it off. I don’t want to harp on Emory, because it is Game 1, but there is a lot of what we’ve heard seen on Saturday. It’s concerning to a major degree. It’s got to be fixed, I think is the best way to say it. It’s got to be fixed. You can’t go into the Alabama game one dimensional. You can’t. Right now you’re one dimensional. You’re one dimensional.

You’re going up against a secondary of FAU, who we’ve heard all off season is the weakest part of their team, and you put up 153 yards. Again, you put up 400 yards rushing. That was your focus, but when you try to throw the ball, you couldn’t throw the ball. I go back to a play, a slant route to Jacob Copeland in the second quarter. Emory throws it 150 miles an hour, gives Copeland no chance. He went with the stand pass to Justin Shorter in the redzone. Justin Shorter scores. He throws it so low Justin has to go to a knee. He catches it on a knee. He’s down at the 10. You can’t do that and win. At some point or another, Nick Saban’s going to bring it, and he’s going to put 11 in the box and say, beat me throwing if you can.

David:               Right.

Andrew:           I don’t know that Emory can. I don’t know that Anthony Richardson can, to be honest with you, because he was three of eight. I will say this. A lot of his misses, they were just throwing it deep and seeing what they could do, with some of the second and third and fourth string guys at receiver. So, I don’t know that I blame a lot of that on him. I’m looking forward to seeing this USF game to see what it is.

I said this to you yesterday, David, and I’m going to bring this up. I’m not trying to throw a conspiracy theory out there or anything else. As a former football coach, I’m putting my quarterback who is my starter, the guy I trust the most, in the game at the end of the game. At the end of the game, 15 was playing quarterback.

David:               I noticed that too, which is funny. This is another funny story. I don’t mean to segue off of this, but if you watch the Florida State-Notre Dame game last night, I think his name was Travis something, the quarterback.

Andrew:           Jordan Travis.

David:               Jordan Travis. Once his helmet came off, you didn’t see him come back in the game for a while. McKenzie Milton was in there.

Andrew:           Did you see that Norvell, and I don’t know this to be true or not true, but Norvell says Jordan was feeling a little woozy after his helmet came off. Are you buying that?

David:               I’m not buying that at all.

Andrew:           I don’t know that I buy that either. I never want to question a kid’s health, but I don’t know that I’m buying that he was not healthy to come back in the game. Dan comes out after the game, and he says, there’s no quarterback controversy. Emory Jones is my guy. He’s the starter. First of all, I don’t expect Dan Mullen to say that. If Anthony Richardson is going to start on Saturday, Dan Mullen’s not coming out and telling a soul that Anthony Richardson is starting at quarterback. You’ll see 15 roll out there and start at quarterback. To be honest with you, I think I know Dan Mullen pretty well. He’s probably throw Emory out there for the first play, and then Anthony would play the rest of the game, because then he could say, Emory was my starter, because he played the first play of the game.

I don’t know that there’s a quarterback controversy, because I don’t know that Dan Mullen wants it to be. I’ll say this. At some point, Anthony Richardson is going to force himself into it being a quarterback controversy, whether Dan Mullen likes it, whether Billy Gonzales likes it, whether Derek McGee likes it, whether John Hevesy likes it, whether any of the offensive staff likes it. Good players force themselves into the role. It may be a point where Anthony Richardson forces himself into the role. Now, the counter side of that is maybe Emory Jones says, oh my God, I’m in Year 3, and I’m about to lose my starting job. I got to go. Maybe he comes out in the USF game and just shows out.

One last thing real quick. I know we talked about dumbing down the offense a little bit, because of the Alabama game. I believe that, but I don’t believe that. I say that tongue in cheek, because I don’t think the whole playbook was out there, especially formations and stuff like that, but I definitely don’t think Dan Mullen ever felt great about the game.

David:               I don’t either.

Andrew:           It was 35-14. Let me pull this back up. It was 14-0 at the half. It was 21-0 at the end of the third quarter. Never in that game did FAU feel like they had a shot, but 21-0 you don’t feel great about that. That’s a score and a turnover away from being a one score ballgame, as we saw in the Notre Dame-Florida State game on Sunday night. I don’t know that I fully believe that the offense was vanilla. I think at one point Dan Mullen just said, listen, FAU can’t stop the run, and we’re just going to keep shoving it down their throat. I definitely think he went into that game wanting to pass the ball more.

David:               Yeah. The passes weren’t accurate, not from Emory Jones. I hate to say that, because I’m a big Emory Jones guy. I love Emory Jones, but he was not accurate at all. The one that you discussed with Justin Shorter, that was a touchdown. You throw that accurately, that’s a touchdown. You leave some points on the board. Throwing that interception in the redzone, going into halftime 21-0, I already knew we left 7 to 14 points out there that we should have had.

I didn’t really too bad going into halftime being 21-0 but like you said, at no point in that game did I ever think that that game was going to be close, or we were going to lose. I never thought that whatsoever. I think that you’re right. I think Dan Mullen knew that talent wise and offensive wise and defensive wise they were pretty much owning the game. You hold FAU to 0 points into halftime. I think they only held them to like 100 yards total in the first half. I can’t remember.

That one situation where he did throw it in the redzone, it was 3rd and 7. If you dump it off to Nay’Quan Wright, say he doesn’t even get the touchdown, he gets to the two-yard line. That’s still three points. It’s better than 0. It’s better than taking a risk, throwing an interception, and not getting any points out of it. You just have to have better quarterback awareness of where you’re at in the game. You’re up 14. Don’t throw something ill-advised as an interception, even if you have to just take three points. Just take three points. If he would have thrown it to Nay’Quan, I think that would have got in.

Emory Jones, for his first game, I can’t say that he did really well, because he didn’t do really well, but I think that you see some of the precautions of being a first-year starter in your first game. I think you’re starting to see some of the ill-advised throws. I think maybe he was just testing himself to see if maybe in real gametime situations he could do this, he could do that. You don’t really know from Dan, because Dan don’t like to give too much away. I don’t care if Dan says that there’s a quarterback controversy or not. You got to be thinking you’re going to see a lot more of Anthony Richardson, if he keeps doing what he’s doing.

Andrew:           For a couple reasons. One, he’s forcing himself that. Two, at the end of the day, you got to win football games.

David:               Right.

Andrew:           If Anthony Richardson gives you the best chance to beat Alabama in two weeks, you better be ready. Georgia’s defense is really good. You better be ready. You better be ready for that.

Let’s look at the defensive side of the ball. We talked about the offensive side of the ball a lot. Let’s go to the defensive side of the ball. Gave up 353 yards. Let me look at this real quick here. Gave up 353 yards. 219 of that was in the second half, with 180 of that coming and the fourth quarter. I don’t know that I fully am worried so much about the defense and that. Again, a lot of the points and yards and stuff came in chunk time. Again, not considerably worried about it, as far as that. Had the shutout going until the fourth quarter.

Defensive line played outstanding. Jeremiah Moon and Zach Carter, good luck. Good luck. Jeremiah Moon is as healthy as healthy can be. I said this. He’s ready for a year. Zach Carter looks like a man on a mission to go be a first-round pick. It didn’t matter if he lined up at end, if he lined up at tackle. He was hitting the quarterback. He was making plays. He was really, really good overall. Khris Bogle was good. Gervon Dexter had two fumble recoveries.

Didn’t see the push really from the defensive tackles as much as I thought maybe they would in the game. Linebacker play was pretty good. Ventrell led the team in tackles, which you kind of expect against Florida Atlantic, who’s just going to run the ball and dink and dunk. Trey Dean played really well. The run defense was really good. The question that I still have a little bit is pass defense. N’Kosi Perry is not very good, 19 of 33. Could have been worse than that.

David:               There was a couple deep shots though that N’Kosi Perry could have had if he was accurate. Those would have been touchdowns.

Andrew:           Yeah. Some midrange passing games that could have been good, had he been able to complete it. I’m still concerned about the passing game. I still do not understand, David, and it frustrates me to no end. I’m getting mad. Why in the world in the redzone do you not play press man? Jason Marshall gets beat on a slant, and I can’t even blame it on Jason, because he was lined up six yards off the freaking football, and the dude ran an easy slant for an easy pitch and catch. Play press man. This is FAU, for God sakes. Just play press man and beat them at the line of scrimmage and be done with it. It’s frustrating to see. Can’t stand it.

So, pass defense is concerning. I feel really good about the run defense. Florida’s front seven is really good. Diabate played well. Hopper got in and played well. Ventrell played well as well. Amari Burney had the missed assignment in the passing game, but I thought he did okay in the running game.

David:               Yeah. You saw that play where FAU was in the redzone, and N’Kosi Perry goes to rush at a touchdown, and Mohamoud Diabate just lights him up. That was a good play right there. I saw that firsthand right in the front, in the endzone. Gervon Dexter, man, two fumble recoveries. I think it seems like a repeating occurrence with Gervon Dexter in Week 1 of games that he leads the team in total turnovers. Hats off to Gervon Dexter. Look at him.

Andrew:           Should I go to Vegas and put a couple hundred bucks that next year Gervon Dexter’s going to recover a fumble in Game 1?

David:               We should. We should do that for every week. Every Week 1 just put in money for Gervon Dexter to get some kind of turnover. Six total sacks and six total tackles for loss. Jeremiah Moon, Mohamoud Diabate, Antonio Valentino, Gervon Dexter, Princely Umanmielen, and Daquan Newkirk would all account for one quarterback hurry, while Brenton Cox would account for two, which amounts for eight total quarterback hurries, six total sacks. Florida announced it’s at 35 in total defense and opponent yards per game, as of Week 1.

What I did like to see from the defense as well, you didn’t see anybody looking around questioning where should I be? Every single defensive play they were ready for the snap. They were there. Nobody was questioning anything. There was barely any flags on defense either. We have to give hats off to that too.

In the passing game it was kind of concerning, because if you started right towards the beginning of the game, the third quarter going into the fourth quarter they gave up a total of 201 yards and two touchdowns just on three drives alone. Giving up more yardage than you did the entire first half and part of the third quarter. In the first half they only gave up 153 yards. Then giving up 235 yards in the second half, which 201 of those yards came in the last three drives of the football game.

I don’t, like you said, I don’t really look too much into that, because we said it last week, if the touchdowns come kind of in a garbage time scenario, I’m not really concerned. Florida did hold them under 20 points. That was one of the main goals I wanted to see. Can Florida hold a nonconference opponent, a Conference USA opponent, to less than 20 points? That’s what they did. They pretty much shutout FAU’s offense for almost three quarters.

The defense as a whole didn’t play bad at all. I loved what I saw from Zachary Carter. I loved what I saw from Gervon Dexter. I did love that big hit that Bogle had too on the quarterback. Florida pretty much did shut down this offense, even though they were dink and dunking. I didn’t like the five and six-yard chunk plays, but you’re going to kind of get that when you’re playing the kind of defense that Todd Grantham plays and the kind of offense that Willy Taggart wants to run. I wasn’t too concerned when I saw the five and six-yard chunk plays that FAU was getting, because Florida was basically, when it came down to the 40, 30-yard line, Florida was shutting them out. Florida didn’t even get them within field goal range the whole game. I know FAU went for a lot of 4th downs they did not convert, which is also good to see.

Florida actually shut down FAU’s defense pretty well. In the defensive statistic category, I would say that I don’t have any complaints on defense. They did get turnovers, which I wanted to see, but there was no interceptions. Primarily, when you’re playing a dink and dunk offense, the chances for interceptions are going to be slim to none anyways. It’s good to see that they caused a couple of forced fumbles there and got some turnovers. That’s all you want to see out of a first game and a first game defense. My opinion on defense, I have no complaints. A lot of the points were in garbage time. I’m pretty satisfied with the defense.

Andrew:           Yeah. I’m good with it. I’m good with it as well. I thought the front seven, again, played really well. Still some questions in the secondary, and we’ll see on that. The thing for the secondary is this. The defensive line is not going to give them much time to throw the ball, so if you can hold your ground for three or four seconds, probably pretty good. I still think that second cornerback spot is up for grabs. I still think that star position is up for grabs. Not sure that anybody really took charge at either one.

I thought Avery Helm struggled some. Obviously, Jason Marshall had the pass interference, and then gave up a touchdown. Elijah Blades didn’t play in the second half, after having a facemask penalty in the first half. Don’t know what that’s about, but we’ll see. Didn’t even dress out in the second half. We’ll see what that’s about. Jadarrius Perkins at times played well. Had a penalty as well, roughing the passer. Excuse me, facemask in the game as well. Overall, some questions, but more positives than negatives. For the sake of last year, you had zero positives very often.

Overall, very impressed with the game. I thought the kicking game was good. Thought the special teams was good. Ja’Markis Weston, by the way, on special teams running down there on that punt and making that play. Props to you, big guy. Make plays on special teams, and you’re going to earn your shot at playing on offense. You’re going to earn it. Props to you overall for that.

Again, takeaway from the first game, good job. You won. Move on to USF. Get better. Be better than Week 1.

David:               For Florida fans out there, it’s not too much to look into Emory Jones’ performance in his first game in Week 1. I think Emory Jones struggled with accuracy. I will say that, but I don’t think that one game and one week is something to judge a quarterback on. Now, you go into Week 2, you start seeing some of the same things against a team that just lost 45-0 to NC State in USF, then you might be able to talk a little bit.

Right now, I think Emory Jones is still kind of getting situated with his offense and all that. I know he’s been in the system for three years, so a lot of you fans out there say that there’s no excuse, and I’m one of them. There is no excuse. This was your quarterback, three years. This guy should be playing just as good as the backup or the people behind him. Overall, statistic wise, I’m not too worried about anything. The only thing that I guess jumped out to me and the fans was Emory Jones’s statistic, 17 for 27, one touchdown, two interceptions.

Emory Jones didn’t have a good game, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end all, be all. I think if Emory Jones comes into the second game, Dan Mullen is going to start Emory Jones. He’s not starting Anthony Richardson in the first game. That’s not a Dan Mullen move. He’s not going to do that. He’s going to stick with Emory Jones. His history shows, you’ve seen Dan Mullen, even when his quarterbacks were struggling, he still stuck with them to build their confidence. He did it with Feleipe Franks until that Missouri game. Kyle Trask gets hurt, Feleipe Franks is back, because Kyle Trask gets hurt. Dan Mullen isn’t afraid to pull that trigger when he needs to, but he’s not necessarily going to pull the trigger until it’s absolutely 100% needed. Dan Mullen puts a lot of trust in his starting quarterbacks, but doesn’t necessarily pull them away right away. We will see Emory Jones when they take on USF.

Andrew, pretty much the takeaways from this game, good and bad. If you look at it, there’s a lot more good than there is bad, so I think Florida fans should be optimistic about the team going into Week 2. There was some other games on the horizon.

Andrew:           One second, before we go there.

David:               Go ahead.

Andrew:           You got a win for Jean Delance.

David:               I did.

Andrew:           I think I got a loss for Emory. Not good. I will give you a win for Weston for special teams and leading the team in receiving, even though it was bad. It was not good. I get a loss for Copeland too, which I’m 0 for 2, and you’re 2 for 2. Let’s see. Your third pick was who? Trey Dean?

David:               Trey Dean. Yeah.

Andrew:           That’s another win.

David:               I was thinking that the whole time. I was like, man, I picked the right players.

Andrew:           I do get a win for Jeremiah Moon.

David:               Yeah, you do. You get a win for Jeremiah Moon. So, it was what, 3-1?

Andrew:           Yeah. Man, that sucks. Come on, Jake. Come on, Emory.

David:               David takes Week 1 this time.

Andrew:           You take Week 1.

David:               Next week we’re going to have to do ours for the next week. You’re right too. Speaking of that, Elijah Blades did not dress out for the second quarter. I was there near the tunnel. I was standing near the tunnel. I did ask Jaydon Hill what was the status of Elijah Blades. He said, “hamstring”. Now, that doesn’t mean it was a hamstring. Who knows what it was? All I know is it seemed like Elijah Blades was walking around fine. So, we’ll see in the next press conference what Dan says. It’s probably not going to be the truth, but we’ll see what he says in the next press conference about Elijah Blades and why he wasn’t out there in the second half, if he is asked. I would ask about it.

Andrew:           I need him to be on the sidelines.

David:               Yeah.

Andrew:           Even if you’re hurt, be on the sidelines. I don’t know what that’s about. I have some inklings about it, but nothing. I don’t know. It’s a weird situation. Weird overall. Be out there, be better. You were going to go into the game. Unfortunately, Clemson and Georgia had to play the same time Mullen versus Willy Taggart was on. Caught some highlights, what little highlights there were. No offensive touchdowns in the game. Trevor Lawrence isn’t playing for Clemson, so their offense isn’t very good.

David:               Yeah.

Andrew:           Man, oh man, that defense at Georgia. The five-stars showed up on Saturday.

David:               As much as I love to make fun of Georgia, and I did. I made a post earlier today that showed all the starting quarterbacks in the SEC that’s already played, and I said, which one out of these quarterbacks didn’t have an offensive touchdown passing or rushing? Not to make fun though, Georgia’s defense is nasty. They are nasty. When they come to Jacksonville, it’s going to be tough. I’m telling you guys. It will be tough to score on Georgia this year. I have to give my hats off to the UGA defense. They showed out. Man, I don’t think JT Daniels is all cracked out what he’s supposed to be, man. I thought that from when I saw him play.

Andrew:           He’s not winning the Heisman again this year?

David:               I doubt it. His defense might. Somebody on defense might win the Heisman, but I don’t know about JT Daniels. Overall, I didn’t really get to see the game highlights or anything, but looking at the game statistics now, not one quarterback on that team looked impressive. Not one. That was just one of those games where you have to gut it out with defense and which team scores the most. Penn State, the Penn State and Wisconsin game kind of started like that. It was 0-0 until the third quarter? There was a lot of low scoring games, surprisingly, that happened.

Andrew:           Not Alabama-Miami.

David:               No. I think Alabama-Miami was just a complete rout from the get-go.

Andrew:           David, but Miami’s back.

David:               Miami’s back. Did you hear the Alabama disc track from Coop?

Andrew:           Yeah. Miami’s back. As somebody on Twitter told, and rightfully so, Miami’s back to sucking like they always do.

David:               Yeah.

Andrew:           The turnover chain. How embarrassing is it? You get the turnover chain for two seconds, and then you have to take it off. First of all, I hate that. I hate that stuff. I do. It is what it is. Someone on TV during the Miami-Bama game said, it’s a reward, and it helps the guys. Are you crazy? Are you telling me somebody from Miami has to be praised and rewarded to want to go out and make an interception? Shut up. Get out of here. They want to do that, because they can go to the NFL. Get out of here. It’s not because of a stupid turnover chain or whatever it may be. Get out of here.

David:               No chains. No trashcans. Just turnovers. That’s what Dan Mullen said in one of his press conferences. Just turnovers. That’s all we need. We don’t need no chains.

Andrew:           We both got that game right.

David:               We did. Virginia Tech upsets North Carolina. A low scoring game. I know a certain buddy by the name of Will Miles who was happy about that game, because he lives up there. He’s kind of a Hokies fan as well.

Andrew:           Mack Brown is choking it away again. Sam Howell was the butt of a lot of jokes.

David:               He was. The biggest butt of all the jokes was Ed Orgeron and LSU and UCLA. How about that game?

Andrew:           Tell everybody what he said.

David:               UCLA took LSU to the woodshed. Before the game, Ed Orgeron yelled at a fan and said, what was it? “Take that sissy blue shirt off.”

Andrew:           Go Tigers.

David:               Well, the sissy blue shirt beat the sissy blue out of you. That’s what happened.

Andrew:           Here’s my thing for that, David.

David:               What’s that?

Andrew:           I’m okay with Orgeron saying that. I’m okay with it. To me, that’s what college football is about, that rivalry, that trash talk. I don’t want to say hatred, because I don’t think that there was any hatred around. That’s what college football is about. That’s what separates it from the NFL is that. I have no problem with him saying that. Did it come back to bite him in the butt, and now he’s the butt of all jokes? Sure, but I have no problem with him saying that. We all love Steve Spurrier because of one reason. Well, several reasons, but we still love Steve Spurrier because of his jokes he makes. The crayons at Auburn, the can’t spell citrus without Tennessee. We love him because of that. I have no problem with Orgeron saying that. People are hating on him on social media about it. I have no problem with it. I think it’s okay.

David:               Actually, when I got shown that video, my buddy Joe showed me the video of Ed Orgeron when I first saw it, and I actually laughed. I thought that was pretty funny.

Andrew:           Yeah.

David:               Ed Orgeron definitely, he’s the butt of the UCLA jokes now today. At least he had the fire for his team, and he was able to say something like that. Now the game that I think we predicted Indiana to win. Iowa took them to the woodshed, 34-6.

Andrew:           That wasn’t a good one at all. That one was bad.

David:               How about Montana upsetting Washington, 13-7?

Andrew:           Come on. What is going on? Vanderbilt, they got smoked. Mississippi State barely beats Louisiana Tech. What was the Texas score? I’m looking here for it.

David:               38-18, Texas took them to the woodshed in that.

Andrew:           That was a close game. 7-0 late in the second quarter. You got that one right. I got that one wrong.

David:               I figured Sarkisian being there at Texas would bolster the offense, kind of did a little bit. You were right, it was pretty close until you got into that third, fourth quarter.

Andrew:           Then the Florida State game.

David:               That’s the one I want to get into, man. I’m going to tell you this. Florida State looks better. You can tell that they’re better coached than they were with Willy Taggart. You could tell Notre Dame had the better talent. That quarterback was getting rushed all game.

Andrew:           Right.

David:               They coached that game better to make that game close, and it was a home game, so the crowd being a factor was also, obviously, the crowd helps in all those aspects. Florida State actually impressed me a little bit last night, but I do think every year I always know Notre Dame’s overrated. Now I’m curious to see how many games Notre Dame loses, or how many close games they have the rest of the year. How about Norvell icing his own kicker, man?

Andrew:           That was terrible. Notre Dame is what they are. They’re always overrated. Whatever. I hate to say it, but Florida State’s better. Here’s the thing for me. Props to Mckenzie Milton.

David:               Yeah.

Andrew:           That just shows you if you have faith, and you believe in yourself, and you trust the process, and you put your heart and soul into playing again, you can do it. To see what he came back to. Obviously, they didn’t win the game, but props to that guy. I hope Florida State loses every football game in the world, but I hope Mckenzie Milton does really well. I do. I think so. Overall, Florida State’s better.

David:               Yeah.

Andrew:           How good they are, we’ll see. I have my doubts about how good Notre Dame really is, so that’s that. Be interesting to see does Norvell take the approach of Jordan Travis is still my quarterback, or is it Mckenzie Milton is my quarterback? That’ll be interesting to see going forward, but they’re definitely there.

Again, I don’t like Florida State, but I thought it was awesome to hear Dope back to full force. I love going to opposing stadiums when it’s packed and screaming and hollering. Good to see that. Like I said before, good of them. Honoring Bobby Bowden. Good for them.

David:               Jashaun Corbin had 144 yards rushing, 15 carries.

Andrew:           Coming back from injury.

David:               Coming back from an injury. Mckenzie Milton went five for seven, 48 yards. He didn’t play a lot, but when he was in the game, it looked like he was the better quarterback. I think he was a lot better than Jordan Travis. Props out to him, after having that gruesome leg injury over there at UCF. Props to him. He’s coming back. Maybe if Mckenzie Milton starts for Florida State, some teams all you need is a quarterback. All you need is a good quarterback to make a team that’s very untalented way better.

Andrew:           Clemson doesn’t look good. Miami’s trash.

David:               Welcome to Week 1 of college football, man.

Andrew:           Welcome to Week 1. Let’s wrap it up here. Florida, again, travels to Tampa to take on South Florida, 1:00 on Saturday. South Florida’s not very good, but we’ll get into that more on Friday. Again, you hope to improve from Week 1 to Week 2. That’s your goal. Get better every week in all facets of the game. The running game was really good, but guess what? You can get better. Your passing game was terrible. Guess what? You can get better.

This team in South Florida’s not very good. Everybody can get better. There’s still a lot of competition. Gervon Dexter didn’t start in the game on Saturday. Maybe he starts. Avery Helm started at corner. Maybe he doesn’t start. Maybe Jason Marshall starts. I don’t know. Malik Davis started at running back. We’ll see. He earned it, but it changes every week. Lot of competition. Lot of places to get better, and a lot of places to continue to improve. Like you said, overall A+. Good job for the first game. Football’s back.

David:               Football’s back. Overall A+ from the offense and defense. I can’t say anything bad really. Emory Jones struggled a little bit but doesn’t mean that he will struggle in Week 2. We’ll just have to find out what happens when they go away for their first away game at USF. For Andrew Spivey, and for David Soderquist, that’ll wrap it up for this episode of the GatorCounty.com podcast. You can follow me @SoderquistGC on Twitter, and you can follow Andrew Spivey @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter as well. That’ll wrap it up, folks, for this episode of the GatorCountry.com podcast.

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.