Podcast: Recapping the Florida Gators win over FSU

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators win over Florida State on Saturday in Tallahassee.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre breakdown how the Gators offense looked and how Feleipe Franks performed on Saturday.

Andrew and Nick also breakdown the defense and give their final thoughts on the regular season for the Gators, plus we talk recruiting for Florida.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we’re here. We’re talking. Breaking news, Gators win in Tallahassee. End the streak, and the bowl streak for FSU, their winning record streak. All things are good in Gainesville, and all things suck in Tallahassee. Life’s perfect.

Nick:                         It was a dominating win. Florida’s feeling good about itself, and Florida State, they’ll be home for Christmas.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Their bowl shirts are already out. They didn’t even have to wait.

Nick:                         Bad year out West.

Andrew:                 Bad, bad year. Nick, I think, I don’t think, I know, the season in general for FSU was kind of summed up on Saturday. Terrible stupid penalties. Stupid penalties. Not having 11 guys on the field. Chauncey Gardner was motioning to the sideline at one time telling them to bring someone else on the field, because they had 10. That was the first play of the drive. They had that happen several times late in the game.

Nick:                         That was embarrassing.

Andrew:                 That was embarrassing.

Nick:                         To have your opponent tell you, hey man, you need somebody else. Not a good look.

Andrew:                 I think several things. That false start penalties, just the dumb penalties. Nick, I say this, and I’m one of the bigger Jim McElwain fans out there, but did that not look like the Will Mushcamp/Jim McElwain eras at Florida?

Nick:                         Yeah. Hapless on offense. Missed assignments on defense, and undisciplined. Undisciplined is what you’re really talking about.

Andrew:                 Unorganized.

Nick:                         Yes. Disheveled.

Andrew:                 It looked like it was their first day on the job, I guess is what I’m trying to say.

Nick:                         It was a mess. They looked like it was maybe Week 1 or a scrimmage in training camp.

Andrew:                 Right. It was bad. It was bad. Like I said, you had the Stanford Samuels penalty that was just stupid. Stupid penalty. Several other penalties that were just dumb penalties. It was one of those that was just, what are you thinking? Very undisciplined, like you said. Just some weird stuff going on for them.

You and I said going into the week, and we talked all week, about how bad their offensive line was, but, Nick, be honest with me. You didn’t think they were that bad did you? I mean, I knew they were bad, but that bad? That was bad.

Nick:                         I mean, not to take anything away from Florida, because Florida played well, but they beat themselves. Florida State got beaten by Florida and then beat themselves as well. They didn’t do themselves any favors with the penalties and just stupid things. It was like you needed to play your best game to beat Florida, and you didn’t even come close to doing that, because you started the game by beating yourself.

Andrew:                 How many times have we said that over the last few years, that Florida couldn’t beat themselves? It’s nice to be able to say that about the rest of them.

Nick:                         Nice not to have to watch that on a weekly basis anymore.

Andrew:                 For real. 41-14, and it could have been a lot worse, Nick. Florida in the first quarter, first half, left so many points on the board. I mean, it was 13-7 at halftime. Florida turned the ball over on downs inside the red zone, had to settle for two field goals. They had good field position and didn’t capitalize. It could have been a lot worse. That 13-7 could have very easily been 24-7, 27-7, something like that, at the beginning of the second half.

Nick:                         I think that was, at least for me, at halftime I was worried about that. Florida had gone down into the red zone, I think four times. Had one touchdown, a turnover on downs, and two field goals at halftime.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         To me, it was pretty clear early on that Florida was the better team, but it started to feel like are they letting FSU hang around?

Andrew:                 Right. It kind of looked like, when Florida State went down and drove towards the end of the first half, and then you had the one play where they had the call, I mean the touchdown called back, was it Cam Akers long pass and catch? You kind of thought maybe FSU is starting to figure it out a little bit. Like you said, did the points that was left on the field kind of come back to haunt them? But it didn’t.

I said this last week, and you said it as well. Don’t let Florida State feel like they had a chance in the game, and in the second half they decided they didn’t have a chance in the game. Florida really put the foot on their neck. Credit to Mullen as well. Once he got up he didn’t go into conservative play calling. He was still ramping up his plays.

Nick:                         I like to see that. I think he probably got the sense too that we’re letting this team hang around. Once you get up like that, and you already have the sense of we’re letting this team hang around a little too much, you’re not going to go conservative. You’re like, listen, if my play calling goes conservative, then that kind of lets the team know that we can take it off too. Then the last thing you needed was FSU to come back and score and think, game on, we’re still in it.

Andrew:                 Right. I thought that coming out of the gate in the second half with such a big momentum boost for Florida, and kind of a killer to FSU. You start that third quarter. You go down there, you score a touchdown. You kind of, 12 plays, 75 yards in four minutes was that drive. It was one of those that kind of came out there, and once that happened, it was like, boom. Then Florida State didn’t score the rest of the way, or didn’t score right off the bat. They ended up scoring in the third quarter, but still it was one of those where Florida came out and kind of possessed their way.

You and I, again, have been critical of Feleipe, but respectful of Feleipe, in my opinion. Doing our job. I’ll say this. I know you may disagree with this, but I thought Feleipe had probably his second-best game of the year on Saturday. 16 of 26. He had 10 incompletions, but a lot of those were throwaways. For the most part, Nick, and you and I talked about this last week, could he hit the deep balls? For the most part, he did.

Nick:                         That was something that Bud Elliott told us on Wednesday would be key, and it was. We didn’t see it too much from Feleipe throughout the year, but he made those plays when he needed to. I don’t think at any point, like Deondre Francois started off, what was that? Like 2 of 6?

Andrew:                 Something. It was bad. Yeah.

Nick:                         Franks never had more than two incompletions in a row throughout the whole game.

Andrew:                 Right. I think, to me, Nick, what stood out to me about Feleipe was throughout the entire game it was you never really seen him get down on himself. You and I have talked about that a lot with Feleipe. You can tell a lot about how Feleipe’s game is going to go by what he does early on. That’s not nothing against Feleipe, but that’s just kind of the player he is. He’s a very emotional guy who kind of doesn’t, it’s like we always talk about in golf, you can’t let one swing go to the next swing, and that’s kind of how it is with quarterbacks. You can’t let one bad pass continue on. That was something Feleipe didn’t have really a big issue with on Saturday was allowing on play to kind of carry over. I thought that was big for him.

I go to one play, Nick, and I know you disagree with me, and I’m going to argue my point with you here till the cows come home. That ball to Van Jefferson, where he had to dive, and I know you’re going to argue it, and go ahead, but that was a beautiful pass where only Van Jefferson could catch it.

Nick:                         It was a good pass. Why would I argue that?

Andrew:                 You were saying he should have threw it earlier to Van.

Nick:                         Oh. He had him earlier. I don’t think he felt comfortable making the throw earlier.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         During the game, I told you he was probably a second to two seconds, Van Jefferson was just open. He could have thrown it earlier to a spot. I just don’t think the was comfortable in the pocket.

Andrew:                 Okay. Yeah.

Nick:                         It wasn’t he didn’t see him. He saw. He was starring at Van.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         I just didn’t think he felt comfortable to step up in the pocket and throw it at the time, when Van was open.

Andrew:                 Okay. That was my fault then. I thought you were saying it was on that. I did, I seen a couple say, if he’d have thrown a better ball, it would have been a touchdown. No. There was no way you were throwing a better ball to that. If you threw it right on Van, it’s picked off. If you led him any more, he doesn’t catch it. It was a beautiful ball there. Nick, a couple other plays that stood out, the big ball to Trevon, and then the ball, and I know he’s wide open, to Van for that touchdown, that long touchdown. I know it was wide open, but, Nick, that’s been balls he’s missed all year long.

Again, I’m not coming on here telling you guys that Feleipe is going to win the Heisman next year or whatever else. I’m sitting here doing exactly what I always do, and that’s evaluating Feleipe’s game. I thought he had a better game. One thing that I really did like with him was he was reading on the read option, and he was keeping it a little bit more in the game. Had 12 carries for 46 yards. A couple of those didn’t go for very much, but he had some good pulls in the game and ran when he needed to run.

Nick:                         Yeah. Had some good pulls. There was one play, it was in the first quarter, that Mullen kind of blew up on him. I can’t remember the exact play. It looked like a read, like a read option, and I think he just maybe made the wrong read, or maybe called the wrong play. Mullen kind of blew up on him. I think it was on the turnover on downs in the red zone early. For the most part, I agree with you. I think Feleipe had a very good game.

Andrew:                 I would too. Outside of the LSU game, I thought it was his best game of the year. I thought it was, and that’s saying a lot, because I thought the South Carolina game was a good game for him as well.

Let’s go to the running game next.

Nick:                         Here. Let me.

Andrew:                 Go ahead.

Nick:                         I posted on our message board, and I think I tweeted it, Feleipe Franks, just the improvement. This is just regular season numbers. From 2017 he completed 54.6% of his passes for 1,438 yards, nine touchdowns, eight picks. This year completed 58.5%, still not great. You want to see that number probably above 60, but an improvement from the year before. For 2,284 yards, 23 touchdowns to six interceptions, and six rushing touchdowns. Feleipe Franks, after the bowl game, is going to have 30 touchdowns this year.

Andrew:                 Right. That’s the most since Tebow. Something else, Nick, you’ve had the same starting quarterback every game this year. It’s been a while since that happened.

Nick:                         Oh gosh. It’s been too long.

Andrew:                 Again, you start to see him get a little bit more comfortable in this offense, and that’s a big key. Next I wanted to talk about the running backs. Again, we talk about the running game. We thought that was going to be big. 282 yards again, Nick. For the first time in a long time, Florida has two running backs over 700 yards rushing in Perine and Scarlett.

Nick:                         When was the last time that happened?

Andrew:                 Give me a second here. I’ll be honest, Nick. I didn’t go into the year believing that that would happen. I didn’t think that you would have two guys over 700 yards. A lot of that reasoning for that was I didn’t believe that this team could block enough for it. It was the first time since 2009 that two Florida Gators have 700+ rushing yards in a season. The last time it happened, Tebow and Demps. Tebow had 910.

It was a good game. Lamical set a career high in rushing yards with 129 and had that long 74-yard run. Then Scarlett was doing what I thought Jordan Scarlett was going to do all year, and that was just light people up. Dontavious Jackson probably still has a headache from Jordan Scarlett’s hit. He lowered the boom to him.

Nick:                         My goodness. Oh my goodness. That was vicious.

Andrew:                 He looked like a defender running over somebody.

Nick:                         That was bad.

Andrew:                 That was nasty in the game. Nick, the guy who to me shined the most, and I’ll give you a hint, or I’ll let you have a guess. On offense, the guy that shined the most to me.

Nick:                         Lamical Perine had a great game. Trevon Grimes had a great game. I’m going to go with Perine though.

Andrew:                 Trevon Grimes is the guy.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 After the last few weeks, and listen, the stories are out there about what happened. He hasn’t, let’s just be honest, he hasn’t had the season many expected him to have. He’s kind of been buried a little bit behind guys on the year, on the depth chart and that kind of stuff. Overall, that was a great game by him on Saturday. Five catches for 118 yards. I’ll be honest, Nick, that’s kind of what I expected from Trevon Grimes on the year. I expected Trevon Grimes to be a guy who consistently was anywhere from 80-100 yards receiving and making those big grabs, like he did. I mean, he’s a big guy, Nick. He’s a big physical guy, and he showed that on Saturday.

Nick:                         Little puzzling to me, because he’s been behind Tyrie Cleveland.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Obviously, that’s where all the extra reps come from yesterday.

Andrew:                 Right. Again, that’s nothing against Tyrie Cleveland. Even when Trevon’s been in the game, for the most part, he’s kind of been MIA a little bit. Again, that could be practice. There’s several things that people can say and point to. The little bit of rust from last year could very easily be a part of that. Again, for me, seeing Trevon step up and do what he did on Saturday is exactly what I kind of expected to start seeing from Trevon earlier in the year.

Nick:                         What we saw yesterday, that’s really what I expected. There was one pass, I mean, the touchdown, like we talk about it with basketball players, when you box out. Just used his size to box out. Feleipe threw 120-mile an hour fastball. That’s a situation where he needs to. He needed to throw the ball that hard, because it was a tight window, and he had to get it in there. That was a great play overall. There was another ball that he led Grimes perfectly. That’s a great little combination coming back next year.

Andrew:                 Yeah. You talk about Feleipe on his throws. A ball that stuck out to me, and you’re going to laugh when I say this, and people may laugh, was the little three-yard, I call it a little bit of a swing pass, but it’s not a swing pass. It’s more of just a flat for Josh Hammond on the goal line. To see him do that. When I say see him do that, it should be an easy throw, but for Feleipe taking velocity and miles per hour off of the ball is key. To see him do that on Saturday was key. I thought that was a big thing to see him really go from throwing the ball so hard to just being able to dump it off.

Nick:                         It’s a step in the right direction for his progression.

Andrew:                 Yes. Understanding sometimes I need to throw the ball 100-miles an hour and sometimes it’s okay just to lob it over there. That’s a big part of his game and a big part of his learning tree. You say Van as well, Nick. I thought Van had a good game as well. When you look at what he did on the game, he didn’t go 100, was right at 92 yards, but still he had a touchdown. He had those two big grabs, the long touchdown and then the really good catch that we just talked about on the ball from Feleipe.

Nick:                         Really good game from Feleipe. I think also, really it’s not that the running game, Florida was kind of just firing on all cylinders in all three phases.

Andrew:                 500 yards for three straight games.

Nick:                         First time since 2008, when guess who was calling plays?

Andrew:                 Exactly.

Nick:                         I think the passing game kind of just complemented the running game, and the running game helped and complemented the passing game. Special teams was good. Props to FSU’s punter. That dude can kick it. He kept them in the game in the first half.

Andrew:                 Yeah. He kept them in the game. By the way, Nick, I want to ask you that. Did you know that rule about being outside the tackle box for the punter? I’m going to be honest. I didn’t.

Nick:                         Had no idea.

Andrew:                 I had no clue.

Nick:                         No idea.

Andrew:                 I thought you couldn’t touch the punter period.

Nick:                         Had no idea.

Andrew:                 I had zero ideas on that. Again, like you said, overall a really good game. I know Mullen talked on Monday of last week about how he thought it was a big game, but he didn’t think it would be a deciding factor in recruit’s minds. Nick, you and I have heard all week that wasn’t the case. Mullen understood how important this game was. Mullen got furious. He got intense about this game. Told those guys it was going to be win it whatever you have to do on Saturday. If that was bringing in Emory Jones to play receiver, and I’m just joking, whatever it was going to be to happen, that was going to be what they were going to do on Saturday. I think you saw that emotion all throughout the game. You saw that from a defensive standpoint as well. That defensive line, Nick, they were just getting after it.

Nick:                         I think in the first half FSU’s interior defensive line was doing well.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         But another good game for the offensive line.

Andrew:                 Brian Burns, Janarius Robinson, for the most part, I know they had a few big plays, but for the most part nonexistent on Saturday.

Nick:                         Those are dudes. Those are good, good players. Both those guys will play on Sunday.

Andrew:                 Yeah. They’re playing on Sunday. Brian Burns is probably playing on Sunday next week. That’s a big thing of what this team is doing. When you look at the defensive line for Florida, and the offensive line, you look at several guys contributing. When you look at the defensive line, I said it to you, Zach Carter had a really good game. Not only that, but you saw some of the interior guys start to play better. Jabari had a good game as well. You saw some guys step up and play well.

Then a guy that I think didn’t get a lot of attention in the game was Amari Burney played a lot on Saturday and played well.

Nick:                         Yeah. I’ll share a private conversation you and I had. You mentioned during the game something about Zach Carter, and I said to me the biggest thing is that he’s handled, he was a big kid coming out of school, big recruit. A lot of those that gets to your head. I said I think the most impressive thing to me is how he hasn’t let redshirting and then really just being a role player this year, hasn’t really let that affect him.

Andrew:                 Very good point.

Nick:                         Hasn’t changed how he shows up to the field, how he shows up to work. To me, that’s a sign of a mature player. You’re not really doing what you expect, or what you expected maybe for yourself, but you’re still showing up and getting after it.

Andrew:                 I think that’s a very good point. There’s been a couple defensive linemen, one in particular, who hasn’t handled it very well, and then you had a guy like Zach Carter, who’s handled it well. I told you on Saturday that I thought it was good for him to really get in the strength program and understand how to play the game. I think he really has gotten a lot better there.

Then, Nick, finally my guy gets his first pick.

Nick:                         Trey Dean.

Andrew:                 Finally, Nick. Finally. I’ve been calling for it, and he finally gets it.

Nick:                         Overdue.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Good game for him. Good game for the DB group in general on Saturday. Him and CJ Henderson played really good ball.

Nick:                         CJ Henderson played well. I feel like there’s not really anyone we could point to and say they didn’t play well.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I would say that. I thought Vosean had some missed tackles, but then had some big plays in the game as well. Thought David Reese had some big plays in the game as well. Then, like we talked about with that defensive line, I thought played well. Then, as bad as the safeties have been talked about, I thought they were really good in run support on Saturday.

Nick:                         Agree. I think, back to offense real quick, I think Perine and Scarlett both also were good in pass pro.

Andrew:                 Yes. Absolutely. You look at it, on the opposite side of things, Florida State’s running back group was terrible in pass pro.

Nick:                         I think the best thing they did was Cam Akers touchdown catch, that one-handed grab that he had. That was a great play, but other than that.

Andrew:                 That was beautiful.

Nick:                         Other than that, point me to something that was good.

Andrew:                 That was a beautiful catch. My stars, that was beautiful. By the way, Nick, I don’t usually give any sympathy to Florida State, but I feel bad for Deondre Francois.

Nick:                         He is probably happy this season is over.

Andrew:                 That man’s body is happy his season is over.

Nick:                         I was going to say, if he isn’t, his body is happy.

Andrew:                 That poor guy. Nick, I mean, good grief. There was times …

Nick:                         Deondre Francois is going to be in an ice bath until spring ball starts.

Andrew:                 I joked on Twitter. When you play backyard ball you rush the quarterback, and you have to count to four Mississippi or five Mississippi before you can rush. I said the defensive line were counting to half Mississippi and then just saying, we’re hitting you. There was nobody in front of them. Someone on Twitter joked, turnstiles would have been better for blocking for Francois than the offensive line. That was that.

I want to get to something though, Nick, that impressed me on Saturday. It was on the field, but it was off the field. What Dan Mullen did on Saturday, calling for the guys not to plant the flag. Nick, you know I’m the biggest person who likes to talk trash and get under rival’s skins and all that, but for some reason, Nick, and I can’t really pinpoint why, but for some reason I just thought that that sent a louder message to everyone than planting that flag.

Nick:                         What sent the message?

Andrew:                 Not planting the flag and Mullen telling the guys not to plant the flag and do all the stuff on the logo. I kind of felt like in a way that kind of sent more of a message of, you know what, we’re better than that.

Nick:                         Plant the flag. I like it.

Andrew:                 I would have liked it. Again, I wouldn’t have had a problem with it at all, but I thought it sent a bigger message. Again, that could be wrong. Yeah. Taggert though, some of the things I heard was Taggert was screaming at Chauncey and those guys not to plant it. If I was Mullen, and I did hear that, I’d have said, plant that son of a gun. Go get more of them and plant them all around that logo.

Nick:                         I think it started with Scott Strickland, who was down there, and he told Chauncey not to. Taggert told him not to. Some FSU players took exception to it.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Nick:                         Then Mullen saw it, saw Strickland. I think he really saw that a fight was about to break out, because the Florida State fans saw their coach. Not fans, Florida State players saw Chauncey doing something that they didn’t like. Then saw Chauncey and their head coach talking, and Chauncey was telling him, I’m going to do it.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         I think Dan’s reaction, at least in my opinion, from my view of it, was more of this is going to look really bad if we have a fight after the game. Let’s not do that.

Andrew:                 I like my chances with Vosean. I like my chances with Todd Grantham. I wouldn’t fight that son of a gun.

Nick:                         I think that’s really what it was. To me, that’s a college rivalry.

Andrew:                 Again, I like it.

Nick:                         Plant it.

Andrew:                 Again, 99.9% of the time I say plant it. I just thought it sent a bigger message. Almost like, you guys aren’t even worth that. Again, I think it was cool for the seniors and the juniors who are going to leave early to get that win and go out on a winning streak.

Nick:                         C’yontai Lewis was in tears. At the end of the game, I’m down on the field, and the game’s still going on. He’s kind of tears were rolling down his face. Guys were coming up and hugging him. He’s looking around. I think to him it’s just thinking, five years I’ve been waiting for this.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         Florida lost 37-7 on his official visit, and then he lost his four first games.

Andrew:                 Right. Again, like you said, it was important there. Nick, we’re going to do more podcasts here over the next few weeks. We’ll talk more about the season as a whole and all that good stuff. I wanted to get your final thoughts, just real quick, quick wrap up of the season as you head into the bowl season.

Nick:                         I think my initial thoughts are resounding success. Had a chance to talk to Scott Strickland after the game, on the record, off the record. Wrote a story about the stuff that we talked about on the record. There was a lot of people that, Chip Kelly aside, and he’s got a dumpster fire over there in Berkeley.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         Or not in Berkeley, in LA. A lot of people wanted Willie Taggert too.

Andrew:                 I told you. You didn’t want Willie Taggert.

Nick:                         Scott Strickland, when they moved on from Jim McElwain, his first thought was Dan Mullen, because he and Greg Burn, who’s the associate athletic director at Mississippi State, he helped Greg Burn hire Mullen. They had great success when he was there. The only reason that they didn’t hire Dan Mullen immediately was Strickland wanted to do his due diligence and go through the back channels and talk to the other coaches and make sure they’re not leaving any stone unturned. He came back to Dan Mullen. We questioned it. A lot of people questioned it at the time. I’ve said it for months now, Dan Mullen, because he knew the expectations and embraced them, was the right coach. I think right now Willie Taggert is worrying about recruiting, and Dan Mullen is doing that too, but he’s also going to have a bowl game, a New Year’s Six bowl game to prepare for. To take a team from 4-7 and to be worrying about a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Andrew:                 You’re going to finish, with a win in the bowl game, you’re going to probably finish top 7, top 8 in football.

Nick:                         Unbelievable.

Andrew:                 That’s huge. The difference you’ve seen from Franks, the offense in general. There was a couple of games, the Missouri game, the Kentucky game, and really the Georgia game, that we were like, what is going on with this offense? But as a whole, I can say that there was really never a question of the game plan. It was a lot of the execution. There was a couple times where I said, and you said as well, that I thought Dan Mullen maybe outthought things a little bit. Again, it’s kind of what you and I said before, and that is you can only put a band-aid on something for so long before some of the weaknesses come out.

Again, what he was able to do. John Hevesy, there is not enough praise that you and I can sing for what he did. I mean, this is an offensive line that, Nick, you and I, me more than anyone, would say you would know what these guys were going to do from the moment they walked out of the tunnel. Now, you pretty much understood what was going to happen. This offensive line was going to do a good job. Feleipe stayed clean for most of the year.

I want to say that what Billy Gonzales has done with the receiver core too was pretty impressive. To take a group that was a drop city, east and west kind of receivers, that didn’t care to block, and to do what they did, I thought overall was a successful year.

Nick:                         Not just winning games. Offense is back. You mentioned the 500 yards in three straight games, first time since 2008. I mean, other than a few hiccups, guys aren’t getting in trouble.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I would say that the team’s much stronger.

Nick:                         Without question.

Andrew:                 I would say that they’re definitely a team that is much more prepared to play a fourth quarter game. I would say that they’re a team that is a lot more disciplined, as far as they’re still getting their penalties and this, that, and the other, but I would say it was much better overall.

Nick:                         Can’t really say anything bad about the job Dan Mullen has done, at all. Nothing really bad to say. Like you said, shoot, you win a bowl game, you’re going to finish top 10.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Had good news off the field on Saturday too.

Nick:                         Nay’Quan Wright.

Andrew:                 Big running back. Nay’Quan Wright to commit. He’s a guy, Nick, had he not missed his junior year with a leg/ankle injury, he’s a guy that’s probably top 50 in the country as far as player goes. Missed his entire junior year, and then had a heck of a year. Going to pull the stats this week for a Carroll City team that was really good. Commits on Sunday. Again, it’s a situation where when you put a good product on the field people are going to see it. I asked him that specifically. I said, how much does seeing Dan Mullen’s offense get going this year pay off? He said it was huge. I think that you’re going to see more of that.

For all the faults Dan Mullen and his staff in recruiting, and I know people are hard on him, they may be the best in season recruiters. No, maybe not, but a lot of good coaches don’t recruit hard in the season. Nick Saban doesn’t get a ton of in season commits. What he has done, and what he’s shown, is he can finish strong. They did it last year. We’re taping this on Sunday, one year ago to the day that he got hired, and we all know how he finished his recruiting class last year. We’ll see how he does this year.

Nick:                         It’s interesting to see how he closed last year and how he’ll close this year. The whole switching, it’ll be interesting to me to see how they handle it, because last year with the early signing period was kind of like a feeling out thing. I’m interested to see how they handle it again this year, how all the coaches, all the schools, really handle it.

Andrew:                 Right. Exactly. It’ll be interesting to see that, for sure. Again, we’ll see just kind of how they can finish. It’s a big one. They need defensive linemen. They need some offensive line guys. It’ll be interesting to see some of these top guys like Chris Steele, Nathan Pickering. You still got Keon Zipperer, Lloyd Summerall, some big names out there that you’re looking to get or flip from schools, like a Michael Tarquan from Miami. There’s a lot of big targets out there, and they feel good on a lot of them.

Instead of having to go out and sell a vision, you’re able to go out and sell a product now. You’re 9-3, third in the SEC. Going to go play in a New Year’s Six bowl, possibly the Fiesta Bowl or the Peach Bowl. You’re not just selling a vision anymore. You’re able to sell a product. Not only that, but you’re able to turn the film on and say, look how bad this football team was last year. Look how good we were this year. Now tell me I’m not a good football coach.

Nick:                         The check didn’t bounce. You wrote the checks in the spring, and they did not bounce in the fall. You’re writing more checks this spring.

Andrew:                 Exactly. Go out and finish. I think that will be a big, big thing for this team and for this coaching staff. Again, a lot of positives to take away from this season. You and I will recap more next week and get into it. Last thing, the coaches could get on the road as of Sunday. We’re taping this, so when you’re listening to this on Monday, they’ve already seen Jalon Jones. They’ve already seen Mr. Elam down there. Charlton Warren’s already seen him. They’ve already went and seen Jesiah Pierre, the big linebacker. Already went and seen Tyron Hopper, and they’re going to go see Michael Tarquon on Monday. This week is going to be huge in recruiting. Everyone wants to be in Atlanta playing for the SEC Championship. Only two teams get to do that. Got to use this week to get a head start in recruiting, and that’s what they’re going to do.

Nick:                         Yeah. Larry was on the PJ this morning.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Wanted to hit on one more thing, Nick, what a football game in Aggie land.

Nick:                         Incredible. That touchdown at regulation from Kellen Moore, that was beautiful.

Andrew:                 That was something special, wasn’t it?

Nick:                         Yeah.

Andrew:                 Something special. Then, I mean, they were just throwing counter punches. Just throwing counter punches all night long. A&M couldn’t score a touchdown, had to set up for a field goal. Guess what? So did LSU. A&M couldn’t convert the two-point conversion, neither could LSU. LSU would score on one play, and then throw the two-point conversion, the same play, A&M would do the same thing. It was counter punch after counter punch. That was a great game, and that helped Florida.

Nick:                         Florida, with Michigan losing, Florida’s going to have to be rooting for Texas to beat Oklahoma, or no. Excuse me. Rooting for Oklahoma to beat Texas, because we’ve been talking about the New Year’s Six bowl game, and it gets a little shaky because of Michigan’s loss and Wazzu’s loss. Texas winning would really throw a wrench in there. Yeah. 74-72 in an SEC game. That was incredible.

Andrew:                 The good thing is, like you said, you get LSU out of your way, so that helps a ton. You got to root for the old Sooners.

Nick:                         Boomer.

Andrew:                 Boomer. That’s right. Really hoping our boy Willie Grier was going to take care of business, but he didn’t.

Nick:                         Almost. He can’t play defense for them.

Andrew:                 Defense is optional in the Big 12. How do you recruit in the Big 12 to play defense?

Nick:                         You don’t.

Andrew:                 I mean, that’s a question I have. How do you recruit to play? What do you tell guys over there? You’re going to come, and you’re going to play. You’re just going to stand there and look retarded, because you’re not playing really good defense. LSU wants to be DBU, come on?

Nick:                         Not yesterday.

Andrew:                 Come on. Any other final thoughts?

Nick:                         No. Ready to go.

Andrew:                 Tell everybody where they can find us. Got plenty of recruiting stuff, basketball stuff as well. Gators have an okay but not great time out in the Battle for Atlantis. Probably had a better time off the court, or we know they did that. Yeah. Check us out for all that good stuff. Get ready for early signing period. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out, and we’ll see everyone on Monday, or on Wednesday.

Nick:                         Still working on logistics, but might have a special guest on Wednesday.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Special guest.

Nick:                         Keep that under wraps.

Andrew:                 I think you guys would like to hear me and this special guest talk. I really do.

Nick:                         Maybe.

Andrew:                 Maybe. You would, Nick.

Nick:                         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 and hit subscribe. 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. 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.