GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators win over LSU on Saturday afternoon in the Swamp.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre breakdown how the Gators got the win on Saturday and what the win means to the program.
Andrew and Nick also breakdown the play of Feleipe Franks and how the game helped the Gators in recruiting.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country. Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, biggest win in the Swamp in how long? It’s bigger than the Ole Miss game a few years ago.
Nick: Biggest since them, for sure. If you say bigger than that, you’d probably have to go back to ’08.
Andrew: FSU game?
Nick: Yeah. Probably have to go back to those years to find a bigger win.
Andrew: It’s a big one, and, Nick, it’s a big one for so many reasons. Listen, the Ole Miss game would be so much bigger if the weeks following didn’t entitle what they did. I think you and I both would agree that the storybook of that year and the years to follow would be much different had Will Grier not gone down. In calling this game bigger, it’s crossing my fingers and knocking on wood that something isn’t stirring down the road here coming up for Florida. I don’t think so. Would be shocked if it was.
For me, Nick, it’s just a turning point. I think for the first time in a long time the national perception of Florida is getting back again. The perception on the recruiting trail is getting back again. The fanbase is always there, but I think fanbase even needs it more so than everyone. Nick, I’ll just say this again. We’ve talked about this over and over again, but the play calling and the work Dan Mullen does Sunday through Friday is crazy. Watch the Tennessee game, watch the Mississippi State game, watch the LSU game, and you don’t see the same game plan.
Nick: Yeah. Going to your perception, I think everyone on Game Day picked LSU. You picked LSU.
Andrew: No, I did not.
Nick: You picked LSU. It’s on the podcast. It was on the podcast Friday. You picked LSU. Everyone heard it. I picked Florida. I think you’ll start seeing some of that sway. Here’s a question for you too. I’ll answer it truthfully. Where did you think Florida would be, record wise, heading into Vanderbilt?
Andrew: Before or after Kentucky?
Nick: Before. Before the season started.
Andrew: Before the season started, I had the Mississippi State game as a loss, and I had the LSU game as a tossup. I didn’t have them losing to Kentucky. So, I would say one or two losses is where I had them. I thought that the State game was going to be an L, knowing what we did at the beginning of the year, just talent wise and that kind of stuff. Then I thought that LSU game was going to be a tossup game.
Nick: You had them at one, maybe two losses. You had them at 5-1 or 4-2.
Nick: Where did you have them after that Kentucky loss? At that point, they’re 1-1.
Andrew: After the Kentucky loss, I had them with three losses. That’s straight up. I had them losing to State, and I had them losing to LSU. There was no chance in hell that I thought Florida was going to go to State and beat State, and I definitely didn’t think, after watching LSU beat Miami and Auburn, that Florida would beat LSU. I just did not. Nick, go ahead and say yours as well, and then I’ll hit my point of what I was going to say next.
Nick: I think, before the year, I had LSU and Mississippi State as losses. I probably had them at two losses, and then right with you, probably had them at three losses after the Kentucky loss.
Andrew: Someone said to me yesterday, and I made the argument back, or not really argument, but I made the point back to them that the Kentucky loss was a good loss. Their point to me was if you’d have had David Reese and Cece, you might have won that game. Maybe, but I don’t know if Florida wins these last two games the day they did if they beat Kentucky.
Nick: That’s something I’ve literally asked every player I’ve talked to after each of the games in our post games interviews. I have asked them each time, and I get an answer of, yeah, I think we learned something about ourselves. We learned about our practice habits. We learned about not letting our heads get down. Listen, the Florida teams in the past, mentally that Kentucky loss probably ends their season.
Nick: I put it in my story on Saturday night. That four play 80-yard drive that LSU took the lead in the fourth quarter on Saturday night, the 2017 team, the 2016 team, chins get tucked, heads go down. That’s probably ballgame, because those teams didn’t understand that the game’s not over. Something bad would happen, and they would crumble. Yesterday, like Dan Mullen said, they got punched in the face, and they came right down the field after that and responded.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s exactly my argument. Not argument, but my point. The Kentucky loss was a gut punch, was a throat punch. Listen, you’re not going to be as good as you think you are without working hard. I think Feleipe learned a lot in that game. I think the entire team learned a lot, just what it takes. They were embarrassed. Let’s just call it what it is, Nick. You’re the team, like it or not, that ended the streak. You’re the team that lost. That was a sucker punch to them, a gut wrenching. Do we want to be now remembered as the team who’s now another four-win team at Florida and not go to a bowl game, or do we want to fix this? I think they have bought in.
The resiliency that I saw from the team on Saturday was huge. You go down 7-0, you find a way to rebound. Then you take a lead into halftime, and let’s just be honest with it, Nick, that play in the endzone went different, and Feleipe hits a touchdown to Moral and doesn’t throw a pick, you might be talking about Florida winning by three scores in this game. Didn’t happen. Threw a pick. Nick, I think you will agree with me when I say it looked like the team was headed for the last few years where it was we made a mistake, the game is over with. Fourth quarter, find a way. Go back, get the trick play, and things starting rolling again.
Nick: This team, that’s probably what the difference, in my mind, is. I mean, I was talking it with Mark Long, the AP writer yesterday, in the press box, and this team, it’s the same players, some new freshmen, but these are the same players that went 4-7 last year. I think he made the comment, something like how did Jim McElwain make this team so bad? Because they’re a good football team.
Andrew: They have talent.
Nick: How did he make them so bad? The thing that we came up with, or that we kept coming back to, is that mental toughness. I think it goes back to Kentucky. I think whatever Dan Mullen said and whatever happened in that Kentucky game they really took to heart. Maybe it was being embarrassed, but I think that’s working. The mental toughness, I think, is really the only thing that is different from the team last year. I mean, physically, they’re bigger and stronger, stuff like that, but even Nick Savage’s workout program, it’s not just being physically tougher.
We were talking to Vosean Joseph yesterday, and he’s talking about the rope drills that they would have to do. Not just carrying the rope when they’re running stadiums and having to hold it as a team, but literally just playing tug or war and having to pull the rope from their teammates. He said, we learned in the summer, your hands are going to start hurting. Your hands are going to start burning. Your hands might start bleeding. He’s like, but you don’t let go of that rope. I think that mental toughness that they’ve learned and they have is really the biggest difference. That’s crazy to say, because can point to how much bigger they look, and they’re more efficient and this and that. They’re doing this better on 4th down, and their 3rd down defense is better. To me, right now I think it’s their mental toughness that is the biggest difference from the team last year to this year, and that’s why the Florida Gators are 5-1 right now.
Andrew: Completely agree. There’s a couple things different. Let me start off by saying, Jim McElwain let talent. There’s talent on this football team. You and I have said this. There’s talent in a lot of positions. Feleipe was a question mark. The offensive line is still a question mark. The linebacker play was a question mark. I just personally think Randy Shannon is not a very good football coach, and that was a bad problem. That’s a story for another day. At the end of the day, the biggest thing is mental toughness. What happened in the weight room from January to April or March, and then after spring ball to start of fall camp, has really turned this team around.
Nick, you will agree with me when I say this, I think. When you go through that grind together, and you go through those grinds of 5:00am workouts, you go through the grind of the rope, like you said, coming back to win a football game is something. I mean, it’s tough, don’t get me wrong, but it’s something you’ve not been through. I don’t think this team was ever mentally strong.
Also, I don’t think that this team got very tired yesterday. There was one drive, LSU had 75 yards really quick on running. I don’t think it was lack of effort, by any means. I don’t think it was lack of guys being tired. I think it was just bad assignments overall. Listen, that happens in football. It happens to everyone. I think you would have seen this team be tired last year or the year before, or even under Muschamp and those guys. This wasn’t a team that was very tired. It was a team that seemed to get stronger as the game went on. You look at that last couple series for LSU, the defensive line, Polite, Cece, Jabari, those guys just flying off the ball.
Nick: I mean, how much money is Jachai Polite making himself?
Andrew: He’s retiring mom, that’s for sure.
Nick: Mom, you can go ahead and get that retirement plan ready. Mom, if you’re working right now, go ahead and give your two-week notice. Baby boy will be taking care of you soon.
Andrew: That’s what I was trying to think here. You got about three months until he’s done, depending on how far Florida goes, but three months he can go ahead and do that. Let’s go ahead and start getting into that, Nick. We’ll start with the defense. Florida, five sacks in the game, had the three turnovers. That was as many turnovers as LSU had in the entire year.
Nick: 11 tackles for loss.
Andrew: That was another thing. Joe Burrow hadn’t thrown a pick all year, threw two of them. It was just a situation where it wasn’t so much the sacks, they had five, but they had eight quarterback hits. Like you said, 11 tackles for loss, even when Burrow wasn’t getting hit, he was still pressured in the game.
Nick: Living in the backfield. That was the thing, he came into the game with no turnovers.
Andrew: No turnovers.
Nick: Not no turnovers, not interceptions. He had a couple fumbles, I think.
Andrew: Right. We talked about the tackles being bad, and, Nick, it was. They were chipping Polite with two guys, and he was still getting around them. When they did that, they were Jabair or Cece one on one, and good luck with that. You’re not going to do very much with that.
Nick, I think too, the thing that stood out to me was a couple of guys. Vosean, career high in tackles. 14 tackles. Monster day. David Reese, monster game. It seemed like him and Vosean were filling holes every play. Then probably the MVP of the game, if it’s not Jachai Polite, is Chauncey Gardner.
Nick: He was kind of everywhere. What really impresses me with him is his ability on like screens or passes, short passes, passes in front of him, his ability to come in and disrupt that. If Chauncey Gardner is on the side of the field that you’re throwing a screen to, it’s probably getting blown up.
Andrew: 100%. The thing for me, Nick, there’s a couple things for me. Listen, I’ve been Chauncey’s biggest critic, and I will say at times I’ve been his biggest fan. The thing for me with Chauncey is this, and that is Chauncey has really taken this role of playing that star position to heart. First of all, it’s where he belongs. He’s not a safety. He’s not really a true cover corner. He’s really taken that leadership role though of a safety. Several times in the game, he’s helping guys get lined up. He’s pointing out plays.
Nick, the thing that stood out the most to me with Chauncey is his ability to make tackles in the open field. No longer is he diving, trying to get out of the way, that kind of stuff. He’s actually breaking down and making plays in the open field. Playing that star, nickel, whatever you want to call it, position, you better make open field tackles if you’re going to be the type of player you are, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. I mean, 11 tackles, 1.5 for a loss, and several other times he was just in the backfield. For me, that is a key. Again, those three guys, Nick, outside of the defensive line, are guys that stood out to me. It seemed like every play Vosean and David Reese were just destroying holes in the play.
Nick: Yeah. David Reese, you mentioned it, I think when you picked him I mentioned I don’t know how much he’ll be playing, because he’s kind of limited. Was not limited yesterday. Kind of like what you said, get your cortisone shot and strap up.
Andrew: It kind of looked like he was going to start out limited in the game. First quarter, I don’t think he was out there as much as he would have liked, but then in the second, third, fourth quarter I don’t know if there was a play that he wasn’t out on the field, and it really showed. I think just the toughness of this team to do it snap after snap after snap. I mean, Cece, Jabari, and Jachai on the field every time, every play. Those guys are really doing the work of guys who are thinking about their future big.
Nick, I have a question for you. Post game, Joe Burrow made a comment that he didn’t think CJ Henderson was very good.
Nick: You got to put my boy in concussion protocol.
Andrew: What were you watching?
Nick: I don’t know what happened, but we got to get him checked out.
Andrew: Did he watch film?
Nick: If he’d have said a name, I thought maybe he gets the numbers mixed up, because a lot of times people will read it and think it’s disrespect, like in the week leading up, but when teams study film they don’t really know player’s names.
Andrew: Right. It’s numbers.
Nick: John Hevesy, I don’t think John Hevesy knows his own player’s names. When he talks about players, it’s 56, or we’re worried about #91 this week. Because when you’re watching film, that’s what sticks out. We got a number, and that’s what the number is doing. That’s how they know it. Then when they’re on a field, it’s easy to see a number. So he’s like, CJ McWilliams was better than I thought, I’m like, okay, maybe he thought CJ McWilliams, or not CJ McWilliams, CJ Henderson, wore #12. Maybe that’s why he would think that he’s bad, but if you call him by #5, I don’t know what you’re looking at. He literally said, 5 was better than I thought he was. What were you watching?
Andrew: A lot of that goes to how they do scout team. They’ll say, I’m just trying to think of a corner that we don’t see very much in a game for Florida. Throw me a freshman corner, Nick. I’m drawing a blank.
Nick: Well, maybe not a corner. You don’t see much of CJ McWilliams.
Andrew: Throw me a DB. Let’s just throw Amari Burney. I know Amari Burney is probably not playing much scout team, but Amari Burney will be #5 for Florida every week, and that will be kind of how they line up. So, that’s kind of where that comes about. But what were you watching? You didn’t think CJ was very good? Come on, man. Whatever.
They definitely knew CJ McWilliams was the guy to pick on, and they went at him all night long when he was on the field. He finally got out of the game. They started picking on Dean, and that didn’t work out very well for them. That was where the bulk of the yards were coming. At one time in the first half I’d seen where 80 of 100 yards were thrown against McWilliams.
Nick: I don’t want to pick on the kid. He’s someone that I didn’t think would even be at Florida at this point. I thought he’d transfer. It’s clear. As soon as Marco went down we said it, and I think everyone knew it. It’s not like we were breaking news. But whoever is on the other side of the field from CJ Henderson is going to get picked on.
Andrew: Right. Listen, I’m with you. I don’t want to pick on him or anything else. Trey Dean, Brian Edwards there. I want to get your thoughts on that real quick, Nick. Trey Dean, my opinion of Trey Dean was he had a very good game.
Nick: As high as we’ve been on him, he’s been suspect at times.
Andrew: Right. What were your thoughts? I know you kind of tried to calm me down a little bit in my praise of him. Did he show you anything last night that maybe said he’s back to that expectation I had?
Nick: Maybe just more disciplined. I mean, I saw him make a nice tackle yesterday and kind of get in the guy’s face. That’s his attitude. He’s a mean player, and I think that’s what I really like about him. I think maybe a little bit more disciplined. To me, that stuff will come in time. Florida, he’s aggressive, and the defense is aggressive, so he’s going to get beat on some double moves and stuff like that, you know what I mean? That’s really what he’s getting beat on, or has been getting beat on. I think that discipline will come with time for him.
Andrew: Yeah. For me, Nick, it’s like you said. You don’t want to take that physicality away from him, the way he plays. That’s just the way he’s played. It kind of reminds me a little bit of Teese, in that that’s the way he is. He’s going to trash talk you. He’s going to get in your head, but he also has that little bit of Quincy Wilson in him, that listen, you think you’re going to be better than me, you think you’re going to run over me? Get over that. I like the way Trey played. Thought he did some good things in run defense as well.
Now, let’s go to the offense. Nick, you ready to give LP #1 back or what?
Nick: Did he go to St. Thomas Aquinas?
Andrew: No. He went to Theodore High School. He’s a 251 boy.
Nick: I think it’s very clear who the one and two are.
Nick: Do you think it’s good maybe that Malik Davis is hurt? Not good that he’s hurt, but he kind of forced Florida’s hand to play less running backs. I feel like when they had Malik Davis they felt forced. We have to get all three, or maybe even four, of these guys touches. I think what you’re seeing with Lamical and with Jordan is the more touches they get, the better they get. You’re going to see the best Lamical Perine if he’s getting five touches, six touches a game. He’s not getting into a rhythm. You’re going to see the best Jordan Scarlett if he’s getting five, six carries a game. He’s not getting into a rhythm.
Now, when you look at the totals, and Perine is touching or carrying the ball 17 times, also had another catch, and he has 85 yards, two touchdowns, averaging 5 a carry. Jordan Scarlett had 14 for 65. I think you’re starting to see the better versions of them when you’re getting into that late third quarter, fourth quarter.
Andrew: Listen, this is no knock on Jordan Scarlett. I think Jordan is just a physical runner. Right now he’s not seeing the holes like he did, per se. He did have a couple decent cuts and runs that kind of stuff in the game, but overall I think that are seeing Jordan be a little more physical. There was the play in the fourth quarter where I tweeted it. I said, Jordan Scarlett is feeling it right now. Keep feeding him. He has that look in his face of you’re not going to stop me. I’m going to get the first down. That’s what Jordan Scarlett is.
To answer your question, you never want to say anybody getting hurt, and I know you didn’t say that at all. I definitely think it would have been a decision that this coaching staff would have had to make. It’s always tough to have three guys toting the rock, because you never get a guy fully into the game. So, I think it would have been a tough decision for this coaching staff to make, had they done it. Nick, I love the speed option to Perine. That was working all night long, and I think it’s something that now, guess what, you’re going to see something off of it in the coming weeks against Georgia, and that’s that nice little shovel pass. It’s coming.
Nick: That’s the other thing. I think in the past years we would always say, they’re doing this, and that’s going to set up this.
Andrew: And it never happened.
Nick: And it never set up anything. All right, you set it up for two and a half years now, so maybe run that other play off of it. I think you’re already starting to see that with Dan Mullen and with this offense. I mean, Feleipe threw the little rocker, that Tim Tebow rocker, rock forward, looks like you’re going to run a quarterback draw. Then come back and hit the pass. That was a little ode to Tebow with him in the building.
Andrew: Yeah. In that play in the end zone to Moral, it almost set up to be a jump pass. Did you think it was coming?
Nick: Yeah. That’s the other thing. I’m having fun watching Florida football. It’s been a while.
Andrew: It’s been a while. It’s something that I think when you start to look at this offense it’s finally one of those offenses where you look back, and you say, that was fun. That was a well scripted game plan. Listen, not to say there wasn’t some before. You and I both said in the past there was some good scripts out of the gate for the game and out of the halftime, but it was a situation where I think that it didn’t continue through the game. It seemed like every time Mullen and the offense was pushed back a little bit they had an answer with a different play. I don’t, and I may be wrong speaking for you, Nick, but I don’t think anyone seen the Lucan Krull play coming. To be honest with you, I didn’t even notice him on the field until they handed it to him.
Nick: We knew that was coming, just given his background, being a pitcher. I think it was poetic to do it on that night when you’ve got the best left-handed quarterback probably to ever play college football in Tim Tebow, a lefty quarterback big enough to be a tight end, and you go ahead, and you throw a pass with a lefty tight end who used to be a pitcher, and Tebow’s now playing baseball. That’s some poetry right there.
Andrew: It was. What a beautiful pass. Lucas Krull. I’m going to say something about Krull in a minute, but I want to continue on the offense here. Brett Heggie, Nick, you and I have been his kind of fan, supporter, president of his fan club, you name it. We’ve been in his corner. One-handed Brett Heggie, best offensive lineman on the team.
Nick: One-handed, best.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s what I said. One-handed Brett Heggie is the best.
Nick: Why couldn’t he get on the field when he had two good hands? Because one-handed he’s the best offensive lineman.
Andrew: Yeah. I don’t know. Who he was going to replace, Fred or Tyler, one of them was coming out. Neither one of them are playing good ball. One of them was coming out. It was Fred. I told you this through the game. I said, who would have thought at the beginning of the year we would say the right side of the offensive line is so much better than the left side of the line? You said, I don’t think I’d ever see that written. But it’s true. Waany and Heggie are playing so much better, and when you watch where Florida runs in key situations, where do they run?
Nick: Listen, I’m running behind 61, no matter where you put him. You can put 61 at wide receiver, and I’m going to run behind him.
Andrew: Yeah. They’re running behind the right side of the line. That’s a key. Again, Brett Heggie playing on the offensive line for the Florida Gators is a good thing for everyone.
Andrew: Quarterback play. Let’s dive into that. Because I think you and I may have differing opinions. Then again, you and me may agree here. The stat line, not pretty. 12 of 27, 161 yards, touchdown, and interception. Also, he had the runs for 42 yards, and he also had that nice little catch for 15. So, that’ll put him over 200 yards total offense. For me, Nick, it was some good and some bad. More good than bad, for the most part, in the game. The interception, I personally have looked back it, and I don’t know if Moral ran the wrong route, if Feleipe was just late throwing the ball. I’m not privileged to be in the coach’s meeting today to hear them talk about it. I would love to hear that, because it looked like to me he was expecting Moral to run a post route, and instead Moral took it as more of a crossing route in the end zone. I can’t really tell with that.
The 12 of 27 kind of looks a little deceiving, because there was a lot of throwaways. The pressure was there. Overall, I thought Feleipe handled the offense, what Dan Mullen wanted him to do. What’s your take?
Nick: I think, listen, Feleipe took some hits yesterday.
Nick: He was getting rocked pretty early on. Listen, it’s not a good game. If you look at the stats, it’s a terrible game. 12 of 27, 161, one touchdown, one interception. It’s not a Ggood game at all. You’re putting up 44% of your passes. It’s not good. I think if you watch the game, you don’t come away thinking that he had a bad game. I don’t think you’re looking at him and saying, man, he’s the reason Florida won, but …
Andrew: He also wasn’t the reason Florida lost.
Nick: Yeah. I think he had a better game than the numbers show.
Andrew: That’s what I was getting at. I would venture to say five or six of those incompletions were throwaways. Smart throwaways. Let me get that. He threw some dimes, Nick. Those two balls to Josh Hammond were dimes. Dimes.
Nick: There’s been something about Josh Hammond that when Feleipe Franks sees him, he just throws the best passes of his life.
Andrew: Yes. That was a dime.
Nick: You can go back to the last couple weeks. The passes he throws are to Josh Hammond.
Andrew: That game against Michigan last year.
Nick: Just drops it in the.
Andrew: The game against Michigan last year, first pass of the year last year to Josh Hammond was just a dime dropped on him.
Overall, like I said, there was. I go back, and I look, and I think Trevon Grimes should have had a big catch. I thought that Feleipe threw a ball where only Trevon Grimes could catch it. He threw it over Fulton, back shoulder, threw just a missile, probably on the radar gun over 100 miles an hour, to the sideline. Trevon dropped it. Then he had a couple where he bounced them, a couple of them thank God he bounced it, because they would have been picks the other way. Maybe that was the plan.
Again, Dan Mullen knows Feleipe Franks isn’t winning the game, and he doesn’t want him to lose the game. For me, the biggest thing that I’m taking away from this game of Feleipe Franks is he didn’t allow the interception to shut him down.
Nick: Like we said in the past, trying to win the game, trying to be the reason the Gators win, when Florida went down late, didn’t freak out. Didn’t start forcing passes. Still stayed within the game plan. That, I mean, he’s not young, really he should be a junior. It’s his third year, but still young in the offense. To me, that’s a big step, to take yourself out of it, not think I have to do this, I have to do this, and just I can do whatever the coaches tell me to do. That takes a long time for some guys to wrap their mind around.
Andrew: Right. Again, listen, you and I have been very critical of Feleipe, and I think rightfully so, but I will say that he has come a long way. The Feleipe Franks of last year would not in any way, shape, or form have done what he did on Saturday. I think you would have coupled that one interception with multiple interceptions.
Nick: I agree with that.
Andrew: Here’s my point on Lucas Krull that I wanted to make. The guy is an energizer bunny, Nick. The guy loves, loves Florida.
Nick: Dude, yeah.
Andrew: You think about it, the guy’s not playing much. He had a big block on Lamical’s run, playing special teams, but not getting the ball a ton. Listen, he’s a pitcher. He was involved in every play when he was on the mound. To go to this, but the guy just loves it. The guy loves it. You would think he grew up a huge Gator fan in Gainesville and was dying to play for the Gators.
Nick: He’s one of the first people out of the tunnel, down the field when Florida comes out, down the field chomping, getting the fans into it. He’s on the sideline going crazy. Exactly like you said. He looks like a kid that was born in Gainesville, went to Buchholz or Gainesville High and has dreamed of playing for Florida his entire life when he’s out there.
Andrew: Yeah. Dan Mullen’s energy, Nick, it’s crazy. Just everyone feeds off of it. I make fun of guys like Jeremy Pruitt and Will Muschamp and those guys for the way they act, but you can never take away the energy when your coach is bringing positive energy out there. Listen, Dan Mullen loves it. Got the Swamp going. That’s where I wanted to go next. The Swamp is back, Nick. I think you’ll see the Swamp loud and rocking the rest of the year.
Nick: Last night, I don’t know if I can even think of when the Swamp was that loud, like the last time I was there covering a game that it was that loud.
Andrew: I mean, maybe that Tennessee game, but that wasn’t that loud.
Nick: No. There weren’t as many people there.
Andrew: I’ve had people tell me it was the loudest since the Cock block in South Carolina. I wasn’t privileged enough to be at that game, so couldn’t …
Nick: No. I was at that game, and no. We’re not reaching that level. I was also at Tebow’s last game, and it wasn’t that loud, when they drubbed Florida State.
Nick: It wasn’t that loud either. I mean, you’re talking about the height of the Florida Gators dominance, so you’re not comparing it to that. That’s what you’re trying to get back to.
Andrew: Right. Let’s move on real quick and talk about the effect it had on recruiting, Nick. We’re taping this on Sunday at almost 1:00 here, and still catching up on a lot of recruits. Overall, the amount of energy and momentum those guys created with the atmosphere in the game and that kind of stuff has been huge so far. Lewis Cine, the DB out of Texas, he was talking about the energy and how crazy the Swamp was from start to finish. He pointed out how much the coaching staff talked to him about watching certain things. He said all those things kind of came true. You talk to guys like Lloyd Summerall, talking about how much of a progress Jachai Polite and the defensive line has made from just last year to this year.
The momentum they created in this game was huge. Again, one game will not get Florida one guy over another. Will it help them? Absolutely. This was a game that these kids saw. Listen, we can talk about Miami being down, whatever it may be. The point of the matter is they watched LSU beat Miami, and they watched LSU beat Auburn. Their mindset coming in was LSU is a really good football team. They’re #5 in the country. They thought highly of LSU. For Florida to beat LSU in the way they did, in front of that atmosphere, was such a huge momentum building. It would not shock me to see Florida land several of these guys, because these guys are going to come back on campus now, are going to look harder at Florida, all because of this game. Not only the 2019, but that 2020 class. There was a load of guys in there, and it was rocking.
Nick: I mean, not all the guys that were there are going to commit, but how immediate does this turnaround, this start, the guys that were there, how immediate does this attitude start affecting recruiting as a whole?
Andrew: I think you’ve seen it start some already, when you see guys like Mohamoud Diabate, when you see Diwun Black and those guys commit. You’ve seen that start to go of seeing Dan Mullen, but I think you’ll start to see it more in that early signing period. I always say this. It’s middle of October now. Most guys are going to take officials and sign in December, if they’re going to sign, or wait till Signing Day. You’re not going to see too many commitments now. You will see Lewis Cine commit this week. He’ll either be Georgia or Florida. Right now my prediction is still Georgia, but we’ll see. Couple more days. Florida is battling there. He’s a guy that grew up in Miami, liked Florida a lot growing up.
But I think you start to see it more in like December, when guys like Keon Zipperer, Lloyd Summerall, those guys make their decisions. I think you’ll start to see that. I’m saving this visitors list, because I want to look back and see how many guys in this 2019 class have visited this weekend. I’m going to say a lot. One thing, Nick, is all these guys are saying I think Florida is back. I think Florida is back.
Nick: Now, don’t mess around and lose to Vanderbilt before the bye week.
Andrew: Yeah. Don’t mess around and lose to Vandy. Listen, don’t go out and lay an egg against Georgia.
Nick: But, I mean, listen, that’s probably the part of the podcast that people are going to pause, rewind, and listen to again, what you just said there.
Andrew: Right. The thing for me is you can never explain or express what a game day atmosphere is like. You can agree with me, Nick, when I say this. You’ve been to several of them, several campuses. People have asked me how I compare it to Bama and Auburn. Listen, the Bama atmosphere is special. It is. Florida’s is special. LSU is special. Those are the three atmospheres that I’ve been to that I call special. Auburn, it’s whatever. It’s loud, but it’s never too loud. Tennessee is loud, but it’s just whatever, the experience there. Guys coming to the Swamp and experience that is huge. It helps Dan Mullen recruit those guys easier. It’s never easy, but it’s easier.
Having a big win in your back pocket is huge. Listen, they go lose to Georgia, you have nothing to hang your head about. Dan Mullen just goes to Elijah Higgins or Lloyd Summerall and says, you know what, you know how good we were against LSU. We could have beat Georgia with you. That’s the big thing. Talking about the bye week, all these coaches are going to visit these guys during the bye week. How big is it to go into that bye week with only one loss, if they can beat Vandy next weekend?
Nick: Huge. Talk about how we’ve already changed the program and how we can get to that next step with fill-in-the-blank, your name here.
Andrew: Right. That’s the thing too. You look at how much some of these guys have improved from last year to this year. There’s only one difference. Guys have seen that. When guys start saying the defensive line, the tight end play, that kind of stuff is different, it helps you. It helps your coaching staff. It helps Nick Savage, those guys, because guys now see it, and they’re buying into what Dan Mullen is telling those guys. It’s a huge, huge difference.
Nick, let’s talk about some things real quick. You picked the Oklahoma Sooners. What happened?
Nick: They weren’t ready, apparently. Man, I was all in on Kyler Murray. I was all in on Oklahoma. Shoot. They were not ready.
Andrew: What did I tell you?
Nick: They came back.
Andrew: What did I tell you though?
Nick: I don’t know. I don’t listen when you talk.
Andrew: I said hook ‘em. You and I both were wrong on Missouri and South Carolina though.
Nick: No. I picked South Carolina.
Andrew: Did you? Okay.
Nick: I picked South Carolina. You picked Missouri. That game, they played inside of a puddle.
Andrew: What, three and a half hour delay? Something like that.
Nick: We were both right on Miami, barely. Oh, Miami just went savage with the Dora the Explorer backpack after the game. Did you see that tweet?
Andrew: Oh yeah, that was savage.
Nick: That was great.
Andrew: You picked the Wildcats.
Nick: I picked Kentucky. Loser. And I picked Auburn.
Andrew: Gig ‘em. Cowbells.
Nick: My picks were trash. I picked Auburn.
Andrew: Nick, who’s more overrated in college football, Gus Malzahn or Mark Richt?
Nick: I don’t know.
Andrew: I tweeted that yesterday. Had some interesting responses.
Nick: I picked Auburn, and they got their asses kicked.
Andrew: I mean Joe Moorhead, did you just now realize Nick Fitzgerald is a monster running the ball? Geez. Just let him run all day long. Listen, I’m glad he didn’t. I didn’t want to see that trash last week, but geez, man, people were just letting him run. Good grief. Listen, Auburn is so overrated, man. Gus Malzahn, every year he wins enough games to keep his job, and he loses the games to make him irrelevant. Mark Richt 2.0. I know you ain’t disagreeing.
Nick: Can’t believe I picked him.
Andrew: I know you ain’t disagreeing. Let’s go to players. 99, that’s a straight W.
Nick: Yup. David Reese, that’s a win. I’ll take a win for Chauncey, a loss for Trevon, and I’ll take a win for Cece.
Andrew: What did Cece do?
Nick: You were singing his praises earlier in the podcast.
Andrew: Cece only had one tackle.
Nick: Making an effort. Broke up a pass. Had a quarterback hurry.
Andrew: I’ll give you the Cece win, because I’m taking Feleipe win.
Nick: Let’s talk about that.
Andrew: If you’re taking Cece with that stat line, I’m taking the quarterback.
Nick: 44% completion.
Andrew: One tackle. God knows how many snaps he took. One tackle? The team had 95 tackles, and he had one. He was 1/95 of the equation.
Nick: We’ll let people who listened this long, you go ahead, and you chime in. Let us know.
Andrew: Vandy this week. Couple quick thoughts here before we get out of here. My thoughts is this, and that is Vandy is Vandy. Got slapped by Georgia. Again, I don’t think Vandy is great, but I don’t think Vandy is terrible either. Vandy is going to play good defense. They’re going to force Florida to play. The difference for me Nick is Florida has to create their own atmosphere on Saturday. The atmosphere they’ve seen the last three weeks will be nowhere to be found, unless they go out partying on downtown on Friday night.
Nick: I don’t think Dan Mullen will let them do that.
Andrew: You know what I meant. I was being sarcastic.
Andrew: That is a key. Listen, we all know Florida struggles at noon. Can they get over the hump under Dan Mullen?
Nick: 11:00, local time.
Andrew: Yeah. Local time there. Can they get over that hump?
Nick: I think so.
Andrew: I think so too. I’m just saying we always look at the keys to how the team will come out, and the keys for them. We’ll get into it deeper this week, but I just wanted to throw that out there. That’s a key for them. They’re going to have to create their own atmosphere. They’re going to have to overcome the early start in the game. Listen, this is not a great Vandy offense, by no means, but this is a nitty-gritty physical defense that is going to cause some headaches, and you’re going to play a good game, get the running game going. Think Florida goes into the game healthy. Vosean went down a little bit, but I think he came back, so he’ll be fine in the game.
We’re taping this at 1:00 on Sunday. AP poll hasn’t come out yet. Coach’s Poll came out. Florida is #16 in the poll, just one spot behind Miami. About right, Nick. I was saying anywhere from 13-16 would be where I’d put them. I would say it’s about the same where I’d put them in the AP poll.
Nick: I don’t think Florida jumps, did Florida jump Kentucky in that?
Andrew: Yes. They did.
Nick: I don’t think Florida will LSU, nor do I think they should. I’m not surprised that they jumped Kentucky. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they were like at the same level at Kentucky, or like one behind Kentucky.
Andrew: Right. Kentucky came in at 20 in the Coach’s Poll. LSU was 12. I know some people will be upset about LSU being 12. Listen, they’re at 5. They get that this week. My question is this. This is a tricky week, I think, for some fans. Do you want a pissed off Georgia team going into the bye week, or do you want an undefeated Georgia team?
Nick: You probably just want Georgia not to be on the schedule.
Andrew: Well, yeah, but I think if I’m picking I want an undefeated Georgia team.
Nick: I think Georgia will be undefeated.
Andrew: I think so too, but I think it’ll be closer. It will be closer than people think.
Nick: You sound like Lee Corso. Picking Georgia, but closer than the experts say.
Andrew: Yeah. I do think it’ll be closer. I’m very interested to see how that Georgia defensive line and linebackers stack up this week, and I’m also very eager to see how Jake Frome does under pressure in Tiger stadium. Nick, we’ll get out of here. Tell everybody where they can find us, and we’ll see everyone on Wednesday.
Waiting on Nick.
Nick: Sorry about that. www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. The podcast is anywhere you listen to podcasts. Just search @GatorCountry. Find it, 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. Plenty of stuff on the website. Recruiting, football, basketball, anything you want, we got it. Come check us out. Again, guys, we appreciate it. We’ll see you on Wednesday. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.