GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we breakdown Dan Mullen naming Felipe Franks as the Florida Gators starting quarterback on Monday.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre also break down the rest of the depth chart that was released ahead of the Gators season opener on Saturday night in the Swamp.
Andrew and Nick also give you the latest injury news and what they’re looking forward to seeing on Saturday night.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, you have a starting quarterback. The University of Florida has a starting quarterback. Dan Mullen spoke on Monday. We’re taping this on Monday. Named Feleipe Franks the starter. Well, actually named it beforehand when the depth chart came out. Had some interesting comments on why Mr. Franks was named the starter, and I’m happy to say that I think I may have to call BS on Mullen, and we’re 30 seconds in on the podcast.
Nick: You know why? I know why you’re saying that. You’re saying that because it’s the same reason that was given last year. He can extend plays and this and that. We saw 11 gaves and 8 starts with that.
Andrew: There was two comments that really stood out to me that even made me say BS more than that. He said he’s getting better at taking the short plays and understanding the reads. First of all, those two comments and Feleipe Franks don’t go together. Then his second comment was the experience of him playing last year didn’t play into this. I call major BS with that, because everyone we talked to says that if you watch practice Kyle was better than Feleipe, but I think you take in the experience. That’s what you and I have said in the past. You have to take that into consideration. Listen, it’s no surprise to me. It’s no surprise to you either. We both said Feleipe Franks was going to be the starter, but the reasons given for that are BS.
Nick: So, what do you think the reasons are?
Andrew: Exactly what we just said, that he said wasn’t the reason, his experience last year.
Nick: You’re calling an audible on what Mullen said and running the exact opposite play.
Andrew: 100%. That is 100% that. I will say this too. I say that he is a guy that the guys on the team are more rallied around for the most part, I would say, because of what he went through last year as the starter and the ups and the downs, mainly downs, and Nussmeier being his OC. I think guys rallied around him.
Listen, I’m not sitting her today telling you guys on August 27th, this is Monday we’re taping this, that Feleipe Franks isn’t going to be better. I think he will be improved somewhat, because Dan Mullen is a much better quarterback coach than Doug Nussmeier is. But I’m sitting here saying also, listen, what you got last year was no joke either. As bad as Doug Nussmeier was as offensive coordinator, the guy couldn’t make a throw. The guy still locked onto one receiver.
Something else Dan Mullen said, he said a lot of times he can look at the quarterback and say, you know where you’re going with the ball right now, and the quarterbacks would look at him and say, how do you know that? If you’re expecting Feleipe Franks to know that, you got problems.
Nick: That comes with being a veteran, because what Mullen was saying is I know my play. As I break the huddle, or even not a huddle, as I look and scan the defense before I even say hut, I can see what they’re in. So, I know I don’t need to look at my one guy or my two guy. I’m throwing this quick slant, because I can tell what the coverage is. He’s saying, basically said, right now they’re not at that point yet. That could be because of inexperience, because of youth, but they’re not at that point yet. That comes with experience.
Mullen, obviously, this has been Mullen’s offense or some variation of his offense for the entire time he’s been coaching. For him, it’s so obvious, but for these guys, they’ve been in the offense for eight, nine months. Now, can you make the argument that you’ve been in the offense for eight, nine months, you should know that by now? You can make that argument, I feel.
Andrew: Yeah. Listen, again, and I think I told you before this that I was going to try to be positive about the quarterback situation, and that didn’t even last 30 seconds. I just think that the quarterback position at Florida is a revolving door that, honestly, doesn’t have a start. Had you named the Kyle Trask the starter, you were going to have people gripe. Listen, my argument for Kyle Trask being the starter is he has no experience. What are you going to get from him? He hasn’t started since middle school. What are you going to get from him when the lights come on? Who knows? With Feleipe, we all know what you’re going to get from Feleipe. You’re going to get big plays, and you’re going to get some atrocious plays. How long Mullen puts up with that, we’ll see.
I think we all knew Emory Jones wasn’t going to be the starter. My question will be, heading into the game, and maybe not even this week, because all head coaches and coaches hide things in the playbook, but what is the package for Emory Jones, if there is a package? I still believe there will.
Nick: Me too.
Andrew: Do you get Kyle Trask into the game? Mullen kind of left the door open. He had shut it completely beforehand, and then he opened it again.
Nick: To you, does that mean he’s not confident in his pick?
Andrew: How can you be confident in your pick? I’m not saying that’s just for Franks, and that’s just for Trask. Knowing what you know about both guys, how could you be confident in your pick? Like I said with Franks, you know what you’re getting. With Trask, who knows what would happen, or what will happen, when the lights come on on Saturday night and ESPN is broadcasting a game, or in two weeks when the SEC Network is broadcasting the game? Who knows what you’re going to get?
Nick: To me, to harp on what you just said for a second there, it might have been last week, or maybe two weeks ago, it was I’m going to pick a guy, and that’s going to be our guy, unless something terrible happens. Mullen has said a couple times, I told Dak Prescott, if you don’t like all this attention, and you don’t like people writing about you, if you don’t like the Heisman trophy, throw interceptions, and then you won’t be starter, and you won’t have to worry about the Heisman trophy. When he made that comment, and then when he started talking about, when I name a quarterback I want that to be the guy, unless they play terrible, unless they play themselves out of that position. I want that to be the guy.
He definitely did a 180 on Monday afternoon with the, I don’t have any packages set in where Feleipe is going to take the first three drives, and then Kyle takes the next three drives, and Emory has a drive in between there. He doesn’t have that, but he definitely wants to be in a situation where, we’re up 28-0, let’s get Kyle Trask some time right now.
Andrew: Yeah. I think with that too, if you’re going with Franks as your starter, you have to at least give him that opportunity. You can’t have, he threw a pick on the first drive, you got to yank him. You can’t, because you know you’re going to get bad plays with Feleipe. So, I’m in Mullen’s corner in that. You have to see how the game goes. If at halftime you’re up 10-0, Franks has a touchdown and four picks, it’s time to make a change. I think you have to see how that goes. But definitely a 180, as we both have said, from absolutely no way to we’re going to try to get everyone in.
Nick: That will be the quarterback situation, but we’ve got a bunch of other positions to talk about. I guess, here’s a question. You don’t have to get too in-depth. We’ll make this a question on some of our predictions that we’ll do for Friday. Will Feleipe Franks start every game for Florida this year, or will he play his out of that? We’ll do an over-under on Friday.
Andrew: Yeah. We’ll do an over-under. I’ll think about it. I mean, right now it looks like yeah. Again, we’ll see. I’ll say this. As down as we all sound on Feleipe, there’s nothing more than you and I both would like to see a quarterback go out and do well. There’s nothing you or I would love to see. Here’s to Feleipe having a good year, and I’ll think about that. We’ll discuss that on Friday, on our prediction podcast.
Nick, I wanted to go, there’s not a lot on offense that’s surprising. Would you agree with that, before I move?
Nick: Yeah. We can probably go through offense a little quicker than defense, so I’ll run through it real quick.
Andrew: Okay. Go ahead.
Nick: Offensive line, really no surprises, other than maybe Brett Heggie. It will be Martez Ivey, Stone Forsythe at left tackle, Tyler Jordan, Brett Heggie left guard, Nick Buchanan or TJ McCoy at center. Really good to see TJ come back, because it had really been Villano taking those second team reps, and McCoy with the third team. So, good to see TJ make a push back there. I also think Brett Heggie’s a guy, and it’s something Mullen said on Monday, Brett Heggie is a guy that could push to play center, start at center, if not Week 1, at some point, but he’s missed a lot of camp with the foot injury. Right guard is Fred Johnson, Chris Bleich. Right tackle, Jawaan Taylor and Noah Banks.
Wide receiver, there is Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes listed at the same position. Tyrie Cleveland, Dre Massey, or Kadarius Toney listed at the other. I guess that would be the Z over there, right?
Andrew: The other outside, yeah.
Nick: Then in the slot, Josh Hammond and Freddie Swain. Tight end, C’yontai Lewis, RJ Raymond, Moral Stephens. You shouldn’t be surprised by Lucas Krull, based on what you and I have been talking about on the podcast and on the message board. I think RJ Raymond plays more of that H-back, that hybrid role, than hand on the ground, hand in the grass kind of tight end position. Running back, Jordan Scarlett, Lamical Perine. Lamical Perine or Malik Davis in that second spot. You and I have always been high on Lamical Perine, and I’ve been super high on Jordan Scarlett. Jordan Scarlett is going to be, in my opinion, that bell cow there at running back. Then quarterback was Franks, then Trask.
Andrew: Couple things that I want to say. First of all, the tight end position. Throw that depth chart out the window. Just throw it out the window. That’s a depth chart that will be revolving every week. C’yontai is going to play. RJ Raymond is going to play. Who plays after those two guys, who knows? Some people are saying, where’s Lucas Krull? Look, Krull is not going to be a 40-play guy this year. Period. End of discussion. Just not. He’s going to be a guy that’s going to have some plays for him. Kyle Pitts is going to play. Dante Lange, we’ll see. Probably not a lot, if any. C’yontai’s going to play. RJ Raymond is going to play. Stephens is going to play. Pitts is going to play, and Krull is going to play. The five of them are going to play somewhere. Throw that depth chart out the window.
Receiver. Van and Trevon are going to be on the field at the same time. I don’t care what this depth chart says.
Andrew: Don’t care what that depth chart says. Massey, Toney, they’re going to play a ton. I think you can read into Kadarius Toney being third string by something we’ll talk about in a little bit. I think Massey and Toney also play some inside at the slot receiver position. Hammond and Swain are going to play there as well, and Tyrie is going to play there. Would it surprise me at all to see Van, Trevon, Tyrie, Massey, and Toney, all five on the field at the same time? No. Not at all. Wouldn’t surprise me at all.
At running back, those three guys are going to play, and they’re going to play a ton. I agree with you. Scarlett is going to be the bell cow.
Nick: I just think Lamical Perine has been slept on, and people really kind of just expect Malik Davis to be. I mean, he flashed last year before he got hurt, and he looked really good. The yards per carry looks great. I just think people are not giving Lamical Perine the credit, and I think that he’ll probably end up with the second most carries in that running back room.
Andrew: I think, when you look at Perine, you’re seeing an all-around back, a guy that’s going to be able to motion out to receivers some, who’s going to do pass pro like Dan Mullen and Knox, Greg Knox, want him to do, want their backs to do. I agree with that. Offensive line, we’ll see where it goes at left guard and center. Brett Heggie is starting somewhere by Week 2.
Nick: Yeah. If Brett Heggie is healthy, he’s one of your best five, for sure.
Andrew: He starts somewhere. Now, whether that’s at center or left guard could depend on how Tyler Jordan and Nick Buchanan do. I’ll say this, and that is an offensive line with Nick Buchanan playing center could be really good. Nick Buchanan is a very physical offensive lineman. If he’s able to give you that productivity at center, you’ve really had a step up at that center position and added a body that going into fall camp, or really spring, we didn’t know what you were going to get out of Nick Buchanan. He hadn’t done much.
Nick: Yeah. That’s what we’ve talked about a bunch with moving from guard to center. He’s built different. He’s not built really like an offensive lineman. He’s a big old boy, 6’4”, 6’5”. I’m not sure what he’s listed at height wise, but he’s not, I guess, when you think of an offensive lineman, the big pot belly. He’s built different. Kind of like Jawaan Taylor is built different, and Martez Ivey is not built like that either.
To me, this is a huge opportunity for Nick Buchanan on Saturday night to say, I’ve earned these reps. Brett Heggie came back, I’m not going to just roll over and say, I’ll be waiting to see if you get injured, and then I’ll play. To me, it’s a huge opportunity for Nick to go out there and show that I can be the starting center for this team.
Andrew: Agreed. To me, and this is the way I take all depth charts, depth charts are for you and I and for the fans to talk about and have something to discuss about on podcasts, radio shows, stories, that kind of stuff. At the end of the day, this depth chart means nothing inside the football office. It wouldn’t even surprise me if this depth chart was completely different inside the football offices.
Nick: I’d say for the most part. When you have a talk with a coach, like you said, look at wide receiver for instance. If there’s a situation where there’s only two wide receivers on the field, I would be surprised if it as not Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes.
Andrew: Right. Agree.
Nick: That’s not how this depth chart reads.
Nick: Also, I wanted to put on for Josh Hammond a little bit, I think I talked a little bit in the last podcast we did about him maybe not being that flashy guy but being a dependable guy. That’s what Dan Mullen said. He might not be the guy that is going to get you that 60-yard play or break a bunch of tackles, but he’s going to be consistent. You’re going to know where he is. I think Josh Hammond will play a lot more, maybe, than I thought he would have in the spring.
Andrew: I’m with you. To me, Josh Hammond is a guy that if it’s 3rd and 3, you want Josh Hammond on the field more than almost anyone, because of the simple fact that Josh Hammond is going to be where he’s supposed to be. Josh Hammond is going to do what he’s supposed to do, and nine times out of 10, Josh Hammond is going to make a play, if he has the opportunity for that, because he’s that kind of person, that kind of player. He’s very focused on the little things, and I think he understands the offense as a whole. Just a smart player. Mr. Consistency, that’s what I call him.
Nick: That’s good. Anything else on the offense?
Andrew: No. I think that’s it. Again, I just wanted to make that point that while this is the depth chart, and everyone is focused on the depth chart, when you see the first play, and you see Trevon and Van and Tyrie, or Van, Trevon, and Josh on the field, don’t freak out and say, the depth chart said they play the same position. No. X and Z are interchangeable. You better learn to play both.
Nick: Yeah. Especially there at wide receiver, Van played his entire career at Ole Miss, played in the slot, and Massey, Toney, Hammond, Swain can all play in the slot. I think you have no problem putting Hammond or Swain, maybe Hammond more so than Swain, at X or Z as well.
Andrew: Hammond played outside all his first two years.
Nick: Yeah. Very interchangeable at all of those positions.
Andrew: Defense. Run through it real quick, and then we’ll break it down.
Nick: Defense. Cornerbacks. Prepare your shocked face. CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson starting. Trey Dean, who you and I have been super high on all camp, is behind CJ at one spot, and then Brian Edwards will be the guy behind Marco, but I think Trey Dean, if you were doing just a cornerback depth chart, it would be Henderson, Marco, 1A, 1B, and then Trey Dean, 2, Brian Edwards, 3.
Andrew: Correct. I’m with you. Trey Dean is first off the bench.
Nick: Yeah. At that star position, it’s Chauncey and then CJ McWilliams. McWilliams is doubtful. I guess I should run through that too real quick. Four players that were listed as injured. Let me pull them up now, so I don’t get anything wrong here.
Andrew: David Reese, questionable.
Nick: David Reese is questionable. Where is my damn tweet about it?
Andrew: CJ McWilliams is questionable. CJ McWilliams, David Reese. There was one more.
Nick: Here we go. Shawn Davis, he’s a knee. He’s questionable. David Reese, the junior linebacker, ankle. He’s questionable. Jacob Copeland, knee, is doubtful, and CJ McWilliams, it’s a foot or an ankle for him, he’s been in a boot, is questionable.
So, getting back into it then. Gardner at star, and then CJ McWilliams backing him up there. That’s really just, we hadn’t really known what to call it, but it’s basically a nickel. At defensive end, Jabari Zuniga. Zack Carter behind him. At nose tackle, Elijah Conliffe, and then it’s Khairi Clark or Kyrie Campbell. At defensive tackle, TJ Slaton, and then Marlon Dunlap or Adam Shuler. At buck, we don’t have to explain buck, people have been around Muschamp. It’s been here. Jachai Polite takes that starting spot, then Cece Jefferson or Jeremiah Moon behind him.
Linebackers. David Reese, Vosean Joseph, Rayshad Jackson, and Kylan Johnson behind them too. Safeties. Jeawon Taylor with Brad Stewart backing him up. Then Donovan Stiner there starting at safety with Shawn Davis, who obviously dealing with the injury, is behind him.
Andrew: I was going to say, if you look at that safety spot with Stiner and Davis, if Davis is healthy, he’s probably your guy there, opposite of Jeawon. Then it wouldn’t surprise me also to see Brad Stewart playing opposite of Jeawon at times, because Brad at times has been the best safety, when Jeawon Taylor was out with injury last year and this year. Wouldn’t surprise me there. I would say that there’s really no other surprises, except for the fact that Jachai beat Cece out there. This is weird to say, because Cece is a guy who we all love, and we all think highly of Cece and everything else, but Jachai Polite is a freak. He might be your best player on the defensive line. Yeah. I don’t know if it surprises me, honestly.
Nick: I think, first off, Cece hasn’t done much. Did nothing after he had the shoulder injury in the spring game, and then really did nothing at the beginning of fall camp. Was very limited in what he could do lifting wise and then in practice. He even told us at SEC Media Days the goal was to be ready to play Week 1, but that wasn’t guaranteed. He wasn’t sure if he’d be healthy to play Week 1. That, along with how good Jachai Polite is, and everyone we’ve talked to he’s been unblockable. Cece not.
It’s basically just Jachai taking advantage of the opportunity that was given to him. He’s a good player. I think you saw that his freshman year. I think it was his freshman year he had that big play where he made a tackle like 30 yards downfield, and he started on the other end of the play. Just that motor that you saw there. I think he’s coming into his own now during his junior season, or heading into his junior season.
Andrew: Right. Exactly. That’s why I said I don’t know if it’s a surprise to me there, because it’s not. I would say, just like we talked about with Jeawon and Brad playing, would it surprise me all to see a lineup of Conliffe, Slaton, Polite, and Cece? No. Not at all. Zero. Then again, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a lineup of Jabari, Elijah, Polite, and Cece, with Polite sliding inside some. Wouldn’t surprise me. There’s a lot you can do with this defense of line, because you got of athletic guys. Remember, Cece played inside some. You could slide Cece inside some and play Jachai outside on 3rd and long to get more pass rushing.
You can do several different things up there, and there’s a lot of guys that are going to play well. You think about Adam Shuler.
Nick: I was going to say that. As you look at it, he played defensive end, but when you’re in a 3-4, he’s listed at that tackle spot, but in a 3-4 you really have a nose and then two ends with the buck.
Andrew: Right. What I was going to say with Shuler is West Virginia is West Virginia, but still, he has experience. He’s going to find a way to get on the field at some point or another, so that just shows you how experienced and how much depth they have on this defensive line.
At linebacker, no surprise for me whatsoever with Reese and Vosean. Those are your two guys. I am interested to see how much time the younger guys get, the James Houstons, little Reese. Interested to see how much time those guys get, because I do think those guys are very talented guys. We’ve seen Vosean has some lackadaisical moments. Then with Reese being injured, could be an opportunity.
Nick: Who would you expect to maybe step up into that, if David Reese, let’s say he is hurt and would miss two, three games, who do you think would be your next guy to step up into that role? Right now, Rayshad Jackson would be behind him, and Kylan Johnson also in that middle linebacker role. Do you think it would be maybe a Houston or a Miller or somebody like that?
Andrew: Yeah. I think you would start Kylan probably, but I do think it would be Ventrell Miller who ends up being that guy. When I think of middle linebacker, Nick, and maybe I’m old-school when I said it, I want somebody that’s going to knock the shit out of somebody. To me, Ventrell Miller is that guy. When I look at my middle linebacker, if I’m an opposing team, I want to say, I need to run away from that middle linebacker. I don’t know if I’m afraid to run at Rayshad Jackson. I don’t know if I’m afraid to run at Kylan Johnson.
Nick: You personally? I’m not running …
Andrew: No, no. I’m not either. I’m saying if I’m an opposing team. If I’m Jordan Scarlett or Lamical Perine, or whatever team it may be, I’m not sure if I circle those guys and say I’m scared of those guys. If I look at David Reese and Vosean, or if I look at Ventrell Miller, I’m not sure if I want to run head-on with those guys.
Andrew: I’m not running at none of these guys. I’m not running at Chauncey Gardner, and he misses tackles. My luck, the one out of ten times he does make a tackle, I’m the one that’s going to get hit.
Nick: He was asked on Monday, Chauncey was asked on Monday, about the going back and forth with fans on social media and him and Feleipe. He said that was kind of immaturity and that they’re not going to do that.
Andrew: Here we go. I guarantee you, after the first game with Charleston Southern when Chauncey Gardner misses his tackle, he’s going to go on a rant. He’s going to go on a rant. Mark it down.
Andrew: Mark it down.
Nick: What everyone has come to hear. Tommy Townsend is the starting punter. That’s what everyone has been waiting for. Sorry to keep you guys waiting so long.
Andrew: One thing that Mullen didn’t, basically said it wasn’t going to happen, but I think I’m calling BS again, is he said he didn’t think McPherson and Powell would split reps, as far as Powell being the short guy and McPherson being the long-distance kicker. I think that’s the case early on.
Nick: McPherson the long-distance guy with Jorge doing the short distance, extra points, stuff like that?
Nick: Maybe. I can see that. It’s also too, you don’t know how McPherson is going to handle it. Jorge has kicked in those situations before, but it’s completely knew for Evan McPherson.
Andrew: Right. That’s what I’m saying. It wouldn’t surprise me at all for that. At returner, Adarius, Dre for kick. Freddie and Kadarius at punt return. No surprise there. I’ll say this, as much flack as Adarius gets for not knowing the playbook and that kind of stuff, when he returned kicks last year he was pretty good.
Nick: Yeah. I really loved Adarius, really loved him on kick return, because he just ran. There was no fear. Kick is different than punt. Punt is more being like shifty, and you got a bunch of people running down with a full head of steam, and they might be five yards away from you when you’re catching a ball. It’s just a quick move to make somebody miss. On kick, it’s different. You’re getting the ball, and you’ve got 25-30 yards of room, but those guys are running down full speed, and you’re running full speed. A lot of times you see guys that are skittish, will start making moves when they don’t have to, because they’re trying to find a lane. Adarius is kind of just, as soon as I catch the ball I’m running as hard as can. It made for some nasty collisions, but it’s exciting, and that’s kind of what you want from a kick return, someone that runs out there fearlessly and runs 100-miles-an-hour down the field.
Andrew: Yeah. Agreed. No surprise there for me. I think that’s about it for me on the depth chart, Nick. Anything else you want to add as far as the depth chart goes?
Nick: I think that’s it.
Andrew: Yeah. That was my main point. Depth charts are depth charts. They’re made to talk about. They’re made to make people happy. At the end of the day, Dan Mullen is not going to say, Marco’s chin strap broke, on that depth chart it says Brian Edwards is behind him, so I better put him in. Dan Mullen doesn’t even remember this depth chart.
Nick: No. A lot of those decisions will be made in-game. Like we said, if Marco cramps, it’s not who’s after him on the depth chart? It’s Trey Dean, you’re in.
Andrew: Exactly. Let’s go to the thing that I think surrounds every first game. Nick, you know what I’m about to say. It’s something Dan Mullen doesn’t want to talk about, and cool. Whatever. He says he’s going to announce it on Saturday. Suspensions. He says, if there is any suspensions, they’ll be announced on Saturday. I think we can both take a big old Sharpie and mark out the word if.
Nick: There’s no if. There will be multiple suspensions on Saturday. People were asking, because a lot of people know about the suspensions or stuff like that. Did that affect the depth chart? No. There was guys on the depth chart that won’t play.
Nick: Whether it’s they won’t play for a half, or they won’t play for the whole game, there’s guys on the depth chart that will be suspended.
Andrew: Right. Exactly. Nick and I will respect Mullen’s decisions in that and stay away from hinting at all that and talking about all that. Except for the fact to say …
Nick: It’s just hard, because my first game we correctly reported on six suspensions, and then Muschamp comes out and yells at us and two other publications, they weren’t suspended. Why didn’t they play then? That was the coaches’ decisions. We can come out and say somebody’s suspended, and the coach handles it a certain way, and no, he had an ankle injury. That’s weird. We didn’t see him have an injury. It happened this week, and practices are closed. You just didn’t see it, and that’s why he didn’t play.
Andrew: Exactly. As Nick said, that. There will be suspensions. There will be suspensions to players you know about. Some that maybe you don’t know about, but there will be suspensions. I would venture to say that a couple of them may miss more than one game. How many that is, we’ll see. Anyway, that’s that. I just wanted to throw that out there that is names on that depth chart that are going to miss action this week.
Nick: Yeah. I agree with you. There will be a couple guys that it’s not a one-week thing. It’ll be a couple games, so that means you’re missing the first SEC game.
Andrew: Right. Exactly. As I look at that and look at the way things are going with it, I think you’re still fine. I mean, Charleston Southern is Charleston Southern. With that, Mullen is trying to set a tone, make it known that you can’t do that kind of thing. I applaud Mullen for doing that and taking care of it. Announcing on Saturday, that’s fine. Mullen has his own way of going about things for that.
Wanted to move on now. Mullen talked about something that kind of caught my attention, because it’s something you don’t hear a lot of coaches talk about. It’s something me, when I was coaching, we always talked to our guys about. I’m sure everyone does. You have to realize, today is Monday. We’re taping this on Monday. Kick off isn’t until 7:35, I think is the official kick time, on Saturday night. He said he has to continue to tell his guys not to peak excitement until Jorge or Evan McPherson, whoever it is, kicks off on Saturday in the night, or whoever returns on Saturday night in the Swamp. That was something that he talked about how him and his staff are trying to go about the week, in telling the guys and setting their game routine and setting their Saturday.
I guess, it caught my attention that it was something that they’re having to talk to the guys about. You would think, and now that I think about it, I think the guys I worked with all had something different, but it’s something we take for granted, that game week should be a known, but at the end of the day, it’s not. Every Saturday or game day for a coaching staff is different with each coaching staff.
Nick: Every coaching staff will handle that differently, based on where is the team staying, what time are we waking up? It’s much different. When the team plays a noon game, they might be up at 5:00am.
Nick: You play a 7:30 game, what time do we wake the guys up? Do we want to wake them up at 8:00 to eat breakfast and do a walkthrough, then let them chill? Then come back and do another walkthrough? Do we want to let them sleep till 9:00, 10:00? How do you handle that? Especially when it’s a 7:30 game, 8:00 game. These guys aren’t in their dorm rooms hanging with their friends. They’re in a hotel room, or in a hotel with their team. That’s a lot of time to kill, and guys’ minds can wander. They can start watching other things, start getting nervous. Sometimes with that noon kickoff, there’s no time to think, no time to get nervous or do anything. It’s just kind of like wake up, eat, walkthrough, we’re on the bus. Time to start getting ready.
With that 7:30 game, it’s interesting to see how each coach handles it differently, and how Dan Mullen will handle it, because they’ve got 7:30, 7:30 this weekend, 7:30 against Kentucky. Then a 4:00pm game in three weeks. That Tennessee game in the fourth week we don’t have a time for. It’ll probably be that 3:30 slot. You’ve got these late kickoffs coming in the first three weeks.
Andrew: He said he was adjusting practice to that, was going to have later practices to get bodies ready for that. I mean, that’s a good point. What time do you wake your guys up? You also don’t want to wake them up too late, because then it’s a situation of they’re lethargic, they’re lazy almost. Not that they’re going to be lazy for the first game, but you have to weigh the pros and cons of being up too long. Some coaches wake up early, do walkthrough, breakfast, then give nap time for a nap to relax and chill and that kind of stuff. You have a lot of different factors that go into it.
Mullen’s tenure at Mississippi State, his time with Urban and all of his past coaches all grew on him, but it was something that I took, because it was something that you don’t hear a lot about. When you think about it more, you think, you know what, that’s a good point. Every coach has a different Saturday routine.
Nick: Not that anyone’s wrong. It’s just you got to figure it out.
Andrew: Yeah. You and I are big baseball fans. We hear some clubhouses are no music allowed. We hear some clubhouses that have music. You have some clubhouses that have mandatory hit on the field, and some that are allowed to hit inside if they want to. Every clubhouse is different. Every locker room is different. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s just how the head coach is.
Andrew: Anything else you want to talk about before we get out of here?
Nick: Mullen, he had said before, want games, want Saturdays to be a spectacle. Want smoke and lights and fireworks. There will be no smoke on Saturday. I know a lot of older fans didn’t want that, but there will be no smoke when they run out of the tunnel. It’ll be traditional jerseys. I think that’s something Dan Mullen said, and I agreed with what he said. He said, there’s not a ton of teams. Listen, Alabama, iconic uniform. Penn State, iconic uniform. Michigan, iconic uniform. When you see those uniforms, there’s no mistaking, who is that? No. That crimson, white, number on the side of the helmet, that’s Alabama playing. That maize wing on the blue helmet, Michigan is playing. He said, my first game, you only get one first game being a head coach, I want them to run out of the tunnel in that orange helmet, blue jersey, white pants. That’s iconic. People don’t forget that.
Listen, he will do crazy jersey combinations. He’ll let players decide, captains or seniors. They might have a black jersey. Not going to be this year, but he’s not opposed to having a black jersey in the future. I think for that first game, I think it meant something to him, just listening to him, and he mentioned it a couple times. I think that meant something to him, in his first game being that traditional look, that traditional University of Florida look.
Andrew: I agree with him. When you look at uniforms, for instance, Oregon, you never know what Oregon uniform. They don’t have tradition of a natural uniform. It’s just whatever’s flying that day. When you look at Florida, and you see that blue jersey, orange helmet, white pants, you know what’s up. When you see Alabama, like you said, you know what’s up.
I like that. Here’s the thing for me. I think, like you said, it meant something to Mullen. For me, that’s pretty cool, because when you see a guy that has that much built in pride about something, you like your chances.
Nick: I agree.
Andrew: I like that. I did find it funny that he was talking about smoke. He joked that one time he had smoke, and only seven guys came out, because the rest of them were caught up in the smoke or fell down or something along those lines. He said, I looked at my coaching staff and said, I guess we only got seven to play with today.
Nick: I have a huge gripe with what Dan Mullen did today.
Andrew: What’s that?
Nick: He was asked about his first game at Mississippi State, and I don’t know how closely Dan has been following.
Andrew: Oh, lord.
Nick: I don’t know closely Dan’s been following Florida, but there was a video that they put out, and he said, you’re only guaranteed 12. Then today he brings up, my first game at Mississippi State we ran out there, and everyone’s pumped up, ready to go, and then lightning. I’m like, Dan, come on, my man. We’ve had some hurricanes. We’ve had some rain. We’ve had a couple games cancelled in the Swamp the last couple years, and I feel like you’re just poking Mother Nature right now talking about lightning and talking about 12 guaranteed games. Let’s just not do that. Let’s just hope for good weather, hope for no hurricanes, and let’s just stop tempting fate by talking about the weather.
Andrew: So, what you’re saying is he didn’t knock on wood.
Nick: I knocked on wood. I was sitting there, and I knocked on wood.
Andrew: I mean, the last two years. Are we going three straight years with a cancellation? Let’s hope not.
Nick: We’re done talking about the weather. Until we’re tracking a hurricane on Tuesday afternoon, we’re done talking about the weather.
Andrew: Let’s not be jinxing Mother Nature. I mean, come on, Dan. What are you doing? You know what’s about to happen. Yeah. That’s that. Nick, since it’s Charleston Southern, we’re taping this on Monday. You guys are listening to this on Tuesday. Because of the starting quarterback, we’ll be just two this week. We’ll hit this one, and then we’ll hit our Friday one, as we start doing our predictions.
Nick: Our Monday is always the recap, kind of our day to move on. We didn’t have anything to recap, and we also didn’t want to tape the podcast and be talking about what we thought the depth chart would be, and then have you listening to it, and two hours later have it come out.
Andrew: Exactly. We’ll do Friday. We’ll do our predictions, and Nick will post. We’ll have our over-under, all that good stuff for the game. We’ll pick some games as well. Some pretty decent games this weekend. That Auburn-Washington game, Nick, that’s looking to be a pretty good one.
Nick: Auburn-Washington. I’m ready to see, LSU just named Joe Burrow their starting quarterback, and he’ll play on, what is that, Sunday night?
Andrew: Has Miles Brennen transferred yet?
Nick: They’d have a punter backing up if he did.
Andrew: It seems like everybody was scared of Burrows, because they thought he’d transfer.
Nick: Yeah. It’ll be interesting to see. Florida, Dan Mullen took a hard pass on Burrows, so that game down here in the Swamp in November, that will be one. We’ll see where Florida’s quarterback situation is and what Burrow does against that Florida defense.
Andrew: October. Let’s not be jinxing a pushback or nothing like that.
Andrew: Yeah. It’ll be interesting to see. Alabama didn’t name a starter. They went with Tua and Jalen as co-starters on their depth chart, but I think that was just to keep Jalen on the roster for another week.
Nick: Co-starting quarterbacks.
Andrew: Yeah. Whatever. Nick, we’ll tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here, and we’ll see everyone on Friday for prediction time. We’ll talk about our visitors list, all that good stuff. One quick note, real quick, we broke this on Gator Country earlier on Monday, the Carol City duo of running back Nay’Quan Wright and Miami DB commit Jarvis Brownlee will be taking official visits this weekend. Two big ones.
Nay’Quan Wright is a guy coming back from an injury last year. Man, did he have a great game. Right off hand, Nick, I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I want to say he had 140 yards in the first half against American Heritage. American Heritage is no joke, first of all. That’s him being healthy again. Very interested to see what that is. Then Diwun Black, now that he’s in state, he’s coming up for the game this weekend.
Nick: Big news. Kind of gives you a sense into the recruiting strategy, getting guys on campus for officials early on, where the last staff really didn’t want officials during the season at all.
Andrew: Yeah. Again, I’m against the early officials for the most part. I just think that you want ot save those for later on, but with the recruiting calendar being moved up so much, it’s almost like …
Nick: Forced hand.
Andrew: Yeah. Forced hand a little bit. Again, I don’t make Dan Mullen’s money. Maybe his strategy works. I don’t know if there’s any perfect science for when you need to host an official visitor. Again, we’ll see how that goes. We’ll have an official visitors list ready to go for you guys on Friday. Tell everybody where they can find us, Nick. We’ll get out. We’ll see everyone later.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. Hit us up on iTunes. Subscribe to the podcast there, @GatorCountry. Subscribe, get it pushed to your phone, never miss an episode. Do your social media thing. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter. @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC, and he’s @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew: There you go. All right, guys, again, we appreciate it, and we’ll see everyone on Friday. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.