Podcast: Talking Florida Gators new coaching additions

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we discuss the Florida Gators’ two new additions to the coaching staff.

Andrew Spivey and Seth Varnadore breakdown what Jules Montinar and Wesley McGriff bring to the table as new secondary coaches.

Andrew and Seth also discuss what’s going on within the transfer portal as well as recruiting.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here back with Seth. Seth, man, we’re back. We finally have a coaching staff to talk about. It’s finished. Gators went out and hired Jules Montinar from USF, and he comes over to be the corners coach. He’ll join Wesley McGriff as the safety coach. We’ll see how that shakes out. We’ll talk about it here. I guess, first thoughts on this new secondary, not just Jules, but him and McGriff.

Seth:                        From what I know about Jules just kind of covering USF the last year, and then I kind of reached out to talk to people, the people I talked to say his players really love him. He’s really well liked by recruits, and he was the recruiting coordinator at USF. He’s going to have to take it to another level coming to Florida, but the book on him is that he’s a pretty good recruiter, and I think that’s kind of the book you got on McGriff too. He’s a good recruiter, but he’s also been coaching for a long time. He’s got a lot of experience. Kind of a good mix of experience and youth here, and both guys seem to be above average recruiters, which is what you were kind of hoping to bring in.

Andrew:                 Yeah. The thing for me is this. The book’s still out on Jules.

Seth:                        Yeah.

Andrew:                 Whether it’s a good hire or bad hire or whatever it may be. I think it’s a shocking hire in some sense, and in some sense I think it’s an okay hire. Is his resume great? No, it’s not. He has some stops at Alabama. He has a stop at Georgia. He’s an up and coming guy. The thing for me is this. McGriff’s a guy who has coached the entire secondary, so in a way you’re almost saying Jules is going to come in and be the kind of assistant to McGriff, and that is fine if he’s going to be an elite recruiter and going to be a really good recruiter. Again, he was the recruiter coordinator at USF. Obviously, recruiting at USF is different than Florida. So, if that is kind of the title that he’s coming in is to be a recruiter and to grow under McGriff, then let’s see how he does in recruiting.

Again, and I’ve said this a couple times, people have asked me is the staff better today than it was last year? I don’t know that we know the answer to that. I will say this. I think McGriff is better than both Gray and English. I think Jules is an up and coming guy, so we’ll see where that goes. I do have much respect for McGriff coaching ability.

Seth:                        The guy’s been doing it for a long time and at a really high level for a long time, so he obviously knows what he’s doing. He understands what it takes. Like you said, Jules is a young guy, hasn’t been doing it for long, but another interesting thing about him is he has been a special teams coordinator in the past. You kind of get a lot out of this one hire. You get a guy that’s got some special teams coordinator experience. You get a guy that’s got recruiting coordinator experience, coaching corners. Like you said, he’s been at Alabama and Georgia. I think he actually had a little bit of an impact there, and we can talk about that later.

Just talking about both guys, it seems like you got a good mix here. We’ll obviously see how it plays out next season, but right now you think you got a pretty good mix of youth and experience, and both guys seem to be pretty high energy guys.

Andrew:                 Right. I think you have to take it a step further here. Are they upgrades to the staff? I think we both agree that the two of them together are. Now, people have asked, is the defense going to be better? It depends. Was the secondary the only reason this team was bad? I say no. Was it just the players? Maybe. Maybe not. I think you have to look at it in a couple of different ways and think about things when you ask is the team going to be better and everything else. I don’t know that you can just blame it on the secondary, and I don’t know if you can just blame it on Grantham either. Maybe it was a little bit of both.

Again, we can sit here. It’s the offseason, so as Steve Spurrier says, it’s talking time. We can talk about it and dissect it all we want. Truth is it’s not going to be known until next year. Now, both of these guys can be an improvement in recruiting, because Ron English was just downright terrible in recruiting. Both of these guys can start to show that here as we go. Now they got to turn their attention to Terrion Arnold, and that’s probably the one big target for Florida in the secondary at safety. So, they can turn that attention and kind of earn those reps and those stripes a little bit, even though neither one of those guys has much of a relationship with Arnold beforehand.

Seth:                        I think that’s going to be a quick early test to kind of see where these guys are at. If you can kind of close that one, then you probably feel a lot better about it, but if you’re not able to close that one, then you really start to second guess, I think, the hires then. Like you said, it’s going to be tough. I think everyone that watched the team last year would agree that the defensive backs underperformed as a unit, so they changed the coaches. Now we’re going to find out. Did they underperform because the position coaching, or did they underperform because of overall scheme? That’s something we’re going to find out this year. If it’s still pretty bad, you changed the position coaches, so then what’s next?

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        Like you said, we’ll find that out on the field. On the recruiting side, I think we can probably figure it out pretty early how these guys close.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Again, the secondary was really bad. It just was. You and I have talked about this. You can put your guys in the position to win and position to make plays, but at the end of the day, they have to make plays. Was that at times fundamental? Yeah, sure. The defensive backs for the majority of the year could not tackle. Was that a product of Torrian Gray? Was that a product of Ron English? I don’t know. We’ll see.

I will say this. These guys have their work cut out for them, especially Jules at the corner position, because you’re not returning a lot. You’re going to rely on a lot of young guys. You’re going to rely on some freshmen next year as well, some guys that were redshirt freshmen like Avery Helm, Jahari Rogers, those guys. Their work is cut out for them. They will have an instant impact on how well the Gators do in the secondary next year.

Seth:                        USF, last year they had a couple guys returning that were fourth year players, but one of them the last two years he kind of had rough years, and they ended up playing more young guys that hadn’t played a ton, and those guys ended up playing pretty well. So, he had some guys that were redshirt freshmen, or some true freshmen, come in and make plays in the defensive backfield. He kind of got a little bit of a taste of having to do that last year with USF. I think that’s something that he kind of has experience with, so he can kind of bring that to the table next year, but he’s going to have to kind of hit the ground running to get these guys turned around.

Andrew:                 Let me ask you this. From your brief time of knowing him, what do you consider his style of play for corners?

Seth:                        Last year at USF, and I can only go off last year, because he was only there for one season. Unfortunately, with the Covid and the pandemic stuff, you didn’t get a lot of opportunities to talk to the assistants last year.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        So, I had a chance to hear him speak in a press setting. But they wanted to play a ton of man coverage outside, especially at the beginning of the year. They kind of realized that maybe those guys weren’t as good as they thought at the beginning of the year, but initially they wanted to play like 95% man coverage on the outside. Those two corners before the season were talking about how they were going to play 95% press coverage, man coverage. I think he likes to be aggressive, but it’s hard to say if that’s him, or if that was the scheme that they were running at USF. I know they want to be aggressive, but he had those guys up. I know you see the clips of him. He had the guys in the boxing gloves and stuff like that, so they’re not holding but getting up in people’s faces, staying in their hip pocket. I think he wants to be aggressive, but we’ll see if that kind of translates.

Andrew:                 I’m just going through some of the guys that he’s had, that he’s landed at his time at either USF or Texas State or wherever it may be. It does look like he has a mix at the corner position. It does look like he does like some tall built guys, but then it also kind of looks like he does like some of the more athletic 6’ guys or 5’11” guys, those guys that have got a little twitch in them and a little bit more speed. It does look like, and I say looks like, usually you can tell what a coach wants to run by the guys he recruits. So, it does look like he wants to play a lot of man, but open to playing some zone as well. We always talked about Torrian Gray. He liked those tall lanky corners, because he wanted to be in your face kind of man.

Here’s the thing for me with Jules, and that is it’ll be interesting to kind of see what style he implements, because him and McGriff both, and this is not a secret, they have got to implement some toughness, some energy, and some true defensive back mentality out of these guys. I say that, and we always make fun of guys like Chauncey Gardner, who talked trash, but at the end of the day, your corners better be able to talk some kind of smack and live up to it. If not, something’s wrong. Your corners should always be the cockiest. I don’t want to say selfish, but cockiest, selfish, bad mouth guys on the field, because guess what? That’s what their mentality is. They need to have that dog in them.

Seth:                        If you’re going to be out on that island, you got to be a little different. It’s only you out there, so you got to have a little self-assurance. You got to be a little cocky to be one on one out there consistently. You want that. You want that high energy. I think that’s one thing Jules is going to bring. He’s a pretty high energy guy. Loves the game of football. I think he’s got a kid named Madden.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Seth:                        I know last year when they were introducing the new coaches, they asked him what his favorite television show was. He said, film. This dude is all football all the time, so I think he’s going to bring a lot of energy and a lot of positivity. If it’s energy they need, I think he’s going to bring it.

Andrew:                 You put him with McGriff, and you get a lot of guys who are going to do that. I think that’s a key. English was old-school, kind of grandfather type of coach, and that didn’t work with these guys. You see the boxing gloves and that kind of stuff, and let’s go for it. Let’s see what they can do. Let’s see what they can bring to the table, and let’s see if they can get that mentality back or that toughness, that swagger back that has been missing the last few years for this team. See if that helps.

You had to go somewhere. Was Jules the first guy on the list? No, he wasn’t. I always use this conversation. I’ll ask you this, Seth. There is two sides to coaching searches. Do you go with the retrend? When I say a retrend, a guy who’s been fired, bounced around forever and ever and ever. Or do you go with a young up and coming guy who the sky’s the limit, but there’s unknowns? I talk about this all the time in the NFL. When you look at the NFL, every single solitary year 90% of the coaching hires are retrends. None of them want to step out on the box. For instance, the Los Angeles Rams were one of the few when they went out and hired, heck, what’s his name?

Seth:                        McVay.

Andrew:                 McVay. Sean McVay. They went out and hired that instead of doing a retrend. Who cares? You see Jason Garrett’s name going around. Why do you want to hire Jason Garrett? We all saw him fail miserably with the Cowboys. What would you do that for? I think it’s always a two-sided conversation, and I think if you want to win the press conference you go with a retrend probably, because it’s somebody they already know, but if you want to win on the field, why not try a young up and coming guy?

Seth:                        Especially for younger guys, I don’t think the level you coached at necessarily dictates what type of coach you are. You look at the guy the Chargers just hired. I think five or six years ago he was coaching Division III football. He was a defensive coordinator for a Division III football team.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Seth:                        If Mullen brought him on, everyone would say, oh my God, we’re hiring a Division III football coach?

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        Now this guy is the head coach of the San Diego Chargers, five years later. That doesn’t always dictate what type of coach you are. I’ve heard Bill Belichick and Mike Leach I think both say the best football coach in America is probably a high school football coach, because they’ve got to solve so many more problems.

Andrew:                 Look at Gus Malzahn.

Seth:                        He went from high school to offensive coordinator, and then rose way up, and now he’s …

Andrew:                 A millionaire not having to coach.

Seth:                        That’s right.

Andrew:                 He’s smarter than all of us.

Seth:                        Yeah. One thing that I remembered from my time when he got hired at USF. I went back and looked back at some stuff. One tweet that went out stuck in my mind, and I went back and found it. This is from Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, so I think we can both agree he was a pretty good player in college.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Seth:                        He tweeted out when Jules got hired at USF. He said, “I used to sit in Coach Jules’ office after practice just so he could help me see the game from the big perspective and be a student of the game. Forever grateful to you. USF got a gift.” So, there’s a guy that, I believe he was a first round NFL Draft pick?

Andrew:                 Yes.

Seth:                        Really good player at Alabama.

Andrew:                 Still in the League.

Seth:                        Yeah. This was when Jules was a GA. So, he wasn’t just kind of in the background. He was doing stuff. He was coaching while he was there. So, that kind of coupled with him being a GA for Kirby, and then Kirby bringing him back on to his staff at Georgia. I think that speaks well of him, because Kirby obviously had to like him and think he could do a good job to bring him on, and he’s seen him coach before he hired him. I think that speaks well.

Then the fact that he was named recruiting coordinator for Jeff Scott, who’s been named like a top 25 recruiter seven different times, top 10 recruiter a few times. ACC Recruiter of the Year two or three times. That guy knows how to recruit, and he knows how to recruit Florida, and he brought Jules in to be his recruiting coordinator. If you’re looking for a reason to feel pretty good about the hire, those two I think would be reasons that would reassure you a little bit, even though he doesn’t have a really extensive track record.

Andrew:                 That’s what we’re here for, to discuss both sides of the table. Like I said, do I understand the frustration that some people have when the names of Travaris Robinson was out there, when Chris Ash’s name was out there? Who else’s name was out there? Maurice Linguist that went to Michigan. When all those names were out there, did you expect to get a huge name? Sure, you did. All those guys would have done a great job. They’d have done a fabulous job. You can’t fault yourself with Linguist. He went to be a co-defensive coordinator. Chris Ash was a guy who went to be in the NFL and not have to recruit. Ask any of us football coaches. There is nothing I’d rather do than just go sit down and watch film all day and not have to recruit. Many people are telling me that. It’s a free agency, and you can’t pay them. That’s what college football is right now.

Again, was there frustration and understandable frustration? Sure. I get every bit of it. I’ll be the first to admit when I heard the hire I was like, what? Then I started researching a little bit more, and I was like, okay, maybe this isn’t so bad. That’s my point in this with the whole new guy coming up. It may work out in a couple years where this is one of the hottest names in the country, and it is. Then again, it may work out where it’s not. That’s kind of where you’re at.

I think Florida has the freedom with a guy like McGriff to go out and make a hire like this to kind of test the waters, because you know McGriff can coach the entire secondary. You know a guy like Jules is willing to come in and listen to somebody, because he’s done it in the past. He’s a young guy. That’s why I think that it’s not a bad hire. I think he does need to come in and be a good recruiter to kind of show his worth a little bit.

Seth:                        Yeah. Like you said, I think McGriff, he’s a guy that raises your floor, right? He raises kind of your floor, so then you can take a swing on maybe raising your ceiling with a guy like Jules.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        Especially on the recruiting side. If you think he’s a good recruiter, and he can really come in and add there, then he can come in and raise your ceiling at the position, but McGriff is so steady and has done so much, he raises the floor kind of. You’re not losing too much. You can take that homerun swing.

Andrew:                 Right. Absolutely. That’s a good point. That’s a good way to put it there. I hadn’t even thought about it in that way, but it’s absolutely there. At the end of the day, you’re only as good as the players you recruit. That’s just what it is. You can all be the best coaches in the world, but guess what? If you ain’t got the players, you ain’t winning. Period. Just not. Look at Belichick. Belichick is one of the best football coaches ever. He didn’t have nobody to play this year. They were terrible. I don’t know. We can go on and on about it.

Again, only the year will discuss things. I said this before. It’s make or break year for Todd Grantham. Guess what? If Florida’s defense is still bad next year, Mullen will have no choice. He’ll have to be canned. Now, again, college coaches do not get to where they are by being bad football coaches. Is Todd Grantham a bad football coach? No. Just his plan didn’t work last year.

Seth:                        Yeah. I’ve reached out to people, other coaches I respect that are on that side of the ball, and some of them think he’s good, and then you got other guys that go, I don’t think it’s going to work. Even in coaching it’s kind of split. A lot of people think he’s got pretty good plans, and he’s had good success in the past. For some reason it’s not working. Other people I’ve talked to are just like, I don’t know if it’s going to work there for him.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        This is it. It’s make or break year for him. It’s hard to say. This year you feel like you might be down a little bit. Would you rather find out what you got for sure in this year, and then you can go clean when your team’s kind of coming back up the next year? If they feel like they’re going to take a dip a little bit next year and then come back up the following year, maybe this is the year to find out what you got, and if you don’t, you can start fresh. That’s not the greatest process. But if you think it’s just the defensive backs, now, here you go. Two new coaches.

Andrew:                 Exactly.

Seth:                        Let’s see what happens. Does it change?

Andrew:                 Like you say, it depends on who you talk to. I’m very close to Jeawon Taylor, who played safety for Grantham. He says that the defense isn’t complicated. Then you go to somebody else, and they say it’s very complicated. It’s one of those things where depending on who you ask. Again, your plan only works if your players understand it. Maybe it is a little complicated for some guys. Jeawon Taylor is a very smart guy, so maybe it wasn’t too bad for him because of his ability to learn it. It just goes both ways. I don’t know that there’s a right or a wrong answer for it.

I will say this. At times Todd Grantham leaves a little bit to be desired there. At times I just want to go out there and say, do you understand the situation? Again, he’s been doing it for a long time. He makes more money than I’ll probably ever make in my life doing what I do.

Seth:                        Yeah. One thing you learn, especially as a younger coach, that older coaches tell you, it’s not what you know, it’s what your players can execute. So, it doesn’t matter how much you know. You got to do things that your players can do.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        At the college level, if they can’t do them, you go out and recruit ones that can. Something’s going to have to change. The players are going to have to either be able to execute, or he’s going to have to kind of say, this is what my guys can execute. I need to call this. Maybe I need to pull back. I can’t show off how much I know. This is an unbelievable blitz that got called, but if it never gets home, and now you’re leaving somebody exposed in the backend, that doesn’t help you out at all. It’s not what you know. It’s what your guys can do. Hopefully, there’s some changes made and the guys can do it this next year.

Andrew:                 It’s the reason why a lot of NFL coaches do not work in college, because the terminology in the NFL is so long. It’s not just trips right corner. It’s not something so easy. It’s trips right, 72, 56, yada, yada, yada. It’s got 7,000 different numbers on it. Then you got checks on everything else. That’s kind of where it is.

Let’s go look at a couple things. Obviously, Florida picked up a kicker in Jace Christmann from Mississippi State. The jury is still out on that. Didn’t play much. Lost his job. Not a long distance kicker per se. I think the thing for Florida was this. You can’t go into any season with just one kicker on your roster or one punter on your roster. I know some people are like, it wasn’t a great pickup. You have to go into next year. Chris Howard’s been on the roster now for four years, so it’s time for him to kind of show what he can do, but you need backup in case he don’t. A guy who’s going to walk on in Jace, not a bad pickup.

Seth:                        No. You can never have too many guys that have kicked. Even if he lost the job, he’s kicked at this level before, right? You can never have too many of those guys on the roster. If he ends up being the backup kicker, maybe you have one of the best backups in the country, but if you end up needing somebody, then here’s a guy that’s done it before. I think, especially if he’s walking on, you take that every time.

Andrew:                 Listen, kickers are head cases. That’s why they call them kickers. We used to make fun of them. Go kick a ball somewhere.

Seth:                        Go to the other field.

Andrew:                 Go to the other field, please. Just go around. Then you look over there, and they’ll be kicking a soccer ball. You’re like, jeez, stupid kickers. Sorry, kickers that are listening. Definitely weird guys. Sorry. No offense to you.

Then they picked up the two defensive tackles in Newkirk from Auburn and Antonio Shelton from Penn State. I think that fills a gap. We talked about this a little bit last time, after they had picked up Shelton. It fills that gap a little bit. You have more guys to just come in provide depth. I think that’s the biggest thing you need is some depth. You cannot go into next year, and we said this a lot, you can’t go into next year having Zach Carter having to play inside. You just can’t. It doesn’t do Zach any good. It doesn’t do your team any good. That’s not to say Zach didn’t play it well. I thought he played it well, but he’s just undersized for that position.

Again, is either of these guys going to set the world on fire? No. Are any of these guys going to be All-SEC next year? Probably not. They could, but probably not. It’s depth. In this free agency world, and I’m calling it free agency because that’s what it is, it’s all about adding depth and getting guys. You should be able to develop your key dudes.

Seth:                        You just brought in two Power Five grown men at defensive tackle. That’s never a bad thing. These guys have played. They’re not just career backups. These guys have both played at the level. I’ve heard some good things about the Auburn kid. I’ve heard his performance was not, like you couldn’t tell from his stats how good he is, that he’s been one of their better guys on the interior. That’s good. Then Shelton was like third team All Big Ten, so he’s not a slouch either. Any time you can get these guys, you’d rather have grown men coming in here, especially on the interior D line, than bringing in 18-year-olds. There’s not very many 18, 19-year-old kids that are going to come and make an impact right away in that position. If you can go out and get some grown men that have played before, that’s a win.

Andrew:                 All for it. Here’s the thing, like I said. Do you need either of those guys to come in and be All-SEC guys? No. You don’t. You just need those guys to come in and provide depth for Gervon Dexter, for Jalen Lee, all those guys. You just need them to come in and play and be ready to go and be ready to just give you some impact. Here’s the thing too. Those guys have a ton of knowledge. They may not be the best in the world, but they can teach Dexter. They can teach Jalen Lee. Maybe it’s a simple reading of the center’s eyes or a guard’s eyes that they can pick up on and help those guys.

Again, are they all huge pickups? Are they going to make or break the season for Florida? No, they’re not. They’re definitely going to be impact guys, and that’s what you’re hoping for is to get some guys that can come in and play and be ready to go. Here’s the thing too. Wesley McGriff was apparently jumping up on the table for Newkirk. He’s at a new job trying to impress Dan Mullen. He’s not doing that if he don’t think the guy can play.

Seth:                        No. When you go to a new job, you can leave your problems behind. If he wants to bring him with, I think that speaks well of him.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        I’ve seen some people say that he’s pretty talented. Just his numbers didn’t show how talented he was. You say it’s not make or break, but I think if you didn’t get some bodies there, you were going to be in for some trouble. Getting any bodies there is good, but these guys seem like they can play a little bit. Getting guys that can play is even better.

Andrew:                 I think the big thing is just going into the year not feeling stressed about what happens if somebody goes down.

Seth:                        Yeah.

Andrew:                 I think that’s a big thing as well. Some of the things I heard about Newkirk from Auburn was injuries. He’s battled injuries most of his career. We know that from Slaton and Campbell and those guys. They had better years than a lot of things did, but because of injuries and different things like that, the stats never truly showed that.

Here’s the thing too. I say this all the time. For defensive tackles, throw the stats out the window. They don’t mean nothing. I don’t care what anybody tells you. They don’t mean nothing. At the end of the day, if a defensive tackle is disrupting a play, and your linebacker has a ton of tackles, it’s probably because your defensive tackle had a good game. If your safeties don’t have many tackles, it’s probably because your defensive tackles had a good game. If your safeties had a big game, probably your defensive tackles had a bad game. That’s just kind of how I go about it.

Seth:                        There’s a lot of unsung names on the defensive line that have made a lot of middle linebackers a lot of money. Sometimes your job as a defensive tackle depends on the scheme, but some schemes it’s to penetrate and make plays. Sometimes you’re just holding up blockers to let linebackers run free. Your stats may not look great, but you’re doing your job. There’s guys like a Derrick Brown a couple years ago that he’s going to get in and make plays, make tackles, but then there’s also guys on that line that are just I’m going to hold up two blocks, and now my middle linebacker can run free, because nobody’s getting up on him. That’s really important too.

Andrew:                 I’ll ask you this. You may know this. I would say 90% of our listeners could not do this. Name me 10 defensive tackles in the NFL. You know what I’m saying?

Seth:                        It would take me a minute to think about it. I can name rush ends off the top of my head, but tackles you got to think about.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        Think about some of these guys. You look at a guy like Ted Washington was a guy back in the day that was just a big dude. He didn’t make a ton, you look at his sack numbers are like all right. Wilfork was probably a similar guy. You look at his sack numbers, you’re like he’s a pretty good player. Then you hear how coaches talk about him, how Belichick talks about him. It’s because he could hold up two blocks at a time, so if you try to double he’s just going to hold those guys up and let the linebackers run free. If you singled up on him, now he can go make plays. Those guys are really important.

Andrew:                 Right.

Seth:                        They’ll help your other defensive linemen too, because if I’m a big enough dude that you have to double-team me, or you can’t go double-team somebody else, because you have to pay me some attention, now maybe my other guys get one on one matchups. Defensive line, it’s the dirty work in there.

Andrew:                 It’s the difference between your linebackers, offensive linemen getting to your linebacker, or your offensive lineman staying put and going after just you. Again, we could go on and on about it. I know a lot of people were like, they didn’t have great years. True. I get that. You’re right for saying that. But I also will say that, like you said, if you don’t get these guys, what’s your situation looking like next year?

Now, my counter argument to that is this. Recruit better. If you recruit better, you’re not in this situation. That’s a topic for another day, and we won’t go into all that, but that’s just what it is. Florida has put themselves in this situation to have to go to this, and for right now they’re doing a good job of going there and doing a good job of going to the portal and landing these guys. Like I said, as long as you do not recruit the position well, you’re kind of stuck in that position.

Seth:                        Recruiting is a sunk cost. It’s already spent. You missed your shot there. You got to figure out a way to make it right. This is one way you can kind of supplement it, and now you got to figure it out, so you don’t have to keep doing this. In the short term, if you have to supplement a position one year with transfers, then you got to go do that. The money’s already spent there, so to say, in recruiting. It’s gone. You missed your shot.

Andrew:                 You missed your shot.

Seth:                        Some places the money is literally spent.

Andrew:                 In McDonald’s bags.

Seth:                        There you go.

Andrew:                 Lord. What did you think of that when you heard that story?

Seth:                        I was going to say I was shocked. I wasn’t really shocked. At least go for like a Chick-Fil-A bag or something.

Andrew:                 My thing is this. It happens. I know everyone’s joking. Tennessee is not the only one that does that. It was just, I’m trying to think of the best way to say this without selling anybody out. I’m trying to carefully manipulate my words here. You can’t be dirty when you do it. Everybody does it, but don’t be dirty when you do it. That was dirty. There was too many people who knew about that plan, when you start putting it in McDonald’s bags. McDonald’s had to know about it. This person had to know about it, and this person had to know about it. Guess what? You can’t trust everybody. You have to have a select group of people that you can trust that you’re giving money to to give to these kids. I think that’s where Pruitt didn’t learn from his predecessors and Nick Saban and Kirby Smart that you have to be careful.

Seth:                        You got to keep that stuff clean. You got to launder that money a little bit better.

Andrew:                 You got to make sure you’re getting people to do it that are going to die for you, that wouldn’t say a word. Jeez, man. Jeremy, come on.

Seth:                        At least they didn’t pay in a check like Oregon did. Those guys are just amateurs out West. At least they’re paying in cash.

Andrew:                 They didn’t get Odell Beckham to come out there and hand them cash on national TV. Jeez.

Seth:                        At least we’re working with cash.

Andrew:                 They are. They were getting Happy Meals all right. Wish I could get some Happy Meals. My kid gets it all the time, but I ain’t never seen no money in there.

Seth:                        No.

Andrew:                 Seth, any final thoughts before we get out of here? I guess we’ll be back. We’ll continue to talk some recruiting here, as we get closer to National Signing Day. Even though it’s not going to be a big day. Probably just one guy for Florida. Overall, it’s been good. It’s been successful. They got a lot of those guys that are in already working out with Savage and those guys and getting ready for spring ball, and that’ll be starting up here sometime in February. Supposed to be announcing that schedule here soon when that is. The one thing I’m kind of watching for is apparently there’s at least some talk that the dead period is going to be extended through June.

Seth:                        Whoa.

Andrew:                 That’s not fun.

Seth:                        My only thing would be let’s not fire everybody before spring practice starts. Let’s wait and see how that goes first before we fire all the new coaches and some of the old coaches. I think that’ll be a big thing that they missed last year is having that spring practice. Let’s see how they look there and see how that goes before we start firing people.

Andrew:                 What kind of fun is that, Seth? That’s not fun. We want to have fun firing everybody.

Seth:                        We can hand out pink slips or whatever after the spring game. Let’s just wait at least until the game’s over.

Andrew:                 So, if John Doe the walk on doesn’t look good, I can fire Jules, right?

Seth:                        There you go. He’s got to have them all ready to play.

Andrew:                 Yeah. No, I’m with you. Listen, I’ve been accused of being tough on things. My only argument is this, and that is things have to improve. That’s the nature with 119 programs out of the 120 in Division I football. Every year they have something to improve. If you don’t win the National Championship, you have something to improve. Sometimes hard criticism is the best criticism, whether you like it or not.

Seth:                        I think one thing to remember is there’s nobody, I would think, I don’t know the guy personally, but I would imagine there’s nobody that wants success for this team more than Dan Mullen, because his job literally depends on it. None of our jobs depend on whether or not he does a good job really. If these are the guys he’s bringing in, he’s making his bed. So, if this is what he thinks is best, he’s got to live with the consequences, but he’s doing what he thinks is best to win, because this guy is trying to win. Kind of the die is cast. We’ll see how it works out for him. But he’s not trying to sandbag or anything. He’s trying to win.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Like I said earlier, not to get back into the whole thing, do I understand some people being upset about the hire? Sure. I do.

Seth:                        I was shocked when you sent me the name. I saw the name, and I was like, why are you asking me about this guy?

Andrew:                 That’s what I’m saying. I understand it. There’s reason to be frustrated, but I think when you start to peel back every layer of things, you look at some things, and you say, okay, maybe that is right. Maybe that isn’t too bad.

I will say this. Just because he comes from USF, just because he comes from Texas State or whatever, does not mean how good of a football coach he is. In the football world of things, it’s who you know to get that first job. There’s a lot of people who don’t. They don’t start at the top. A lot of times you’re better because you don’t start at the top and have to understand how to recruit at Texas State, how to recruit at USF. If you can recruit at those places, you can recruit anywhere in the world, because ain’t nobody signing up to go play at Texas State.

Seth:                        I think I saw somebody on our board say this. I thought it was a really good point. Recruiting those types of players doesn’t translate, but the relationships with the high school coaches translates, whether the guy’s got a five-star or a two-star. He’s the same head coach. This is a guy that’s been recruiting Florida primarily for his whole career. I know when he was at USF he talked about if you’re from Florida you need to stay and play in Florida. That was one of his big pitches. Why would you go anywhere else? So, he wants to lock down Florida, and he’s got a bunch of relationships here. I think that is something that is another thing in his favor. He’s got those relationships. Hopefully he can hit the ground running.

Andrew:                 You’re exactly right. Those coaches don’t change. Guess what? Those coaches want to help the five-stars just as much as they want to help the two-stars and the one-stars and everything else. If he was able to go in there and recruit some of those guys, guess what? That coach is going to be a little bit more helpful to you when you go in and recruit the big star for that school. Seth, I appreciate it, buddy. We’ll get out of here. We’ll be back next week. We’ll break down whatever is going on, because guess what? It’ll never be boring around in Gator land. You can bet your apples on that.

Seth:                        It never seems to stop.

Andrew:                 Never a dull moment. Seth, we appreciate it. We will talk to you next week.

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.