GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we talk about the latest developments in Florida Gators recruiting.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down what’s going right and wrong for the Gators and how they can turn things around.
Andrew and Nick also dig into the expectations for the Gators under Dan Mullen after he has won 10 wins in back to back seasons.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we’re back. We have a special podcast planned for tomorrow, and we were going to just do one, but the world’s on fire, if you haven’t heard. Everything in recruiting, and then Isaiah Walker, the early enrollee, decides to transfer. Florida football is burning down quickly.
Nick: I have a hard time, and I don’t get crazy about this stuff. It’s still a pretty big class right now. It’s also May. But I’m not blind to what’s happening, and I see that people are not happy. I don’t think Isaiah Walker transferring hurts you in 2020. I think Joshua Braun’s a better prospect, and one that’s certainly more ready to play right away. Not to diminish anything about Isaiah Walker. It was a big get for the class, but I thought kind of a project. I didn’t think he’d be a guy that would factor into the mix in 2020, even despite being an early enrollee. You had three early enrollees come to campus. Is it good? No. Is it the worst case scenario? I don’t think so.
Certainly, interesting for a kid that was committed to South Carolina for over a year, and then flips. Commits to Florida. Had some trouble tweets, to say the least, a couple weeks back. Now he decides to enter his name in the transfer portal, after being home in quarantine in Miami for a little over a month.
Andrew: I’ll say this. I don’t know what Isaiah’s dealing with mentally, if it’s anxiety, what it is, if it was just he was homesick from when he was in Gainesville or whatever it is. I’ve seen a lot of people bash the kid. I’ll say this. Isaiah Walker was one of the most respectful human beings that I’ve talked to in recruiting, was a great person, everything else. Before we talk football, let’s say for a person I hope he finds what he’s looking for. If it’s going to Miami, if it’s going to FIU, if it’s going to FAU, if it’s going to Miami Dade Junior College or whatever it is down there that Eddy Pineiro went to, I just hope he gets right from a mental standpoint and from a personal standpoint.
I think the biggest question mark for me, Nick, and I agree with you that Braun was probably first on the pecking order here, but it hurts depth wise. There’s no way around getting that this offensive line and offensive line recruiting under John Hevesy has been poor. It’s been very, very poor. The offensive line play last year was pretty much sickening, to be honest. I think while, yes, in the short term it’s not a big loss, in the long term it’s a pretty big loss. From a depth standpoint, you thought Isaiah Walker was going to be a future starter at tackle. That hurts.
Nick: Yeah. Looking at the 2021 class, right now you have George Jackson from Stone Mountain Georgia, Javonte Gardner from just down the road in Orlando, and then Hammond.
Andrew: Well, he’s not officially in the class yet, because he still has some academic stuff.
Nick: Yeah. He’s over at Independence Community College.
Andrew: Right. And he’s still not academically cleared to enroll.
Nick: So, two in the class right now, with a potential third coming up.
Nick: You look at it. You’ve got four guys coming back this year, but how long will they be? We were talking about recruiting last year, and maybe even gave Florida a pass, you don’t need to totally load up on offensive line. You really need to probably get four to five every single year. Thinking you’re only going to lose Nick Buchanan along the offensive line. You’re going to be set. You’re returning four starters. But that’s not the case. This is a year where you might need more than that four to five you feel comfortable with every year.
Andrew: Yeah. It is what it is. You start to nitpick here. Florida had four offensive line sign last year, Isaiah Walker, Braun, Richard Leonard, Gerald Mincey. Okay. That was an okay class, but you just lost your rated highest prospect in Walker. You got three guys there. Let’s face it. In a year or so, you’re going to be class heavy and going to throw everything off. The biggest thing, and John Hevesy is an awful recruiter. Been an awful recruiter. John Hevesy’s big about developing guys. If he doesn’t have someone to develop, his program doesn’t work.
Nick: I guess that’s the biggest thing when you talk about John Hevesy and when it comes to recruiting. We’ve talked about multiple times when you’re at Mississippi State, and you’re having to go through the JUCO ranks or go through transfers and stuff like that. I mean, they did it for a decade. You kind of get into a rhythm and get into a certain type of way of handling your business. We’ve said multiple times, not how you should be operating at Florida. I don’t think we can knock Hevesy in the slightest for his track record in being able to develop and the offensive linemen that have come into college programs and gone on to the NFL and things that they’ve done in college, but it’s a lot easier to coach a five-star than it is a two-star. Sure, you can name an outlier, but I’m saying for the most part.
Andrew: Here’s my thing, Nick. This is where I get. We talked about Hevesy and how bad of a recruiter he is, and his track record doesn’t say that it’s going to get any better, because simply is what it is. I mean, the two highest ranked prospects he ever coached, him and Addazio, was the Pouncey twins, and we all know that was Urban Meyer’s doing. Nothing to do with Hevesy. My thing, Nick, and I’ll ask you this. I have an opinion of it, but I’ll get your opinion of it first. You don’t do what Urban Meyer did. You don’t do what Nick Saban does. You don’t do what Dabo Sweeney does without recruiting some hosses up front that you can win consistently with. Dan Mullen can only game plan and scheme around a bad offensive line for so long, and then it becomes a problem. You may out-scheme Georgia or LSU once a year, but can you out-scheme five opponents every year?
Nick: Looking at Florida over 100 something years of football, I’ve never had a perfect season. I think what it’s going to come down to, and really where we are with Dan Mullen. I chatted to our boy Dan Thompson, listened to their podcast when they were interviewing Urban Meyer, and Urban Meyer is Dan Mullen’s #1 cheerleader. Great friends. They asked him where they think the program is. He says, I think it’s going great. You got to beat Georgia. That’s where they’re at.
So then, breaking that down even further is how do you beat Georgia? I think it starts with recruiting. Now how are you stacking up against Georgia, because that’s the team you’re chasing right now. Dan’s 0-2 against Georgia at Florida. If you look at the way the schedule’s line up, Georgia’s got to play Alabama this year. Florida doesn’t have as tough of a schedule as Georgia does this year in the SEC. Is that game in Jacksonville? I think it is. Is that in Jacksonville the play in game? Do you have the hogs and the horses to beat Georgia? You got to look at how is Florida recruiting against Georgia. I don’t think they’re at that level right now.
Andrew: No. They’re not at that level right now. There’s some question marks on how Kirby Smart is developing those guys and all that stuff. That’s a whole different point. That’s what John Hevesy does well at. That’s what this coaching staff does well at is really developing guys. There’s never a question about that, and that’s what Dan Mullen has made his name for is developing guys. But you have to think at some point Kirby Smart’s going to get lucky and develop some of these guys and hit a homerun. Will his developed guys just run over Hevesy’s developed guys? That kind of stuff. That’s where I’m at.
I always say this, and maybe I’m wrong when I say this, but you have to be an elite recruiter to be an elite program. That’s just my opinion. You can give me all the things that say you don’t have to, and you can point it out, but in my opinion, when you look at the top contenders every year, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma. Am I missing anyone? Those are really the five that the last few years have been pretty much every year, right? Am I missing someone?
Nick: Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State.
Andrew: Yeah. Those five. The thing they have in common is great recruiting. Someone asked me this question the other day, and it made me really think about it. Is Dan Mullen just going to be a really good 10-2 football coach at the University of Florida with the way he recruits? Is that okay?
Nick: Can one recruiting class do it for you though?
Andrew: No. It has to be consistent.
Nick: One great class, I guess Florida’s would be you have Tebow in ’06, that class.
Andrew: But look at how they followed that up.
Nick: Yeah. Really two classes. Who was in the ’08 class? I’d have to go back and look at that. I’m pulling it up right now. The 2006 was obviously loaded. You had Gilbert, who went on to be a three-year starter. Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow, Carl Johnson was a starter for the longest time. Brandon Spikes. The 2007 might have been maybe even better than that with all the Lakeland kids. You had Deonte Thompson, Cam Newton, John Brantley, Aaron Hernandez, Major Wright, Chris Rainey. Shoot, John Brown, if he ever got it together, would have been on campus. Joe Haden. The Pouncey twins. I mean, that 2007 class might have been better than ’06. I understand that Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow and Spikes were in it. That 2007 class might even have been better.
Andrew: Yeah. Absolutely.
Nick: Like you said, to your point, that’s two years.
Andrew: Right. That’s what I’m saying. I think it’s more of you have to do this. I don’t think you can miss a recruiting class and be terrible. You see what I’m saying? I feel like you have to be four years of good to great. I don’t think you can go #3 class, #7 class, #25 class.
Nick: Right. I think you’ve got to be a top 10 class every year. Just with the resources you have, with the brand that you have, with the success you’re having on the field. That’s some of the things, we’d say Will Muschamp can be as good of a recruiter as he wants to be, but if you’re going to win eight games, if you’re going to go 4-8 and then win eight games next year, it doesn’t matter. Kids are going to look and tell you, you’re lying to me. I see what happens on Saturday. With everything that Florida has going for it, just with the school, the school academically and athletically on the field, the resources that they put into recruiting and into the football program, the success you’re having on the field, there’s no reason to not at worst be a top 10 recruiting class year in and year out. To fall into the 20s is inexcusable. Too harsh?
Andrew: No. Not at all, because it is inexcusable. You look at it, and you say that’s okay once every few years, but not if you’re in that average. Again, I think if you’re outside the top 10 more than one or two years it’s a bad thing.
Nick: I agree with that. I agree with that totally. You don’t need to be the #1 recruiting every year, but it needs to be a situation where you’re in the running for a top 3, top 5.
Andrew: Right. That’s my whole thing. I think you have to be in that running. More so over that, I think you just have to, do you have to sign the best offensive line class every year? No, but you have to start signing some of the best offensive linemen.
Nick: Starts up front. Yeah.
Andrew: You look at it. I know we’re harping on the offensive line, because of Isaiah Walker, but let’s go to running back. A position that everyone is very hot on, because they lost Brashard Smith. They signed Nay’Quan Wright. Don’t get me wrong. Nay’Quan Wright’s a very good back, but besides that they haven’t even signed one since he’s been at Florida. They got the transfer in Lorenzo Lingard. That was kind of by default.
Nick: I guess, I just brought it up that having success on the field will help with recruiting, or it should help with recruiting. If you look at the roster, and you break it down, and it happens with every new coach when they come in, but the success that Dan Mullen and Florida have had have been with guys that Drew Hughes and Jim McElwain and that coaching staff recruited and got to campus. Lamical Perine, Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask, those are guys that, I think even Van Jefferson probably was committing?
Andrew: Yeah. That was a Hughes guy.
Nick: For the most part, these guys are all Jim McElwain guys that they’re winning with. This will be the first year where you’ll have a couple Mac guys still hanging out and still on the roster, but this will be the first year we see Dan and John and Billy. Now you’re coaching and playing with the guys, for the most part, that you’ve brought to campus.
Andrew: Right. That’s a really good point. I know people get on Mac about his recruiting, and Mac didn’t fit what we just said, and that was being top five. Do I think it was getting there? Absolutely. When you go back, and you look at that 2018 class that had the chance of Jamar Chase, Kyle Trask was in that class. I mean, not Kyle Trask, Matt Corral was in that class. You had Frank Ladson was in that class. You had some dudes in that class. What would Florida do right now to have Jamar Chase on the field? That’d be insane.
They had some really good dudes committed in that class, and then Mac got fired. Mullen ended up finishing really well that year, or pretty well that year, but you’re exactly right. You’re going to start to see a little bit more of Dan Mullen’s guys, and what is he going to be able to do with his guys? Next year he’s going to have to win with his quarterback in Emory Jones. I don’t know if Damien Pierce will leave, but after that he’ll probably have to win with his running back.
Nick: We’re not being totally negative here. You got all those guys to buy in. That’s a hard thing to do. To me, you got the guys to buy in, that’s a big thing to do.
Andrew: He got those guys to win. At the end of the day, that’s what it is. Mac didn’t win. Mullen won with those guys. So, you have to give Mullen credit. Mullen won with those guys. Again, I think that shows where Dan Mullen is a really good talent developer. I don’t mean this towards anyone, and I don’t mean this as a bad thing, but it’s so much easier to help develop Michael Jordan to being a better player than it is Scottie Lewis. I just use that because he’s a current player. It’s so much easier to develop a guy with a lot of God given talent than someone who doesn’t have as much, and you’re trying to develop it to be really good. That make sense?
Nick: Yeah. Like I said earlier, good players make coaches look better. It’s easier to develop a guy that, we’re not huge in stars, but easier to develop in theory a five-star guy than a two-star guy. I think the biggest thing for me is that, we said it a lot with Jim McElwain, or I think it was Randy Shannon that found Kyle Trask, two-star quarterback.
Andrew: No. It was Nussmeier.
Nick: I was told Randy found him, because that was Randy’s area, but obviously it has to be the quarterback coach to go out and make the offer.
Nick: But that’s a two-star kid that nobody really cared about, and you see what can happen when you’re able to develop a quarterback. He’s had a bunch of quarterback coaches since he’s been in Gainesville. Is it easier to do that? Do you trust your coaches in their own evaluations?
Andrew: This year you better. There’s no camps. There’s no summer camps going to happen.
Nick: This is a really interesting year. You’re going off of just film a lot. How many opportunities have coaches missed out and will miss out because of this?
Andrew: You got a few in person, like some of the Under Armours that was in February, but besides that, yeah. Nothing. Again, I’m not trying to be negative, and you’re not trying to be negative. We’re just raising the questions here. As bad as the terms are in the world with everything going on and there being no summer camps, and there’s no this, there’s no that, this is a big year for them in recruiting. It started out well, and it’s still three in the country, something like that, four in the country.
It still has the potential to be good, but you’re starting to offer some Plan C and D guys at offensive line and that kind of stuff. You get a lot of those guys on campus, and you’re probably not going to have a great offensive line. You’re losing some of your running back targets, that kind of stuff. Some of your top receiver targets look to be going out of state. It’s one of those things where it’s time to go. I know, like you say, winning on the field helps a lot, but is it? Because Florida’s won 10 games back to back and are one of the hottest programs in the country as far as winning the last two years, and so far it hasn’t translated.
Nick: We talked about it. There was some momentum.
Andrew: Oh, 100%.
Nick: Florida was rolling, and then everything that’s going on starts happening. We’re kind of sitting here, and all momentum is lost. You got schools like Tennessee. Tennessee’s on a hot streak right now getting recruits. I get it. I have a really hard time having the sky fall in May.
Andrew: Oh, 100%. I’m with you. I just say everyone had their momentum stopped because of this. Here’s the biggest thing that I think people need to understand. Florida’s coaching staff has never been great over the fall. They win when they can bring guys on campus. Someone said to me yesterday, on Monday, and it really described what I thought Dan Mullen and his staff was. They said, their best days are on Saturdays. When they have the ability to win on the field, and they have the ability to see kids in person, that’s their best days.
Andrew: Would you agree with that?
Nick: Yeah. They’ve proven to be, and we talk about it all the time, they’ve proven to be great game day strategizers, whether that’s the plan going into the game or adjusting on the fly during the game. They’ve shown that over and over.
Andrew: Right. We’ll see. Here’s the last thing I’ll say. With all the doom and gloom that surrounds the program and surrounds recruiting, you get nothing out of saying, fire John Hevesy, fire Greg Knox, fire Ron English. Those are Dan Mullen’s guys. He’s loyal as hell to them. Those are his guys. Dan Mullen’s a loyal guy. You’re wasting your breath. It’s time just to kind of get behind the guys, honestly.
Nick: I don’t know about Ron, but 100% Billy Gonzales, that’s his guy. John Hevesy, that’s his guy. Greg Knox, that’s his guy.
Andrew: Right. Do you agree with me?
Nick: Yeah. Those are his guys. They’re not going anywhere. You’re just wasting your breath yelling at it.
Andrew: Right. Will that be the fault of Dan Mullen? We’ll see.
Nick: Could be. We said that about Mac a little bit too.
Andrew: And it fired him. It got him fired. Period. It did. The death threats or whatever, but his loyalty to a couple of coaches got him fired. Wouldn’t you agree?
Nick: I think he forced it. I think he wanted out. I think he couldn’t hack it and wanted out.
Andrew: But don’t think that …
Nick: His unwillingness, or his supreme loyalty, yeah, did not help the situation, but I think he ended up taking himself out of play more so than getting fired.
Andrew: Right. I mean, we can break that down however, but I think it still rings true. It is what it is. Where you want to go next? Let me throw it, since you got to stop for a second. How concerning is it that this is the second early enrollee who has transferred before they played a game?
Nick: That’s tough. That’s tough, because I think there’s a whole lot of stuff that went down with the Chris Steele situation that I think maybe Florida misplayed some. Also, some of it I just don’t think the kid wanted to be here once he got here. Then a situation happened. The coaches didn’t do what he wanted the to do, and it was an easy out. With Isaiah, I think there’s some stuff that is going on with him personally. You can’t really foresee that. Is it concerning? It could be. One just happens. Two, you start to see a pattern. I don’t think two is a pattern yet, but you’re starting to look out for is a pattern starting to happen. For me, I think it’s something to keep an eye on. It doesn’t have me concerned yet, but it’s definitely something that if it happens again, what’s going on here?
Andrew: Right. It doesn’t help.
Nick: No. Not a good optic. Not a good optic to have a kid come in. I mean, Chris Steele went through spring practice, and Isaiah Walker would have gone through spring practice. Certainly, not good to get a kid to early enroll and then before fall camp decide they want out.
Andrew: Let me ask you this.
Nick: I don’t get it. Because when I’m out at practice, these coaches aren’t changing anything. Sometimes I’ve seen in the past where coaches don’t act the same when a big five-star is watching practice, especially when, let’s say it’s a five-star safety. They go over, and when you break up for individual drills, the safety coach, he’s not really yelling the way he normally does. That’s not like what yesterday’s practice looked like. These guys don’t do that.
We’ve asked them about it. They said, listen, if you come to our practice, we’re going to coach the way that we coach every single day, because we don’t want a kid to see us doing one thing when they take their one visit to see a practice, and then they show up, and that’s not how we do it on a normal day to day basis. Then they want out. They’re like, this is not what I signed up for. We’re going to coach and practice and do everything the same way, whether 2005 Tim Tebow is watching it or if it’s just some Joe Schmo two-star there or nobody’s there. We’re going to coach the same way.
To me, it’s like you should know what you’re signing up for, but we’re talking about 18-year-old kids who get away from home and maybe get homesick or don’t like being called certain names that John Hevesy will call you. It’s hard to predict 16, 17, 18-year-old kids, I think. To answer your first question, no, I don’t think it’s concerning yet, but not trending in a positive way when you see it happen twice.
Andrew: This is a narrative that’s going around on social media and everything else. Florida off seasons haven’t been good. Part of me agree with that. Last year you dealt with the Steele situation. You had the decommitments of Anthony Richardson and Trevonte Rucker. Decommitted last year, then now he’s recommitted. You had Bryce Langston decommit. You went through that, and then this year you got the decommitments and Walker. I guess, do you believe a little bit of that, that off seasons are kind of cursed in Gainesville?
Nick: No. I don’t think so. I think Florida’s still got a top five class right now with 13, 14 kids in the class. Couple four-star guys. I think six of them, seven of them. You’re going to have to finish strong. I’d have to look up, I don’t have it in front of me, the exact number that they’ll be able to offer. Obviously, that’ll change depending on …
Andrew: 23, 24.
Nick: It’ll change depending on more transfers. Isaiah’s scholarship will now open up. If kids decide to leave early or more transfers to come, you’ve got room in the class. You had a good start early. They’ve had two decommitments this week? Three? Past week?
Andrew: Well, just Brashard right now.
Andrew: Kumar was a couple weeks ago, but yeah. Brashard and Kumar have been two. There’s the rumor that more may be out. It’s a possibility. Here’s the thing I’ll say, Nick. I want to make this point the same way you did. Am I worried about recruiting now? No. No. I’m not, because of the simple fact that kids change their mind. No offense to Brashard. No offense to your hometown, but Miami kids love to play the game. They love to play the game. Like it or not, they love to play the game. They love to take visits, all that good stuff. You know it when you get it. I hate to say this, because it’s funny, but at the same time, it’s kind of dumb. You almost don’t want to be the first school to get a commitment from a South Florida kid.
Nick: We enjoy theatrics.
Andrew: Here’s the deal. I don’t blame it. I don’t blame it at all. If I was a 17-year-old kid in this shoes, and Nick Saban was calling me asking me to come to his school, and then as soon as I got off the phone, Dabo was calling me and LSU was calling me, hell yeah, I’m taking trips. Hell yeah, I’m visiting. Now, would I commit like some of these guys and then do all that? Probably not. But, yeah, I’d take my time. I’d take my visits. I’m not dumb. You’re going to get wined and dined. You’re going to be the big man on campus. You’re going to be a king for a day. Heck yeah, I’m going to take visits.
Nick: Hawaii is in my top five.
Andrew: Yeah. Good luck getting into visit. You know what I’m saying? I understand it. It’s just that. There is the whole rift out there a little bit that one of the Florida off the field staff members tweeted some final answer gif, whatever, to Kumar Wilcox, and he got upset about it. Other kids were rubbed the wrong way. Here’s the thing I’ll say to this. It shouldn’t have been done. A grown man in the position he is should not have done that. Was it funny? Sure.
Nick: On the other hand, I don’t want a kid that’s going to get upset about a troll on social media and make a life altering decision because of it.
Andrew: That’s what I’m saying. It was funny. Sorry. Have thick skin. Should it have been done? No. But it was.
Nick: I laughed. It was funny.
Andrew: I’m sorry, but you kind of made the joke for yourself, young man. You committed twice, decommitted twice. Now you’re at a different school. Sorry. You did it. I don’t know.
Nick: It’s recruiting. The craziness of recruiting will ensure that you are always employed Andrew, because there is literally never, and I even imagine the people that cover recruiting for Georgia and Ohio State, the schools that we’re looking at, Oklahoma and Alabama, the ones that you think every year they’re doing great, like their fans are probably pissed off about something.
Andrew: Alabama fans right now are pissed because they’re wondering why Alabama is struggling or being slow in recruiting. I have some buddies of mine who cover them, and they’re like, has Nick Saban not taught these people anything? Nick Saban’s going to finish with a top five class. Don’t worry about it. It might be hectic, and he might take the path across the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico and everything else to get there, but when it comes February whatever of next year, he’ll be fine.
Nick: That’s what I’m saying. Even the school, like Florida fans would say, why aren’t we recruiting like Alabama? Alabama fans, like you just said, are pissed off.
Andrew: Yeah. Georgia fans are pissed off, because, guess what? They’re not winning. Everything. That’s what I get at. That’s why I wanted to do this podcast. Is there some legit concerns around the program? Sure. Sure, there is. Do I understand some people being upset about it? Sure, I do. 100%. Do I think there’s some legit reasons to be worried about the future? Sure. 100%. You’re not recruiting at the level. I know Jeremy Pruitt’s taken some questionable character guys. Jeremy Pruitt’s going to recruit. Jeremy Pruitt is going to recruit his ass off. The question is can he win on Saturdays?
Andrew: Dan Mullen’s going to win on Saturdays. The question is how is going to recruit? I think there’s a lot of questions that can be asked about all coaches. For instance, Kirby Smart, he can recruit. Can he win on Saturdays? Can he win the big game? Right now, the answer’s no. Mark Richt could recruit his ass off. Couldn’t win on Saturdays. Only a few coaches can do both.
Nick: Then what you were saying was, I mean, if you’re winning on Saturdays, who gives a crap what your recruiting class looks like? If you win 16 games, if you win 15 games on Saturdays and win a National Championship, who cares what your recruiting class is like? I guess what you’re saying is how long can Florida underperform in recruiting and then that formula still work?
Nick: Before it starts affecting your ability to win on Saturday because of recruiting.
Andrew: At Mississippi State, you can win. You can win a lot of games, because guess what, usually you’re the underdog that schools are overlooking and that kind of stuff. You can out-scheme a lot of games. Here’s the deal.
Nick: You weren’t expected to win as many games a year at Mississippi State as you are at Florida.
Andrew: Right. Exactly. You didn’t have to. You got to a bowl game at Mississippi State, they were happy. They were happy, very happy. At Florida, like I said before, expectations are Atlanta or bust this year. Some people have said, you’re crazy for that. I’ll ask you, Nick, is it Atlanta or bust?
Nick: This year, yeah. Dan Mullen’s not getting fired if they don’t get to Atlanta this year.
Andrew: No, but that’s the expectations.
Nick: That’s the expectation is to get to Atlanta.
Andrew: Then if they get to Atlanta this year, guess what? Next year it’s get to the playoffs. If you win at a high level, expectations go up every year. Why do you think Nick Saban every year, every year he says it, my expectation is to go to the College Football Playoff and win.
Nick: Those expectations are a privilege. You earn the right to have those expectations by winning games.
Andrew: The Last Dance. Michael Jordan said it was almost more of a relief than a joy that he won his third championship, because it was expected that he was to win that third championship. If he didn’t retire, guess what? He would have been at four. Expectations every year were for Michael Jordan to win the championship. Period. I know you hate it, but don’t you think expectations around the Patriots every year when Belichick and Brady were together was to win the championship?
Nick: I can’t wait to see how bad they are this year.
Andrew: What I’m asking is wasn’t that the expectation?
Nick: Every year.
Andrew: Everybody picked them. The same pick. You have to understand expectations are going up. With that, you better get better players. Any final thoughts?
Nick: No. I’m not looking up at the sky waiting for it to fall right now.
Andrew: I’m with you.
Nick: I’m the optimist here.
Andrew: Here’s the thing. I’m with you. I’m not ready to say it’s going to be a bad class. I’m not ready to say it’s going to be a failure or anything like that. I do legitimately think there’s some major concerns. I do think that there is some major question marks, but to me Dan Mullen has earned the right for me to say let’s see what he answers. If we’re talking about the same thing in a year or two, or if he goes to Jacksonville and gets blown out again, there’ll be some questions.
Andrew: Questions by people with more power than you and I.
Nick: We don’t have much power.
Andrew: Right. I’m just saying, if he loses to Georgia and gets blown out in Jacksonville, or gets beat down in Jacksonville, or the front seven does whatever, or if LSU beats them bad, guess what? Next year there’s going to be some question marks of why are you not recruiting better? Anyway, Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone later. We’ll be back tomorrow with another really good podcast talking about all these things with the NCAA and the likeness and all of that. We’re going to talk to some people smarter than you and I to get some thoughts on that.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. You can find the podcast wherever you consume your podcast. Just search Gator Country. Hit 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: Real quick, Nick, I have to say something. Prayers up to the Shula family. I know Don Shula was a guy that you loved growing up. I’m not a Dolphins fan, but you can’t but respect the winningest coach ever. Belichick will probably pass him, but when you think about great coaches, Don Shula is if not at the top, one of the top.
Nick: Yeah. I had a couple chances to meet him in person. An incredible man. Graduated with one of his grandsons from St. Thomas Aquinas. Just prayers to their family. He was a living legend. Rest in peace, Coach Shula.
Andrew: There you go. Guys, we’ll see you guys tomorrow. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.