Podcast: Talking new transfers, plus spring football

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we talk about the addition of several transfers, including tight end Arik Gilbert.

Andrew Spivey and Seth Varnadore also breakdown the addition of Garrett McGee as quarterbacks coach, plus we breakdown what it means for the offense.

Andrew and Seth also start to look ahead to spring football that starts next month.


Andrew:​What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, back with Seth. Seth, I appreciate it again. We had a couple weeks off, but we’re back. Got a lot to talk about. That never ending drama and news cycle in Florida Gators football continues.

Seth:​We just wanted to let the news pile up a little bit, so we had a lot to talk about.

Andrew:​Yeah. Brian Johnson now an Eagles coach, no longer with the Gators. I’ll ask you this. I’ve had multiple people ask me what I thought about it. There’s a couple ways to look at it. Brian Johnson had some head coaching opportunities in college football. Didn’t get the jobs, but multiples interviews. South Carolina, Boise State. Some people thought he may even have been a candidate at Central Florida with Heupel gone. They were wondering why take a step down to be a quarterback coach in the NFL. My thing is I don’t know that it’s a step down. You see a lot of position coaches in the NFL becoming head coaches. I don’t know that it really hurts his development.

Seth:​No. I think getting away from Mullen for him is going to help him, because he still has the stigma of Mullen does all the work. He runs the meetings, but Mullen is really the guy that coaches quarterbacks there. I think getting away from Mullen kind of will help him grow career wise, and then the other thing is he goes into Philadelphia, where they had problems at quarterback last year. If he goes in there and fixes one of those guys, or if they keep Carson Wentz and he fixes him, or they start Jalen Hurts and he has a great year, he’s going to be a really hot commodity. Not just in college football, but in the NFL as well.

Andrew:​I think that’s a good point. You have the opportunity to kind of come out from under Mullen’s shadow. I say that, and it’s not a knock. I heard this a little bit with Christian Robinson as far as wanting to get out from under Todd Grantham. We’ve heard and seen the whole T Rob thing. It was hard for T Rob to get a job, because he was always under the Will Muschamp. I say under his belt, but that’s what it is. He never was away from him, so what could he do on his own? I think that helps Brian Johnson to go and show what he can do with the Eagles. Like you said, how many guys? The Ravens’ wide receiver coach was the head coach of the Houston Texans now. It shows that position coaches are not limited to becoming a head coach in the NFL or college.

​I’ll say this. I don’t know how many people agree with me on this, but I’ve talked to multiple college coaches, and they say going to the NFL is now better than ever, because of the fact of having free agency in college football sucks. I don’t know that Brian Johnson ever comes back to college. He may get to the NFL and say, this game’s a lot o easier on the day to day. I can just do football and not worry about recruiting and all that other stuff. He may get the NFL and say, I’m never coming back to college.

Seth:​You have to be wired different to be a college coach now. If you’re just a guy that loves football, the NFL is the place for you. You don’t have to worry about bringing guys in. You can be really hands off where you don’t have anything to do with the roster. You just coach the guys you have, especially at a position coach level. You just coach the guys you have, and you’re just dedicated to football at all times. I’d imagine you get a little bit more time off, because they have a true offseason. You don’t have to worry about if I’m out with the family on the 4th of July I got to call a recruit, or we might have a camp that weekend. You get a true offseason. College football is becoming tougher and tougher, but the money is going up to make up for that a little bit. It’s kind of both sides of the coin there.

Andrew:​Dan Mullen likes his vacation. Let’s remember. He likes his vacations around Gainesville. But no, you’re right. They have a true offseason. You have a little bit of an input, but at the end of the day, the GM and the front office are the guys getting you the players, and you got to develop them. Like you said, if he can develop Jalen Hurts into a really goodquarterback, his stock will rise. I say into a really goodquarterback. I think he’s a good player now, but if you can really show him to be an NFL guy, then your stock can really rise.

Seth:​Yeah. Like I said, if you take Hurts, who’s coming into his second year and showed some flashes of good stuff, but nothing you wouldn’t bet on him being a superstar just yet, or if they keep Wentz and you fix him, because everyone is talking about how he’s broken. Either way, your stock is going to go up. I’m sure Brian Johnson goes into this new job believing that he can do both of those things, if that’s what he needs to do.

Andrew:​Obviously, Garrett McGee is going to replace him, former Louisville offensive coordinator, was an analyst with Florida last year. He’s going to be the quarterback coach. Mullen hasn’t really said how the offensive coordinator titles will be divvied up, but I imagine it goes back to Hevesy and Gonzales being co-coordinators there, but he hasn’t said that.

​McGee though brings more experience. I know there was a lot of people, and myself included, that was like why didn’t youlook and see who else you may get, but that’s kind of what the whole analyst thing is set to be. Kind of a minor league for your coaching staff, to where you can just promote within and not have much growing and unfamiliarity with your program. In a way, it’s kind of what it was set up for, and McGee’s resume speaks for itself. He has a good resume and is a good quarterback coach there. I don’t think it’s a bad hire at all. Wasthere some reservations about it saying he should have went and got somebody else? Yes, and that certainly is the case, but he brought McGee on for a reason thinking highly of him, promote him. He has the ability to coach quarterbacks, and Dan Mullen is going to also do that.

Seth:​He was in the building, so he knows how this guy works, how he fits. Like you said, he got a really good look at him, and I think that the fact that he’s promoting him shows that he feels very confident in his ability to do the job of coaching the quarterbacks. Like you said, he’s got a lot of experience in the past in the SEC and other Power Five conferences. I think he’s even got a little bit of NFL experience. I think he was the quarterbacks’ coach and offensive coordinator at Arkansas when they finished, it seems like a long time ago now when you say it, but they finished 12 and then #5 one year. They had some really good offenses, and I think they made the BCS Bowl and the Cotton Bowl in back to back years.

Andrew:​He made Matt Jones. That was his name, right?

Seth:​They had Mallett, I think, at that time. Ryan Mallett was his guy.

Andrew:​It wasn’t the kid that turned into the receiver in the NFL.

Seth:​No, I don’t think.

Andrew:​Wasn’t it Matt Jones with McFadden and those guys?

Seth:​Matt Jones is a freak of nature. Yeah.

Andrew:​Yeah. Like you said, he’s done it. He’s had the ability. The question is, and always is, how they’re going to do in recruiting, and we’ll see. He’s already starting to offer a lot of kids and doing a lot of recruiting. It seems like he has an ability to connect to kids. It does seem like he has a little bit different of a recruiting board than Brian Johnson did with Dan Mullen, and that’ll be interesting. You would have thought it would have been kind of Dan Mullen’s board as well, but he is offering some other kids, some more pro-style kind of quarterbacks. It’llbe interesting to see how that differs from it.

I don’t think you see much of a change next year. I said it from Day 1, I don’t worry about quarterbacks with Dan Mullen. There’s a lot to worry about with Dan Mullen, and there’s a lot to worry about in recruiting, but quarterback position is not one of them.

Seth:​No. They’ve shown the ability to take what they’ve got and turn it into guys you can win with, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

Andrew:​What do you know about him?

Seth:​About McGee?


Seth:​I remember him being kind of like why did Brian Johnson leave. I remember McGee being kind of paired at the hip with Petrino. I remember hearing about him back when Arkansas was rolling a little bit. Arkansas did a lot of interesting stuff. I think there were a lot of 11 personnel. I remember watching some stuff on him, some clinic stuff on him explaining their passing game. Very pro-style, some kind of West Coast stuff in there. When I heard the name, that’s what I thought back to.

I hadn’t been keeping up with him, what he’s been doing recently, but I know he was with Petrino at Louisville. I think he had some type of interaction with Lamar Jackson there at Louisville. Then I kind of remembered the Arkansas stuff in the past, when they really had it rolling there and finished top five in the country, which is a long way away from where they are now. That’s kind of what I remembered when I read the name. I’ve just kind of been reading up on him. He’s kind of been bouncing around a little bit since then. He’s had some really good offenses and really good quarterbacks in the past, so you think he knows how to coach the position a little bit.

Andrew:​Bobby Petrino, for every issue he has off the field, he’s pretty good football coach.


Andrew:​Pretty good football coach. Really knows the quarterback position as well. Really knows offense as well. He has that, like you said, kind of stigma about him a little bit that he’s been with Petrino a lot. I don’t have an issue with that. I like Petrino, what he does on the field. Off the field, he likes women.

Seth:​And he used to like motorcycles.

Andrew:​Used to like motorcycles. Getting beat up. I wonder if his eyes ever recovered there. Where’s he even at now?

Seth:​I think he’s at something like Missouri D2 school or something like that.

Andrew:​I remember that now. Some school. Again, I don’tdoubt his background, McGee that is. I don’t doubt that. The thing is is I know from Dan Mullen’s past he’s not going to just have anybody working with quarterbacks. That his baby, and that’s something he’s going to always treasure. He’s going to always be on top of in recruiting himself, so I don’t look at it as a bad thing at all. A bunch of kids have already talked highly of him in recruiting, so I’m all for it.

​As far as calling plays goes, it was always a four-man show. When I say a four-man show, it was always Brian Johnson, Hevesy, Billy, and Dan all kind of game planning together. At the end of the day, Dan has the final say on the play call. Who comes up with the first play call up in the press box on Saturdays, I don’t know who that’ll be. Again, that doesn’tworry me and concern me. I say as far as Dan Mullen goes the offensive coordinator is simply a name. That’s a title. That’s a title for him. It’s kind of like being a defensive coordinator with Nick Saban. It’s a title. You’re not running the defense. You’renot running the offense with Florida.

Seth:​No. I don’t think people realize that play calling is a lot more collaborative. Not in every instance, but in most instances, play calling is a lot more collaborative. A lot of the coaches have input. They suggest things. Maybe they have one guy that calls them when he wants to call them, so maybe Mullen’s like, I need a run play, and then Hevesy says, I think we should be running this. Or what do you like next drive run game? Somebody will suggest something, and then whoever is calling the play in will pick when to call that play. It’s a little more collaborative than I think people realize. I think it seems that way at Florida on the offensive side of the ball. On the defensive side, I don’t know. Who knows what’s going on over there?

Andrew:​They don’t even know yet.

Seth:​We’ll find out a little. I guess, if it don’t look different at all, maybe it’s not too collaborative on that side. Offensively, I think it’s going to look probably pretty similar.


Seth:​I think McGee will probably add in some different ways of looking at things, some new ideas, because he comes from a different kind of tree, especially in the passing game. I think he’s a little bit different than Mullen, but it’ll bring a new set of eyes that’s had a lot of success in the past. I don’tnecessarily think it’s a bad hire. I think it’ll probably work out pretty well, I’d imagine.

Andrew:​Here’s the thing, and you and I have talked about a lot in the past. Pro-style spread offense, at the end of the day, it’sall becoming one. I say that because you look last year at Florida’s offense, that was a pro-style offense. That’s what it was. That was a pro-style offense. The only difference is he’staking snaps in shotgun than under center. Nowadays, outside of a select few teams in the NFL, how many guys take a snap under center? Kansas City in the Super Bowl probably took 10 snaps or less under center.

Seth:​You don’t have to be under center anymore. People are understanding that if they want some of the same run game stuff you can just bump up to the pistol, or people are passing so much they don’t need the run game to be quite as diverse as it’s been in the past, but you can figure it out. There’s ways to do it. It’s all kind of melding together into one thing, so what he’s going to come in is not going to be stuff that these guys have never heard of before. Florida’s been running some of them. Arkansas used to run a lot of drive concept. Florida ran drive a lot last year. It’s not going to be anything crazy, but it’s just a different way of looking at things, maybe a couple different wrinkles he can add in. I think it’s a good thing, just adding in a new set of eyes there.

Andrew:​Yeah. I always hear, you can’t play action in the shotgun as good as you can under center. That’s crazy. As long as the quarterback understands his ability to sell the run, hold the run, hold the linebacker’s eyes for a split second, it’s play action. Play action is play action. At the end of the day, your whole reason of running play action is to deceive the defense, and you deceive the defense by your motion, your ability, your ability to deceive them. That’s it. If the quarterback is good at it, that’s it.

Does it look the same? No, it doesn’t. But at the end of the day, it’s the same concept. I always joke, and people always ask me about it, Urban Meyer runs the wishbone. He just runs it in the shotgun. That’s wishbone concept in the shotgun. I know you’veheard this as well, and I’ve had coaches tell me, offenses never go away. They just evolve into different things. You look at the zone read, that’s old wishbone offense. That’s what it is.

Seth:​RPO is triple option, just the pitch man if five yards downfield now. They just take the ideas and advance them a little bit, and then eventually we’ll come back around to more two tight end power run game stuff. It’ll come back, but right now we’re just kind of in a new age triple option with the RPO stuff, and that’s kind of become your play action too. We’ll just RPO it, and then if you don’t show up for the run, we’ll hand it off to the back, and now he’s got a crease that he can run through.


Seth:​They figure out ways around it being the shotgun. You’re still putting defenses in a bind.

Andrew:​Right. You’re still doing the same thing. It just looks different, and that’s it. It’s the same concepts. The offense hasn’t changed very much. It’s still the same thing. Everyone jokes about Army and Navy, their offenses suck with the wishbone. Ask defenses about that. They’ll tell you.

Seth:​I heard USF try to get ready for Navy, and it’s not easy. It’s a tough week. It’s totally different than normal. You got to pull yourself out. You got one week to turn it around. It’stough.

Andrew:​We played a team every year. They were a triple option team. Big team too. Their offensive line was huge. We played them one time. They threw the ball seven times in the game. But when I say they were masterful with the triple option, just the basic fullback dives back then, that’s what it was, and it was such a pain in the ass to get your guys ready, especially because usually it would come after we were playing a five-wide team. So, we would go from full blown five-wide spread offense to old-school wishbone. You’d go from telling your linebackers, you’re going to read this slot receiver, to now, you read that fullback. It was a pain in the butt.

​It goes back to the point, and that is if you’re running your offense, and Mullen’s offense the way it is, and McGee’s adding a wrinkle to it, you only make yourself more difficult. There is the possibility, and you can’t have too many different chefs in the kitchen there, but more ideas the better. That’s one thing I liked on defense with the McGriff hire was McGriff brings a different philosophy. He brings a different idea. He brings a different outlook on the defense that can help Grantham. Now, I don’t know whether Grantham will adjust or not. You hope so when you’re this successful in college football.

Any coach will tell you, the more ideas and the more you can evolve, the better you are. Some of the best cornerback coaches used to play offense, because they understand it. Some of the best wide receiver coaches are former corner coaches. You see so many former quarterbacks that are wide receiver coaches, because they understand it. You’re always trying to evolve in this game. The more eyes and the more opinions you get, the better off you will be, and the better off you will be long term, even when McGee moves on for Dan Mullen.

Seth:​Yeah. Brian Johnson was kind of a new face to the crew, but he’d been with them in the past, so this is kind of bringing somebody totally different, but they have the knowledge of knowing that he will work and fit, because he was there last year as an analyst. I think it’s an easy way to get that outside wrinkle coming in without disrupting what you have chemistry wise on the staff, because you know this guy fits in. I think people kind of felt underwhelmed a little bit, but I think it’s going to end up being a pretty good hire.

Andrew:​Like I said, I was one of those that was like, there was some guys you could have went and got, and maybe they’dend up being better. Then I went back, and I talked to some people about McGee. I kind of went back and did some homework on him too, and I’m like, this isn’t really that bad of a hire. Again, he’s kind of in that minor league of coaches, so he understands. He was at every one of the offensive meetings last year. That’s what analysts do. He’s preparing. While Billy and Mullen and those guys are looking at LSU tape, McGee was already looking at Alabama tape, so he was ready to go. He knew the ins and outs of the game plan as good, if not better, than Dan Mullen and those guys, because he worked on it for multiple weeks at a time.

That goes for all those analysts that are there. That’s their job. They don’t get to coach on the field, because that’s against the rules right now. They don’t get to recruit, so the only thing they’re doing is watching film all day long. That’s a coach’s dream, most people’s dream. I’d love to just sit down and watch film all day.

Seth:​So, if you liked some of the game plans you saw last year, I’m sure Garrett McGee had a hand in some of those, because he said, this is what this team is running. I watched them. This is their tendencies. Then the game plan gets formulated from there. He probably had a hand in some of these game plans, so it’s not like you’re bringing in somebody totally new that doesn’t know what’s going on. He probably had an impact last year that we didn’t even realize.

Andrew:​Yeah. Let’s move on. Gators landed the big tight end, Arik Gilbert, from LSU. He announced he’s going to transfer to Florida. I had some people say, does that mean Florida doesn’t believe in the guys they have on campus now at tight end? The answer is no. They do believe in those guys, but when you get a talent like Arik Gilbert, you take him every day and twice on Sundays. The guy is an explosive play maker.

He is a true mismatch, and that’s nothing against Gamble. That’snothing against Keon Zipperer. But Arik Gilbert brings something different to the table than every one of those guys. Zipperer, I said it, he’s more of an H back kind of guy. KemoreGamble is more of a get me three yards kind of guy. Gilbert is one of those guys that can go get you 50. Take a pass that’s two yards, make a guy miss, and get you 50, like Kyle Pitts.

​It’s a big pickup. That’s the only thing to say. To say Florida didn’t need a tight end. They didn’t need a tight end, but they needed a weapon that people are going to come into every game and fear. That’s Arik Gilbert.

Seth:​This guy, I think he’s the only tight end to ever win Gatorade National Player of the Year. I don’t know if people realize. He is just a monstrous human being. He is a big dude. You listen to the LSU people talk about him last year, and they were like, this guy runs like a receiver. He runs routes like a receiver. I watched a video of them talking about him at camp. They’re like, I don’t think he’s dropped a ball yet in camp. He’sa freak of nature. I’ve heard other recruiting experts say he’s the most impressive guy they’ve ever seen in person. He’s a big dude that can run. Any time you can get those type of guys in your program, you take it. He had some production last year at LSU. He’s probably the closest thing to Kyle Pitts in college football.


Seth:​I think he’s a guy, they flex him out at receiver sometimes. They played him in line. He’s not going to be Kyle Pitts. I don’t think you want to put that kind of pressure on anybody, but this guy is a different kind of dude, and he can create some of those same matchup problems. The next thing I’m going to do for the site is probably looking at him. Here’s how Florida used Kyle Pitts last year. Look at the kind of same stuff Arik Gilbert did at LSU and high school and how he can kind of just slide right into that Kyle Pitts role. He’s a big pickup. I think he’s going to be a difference maker from Day 1.

Andrew:​I think he was, and I need to go back and look at this, because I don’t follow recruiting rankings. I just don’t. I don’t, for many reasons, and we can get into that another day, but I believe he was the highest ranked tight end ever. That’s a big honor. You’ve had some great guys come through there.

​Again, I say this, because you look at next year’s team. Xzavier Henderson, he has the ability to become that guy. Jacob Copeland has the ability to become that guy. Fraziers has the ability to become that guy. But when you looked at last year’s team, every game you came in you knew you better stop Toney, and you better stop Pitts. Heading into this year, I don’t know that there was one guy that you had to circle on your piece of paper as an opposing coach that said you had to stop this guy. Now, when you go into next year, every game you come into this game you got to circle Arik Gilbert and say, I got to stop this guy. That opens up things for everything.

You look at last year’s games without Kyle Pitts. The offense was totally different, because you didn’t have that. They were able just to take away Toney, and you didn’t have that guy that was a big, big guy to just throw it to. That’s Gilbert. When Kyle Pitts is there, and it’s 3rd and 7, boom, you spread him out to his side by himself, isolate him, throw the slant. You’re not stopping it. That’s Arik Gilbert.

Seth:​Yeah. Like I said, I’ll probably get something up for the site so people can see this, but there were times it’s like 3rd down, need a 3rd down at LSU last year. They flex him out. They just flex him out at receiver basically, one on one to run a slant. He wins easily, easy 1st down. He is a talented dude, and I don’t think people realize how big of a get this is that haven’t been paying attention. He is going to be another big weapon. You add him to the other transfer, Demarkcus Bowman, and now you’ve kind of restocked a little bit on offense there, where there were some question marks, and you got two stud five-star, all everything recruiting guys that are coming in to fill those voids. I think it’s definitely a big get, and I’m sure Kyle Pitts helped a little bit with landing that recruit.

Andrew:​He did. He called him. He called Gilbert a lot and talked to Gilbert a lot and explained to him. The other thing is this. You kept him away from Georgia.


Andrew:​That’s it. You were battling Georgia. Did you want to go against him or have him on your team? You want him on your team every day of the week. You go back to Gronkowski in the Super Bowl. Guy’s unstoppable. Just is what it is. Travis Kelce. Unstoppable. Big tight ends nowadays, there’s no answer to them. Safeties are too small. Linebackers are too slow. Corners are too small. There’s nobody to guard them.

Seth:​Big tight ends paired with creative play callers are really tough to stop, especially when they can block a little bit, and Gilbert’s showed that he can block a little bit in line too. He’s not just a guy you have to flex out because he’s a tall skinny dude. He’s like 230, 240, 250-pound grown man looking dude out there that will get in line and block too. He is going to be a matchup nightmare, I’d imagine. Then pairing him with the creativity that Florida has on the offensive staff, I think should result in a pretty good year for him.

Andrew:​First off the bus.


Andrew:​That’s what you call Arik Gilbert. He’s first off the bus and plays like first off the bus. He’s not looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane kind of guy.

​We got a few minutes left here. I wanted to get into a little bit of spring ball. Obviously, we still got about a month left before spring ball gets going. This is a time that staff is spending on getting guys conditioned and that kind of stuff. We’ll talk here for about 10 minutes. It’s big for these coaches. We just spent 20 minutes talking about McGee, but this is a big spring for McGee. McGee is going to be able to help Emory and Anthony Richardson, and even the two young guys in Carlos Del Rio-Wilson and Jalen Kitna. I think especially with Emory. He’s going to be able to show Emory some new things that Brian Johnson and Dan Mullen haven’t and be able to help him.

Let’s just call it like it is, this is huge. This next year’s team depends on how well Emory or Anthony Richardson become, because right now both are unknowns. We kind of know what you’re going to get from Emory, but I don’t think Florida is comfortable with what they have in Emory. I don’t think they’re comfortable with what they have in Anthony Richardson. They need them to continue to improve and continue to evolve as quarterbacks. Again, that’s a big thing for me with McGee and this spring, and even this time before the spring as they’re meeting and that kind of stuff, just getting on the same page.

Seth:​One great thing that’s been on the site recently is kind of the exit interviews with former players. The offensive guys have been asked, what do you think about the quarterback situation? A lot of those guys, kind of everyone they’ve asked so far, has felt like Emory seems like the guy that’s ready to go, but that Anthony Richardson will probably play a little bit too. They’ll kind of use the packages. But it’s important for both those guys. Like you said, the offense is going to go kind of as the quarterback position goes, I think. You don’t imagine that you’ll have this dominant offensive front. Maybe they’ll be improved, but last year Kyle Trask hid a lot of flaws because of how good he was, so those guys are going to have to step up and play. They’ll kind of go offensively as those guys go, so they need them to step up.

​Then I think on the other side of the ball is where they said that not having spring last year really hurt them and put them behind the eight ball, because they didn’t have, I don’t know, I guess they didn’t feel like they needed some more time with those guys to kind of get stuff installed with the younger guys. Now they’re going to have that time, so are they going to take that step forward defensively now that they have this springtimeto get stuff installed with the new coaches and everything like that? Spring will definitely be an interesting kind of process for this team, and it’s going to be really important to see where this team ends up next year.

Andrew:​Again, talking defense, with Jules and those guys, McGriff, it’s going to be big, because you’re going to have the opportunity for them to kind of put their stamp on things and mark what they want to do. I think that definitely on the defensive side of the ball they’ve got to get some confidence. They got to get some swagger about them. They got to get some grit and some toughness about them that just simply wasn’t there last year. I think McGriff’s going to definitely demand that. He’san old-school, in your face kind of guy who guys respect, and he’s going to demand that.

​I said this on the last podcast, I think. You want your DBs to be the cockiest most swag guys on the team. You just do. They’re on an island. They’re by themselves. They’re always isolated. Did Marco Wilson and those guys make you mad when they throw their hands up for incomplete? Sure, they do. But guess what? A defensive back that don’t have confidence in themselves is a bad defensive back.

Seth:​You’re on an island. You got to be that kind of guy, to be constantly stuck, and then if something bad happens, you got to get it out of your mind and go on to the next play. It takes a different kind of dude to be able to do that, and you need that kind of swagger, that kind of confidence.

Andrew:​Have you ever seen a defensive back that didn’thave confidence that was good?

Seth:​No. Never. I was just trying to think. Who’s the Julio Jones of defensive backs? I asked a couple people, because who is it? We had talked about it last time. The only one somebody could bring up to me in like the last 30 years was Champ Bailey.

Andrew:​Yeah. But Champ even had a little bit.

Seth:​Yeah. He even talked a little. He just was kind of sly with it.

Andrew:​Yeah. He was kind of sly with it.

Seth:​You look like the last 10 years, I don’t think you can name one. Can you name a good defensive back that didn’t talk?

Andrew:​No. I mean, Richard Sherman, pain in the ass. You know what I’m saying? You look at some of these DBs that you think about, and it’s like, those guys are just jerks. You hate them. You hate them if you’re playing against them, and you love them if they’re on your team. I always say this about Chauncey Gardner. He goes overboard, and there’s no doubt about it. He even makes his own team mad at times, but he does such a good job of pissing off the opposing team that it gets in their heads sometimes. Look, he had two players ejected this year from the Bears because they hit him, because he got in their head, and it was jacking them up. That’s what you want.

​I say this about Kaiir Elam. I would love to see some emotion out of Kaiir Elam. I hardly ever see any out Kaiir Elam. I would love for him to trash talk a little bit and let it be known how good he is, but that’s a mindset. I think McGriff is going to put that mindset in there, that show your confidence, show your ability to play ball.

Seth:​Yeah. You’ll definitely get that from Jules. USF guys were really cocky. Some of those guys they had didn’t cover people too well and got put on the bench for young dudes, but those guys had some confidence. I think you’re going to get some of that back, maybe some of that swagger back, some of that kind of talking back. That’s coupled with just having confidence in yourself and confidence in what you’re doing. It’stough to feel real confidence if you’re going out there, and you don’t know what you’re doing. You see guys like we saw a lot last year, not getting lined up, not knowing where to line up. It’stough to be confident when you’re not even sure where to line up. So, this spring I think with the new coaches getting all that kind of stuff fixed will go a long way towards seeing that kind of swagger come back to the defensive backfield.

Andrew:​Yeah. Exactly. It’s a big spring. We’ll get into that more as the coming weeks come, before we get into spring ball. Seth, any final thoughts before we get out of here?

Seth:​My only question to you, and I think this is something that people will want to know, because of all the handwringing and stuff when people got hired, how are the new guys recruiting?

Andrew:​McGee’s offering his guys. We talked about that a little bit earlier. He’s recruiting some different guys. Nick Evers is a kid, Cade Klubnik from Texas. Those are two guys that he’safter. Sam Horn’s a kid from Georgia that he’s after. He’s after more of these pro-style guys, and it’s going to be interesting to see if that’s kind of where they want to go more so with it, or do they feel like they have enough dual threat guys on campus that they want to get a true pro-style guy there. So, it’ll be interesting, but so far McGee’s done a good job of getting Florida in the mix for those guys and getting them in the mix very quickly.

​As far as Jules and McGriff go, things are going well there. You didn’t have as much offering from those guys, just because Torrian Gray had done a good of offering most of the top ratedkids in that 2022 class, but it does seem to be that guys like them. Trey Donaldson’s a big athlete DB kind of kid from Tallahassee, and he loves McGriff and Jules. Devon Wilson down in Naples, he loves Jules as well. He’s been recruited by him at USF. It seems like the guys like them a lot and are starting to lean there.

​Only thing I say, and we got to talk about it, now it looks like the dead period is going to be extended through the end of May, and it sucks. A guy like Jules, for instance, a lot of top rated guys didn’t visit him at USF. You would love to see them on campus with him. Even McGee, he’s been out of the game a couple years. You’d have loved to get them on campus with them now. You can learn a little bit through Zoom and all that, but it’s nothing like getting them in person. I think in a way that kind of hurts their ability to kind of really get their full effect on recruiting, but I do think early on the reviews are very positivefor all three of the new guys.

Seth:​That’s good. Everyone went crazy hopefully for nothing. Hopefully these guys pick it up and can be those recruiters that this staff was missing. So far good returns early.

Andrew:​Here’s the thing for me. I don’t mean this as any slight, but you couldn’t have got no worse on defense. You couldn’t have. Gray and English were not very good there. With Brian Johnson, McGee’s got some big shoes to fill. Brian Johnson was a good recruiter, and he was a really good recruiter in Miami. Tim Brewster’s going to take over recruiting down there in most of Miami, so you’re good with that.

​Again, I don’t worry about quarterback recruiting with Dan Mullen. I just don’t. There’s a lot of things I worry about with recruiting, but quarterback recruiting just doesn’t concern me.

Seth:​No. I think recruiting is obviously very important, but some of it’s overblown. It’s really it’s good to hear that they’re being well received already, because it’s really just about building those relationships. They’ll be able to bring some of the ones they had from their previous jobs, but that’s kind of what it is. So, it’s good to hear that these guys are able to kind of build those relationships. Those guys seem to be well received, and that’s kind of as good as you can do coming out the gates with everything that’s going on right now.

Andrew:​Yeah. Just get the dead period over. Seth, what you got coming up on the site?

Seth:​I think I’m going to do something next week or so on Arik Gilbert, and kind of how Florida used Kyle Pitts. It’ll be a little bit looking back at last year to kind of see all the different ways Florida used Kyle Pitts and kind of how they did that schematically and how they would get him open so much when people would have to concentrate on him a lot. Then show kind of what can Arik Gilbert do. Does he do some of those similar things? Spoiler alert. He does some similar stuff. We’re going to look at what he did last year at LSU, maybe even in high school, and just kind of see what kind of player he is and what you can expect from the tight end position with him playing there.

Andrew:​Great. Good stuff. Seth, we appreciate it. We’ll be back next week, as we continue to talk some spring ball. Maybe we’ll hit on just offense next week, and then the next week we can hit on defense. I’m sure there’ll be something pop up in the news that we’ll have to talk about. Seth, appreciate it. We will be waiting on the Arik Gilbert story.

Seth:​Sounds good.

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.