GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators tough loss to Texas A&M on Saturday night in the Swamp.
Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down what went wrong in the game and who’s to blame for the Gators offense struggling.
Andrew and Nick also talk about what can happen to fix things and what to look forward to during the bye week.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, taping this on a Monday instead of a Sunday, but I think we can all spare a day after what we watched on Saturday. It was Florida football for the past seven years 2.0.
Nick: Yeah. Something out of the Muschamp era.
Andrew: I mean, Nick, you joked with me last week about getting some hats and shirts made with Make Florida Football Fun Again. Nick, is Florida football fun? I’m asking you. I want you to take a step back and just look at everything. When’s the last time Florida football has been fun?
Nick: It was fun Jim McElwain’s first game. I remember we were talking, that was kind of the whole theme. It was like after two years of it being really, really not fun, you play New Mexico State. You win 61-13. 28 1st downs. 222 rushing yards. 384 passing yards. You have 600 yards of offense. That was fun.
Andrew: Then the Ole Miss game.
Nick: Then immediately after that you barely beat East Carolina. Then you barely beat Kentucky. Then you barely beat Tennessee, and then you beat Ole Miss. That was a great game, when Ole Miss came in they were ranked top five in the country. Yeah. After that’s it’s 21-3 Missouri. That was a terrible game.
Andrew: After that came the Will Grier saga.
Nick: Yeah. As soon as Will Grier was done. I mean, with Will Grier playing there’s 61 points, 31, 14, 28, 38, and then you’ve got 21, 28, but a loss, 27-3 win over Georgia. Then 9, 24, overtime victory over FAU.
Andrew: I remember that game. That was awful.
Nick: You scored just a safety on Senior Day against Florida State. That wasn’t fun. Then last year. What was fun last year? U Mass wasn’t great.
Andrew: LSU was fun.
Nick: Crushed Kentucky. Crushed, beat North Texas 13-0. Lost to Tennessee. Vanderbilt was a miserable game. Missouri was terrible. That game was a 40-14 win, but that was handed to you. The Georgia game was kind of boring. That was 24-10 though. You’re kind of just holding on. Got crushed by Arkansas. South Carolina wasn’t a great game. LSU was fun. Then you got crushed by Florida State and Alabama. Like five fun games.
Andrew: As a whole, Nick, and I’m asking you this. I know you’re going to try to dodge it, but I’m going to ask you to please answer this. That is, going into games, do you expect Florida to look good?
Nick: No. Every game, it’s kind of like when we make our predictions with every game, I feel like I’m a broken record. I say, “I think it’s going to be …”
Andrew: Close game.
Nick: Close game, low scoring. It’s like, you say that every week.
Andrew: Rinse and repeat.
Nick: Yeah. That’s what it is. It shouldn’t be that way in Year 3. It shouldn’t be that way after 33 games. Jim McElwain was hired because of the prevalent feeling, which we had Saturday, Jim McElwain was hired to not have that any more.
Nick: It’s a feeling of not only is it a loss, but it’s not even an entertaining loss. It’s just at some point I look down, I’m like, “Florida has 350 yards of offense? What? How’d that happen? It’s been a painful game to watch. How have they gotten 350 yards of offense?”
Andrew: Here’s the thing. I want to move on after this. When you play not to lose, you lose. I mean, everybody jokes with that saying, but it’s a true saying that I know. Find a team that plays not to lose, and find them to win. I’m a Falcons fan. I can point to many, many games of that. Nick, you’re a Dolphins fan. Anybody that does that, I mean, you look at post-season baseball, you look at that stuff. When you play not to lose, you lose.
Nick: Yeah. Prevent defense. They say prevent defense prevents you from winning.
Andrew: Here’s the thing. People are on my case, because I’m on the defense’s case. I’ll get to that in a second. It’s not just the defense though. It’s the offense. It’s special teams. It’s everything that goes involved in a game. When you play not to lose, you lose. It just is what it is. The moment you take your foot off the gas pedal is the moment you lose. That is why teams get accused of running the score up. You can take your foot off the gas pedal a little bit when you’re up 28 points, but when you’re up 17-10? You got problems.
Let’s move on, Nick. Is it time to blame Nuss more, or is it starting to be time to blame the quarterback again?
Nick: I’ve been on the boat, or the group of people that say it’s both. Are there plays where you look, and you scratch your head, and then are there plays where, you can’t see it on TV, but guys are running wide open, but the quarterback’s staring down on receiver? It’s been both all year. I think, unless you’re in the stadium, and you can see it for yourself, it’s not stuff that TV shows. They don’t even go over it on replay sometimes. It makes Nuss looks worse when a good play call—listen, if a guy’s running wide open down the field, the play call’s good. Just because you can’t see the guy running wide open, because the TV’s not showing it, and the quarterback doesn’t throw it that way, doesn’t mean it’s a bad play call.
Andrew: Here’s the thing, Nick. My good buddy, Jacquez Green, Jacquez and I are good friends. He had a point on Twitter. He said, “We don’t know the read. We don’t know the play call.” Then he also did go back and say, “You can’t stare down receivers.” I’m with Jacquez. We don’t know the read. We don’t know the play call. Was the first read to hit Brandon Powell deep? Probably not.
But when the play breaks down, that’s when you look. The thing that bothers me the most with Feleipe is it’s almost like when Nuss calls the play in he also tells him where to throw the ball. I say that jokingly, but I still kind of wonder if that’s not a little bit of the case. Where Feleipe’s not in the huddle, and he gets X fly Z 72, throw it to Josh. I don’t know. I’m joking about that, but saying that I really don’t know if that’s Feleipe’s mindset, and that’s bad that we question that, because immediately off of the snap he immediately stares down one receiver for multiple seconds. It’s not let me look left, let me look right. It’s not that.
The other thing that is concerning to me with that, Nick, is he doesn’t read the defense. He reads is the player open or not, not maybe the defense is baiting me. That kind of stuff. That’s a situation that is going to be a cause for concern when you start playing the Georgias, when you start playing the Alabamas, the teams that are very smart in disguising their defense. Not that LSU and Texas A&M aren’t. They’re very good defenses. It goes back to the 3rd and 3, where he hits Goolsby, and he has a crossing route wide open, but it like, “Oh shit. 3rd and 3, let me get the ball out of my hands real quick and see if they can make a play.” Check down’s always open, Nick. It’s a check down for a reason.
Nick: Yeah. It’s apparent that there’s not a lot of reading the defense.
Andrew: There’s no progression.
Nick: And going through a progression. That’s pretty apparent. Are the receivers getting open? If they are, I was trying to find a way to defend Feleipe, and it’s just like even if your #1 isn’t open, you should go to the next one.
Andrew: Here’s the thing, Nick. I don’t even put that on. I’m not even at that point yet. Because when you’re not looking for another option, you don’t know if he’s open. Now, a lot of the times he’s not open, but you have to look. Your eyes, the two eyes that the Good Lord gave you when you were born, were made to see things. No longer is this a quarterback that’s getting pressure. He has some, but the pocket’s pretty damn good, Nick.
Nick: Offensive line’s been playing really well.
Andrew: Pretty good.
Nick: Yeah. The offensive line’s been playing well. I think a lot of this is on quarterback. The offense obviously looked better with Luke Del Rio in it, and my question is, what the hell did you see before the Michigan game to name to name Franks the starter in the first place?
Here’s the thing, and people don’t like that I do it, but I like Will Grier, and I like that family. I think Jim McElwain tied his horse, attached himself to Feleipe Franks. Ever since Will Grier left, the future was Franks. They have not done a good job getting him ready to play to this point. He’s been on campus for almost two years, and he’s not ready to play.
Andrew: Here’s the thing too, Nick. Again, that’s where I put the emphasis on Nuss as well is he’s not getting him ready, but at one point, when is it the quarterback just isn’t that good?
Nick: The thing is what have you done to prepare him? Then, what have you done, and what do you see in practice, that makes you confident he can run the plays you’re calling? I mean, I made a comment about Georgia and their passing game. They’re all tweeting at me. Some guy tweeted at me 12 times this morning. Kirby Smart and Georgia are putting Jake Fromm in positions where he can be successful, and Georgia’s run the ball for 280 yards a game. Florida ran the ball for 242 against Texas A&M.
You need to put your quarterback in positions where he can be successful, and you’re not doing that at Florida. Maybe there aren’t positions that you can find him, that you can make up, for him to be successful, because he’s just not good. That ultimately, again, falls back on you. You’re the one that recruited him. You’re the one that signed him, and you’re the one that’s had him on campus for almost two years. Do something with him.
Andrew: At some point or another, Nick, you also have to say the guy just doesn’t get it. I mean, Derek Tyson, formerly of ESPN, said it best. He said, “Everyone knew Feleipe had every bit of talent in the world, but he had no football IQ.” It’s simple. Some guys have it. Some guys don’t. I mean, some guys are natural to get back there and read a defense and that kind of stuff, and some guys aren’t. It is what it is.
That is a situation that Feleipe’s in. Feleipe is not a good enough quarterback to read a defense. He is a guy that I think almost needs to be into the spread out five receivers where he knows where he’s going with the ball before he snaps it. Not this offense that Jim McElwain runs. You can’t change your entire offense for Franks, because he can’t read it, in the middle of the season.
Nick: Why? Why is it changing it? This is your starting quarterback. Why are you changing it now?
Andrew: I don’t know, Nick. I don’t know the answer to your question, Nick. I’m trying to get angry with you. I don’t know the answer to your question. I don’t. I really don’t know the answer to your question, because the answer to your question is it shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be. If you need me to answer it spot on, it shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t be in this position.
Nick: To me, that’s another way to say, that’s on the coaches. It goes back to stuff we said during Will Muschamp’s era. Why are you trying to fit your players into your offense? Fit your offense, and change your offense to your players. Urban Meyer got here, all kinds of spread offense, and he inherited Chris Leak. He made that work.
Good coaches don’t care what their offense is. They don’t have the hubris and the ego that says, “I will make whoever fit into my offense.” No. Evaluate the talent you have. What are you strong at with your players? What can your players do? Then you change your offense to fit that. That’s not what has happened at Florida. It got the last coach fired. If it continues, it’s going to get this coach fired.
Andrew: Yeah. My thing is this, Nick. I’m just going to say it like it is. Our excuse of not having a quarterback is very warranted, but also an excuse. There are a lot of teams around the country that have no business even being the in the same category as the Florida Gators, and they make offense look easy.
Nick: Yeah. That’s another thing. It never looks easy.
Andrew: No. It always looks like they’re pulling teeth. I mean, am I lying when I say that?
Andrew: It always looks so complicated. It almost looks like it’s brain surgery out there, and it is like so painfully slow.
Nick: Listen, I’m not letting any of these people operate on my brain. They’re not doing brain surgery over here.
Andrew: They’re not doing brain surgery on me either. I don’t know. It just is one of those things where you think about it, and you’re just like, “Can it not be a little more simple? Is there not something?” Here’s my thing too, Nick. I’m ready to say this, and you know me, I don’t like saying this at all. At some point, you need to try to get Zaire ready and try to get yourself to a bowl game.
You told me yesterday you weren’t even thinking that, but I’m telling you now. You need to think how are you going to get to a bowl game and win three more football games? If that means you’re having to bring the Austin Appleby package in for Zaire, where it’s a bunch of short throws and then read options, to get you to a bowl game, you better damn be working on that these next two weeks.
Nick: I don’t think that. I look at the schedule, and I think Georgia is a loss. I think Missouri is a win, so you’re 4-4.
Andrew: Listen, Missouri’s going to throw the damn ball.
Nick: Listen, man, Missouri’s trash. Missouri’s God awful.
Andrew: Nick, they can score some points.
Nick: Missouri’s God awful.
Andrew: They can score points.
Nick: Missouri’s God awful. Listen, when it comes down to it, Florida really doesn’t get blown out. Missouri’s scoring points, and Florida can’t score points. Watch out. Missouri won’t score points either. We’ll get another 12-10 piece of shit game that we have to sit through and watch. That’s what happens.
Andrew: In a high school stadium.
Nick: Listen, Missouri’s bad. I put Missouri as a win. I put UAB as a win. Shoot. Will Muschamp might get the ultimate revenge with a win on November 11. Also, that Florida State game, that’s no longer a game—at the beginning of the season you would have said, “No chance. No chance. That’s a loss. Mark it up as a loss.” They’re playing terrible as well.
Andrew: I’m glad you’re confident.
Nick: I feel that my job here is to be the levelheaded one.
Nick: I don’t think it’s as bad as it ever is, and I don’t think it’s as good as it is.
Andrew: Point me to a damn positive, Nick. Point me to a positive.
Nick: I can’t. You’re down on the defense, and I don’t think the defense is nearly as bad as you make it out to be.
Andrew: Okay. We’re going to get to the defense in just a second. Here’s my thing.
Nick: Here’s a positive.
Nick: Offensive line is playing better every single game, and you’ve got two legitimate running backs. I almost want to say you went away from it, but you ran 68 plays last game, and 42 of them were runs. Of course, nine of those are Feleipe Franks scrambles, so just take those nine away and add them to the 26 passes. Now you’re even again. No need to be even. You’ve got a quarterback who can’t handle it, and you’ve got two running backs in Davis and Perine who will carry the ball 20 times each. Let them do it.
Andrew: 10 carries for Malik, nine for Lamical Perine.
Andrew: That was in the first half.
Andrew: That’s uncalled for.
Nick: 10 for Malik, nine for Perine. Perine got four more carries in the second half, and Davis got eight.
Andrew: That’s what I’m saying. That’s uncalled for. I don’t know what you’re doing.
Nick: That’s your positive. Your positive is you’re running the ball well. You ran the ball for 5.8 per carry against those two. Even if you take out Feleipe’s, you’re averaging over five yards a carry.
Andrew: Yeah. Like I said, I just don’t know what they’re doing, Nick. It’s a situation where you save your jet sweep to Dre Massey for the touchdown, but you act like it’s secretive. You act like that play’s secretive. LSU’s running that play 10 times. Georgia’s running that play 10 times. Hell, Alabama can run it every play. Why is everything so secretive?
Nick: Everything has been secretive. It’s the Saban way.
Andrew: But Saban’s not secretive like that, Nick. That’s the thing. You just got me pissed off. I’m sorry. You just got me pissed off. I’ve been trying to keep it. This is not Nick Saban’s football team. This is not Nick Saban’s program. I’m so damn sick and tired of hearing that, Nick. Nick Saban has a reason to be Nick Saban. He wins championships. He wins championships. He wins football games. 71 straight games against unranked football teams.
There is no Nick Saban, Nick. It’s one Nick Saban, and that’s it. All of his pedigree and coaching tree and all this other shenaz that everyone wants to make it out to be is just that, trash. Trash. There’s one Nick Saban. Stop acting like him. Stop running your program like him. You’re not Nick Saban. You’re not Alabama.
Nick: You’re taking that the wrong way. I’m saying these guys come from that way that Saban runs things, and then when they get the chance to run it, “That was successful. I’ll run it that way too.”
Andrew: But you’re also missing my point, and that is you’re trying to run Alabama, and you’re not Alabama. Stop it.
Nick: That’s exactly what I just said.
Andrew: Stop it.
Nick: You’re getting worked up, and I’m telling you, what you just said is what I said. I agree with you. They’re trying to run things like Nick Saban runs it, and you’re not. You’re not Nick Saban. You can do that when you win 100 games in a row. You can do that when you win like Saban.
Andrew: Stop acting like him. That gets on my nerves. That honestly pisses me off to no end. Listen, I hate the University of Alabama more than anybody in America, and Nick can attest to that. Nick can honestly attest to that. I respect the shit out of Nick Saban. That’s one of the finest football coaches and people I’ve ever met in my coaching career. That man’s a genius. Him and Bill Belichick, in my opinion, are two of the greatest football minds ever.
Andrew: Nick Saban has earned that right to be that way. Nick Saban has also earned that right to be nonchalant in press conferences. When you don’t win football games, you have to answer.
Nick: We don’t get answers.
Andrew: You have to. You’re not Nick Saban. Period.
Nick: Right. I feel like you get it. You get what I’m saying.
Andrew: I get what you’re saying.
Nick: Yes. That’s what it was with Muschamp. That’s what it is with Kirby Smart. Kirby Smart tried to get legislation passed to make it harder to report on his football team. The mindset of the guys that come from the Saban tree is this. Is make a snide remark or not answer questions. It’s to close things down, to have this bunker mentality. That’s just the mentality of the guys. I’m not saying that they earned it. I’m saying the exact opposite. You haven’t earned it. All I’m saying is that that’s the mentality of the two guys I’ve covered that have come from the Saban tree, and what I’ve seen from Kirby Smart in his first year, and what he’s done over there to the Georgia media.
Andrew: Here’s the thing. I’m not a Kirby guy. I think Kirby’s a prick, but Kirby does answer more questions.
Nick: We don’t get answers. It’s funny. It’s funny to see how it goes. The first year, all the fans think it’s funny when reporters don’t get answers and questions aren’t getting answered. The team’s winning games, and they go to Atlanta for the first time in five years, and it’s all funny. Ha-ha, those stupid reporters, Mac’s sticking it to them. It’s not funny to you guys anymore.
Andrew: Here’s the thing, Nick.
Nick: Hard questions are being asked. They just don’t get answered. We can’t put words in people’s mouths and make them answer questions. Hard questions are asked every week.
Andrew: Here’s the thing, Nick. I could care less if he answers the questions in the press conference to us. He doesn’t owe us a damn thing. He doesn’t owe the fans a damn thing. He owes the boosters a damn thing. He owes the alumni. He owes his players. He owes his university answers. That’s the people.
Nick: Boosters are fans.
Andrew: Right. General fans.
Nick: Alumni are fans.
Andrew: Right, but you know what I’m saying. He doesn’t owe, I mean, he does, because they pay tickets. I guess I shouldn’t say that. He doesn’t owe us. He doesn’t owe us an answer. I am with him on that completely, but when there are questions—Nick, here’s the thing. The players are saying what they’re taught to say, but I can guaran-damn-tee you one thing, they’re questioning things.
Nick: What point does that get toxic?
Andrew: You don’t think it’s toxic already?
Nick: What point do you lose the locker room?
Andrew: You don’t think it’s toxic already? These guys tweeting shit right, left, and sideways?
Nick: I think you can look at that there’s players all across the country that tweet stuff that they shouldn’t tweet.
Andrew: Let me ask you this. What do you think of the situation?
Nick: I think you tweet sometimes stuff you shouldn’t tweet.
Andrew: I’m just retarded. Yeah.
Nick: I think I tweeted something that Georgia fans didn’t like today.
Andrew: Here’s the thing, and I think that’s what pisses people off sometimes. I tweet what’s on my mind. I tweet what’s on my mind, and I tweet what I see. I don’t think I should be held to any higher accountability for having an opinion. I should have an opinion just like everybody else has an opinion. Now, granted, I have to write facts, but if I have an opinion, I’m going to say my opinion. If you don’t like it, there’s a simple unfollow button at the top of Twitter. People griping at you and I about our baseball picks. If you don’t like it, unfollow me. I don’t give a shit. I’ve got 15,000 followers, 13,000 followers. One unfollow is not going to hurt my feelings. I’m not losing sleep over you not following me.
Nick: Okay. Get back to it. You think that this coaching staff has lost the locker room.
Andrew: To a degree, yes. I don’t know if it’s so much that these guys are arguing with each other. It’s more so they have no confidence in what they’re being taught.
Nick: Okay. See, that’s the thing. I was on radio in Knoxville yesterday, and they were asking about Mac’s job security. I said, “I think Mac’s on the hot seat. I don’t think he gets fired. I don’t know what it would take to get fired.” I said, “I watched Will Muschamp lose seven games in a row.” Granted, different time. Different AD.
Nick: But I think fans aren’t mad at McElwain as a coach. I think they’re mad at McElwain because Doug Nussmeier is still the offensive coordinator, and Doug Nussmeier is still calling plays. I think the anger is just spilling out, from being mad at Nussmeier, it’s spilling over to Mac, because it hasn’t been changed. I think if Doug Nussmeier got fired this week, and Jim McElwain took over the play calls, I think people would be fine with Jim McElwain.
Andrew: Absolutely. I’m not calling for Jim McElwain to be fired. I think Jim McElwain’s a hell of a football coach. I think Jim McElwain knows how to build this program, and in a lot of ways he is building this program in a positive direction. The facility upgrades, and people can like it or not, the messing with the uniforms a little bit, the social media thing. This summer Gator Nation, in my opinion, was pretty hot. It was pretty good, for the most part.
I think he’s building the program in a way, but I think he also has some question marks in his coaching staff. I said this on our message board, and I guess I’ll say it now on this podcast, and that is when coaches start questioning other coaches, that’s when you have an issue.
Nick: You can’t afford to have that unrest. You have to a united front in the coaching room. I think there is a united front, and that might be the problem. From McElwain’s point, I think the loyalty he has to the guys on his staff, I think that might be the problem.
Andrew: You think the whole staff is together?
Nick: No. When you lose, people start turning. That’s the thing. Winning fixes everything, and I’m sure everyone on Alabama’s coaching staff doesn’t like each other. I’m sure they all don’t like each other, but you win games, and it works. When you start losing games, and even when you’re winning games, it feels like a root canal with no pain killers, even when you’re winning games. That doesn’t help gloss over losses and stuff like that.
Andrew: Right. Here’s the thing too. Florida has a very solid 17 group of commits in this recruiting class, but the problem is the guys that are their targets aren’t even visiting, and aren’t looking. Nick, you and I came into this season, and I know me personally, I said, “Man, this is about to be a bang up year for recruiting and visitors coming to campus.” It’s not been very good this year. That starts to fall there too. Why isn’t the visitors list as good? That kind of stuff. You have to start wondering about things like that.
Nick: The momentum of the program was great in the summer. You could make an argument that it was as good as it was for Kirby Smart, who was a new coach, and when you’re a new coach you come in with a lot of momentum. We saw that with Mac’s first year. I think that momentum has been completely stalled. It started stalling with the credit card stuff and those guys being suspended, and then it gets worse when you get dominated by Michigan in the first game. Probably helps a little bit. Even looking at the Tennessee game that had a lot of commits there.
Andrew: Yes. Tennessee game was by far the most attended game.
Nick: So you have a lot of recruits and people there, but then … you’re beating Tennessee, and then you go conservative on offense, and you go conservative on defense, and you let them back in the game. It takes a 63-yard pass at the end of the game to not go into overtime. If that game goes into overtime, I don’t have confidence that Florida’s winning that game.
Andrew: No. If that game goes into overtime, it’s over with, in my opinion.
Nick: I think that’s where you start losing it. You start losing it with off the field stuff, a bad loss to Michigan, a game that could have made you feel good, at least, with stats, against Northern Colorado gets cancelled, and then you see what you see in Tennessee. Kentucky wasn’t really awe-inspiring. Then you beat Vanderbilt by two touchdowns. Whatever. It’s Vanderbilt. They’ve looked terrible since then.
Nick: Then you lose two games. There’s no momentum.
Andrew: Right. That’s what I’m saying. I think that that’s a situation where you’re in struggle. Again, like I said before, never make coaching decisions off of recruiting. If you start doing that, then you got problems. I don’t know if you agree with that, Nick. Maybe you don’t. If so, then say so.
Nick: I think that you can get great players on campus. Ron Zook got great players on campus. He just couldn’t coach them up. Recruiting’s a piece of it. It’s a big piece, but you still have to be able to coach guys up. I think some of the coaching staff changes you made last year you needed to, because of the recruiting aspect. I think getting Ja’juan Seider, I think he’s a great recruiter.
Andrew: He’s a hell of a recruiting.
Nick: Until he proves you wrong, I think he’s done a good job with the running backs.
Nick: Mark Thompson had no carries last week, and had barely played the week before that. That’s something we were talking about, and fans were talking about, for all of last season. I think Ja’juan Seider is seeing that, and that’s a good coach. To me, bringing him in is a good coach, good recruiting mix. No. You don’t bring guys in. You maybe have one coach on staff that isn’t a great coach, but a hell of a recruiter, and you got room for one of those guys on your staff. That’s it.
Andrew: Yeah. That’s a good point. I think that you have to improve your situation if you make a change. At the end of the day, Nick, all these kids want is to be upfront with, and you to have their best in your mind. I say that. If you do replace a coach, find someone that’s going to coach them well. At the end of the day, Nick, and I think this is what’s lost on a lot of people, where did the pride of being the Florida Gators go? You know what I’m saying? When did it become, Urban Meyer had kids fighting to be Florida Gators. It’s no longer the case.
Nick: Mac had two players fighting. I remember Dwayne Haskins and Feleipe Franks were on campus, and Feleipe probably saw some writing on the wall there. Let’s go ahead and get this commit going.
Andrew: Yeah. You know what I’m saying? It’s just where does the pride factor in all this go? I just don’t think that, at some point, and Mac says it. He said, “It’s pretty cool being a Florida Gator.” That kind of stuff. I’m with Mac. Growing up in Alabama, all people talked about was Florida in the East is a team that can be very dangerous, because they are the team in Florida. They have all the athletes, all that kind of stuff. I mean, for a while Alabama was afraid of Florida, because of what they could bring. That’s where I think that things have got to get back to. Again, I just don’t think you make changes for that.
Listen, Matt Corral is a very confident kid. I don’t like to say cocky, because I don’t know him very well. Confident, cocky, same thing. You want that to be a quarterback. There’s no doubt in that kid’s mind he’s coming to start at Florida next year. Is he right? Who knows? We’ll see. Just get a coordinator that he likes, and you’re okay.
Nick: Yeah. The big question from fans is how attached is Matt Corral to Doug Nussmeier? I think the answer there is Matt Corral wants to go to a place where he’s going to be developed, and he’s going to win football games. It doesn’t matter who’s there.
Andrew: Exactly. I think that that’s the thing everybody has to remember. Listen, when you’re a coach like McElwain, that is an offensive-minded coach, you shouldn’t have any issues there. You shouldn’t have any issues there at all. Again, do I think anything happens during the bye week? No. I mean, it just isn’t going to happen. That’s not Jim McElwain’s way of doing things. We can agree. We can argue. We can disagree. We can do whatever. It just it ain’t going to happen. There’s no sense of wasting your bye week. Go have some fun. Play some golf. Do something. Anything. This week is focused on recruiting, and guess what? On Monday, Doug Nussmeier’s out recruiting.
Nick: Yeah. That’s where he should be. They should all be out there. As many coaches as you can have out recruiting, you should.
Andrew: Exactly. Again, I know this podcast probably wasn’t the most upbeat, but, listen, the facts are there. This is a program in spiral, and it’s a program that needs some kind of stability. You come out, and you beat Georgia, and you look decent, and you let everybody know that the bye week was good, everything can be forgotten. At the end of the day, if Florida beats Georgia and Florida State, and finishes the year with three losses.
Nick: Stop that.
Andrew: Fans will be okay.
Nick: Yeah. Sure.
Andrew: You know what I’m saying? Fans will be okay. They’ll still be pissed off, but they’ll be okay. Most fans will tell you they’d rather beat Florida State and Georgia than go to the SEC Championship game and get waxed by Alabama.
Nick: Yeah. I think fans are tired of that. I don’t think fans will be happy if somehow you manage to beat Georgia. Let’s just say manage to win out, win out your SEC schedule, and you beat Georgia, and Georgia loses to Auburn. Okay. Now you each have two SEC losses, and you own the tiebreaker, because you beat them head to head. You have to hope it’s not a three-way tie with Kentucky or somebody like that. I don’t think fans are happy getting to the SEC Championship against Alabama and losing by 20, 25, 30 points again.
Nick: I don’t think that makes you happy. That’s what we came into this season as. Jim McElwain said we’re going to knock the door down. The hinges broke the wrong way, and it’s hitting Florida in the face right now.
Andrew: Florida opens early on as a 13.5 point underdog to the Georgia Bulldogs.
Nick: I don’t know if I’d advise anyone who is a gambler to take Florida in the points there yet.
Andrew: Here’s the deal. If I’m a gambler, don’t pick that game. Will Muschamp told you not to pick that game. Just don’t. Trust Nick and I for once. Don’t pick that game. Don’t pick that game. I’ll pick Georgia. Very uneasy picking that game. Always uneasy picking that game. As we’ve seen, Bryce Ramsey’s played quarterback in that game. Kelvin Taylor’s ran wild in that game. You had a fake field goal by Will Muschamp, the most conservative football coach in America. Don’t pick that game, fellas.
Nick: Let’s go. We got a little bit of time for you talk about your defense that you do not like, that is fine.
Andrew: Okay. We got about eight minutes here to talk about the defense. First half defense, Nick, very, very good. Very good. No problems with that at all. The issue I have, Nick, is this. Out of the halftime you make zero freaking adjustments, and after halftime is the worst. The issue I have with Randy’s defense is this. Play freaking aggressive. Play to win the game. Don’t sit back and allow them to pick you apart. Everybody in freaking America on 3rd and goal knew Kellen Mond was running a quarterback draw. What are you doing? What are you doing?
Second of all, what are you doing playing man against Christian Kirk with a safety? What are you doing?
Nick: I think for most of the game you had Duke Dawson on it, and credit Duke. Christian Kirk is an NFL player. Duke did a really good job on him.
Andrew: Duke played a phenomenal football game. Really made up for last week’s game against LSU. What are you doing, Nick? That prevent, non-aggressive defense gets old. I hear people, and I’m so sick of hearing people say that they have guys suspended at linebacker. They’re missing Nick Washington. They’re missing Jabari and Jordan Sherit. Stop. Stop. Stop with those excuses. First of all, none of those guys suspended at linebacker were going to play this year. Period. They weren’t. You still got a great front seven. Let’s also face it. Nick has been injured all year.
Nick: Yeah. I still think that, when you’re looking at how young the defense is, you take somebody who’s as smart as Nick, and you put him back there, and you take whatever. Maybe Shawn Davis or Jaewon Taylor or somebody else might be a better physical player, but we want that older presence, that veteran presence, back there, because we are so young.
Andrew: I’m not arguing that, Nick. I’m saying to you this, and that is stop with the excuses of that. You’ve played the defense. Young or not, Nick, they played a good first half when they were pretty aggressive. Second half, they come out there, not aggressive. Playing not to lose. Stop. Stop, Randy. Stop what you’re doing. Stop. Play aggressive football like the Florida Gators do.
Nick: Yeah. I think that maybe they were a little more aggressive in the first. I didn’t really have a problem with what they were doing. When it comes down to the second half, the second half is completely different. First half, getting off the field, and they’re extending drives on offense. Second half, the offense can’t stay on the field, and really now the defense, it’s what we talk about, is on the field the entire time. Florida held A&M to 4 of 16 on 3rd downs. They ended up running, I think, over 35 plays in the second half. Really that’s what it is. You hold A&M to 83 rushing yards. That’s really good. This is a team that could run the ball over the field, and had been running the ball over the field.
Andrew: Let me ask you this, Nick. Down seven in the game. Why are you giving the receiver 15 yards of space? Why are you doing that? Up by three, or up by one at the end of the game, 17-16. Why are you giving the guy 15, 16 yards free space, no rush? Serious question. I’m asking.
Nick: I don’t know. You’d have to point me to a specific play. I’d have to go and watch it again.
Andrew: The crossing route that went for 30 would be one. The other would be 3rd and 10, where they ran …
Nick: The crossing route, they ran two crossing routes, and I think it was Duke got picked, and all of a sudden you get picked, and now you’ve got three guys in a pile on one side, while the Texas A&M guy runs free. I don’t think that’s play off coverage. I think that’s just a good play design.
Andrew: Well, they were off coverage as well, and that’s why they got picked. That’s what I’m saying. 3rd and 10, you’re like that. Why are you in base defense on 3rd and goal on the 9, when they’re five wide? You’re expecting a 240-pound linebacker in David Reese to do that. What are you doing? You have a monster in Kylan Johnson, who is a former safety, there. What are you doing?
Nick: To me, Kylan Johnson hasn’t been moving the same this year.
Andrew: I agree with you there. Do you not trust him over David Reese right now? I love David Reese as a player.
Nick: He’s your prototypical middle linebacker, not really your coverage guy.
Andrew: Right. I love David Reese a lot. I think he’s a hell of a linebacker, going to make a lot of money one day, but I don’t like him in the middle of the field with a playmaker like Kellen Mond.
Nick: Right. Maybe I like Kylan better, but I don’t think Kylan is moving the same way he did maybe last year, or when he first came in. I would say take away the he used to play safety. He’s a big dude now. He doesn’t move that same way that he used to. He moves better than Reese, but is not moving the same way.
Andrew: I’m with you. I’m with you on that. I’m just saying, listen, I don’t like the play not to lose, the prevent.
Nick: I get that. I mean, you give up 19 points, and you gave up, what? 17 last week. Do you have to pitch a shutout for Florida to be able to win a game?
Andrew: Nick, let me ask you this. I’m going to say this just like you said with the offense. Florida’s defense did not look like they shut A&M’s offense down like they did.
Nick: They did in the first half.
Nick: First half, no matter what A&M was doing, they had an answer. Florida had an answer for everything A&M was doing.
Andrew: Right. I’m saying the second half A&M just ran free. That’s what I’m saying.
Nick, we got to get out of here. Running out of time. Again, sorry for this. We got a special guest coming on for our Wednesday podcast. Won’t spoil that. We’ll announce it later on when that happens. We’ll maybe bring on a special guest on Friday too. Hell, why not? We ain’t got nothing else to talk about. No predictions this weekend. Why not?
Again, guys, we appreciate it so much. Check out the website. Good time to get on there and check out some recruiting, all that good stuff. Message Nick or I, and we’ll give you that coupon code. We’ll get out of here. Tell everybody where they can find us, Nick.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in transcript and audio form. You can also find the podcast on iTunes. Search @GatorCountry. On social media, search @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter, @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. You can find me @NickdelaTorreGC and him @AndrewSpiveyGC.
Andrew: There you go. Yeah, guys. As always, guys, we appreciate it so much. We will be back on Wednesday. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp.
Nick: You stay classy, Gator Country.