Recapping the Florida Gators spring game: Podcast

GatorCountry brings you our latest podcast as we review the Florida Gators spring game from Friday night as the Gators hosted its first annual spring game at night time.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre discuss the atmosphere from the spring game, plus discuss how the quarterbacks performed and who stands out at the position after the spring.

Andrew and Nick also discuss the offense players in general, plus who stood out on defense and how the recruiting portion of the spring game went for the coaching staff.


Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? This is your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, it was a good weekend in Gainesville if you’re one of the teams for the Gators. The other team, not so good, but the crowd enjoyed it, and I think Coach Mac got what he wanted out of the whole thing, and that was a good weekend.

Nick:                         Yeah. If you’re the Blue team, 44 points and a 38 point margin of victory. Those were both Orange and Blue game records. If you’re the Blue team, you’re feeling pretty good. If you’re Florida, you’re feeling pretty good. If you’re Florida fans, you’re feeling even better, because a kicker put that little oblong ball through those yellow things that stick up in the field, and that felt good.

Andrew:                 He cracked me up after the game when someone asked him, I believe the question was, “What do you think about the impact of the other guys?” or something along those lines. He said, “I don’t know very much football, but I know that I’m supposed to kick it between those two yellow things.”

Nick:                         Yeah. “I don’t know too much about football. I just kick the ball, and it goes in,” was his quote. That’s all you got to do, buddy.

Andrew:                 I thought McElwain might have given him that, because Mac’s thing is, “You see those two yellow things? Kick it between them.” That was funny. Nick, we talked about this a lot, and I’ve done a couple radio stations today, and they keep asking me, “What is the thing that fans should be looking forward to?” I struggle, because there’s so much. A new kicker Eddy Pineiro is going to create excitement. Florida’s kicking game has been, well, let’s just say it, shitty lately. You look at the quarterback position. Quarterback play was something we all focused on, and then everyone seems to always focus on the defense, because that’s, the defense is what’s good. I struggle with what exactly is probably the thing that I’m most looking forward to, because there’s so much.

We can talk more about that in just a second, but let’s talk real quick about that Friday atmosphere. You were on campus a lot earlier than I was. I got on campus later, and campus was buzzing. There was tailgating going on, stuff like that. I’ve had several people tell me they’ve been to several games as of late, the last few years, and this was by far the most excitement going around. I would say Year One McElwain Friday night, success.

Nick:                         Yeah. The past couple years you get on campus, and you could tell that something was going on, but it certainly you wouldn’t have guessed that there was a football game going on. To me, it felt kind of a Saturday night in the fall. It felt like there was football going on here. People are grilling. People are drinking. People are having a good time. I really think that doing it on Friday is good. We’ll get to recruiting reasons, but I think even more so than just Friday is having it at night. It was 77 degrees at kickoff. It was nice. It was almost a little chilly after the game. In the past, those games, it might only say 80, 85 degrees, but the humidity. It’s kind of that heat that just bears down on you. The humidity makes your clothes stick to you.

By having the game at night it’s really more fan friendly. Call it was it is. The spring is just the third scrimmage out of 15 practices. The team’s stilling going up against each other. So really you need to, if you want to have fans come out and make it a good fan event, you need to make it fan friendly, and having it at night really enhanced, I think, the chance for people to tailgate as well as not having to sit through that brutal north-central Florida heat.

Andrew:                 I think it also kind of gave some people a three day weekend. It was a reason to leave and come up. It just seems like most football games are better at night. It starts with Friday Night Lights in high school ball. Friday Night Lights, the football camp at Florida, it got big because it was at night, under the lights, in the Swamp, and it’s everywhere. You go to Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, and LSU’s the best on Saturday nights because it’s under the lights. Fans are able to tailgate, that kind of stuff. It just seems like things are better at night. I liked it. You put up 48,000 people in the stands on Friday night, and that was the biggest. Way over 20,000 more than the year before. More than an average Miami home game during the regular season.

Nick:                         Always have to jab Miami.

Andrew:                 I have to. Mark Richt knows that even though he is down there in Uville, Coral Gables, whatever he wants to call it, he still won’t pack it. He may lose fans, just because he’s Mark Richt.

Nick:                         I think I agree with you. Obviously the Friday thing, they announced it early enough. there were some gripes about people saying, “I have to work. I can’t get off work. I normally come to the game, but I can’t do it, because it’s on a Friday.” I think Florida did everything they could in announcing it early. Wouldn’t you agree? It wasn’t like a three week thing, by the way, we’re not doing the game Saturday; we’re doing it Friday. Good luck.

Andrew:                 Someone asked me, and I’m not even sure who it was, but someone asked me how well Florida was doing with promoting it, and I told them. I said, “Florida’s doing a good job of promoting it.” It was there, but it was also social media. Not only were the social media, the Florida social media sites, doing it, the coaching staff was doing it. You saw several players doing it. I thought it was promoted well. I know, I’m sure there were some people that didn’t make it in because of it being a Friday night, but I would say for the most part if you were attending, if you attended it regularly, you probably came to the game on Friday night.

I would say this, though. It wasn’t even so much that it was 47,000 people there, but it was 47,000 people that were into the game. That’s why, I say it’s great about the weather, but it was just, I don’t know whether it’s the team coming off the SEC Championship game or what it may be, but it was just a lot different excitement. You and I joked about it that we’ve never seen a spring game cheer for an extra point, but it seemed like it was cheering throughout the game, and it was definitely a different atmosphere. Like you said, we’ll talk recruiting in a minute, but recruits noticed it.

Nick:                         That’s really what you want. You don’t want to go out and have a spring game and have it feel flat. The spring game is a reward, also, for the players. We talk about it all spring long. Everyone’s excited that first day. Then you’re excited for the first day in pads. Then practice 11, 12, 13 you’re like, “Damn, when’s this over? I’m getting tired of hitting my roommate. I’m getting tired of hitting my friends. When’s this over?” Being able to do it and have an atmosphere, whether it’s because it’s on a Friday or that it was the first time doing it on a different day, or whether it’s at night. I really think doing it at night, regardless of the day, doing it at night is probably the biggest factor in that. Having the fans be engaged, that’s a good gift to the players. Nobody wants to go out in a huge stadium and be able to hear themselves talk, because there’s nobody there, and there’s an echo going on in the stadium. They want to score a touchdown and hear that eruption, and hear the excitement. Players feed off that.

A lot of questions when they first made the decision to do it on Friday. I think the success that you saw from Friday will mean that this is something that will likely happen again, whether Friday night or they do it on a Saturday, make it a Saturday night thing. I think the night thing works, especially in Florida.

Andrew:                 I don’t know.

Nick:                         I feel like you really like Friday. It’s not that I don’t like doing it on a Friday. I just think, for me personally, I think the night time was the bigger impact, I guess, in my opinion. Night time more so than Friday. I think if you had it Saturday night you would have a very similar crowd and kind of enthusiasm, more because of the time of the game rather than the day. I do like the Friday.

Andrew:                 That’s what I was going to say. Is it more about being just at night time, or is it that it was a Friday night? My thing is this. If it’s Saturday night then you’re going to get people saying, they got to get back. They have church in the morning. They have work on Monday, so they don’t want to be traveling back on Sunday, so they don’t want to travel up on Saturday. I think you have it either way. My thing about having it on Friday night is it’s different. It’s different in that you have it on Friday night where there’s no other really spring games going, this year. Who knows what will be next year? I think that’s what maybe separated it. You had a Friday night where the SEC Network was just focused on Florida. You turn the page to Saturday, and South Carolina’s game, Auburn’s game, Florida State game, all going on at the same time. It’s kind of like you get lost in the shuffle a little bit.

Nick:                         I do agree with that. It was new. Maybe that’s part of it too that it was something new. We’ll see. I do think it will be a copycat kind of thing, though. I don’t think Florida will be the only team with a Friday Night Lights spring game next year.

Andrew:                 I don’t either.

Nick:                         And, on a selfish note, we were able to watch the Masters on Saturday. We were able to moving day.

Andrew:                 That’s another thing. That’s something. If you were going to do it on Masters weekend, it was good to do it on that day. I liked it. I did. Like you said, it was moving day. Even though my boy, George Spieth, fell a little bit, still a good weekend. Let’s turn the attention to some play on the field here. Look the quarterback play. Luke Del Rio, about what we expected. I’ll say this, and we’ll talk about it some more in just a second, Nick, you and I, we stated our opinion. We haven’t hit the clickbait. We haven’t hit the quarterback battle. I think we’ve been the only ones of all of the sites that said, it’s not a quarterback battle. It’s Luke Del Rio, and the battle is for who’s going to back him up. I think you and I became geniuses on Friday night when the people saw it. I tweeted out at one time. I said, “If all the other sites that you paid for, and they made you pay for a quarterback battle, go ask them for your refund,” because it was clear as day.

Nick:                         Just speaking for ourselves, I think you and I both we really try to just call it like we see it and not play favorites. It’s just kind of a respect thing. I just want, and I think you would agree, if you read something that I write or something that I say on the podcast, I want you to feel like, he’s not trying to sell me on something. He’s not trying to push an agenda. That’s just his opinion, based on what he’s seen. He sees a little bit more than me. I have a 9-5 job. His 9-5 job is talking to people around the team and being around the team. He might know a little more. So I think you and I just try to be upfront and honest, and, in our opinion, from everything that we had seen, everything that we had heard, is that there wasn’t a quarterback battle. So that’s what we told you. Now, if Friday had come along, and Luke Del Rio had looked terrible, and Austin Appleby had lit the world on fire, we would have some ‘splaining to do, but it seems like it turned out that we knew what we were talking about, which happens a lot.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s what it is. When you look at Luke Del Rio, 10 of 11, 176 yards, two touchdowns, and that tells a story. I mean, let’s give him a shake for his story. Numbers told the story. If you’re numbers people, there it is. Me, I’m an eye person. I want to see it. I saw him throw the ball really well. The play that I continue to go back to, and I’ve said this I feel like 10 times today, on Monday, is that he threaded the needle to DeAndre Goolsby on the wheel route, and it was a beautiful ball. There was a couple other beautiful balls. The touchdown in the second half to Dre Massey, where he looked a safety off, threw the seam route to Massey, was a good play. It was Massey on a linebacker. That’s what you want. I really liked that as well.

The throwing away the ball like he did. He did a good job of throwing away the ball. He did a good job of stepping up in the pocket when need be, and I thought he ran the offense really, really well. I’ll go ahead and say it. Kyle Trask, in my opinion, is the favorite to be the backup quarterback, if Florida needs a long term answer at quarterback second string behind Luke Del Rio. God forbid, Luke Del Rio gets hurt. I think Kyle Trask is your next best option. People can argue with me. You’ve seen it on the field. That’s my way.

Nick:                         I remember the first day of spring practice, and I just tweeted out, Really like Kyle Trask; throws a very pretty ball. That launched itself into Kyle Trask is the starter. The two star is starting over the five star, over Del Rio, and this and that. It’s just like, hold on; calm your horses. He’s throwing routes on air without pads. I just said he throws a nice ball. As spring progressed I saw him with people, in seven on seven, in half line drills, in one on one drills. Saw him continue to be accurate. His ball, he has a tight spiral. That’s going to allow accuracy even at longer distances. He just puts the ball in places.

We talked a lot about it last year with Grier and Harris where Harris threw to open receivers. Grier threw receivers open. You see that a lot with Trask, and you see that a lot with Del Rio. They put the ball in a spot where nobody is, and that’s throwing their receiver open. I know the concept. I’ve recognized what the defense is trying to do. I know this guy is running a 10 yard dig, but I can’t wait until he makes his cut to throw the ball. I need to throw it before he makes his cut and trust that he’s going to be there. You’re throwing a guy open, and that takes confidence and accuracy. I think you saw that both from Del Rio and from Trask. A little bit with Appleby. It was tough. He didn’t have as much success, but, in his defense, he was trying to move the twos against the ones for most of the night. To me, just the arm talent and the accuracy is what really separates Del Rio and Trask from the other two quarterbacks.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s what I was going to say. When you look at what Trask did with who he goes against, I thought he did really well. You say the same thing about Del Rio. We kind of talked about Del Rio. We were on Trask, but I’ll go back to Del Rio. What makes a quarterback go from good to great, or from that okay to game manager, is when he gets up to the line of scrimmage he likely knows where he’s going with the ball before the play happens, simply by alignment, simply by what the defense is in. “Okay, cover two we’re running this. I’m likely going to throw the corner route to the slot receiver, because they’re in cover two, or, okay, the linebacker’s covering my slot receiver. They’re in man. I’m likely going to go to my slot receiver.” That’s what you kind of see with Del Rio.

It wasn’t so much about anything that he did from a physical standpoint. It’s mental with him. Same thing with Will Grier; same thing as with Treon Harris. It was a mental game that Treon is just mentally messed up in his play. That’s where I think Del Rio did it, and Trask is a guy that is continuing to learn. He was almost a blank slate that Nuss and Mac were able to kind of make into who they wanted to make him into, and that’s where it is.

Then, we’ll hit on Franks. I don’t want to be hard on Franks, because I think Franks got the benefit of being overhyped because of the recruiting services. Some guys are overhyped, and they come in really well. Some guys are underhyped, and they come in and blow the world up. I think Franks came in with some unfair expectations. That is that he was going to be the starter, or going to be the freshman of the year. It’s simple. Feleipe Franks isn’t ready for that yet. He has to grow mentally, physically, from a mechanical standpoint. He is still learning.

Nick:                         There’s nothing wrong with that. I think there’s so much, recruiting has gotten to a point where…

Andrew:                 It’s stars. It’s a star base.

Nick:                         It’s crazy, and everyone expects, well, he’s five stars, or he’s a high four star, he’ll be an All-American next year. It’s just you need to take a step back and realize that these are young kids, and it’s a big change for them. Not everyone’s ready to play right away as a freshman. Feleipe Franks, and we’ve said it this entire time, needs to take a redshirt, and he’ll probably end up redshirting this year. It’s not a bad thing. It’s not a knock against him. It happens to thousands of freshmen across the country every year. It’s not a knock on them. It’s just you take a player, because you see potential. That doesn’t mean that he’s going to realize that potential the first day he steps on campus. You hope that he realizes it before his time is done on campus.

Andrew:                 I would like to see this number. One day I may get around to doing this research, but I just wonder what the amount, the percentage of freshmen quarterbacks that play from Day 1. I would say that it’s probably less than 10% freshmen quarterbacks who play.

Nick:                         We’re getting into an area that’s pretty ridiculous, with me and you just throwing out stats, but I think I would agree with you. It’s not a high number. Being under 10% would not surprise me.

Andrew:                 It’s a matter of a second game. I went back and was watching the slant pass that Duke Dawson took for a pick six, and had Feleipe waited a half second later it’s probably a 20, 30 yard gain, because Josh Hammond was breaking open. He threw it a split second too soon, and that’s nothing bad on Feleipe’s part. It’s just in high school you’re able to get away with that half second; college, not so much. Duke Dawson’s a veteran, a three year guy. He’s been up against the best of the best. He knew that. That’s what I’m saying of why it’s tough for freshman quarterbacks to do that. This is going to be a point. I know some smartass is going to say something about it, but I don’t care. Kyle Trask not playing in high school might benefit him a little bit in his growth. That is that he doesn’t really have bad flaws he has to get rid of, because he’s still fresh. He’s still able to kind of learn what it is. He kind of has to pick up from Day 1 and go. Franks is trying to get rid of bad habits first. It’s like a golfer, you know, Nick. A golfer like you and I, who’ve been playing the game for years, it’d be tough for us to go to a golf coach and get golf lessons, because it’d be tough for us to change our thing. That’s what Feleipe’s dealing with right now.

Nick:                         I think it’s some of that. I also think it’s just that he needs to mature, and it’s something that you and I really have kind of been up front. We really haven’t changed our stance on it.

Andrew:                 Right. I think it just came to point Friday. Not that I need validated. I mean, you’re the same way as I am. I don’t need validated, but it just kind of seemed like it was validated on Friday night. It was like, okay, people, you were up on our case about this, look now.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think, maybe it’s a social media thing, but a lot of people seemed to say, if you don’t think he’s going to be this, then you don’t like him. It’s not that at all. It’s just a projection, and our job is to cover the team and to talk about the team, and he needs time. No big deal. I think people saw that. Three interceptions in a spring game, not great. Still, like I said before, it’s the third scrimmage of spring camp, nothing more, nothing less. I think it just shows kind of what we’ve been saying is that he needs time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s the thing. I’m sure someone’s going to say, they have something at Feleipe. I have nothing against Feleipe. Feleipe is a nice kid, nice family, everything else. It just, it is what it is. Everyone’s not ready.

Nick:                         We’ve known him for a while, since he was a sophomore. We both met him down at a summer camp when he was a sophomore, and his brother was going to camps, or when he was a freshman going into his sophomore year. When his brother was trying to get an offer from Florida. We met mom, brother, him, and known him for a while. Nice kid. Just not ready yet.

Andrew:                 Exactly. Go to running back position, though. I said this to someone today, and it’s tough to really see the running game produce well in a spring game, because it’s so much of you’re mixing your lines up a little bit, that kind of stuff. It’s a different chemistry a little bit on there. The running game probably didn’t produce like Florida really wanted it to. Mark Thompson had a decent line, when you look at his line, 5 carries for 46 yards, and had a touchdown of 26 yards. It was a great touchdown. It was a nice touchdown. Very good vision. Hit a hole really well. When you go back, and you look at that play, the offensive line did really well. C’yontai Lewis blocked down really well. It was a very good executed play, but I think fans got a glimpse of what Mark Thompson can do, and that is that Mark Thompson has the ability to really shine. As big as he is, he can still put them down and go.

Nick:                         It was a counter play, but he did show, like you said, some good vision and patience. A counter play, obviously, is he’s going to take a step left, come back, go to the right, but it still showed vision, patience to stay behind the line. A lot of guys, running backs, you’ll see don’t have that patience, and they’ll just, I’m supposed to run through this gap. There’s no gap; I’m just going to run to somebody’s butt and maybe we can push forward for a couple yards. Waited back, saw that he could bounce it outside, and did that.

Andrew:                 Beating your guy to the hole. On that counter play Antonio Riles was the guy that was pulling in the gap, and Mark did a good job of allowing Riles to get his block, allowing C’yontai to block down, and, like you said, he didn’t beat his guys to the line. That was good. Then to see that vision and cut it back, and then to go. I thought it was, like I said, a very good play. I thought it was executed well. Outside of the fumble, good game for Mark.

Nick:                         Really no excuse for that, though. Inside the 10. You never want to fumble, but when you get into the red zone, or the green zone as Jim McElwain calls it, when you get down into that area, no excuse. You can’t fumble the football. He needs to take that and really hammer that in. I fumbled on the 10, that’s unacceptable. Can’t have that happen. Really needs to kind of focus on that, make that a priority. You can’t give away, when it comes down to the fall, and you get inside someone’s 20, inside someone’s 15, that has to be points.

Andrew:                 Yeah. That has to be points.

Nick:                         Doesn’t matter if it’s interception or a fumble, unacceptable.

Andrew:                 Especially now that you have a kicker. Especially now that you have Eddy. Eddy can kick it with his pinkie toe from the 15.

Nick:                         You mean someone’s not going to block it with their armpit?

Andrew:                 No. We’ll talk kicking in a second, because I have a point that I want to hit on on that kicking situation real quick.

Nick:                         I do want to real quick, I don’t want to get you going on it, but Antonio Riles, three false start penalties.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Here it is. It’s a fine line, because, once again, I like Antonio Riles. Antonio Riles is a good kid. I covered his recruitment for a while. He just isn’t cut out there, and I don’t, I hate to say that, because I know the guy works hard. I know he’s worked real hard this year, this off season, to do it. It’s just it gets to a point where it’s like, okay, this is probably not working out here. It kind of bothered me a little bit the way, it was spring game and false starts. It’s like, it’s spring football, chill. False start penalties, in my opinion, are undisciplined penalties. A holding penalty you can get away with that. False start penalties, that’s that.

I was really impressed though with Cam Dillard and Tyler Jordan. Those two guys, I got to see a replay of the game a little bit, they had some really good combos that I really liked in the game, and David Sharpe made some plays. I thought Fred played a good game. I think the one thing that I noticed with Fred, and it’s something you and I both were told, is consistency. Consistency, consistency, consistency is the biggest thing for Fred Johnson, and, quite frankly, you don’t get to be consistent without reps.

Nick:                         Yeah. Didn’t want to get you going, but that’s really, it’s really it.

Andrew:                 That’s the weak spot.

Nick:                         You’re a 2013 recruit now. You’ve been on campus for, or was he 2012?

Andrew:                 He was ’13. He was ’13 with the Will Grier.

Nick:                         Caleb Brantley.

Andrew:                 Yeah, and Caleb Brantley.

Nick:                         So it’s not really, there’s really no excuse for it, and it kind of just shows how important getting Martez Ivey back, keeping Martez Ivey healthy, because Martez Ivey was two different players healthy and injured last year. Getting Ivey back and keeping him healthy, but I do agree with you. Kind of what we’ve chirped on all spring, Cam Dillard has been looking much better, and Tyler Jordan really, in my opinion right now, might be playing the best of anybody on the line at right guard.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Tyler Jordan’s a smart guy. He’s a smart guy, and he can lead that bunch. Let’s hit on two more things real quick before we get look at the offensive side of the ball real quick. First, I wanted to really hit on C’yontai Lewis. Five catches, 79 yards.

Nick:                         Also that late touchdown was impressive. He’s a big guy, to be able to go down low and get your arms under that, very impressive, just for somebody of his size.

Andrew:                 Yes. For me, there were several plays that were really good. One of the biggest plays was him going down a seam route, and him standing tall, making a grab. McElwain says this, and it’s something that I think is understated, even by you and I, and that is a freak of nature at tight end like a Goolsby, like a C’yontai Lewis, my God, that’s a weapon. Rob Gronkowski makes a living for the Patriots. It’s a weapon, and C’yontai Lewis is going to be nasty for the Gators this year, if he can stay healthy. He was bound and determined last year to have a good one before injuring his hand in the, what? Kentucky game? Was it the Kentucky game?

Nick:                         It might have been Kentucky. It was early on, and he missed a month. I don’t know if I like the Rob, they just don’t do enough blocking for me.

Andrew:                 Here’s my thing though. You’re getting to the day and age of needing that guy. Let me say this. C’yontai Lewis is going to be probably matched up with guys like Antonio Morrison. Do you like your chances?

Nick:                         Yeah. Absolutely. Real quick note. He got hurt in the Eastern Carolina game, and then missed Kentucky, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Missouri, and LSU before coming back.

Andrew:                 Right. Okay. That, it hurt. I will say this, like I said, I kind of watched him in the game back a little bit. You and I had, we talked about this a little bit, it’s tough to see in this spring game a lot, because you’re watching both sides of the ball. C’yontai had some good blocks there. We’ll see how that goes. Last thing, though, on offense that I wanted to hit on was Dre Massey. I thought Dre Massey, for not getting as much publicity as he is, for me, yeah, he only had two catches for 29 yards and a touchdown, but he was smooth. For me, that’s what I wanted to see was his smoothness. He caught the ball. He caught it right out of the air. He was real smooth. Then, I think you and I, one of our favorite receivers on the team that we just keep asking for him to produce, CJ Worton. Two catches, 62 yards. He did have that one 46 yard catch, but I feel very comfortable in saying that I think CJ Worton has finally seen the light.

Nick:                         First on Massey, real quick, I think this, my opinion here, will say it all. Brandon Powell has some stuff to worry about. He is getting further and further pushed down that depth chart the way that Dre has played. CJ Worton, the biggest thing to me is, obviously, is going to be the off the field stuff, but just little things. On that Thompson fumble, Worton sees the ball. Seemed like not everyone on the field knew that he had fumbled, or had seen him fumble, and Worton kind of just out of nowhere comes around the pile, scoops it, and runs it in for a touchdown. There were guys looking around like, what happened? Mark had the ball. Why is CJ in the end zone with it? What’s going on? To me, that.

When you mention the off the field stuff, what comes along with that is details and being smart and doing things the right way. I know you can’t really equate football to stuff off the field. You can be a great football player and a total son of a bitch off the field, and the two might never mix, but if you can do something just that small on the football field and pay attention to detail that closely on the football field, maybe it shows some maturation on your part, and something that you can carry over and maybe see, look, I did something on the football field doing something I like to do, maybe I can find some way to translate this and use it off the field, and maybe those two will start helping each other.

Andrew:                 I mean, everyone thinks receiver is just simply going out and catching the ball, and there’s a lot of different things. CJ Worton hasn’t ran the best routes in the world. I did see better route running there. CJ Worton maybe didn’t want to block very much. Well, you better want to block in the SEC at receiver. It’s several things. I’ll say this. Brandon Powell, if Brandon Powell’s playing football for the Gators next year Brandon Powell better be working and working hard, because Massey, Worton, those guys, they’re ready to play ball. Even Josh Hammond, Freddy Swain, they had good springs. Got Callaway probably coming back. I say probably, and I shouldn’t have said that, because I’m setting off the world. I expect Callaway to come back. Let me say that. Anyway, the receiver position looks totally different than it did a year ago, and that’s not even having Tyrie Cleveland on the football field. I expect Tyrie to be playing ball next fall in the Swamp.

Nick:                         That’s interesting to me. First off, I agree. I realize my sentence of that’s interesting to me doesn’t really go with I’m going to say next, but the farther you are away from the football, the easier it is to get on the field early. That’s why you see a lot of receivers. That’s why you see a lot of cornerbacks get on the field early. The farther away you get, the less responsibility you have as far as the 11 people, and it’s more of just knowing what you need to do.

Andrew:                 Less mental.

Nick:                         Right. It’s more you can rely on skill and athleticism at those positions. Tyrie Cleveland has all of those things, skill, athleticism. I would be surprised if he doesn’t make some sort of impact as a freshman. That’s right now. Obviously you need to see him over the summer. See when he comes in what he looks like. He’s put out some videos of him working out, but you want to see them when they’re on campus and when they’re doing it like that.

Andrew:                 News flash. I know what he looks like. He’s got dreads.

Nick:                         He does.

Andrew:                  You asked what he looked like.

Nick:                         So, I really don’t know what to expect from any of the receivers that aren’t freshmen. I say that in I think I know what to expect, and it’s not very much. So why not get these other guys in? I think Frankie Hammond showed that he can be a player.

Andrew:                 Josh. Josh Hammond.

Nick:                         Frankie, Josh, Hot Sauce Hammond. Hot Sauce Hammond showed. I never mix up the nicknames, Hot Sauce and Hot White, but I mix up Frankie and Josh all the time. Josh I’ve seen a lot from. I need to see more from Freddie Swain. He kind of gets into an area where that’s a nice play, and then you go an hour. You’re like, what happened to Freddie? Where’d he go? I need to see more consistency from him, but right now I think Tyrie Cleveland and Josh Hammond might be the two best receivers on the team, and I don’t know if that’s saying a lot, but I think right now I feel more confident with them, and one of them’s not even on campus, than I do with guys that have been here three, four years.

Andrew:                 I mean, it’s the situation of the receiver. I mean, of course Callaway’s going to be your one receiver, and it’s who’s playing two? That’s my question. Who’s playing two? I think Massey and Powell, one of those guys are going to be your guy. Everyone, and here it is again, it’s one of those situations where I feel like we’re about to bash someone, but we’re really not. We said all spring, I’ll believe it when I see it from Ahmad Fulwood, and guess what? Nothing. Nothing in the spring game.

Nick:                         No.

Andrew:                 Nothing in the spring game.

Nick:                         Nothing. I don’t know.

Andrew:                 There’s nothing to say. It’s a situation where it’s like, prove it. I mean, here it is. I want nothing more than Ahmad Fulwood to be an All-SEC receiver, nothing more. I hope he does it in the fall. It’s just one of those things where fool me once, shame on me; fool me twice. Excuse me, it’s the opposite way around. Whatever. We’ll see.

Let’s real quick hit on defense here. You can’t see too much, because you’re going against the offense, that kind of stuff. I want to hit on one guy in particular, or two guys in particular that I think we both can agree on that had really good games, Kylan Johnson and David Reese. All that talk about linebacker having depth problems, it might have been answered. Kylan Johnson played very good football, and with him being a former safety he’s got that athleticism that he can run with a tight end and be okay there. David Reese, he had that Antonio Morrison look. He’s liable to come down and pop you in the jaw when you get down there, but he’ll pop you in the jaw. Both of those guys, in my opinion, are going to play meaningful snaps this fall behind Jarrad Davis and Alex Anzalone.

Nick:                         I think last year you got into a position where you felt comfortable with three guys, Alex Anzalone, Jarrad Davis, and Antonio Morrison. Then when Anzalone goes down you felt comfortable with two. That’s fine. We’ll play nickel. We have a lot of depth. Now really you don’t have that kind of depth at cornerback, and you might need more depth at linebacker, especially when you add a team like Arkansas to the schedule. Obviously Georgia’s going to try to run the ball. South Carolina is going to try to run the ball, because that’s Will Muschamp. You might have more old fashioned, maybe that’s not the best word. You might have more traditional offenses this year than you did last year, which could lend itself to needing that linebacker position more. Florida doesn’t really have a ton of depth at cornerback. Maybe leaning on, don’t worry about the linebackers. We’ll play nickel; we’ll play dime, load the field with defensive backs.

David Reese and Kylan Johnson, Randy Shannon has a long history of converting people to linebackers. Ray Lewis was a safety. Dan Morgan was a safety and a quarterback. He has a history of being able to teach guys a new position when it is linebacker. Feel much better about Kylan Johnson if he can stay healthy. Now, that’s another issue, because he missed a lot, he redshirted last year, but missed a lot of practice time injured. Missed a couple weeks this spring with an injury. So keeping him healthy to continue that progression is important.

Andrew:                 Maybe Randy Shannon can make me into a linebacker.

Nick:                         You might be able to, but I think you’re out of eligibility.

Andrew:                 Probably so. Let’s hit on Eddy Pineiro real quick before we talk a little recruiting here.

Nick:                         The only kicker that we acknowledge on this podcast is Odell Kickem.

Andrew:                 Odell Kickem. I do like Odell. Let me hit on this real quick, Nick. You and I talked about this off the air. Some people, someone on the message board, one person in general, and I don’t know why he lets me bother me, but, you know, Nick, you and I, I think we’re both very fair. I like 99% of the Florida football players, 99%. There’s occasionally some guys that irk me during recruiting, whatever. I like Eddy Pineiro. I really like Eddy Pineiro. I said when he was doing his YouTube sensation that he was a little dram queen, what it was. It wasn’t meant to be a bad thing. He just loved the recruiting. Someone asked me what I thought about Eddy, and I said, “He’s a great guy.” They said, “What happened to the drama queen?” I’m like, “He was a drama queen. He’s a nice guy.” Let me get that out there first.

Something Mac hit on. This is what I wanted to touch on when we talked about that a minute ago. Mac said he got the PAT up quickly. A lot of people don’t notice that until it gets blocked, but that was something Austin Hardin did really poorly of, and that was he just kicked it to go in. Pineiro kicks it like a regular field goal trying to get it up as quick as possible not to get blocked. I thought that was really well. Then for all the questions we had about kickoff, Pineiro answered it. He was kicking the ball out of the end zone when one and two. When Mac asked him to put it on the goal line he was getting serious hang time to put it right there.

Nick:                         Hang time. He put a point after, there was no net, but put a point after into the second row of seats.

Andrew:                 I was talking hang time on the kickoff.

Nick:                         Oh, the hang time on the kickoff. The hang time on the kickoff, yeah. Nobody really ever notices that except for kickers, but if you can get a 70 yard kick with four seconds of hang time, that’s big time. Eddy’s got the power. It’s not just a strong leg. It’s being able to, if the coaching staff wants you to keep it inbounds, in play, to be able to give that hang time. To me though, if he can get it out of the end zone, just do that. You know?

Andrew:                 I think there’s some times. For instance, in my opinion last year if I was a kicking team there ain’t no way in hell I’m kicking the ball out of the end zone against Florida. Their return game was so atrocious.

Nick:                         That’s true.

Andrew:                 I would have put the ball on the 1 yard line and said, “Okay, you’re going to start every possession on the 10 yard line, because you can’t block us.” Can you imagine Will Muschamp’s team in South Carolina? Florida should kick the ball to the 1 yard line every time, because the joker doesn’t care about special teams.

Nick:                         Joker.

Andrew:                 I’m just saying. He don’t.

Nick:                         It comes into play there, but then you can kind of get into an issue of, whoops, kicked one out of bounds.

Andrew:                 That’s why you got to trust your kicker.

Nick:                         Then you start on the 40.

Andrew:                 No. 35.

Nick:                         Same thing.

Andrew:                 You got to trust your kicker. Eddy Pineiro can be trusted. Like he said, he doesn’t know football, but he knows where he’s supposed to kick the ball.

Nick:                         I think that’s hilarious, by the way. I love that. He doesn’t need to know football. Whatever, man. That’s cool, but to just have the honesty to come out and say that, and the confidence to not, I don’t care if people make fun of me that I don’t know football. I don’t, but they’re going to like me, because I’m going to do my job.

Andrew:                 He’s going to be the sensation. Let’s quickly, real quick, hit on this recruiting stuff. We got about five minutes here. We’ll get everyone out. Recruiting real quick, like you said, Nick, it was a great atmosphere. Some of the big name guys didn’t show up, a lot of guys did show up. Big offensive tackle, Alex Leatherwood, that’s coming into ‘Bama, showed up. Kai-Leon Herbert showed up. You had Jake Allen in attendance. Then you had the new commit, Kemore Gamble. I’ll hit on that in just a second. All of those said to me after the game that the atmosphere was crazy. A couple guys said, “I can’t imagine what the game would be like if it was a real game, and it was full.” Nick, I told you this. We were talking about this, and I kind of mentioned this. Some of these guys don’t get to go to a Florida game when they’re juniors. Some of these seniors this was the first game they’ve seen in the Swamp. If they make a decision in the summertime, they’ve never seen a game. Now they’re able to see a game. It’s big, very big. I thought that was great for that.

Then, like I said, Florida picked up a commit from Kemore Gamble, the tight end. 6’3”, 222 pounds out of South Ridge. Another one of those guys that I think will probably grow into like a 245 H back guy, kind of like a DeAndre Goolsby kind of guy. That gives Florida four commits on the year. While people are griping about it being four commits, this recruiting class is going to be really, really good. Patience. Patience is a virtue.

Nick:                         I had a chance to Kemore. Really impressed with his size. Very tall, obviously still a little bit lean, but reminds me of somebody kind of like a little thicker than DeAndre, not DeAndre, a little thicker than C’yontai Lewis at the same age, but not really as big as DeAndre. Maybe somewhere in between those two, but has a frame, wide shoulders, long limbs, you think he’d be able to add some size to.

Andrew:                 I think he could be that H back guy. Like I said, Kai-Leon Herbert came in town. He’s a guy that a lot of us thought would commit. He didn’t. Goes home, wants to talk to his family. Florida still leads there. They’re in good shape there. Of course, you had Jake Allen, Florida’s great recruiter on staff, so that was good. On staff, he’s on the recruiting thing, and is basically an on staff recruiter pretty much. He’s recruiting everyone. It was a good event. Florida will hit the road here at the end of April. Can hit the road April 15th, but Florida’s choosing to hold out and go out towards the end once spring games are going. So recruiting will be heating up. That commit list will grow. Just be patient. Be patient.

One thing I do want to hit on, Juco defensive tackle, Josiah Coatney, came onto campus. Florida, South Carolina are battling there. He’s a guy that’s eligible to come in this summer and play next fall. Nick, if there is one position that needs depth it’s defensive tackle.

Nick:                         Yeah. We mentioned that the defensive line is kind of the deepest on the team, but real quickly that defensive tackle spot, with Caleb Brantley leaving, is going to start losing some. Very interesting situation. I know we’re running out of time, but can you quickly just explain how he went from being a 2017 kid to a 2016 kid real quick? For anyone that doesn’t know.

Andrew:                 So usually you stay in Juco two years. This is his third semester, and he wasn’t expected to really be able to graduate until December, but he did. He was able to graduate in May, after taking some online classes and stuff. He’s ready to go. For me, that shows he wants to play ball. Like any Juco, they want to play early. Florida’s a place you can play early, big dog. You can possibly be the third guy. Really after Ivie, Brantley is there anyone that’s really stepped up to be that last defensive tackle? My opinion is no. First of May is when his decision is. Gator fans, he’s a good football player.

Nick:                         Somebody definitely to keep an eye on, as things will be heating up for him with really only about a month till he’s got to start making some pretty big decisions.

Andrew:                 He says he’s going to do it the first of May, and then he’s going to enroll in June. That’s there. Nick, we’re out of time here. Tell the people where they can find the stuff on Josiah Coatney, on this football team, and, Nick, we got a couple of new people that are helping us as well. Matt and Austin both are helping us out. Check them out. Check their stuff out. Cool stuff. Tell them where they can find us, and we’ll get everyone out of here.

Nick:                for all your latest, greatest Florida Gators recruiting, football, baseball, softball, any ball news. Gymnastics coming up this Friday, just mention that. They will be at nationals, National Semi Final. On Twitter, GatorCountry. On Instagram, TheGatorCountry. I am @NickdelaTorreGC. He is @AndrewSpiveyGC, and those are all the social medias to be following us.

Andrew:                 There might be a new one here soon. You never know. You never know around here. Like you said, National Championship coming up for gymnastics. Semi Finals on Friday night. Florida should advance to Saturday’s National Championship. They’re going for four in a row. Pretty cool event. Baseball, dropped a series, but got FSU tonight. You guys are listening to this on Tuesday, so that’ll be cool. Gator softball plays Florida State on Wednesday. You know the Gators are going to thrash the Noles. That will be fun. Check them out. Hopefully the Gators get back to #1 in softball. That won’t be released until Tuesday afternoon. Like I said, Mark Richt, Gators beat you already. Always good. Go Braves, and chomp, chomp.

Nick:                         Both Florida baseball and softball are #1 in the NCAA RPI. You stay classy, Gator Country.

Andrew:                 You have to let me respond there.

Nick:                         That’s good. Chomp, chomp.

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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, 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.