Dooley: UF offense will never be perfect

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Gator fans celebrate the final touchdown that beat Tennessee on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Gator fans expect a more explosive offense, one that gets in the end zone more often. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

Here in Gainesville, we are known for many things. The alligators at Lake Alice, the sinkhole at Millhopper, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, one big prairie, midtown and downtown and uptown flunkies.

We have traffic like a big city at 5 p.m. and avoid I-75 on holidays like it was littered with landmines.

I was born here, brought home as a baby to a house on NW 39th Ave. and celebrated my 30th year at the Gainesville Sun this month. (Shouldn’t I get a gold watch or a free subscription or something?)

But what I didn’t know until the last few years is that Gainesville has more offensive coordinators per capita than any city in America.

They may argue that point in Knoxville and Auburn, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

It seems that almost everyone with a pulse and a cellphone or a computer has an answer to what has been infecting the Florida football offense for almost a decade.

(They also had answers for the baseball team’s offensive struggles last year but that kind of worked out).

It’s useless to even try the argument that perhaps the coaches know more about their personnel and actually study opposing defenses frame by frame. Pshaw. We know better.

Everyone else knows how to fix things. Well, everyone else has an opinion on how to fix things.

On Sunday I went into a restaurant to pick up some to-go food and there was a waitress there talking to her boss about the Florida-Tennessee game.

“I don’t know what those coaches were doing but, man, everybody was madder than heck on Facebook.”

That’s a part of being a fan, whether you are a big-money booster or a couch critic. You have suggestions and in this day of multiple social media weapons, you can get them out there.

Some of the answers:

• Make Steve Spurrier the offensive coordinator.

• Make Kerwin Bell the offensive coordinator.

• Make my next-door neighbor the offensive coordinator.

• Start Luke Del Rio.

• Start Malik Zaire.

• Start Kerwin Bell.

• Use a fullback.

• Run more reverses.

• Run fake reverses.

• Run double reverses.

• Get the ball to Kadarius Toney more often.

• Give the ball to Malik Davis more than four times in a game.

• Go back to the Fun ‘N’ Gun.

• Does anyone know where we put it?

• Fire Doug Nussmeier.

• Fire Jim McElwain.

• Fire everyone.

• Get a new strength coach.

• Throw it deep more often.

• Drink more Gatorade.

• Or just drink more.

I could go on. And on. Believe me. And the suggestions are not all without merit. Florida has played two games and ranks at the bottom of the conference in almost every offensive category.

(Somehow, McElwain and his staff even get blamed for four years of Will Muschamp’s offense, but I digress).

The resolution to the malaise that is Florida’s offense is not as simple as any one answer. But if it was, it would be this — Florida has a young quarterback who has to get better if this offense is ever going to get out of the 100s.

I’m not laying the blame on Feleipe Franks. His struggles as a young man in a high-profile position with only six-plus quarters of football under his belt are understandable.

And he didn’t have the luxury of a couple of cupcakes to ease into it.

Franks has to see the field better. As McElwain pointed out Monday, Franks missed six big plays. (If McElwain truly is a quarterback whisperer, perhaps he needs to talk a little louder).

If Franks (and it’s not all on him but let’s start there) had seen the field better, maybe some of the disgruntled Gator fans would be enjoying the latest win over a rival instead of sucking all of the joy out of an amazing victory.

If Davis doesn’t fumble at the goal line and Franks sees Dre Massey wide open behind the defense and Mark Thompson’s TD against Michigan isn’t called back and Eddy Pineiro didn’t miss a field goal in the opener, we might be talking about a Gator offense that was finally fun to watch.

Or maybe not.

There is no doubt that expectations for a much-improved offense this season have been hamstrung by the suspensions of two of the team’s best offensive players, one of them just days before the opener with the game plan already in place.

But nobody can be surprised at the cantankerous mood of Gator fans who truly believe they are entitled to happier times.

Many of them don’t remember what it was like in the days before Spurrier when Florida offenses were often three-runs-and-a-punt. Sure, they have been spoiled, but who doesn’t want to be spoiled? What’s wrong with being spoiled anyway?

I saw a quote this week from a coach who said this:

“Everyone wants to panic because it doesn’t look pretty all the time. Winning is all that matters.”

It wasn’t Jim McElwain, although it could have been. It was Kentucky coach Mark Stoops last Saturday night.

But that’s the thing. Winning matters, but winning while you are cursing your TV isn’t as enjoyable.

Florida has won almost every close game it has played under McElwain, who is eight out of nine during his UF career in one-score games.

But that’s too stressful.

And I get that. In a perfect world, the offense is humming and you’re making dinner plans at halftime. You have a thick file of highlight plays to choose from every week instead of the one that decided the game.

So this team might not be for you. It’s going to struggle on offense. Maybe it gets better. Maybe it doesn’t.

I know this — it will never be perfect.

And if winning the way Florida won on Saturday made you cranky, consider this — the alternative.

You know, I don’t remember the Gator Nation being angry after James Jones’ catch or Chris Doering’s got a touchdown or Jacquez Green is behind the defense or Kerwin Bell limping into the end zone or Spurrier’s field goal or even Chris Chiozza’s shot in Madison Square Garden.

I guess it comes down to this. You have a flawed team that has more warts than a Disney witch. But if you don’t like the way the last game ended, it may be time to move on.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at pat.dooley@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

66 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve always had a lot of respect for Pat Dooley – I’m a graduate of the UF journalism program. This column however, is a joke.

    Seriously?! You can make jokes and stroke Coach Mac’s ego all day long, but the fact still remains, this offense is marginally, and I mean very marginally, better than it was under Muschamp.

    That’s not acceptable! I remember the days before Spurrier, believe me, But to say, Gator fan are feeling entitled? Well, that just makes you sound like a moron. There’s too much talent in Florida for the Gators to be this bad on offense for this long. That’s a fact – not entitlement.

    Coach Mac may need to put his dog in there at QB, because he’s not getting the job done! And no matter how much you, Pat Dooley, want to bow down to the program, i’s not acceptable! Start doing your job and call it like it is.

    • Spot on. I lived through 0-10-1 and through the probation years (never missed a game on the radio).

      After following the gators for over 35 years, I’m moving on.

      I won’t take up my Saturdays watching the coaches get rich while putting their players in losing situations.

  2. No. I like the way the game ended. It’s the rest of the game I did not like.

    Your right, the team needs to get better. The coaches do not miss tackles or miss wide open receivers or drop balls on the 2 yard line, that’s on the players. However, I can live with the players making a mistake here and there, its going to happen.

    But the coaches are suppose to teach the players and call plays that put the players in position to make plays and win. In this regard, the coaches are not doing their job. What we as fans are seeing on the field on both sides of the ball is simply not acceptable. Its been 2 years and things have not gotten better. That’s what we as fans are upset at, not the isolated mistake by a player.

  3. Not to mention Before Spurrier Gators couldn’t buy a win over Georgia! Whether it was Appleby to Washington in 75 or Belue to Scott in 80 Gators would always seem to fall short..Great job Pat!

  4. I can(and did) enjoy the great ending to the last game, it will forever be in my memory. But it makes UF fans uneasy knowing that if Butch Jones weren’t UT’s coach, or mediocre UT doesn’t drop either of two TD passes or Kelley doesn’t get the taunting penalty, or they miss 3 FGs, you get the picture. And watching offenses like Maryland, Okie State, Oklahoma, etc., cruise up and down the field with ease makes it tougher to now be in our EIGHTH consecutive season of putrid offense. I don’t think being unhappy about that is “spoiled”.
    BTW, Mac fed the beast by saying preseason that the OL is “the strength of our team”. That he didn’t know his own team is alarming, isn’t it, Pat? I saw that they WEREN’T much improved in the spring game, where the #1 O couldn’t run on the #2 D. And everyone BUT Mac knowing he should have called timeout there is disturbing as well. To his credit, he took responsibility for that, and to his luck, Cleveland got behind the secondary(thanks, Butch).
    As for Franks, most reasonable fans(there are SOME, Pat, though you love to denigrate UF fans), most of us understand that he’s an uber-talented FR who just needs PT, some good playcalling, and talented players around him executing. Go Gators.

  5. And no reasonable person blames Mac for Muschamp’s offensive failures. The frustration stems from the fact that Mac was brought here to fix that. Remember, HE said he could win and score points with Clarabelle at QB. But it ain’t happening.

  6. I agree that couch critics are not in the best position to evaluate talent or scout opposing defenses in preparation for an upcoming game. The coaches are in the best position to see what plays to call and what players to put in the game at the right time.

    But at what point do you look at the stat sheet and say to yourself, “this isn’t working out?” How low does our offense have to go before Mac takes control of the offense and fires Nuss? We brought in this staff because our offense was downright putrid in the Muschamp era, but through two games this year I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Florida offense this bad, including under Muschamp. Is there some recency bias there? Probably. But the fact still remains we are at the bottom of almost every category of offensive statistics among SEC teams, which is something I expect out of a Muschamp team, not a McElwain team.

    I think it is perfectly fine for Gator Nation to be angry. We expect more. We deserve more. And if we don’t get what we want, like a spoiled child, we’ll whine and whine until we get what we want.

  7. Good perspective, Pat. This team has already improved a bit from the Michigan debacle. The two-deep is just loaded with first and second-year guys, many in their way to stardom. It’s apparent to some of us that we’re getting closer to elite status again, not likely this year but next. Very young players make mistakes when they’re seeing things for the first or second time.

    My active life as a Gator started in effect when yours did at the 1960 Florida win over Georgia Tech and I was right ahead of you at JM school at UF. We’ve seldom had a new head coach inherit a program with an offense so depleted of talent than our offense was in 2015. I think Charley Pell faced a very similar situation succeeding Doug Dickey. But fans were more patient in those days, we didn’t have tv sports 24/7 or any social media. So every moment is now scrutinized and often unhappily criticized. It’s creating for Florida fans a critical spirit that negates even the joy of a victory achieved by a bunch of kid Gators executing one of the most amazing plays of our history.

  8. Pat you waffle more than Bill Clinton. Although you are right about Mac getting the blame for Muschamp offense, but part of the reason is when watching them it hard to distinguish between the two. I support MAC becuase I think it is in the best interest for Gators. He has improved many facets of the program. Changing Coaches every three years is a recipe for failure.

    Go Gators lets make it 31.

  9. Little early in the season for the obligatory “they are who they are, they are not going to get better, we need to accept this team as is with all it’s flaws, just enjoy the ride” column. Usually you wait until the “we didn’t make any changes to the offense during the bye week” game after the bye week

  10. Excellent article Pat. I was encouraged with the offense in the 4th quarter after they picked up the pace. If they continue with that type of success we will be fine. Gator fans just need to be patient and understand that with the suspensions and inexperienced quarterback it will be a rocky road for a while.

  11. Pat, the only Gator players I blame are the 10 who let their team mates down by their selfish actions. The blame clearly resides with the very well paid adults whose job is to, as SOS used to say, “coach ’em up”. Every program has a bad year or 2 in different areas but eventually work through it, but the bottom feeding offense at UF has lasted 8 years through 2 coaching regimes. I don’t agree at all with calls for firing coaches (even the OC) at this point, if no other other reason than the 2 upcoming strong recruiting classes that could be at risk if we cleaned house now. But at some point, the $10 million coaching staff will have to produce positive results or face the music. As it stands now, this once proud program continues to teeter on the brink of irrelevancy and it should never happen in this state that is so rich in athletic talent. Go Gators!!

    • Great post. But the other realization is does it really matter when Saban is sitting at Bama? UF …or almost any school isn’t going to commit to that level of football is everything mentality. We win in other sports and Saban will always have the advantage of the city the police the we have 16 “analysts” that cover ever facet of the game. They have all the recruits and all the backing and nobody is going to compete with them unless they have a heisman trophy player and play the games of their life. So does it really matter what a program does when the fans are going to compare it to Bama?

      • Cory, I agree with your point on ‘Bama, and the football is everything mentality. I love UF’s overall athletic and academic achievments. In fact, I have loved watching the Gator baseball and softball teams over the past few years. With the CWS title the baseball team brought home this year (softball has 2!!), UF is one of only 4 schools in the country to win NC’s in football, mens’s basketball and baseball. And on the academic side, UF is one of only 3 SEC schools in the prestigious Association of American Universities, along with Vandy and Texas A&M. With these facts in mind, I can easily live without having a “Bama” level football program every year. I doubt they will ever achieve the overall success that UF has enjoyed in the big scheme of things.

      • With that kind of defeatist mentality, we’ll certainly never beat Bama. Their recruiting pool, btw, is a lot shallower than ours. They’re able to pull players out of other teams’ backyards because they win. They win because they have a great head coach. We don’t.

      • Cory & Dan–it wasn’t all that distant that Bama was down too, and I mean way down. Difference? Hired Saban. Started winning, then started winning big time. Next thing you know, four and five star recruits are banging on the doors to get on the team. And now here they are. Not too different from our hire right after Zook was shown the door. Except he didn’t stay as long as Saban has. And now here we are.

  12. Fans are unrealistic people…the spoiled generation. In the past you went to games to support your team and coaches. You didn’t boo or call in and sound deranged…it was enjoyable. Now people want coaches gone after a few years and winning 10 games a year. Look what Franklin has done at PSU…it takes time. Recruits have to buy in and locals should be supportive in the efforts.

      • Exactly! Penn state is pretty good now. In years 2-3 you know what you have got for the most part. UF is not very good, they were lucky to win against Tenn and the vols are not very good. The only saving grace, (again) is the SEC east is extremely weak conference. IDK if UK will be competitive in this game, UK is one team Mac seems to have success against. UF will prob be in the mix for the EAST division if they can beat UK. The only other team that seems remotely good enough to win it is UGA. Then again, someone needs to win the east.

  13. Couldn’t have been more spot on with this article Pat. If any college football program out there needs a new OC or head coach, look no further than the Gator fan base. There’s offensive genius’s a plenty. Fact of the matter is the name of the game is winning. How that happens doesn’t really matter as long as it happens. Funny how a lot of Gator fans talk about Muschamp’s 11 win season being so great, but truth is more than half those games were nail biters that could’ve gone either way. If I were a recruit and reading these message boards after a win like that, I’d be like damn that was one of the most exciting wins in Gator history and look at all these fans criticizing every little thing. I don’t want to play for fans like that. Sad that this fan base can’t just enjoy a win and not criticize every little thing that didn’t happen. It could be worse, you could be a Vol fan.

    • Joe, you are so correct about that 11 win season during Muschamp’s era. It wasn’t pretty, in fact, I never thought it was a great team at all doing that. I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out how that team got so lucky. Glad it happened though, but the next several seasons proved what a fluke it was. Hmmm….kind of like a hail mary in the closing seconds? At any rate, I don’t care much about Alabama at this moment in time. Can we get back to parity c FSU at least? Where they might fear us again, maybe? I promise you, beat the snot out of FSU a few times and recruiting will go through the roof.

  14. I don’t think the fans are expecting perfect offense. Average would be a huge improvement. I think most fans were hopeful for just average on the way to good, but we still have not gotten close to average. Our offense is terrible, Maybe that will change, but after over two years we haven’t seen improvement. That’s the problem right now- not the call for perfection. After a couple of years of average then the fans would start complaining and calling for better than average, but we haven’t even gotten there. What everyone knows is that Tennessee is not that good and their coaches suck. If we faced a Tennessee team from the 90s, they would destroy us. I don’t think losing to Michigan was the major problem, it was the fact that our offense and coaching staff were not even competitive against them. Losing a hard fought game against Bama or FSU is no fun, but when it is obvious that our team doesn’t even belong on the same field with them, then that is a problem. We can’t become good or great, if we don’t show any improvement.

    • Okay how about the QB. You guys give no fault to Will Grier and what he would have meant to the program. He would have made Nuss look good as of right now he is top 5 in yards and TDs in the NCAA. Don’t forget that guy leaving has almost everything to do with where we are as an Off right now.

      • You really believe if Grier were still here he’d be putting up those same numbers? I can’t remember a Qb in the last 10 years that didn’t put up huge numbers in the WVU offense. In 3 games he’s thrown the ball 105 times and has plenty of time to throw it. He threw it 53 times against VT alone. Most of those throws are over 10 yards and longer. I watched the VT game and he threw no less than 10 balls over 25 yards. Franks is lucky to throw the ball longer than 5 yards more than twice a game. I know one thing, if Franks played in that offense he’d be putting up huge numbers as well. QB isn’t the issue at UF, it’s the dink and dunk play calling and handcuffing of the QB behind an OL that gives no time for plays to set up that’s the problem. Try not to forget Grier averaged barely 200 yards a game when he was here.

        • Yes i do. Nobody was griping about Nuss when Grier was here and I’ve watched that kid play every game this year and realize he made Nuss look great. He’s a gun slinger that has the winner mentality. He would have done the same thing here. Maybe more balanced but the same.

          • People weren’t complaining about Nuss at that time because they were giving him a break in his first year trying to turn around an already horrible offense. However, take away the Mississippi game and the offense wasn’t very good. They were horrible after Grier left, probably the worst offense at UF I have ever seen in 40 years. But that was ok to some extent because it was Mac’s first year after Musschamp. Now it’s year 3 and they don’t seem any better.

  15. I still see many of these commentators missing the biggest issue, the offensive line. Where Muschamp and Summers hurt UF more than any other place was OL recruiting. Firing Summers showed me Mac figured out the issue. As soon as they took OL recruiting duties away from Summers we signed two four stars. The last time that happened was 2012 and they didn’t sign any other OL recruits that year. As the offensive line gets straightened out, expect the offense to get better.

  16. You write like your not among the leaders of the band on coaching after the results are in. I know there is offensive trouble in Gainesville because I can still tell you before we line up that we are going to try to force a run into a stacked line up the gut for paltry gain regardless of down and distance or field position. Is it coincidence that a wrestler and obviously an arm chair quarterback savant can tell you where the play is going before we line it up?! I think so… Gash the edges…

  17. Great column Pat! I woke up Sunday morning after the thrilling win all happy and stuff. I read the article about the game and then read the comments from so called Gator fans and they brought me down. I quit reading the comments for a few days. A lot of them are so depressing. Life’s not perfect and never will be and neither are our Gators but their ours.

  18. Pat, I think you are missing an important point and that is the type of offense we are running. Why wouldn’t you run an offense that takes advantage of your strengths? If you haven’t noticed, in the state of Florida there are WRs, RBs and “Athletes” growing on trees (and DBs). There are not a lot of quality offensive lineman going around. At the same time speeding up the game in order to get more plays has proven to be an effective way to get more points on the board.

    In order to take advantage of the talent in this State we need to be running some version of the spread, preferably one in which the WRs are very involved in the run game along with the read option. If you recall when Tebow was here we had WRs wide open all over the field because they were terrified of the run. We also didn’t need superstar offensive lineman because with the spread the ball comes out quick and running plays are quicker and less obvious.

    Urban Meyer probably came to Florida because he saw a goldmine of talent for his offense and a defense that is always going to be pretty good. Not a big fan of the way he left this program but 2 rings says a lot.

    I am suggesting to you that those two rings are at least in part to taking advantage of the high school talent available in this state. A new, more dynamic spread offense would consistently put points on the board and at least give them a fighting chance against Alabama.

  19. Dial down your preachiness, Dooley. Before the game, you were as critical of the offense or lack thereof as any of the fans you are now criticizing and now you’re back to making excuses for them. The Gator offense is still not very good and a miracle on the last play of the game did not change that. Are we ecstatic over that amazing finish? Absolutely!

    Passionate Gator fans fork over a lot of money to travel to games and put their butts in seats so they have every right to be critical of the lack of offense because it is just painful to watch. Practically every sports writer in the nation is equally as critical of Florida’s offense. Where is your snarky article devoted to chastising them?

    I get it. You can’t be too critical of the coaching staff because you still need access to them in order to continue do your job, but having been in the business for 30 years you know how college football fans are so spare us the snarky lectures.

  20. I just love how you blame Muschamp for the offensive problems…well what about the defenses success? Mac is riding high on that, and trust me time is running out on that. All I heard was how bad Tennessee’s offense was all week, well they put almost 500 yards up on the defense. I’m a die hard fan and 12-0 or 0-12 I’m there but you complain as well in your columns week to week so please don’t come on here and try to hush the crowd when it’s you who rushes to your computer far to early to write an article after a loss. Everyone needs to relax, it’s only game two. However, it is also year 3 under Mac and we have only gone backwards it seems…

  21. Wow, Mac should allow the armchair idiots come out and try to coach up these players. It is really easy to watch a game and pluck every play or be mad at one of the scoreboard light being out. The Old Head Ball Coach won 1 national title! These coaches are not idiots…They actually played football! Players are hesitant to come to a program when all they hear is negative things about a program. This tells them that they won’t be here much longer so I want to go to a stable program. So, knock off the crap or go and get a coaching job to see how really hard it is to do it. By the way, when you don’t have depth on defense and you are in the fourth quarter your legs feel like jelly. Look at the stats for tackling for three quarters and in the fourth both defenses got tired. I am sorry but when you are tired you feel like you are walking in knee deep mud. Conditioning comes thru actual playing in real time games thru the season. Running, lifting in the off season is great but real time playing is the key to conditioning because you are hitting and being hit in all directions and getting back up to do it again. It takes a lot out of you during a game.

    • Remind us again who’s fault it is we don’t have depth on D? Mac’s had three recruiting classes, and it’s not like Chump left the cupboard bare on D. The best players want to come to a program that’s capable of wining a title, which we’re clearly not. It doesn’t take a genius to see the problems we have, but it does take a special kind of idiot to ignore one of the worst offenses in the country.

    • Gary–got your point about recruits not wanting to sign c a program that all they hear about is negative. True, true. But they also are reluctant to sign c a program that once was elite, but now is in sustained mediocrity. Just sayin’.

  22. No Gator fan expects a perfect offense Pat. Tell me what fans honestly believes their team will be perfect in offense. What you miss is we have lots more talent on offense to suck this bad. You failed to mention Mac was brought in primarily to fix the offense, it’s not fixed. Sure there are all kinds of excuses and reasons but as SOS says, excuses are for losers. I like Mac, and I think he’s building something special but imo his judgement on keeping Nuss is a head scratcher. I like Franks and I believe he will develop into a very good quarterback. But with Nuss’s play calling every game will more than likely come down to the wire, and I’m afraid we will still get curb kicked by much better teams.

    • From what I have read – Franks is unable to go through a progression to find open receivers. That is unlikely to improve. There are many freshmen qbs doing great in the country – Franks, not so much.

      Add to that an appalling offensive game plan and you have the 123rd best offense in the country.

      The tv show said that “8 is enough”

  23. I think it is fair to say that this season has started out as the prefect storm. Suspensions, Jerry World, hurricanes, cancellations, FR playing all over the place, etc. I want to see this program improve and am willing to wait a few more games before finalizing my opinion. However this is suppose to be an offensive minded staff and being at the bottom of the statistical rankings with the talent in this locker room just doesn’t make sense.

    By the end of the first half of the UK game, we will see if they have turned the corner and will show steady improvement throughout the year, or just continue down the road of mediocre at best. Will be hoping for the best, but have my doubts.

  24. I have to agree with Rob Koch this has to be one of the most ridiculous articals I’ve ever read. What a waste of my time. Pat must not have had any other material. Hey Pat if you don’t have something interesting to write about don’t publish anything until you do. Don’t write just to write.

  25. Geez people, calm down. No one likes to hear what you are saying specially recruits. What you are failing to realize is that we are trying to win with freshmen and one or two year kids. Everybody loves a winner, especially young kids that are out to make a future for themselves. We have been out recruited by teams that have had a ton of success, Alabama, Clemson and other power houses. Let’s face it, We have not been an elite destination since the HBC and his fun and gun offense left us. If a recruit had to choose between us and let’s say Alabama, Clemson, FSU etc, if they are planning to go to the next level, they will choose them not us. But that is changing, we are getting better recruits on both sides of the line, I don’t how long it is going to take, but we are getting there. We have to get behind the team and quit this negative narrative. The young people that we have are working their tails off, and they will get better if they know we are behind them and quit reading all this negative stuff. GO GATORS!!!!!!

  26. The problem is UF is a top program in the nation, but the Gators can’t find a coach and recruits that can win a NC. What the hell? I am tired of hearing the excuses from Coach Awe Shucks. This is ridiculous we have state of the art facilities along with a ton of $$ flowing into the program, and we can’t figure out the right combination like Alabama has! We need a proven winner in a coach and players. Stop babysitting these thugs that can’t stay out of trouble. Just win baby, win. We need Coach Spurrier back!!

  27. I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the rest of the season (at the moment, it changes often). I feel like we executed well on alot of things Saturday. I think Franks has a big upside and the coaches are opening him up slowly. Hi deep ball is NFL ready, his lateral passes are on point and come out hot! The intermediate game is obviously where he (and other green qbs) struggle. Once those start coming, the linebackers will backoff some and help our running game. Yes, the offensive line has disappointed based on preseason hype but as I stated, the developed passing game will help with that.

    On another note, MAN, is it just me or do we need to throw it to Toney in the flat at least 10 time a game. The first defender just doesn’t have a chance 1on1.

  28. Ugh.  I hate this article, what is the point?  The UF offense will never be perfect?  No offense will ever be perfect.  We’re hoping for competent.  And then you ridicule fans for having any opinion on what the problem is, and say the coaches know better?  What is this, North Korea, and McElwain is Kim Jong-un?  Our role is to mindlessly cheer and never question? 
    Anyway, I don’t know how to coach players, or call plays, but I do understand statistics.  The biggest problem Florida has is that, by SEC standards, our talent is average. 
    So how talented is Florida?  Looking at Rivals recruiting rankings for the last 4 years, UF averages 14th place nationally.  That doesn’t sound awful, but it ranks them 7th in the SEC.  We are behind Alabama (averages 1st nationally last 4 years), LSU (6th), Georgia (6th), Auburn (10th), Tennessee (10th), and Texas A&M (11th).   Also note FSU (4th). 
    So does that mean McElwain has outperformed by getting the 7th most talented SEC team to Atlanta twice?  Let’s look at some numbers. 
    The math geniuses at fivethirtyeight dot com have an interesting article about recruiting ratings and ESPN’s Power Football Index for 2016.  What they found is that statistically around 65% of football team’s performance overall can be explained by recruiting.  They then compared recruiting results to ESPN’s Team Power Rankings to see what teams do the most, and the least, with the talent they’ve recruited (the other 35%, you know, game day strategy, player development, etc).  Of 128 teams, Florida ranked a slightly below average 73rd place.  Interestingly, the most talented team in the SEC East, Georgia, ranked an awful 109th.  South Carolina, the 4th most talented SEC East team, was an even more awful 119th. 
    So, what does this all mean about our team?  We’re averaging 7th place in the SEC in recruiting, with our closest peers being Texas A&M and South Carolina.  65% of our performance will be predicted by that fact.  The other 35%, our coaches have shown they’re statistically roughly average.  This means we should look like an average SEC team.  And we do.  Average SEC teams will generally not look competitive when playing Alabama or FSU. 
    How did we win the East the last 2 years?  The East is significantly less talented than the west, with classes averaging 24th and the West 15th.  In addition, Georgia and South Carolina have performed close to the worst in college football relative to their talent.  This makes the SEC East a 50/50 shot between Tennessee and Florida (the next most talented team is Kentucky).   In 2015 the key was beating Tennessee, where we went 5 for 5 on 4th down, including converting an improbable 4th and 15 late in the game, and still had to dodge a last minute long field goal miss by Tennessee.  In 2016 Tennessee beat the Gators, but went on to lose to both South Carolina and Vanderbilt, basically handing it to the Gators.  This looks like really good luck more than good coaching. 
    As the saying goes, it’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s the Jimmy’s and Joe’s. If we continue to rank 7th in the SEC in recruiting, we will not be competing for championships.

    • Ron, you make the single most compelling points I have read in a long while. If 65+/-% of the variance in a regression equation is accounted for by recruiting, and the other 35+/-% by coaching, given that we are at the median (this time at a perfect 50% midpoint of the SEC sample) in recruiting standings….well hell, we’re right where we’re supposed to be by any statistical model. Which is exactly my less brilliant point when I say that we’re not going to be elite again until we start winning big, and we’re not going to ever win big again until we improve recruiting. That’s a dead end paradigm if there ever was one! As the Ft Hood Greater Metropolitan Area Gator-in-Residence out here in Texas (my Texas truck plates even read Gator-6 and that annoys the bejabbers out of all the Texas A&M guys here), I’m in for the long haul too. But I sure am getting tired and my wife is starting to complain about the tapestry of profanity that hangs for days over our TV set after nearly every Saturday.

  29. Pat, I believe most just want to see some consistency like when we have scripted plays at the opening of games the last two years. We have noticed there to be a considerable difference not only in yards, points, but confidence in the players. So I can some on this issue but I would like to know why we can’t get more involvement by our HC when it comes to plays. He will never admit if he was making calls in the game last week but I know he was involved in the pre-scripted plays. So instead of always criticizing the fans, why aren’t you the press holding the HC to a stronger involvement in what is needed in the offense? If you guys pushed this issue the way the mainstream media pushes on Trump then we make actually get some information or response of some sort. Help us to understand when the coach gets involved without him having to through his OC under the bus. That to me is good reporting while still having trust within coaches you need to have connections with for your jobs. I believe that sums it up for most that are at least realistic but yet aren’t Pollyanna (buying into aww shucks and pretty cool ain’t it stuff) about the offense and truly believe it can get better. Yes, I clearly remember the years before Spurrier and sadly this doesn’t look much better but I believe it can as we have not been under sanctions like those teams of the late 80’s. Pat, you guys have to push more as to Mac’s involvement in this offensive process.

  30. The problem with the passing game is the backs are not picking up the blitz. Franks is fine. Let’s see what happens. I believe we will continue to improve.

  31. ”Brent Pease is out as UTEP’s offensive coordinator, a source told SI on Sunday morning. The Miners, 0-3, are second to last in all of FBS in total offense at 205 yards per game.” ~S.I.
    So considering Pease was U.F.’s O.C. under Muschamp, I believe that Mac’s trying hard to revive the greatness that U.F.’s offenses once knew (last one was in’08, in my opinion). And now that the gallantry of the “‘Franks to Cleveland miracle play” is winding down some, it’s time for U.F. coaches to use ALL THEIR TOOLS IN THE TOOL BOX: Cleveland, Massey, Tony, and Davis, etc… (and the tight ends, too). It’s time for continuous learning at practice, while playing football with great speed and not too much ”thinking” during the game (as it makes them hesitant and slower to react).
    Go Gators!

  32. You said it better than I did, good talent beats so-so talent. This negative nonsense has to stop. We are getting better talent on both sides of the line. The saying “it’s not the X’s and O’s, it’s the Jimmies and Joes” is very true. We are getting there, and when we do, then we will become the team that we all want. Meanwhile patience is the word. GO GATORS!!!!!

  33. There was no excuse for the way the team played against Michigan. None. Zero. Nada.

    Beating Tennessee on the last play was fantastic. It made me smile. It’s great to rip the hearts out of a rival.

    But that does NOT mean we are heading in the right direction.

    Again, there was NO excuse for how we played against Michigan. Both lines got their butts kicked.

  34. Leave it to Dooley to call Gator fans spoiled. He doesn’t want to lose his front row seat at the postgame buffet, so instead of the actual true article he wrote back after the opener, he goes back to bowing down and kissing the rings of the UF brass. 30 years? More than enough. Retire already, you won’t be missed.

  35. I honestly believe coaches plan and think way too much and make the game more complicated than it needs to be. Let your players be free and allow them to do what you recruited them to do. Coaches act like these guys have never played organized football before. In practice worry about your team and execution, quit worrying so much about the other teams your playing, make the other teams stop you! Its not the players you have, its trying to fit players into a coaches plan instead of planning around your players. GO GATORS!!

  36. I’m very happy for the UT win, or any win for that matter. There’s a bigger picture to see.

    Coach Mac makes a lot of money to win football games and generate offense. Most of the Gator Nation would be happy with some improvement in the offense and to get out of the statistical basement.

    It was Coach Mac’s choice to go with Franks, the least experienced QB. I don’t think that’s a valid excuse for poor offensive performance in the third year of the McElwain era. Other offensive positions should be able to take up the slack. That’s a coaching issue.

    We seem to be a long way from having an offense rated in the 50 percentile or better. That seems to be a necessary element to compete for a SEC Championship. That’s the ongoing frustration of Gator fans.

  37. Dang Pat, you hits some raw nerves! Can’t recall you getting long responses like these. I’m 81 BSCE, and WAS a season ticket holder for 19 years, so I’m a vested Gator. As an engineer, the numbers mean a lot and they better get better than pitiful or the mobs will form!

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