The Sunday Blog, Week II: Snell punished Gators

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Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. powers for yardage against the Florida defense during the first half Saturday. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Sunday Blog comes at you after another late night of Pac-12 After Dark and trying to figure out how we were so badly fooled about Florida’s physical side.

* I think I heard this right in a noisy press box that Dan Mullen said his scout team will have to do a better job at getting the defense prepared in the future. If there’s a Benny Snell Jr. on the scout team, bring him on over to the starting lineup. Snell averaged 6.5 yards on 27 carries, the model of efficiency. And Kentucky averaged 8.0 yards a play in the game. I know it’s only two games into the season, but the mighty Gators now rank 120th in the nation in rushing defense.

* I did get home to watch the fourth quarter of Michigan State vs. Arizona State and I am among the many who has to eat some crow because I thought the hiring of Herm Edwards was the dumbest thing ever. He’s now 2-0 with a Top-20 win. Hiring Kevin Sumlin at the rival school, on the other hand, was pure genius. He’s 0-2 and his defense has given up 51 first downs against BYU and Houston. I know, it’s early. But it just goes to show that we don’t know diddley.

* My Associated Press ballot underwent some real upheaval at the bottom, as I finally gave in on Boise State, stuck Kentucky back in there, dumped Florida, Michigan State, South Carolina and Northwestern and ran out of room for teams such as Duke and Missouri. Here are the SEC teams I ranked: 1. Alabama; 3. Georgia; 6. Auburn; 12. LSU; 15. Mississippi State; 19. Texas A&M; 24. Kentucky.

* The schedule for this weekend is nothing special after two weeks of marquee games. Still, there in enough to watch, especially for those of us who remember the days when you might have a football Saturday when there were two games on TV.

Oklahoma at Iowa State, noon, ABC.

LSU at Auburn, 3:30 p.m., CBS.

Alabama at Ole Miss, 7 p.m., ESPN.

Ohio State vs. TCU, 8 p.m. ABC.

Washington at Utah, 10 p.m., ESPN.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Apologies to cliche’d coachspeak, but this is now truly a one-game season.

    This team and staff have to hyperfocus on each individual opponent with no thought to the rest of the year, because…
    …there won’t be any championships or title. No chance. Forget it.

    Just one game.

  2. ”Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do!”
    or…
    ”Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”
    ~Goethe.
    Ask Coach Spurrier, ask Michael Jordan if that ”works.”
    Because I am just one of millions who saw them do it with ”boldness, power, and even magic.”
    Time to regroup Florida Football, and decide what kind of football program you’re going to be.
    From the top, with Dan Mullen, to the bottom, the trainers, time to decide!

  3. Just for starters, I wasn’t happy with the way the refs allowed so much holding to go on. At least six of UK’s big, critical third down conversion plays were assisted by blatantly, uncalled holds. Their TD pass was on a huge hold. That said, we shouldn’t have allowed that to prevent us from exercising basic technique and fundamentals. Just tackle well and this is a Florida win.

    I’m not going to bash Franks. he played tough, he played his heart out, but the OL let him down big-time. The defense was completely off balance all night and tackled like little league team. UK just did the same thing over and over and we couldn’t even wrap up.

    It was a total team loss. What we saw last night was some of the remnants of the mental and emotional instability McElwain left on this program, and it’s going to take time, and RECRUITING, to exercise that out of the program.

    Mullen turned the Miss. St. program around, and today they are tough, physical, and extremely competitive. I look towards that as where UF will be in another season or two, but I expect 2 – 3 years to turn it around anyway.

  4. There’s not much to say about the Florida game that hasn’t already been said twice, other than we’ll see how it plays out.

    I didn’t care squat about Herm Edwards or Arizona State until every sports writer in the nation started making fun of him, ridiculing him, and denigrating him. Then I became an instant fan of his because of it. I’m sorry to hear you’re one of them, Pat…..but once in a while we all become lemmings and forget to think independently I suppose.

  5. If the OL is your weakest link, you’re not going to do much, period. And our 3-man DL, nickel base defense is a sieve against the run.
    There is no “if this, then Florida wins” here – UK doubled UF in yardage and dominated in every way.

    ***and the “save my name, email,…” check box on this site still doesn’t work.

  6. This was probably the most disheartening loss for me as a gator fanlI. I have followed the gators for over 50 years and have traveled from Gainesville to Honolulu and places in between to watch them play!! This one hurts the most!!!

  7. Look at the time ky qb had when dropping back…he had all day! Our D looked weak and the tackling was awful. Franks was underfire immediately and I thought he played pretty well. That offensive line was hard to watch. Can t wait to hear some new names on that line. They’ve had so many starts together and it’s pretty clear they just won’t ever be any good. Recruits should see immediate playing opportunites.

  8. I made a mistake and forgot we play Idaho. So my latest projection is 4-7, assuming we beat C-State and go 2 of 3 against UT, Vandy and FSU. Dan Mullen will need 3-5 years to rebuild/recruit his own team, if UF is willing to wait. This is not UK, but Stoops is in year 6, having to come from way deeper. Our 2018 goal should now be to find out just how good a coach Dan Mullen is. Will we see improvement or just take on more water. He can still lose games, but improve, I’m willing to give him time, as long as there is some improvement. Again, after yesterday, its +80% Bama/Auburn winner against UGA for the SEC. Will there be a 2018 Auburn vs UGA rematch in Atlanta? It currently appears, based on limited data, Bama will just steam roll to the playoffs. LSU/Auburn next Saturday is one of the only chances for drama, if LSU wins.

  9. Kentucky has dramstically improved it’s recruiting under Stoops. Where Florida has steadily slipped, falling further behind. Last night was the culmination of losing too many recruiting battles over the years. We looked smaller and less talented. This rebuild will take time. And… more balls to Toney, please.

    • Snowy. I do not recall Kentucky having a better recruiting class in the final rankings over Florida, ever. So how was losing to Kentucky a “culmination of losing too many recruiting battles over the years”. Certainly, none of those class ranking battles included Kentucky. But Mullen did lose the battle last class for the Kentucky QB who picked the Cats over Florida. After watching him play, there is little doubt that he would have won the battle to start at QB for the Gators over Franks. Too bad he chose the Cats. But then again, he would have been behind the Florida OL and likely would also be not performing very well either.

  10. Offense: When Felipe rolls out, he shrinks the field by 2/3s and the third he can see gets real crowded. He needs to stay in the pocket and take advantage of his height in order to see all WRs. The WR routes are all contested by design…my guy is better than your guy. We need some route designs that incorporate timing; meet me at designated spot; especially in the red zone.
    Defense: what can I say. I am just not sold on the 3-4. Poor showing. I am not buying the old, “give me time until I get my guys…”. That’s a strategy to buy time. If the 3-4 works, then coach’em up and make a stop on 3rd down and get off the field. We have the players. Go Gators!

  11. I am endlessly amazed at the fickleness if my fellow Gstors. This was “the worst loss” one of them has endured in 50 years of watching Florida football? My friend must have a short memory. I’ve watched for almost 60 years and can identify lots and lots of games that were serious letdowns, as recently as Georgia Southern in 2013, Michigan just a year ago.

    Did you all expect Dan Mullen to bring some magical elixir that would instantly guarantee a win every week? Our program was being dismantled by a neglectful head coach for three years prior to our hiring Mullen. Before that guy we had a four-year run with one of the most over-rated head coaching talents in the land.

    This team has played TWO games and to most posters losing to a pretty good Kentucky team seems to mean disaster ahead. It ain’t necessarily so. And by the way, football coaches only think in terms of one game seasons: just win the next one on the calendar.

    My cardinal rule since graduating from UF in 1972 is “Don’t let 19- and 20-year old guys playing a game ruin your life.” Our Gators will improve. It also will take a little time. That’s why Dan has a multi-year contract instead of a week-to-week arrangement.

    Coaching a pretty well-stocked Georgia team that Mark Richt left behind, Kirby Smart had an 8-5 record his first year. Florida is in a deeper joke than UGA’s team was when Kirby arrived. Relax a little, give your coach some time and decide to take joy in the progress he makes. You’ll be much happier Gators.

    In all kinds of weather… GO GATORS!

  12. Another word: as for Feleipe, the young man took an enormous physical beating. After one early hit that was particularly vicious he came off the field moving his right arm but his left arm hanging limply, a tell-tale symptom of an injury. If his throws were off the mark late it likely had much to do with the abuse he was taking. But as with Danny Wuerffel against FSU in 1996, Feleipe kept getting up from the turf to play more. His courage is commendable.

    We’ve got serious deficiencies up front not on offense and defense, as well as the linebacker positions. But our kids do not lack character or courage.

    • Clyde. Your comments make me ask this question. Why is Mullen putting Franks in so many passing situations and really not establishing balance or the run game first, and after hearing all summer how great our running backs are. They have hardly been a factor in the offense so far at all. It perplexes me. Florida needs to focus on establishing the run and it will slow down the pass rush if they do. Otherwise, teams are just going to continue to tee off and a Florida OL that does not pass block very well. But come to think of it, they do not run block very well either.

      • Maybe Franks is passing so much because that is what the defense is giving up. I counted 8 – 9 defenders in the box on just about every play. Franks is doing what he has been coached to do under the spread RPO system. The results are frustrating right now, but Franks looks like he is way better than last year on his decision making. Six dropped passes didn’t help Franks. That doesn’t mean he didn’t force a few throws or was inaccurate on a few others. Franks was getting pummeled. Don’t get me wrong, I was a fan of seeing what Trask could do. Until the offense proves they have a passing game defenses will continue to stack the box. This offensive line isn’t good enough to block 8 – 9 in the box. They just aren’t good yet period.

  13. I just don’t think these players are that good. I do see a hugh difference in the offensive play calling Mullens runs but Franks looked stunned when the game got out of hand. I’m not coaching from the sidelines but I was worried that most of us had a good look at Franks last year and I’m seeing the same traits. I didn’t expect the line play to be so sofffffft! Florida does not have a defense. Mullens is a good coach just look at MSU this weekend…they looked good and that was his team. It will take some time no doubt about it. I’m still a Mullens guy through and through.

  14. If your OL is bad, it doesn’t matter if you try to “establish the run game”, because you CAN’T. NOTHING works on O when the OL is bad, NOTHING. And it is obvious that the only reason our DL, which is apparently bad, too, looked so good in practice is b/c our OL is even worse.
    It will be a LONG road back.

  15. The O-line has been the biggest problem for years. And it doesn’t like it is close to fixed. The 1st game was telling when the Gators couldn’t generate much against an “inferior” opponent. It was easy to see a legit SEC D-line dominating. The Gators have a ways to go. But they have plenty of opportunities to get better. It’s still a long season (in a good way). I just hope it’s not another long season (in a bad way).