Sunday Blog: Pressuring opposing QB part of winning formula

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Florida defensive lineman Jachai Polite sacks LSU quarterback Joe Burrow in the final minutes of Saturday's game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/ The Gainesville Sun]

The Sunday Blog comes at you after what I thought would be wild night at home, but everybody was too pooped to party.

  1. One thing that continues to be impressive about this Florida team is that the Gators continue to get after the quarterback. Florida now has 20 sacks after getting to Joe Burrow five times. That ranks UF tied for third in the country. Florida needs three sacks to equal the total from last year. And Jachai Polite has a legitimate shot at Alex Brown’s single season record of 13 sacks. Polite has six and Florida should play at least 13 games.
  2. I checked with Steve Spurrier on Sunday morning and he did collect on his bet with Les Miles. The former LSU coach had to wear a Gator visor with Spurrier’s signature on it Saturday night during a commercial. “He’s from the Bo Schembechler school. He thinks you should wear a hat and not a visor,” Spurrier said.
  3. I voted Sunday in the AP Poll and I had the Gators all the way up to 14th in the country. You win at Starkville and beat No. 5, you’re gonna get some love from Dr. Football. I finally have given in on UCF and have the Knights at No. 8. I’d still like to see what they would do against an SEC schedule or a Big Ten schedule. Of course, they could have a Power Five schedule that included UCLA, Rutgers, Nebraska, Louisville, Oregon State and Arkansas, they’d still probably be unbeaten. What is the over/under on wins for Scott Frost and Chip Kelly this year? Three?
  4. One great thing about the Nashville, Tenn., hotel we’re staying at is a great sports bar and a noon game at Vanderbilt. Life is good. Here’s your four-pack:

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

Washington at Oregon, 3:30 p.m., ABC

Missouri at Alabama, 7 p.m., ESPN

Wisconsin at Michigan, 7:30 p.m., ABC

94 COMMENTS

  1. Know this, like I said after the Kentucky game; Gators will get better each and every week! Now game 6, Franks improving, O-line improving with the Defense leaping to unrecognizable gains from game 2 vs Kentucky!

    GO GATORS!!!

  2. This is a huge win for Dan Mullen and the Florida Football Program. Dan Mullen and Todd Grantham have shown they know how to coach. Our defense may be young, and may give up some plays, but they have shown their effort is at an elite level, and they put the game away for good after the offense made a drive to win the game! Defense can win championships, but offense has to win the game. That unfolded yesterday. There’s a lot of work to be done for sure. There’s recruiting elite athletes to take this program to elite status all around. But this win, the win over an undefeated #5 team, begins the process. Other than Georgia, there isn’t a team on Florida’s schedule they cannot beat. From a losing season to a New Year’s day bowl game. That’s the turnaround we’re all paying to see. GO GATORS!

    • Grumpy,
      Im not sure what issue Tampa has with your post, but I agree with everything tou said. Maybe its to soon after such a great win to point out we still have work to do, but that doesnt make it any less true. I think the most important thing you pointed out was bringing our nrand back to the point we can get the big time recruits. We may not be there, but we are on our way, and will get there alot faster than I first thought.

      • willgator. He spent the entire preseason and every week this year ripping into Mullen, Franks, the Florida OL, the Florida defense, and the entire Florida football program (as a FSU troll) and then comes on here now and posts the above (therefore, fake crap coming from him). That is my issue with him and with his fake post.

          • Go back the last 6 months on here and read his posts and you decide. Either that or the most negative Florida fan I have ever read on here. And the guy sitting behind me last night at the game could have been him, as he was yelling critical things about Mullen, Franks, and the entire team last night after almost every play. And then celebrated like crazy at the end of the game. That could have bene him. But either way, I am not a fan, as much as a certain Gator with a number after his name is not a fan of mine. I just do not like fake personalities from some people on here. I prefer the real and the truth. This guy is not real or honest. My perspective only of him.

          • “For the believer, humility is honesty about one’s greatest flaws to a degree in which he is fearless about truly appearing less righteous than another.”

            and

            “Your religion is not what you do on Sunday. It is how you live Monday through Saturday.”

            Now, it is not time for your AR 15 target practice after you just arrived back home from church, Gator 6.

          • I just thought he was “Grumpy”.
            But certainly I do not appreciate nole trolls, and I am taking (perhaps too much) glee in the fact we are trending up and they (noles) are trending down. When I look back on the last three head coaching hires, we may have a winner, someone (CDM) who has a winning pedigree in the SEC. Loved Muschamp, but think he is perfectly suited as a DC. Prior to coming to UF, he had no head coaching experience. And MacElwain, no HC experience in a power 5 conf. Mullen made MSU into a winner, and he seems to be tooling us in that direction. He’s doing this with mostly players he’s inherited. Imagine when he starts recruiting his own!! He needs to start keeping the local talent home, and screw Urban Cryer.

          • Reminds me of a song from the early 70’s…..”you’re so vain, you think this song is about you….”. But if you are one who reads hidden meanings into benign remarks, persistently is unforgiving of perceived insults, or reacts to perceived attacks on his character that are not apparent to others — I suppose your asinine remarks make sense. In the final analysis however, I’ve already spent far too much time attending to your snide and snarky ramblings — so I’ll close and perhaps you should do the same.

          • “….attending to…. your snide and snarky ramblings…..”

            “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion”. Gator 6, from his Bible.

          • Figures you would ask a question like that to insinuate such. Remember that when you point a finger, three are usually pointing back at you.

        • I agree with you tampa about Grumpy’s previous posts, in fact I was amazed at such a turn around post and I eerily saw a number of points I made last night repeated there and a throwoff on the one I made about defense wins championships. strange how that is, very strange!(rubbing chin)

    • TampaGator…although I take umbrage to some of the things GE Gator says, there is nothing to take offense about in his post above. I agree, however with one corollary, CDM is showing what a great coach is able to do with whatever recruits he has been given. When he starts to load up with elite recruits, we will be tough to beat. But it all starts with a Great coach (btw the 3 other coaches floated for this job are a collective 3-13; with Taggert being the “bright star” at 3-3; though he had to come from behind in 2 of those games in the 4th qtr to win-one game against an FCS opponent w/4min left in the game).

  3. Where’s the love for Franks?! I thought he played a great game against a great defense. He went through more progressions in this game than any previous. Definitely maturing into a top QB. Time to let him know we appreciate all his hard work and relentless effort. Go GATORS!

    • Lyle. Franks played well, but working through his progressions and seeing open secondary receivers is still an issue for him. When he starts doing that well, hopefully before the Georgia game, he will likely become an elite type QB. And avoid throwing the ball to wide open LSU DBs in the end zone on first down just after making a great throw for a big and important gain. That play almost cost the team, when a much better decision (throwing the ball away or a short check down) would have been made by a much more developed and elite type QB. Franks is clearly getting better, but he still has a lot of work to do with becoming much more consistent, accurate, and getting rid of the ball faster because he is seeing the field better and making quicker progressions through his receiver options. But I think Franks knows all that and is working on it every single week, and that work is showing itself each following Saturday. He has a bright future now in The Swamp and in the SEC.

      • I have been wondering about that interception Franks three in the end zone. It was so off target, no Gator nearby and the tight end open just to his left, I think about the 5 yard line. Could there have been a mixup on the route?

        • No, actually, Jefferson was also breaking open but Franks was not reading that because he was so fixated on his primary receiver and did not anticipate Jefferson quick enough or progress down fast enough to release the ball to him. As a result of his delay in processing and lack of quick deliver, the LSU players actually hit him as he was trying to release the ball and it went directly to the LSU DB. That play still clearly defines that problem Franks still has and what he needs to develop in order to progress to the next level. He still lack that innate feel in the pocket, as well as a quick deliver of the ball. When he does deliver the ball on time to a open receiver, I am not sure if any QB throws a better ball. Still mental with Franks on the field. But there is improvement. But much more is needed.

          • Too many typing errors in the above post. Sorry. I am tired from a long night last night and a lack of sleep. I feel like I have been in a swamp that was not drained.

      • Lyle, I really like the kid, but he continues to force passes to receivers who are well covered, which is a clear indication that he still struggles with his progressions. It is one reason his completion rate is well below average. I like the way he spreads the ball around to different receivers, but sometimes that almost seems like it is his intent, whether they are open or not. His elongated throwing motion is also part of the reason he is late getting his passes off, but that is something that Mullen and Johnson can work with him on. He is a good leader, and from all accounts appears to be highly coachable, so I think the Gators future with is bright over time.

        • Tampa Gator: I saw that. He threw into 3 LSU DBs who had the receiver covered like wax paper. I thought it was strange he didn’t just throw it out of the end zone cause it was first down. Oh well. They won.

      • Yelp. It did me, and the team immediately went flat for the most of the quarter after that horrible decision by Franks. But he and the team came back, but most teams do not survive that kind of thing in such a critical mo changing play and moment. Thank goodness the Gators and Franks overcame it, much thanks to the defense.

        • “but most teams do not survive that kind of thing in such a critical mo changing play and moment”

          You’ve said it all right here, Tampa. This was a big character win for this very reason. I think if we score there, we are able to salt the game away and get the W with much less stress. BUT, seeing these guys work there way out of a rut and get the momentum back? That was impressive. That shows guts, character, and damn good sideline management. I don’t think this team, under Mac, could have ever pulled off what we saw on Saturday. I really don’t.

    • This is consistent Franks, 10 good almost perfect throws a game, a f up or two, and high percentage passes Mullen calls. Improved definitely at the same time improved from what. Mullen is getting the best he can out of Franks and he is becoming a game manager. Very nice win I was one worried about offensive and defensive lines playing in sec games after Kentucky complete turnaround. Hope Frank’s grows into admirable QB.

    • Not “great” he threw an int that if we scored could have put the game away, he missed some throws even with the excuse of pressure. I don’t know if our WRs were perhaps covered or not, only game film tells that. In closing it is improved, not yet great.

  4. When Florida plays a five defensive players near the line of scrimmage, they are nearly unstoppable on passing downs with Polite, Jefferson, Zuinga, Joseph and Moon coming off the edges. Saw that over and over again last night in The “crazy loud” Swamp. Franks remains inconsistent in his play. He still missing wide open receivers after the primary receiver is not open because he is slow in making his progressions and his delivery of the ball is still way long and mechanical. But, last night, he made clutch and critical throws (and the receivers made some great, go up and get it catches) late in the first and second halves, along with one well-timed catch. And with the exception of two big time break downs in run defense early in the fourth quarter when the LSU back broke two runs for over 70 yards, the defense (after the first drive by LSU) was lights out. But I have personally witnessed The Swamp that loud only one other time in my many trips to my favorite campus. My ears were ringing at diner after the game and during the long drive back home afterwards. And I had a headache this morning, and not from too much drink because I mostly avoided that since I was driving. But The Swamp was back last night, baby. So nice to experience first hand. Some LSU folks were sitting next to us at diner and they were devastated and heartbroken. Also nice to see from a sports perspective. And I know some on here are down on him, but Trey Dean is going to be an All-American corner. C.J. Henderson already is. And Stewart is going to win some honors as well. And Joseph for Florida outplayed White for LSU at LB last night. If he performs like that the rest of the year, watch out. He will be an all-SEC LB this year. He was all over the field making play after play. And what a leader and fearless nickel back Chauncey-Gardner is. He is a real pro, which he will be next year. And the Florida defense was quicker and faster last night than the LSU defense, which really surprised me based on what I had seen this year from LSU. And Scarlett and Perine just punished the LSU defense all night. And, folks, the OL was really good last night. They won the line of scrimmage most of the night, and I noticed that Brett Heggie appears to be fully back and replaced Fred Johnson a lot at RG last night and played well. And what can one say about having Dan Mullen back and as the head coach. He truly is an outstanding coach and motivational leader of this team. The team just feeds off his energy and leadership, as well as the enthusiasm and participation of Gator Nation in The Swamp. Great to a Florida Gator…..in The Swamp…..again. Protect The Swamp, and the Florida Gators team did that last night with a total team effort. Thank you players. Thank you Gator Nation. Thank you Scott Sticklin. Thank you, boosters. Thank you, Dan Mullen. Now, go beat Vandy. Don’t think about Georgia yet.

      • I love pressure as much as the next guy, but…Imo the only reason grantham played it that way was because of the clock and LSU had no time outs. I think it’s against every fiber in his body to play it that way, but circumstances matter, and I thought it was brilliant situational awareness. Note: that’s not hindsight, I actually felt that way at the time.

  5. Well, for us L O N G time Gators (40+ years) the Swamp wasn’t quite back last night. While it was SRO on the Alumni side there were well over 1,000 seats empty on the student side and north Endzone upper deck. Close to the old days. A substantial improvement over the recent past, but not quite up to the old days yet!!

  6. I love this team, I have a slightly different view than some of the commenters. I thought the tampa grump thing was an attempt at a joke, if not I definitely want to stay out of that.
    1. my evolving view of franks is that expecting him reading a progression is kind of football from a different day. the offense isn’t really built like the nfl of the 1990s, there isn’t a lot of time. that’s not even on the offensive line. defenses are built that way now, everyone wants to get to the qb. we do. LDR had the best tweet about Franks when he said ” this guy can take hits that I couldn’t”. he also said those hits don’t exactly get shrugged off during a game, they linger.. and that he was impressed that a couple of hard shots franks took didn’t take him out of the game, that would have taken out most qbs and third, he was impressed when franks got rid of a ball with 500 pounds of LSU tigers jumping on his back trying to get rid of a ball. I call the guy Wayne Peace all over again, maybe not pretty but the game is played to win, and Franks does winning things. I hate watching him sometimes, but I know I am wrong to feel that way.
    2 the defense is good but there is film out there that this defense doesn’t like hurry up and doesn’t like a switch from shotgun to back under center. we adjusted so its not a big deal but there is a good chess game going on at the coaching level, which is good for the team and the fans.
    3. I hear all of this grier for Heisman stuff and I have to wonder if he would be doing as well against real SEC defenses. his 5 good quarters at florida weren’t against the best defenses and I’m not sure he can walk away from the blunt force trauma that Franks can which is part of it. also, I would say LSU would have been better with franks than burrow. not by a large margin but qb in the SEC requires superior toughness, which I think is where franks has the edge. those last 2 interceptions by burrow is exhibit A.
    4. I saw the ole ball coach and les miles on espn…what a wonderful time to be a gator fan. pat had to work! since Kentucky lost the path is now pretty much there for this team, survive and advance. afterwards we can determine whether we are 8 or 15 or 22 or whatever. no one cares until the last poll.

    • I think you’re right about Franks v. Burrow (that LSU would be better off). I would add that Franks’ biggest advantage is his ability to scramble and make things happen with his feet. He’s good for a big dude. And it seems like he’s got really good instincts when he’s moving on the ground like that … those options plays were deadly because he made the right read and perfect pitch every time. Burrow, on the other hand, is slow as molasses and, as a consequence, was just eaten up by the pressure.

  7. mveal. I honesty despise the content of most of the posts made by GrumpyGator on here. I think he is either a troll or the worst Florida fan in the world. Either are bad from my perspective. And Georgia is doing a lot more hurry up on offense and I am sure they will do a lot of it vs. the Gators in three weeks. There seemed to be a lot of delay in getting the defensive calls into the players when LSU was running hurry up offense. Way too many Gators were walking around and not set when LSU would snap the ball in those situations. That cannot happen going forward.

  8. Gators now number 14 in the AP and number 16 in the Coaches poll, right behind LSU?????? Who would have “thunk” the Gators would be ranked this high after six games at the start of the year (or lose to Kentucky), or be currently ranked behind the team they just beat? But I do not want to express my opinion on a sports blog about that because that would make me heathen fool. Go Gators.

  9. A few more comments as I sit back and reflect….. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has come a long way. There were times last year when I thought he’d never make it due to tackling and physical issues. But he really seems to have stepped up and is not afraid to engage this year. And he does seem very much like a team leader. This team has desperately needed leaders.

    The secondary has made me nervous at times this year, especially when Marco Wilson went out. And while they have taken their lumps at times, I know its just part of the learning curve. DB is a tough position. But it is fun to watch the progress and I agree with Tampa that I think Trey Dean will be a big-time gamer before all is said and done. Many of the DB’s have had nice moments this year.

    The DL and LB’s seem to driving this train….as they go, so goes the team. And they have been a disruptive force since the KY game. Getting back Cece and Reese surely helped but somehow Grantham found a way to turn up the motors of Zuniga, Polite, Moon, and Joseph.

    I love the focus on the third element of the team…special teams. I keep waiting for a big blocked kick but I know that will happen at a key moment later in the season (Jacksonville?). In the meantime, kick coverage and punting have been HUGE assets for the team.

    If anyone thinks coaching doesn’t matter….this team is living proof that it does. 2017 vs 2018..what’s the only difference? A few recruits and a new coaching staff. Night and Day.

    On offense there are a lot of skill players. Each week we are seeing them get worked into the mix more and more. A little Perrine, a little Scarlett, a little Toney, a little TE here and there, Josh Hammond steps up, Freddie Swain steps up, Van Jefferson with a GREAT catch last night.

    I’d say right now, this team is SPECIAL. The rest of the season holds promise to be even more special. I’d really enjoyed watching so far and I can’t wait to be sitting in the Swamp on Nov 3 vs Mizzou. Go Gators!!!

    p.s. Gator6 and Tampa…..PLEASE make up and play nice with each other. I love both of your comments…..when they are about Gator football.

      • Hang in there 6. One thing I like and respect about you is that you have good and interesting insights while exhibiting a great sense of humor. You don’t take yourself too seriously, something more of us should try, myself included. Thanks to Rog for trying to help cool the jets on this site a bit. Go Gators!

      • Dan F. I do not use the type of adjectives and personal insults (see above) in response to describe Gator 6 that he directs towards me (often in cohort with CO Jones). He is very sly. He also defends trolls on here (which started this). Ask yourself why is that? And seriously, Gator 6, you were not addressing me with the above attacks? LOL.

          • Believe me, nothing related to you is flattering. And I am not showing flattery when I say you have low character and low self esteem. And I am done with you unless you continue to address me directly or indirectly and lie about it.

          • I’ll address you directly here then. Are you sure my post was about you? It’s far too much fun now to let on, given your paranoia, but might it have been in response to someone or something else? Of course, your vanity automatically informed you that it was referring to you, and being oblivious as you naturally are, you of course lashed out.

            Be careful when accusing others of lying. But I like your solution just the same as long as it applies to you as well.

        • Here I was enjoying the aftermath of a great Gator victory, reading the comments of my fellow Gators and staying out of the fray and just when I thought I was out, you pull me back in…….Here you go again complaining about personal insults and attacks when you are the one who starts it all and dish out all types of name calling.
          You started all this ruckus by attacking Grumpy Gator, then you moved on to 6 and now you draw me in. I don’t have much time for the likes of you today but thank you for associating me with Gator 6, one who comes across as a down to earth, nice guy with a sense of humor not a know-it-all, elitist, I -think-I’m-better-than-you drama queen.
          When I have more time I may tell you the many ways you and Mike Winter are alike. But I don’t want to post some long arse dissertation like some here do often.
          Heed the advise of Prairiegator

      • Does any team in college football besides the SEC play defense anymore?

        USF/UMass–100 pts.
        Ala. Arkansas — 94 pts. ( i think). /Wait. both these teams are SEC.
        Look at the total points of some of these other games. Tex vs. Okla. What was it 93 pts? I can’t count that high. I think about 72 percent of the games went over–easily. Ohio State puts up 63, passing for a TD late in the game with a 40 point lead. Oh yeah, I remember when SOS would do that against ANYBODY.
        A Florida team scoring 31 points will win 99 percent of its games.

      • Rog. I sit up and directly behind the Gators sideline at The Swamp. Pierce played on all special teams last night. But he was not needed to carry the rock with the way Scarlett and Perine were carrying it yesterday. Those two were just pounding LSU all game and were hard to bring down. And the way Scarlett ran on that last Florida series out from the five may have won the game for the Gators. Him and that 70 yard punt by Townsend. What a punt that was, and few people are talking about that play. Put LSU deep in their own territory and allowed the INT to happen. But I sure wish Stewart had stepped out of bounds instead of scoring. If he had, the Gators offense could have run out the clock without LSU ever getting the ball back. But Stiner ended all hope with his INT.

        • Yea, but if he had we would have missed that great play, Stewart wouldnt have had his INT, nobody would have been talking about him now and articles being written about him and the INT as well as his other big play, and we fans wouldnt have had that glorious exciting finish to memorialize that game in our memories.
          Seriously now, Ive only ever seen 1 player that unselfish or smart enough at the moment to figure it out, to set that rock down on the 1 and that was maurice Jones Drew in a jags game. Thats really asking alot of a player, and all his training says to score.

        • I agree with you about Perine and Scarlett. They ran the ball hard all night but that drive late where we were pinned deep and they ran for two first downs….may have been the highlight of the game for me. That was SEC football. We had to have it…and the offense delivered. I love Scarlett and it’s great to see him getting his mojo back. I’ve always been a Perine fan as he just flat out runs hard and gets tough yards consistently.

          I’ve been touting Townsend all weekend on these pages. He is a weapon and that 70 yarder was a thing of beauty. I watched other punters in other games Saturday and no one else seems to take the “art” of punting as seriously as Townsend does.

          Regarding the pick six…..yeah the right thing to do would be to go down at the one. I remember Mac last year making a similar post game comment about a similar play. But dang, how hard would it be for Stewart or any other player with a chance at a pick six….especially in that situation to take a knee. The kid surely made the Sportscenter Highlights (is that even a thing anymore?) and the play will be remembered for many, many years. Until it costs a team a game, I suspect coaches will have a hard time getting that point across to any player.

  10. Does anbody play defense in college football anymore (outside of a few SEC teams I know).
    Look at USF/UMass: 100 pts. and former Gator RB Scarlett gets 302 yds. rushing. My son could get 300 against UMass. and he’s 5-10 and 150 and played RB in HS. Look at the other totals. 92 in the Tex/OKLA game? 96 in the Alabama/Arksansas game? Can’t remember numbers more than 49 but there were PLENTY. So many games about passing. And the targeting penalties are getting too subjective. What is a target and what is NOT a target? I don’t know anymore after watching some Saturday games. Hope Vandy is not taken as a breather.

  11. I think the thing that impresses me the most about this team is the adjustments they have made after halftime in the past two games. In my opinion this is a direct result of good coaching and players who accept it. Cudos to Coach Mullen, Coach Grantham and the rest of their staff. Go Gators!

  12. Pat, who will you pick vs. Vandy? You need to get on the Gator bandwagon fast, it’s about to leave the station…. without you.
    A few ruminations:
    Joseph is a beast and deserved winning the Walter Camp award. I’d like to see him next year with 15 more pounds on him and watch out. Stewart and Stiner are big play guys and need more playing time. Reece is clearly the rock of this D. Polite is developing into a top end draft pick.
    The O Line played pretty well against a top #5 D. They opened up 200+ yards rushing and protected pretty well. Perine is becoming our most productive RB. Let’s get Dameon Pierce in the game against Vandy. The trickeration play from Krull to Franks was fantastic and LSU never recovered from it. We need more trickeration. The fans love it! Franks played pretty well against a top #5 team, and gives me some hope that we have a fighting chance now against Georgia.
    Any 5* or 4 * recruit who saw this game got an eyeful and needs to commit now before the line gets too long.

    • This was EXACTLY the kind of game needed to assist recruiting. If a recruit doesn’t sign after being in the Swamp last Saturday, he never will. (Don’t worry, I understand there is a lot more to signing a recruit than stadium atmosphere and game results).

  13. Let me tell you Gators out there. LSU is a darn good team. I watched their blocking schemes, defensive mixes, coverages, etc. And Burrow was a starter at Ohio State. To beat this team (I know it was Gainesville but Gators won 16-10 in 2016). was a major boost for this team. I’m not sure Gators will be in the CFB this year, but they should make 8 or 9 wins and get a Jan. 1 bowl. Gator pass defense is really good in this day and age where college QBs routinely throw for 300-400 yds. a game. That was Burrow’s first 2 interceptions and his lowest passing yardage of the season.