The Back Nine: 3 ‘Villes no problem for Mullen, Gators

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Florida coach Dan Mullen, center, watches from the sideline in the first half of Saturday's game against Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The Back Nine comes at you after 12 hours of sleep again. I can’t think these sleep patterns are good for me, but it’s good to have an off week to take care of things around the house. Tell me my wife didn’t hear that.

10. This piece of history may not do a whole lot for you, but bear with me. Because as we flew home from Nashville, I wondered out loud if Florida had ever won at Knoxville, Starkville and Nashville in the same season. So I looked it up. And it turns out this was a first. So Dan Mullen has that going for him. There are two points here — 1. You really find out how mentally tough your football team is on the road. Florida won in front of two big and loud crowds and one tiny crowd. They came from behind in two of the games. Well done. 2. One reason I thought Florida would have a shot at a good season this year was the schedule, because the Gators only had to go on the road three times in conference play and two of them were to teams that weren’t expected to be very good. That part has panned out.

11. So for the first few weeks of the season the narrative was about how the Kentucky loss was looking better and better. Now, the LSU win is looking better after the Tigers thumped Georgia. We all left that LSU game feeling like Florida had beaten a really good team. And even the win at Tennessee is looking better after what happened Saturday on the Plains (Gus Malzahn buyout donations, please form a line to the left). Look, those of us who thought this team might be headed for a miserable season after the Kentucky game were wrong. We all get that. What I think we didn’t take into account was that it was only the second game for these players and this coaching staff. There was still a learning curve on both sides.

12. I’m not saying the SEC East has caught the West, but so far the two divisions are even at four wins each at this point in the season. I’m sure Alabama will change that Saturday against Tennessee, but the silly ESPN Football Power Index only gave the East four wins TOTAL in the 14 games for the whole season. There is no doubt that the divisions are getting closer, especially in the middle. South Carolina’s close loss to Texas A&M and Mississippi State’s 0-2 record against the East are evidence of that. I think the East gets at least two more wins and 6-8 would be an improvement.

13. One thing that seems evident watching this Gator football team play is that they are better coached than they have been for a long time. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be mistakes and there were plenty on Saturday. Dan Mullen addressed them after Saturday’s game. “There’s a fine line our guys gotta learn between going hard and going over the top, and I’ll continue to coach that,” he said. “But I’d much rather say, ‘woah’ than ‘sic ’em’. So, we’ll continue to work and coach that.” It is definitely a problem that Florida is currently 116th in the country in penalties, but it beats being 116th in offense.

14. Maybe the Gators could take a clinic from Bill Belichick. The Patriots had zero penalties in their epic win over Kansas City on Sunday night. They also had zero punts. Some will tell you that the game was more evidence that the rules are turning the NFL into flag football. But I like offense so I’m good with it. Going back to penalties, a lack of them does not guarantee winning football. The only two teams from the SEC in the top 20 nationally for fewest penalties are Vanderbilt and Tennessee.

15. I can’t explain why former Florida quarterback Kerwin Bell hasn’t gotten a chance to be an offensive coordinator at an FBS school. All I know is that his Valdosta State team, which is in Div. II, is averaging 54.7 points a game and has scored 52 touchdowns in seven games. Oh, and the Blazers are 7-0. And since the Gators have an off week, maybe we should all go to Valdosta on Saturday to show some support (they play North Greenville at 3 p.m.) for one of the best guys I know. “We’ve had a good year so far with a lot of young kids playing,” Bell told The Back Nine. “When I got here three years ago, they told me the Gulf South Conference was the SEC of Div. II. So I knew we had to recruit more speed.” He also recruited Rogan Wells, a 6-foot-3 quarterback who can run the ball. Wells is the grandson of former Florida coach Doug Dickey. Bell’s quarterback coach and passing game coordinator is his son Cade. “He calls the plays. First time I’ve ever done that,” Bell said.

16. I am actually tempted to go to that game. Instead, I’m going to spend this Saturday with my Dad instead of sitting in a press box. But one thing that irks me is that college football once again is surrendering to a pro sport. Because of the baseball playoffs (I assume, and you know what happens when we assume), the Saturday night football schedule is a dud. There are only five Power 5 games that start after 7:30 p.m. (Although GameDay will be at Washington State — which plays Oregon at 7:30 p.m. — for the first time ever. What’s up, Wazzu? It’s 6 a.m. and it’s time for Kirk, Rece and the juice.) Eh, we’ll make the best of it. It’s not a great schedule Saturday and I think it should be a law that Robbie and I get to pick the games on the off weeks. By the way, a programming note — podcast Tuesday at Gatorsports.com, but no pre-cast or Facebook Live with no opponent.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Michael Bonnette, the sports information director at LSU — “Been saving this all week in hopes of being able to use it. Former @LSUfootball assistant coaches who come back to Tiger Stadium as opposing head coaches are now 0-10. Smart 0-1, Dooley 0-3, Muschamp 0-2, D.Dickey 0-2, Peveto 0-1, Mack Brown 0-1.” That’s Derek Dooley, not Pat. My record is much better.

18. So that’s it, after three of four weekends on the road. We’re done with flying for another football season. Amazingly, we went 12 for 12 as far as no flights delays even with some tight connections and 6 for 6 on bags. I think I may have jinxed us. Try this playlist:

• “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Grace Potter.

• “Ring Tang Ring Toon” by Mountain Men.

• “Mansion Door” by Shakey Graves.

• “Beyond” by Leon Bridges.

• And for an old one, “Never Be The Same” by perhaps the greatest two-album wonder of all time Christopher Cross.

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

92 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t deny that the Gators need to clean some things up, but UF is always at or near the top of the SEC in penalty yardage, has been for a generation, no matter who the coach is. It’s the “good ole boy” network imo.

  2. It now comes down to a week off and then a HUGE game in Jacksonville (The inflamed boil on the ass of the world. If Jacksonville didn’t have Florida Georgia every year, what would they have?) Florida has set itself up for the SEC East race. As I’ve been reminded, Kentucky holds its own destiny, but they’re Kentucky. They’ll be sure to lose to Georgia, Tennessee, Vandy, or Missouri, or all of them for that matter. They’re still Kentucky.
    When I called this season back in August, I called losses to Kentucky, Mississippi State, and Georgia. Only called the Kentucky loss because o f law of averages. State because I felt Florida would go on the road and get pushed around by physically superior lines, and Georgia because their program looked to be a cut above and near the strength of Alabama. But now, Georgia looks beatable, and any game is winnable, if the ball bounces correctly.
    So let’s all take a week off. Let’s relax, have some fun, get in some family time and enjoy the little things in life. Next week, it’s going to be time for the Football Program at Florida to step up to a defining moment with its new Regime. There’s something on the horizon coming this way.

  3. Grump, last time I looked, Jax has the Jags, UNF has gotten into the NCAA tourney and their baseball team is competitive, and speaking of baseball, UF meets FSU in Jax in the Sunshine State Baseball Series, you’ve got the JU Dolphins, and speaking of fish, there’s great fishing all around Jacksonville, and you can boat to the Landing or hang at Jax Beach. Several decent concert venues add to leisure time fun, and of course all the touristy things Florida in general has to offer. But I will give you this: Of all the things there are to do in Jacksonville, the Cocktail Party tops’em all! Go Gators!

    • Phil. You also have the heavy humidity draining the energy and life out of human beings, the extreme and sweltering heat sitting on top of the city (often with no wind to provide some relief), horrible traffic turning many humans into crazy acting people in cars and trucks (with many of those trucks having shotguns and fast repeating rifles hanging in rifle racks in back windows), lots of fat and happy bugs (due to the humidity and heat) bugging the hell out of and eating on human beings, a lot of fat and unhappy redneck human beings picking their noses and scratching their behinds in public (and not just at the Wal Marts on every corner of the city), a lot of violent crime in run-down neighborhoods spilling over into other neighborhoods, and hospitals filled with people shot up by guns and with needles. But Jacksonville is beautiful and inviting place as seen from and in the Goodyear Blimp on the last Saturday in October every year. And not a bad place to visit once a year if college educated human beings stay in only certain areas of the city. And for the record, I have been to every major city in this country with the exception of Portland and San Diego. And I must say, Jacksonville ranks at the bottom of the list of favorite cities I have visited. And Jacksonville is on that list only because I have to go there to see my Gators play Georgia most years. But on the positive side, St. Augustine and beaches south are not a far drive from Jacksonville.

      • ” And for the record, I have been to every major city in this country with the exception of Portland and San Diego……..”
        Thanks for reminding us that you are such a well traveled, learned, knowledgeable and cosmopolitan metro sexual individual. I agree you must be wary of those gun toting, bible thumping, pick up truck driving hicks. But to give them some slack you must realize with your high intelligence that these poor saps have never come across such a superior person as yourself and they probably don’t know how to react or behave in your presence so they revert to their savage ways. Hopefully you will be able to stay in those certain areas of the city frequented by well behaved, college educated human beings and not have to take the sights from the blimp.

      • TampaGator or whoever you are, that was certainly a mean post about one of my favorite cities in the south. Were you being serious. If you were then it sure doesn’t say much about you. I just read the comments here but you should be ashame of yourself. It is one thing to act so better than others when you comment but to insult all those people for doing nothing wrong except for not being as well off or as smart as you or even the same color as you sure makes you seem really small.

        • yaddigator. Never have acted like I was better than anyone else on here. I just post my opinions. CO and Gator 6 read that into my post. Not true. But I do not like the city of Jacksonville. Never said I do not like the people of Jacksonville, I have had some bad experiences with some redneck types there. That’s all. And that is my reality. Did not and have never said it is anyone else’s reality. But read into my posts whatever you desire. Does not mean that was my intent or meaning. And I was responding the Grumpy and another guy who started all the Jacksonville stuff. But it is curious that CO and Gator 6 never went after them. Just me. Wonder why? Think about that.

          • Well since you were serious lets deal with the garbage you wrote! The humidity in Jax is the same as anywhere else in the state including gainesville. It is illegal to drive around with guns in the rear window and you havent seen that anywhere in Jax since the 70’s. Anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows that a huge body of flowing water(St Johns river) creates a large differential in temperature in the air above it. When warm and cool air meet you get wind. So actually there is substantial amount of wind around Jax. Its also interesting that if its such a bad place why do so many pro athletes stay in Jax when they retire and make it their home? Lastly jax has done a terrific job in timing all their lights on their boulevards so traffic flows very well all around their city! Furthermore the population is well above average in college graduates and the only native rednecks live in the fairly sparsely populated north Jax area. They have an urban core north and west of the downtown that is the home of the poor and welfare recipients that is drug and violence ridden but that is true of every major city. The burbs are filled with well educated professionals. If youre going to rant at least do so truthfully instead of fake claims!

          • Daz. Do you hunt much? I do during the hunting season. My buddies and I carry our shotguns in racks to North Florida to hunt deer. Here is the actual concealed carry laws for the state of Florida, which includes Jacksonville as a city in the state:

            “It is legal to carry a gun in a car in Florida provided it is in plain sight, which means not concealed. … You can also carry a gun in the back rack of a truck. Rifles and shotguns can be carried in the interior space of a car or truck when in plain view.”

            Do you remember that Toney was stopped by the police in Gainesville recently and they found an AR-15 type gun in the back seat of the car he was in. He was initially handcuffed for having the gun. But when another officer showed up, he explained to the officer who stopped Toney and his friend that it was legal for him to have the gun in his back seat as long as it was fully exposed and not concealed (without a license) and not loaded. He walked as a result. Sorry, Daz, but you are wrong about gun racks not being allowed in Florida. Happens all the time statewide.

            And, as I clearly stated, Jacksonville is the hottest and my least most desirable city to visit, ever. Just my personal perspective. I have no issue with you and others loving the hell out of that city. I stay out of it except for two days every year in October. I love the Tampa and Clearwater areas. Some people hate Tampa and Clearwater. I have no issue with them. Sorry so many of you have such an issue with me not liking Jacksonville at all. But I am sure there are lots and lots of wonderful and highly educated people living in and all around Jacksonville. But like the crazy confederate, gun carrying redneck my fiends and I scarily encounter there, there are other types as well. Fortunately for me, I have not experienced anyone as scary as that dude that day anywhere else I have ever been. But not saying I will not one day, even here in the Tampa Bay area. NOW BACK TO FOOTBALL.

          • Sorry, I typed shotguns to N. Florida to hunt deer. Meant “our rifles”. We use shotguns to sometimes hunt wild boar.

      • “For the record”? Name one person who is keeping a record of every major city you have visited, beside yourself.

        Reluctant as I am to comment, especially on the heels of CO since you will no doubt read a conspiracy into it, let me just state the obvious: That was the most arrogant post I’ve ever read on here, lectures and corrections notwithstanding. Please stick to football and leave social commentary and travel guides alone.

          • Got a good one, Gator 6. Do not need to get another one. But maybe, as you have suggested, just read other posts and temper your emotions as a result. Freedom of thought. Freedom of action. You know, the freedoms you brag so much about protecting during your military service and have demeaned others about for not being able to do, as though you are somehow more superior for being in the military. I really didn’t just go there, did I? No, I didn’t. Yes, I did.

        • For the record Gator-6 and CO Jones, I worked most of my life for a major corporation (as a result of my college educations and degrees) that did business on a worldwide basis, and I was responsible to national marketing programs that took me all over this country. It was that fortune of business travel that allowed me to make the comparison of most major American cities to Jacksonville. Never was intended to reflect a superior nature in relationship to others, but I have no doubt that those of maybe less self esteem might take it that way. And for the record, the Dallas area and San Antonio are two of my most favorite cities that I have visited on business and for pleasure. And, again, if the two of you do not like, agree, or appreciate my posts on here, just ignore them (which neither of you seem to do). And I did not start the discussion about Jacksonville, so get over it and reply to someone else.

          • Your college “educations” and responsible “to” national marketing programs.
            Mr wannabe professor what is wrong with these?
            Those of us with lesser self esteem want to know why you keep making these mistakes you infallible one. Maybe you need more college educations?

          • For the record Gator 6 has never demeaned others about lack of military service or acted as if he was superior to anyone else here.
            Nor has he bragged about anything.
            This is the classic psychological definition of projecting.

          • CO Jones. He did me on here, challenging me about my lack of military service while promoting his. So, respectfully, you are wrong. But you earn the internet medal of honor for coming to his defense against the “enemy” without regard for oneself.

          • And CO. A college degree does not make you a good typist (especially as you get older). But you are welcome to continue to proofread my posts. That does not require a college degree.

      • TampaGator. That’s rich, a guy from Tampa complaining about traffic. I find your football posts insightful; your social commentary leaves something to be desired. Perhaps this is a poser from Tallahassee and not the real TampaGator. I hope so.

        • PVB. I have no issues traveling in and around Tampa. Used to, but the interstate system has been redesigned and is much better now. Always got into traffic issues in Jacksonville during business or pleasure trips. Maybe it is a lot better now. But not on Georgia-Florida weekend for sure. Just my reality. Also encountered more road rage in Jacksonville, too, (second to only Miami). Just my reality. Also saw a lot of trucks with gun racks in the back windows, more than any city I have been to. My reality. Also ran into more redneck types in Jacksonville than any other big city I have ever been to in my life. My reality. Also experienced more sweltering heat and oppressive humidity in Jacksonville than any other city. My reality. Someone else’s reality might be completely different. But mine in mine. Jacksonville is not a desired place for me other than just a couple of days each year. My reality. Now, St. Augustine and beaches south of Jacksonville, yet another story.

          • Those scary pick up trucks with gun racks driven by menacing rednecks with no patience or understanding for cosmopolitan metro sexuals can really put a damper on your stay in Jax.

          • CO Jones. And one was for me and my friends, and it was truly a very scary experience in Jacksonville on our way to a Georgia-Florida game. But I am sure people have similar experiences to tell and recall from almost anywhere at one time or another. My worse reality with one certain pick-up truck with guns in the window, a confederate flag waving from the rear, and a “anti-Yankee” bumper sticker, however, was in Jacksonville. And it will forever be etched in my mind’s memory. Unpleasantly recalled even now.

      • Tampa…I like to think of a college degree as more of a passport than a flag to be waived. As a travelling man you’d think you would have discovered: When you get down to it, with a few exceptions, people have a lot more in common than differences when you peel away the wrappings. Or like the Firesign Theatre put it: “We’re all Bozos on this bus.”

        • I am not and have never been a “bonzo”. But I sure have encountered a bunch on bonzos not on buses. But none in a theater that was a non-movie theater, however. Mostly educated people in those. And again. I was not waving my degree banner or some ego flag. But you are welcome to join a couple of others in that opinion. Does not make it fact. I just do not like the city of Jacksonville much. It sucks, actually, except for a couple of days each year. Just my opinion. Does not make it a fact.

          • Tampa… Bozo was a famous American clown. Firesign Theatre was a comedy troup with an existential absurdist flare. Roughly translated. “We’re all Bozos (we all do dumb things) on this bus (crowded planet)”…i.e. We shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously (importantly). The way you used the term “redneck”…”picking noses’. etc. …kind ‘a has polarizing kick to it. Don’t you think? And, forgive my saying so; you do mention your degree fairly often…once probably being one time too many. You have a lot of good stuff to say, but sometimes what you say sounds stuffy.
            Grumpy’s comments are so outrageous that they’re funny. Not meant to be taken too seriously.

          • Sir, I responded in a positive way to Grumpy…..”did you take a sugar pill”. And Grumpy was the one who jumped all over Jacksonville first, and someone else came to the city’s defense and I responded half jokingly and then CO Jones and Gator 6 came on with their personal attacks. Nothing said at all to Grumpy. And I have mentioned several times on here that I am a proud UF grad, one time mentioning that my bachelor’s degree was in journalism from UF when someone was attacking one of the sports writers on here and I defended the sports writer based on my journalistic training….and Gator 6 and CO made a big issue about that even. But I have never neither bragged about it, nor have I talked down towards anyone who may not have a degree from UF (other than taking pot shots at FSU education jokingly). But feel free to pile on with CO and 6. But you are wrong, as they are. And while you do your lecturing to me, you post as though I do not have a clue as to what/who “Bonzo” originally was and how it is used in conversation today. How “stuffy” of you. When one calls someone a “Bonzo”, one is generally referencing them to be clown-like and stupid acting. So I repeat, I am not and never have been a “Bonzo” And a redneck is a redneck. It is someone who is generally lacking in educational background and tends to be overly reactionary concerning past southern culture. Some rednecks are nice people regardless of this bias. Many are not. My reality view of rednecks. I had a horrible experience with one of those really bad rednecks in Jacksonville, and the background for my post. Again, does not make it a fact about ALL people in Jacksonville. Just my reality from one experience in Jacksonville. And I am entitled to that…..as you are entitled to think of me as a “Bonzo”…..as you seem to think everyone can be. I prefer to see most people as much better than that, and I do not mind calling people out occasionally when they are not and are much, much less (especially on here). Like internet trolls. They do not measure up to even Bonzo the Clown status. But thanks for the lecture on my stuffiness. But I do understand that respect for intelligence and proper language has gone out with the bathwater with a certain group of people these days. I am not in that group and never want to be. And tell CO and Gator 6 good night for me. And since you seemingly have such a high opinion of them and not much of me, why don’t you join your two friends in either constantly attacking me personally on here, or just ignore my posts on here. The second would be appreciated. Thank you.

      • Sounds like someone only comes to Jacksonville for FL-GA. 🙂 My hometown has its shortcomings just like any other city. Born and raised here and will probably never leave. I enjoy visiting Tampa as well. I wish we had Tampa’s downtown, that is for sure. Tampa has its shortcomings as well but nothing that I would waste a bunch of time posting about here.

  4. I’m glad Pat that we’ve done so far at “VILLES” this year so far. But, we all know that the most important “VILLE” is Jacksonville….. We gotta BEAT Those Mutts, Tick Magnets, Leg Humpers In JVILLE and show them who owns JVILLE. WORK EM SILLY GATORS!!!

    • Could be Phil Driscoll as he is a Jacksonville native, and as a lifelong fringe resident, I have to admit that yes, at one time duval was a dirty, stinking, city made up of mostly paper and coffee mills. But that was then and this is now, city leaders have done a good job of cleaning the town up, containing the “mean streets” to certain well publicized areas and put a new face on things with the revitalized historic downtown and riverwalk areas. Most of the college educated ” upper crust ” live in all the huge, overpriced subdivisions on the outskirts of the city proper. Seems that folks from other Florida cities have always been jealous of us because we got the Jags AND Lynard Skynard ! BAM ! BTW Tampa, I apologize about the truck /gun / road rage thing a few years back, me , Cuz n Bubba was just funning you.

      • BCGator. Plenty of people view Tampa in a negative way as I do Jacksonville. We all have our biased or slanted opinions based on personal experiences. My view of Jacksonville does not mean Jacksonville is my view. Just my view. Glad other people love it or it would just go away (which it might if sea levels continue to rise).

  5. Hey Phil you forgot the TPC one of the greatest sporting events. Jacksonville also has some very very good golf courses. The Old Gator Bowl and the stink are gone. Jacksonville matters!
    Gators going to shock da world!

  6. Good time for us to recruit some big time players. Coach Mullen has proved he can take a losing team and turn them around to winners. We are already bowl eligible. I think he going to have the Gators ready to play next week against the Dawgs. This team can play toe to toe with anybody. I’m going to save my prediction till next week. Can’t hardly wait. Good Day……………….

    • Ricky, I am starting out with Georgia 34, Florida 24 because I do not believe right now that Florida will be able to match up well on the front seven (and particularly at LB) to be able to stop the Georgia running backs from controlling the clock and breaking multiple explosive runs, including at least two for long TD runs. My prediction may change some by next week, but I think Georgia will pull this one out for the reason above and because they will be highly motivated by their loss to LSU and will get back multiple defensive linemen that missed the LSU game. And I also think the Georgia OC and Fromm will repeatedly go after the inconsistent play of Dean and McWilliams at corner with some of their very fast WRs (and they have two that can flat out fly). The Gators will have to get the game of the year from their front seven against the run and play really good zone coverage in the secondary (something LSU did extremely well vs. Georgia), something they have not done all year well and something Grantham does not like to do. I am simply not comfortable right now with certain match ups on defense vs. Georgia’s offense right now. And lord forbid Franks throws INT and the Gators fumble the ball away at all during the game. But after posting all of that, I realize I need to ask Grump for a sugar pill.

      • The weak link of Georgia’s team is the O-line. I think our D-line should be able to dominate them even worse than LSU did. Fromm needs time to exploit the secondary and as we all saw against LSU, he falls apart when he doesn’t have time. If the same D-line and same Vosean Joseph show up that faced LSU, then it will result in a win.

        • Joe. I hope you meant “more” than LSU did, not “worse” than LSU did. And LSU ran the ball well on Florida and had two very explosive runs during the game. Florida cannot beat Georgia if they are able to run the ball and make explosive wins. Will not happen. And I think Georgia will come out and pound the ball up the middle on Florida and make use of Fields to exploit the edges as well. But I am sure Florida’s coaches are aware of that and will work the next two weeks to put together a plan to stop it. With these coaches, I have full confidence they will put together a good plan on both sides of the ball and be able to react in-game to adjustments Smart and Georgia make during the game as well. But stopping the run (like LSU did) will be the key to the game for Florida. And for Georgia, too. Georgia has to force Florida and Franks into a lot of 2nd and 3rd and longs, then putting pressure on Franks on those downs and forcing him to make bad decisions resulting in bad plays and turnovers. Will be an interesting chess match to watch (and I hope this post does not make anyone feel inferior to me. If so, was not my intent, CO and 6).

          • Was the grammar correction necessary? I’m pretty sure you knew what I meant. Last I checked we weren’t getting graded for our comments. That’s the type of thing that rubs people the wrong way. Maybe if you step off the high horse and not be so quick to correct stupid stuff like that, then you won’t have to put disclaimers at the end of your comment. Actually LSU didn’t run the ball well against us at all. With the exception of those 2 explosive runs that accounted for 78 yards, they only rushed for 102 yards on 39 carries. That’s a 2.6 yard per carry average. The attacking style defense of Grantham is going to give up an explosive play or 2 a game, they just need to keep them at a minimum.

          • You really don’t get it, do you? Sad.

            Before you hastily respond, I have a suggestion for you. Become a member of the forum, and one of the benefits you will enjoy is the ability to private message other members back and forth. That way you can say anything you desire, off the forum and without distracting others, and be done with it. I’m sure others would appreciate it, even if they are less educated, less worldly, and less well off than you.

          • Never have done any of that one here. You have, however, as you have personally insulted me with harsh language repeatedly, challenged my patriotic beliefs, my military service compared to yours, and continue to attack and challenge me on here. And you want me to carry on a personal conversation with you in private. LOL.

          • Joe. It was worse of me to correct your misuse of a word. I apologize. But no ill will was intended. I can assure you of that part. And sacks pull from rushing yards in a college game. The LSU running backs had over 200 yards of rushing in the game, I believe. But the LSU QB was sacked five times for big losses during the game, which reduced their rushing total and average per rush. I was at the game, and LSU ran the ball well inside on Florida. They did not pass it well, however, mainly because of the intense pressure the Florida DL put on Burrow, including the sacks and hits during the game. And glad to be given the opportunity to post about football again. Have a nice day, sir.

          • Apology accepted. Counting the 28 yards taken away by sacks, they rushed for 208 yards on 41 carries. Take the 2 rushes for 78 yards away and they rushed 39 times for 130 yds and a 3.3 yards per carry average. Still not that great by LSU standards. I know full well they need to stop the run, but if they play like they did against LSU, minus the two explosive runs, then they should be fine. Burrow would’ve accounted for 50 rushing yards in that game without the sacks. Safe to say Fromm won’t be doing that and the defense will be well aware of the running abilities of Fields when he’s in the game. I’m more worried about the secondary being exposed, so hopefully the d-line can help them out.

          • Thanks, Joe. Nice to carry on a good and insightful football conversation with someone. Clyde is a good one, too, for that. Sorry for the bad start. Only human. Go Gators.

          • As I stated in another comment, this is the problem with the 3-4 defense, it gives up big plays especially if you do alot of blitzing from it. It has been a problem all season, in all the games that have counted ; a few big runs that turn the momentum. Give me a 4-3 any day!

        • Joe…we are usually on the same page but I view GA’s oline as a strength and that’s what worries me in this game. Have they seem ends like ours…no, so that’s a huge matchup. Agree with our defensive backs having to step it up….and stopping Nauta over the middle. David Reese…we need a monster game from him as well…JMO

          • I’m on the same page as you, Smith, with the same concerns plus a differential in QB play. But I think — or at least hope — that this is where our improvement in S&C bears fruit. We do need our A+ game all around, but I still don’t think it quite measures up to David and Goliath.

            I’ve lately been against calling pin-point scores, more favoring margins of victory as the season has matured — but I’ll be damned if I didn’t call this one Florida 23-20 or 25-23 back in the late summer.
            I may well be a suck egg mule before it’s all over, but I still see the Gators winning a close game against Georgia.

      • Tampa Gator. Well we wasn’t suppose to beat Miss St. or LSU but we did find a way to win. Still going to wait till next week for my prediction. You gave me something to think about though. By the the way, everybody has the right to post their opinion on what ever. I am glad the fuss is over with. Good Day……………..

        • True of LSU, but NOT MSU. We most definitely were supposed to beat them. They had played 3 scrubs and won, and lost to UK. It was clear we were going to beat them to anyone who bothered to examine their record; they had absolutely no reason to be ranked then. I told everyone on here and bet the house and made $2k on that game and I dont gamble, i only bet! The reason they struggled at all in that game was due to a defense that didnt buckle down till the 2nd half and a game plan of alot of screen passes that dont fit well for Franks strengths, but that were designed to negate their pass rush. The outcome was, to me , never in doubt! They had the same defensive problem against Vandy, another game I had no doubt they’d win, and picked up a grand.
          Now about UF-Ga, haven’t got a clue and anyone who says they do is just guessing. Ga just got exposed and you never know what team is going to show up for Florida, especially the defense. They seem to be slow starters which wont work against Ga.

    • I’m not sure where I’m gonna end up in my prediction but I’ll say this…. the Gators front 7 on defense better be ready for the UGA running game. Holyfield is a punishing runner who does not give up on plays. All it takes is one missed assignment and he’s gone for a TD. Swift is a very skilled runner as well. I also expect their plan will be for Fromm to try and exploit any secondary weaknesses we have (here’s looking at you Mr. Dean… Mr McWilliams). In addition I think we may see a lot more from Justin Fields. Fromm is not going to hurt you with his legs and if we get good pressure up front, I can see Fields coming in to neutralize that a bit…maybe a lot.

      I actually feel better about our offense’s chances against UGA. Again, it is critical for the OL to continue to show improvement and give Franks time to wind up and throw.

      I see a physical game, I see a lot of coaching and scheming and intellectual football going on, I see special teams being a BIG part of this game. I’m still pondering my prediction….

  7. “One reason I thought Florida would have a shot at a good season this year was the schedule, because the Gators only had to go on the road three times in conference play and two of them were to teams that weren’t expected to be very good.”

    Pat, after the loss to Kentucky you had Florida going 0-8 in conference. Talk about selective memory.

    • What Pat Dooley actually wrote:

      “It’s easy to accept your fate. It’s difficult to reject it and make your own paths. It’s time. Time to become who you can be instead of who you think you are. It can start Saturday against a Colorado State team with one more SEC win than Florida so far this year. We just saw a Kentucky football team come to Gainesville with a reputation for taking baby steps suddenly take a triple jump leap in one night. It can happen. Wanting it to happen is different from making it happen. Or you can just hope you win enough games to get some bowl swag.”

      –Pat Dooley in an article after the Kentucky game.

      Well, Florida took a triple jump this season as Dooley encouraged them to do, instead of jumping off the edge as many fans were doing after the game (I might have been on the edge as well. I do not remember).

  8. Big Kerwin bell fan here. I have no idea why champ for example didn’t give him a shot. But champ is a nice man who’s judgement and mine aren’t exactly the same. For that matter but I don’t see why the Gators never hired CDM ten years ago and never got why chip Kelly was preferred by the athletic department over CDM either.

    • Mveal. Kelly was not preferred by Stricklin over Mullen. He never was. And Stricklin was featured in an article that clearly showed that preference for Mullen from the get go, but his initial hesitance to pursue Mullen was because of Stricklin’s connections and previous loyalties to Mississippi State. Stricklin always preferred to hire Mullen as the head coach. Not sure why so many people ignore that fact. Muschamp did not go after Bell because Bell runs a wide-open, spread, and hurry up offense that is not defense friendly. No way Muschamp would have hired Bell during his tenure. And McElwain was, for some strange reason, totally enamored with the slowed-down, non-aggressive, and “pro-style” offense that Doug Nussmeier ran, of which descriptions about Bell’s offense do not come close in description. And there has to be a good reason by Kerwin has never been offered a head coaching position at a place like Troy even, or even an Oregon State. Or even Vandy. Strange to me. Maybe has been approached and prefers the small school situation. Nothing wrong with that.

    • Mveal — I’ve often wondered the same about Kerwin Bell. If diversity of experience is one of the things you look for, look no further…..from Spurrier to the CFL, he’s been around the horn a few times to include a winning record where ever he has landed. Though it’s hard to believe since his time as a Gator seems like yesterday, he’s got to be in his mid-fifties by now and it’s not likely he’ll move up soon. Guess he’s made a comfortable bed at the level he’s at, but even so I’d bet he’d be a winner as a Power-5 or GOG offensive coordinator — if he’d take the job.

  9. make your plans to benz stadium boys…. you folks wanted to be back??? , well, we ARE BACK. Forget UGA O-line, D-line. They were exposed in the bayou. We are about to expose them again. Last time in JAX was such a fluke. I am already looking ahead. Bama looks unbeatable, but who knows? Have they faced a defense like ours yet? Not sure if we are a playoff team right now…. but we are knocking… on … the … door….

  10. Gators 31 Poodles 24 Mullen before the game brings in a Real live alligator and takes him out to midfield to greet Kirby. As the team enters the field Mullen rides out on the Alligator. Gets the team and Gator fans jacked up; Felipe hits Grimes for a 47 yard touchdown. With 1:52 left in the game Dr. Grantham dials up a corner blitz and seals the deal.

    • Eric. I like Jacksonville when I am inside the football stadium just fine. Or tailgating outside before. Otherwise, I leave my a… out of that city as you desire. Abd if I had my way, the Georgia vs. Florida game would become a home and home series in Athens and Gainesville every year. Playing the game in Jacksonville only helps Georgia recruit that area. But Jacksonville might disappear off the map without the game being played there. It would for me. Sorry. Not my kind of town. I am sure New York City is some folks “not my kind of town”. Probably many that live in Jacksonville think that way.

        • daz. Did you go to the series where Florida went to Athens and Georgia came to The Swamp the following year when they were remodeling the Jacksonville stadium? Both blow outs of Georgia by our Gators. I truly enjoyed going up to Atlanta and Athens for that first game (and the outcome better). And I loved seeing Georgia get demolished in front of 90,000 screaming Gators in The Swamp. I would love that new tradition much better than going to Jacksonville once a year at the game being 50/50 and giving Georgia such an in to recruit the Jacksonville area. I would even prefer it being in Jacksonville one year and in Atlanta the following year over it being in Jacksonville every year. Sorry.

  11. Have always enjoyed your back-nine column, I have a little radio show over here in St. Augustine, Have used a few off your playlist in the past, (always giving you proper credit of course) any hoo…. The Mountian Men will be played tomorrow night. 88.5 WFCF Flagler College radio we are an IHeart station. 9pm till whenever.

  12. To echo some of the things I commented on in a previous article, I just don’t get the delusion behind some of the statements I see in these articles. It’s “evident” that this team is better coached than it has been in years. Yet they are 116th in penalties. I just don’t get it. What I see on the field is a slight improvement on offense but I think most of that is that we have a veteran offensive line, the best stable of running backs we’ve had in recent memory, and two top notch receivers that transferred in. The defense seems stout as it has been in previous years also. Mullen is doing a good job. Yet when you look at facts, no better of a job than McElwain was doing at this point in his first year. So I just don’t understand statements like that. They aren’t supported by the facts. It’s just feelings and emotions that drive statements like that. In another previous article it was said that this comeback at vandy would have been highly unlikely under the previous “regime”. Yet right off the top of my head I remember a 4th qtr comeback from 2 scores down against Kentucky last year and a comeback from 2 scores down with 9 minutes to go against Tennessee. These statements are simply based on the current emotions about this season and not backed up by facts. I think Mullen is a solid coach and hope he does well but the comparison of where he is at half way through his first season to where McElwain was half way through his does not show this “obvious” improvement in coaching that so many people are claiming.

    • And save me the comments about how McElwains team got worse as the season went on because we don’t know that this team won’t do the same. Which is my point to begin with. Nobody knows yet whether Mullen is going to be better than McElwain because the opinions being thrown out there are based on a very small sample of data. This same amount of data indicated Mac was going to be great too. Would it be shocking if Florida list to Georgia? South Carolina? Even FSU? If you can be down 18 to vandy and need a 4th qtr comeback to win that game, I promise you that you can lose to Georgia, South Carolina, etc. Let’s just cool our heels about how much better a coach Mullen is than McElwain until we actually see how things play out.

      • LT…The play calling is sooooo much better under Mullen. And he’s getting the best out of his players. You can’t see that? And his assistant coaches are teaching technique. None of which was evident under Mac. Often it was embarrassing to watch. Now it’s fun again because UF has quality coaching.

      • LT here’s some facts for you. Mac’s offense was never higher then the 100s in total offense at any point in his tenure. Right now they’re at 66 and climbing each week. If you told any Gator fan when Mullen was hired that he’d have the offense at 66 by week 7, they’d find that really hard to believe. That’s way more than a slight improvement. Being well coached means more than just focusing on penalties. How’s the team looking in the second half compared to the last 3 years? Having them in far better shape and playing harder than their opponents at that point in the game is better coaching is it not? Do you really believe over 30 injuries the last 2 seasons was just bad luck? Mac certainly wasn’t planning on changing the S&C program any time soon. He also had Grier his first season making him look much better than he was. Grier still only had 10 TDs through 6 games while Franks had 13. Do you honestly believe Mullen wouldn’t have gotten more out of Grier? In 3 seasons combined Mac only beat 3 top 25 teams. Mullen has beaten 2 in 7 games. How many times did you see Mac run the same 4 or 5 plays and you predicted what was going to be called every time? Is Mullen’s offense that predictable? What about special teams compared to the last 3 years? I mean if you can’t see the “obvious” difference in coaching abilities, then your football knowledge is clearly lacking.

        • Joe, if you want to compare Grier to Franks, you need to compare him to Franks last season to get an “apples to apples” comparison. Although Grier appeared in 6 games, he effectively played 5 full games, since Harris was given extensive time in the first 2 games. Grier was a redshirt freshman in ’15, was learning a new offense, and had never played a down in college, just like Franks last season. Therefore, Grier’s 1,200 yards, 10 TD’s, and 3 picks in essentially 5 games is significantly better than Franks’ 1,438 yards, 9 TD’s, and 8 picks in 11 appearances under the same coaching staff. It is true, however, that Franks didn’t have Antonio Calloway as a weapon. I won’t argue that Franks is making good progress this season, and that can certainly be attributed to coaching, but the fact that he already had a full season of experience under his belt, regardless of coaching, makes it unfair to compare Franks’ stats from this season to Grier’s first season.

          • Did you read LT’s comment that I was responding to? He said, “I think Mullen is a solid coach and hope he does well but the comparison of where he is at half way through his first season to where McElwain was half way through his does not show this “obvious” improvement in coaching that so many people are claiming”. So the comparison of Franks and Grier that I made is warranted. Let’s not forget, Franks had to learn a completely new offense that is about as different from Mac’s as you can get, so he was basically starting new. Grier was a much more polished QB coming out of HS than Franks was, so the crappy experience Franks got last season, didn’t really give him much of an edge. The fact that Mac was flip flopping QBs his first season is just further proof to LT that Mullen is a far better coach. Safe to say he would’ve realized long before Mac did that Harris was an incompetent QB. Just seeing the difference in Franks from last season to this season is even more proof that Mullen is “obviously” a better coach.

          • Yes, I read the comment, and I agree that Franks has progressed under Mullen. I’m sure you’re also right about Grier being more polished out of high school. Where I disagree is that I think Mac knew earlier that Grier was the guy, but may have felt he had to give Harris a more than fair chance to prove himself in the games where the fans could see. Otherwise, Mac would’ve faced the same criticism Muschamp did for the perception that he didn’t give Jacoby Brissett a fair shake.

            I do think Mullen’s experience at MSU makes him much more aware of what it takes to run a program in the SEC as opposed to just being a successful OC in the conference. Regarding Franks’ improvement, though, with Mac fired after 7 games last season, we’ll never know for sure if he could’ve brought about any significant improvement if he’d had the opportunity to coach Franks throughout the remainder of the season and spring and fall practice this season.

  13. LT. How is it currently playing out over there in Tallyland? Gator Nation already knows how it is playing out in Gainesville. And we are more than pleased with that play. And McElwain played out as a horrible Power 5 head football coach with horrible organizational and leadership skills. And he had no clue how bad his OC was either. Actually, the last point says it all about McElwain.

  14. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he just bought me lunch since I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch! “Too much sanity may be madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be” by Miguel de Cervantes.