Enjoy Gators at 4-0
Published: Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 5:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 5:41 p.m.
I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking this won't cut it in two weeks.
You're thinking that if Kentucky had a quarterback who could throw, that game might have been competitive.
You're thinking the Wildcats had too many receivers running open and had some success running the ball, and that in two weeks Florida will be facing a whole different class of athletes.
You're thinking that if Florida had been playing LSU on Saturday, it would have been a rough day for the Gators.
And here's what I will tell you.
Quit worrying so much.
Florida wasn't playing LSU on Saturday. It was playing a team that lost to Western Kentucky the week before. It was playing a team that it has now defeated 26 times in a row.
And Florida looked like a team that was playing Kentucky.
Ragged at times, uneven early.
No, what we saw Saturday in The Swamp won't cut it in two weeks.
But don't worry about it right now.
Enjoy being 4-0. Enjoy that your team has a big game in two weeks. Mainly, just enjoy the open date.
It'll be big-boy football in two weeks.
Because while there is no question that this 4-0 is better than last year's 4-0, October looks just as brutal.
“Last October was rough,” said Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel. “We don't like to talk about it too much around here. We feel like this year we can close out this year.
“We're not done yet.”
The biggest difference in this team and last October is that the Gators had to play Driskel and Jacoby Brissett last year. This year, they're playing Driskel because they want to. He may still be young and inexperienced, but compared to where he was last year, he's like a fifth-year senior.
He's navigated this team to this point. But it's just the first third of the story.
September for this team was a lot like the first round of a major. You can't win The Masters on Thursday, but you can lose it. This team needed to win September to have a shot at a successful season.
And they did.
So now it gets really interesting. I'm not taking anything away from the wins at Texas A&M or Tennessee. But half of Florida's remaining games are against teams that entered Saturday ranked in the top 10.
But don't fret about the schedule.
Open week is here. Reflect and relax.
Unlike your coach.
“I have a list of things we're going to work on,” Will Muschamp said.
Because he knows that what was good enough to win in College Station and Knoxville may not be good enough to win in two weeks. Certainly, what we saw Saturday wasn't.
“We've got some things to clean up,” Muschamp said.
I've got a list, too. Mine includes guitar lessons, a new recipe for grilling salmon and finding time to hit range balls. The off week is a lot easier for the guys covering the team than the guys coaching it.
There are things that are obvious for Muschamp and his staff to work on. One of them is the punt returner's inability to catch short punts or break long ones. Kentucky put pressure on Driskel without NFL linemen. And can someone please explain how the Gators can be flagged for 24 penalties in the first halves of games and only eight in the second?
Mostly, Florida needs to get healthier. There are players playing hurt and there are players not playing hurt. They need Trey Burton back and Chaz Green back and Dominique Easley back.
So the off week does come at a good time, even if it's a bit earlier than normal.
“I'll tell you (if I like it) after the LSU game,” Muschamp said.
The LSU game is here. But not this week. This week, try to enjoy what your team has been able to do. Don't worry so much.
There will be plenty of time for that next week.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.
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