The High Five

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We’re starting a new feature every Sunday here at Gatorsports.com that will continue throughout college football season. Hopefully, the initial offering is better than Mike Pouncey’s snaps on Saturday. (Read my Back Nine this week for my take on Steve Addazio). This feature will include the five things that caught my eye from a Saturday filled with college football.

1. The most impressive performance of the weekend has to go to the man or woman who wears the Oregon Duck costume. The Quackers put up 72 on Mike Locksley’s New Mexico team. That meant Ducky had to do 506 push-ups since the mascot does one for every point every time the scoreboard changes. I have to think this game does not bode well for Locksley’s future at New Mexico. He’s had all kinds of problems off the field and Oregon could have scored 100 points Saturday, getting only six points from four trips inside the 15 and taking a knee at the end of the game at the Lobos’ 4-yard line.

2. It wasn’t a great weekend for the SEC. Not only was Florida’s offense a national embarrassment (per my Twitter page) but the Ole Miss loss to Jacksonville State was a big blow to the conference’s image. Also, LSU suffered a “moral loss” by almost allowing North Carolina to pull off the upset. LSU was shut out in the second half by a defense that had seven suspended starters and Carolina had 410 passing yards against a defense that is supposed to be strong in the back seven. But back to the Rebels, was it karma for Houston Nutt for taking Jeremiah Masoli? “Without a doubt, it’s the worst loss of my career,” Nutt said. And he should know. That’s his 79th as a head coach.

3. Still, I want to thank the Rebels because on a weekend that lacked high drama they handed it to us. The two most beautiful things in the world are smiles on the faces of my daughters but college football overtime is right up there.

4. This is why I don’t gamble. I said on my radio show this week several times that the mortal lock of the year was Northwestern as a three-point favorite over Vanderbilt. Not only did the ‘Dores only lose by two but they had a shot at a tying two-point conversion at the end. Vanderbilt gained 432 yards in the game. Who saw that coming? Is LSU, which plays Robbie Caldwell’s team next, officially on Upset Alert? I’m not going that far.

5. This space every week will include my player of the week. Let’s see, Andre DeBose is out. I’ll take Denard Robinson. The Michigan quarterback passed for 186 yards and ran for 197 in a career-saving win for Rich Rodriguez over UConn. Amazingly, he still doesn’t tie his shoes, hence the nickname “Shoelace.” Runner-up goes to Cam Newton, the former Gator who lit it up in his first start.

Buckle up

It’s the weekend we’ve been waiting for and while we’re preparing for a zoo out here in Mile Run thanks to the Dove dudes, you better have two TVs running in your living room on Saturday. Must-see: FSU-Oklahoma, Miami-Ohio State, Georgia-South Carolina.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Still think its interesting most are blaming the bad snaps, that has something to do with it; but there’s still no getting around the conservative play calling. Saw it last year, then we opened it up in the bowl game. Hoping this year we’re not a week-on, week-off offense. Let Addazio coach the line, and lets call some plays to get the ball downfield. Then if still a problem, we can start to look at the wide receivers perhaps.

  2. How can any of us adequately assess the offense until the most fundamental action gets repaired? John Brantley played the role of a baseball catcher working with a novice knuckleballer. Even snaps on target usually arrived wobbling along the way. Our quarterback was losing seconds and tenths of seconds critical to execution of the offense, no matter which plays Steve Addazio may have called. As a result, most plays belonged in the football lingo of “busted”. We’ve got a great lineman at center, but either Robey needs to go to center and Mike back to guard or Mike’s mechanics must improve drastically.
    Methinks the offensive coordinator needs to address the line coach soon.

  3. Not to jump on the gang up on Addazio band wagon but the play calling has been less risky in his tenure as OC. That is the nature of his and Coach Myers background. Just win baby to pull quote from a popular phrase that was pushed a few months back is not good enough for the gator nation or the national media if we hope to pursue a title again, which I am sure we do. The answer seems simple Coach was trying to improve Pounceys marketability, bless his heart. That seems to be a not so good a move in hindsight after the first and last game hopefully with him as starting center. Move him back to his more natural position and put Roby in as center and please find a backup to Roby as everyone will be trying to take him out to get Pouncey back.

  4. I was curious what the percentage of pass plays versus run plays was for each down yestareday? I only remember one pass play on first down and it seemed we ran on first and second down considerably. Also, I know Brantley through 25 passes, how many of them were behind the line of scrimmage to only 5 yards past the line of scrimmage before the catch?

    Thanks!

  5. Meyer is not going to show his hand in an opening game against a team like Miami! They probably practiced a basic package, similar to last year, to throw off our tougher competition. Plus, the o-line was a patched up unit, with guys with no or little experience. I’m glad we had a rough game. It will make our players work harder, our enemies over-confident and hides what’s really coming out of that huddle in a few weeks! The freshman needed a reality check and they got one yesterday!

  6. i completely agree with you ron, last years play calling was very similar to the season opener, vanilla! We constantly are in position where we are 3rd and long. Im sick of it. What was addazio thinking calling a screen play to demps when we were backed up on our own goalline (should have been a safety)? Dan was the man he brought imagination to our play calling, addazio on the other hand has no imagination.

  7. If you believe the commentators on the UF game it was because it was “Florida’s first year without Tebow”. I say this because they repeated it about 5-6 times throughout the game. For a team that “reloads, not rebuilds” that was not what I expected to see. I still think the gators are going to feel the loss of Charlie Strong more than Tebow once you guys get in the meat of your schedule. by the way no one walks into the swamp or against Florida over confident, if anything everyone is looking for a little payback or the last 2-3 years so, yeah this is the SEC, it`s just how it is. Meyer knows it, so does every other team on their schedule this year.

  8. Interesting to hear people think we kept it basic – does that mean we kept everything basic last year, when we only put 23 on Tenn, running the ball so much? Or LSU, scoring only 13, and leaving points on the field. You can’t wait until the SEC title game to try and open it up, the players proved last year they couldn’t respond that way.

  9. Let’s face it, Addazio is not a coordinator. He calls plays like a offensive line coach. Dan Mullen was special. He and Urban formed a great team and had a lot of success on 3 different teams. Florida’s dominance will slowly fade if we don’t get a forward thinking coordinator. Unfortunately, Brantley will take much of the criticism for Florida’s offensive failures this year.

  10. I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet, get rid of the offensive coordinator, or scrap the play calling. This one game provided little for us to go off of except that Pouncy had troubles hiking the ball, JB had little time to find a receiver with seconds gone looking for the ball near his feet, the offensive line was patchwork and acted like it, and the play-calling looked like the Larry Fedora era with the bubble screens but was probably designed to help JB get rid of the ball quickly from the pocket and use our speed in space (that didn’t show up often).
    This week is the real test of where our offense is at with all the players hopefully back in their rightful place. USF is not a team that will be satisfied with a paycheck after the game. We will find out in the next few weeks whether we are SEC East contenders or pretenders.

  11. After further review … there is no good explanation for why Pouncey struggled so ineptly, other than he’s not cut out to be a center. He may be a team captain, and he may be a spirited leader, but if he can’t hike the damn ball, he can’t play center. Forget Addazio’s play calling. He has a bigger concern with getting the O line worked out. This experienced unit was supposed to be a strength. Instead, in Game 1 it was a liability.

  12. Watching Texas trying to overwhelm Rice was almost as bad as Florida’s day against Miami (Ohio). Even the best have off days, especially with a new quarterback and significant assistant coaching changes. However, i was expecting something like a Reaves to Alvarez opening in this game but got Rainey as the featured back. Why should a 10 yard pass be the longest of the day with all these playmakers at hand? It’s hard being a line coach as well as offensive coordinator so let Addazio go back to coaching where he is very good and let someone else call plays who won’t be afraid to wait to open up the playbook until the last game of the season.

  13. I don’t know if it is the offensive line coaching or the overall play calling, but our offenisve line repeatedly looked like a sieve when it came to the Red Hawks’ defensive penetration. Pouncey had his problems, which did not help, but I am not sure that moving him back to guard and putting Robey in at center will solve all the problems with the offensive line. Until that situation is taken care of, Brantley is going to continue to be under siege.

  14. Practice and games are two different things. This was Mike’s first game (I think) as a starting center. The DT was lined up in the gap to Pouncey’s right quite often and Mike was short-arming the snap because he seemed to be worried about getting over to fill the gap. He needs to snap first and then move. Ok, there’s my technical analysis. As a QB, you’re trying to look down the field some when you receive the shotgun snap. When you’re not sure where the snap is going, everything gets thrown off.

  15. Thinking everybody is going a little crazy too quick.

    Love how Addazio gets blamed for everything. He’s been bad since last season. Huh? The Gators went 13-1.

    I agree with those who say you can’t judge the offense due to the snap exchange issues. With the timing off, everything did go haywire.

    One other problem, Brantley was a little antsy in the pocket, not going through his progressions. He dumped to Rainey a couple of times when other receivers were open. Hoping that’s first game jitters.

  16. Hey QOP, you reminded me of the best comment I’ve heard so far:
    I wish Coach Meyer banned me from the game and opened up the practices.

    Too early to tell what any of this means. Who knows how far the Gators got into their bag of tricks? Bad snaps and fumbles prevented any “showing the hand” or “holding something back.” What happened? A new center and new QB lost faith in each other and panic set in. Blame? How about Addazio and Meyer for leaving them both high and dry in the shotgun after it was obvious it was not working. That is a trend: doggedly hanging on to a play, formation, or scheme when it is obviously not working. Seems like the Gators play front runner well, but have trouble when there is trouble!

  17. Addazio deserves a lot of credit for producing some good O-lines in the past and filling in for Meyer this past off-season. However, the line play was terrible. Everyone deals with injuries, so I don’t really buy that excuse; especially since they rotate people all over the place in preseason to create versatility. I also don’t buy the whole “not showing their hand” argument. It could be true, but that’s what I though throughout the whole season last year. I guess we did hide our cards….until the Sugar Bowl. And lastly, for those who miss Mullen: 2 years ago, our offense was pretty vanilla until we lost to Ole Miss, then we opened it up and ran the table. Will we wait until we lose this year before opening up the offense? Is this more Meyer’s doing than the OC? We shall see…..

  18. Brantley was more than fine when he had the ball and time to throw. I think the kid has “it” and i think everything that happened on saturday is fixable. And we could still lose to USF. I think Skip Holtz is a heck of a coach and those kids at USF smell blood in the water, they think we are vulnerable, and we probably are. This game will be about heart. If the Gators have any, they’ll win. If they lose, we’ll know they don’t. The fact that DeBose didn’t get on the field is absolutely weird. I like to think the coaches didn’t game plan for Miami and were already looking ahead to USF, and the players took that as a signal that they didn’t need to show up.

  19. Fortitude does not equate to brilliance, craftiness, or superior play calling. Addazio is predictable. He plays the highest probabilities which means he learns the old fashion way (when somebody teaches him a lesson). We saw this last year and it appears we will se it this year. He took a brilliant guy like Pouncy and moved him to a spot where he has to overcome his engrained traits. I predict future problems.

  20. The Gators offense was suppose to be THE STRONG point of this 2010 team and they struggled terribly. The Gator defense was suppose to be questionable and they looked hearty and strong!
    What will we SEE THIS WEEKEND????
    I am almost affraid to watch! I think Micheal (above) has it dead-on…IF the GATORS SHOW HEART – they WIN!!! You only have to look at J. Jenkin’s play wit 3-0 score and Ohio driving – PICK 6!!!
    Jenkins play SCREAMED, “IF THE OFFENSE CAN’T SCORE, I WILL!!!”
    Way to go JENKINS- you wear the #1 proudly!!!!!
    GO GATORS!!!! Bring on USF and let’s see what we (FANS) get!!!!