The Sunday Blog, Week Nine: Rough trip

68
1633
Gator cheerleaders watch The Navy's Blue Angles fly over before the annual game between Florida and Georgia at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

The Sunday Blog comes at you as Gator fans lick their wounds after a rough trip to Jacksonville.

  1. Losing isn’t fun. We have established that. Losing to a rival is less fun. No doubt. Losing because your team plays poorly makes it a hat trick. There are reasons the Florida football team was humbled on Saturday and some of it has to do with Georgia having better players and an excellent coaching staff. I did ask Dan Mullen after the game if he thought his defense worried too much about Justin Fields during practice last week. Fields, the freshman quarterback, didn’t play a down. But Mullen said he just told Todd Grantham to be aware. “It wasn’t like they had a package for him like we did with Timmy (Tebow during his freshman year),” Mullen said. “They just run him a few plays of read option.” Mullen also said the plan is still to redshirt Emory Jones but they still can play him in two more games per the new redshirt rules.
  2. Georgia’s win and Kentucky’s miracle win against Missouri means that Lexington is going to see the biggest game in its football history Saturday. Two top-10 teams have never played at Commonwealth Stadium and we’ll see where the ‘Cats are in the poll later today. I had them ninth with Georgia sixth (Gators 15th). My early take is that Kentucky has a real chance to pull off the upset based on what I saw from Georgia. But wasn’t that Missouri win the kind of game that usually happens to Kentucky instead of what happens FOR Kentucky? It was a brutal pass interference call that decided the game.
  3. Two years ago, FSU and Louisville were elite programs. But college football is fickle and now these are two programs in the tank. FSU’s 59-10 loss to Clemson at home leaves the Seminoles at 4-4, 2-4 in the ACC and Willie Taggart questioning whether some of his players quit. It’s worse at Louisville, which handed its game to FSU earlier in the season. The Cardinals were destroyed by Wake Forest on Saturday to drop to 2-6 and 0-5 in conference. Louisville ranks 115th in scoring defense.
  4. Ideally, Florida would play at noon this week, but we also understand the businesses love the 3:30 and 4 p.m. games. So, 4 p.m. vs. Missouri on Saturday it is. You’re gonna need more than one TV for this four-pack:

* Georgia at Kentucky, 3:30 p.m., CBS.

* West Virginia at Texas, 3:30 p.m., Fox.

* Penn State at Michigan, 3:45 p.m., ESPN.

* Alabama at LSU, 8 p.m., CBS.

68 COMMENTS

  1. Honestly, if you’re a Gator fan and expected to go to Jacksonville and win, you were either delusional, or you knew for Florida to win, Georgia had to play poorly, make mistakes, and turn the ball over, the way Florida has won games this season! Florida hasn’t won with explosive offense and crushing defense. They’ve won with a dominant defense and getting turnovers that make it easier for Florida’s offense to score. When it came to the point of the game where Florida had to make plays offensively, they couldn’t. They have a mediocre offensive line, pretty good running backs, receivers that are decent, but not SEC caliber, and quarterback play that is again, not SEC caliber.
    And yet, here they are! Excellent chance at 10-2. Mizzou, Carolina, Idaho, and the Half Ass Indians are all winnable games. Breaking that 5 game winning streak should be easy, even for this offense. Just get to 10 points!
    Look to the future! Look to recruiting! Look to the upgrade of facilities. (20 million has just been allocated in Tallahassee by the way. They start next year. Might want to get on that and put baseball on hold) And no, TampaGator that’s not fake news and I’m not a Half Ass Indian. Time to build a program. If you’re looking for the blue print, look in Tuscaloosa. If you want to establish dominance, you’ll have to compete with the dominant. That means being a football school, not an everything school. Happy Sunday everybody!

    • ”Grandpa”, I mean ”Grumpee, I guess I am a ”delusional Gator fan.” And while I rarely respond to your posts, I have to respond to some of your crappy comments from today. Your comment, the Gators don’t have ”SEC caliber players” is truly rich with ignorance. So you mean to say you think that beating a team like L.S.U. (Top 4 now) was simply ”luck”!?!? And that Perine and Scarlett are not ”SEC caliber” players!?!? Or Jefferson, or Toney, or Swain for that matter? Or… I could do this all day. But I won’t, and I will end with this:
      FLORIDA GYMNASTICS, FLORIDA BASKETBALL, FLORIDA BASEBALL, FLLORIDA SOFTBALL, and even FLORIDA TRACK, all won NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS! And I, like millions of other REAL GATOR FANS, loved every one of them. So please take your grumpy comments about ”the UAA dedicating their attention and finances to only Football” back to the damn’ 50’s and early 60’s where you truly belong!
      God bless and have a great Sunday, Grumpee!

      • Have to agree. Grump’s position is that singular focus to the exclusion of everything else is the only way to establish a successful football program rubs me the wrong way. Of course it doesn’t help that UF did in fact let the football facilities fall behind, but that doesn’t mean that striving to be an all-around school and a football school are mutually exclusive. And even if someone convinced me that that was the case, I would vote for a well-rounded university. I don’t want UF to be Alabama. I want it all (academic chops, all-around sports program, hottest co-Ed’s, etc.), and I believe we can have it. As for football specifically, I believe Stricklin and Mullen are going to do wonderful things in the years to come. I am excited about it. Along the way, I’ll get to celebrate a lot of other Gator successes as well. Peace.

        • Look- Alabama wasn’t always this amazing. They had their down years too- a bad decade. While they had history of being the winningest program before Saban, and a great program already in place to build around, what has turned them into such an unbelievable powerhouse was winning the lottery of Nick Saban. He obviously sold his soul to the devil and practices black magic because there can be no other explanation for his unworldly success. Before Satan I mean Saban we had had a better program than them since the early 90s. We can get back there with Mullen, but I doubt anyone is ever going to equal what Bama has done over the last several years.

      • I have to agree too. Remember, most of these players were wandering in the wilderness of McEloser’s regime for three years. With no substantive coaching and very little positive feedback. I’ll grant that the Gators may not have as much quality depth, but you can’t say we don’t have SEC caliber talent at least in the starters. And I believe the media and coaches probably think we’re still pretty good too as we are now ranked 13 in the AP and 14 in the Coaches poll. I never actually expected to be in the CFP conversation this year, but we were. Better execution in this game and we might have been in the first 6. This is one year after going 4-7. Granted we would have had to play lights out to beat UGAly, but in less than one year CDM brought us to the point that we could potentially be in the CFP. I’m not giving up on the season just because we lost, even to UGAly. So buck up, we will still have a great season!! Go Gators!!

  2. I realize that this was a terrible team performance but as the quarterback you are the face of the offense and that face has to change. I hate everything about Franks’s ability to play the position and that now includes running the ball. He’s lousy at that too. It just looks so awkward when he does it and he does it the same way every time. Slow and with an attempt to make a move that just allows the defender an opportunity to hit him while he isn’t at full speed which is slow to begin with. There is nobody that can convince me that this team would be worse off with Emory Jones as the QB. He at least looks and runs like he is an athlete and not the ring announcer at the Ringling Brothers circus. Make the change already!!

        • For the most part, you never know how any one particular player will pan out. So the only thing I would add is that there is no way to know if it will ultimately be Emory, or Jalon, or Anthony. I know we would all like it to be Emory because he’s the one that’s already here, so he’s down the path, but at the end of the day we need players good enough to push each other for that job, and that process has begun in earnest. Jalon and Anthony are studs.

          I’ll say again however, I 100% support Mullen’s decision to go with Franks this year. The kid is not a very good qb. I think Mullen knows Franks’ limitations better than anyone. But it wouldn’t have been fair to the players or the fans to pack it in on the season and start someone else who gave the team less of a chance to win. I mean just look at the results. Until yesterday it was impossible to argue with Mullen’s decision even though Franks hasn’t been anything other than adequate for the entire ride. As for getting others gain experience, given the way the season has gone, I think Mullen was spot on with how he handled it. Franks was the guy, but he also wasn’t good. He needed the reps more than anyone to try and improve, especially with huge goals still hanging out there for the team.

          Franks will not be UF’s starting QB next year though. I would lay a lot of money on that. And now that the goals this year no longer include the “big one”, I do suspectmwe will get to see more of Emory. The $64K question is whether Mullen is willing to burn his redshirt given the new circumstances.

      • Gator 1. I seriously doubt Mullen is going to burn Jones’ redshirt. He will be Mullen’s starting QB next year and will be able to fully run Mullen’s offense. And the Gators have an excellent QB recruit coming in named Jones as well. I would not be surprised to see Franks and Trask both transfer at the end of the season. Both to non Power 5 schools.

        • Yes, the “jones” coming in is the aforementioned Jalon. He is a stud, and in the Mullen mode. As is our 2020 QB commit. That’s why I say the process has begun in earnest. At the end of the day though, I believe your prediction is going to be accurate – Emory in 2019.

        • I wouldn’t write Franks off completely quite yet. It’s pretty obvious that he’ll never be the runner that CDM prefers in his system , but with the arm talent he has you don’t have to be. Another year tutelage under Mullen and who knows? If he could ever learn to move beyond his 1st / 2nd option and truly scan the field of play he would be lethal. Your probably right about Trask though as it appears the kid is never going to get the chance to show what he has. I for one think its a shame though because while we all think we know ( obviously he must be bad in practice for CDM to never play him a down ), you never really know until you throw them out there and the lights hit em in the eyes. Some guy’s just have the “it” factor , and while it’s not likely, its still possible that he could be pretty good. It appears the Fans will never know.

          • Unless of course he transfers to Auburn, WVA, NC ST, or BC and wins the Heisman . THEN we’ll know! Could it be that’s why so many of us are kind of OCD about it? It’s not like it hasn’t happened to us before.

          • BC, I’ll admit it’s unusual as hell to write off a two-year starter before next year’s competition even begins, but circumstances dictate. He might be a willing runner, but he’s not good at it. Mullen’s gonna acknowledge that as well. And all the coaching in the world won’t change his running issues (straight up and down runner with a lanky gait). Beyond that, Franks does not see the game well yet. This is where coaching/experience would need to make a huge difference. It really hasn’t. He has improved since last year, there is no question, but the same issues still exist. Mullen does a masterful job managing around it, but can we agree on that? I’ve been pulling for Franks all year, and giving him the benefit of the doubt (and time), but as time and games pass it seems more likely to me that he just is not good at processing the game (at
            least when the action is live). I think at this point he would have needed to show even more progression than he has if he was going to be the starting QB at UF next year. I could be wrong. Been wrong before. But if the bet was Franks vs. the field in 2019, I’d take the field.

          • Gator 1, maybe it’s because CDM had us within striking distance of the CFP conversation in his first season that our expectations for this season have gotten overblown. No sane Gator fan would’ve expected (maybe hoped for, but not expected) to be in that conversation coming into this season. You rightly note that Franks has improved under CDM’s coaching, and though the Gators won’t win the East or the SEC, 10-2 would be a fantastic accomplishment and tremendous improvement. If Franks can make a similar improvement from this season to next, he may be able to lead his team to Atlanta. If not, having to go to a redshirt freshman could set the program recovery back a couple of seasons.

          • Well said Gator1. Mullen is a good coach and that has shown with FRanks’ improvement and Mullens skillful game planning. But Franks isn’t improving as much as he should by this point. I just don’t think he has it. Maybe we are wrong though.

      • Rog, Right? What happened to Trask? I get that Emory Jones was specifically recruited to be Coach Dan’s guy – the guy who fits his vision of the offense. And maybe that’s how it works going forward. But for now, either Franks needs to (finally) learn to read the field or he give Trask a shot.

          • Joe S. – agreed on every point. It’s just the “if” surrounding Franks similar improvement again next year that I am becoming increasingly skeptical of. But, to your point, Mullen says it can take 2 or 3 years for some guys, so let’s see what unfolds. I’m still betting on the field though.

  3. Brutal pass interference indeed, receiver almost pulled the DBs head off with his huge hands, no way the official that threw the flag should make that call. Probably got a message from the SEC and CBS to help Kentucky out so they would have the matchup next week.

    • The interference call on McWilliams in the end zone vs. Georgia was equally horrible. McWilliams had his head turned and was looking for the ball. If you do that, you have as much right to the ball as the receiver. Mullen went nuts on the sideline and got a personal foul called on him for challenging the refs horrible call. The officiating has been bad overall in the SEC this year.

  4. The old adage goes, “Statistics are for losers,” but through the first half Florida had more first downs, more rushing yards, controlled the ball for 16 minutes and 57 seconds. Franks has only 49 yards passing but barely overthrew Van Jefferson on our offense’s first play. Despite a strip of the ball from Jordan Scarlett and a bad throw by Franks picked by Georgia, our team went go intermission six points behind. We opened the second half with a long drive finished by a perfect 36-yard strike from Franks go Freddie Swain for a go-ahead touchdown,

    What mostly separated Georgia from Florida from that moment on was the Bulldogs’ taking advantage of our decimated secondary. With the exception of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson the secondary was extremely young. Being down to six or seven available players there was little opportunity to substitute.

    Truthfully, there isn’t a large gap between our team and Georgia’s. Franks may never become a top SEC quarterback. He has certainly been sufficient for all but two games, neither of which were lost solely because of him. Emory Jones has made lots of progress, enough to raise real hope that he’ll be the starter next season. But Franks is no throw-away Gator. Dan Mullen is bright and goes each week with the best QB he’s got. None of us knows Franks’ ceiling, how high or low, but he will get better.

    Grump whines repititiously about lack of funding for football at our university. Whoever he is, he seems uninformed of the boosts given by the indoor practice facility, the expansion of the Otis Hawkins Center, the renovations of dormitories that house athletes, or the stand-alone $65 million football center, let alone the commitment to serious upgrades to our iconic treasure, The Swamp.

    Meantime, watching disappointing Miami, flailing and disorganized Florida State, a USF team that plays defense like a sieve stopping running water, and UCF thriving against a soft schedule… well. Yesterday’s loss won’t hurt but only spurs Florida’s bright outlook for the future, growing momentum in recruiting, and the burning desire to regain high national stature.

    • I’ll second that. CDM put us in the CFP conversation in his first year. I’m disappointed we are no longer realistically in that conversation, but I don’t think the season is trashed. We still have a realistic chance to get to 10 wins. CDM picked Franks and with continued coaching he might become a serviceable SEC quarterback. I also have faith in CDM that he will start the QB that gives us the best chance to win. Maybe that means we will see more of Jones, maybe not, but that will be entirely CDM’s decision. I like how CDM is approaching this loss, Gators win as a team and they lose as a team; no pointing fingers. If you want to see how toxic a program can get by pointing fingers, I direct you to the FSU dumpster fire.

    • Clyde, The problem wasn’t so much the “bad throw” from Franks. It was the bad read (again). He had a back 5 yd. in front of him, wide open at the 1st down line. Either he didn’t see him (likely) or he simply decided (I hope not) to throw into double covered 15 yd. downfield. This has been a recurring problem all season. QB play isn’t just about throwing the ball (arm talent helps). It’s about decision making. Danny Wuerrfel didn’t win the Heisman because of arm strength. DW made great decisions and threw on target and on time. Yeah, I know. Not fair to compare Franks to a Heisman winner. But I did anyway. I just expect better from Franks.

  5. I disagree GA had “better players”, no, not after watching them against LSU and us! About equal. Trade Fromm for Franks and who wins? Gators! Its that simple. Backs and receivers are just as good and lines about equal. On a good day I’d take our D with no major injuries. When Franks flushed the game down the toilet at the one (at 14-13), the whole team had to overcome that “its just not going to happen feeling”. It was too much to overcome with a QB you can’t trust to hit the open guys and is a certified fumbler. Dan and staff will identify a QB that can understand and execute plays, then we win SEC East. I feel sorry for Franks. He’s doing the best he can. He’s driving the ball, but no short game.

    • DeWayne, I think you’re spot on, but even though Franks fumbled the ball, I put that on CDM. I thought he called a very good game with the exception of having Jones run that option pitch (I don’t question the play call, just his choice to let Jones run it) and asking Franks to run the ball out of his own end zone. We have excellent running backs who are much better suited to powering the ball out of the end zone. Perine, at 227 pounds with a much lower center of gravity, would’ve been a much better choice imo. If you don’t want to risk a bad exchange, then run Perine out of the wildcat. I’m not being paid 6 mil to coach, so you can take it for what it’s worth, but my fear is that CDM’s penchant for asking his QB to provide the bulk of the running game will ultimately cause both the running and passing games to suffer, unless he can find that transcendent player like Tebow, Newton, or Prescott.

  6. Dooley please clarify that it would be “ideal,” for Gators to play at Noon. Is that ideal for you, because it certainly wouldn’t be for the Gators. If not a night game, the next best thing is a middle to late afternoon game. I was hoping this would happen and I am very glad it was announced that way…Students don’t show up for a Noon game…..period…

  7. Some of you posters are asking for another QB to run the offense? Coach Mullen chose the best QB that gave us a chance to win. Our record is 6 wins 2 losses with four games to play. The best QB we have is playing! The other QB’s we have are riding the bench! The back up QB’s are always the most popular with some fans because they don’t make mistakes. They also prove they can’t run the offense that is why they sit on the bench in a game! I think Coach Mullen has proven over the last eight games he knows who can do the best job! Why don’t you posters who like backup QB’s keep quite and enjoy the journey!

  8. Hey Gators, quit looking for excuses and just accept the fact Fromm was pissed off from LSU performance and was dialed in for redemption. We got a few breaks along the way but UGA is back! Dawgs have won 5 out of last 8! It’s a rivalry again!!! Hope y’all get to 10 wins, see ya next year!

    • Congratulations on a hard fought victory ! You are correct in that Fromm was dialed in and made us pay for the loss of our other starting corner and lack of depth behind him, not to pick on the young man, as I’m sure he was trying his best, but the words ” touchdown Georgia ” and “CJ McWilliams ” were pretty synonymous yesterday afternoon. I was most impressed though with the O-line play of GA, I thought our pass rush ( even without the blitz’s due to lack of confidence in DB ) would be the difference in the game and I was completely wrong. Even with the injuries ya’ll had up front, they did a great job of giving Fromm time to find his receivers and that to me was what won it for you. ( our inability to get pressure ). I don’t remember us getting a sack unless it was on the Joseph blitz in the beginning of the game. I thought it was two pretty evenly matched teams for the most part, but we got sloppy with the ball and lost our lockdown corner in the first series. Until next October then…

      • BCGator, Right you are. Fromm had a pretty easy day. O-line gave him excellent protection. The only time the our D-line dominated was the goal line stand where our ends kept chasing down the run plays.

        Dawg90 – Enjoy. That’s what rivalry games are for. That’s a big part of what makes college football the best game ever. No matter what else happens for the Gators this year, I know (2) things. 1 – The Gators are better than last year. We’re heading in the right direction. 2 – This season is officially a failure because we lost this game. I am old enough to remember when the Gators lost this game all the time – even when they were the better team. Vince Dooley will always be the monster under my bed. So until the Gators get up by a couple dozen games in this series, I’m not satisfied. We’ll try it again next year. Go Gators.

  9. I agree the gators are 6 – 2 last year 4 – 7 let me say that again 6 – 2 who thought we would be there after the UGA game very few I promise you we have 4 very winnable games left this team can and I believe will get to 10 – 2 that would be an amazing job if that happens and a possible new years 6 bowl would love to play OU in the PEACH or the trout spasm U in the Sugar. Mullen against Mayer I’m for that

  10. Franks is the best QB we’ve got and not the reason we lost. His poor performance contributed to the disappointing outcome but also to blame are the depleted and out of position secondary and at least a couple of questionable play calls. The worst was calling on the long-bodied Franks go run the ball out of our end zone instead of giving the ball to a running back. Overall we demonstrated that the difference in talent is not great and that our effort and drive to win was as intense as Georgia’s. Ten wins looks likely and who among Gator fans would be unhappy about a first year of 10-2?

  11. The depleted secondary WAS devastating, esp. with Fromm torching McWilliams for two alley-oop TDs and some other passes as well. UGA knew from the LSU film that if McWilliams came in, they should go after him.
    Having said that, and agreeing with you on that, Clyde, Franks’ ineptitude vs. Fromm’s play was the biggest difference in the game, imo. He reverted to last year’s level of play, as Dooley and others have pointed out. Missed the first pass for a TD that would have given UF great early momentum. Awful, worst INT maybe yet for him, throwing right to GA DB in front of a WR with Perine open underneath for good yardage well into GA territory. Failure to secure the ball on his own one, that SHOULD have gifted GA seven points, if not for the heroic goal line stand. Multiple failures to see open WRs, as usual. One great TD throw, I’ll give him that.
    I would say we win IF Henderson doesn’t get hurt, and IF Franks were at least the equal of Fromm.

  12. Upon reflection, a few thoughts:
    Coach Mullen has us a year ahead of schedule. Well done coach!
    Despite our turnovers, we were ahead in score in the third quarter-incredible. It makes you think, what if.
    Our OLine opened up holes for 170 rushing yards. We gashed the Dawgs . They will be vulnerable at Ky.
    Our Dline stand on the one yard line, holding firm on six attempts will live long in my memory. Inspiring.
    Franks is probably not the answer yet he can get us to 10-2 this year and a top bowl game. Thanks Franks.
    Is there any reason why we can’t get our fair share of 4* and 5* recruits this year after a great season?
    Go Gators!