The Sunday Blog: Wild Week Three (I think)

Florida players and coaches celebrate Tyrie Cleveland's game-winning touchdown catch against Tennessee at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday. The Gators won 26-20. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

The Sunday Blog comes at you after a late, late night and for that, we thank you. Only nuts like myself were watching Texas and USC in double overtime at 1:30 a.m. Wait, you were, too?

1 — Gosh, the SEC seemed to change a lot on Saturday. Florida is still in the mix, Tennessee seems to be headed for a rough season, LSU is having buyer’s remorse, Auburn looks awful, Mississippi State may not be able to hold on to Dan Mullen after this season, Will Muschamp lost one of those games that you just can’t lose and how about them Commodores? At the same time, the SEC seems to be like it was last year. Which team is the second best? No idea.

2 — One of the great things about college football is that we can whine about a mediocre schedule on a Saturday and IT STILL TURNS OUT TO BE AWESOME! This week was the perfect example with upsets starting with the early games and continuing well into Sunday morning. This week isn’t much either which is one reason ESPN is doing GameDay from NYC, which never sleeps and largely ignores college football. But you know it will end up being great.

3 — Speaking of great, I give you Clemson. Clemson is the new Alabama. The Tigers just reload. How about the last two weeks, throttling Auburn and then dominating in Louisville? It just feels like we may have a three-peat with Alabama and Clemson playing for another national title.

4 — I was bullish on Oklahoma State in the preseason and still have the Cowboys fourth on my AP ballot (nice preseason ranking of Pitt, by the way). The Mulleteers still haven’t played anybody, but they are averaging 54 points a game (TCU this week, homies, should be interesting). How about this first half from Mason Rudolph on Saturday? He was 20-of-28 for 423 yards and five TD passes. As Heisman contenders slip away (sorry, Lamar Jackson, but there will be no repeat), you may hear us old fogies reference an old golfer with the same name. That Mason Rudolph won 13 times on Tour. This one was named for him. That, in itself, is Heisman-esque.


    • Houston. Maybe a Beavis and a Butthead image would look far better on you. No one has been more critical of Nussmeier than me, but I saw some development in Franks and Nussmeier’s play calling during the second half of the game vs. Tennessee. What now needs to happen now is more expansion of that play calling by Nussmeier and better and more consistent execution by the Franks and the players on offense. I guess, actually, the two go hand in hand. And Franks has to stop staring down one receiver, especially when the receiver (his first and seemingly only option each play) is covered by more than one defender and seek his secondary options while seeing the field better somehow. Too many poor throwing decisions made yesterday by Franks. But, again, he showed improvement. But he has a long way to go to become a top SEC QB, which is needed to win championships. I think the same can be said about McElwain and Nussmeier, but they hardly seem to be anything close to your personal insults.

    • No, not Dan Mullen, but worth a real look is D.J. Durkin the Gators former D.C. who was overlooked when they hired McElwain! He was subsequently hired as coach at Maryland and is taking a team with limited talent to new heights! This is a real talent!

        • Wow … two “absolutely no ways” (Kelly & Stoops), and two guys whose best years have been the kind of seasons this fan base gripes about (Gundy & Mullen).

          And then there’s Mullen’s rep from when he was here – he wasn’t voted “most popular assistant” by anyone.

        • Be patient. I remember Mike Gundy getting blown out by Troy in ’07. Now, suddenly, Mike Gundy knows how to coach. If he’d have been at Florida everybody would’ve been demanding his firing. Chip Kelly has had some ugly losses. Dabo Swinney went 8-5, 6-7, and 9-4 in his first 3 seasons at Clemson. Spurrier himself got blown out by Tennessee, Miss. St., and FSU in his first 3 seasons. There are exceptions, of course. A few coaches win immediately. But overwhelmingly, programs take time to build. Give it some time. Jim knows we aren’t where we need to be. Stop calling for the coaches head after every bad game. That’s how programs are run into the toilet for decades.

  1. Gators look like they’re learning! Unfortunately for some Gator fans, it isn’t enough. They want 400 yds. passing, 250 yds. rushing, and when they don’t get it, they will run off another Coaching staff! It must suck to be them! Never happy… even one with a dramatic ending, even one that will go down in the ”greatest plays” of Gator football history: Peace to Jones vs. Miami, Danny to Chris vs. U.K., Grier to Calloway, and now, Franks to Cleveland.
    So, I am happy! As a HATE LOSING more than I like winning (esp. against Tenn.)!
    And if ”looks” are all it takes to get a national ‘ship, then give it to Clemson or ‘Bama… NOW! Forget the rest of the season… NOT!
    Like Mark Wise said about basketball last year at the beginning of the season, ”It’s a journey, enjoy it!” And Coach Mike White’s Gators made an ”ELITE 8” APPEARANCE! I love this Gator Football team; they have playmakers again: Franks (will grow), Davis, Tony, etc…
    And I am ALL IN! GO GATORS!

      • McElwain has the secret sauce for getting the Gators to Atlanta. Recruits are buy it and so am I. I’d take McElwain over Durkin and Mullen any day. Are you kidding me? Neither has won anything as head coaches. They are perennial 5th in their division type head coaches, with an occasional good win against ranked opponents. Every other fanbase in the SEC, except Alabama, would love to trade their coach in for one who has won his division each year that he has been on the job. In case anyone has forgotten, McElwain was voted COY last year.

        Dooley, it’s time to call out the Gidiots again before they run off McElwain and set the program back a few more years. Feel free to use Tennessee, LSU, and Texas as examples for running off coaches who brought them national championships. Tennessee has been playing musical chairs with their coaches for a decade since Fulmer left. LSU and Texas are finding out how hard it is find a Sabanish caliber coach. Apparently, the Gidiots haven’t learned anything from Aesop’s Fables.

  2. Pat. Not buying any sauce while those nine players are suspended, but I am all in on beating Tennessee and getting the SEC East race off on a positive start. Now, let’s hope Nussmeier’s play calling gets better and Franks and the offensive players better execute those plays, starting next weekend vs. a very good Kentucky team. The Wildcats have a very good defense and their QB is dangerous. Big test for the Gators going into Lexington next Saturday night. Let’s hope they are up for the challenge, as it will likely be a similar environment up there next weekend as it was in The Swamp Saturday evening. Go Gators.

  3. Why so serious negative people? Newsflash – we won. If you’re hostile to the coaches (while saying you love the players, which is a joke) after a win, when will you be satisfied? Never.

    Only will you be satisfied when the you run our coach off and we are staring over once again. We will also be facing the real possibility of a National disgrace by being turned-down by top coaching picks; remember what happened to LSU last year before having to settle.

    True, Coach Mac will probably never win us a natty, but he can find some success and get the program “un-broken” by upgrading facilities and establishing protocols and implementing some much-needed longevity to our program that will make this program more attractive to A-list coaches.

    Right now, the revolving coach’s chair, the OC hot-seat, lack of facilities and fan-base makes the UF job less than ideal. Like it or not, we need Mac to find some success and get the chairs in line for the next coach that will take over for him.

    • Serious??? This game was full of bad mistakes. Fumbles, int, missed tackles, and very bad clock management. Sure a win is better than a loss, our offense showed a little against a suspect Vole defense. Nobody should be satisfied, surely not the coaches or most of the players either.

      • I’d blame the officials for not calling a time out to measure. They started the drive on the 25 yard line and the ball was spotted at the 35 yard line. McElwain was saving his last timeout in case he needed to get the kicking team on the field for the game deciding kick.

  4. Some amazingly positive comments on here. Did you folks watch the game? Our offense did next to nothing against the #91st ranked defense in the country racking up 220 yards and 14 first downs (less the two long plays.)

    This is in the 3rd year of the offense being installed with only one major coaching change on the offensive side of the field (OL). And we are ranked 121st n Total Offense out of the 129 teams in FBS.

    We are ranked 100th in Total Defense.

    And the clock management? That’s on the Refs? No it’s not – that’s on the Gator coaches.

    Glad we won (relieved maybe) and that was fun yesterday being in the Swamp, but you are OK with this?


  5. One lucky play at the end of a game should not erase what transpired for most of this game and all the others the past two years, nor the stats to back it up as far as offense goes. We will always be the fun n gun Gators and until we get back to playing that way some of us will not be happy. One completion beyond ten yards, why?

  6. one completion beyond ten yards because florida has a freshman quarterback in his second game ever at this level, because the o-line is still a work in progress, and because the last play of the game was the only one Franks had enough time to throw the ball that far the whole game while I don’t know why UT chose that particular play to give up entirely on defense.

    gidiots? i don’t know, but there is a difference between a limping mess and a two-time SEC East winning team that just beat UT, and when someone fails to realize this, maybe they need a reality check.

    mcelwain was a solid enough offensive football coach to be the o coordinator on a national championship team, and yet so many gators think they know more about how to coach a football team than he does.

    the results on the field are the results of the players on the field. everyone can blame the coaches for the recruiting if they must, but in the end, it has so much more to do with the players who play the game (and the players who end up not playing the game as well). if anyone out there thinks that recruiting is going to change by turning the coaching job into a revolving door, they’re right. the recruiting will get worse.

    i’m not saying this team shouldn’t be aspirational. i’m saying that Gator fans are sometimes unrealistic in those aspirations. the offensive woes are not new to this team, and while it is progressing, it’s obviously not fast enough for everybody. sorry, but there is no magic wand. this is a good team, not a great team. some of the tantrums on this page reek of the entitlement of spoiled little chlidren.

  7. As a Tennessee fan, I will try to be as objective about the what I saw from the game. First, I’m not certain that Butch Jones could outcoach or outfox half of the high school coaches across the country. How can you have the ball first and goal at the 1 yard line and not give it to John Kelly, who was clearly the best player on the field Saturday.

    Florida’s freshman slot receiver (forgot his name) looked really good! Man, he has some great moves and is really quick once he gets the ball. He is going to be a playmaker for you guys. I think that Franks is going to be a solid QB for you guys as well. When he has time to throw, he seems to have a good pocket presence and obviously has a great arm.

    I think that your O-line is not as bad as some think and can become a good unit. Michigan has a very good D-line and Tennessee’s D-line is not nearly as bad as many believe and let me explain. Granted, we got gashed big time towards the end of 2016 and by Ga. Tech in the first game. However, injuries have been a major factor. In the recruiting class of 2015, we signed Shy Tuttle and Khalil McKensie, a high 4 star and 5 star DT. For those of you that remember John Henderson and Albert Haynesworth from our 2001 team, that is what many UT fans envisioned when we signed Tuttle and McKensie. I thought that once their junior year rolled around (2017), that those two DT’s would be dominant, much like Henderson and Haynesworth. Injuries made both of them a shadow of what they would have been their first two seasons. Now, they are healthy enough to play and we are starting to see what they might become. If both Tuttle and McKensie stay healthy the rest of the season, teams are not going to gash us up the middle. In fact, those guys could be a real headache going forward for many teams. Add to them Kyle Phillips, a high 4 star DE in the class of 2015. He was a wild man in the US AA game in San Antonio and looked like the next Derek Barnett. He too has been decimated by injuries his first two seasons. Darrin Kirkland was a stud LB until injuries the last two seasons have limited him as well.

    I know that Florida fans are complaining that your O-line didn’t do much against our “suspect” defensive line. But, now that Tuttle and McKensie are back together, our D-line is not as suspect as many assume. Now, if those guys go down with injuries, our D-line will be toast.

    Finally, if I had to choose between coach Jones or coach Mac, I would choose celibacy! I’m not sure I have seen two coaches who can’t get out of their own way. If this was the NFL, coach Jones and certainly the DB coach would have been fired after the last second heave by Florida. That play was eerily similar to the bomb that Georgia hit on our defense with 12 seconds left in the game. In college football, those two blunders by UT’s secondary and coaches are cardinal sins. In the NFL, those would have been unforgiveable sins.

  8. We beat Tennessee for a few reasons:

    1. Tennessee cannot beat Florida in the Swamp. There are forces beyond the physical world actively at work to prevent it, as proven by the last two meetings in Gainesville.

    2. The inner mind of Butch Jones. UT has the ball on our 1 yard line, and a running back who cannot be tackled by a Florida defense that is wearing down. Butch Jones, dressed oddly in khaki pants with BLACK sneakers, says “I wanna throw it.” The ball is nearly intercepted in double coverage by Gardner and Dawson. On 3rd and goal, Tennesee is picked off by Dawson on the one yard line.

    3. Florida is better than Tennessee. I can’t really say in what way, but Florida has players that know what it takes to get to Atlanta and Tennessee apparently does not.

    I will say that any Florida fan who is frustrated and angry about this team has EVERY RIGHT to be. Our defense scored three touchdowns this season before our offense finally scored one — in the fourth quarter of game two. There was a point where it seemed like the game might really end 6-3, until both defenses went on life support in the final 12 minutes or so. Franks has a tremendous arm, and he’s the only guy on our team that could’ve completed that pass to Cleveland at the end. I just don’t think he seems ready to be a starting quarterback in this conference. He doesn’t look good when the defense brings pressure (understandable at least for a freshman), and he’s committed two VERY BAD turnovers in both our games now. That pass to our TE Lewis was a bad throw that should’ve been an easy completion. Most troubling, it came at a time where a big long drive would’ve put UT away AND done wonders for his confidence and poise. Good quarterbacks put teams away in situations like that.

    If we are under 14 points heading into the fourth quarter Saturday against Kentucky, I’d like to see Luke Del Rio enter the game. Don’t get me wrong, I wanna see Franks light it up and be our guy! I am just being honest about what I see.

    • Can someone please acknowledge my near prophetic words:

      “f we are under 14 points heading into the fourth quarter Saturday against Kentucky, I’d like to see Luke Del Rio enter the game. Don’t get me wrong, I wanna see Franks light it up and be our guy! I am just being honest about what I see.”