The Sunday Blog, status heading into bye week

Florida defensive lineman Cece Jefferson (96) kneels on the field as offensive lineman Antonio Riles stands with him Saturday night after the Gators lost to Texas A&M at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Aggies beat Florida 19-17. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

The Sunday Blog comes at you after a late night and really excited about a bye week coming at the right time for the Gators and for yours truly.

1 — So, which fan base do you think is more miserable right now. Florida’s or Tennessee’s? Probably Florida’s because Tennessee wasn’t supposed to be anything special this year. Florida was sold as a team ready to kick down some doors, but what we didn’t know was that there were detectives on the other side. Tennessee fans were so excited last week they were posting pictures of Jon Gruden on campus, apparently forgetting his son is a student there and he was calling the Monday night game in Nashville. Anyway, the answer is C. They are both miserable.

2 — I kept remarking that I actually had to go to work today because filling out my Associated Press ballot was going to be a battle with so many upsets. I’m sure I missed something (having slept way too late for an 11 a.m. deadline) but I did have TCU at No. 2, Penn State at three and Georgia at four. If you can spit out the taste of these last two Gator losses, what a delicious college football season this has been so far.

3 — For example, I get home at around 1 a.m. and there are four games to watch and one of them is the improbable Arizona State upset of Washington. The Sun Devils haven’t been able to slow down a slow-running stream all season and then shut Washington out until late in the game. This was the cherry on top of the Upset Cake that started Friday night. It’s why college football is the best sport in the world.

4 — I always look forward to the open Saturday because we get to spend it like all of the other fans do. No deadlines, eat what you want, set up multiple TVs so you don’t miss a play. Maybe I should have a tailgate in my backyard. Anyway, I have already started mapping out my schedule and I’m not including Tennessee at Alabama because I don’t like scary movies. To be honest, it’s nothing much. But here’s what I know. It will be. Right?


  1. I’ve been supportive of Coach Mac and still remain supportive. I realize that my motivations are more related to not wanting to blow this thing up again and starting over again with new regime, than my belief in the coaching philosophy of current regime.
    Cons for Firing.
    Current athlete’s won’t fit new coaching as next coach is always diametrically opposed philosophically to current coach.
    Current recruiting class appears pretty strong although a little lite on defensive side and OL as currently constituted
    Coaching staff recent changes have been upgrade with long term benefits on recruiting
    In spite of fans thinking any coach in America would want to coach here we seldom able hire our first choice during coaching searches
    Not having a no brainer hire in the wings
    Doubtful any coach could have done much better with this team given the obstacles this team faces
    Pro’s for firing
    No more Coach Nuss who is probably a great individual but one whose track record is less than enviable during a carreer as OC
    No more Coach Nord I don’t know anything about other than the production of his ST are nasty
    No more Mac Pressers which are brutal
    No more bashing Gator Fans by Media. The media routinely says all gator fans are lie the squeky wheels that’s big time fallacy. Could you imagine saying that about an ethnic group in this day and age. Gator Fans are individuals most of them do not post or call in radio shows. Every fan base has short sighted idiots just listen to Paul Finebaum. So stop telling me that we are hurting recruiting by the venting of our squeky wheels. Media hurts recruiting by saying everybody at UF is like our vocal minority.
    End current frustrations by taking vengence.
    After evaulating where we are and where we want to go I still think the best option is stick with Mac after season as long as he is willing to make more changes to coaching staff during off season, If he is unwilling to make changes my opinion will change. Hey I’m a Gator not loyal to ne coach above another I’m for the program. I’m also very frustrated by what I’m seeing on the feild. Hell the style we played under Mac it like WM never left town or we are being haunted by the ghost of DD for some past transgressions. In the end thats my point change of HC do not always translate to better. As hard as it is and as ditasteful as it may seem I feel the best action at the moment is no action.
    Gator fans remember these kids on this team chose to be Gators. They work and I haven’t seen any quite in them. They did not create the environment that they have been thrust in. We can want them to preform better but as long as they are giving a 100% how can we as Gators give them anything but Love and Support. I’m sure they will not forget it if we do they are still kids and should not be blamed just because we are Grumpy.
    Hey with all we had to endure it would make even sweeter to kick Georgia Ass. Go Gators

    • Spot on. Couldn’t say it any better. One caveat though: I’ve never in my life until this year heard a coach say a kid “messed up” (cleaning it up for this blog) by working hard and making an effort and scoring. That’s my black mark on McElwain. That’s a bad sign. Myself, like you seem to be, is reminded of the 70’s and mid to late 80’s of mediocrity. No offense, no swagger, and just no belief in the system. I told everyone Saturday night at 17-13, that Florida would find a way to lose. That’s what they did. I’m now banned from my group. LOL.

    • I feel that Mac needs to stay through the end of this season and be the coach at the start of next season. Even though the Gators are probably looking at 4-7 or 5-6. If he doesn’t turn it around next season though, he should be gone.

    • I like Coach Mac and thinks he should be retained. However, it is very apparent that Coach Nuss needs to go. When former players call his offense “a high school offense, … pure trash” that is telling. His offense is basically two runs up the middle, a short pass attempt and a punt. I still scratch my head and wonder why Coach Mac hasnt reached out to Coach Spurrier for guidence and assistance, especially when the HBC said he would like to be an offensive coordinator again. The longer Coach Mac supports Coach Nuss, the thiner the ice becomes under both of thier feet. Its time for change and now!

      As for Spurrier, the reason he was so popular was that he had a vested interested in the Gators as an alumni, and a former player. He had passion for his school and his team. As coach, he wanted to win and win big. With Mac, he shows no passion. Its though he really doesn’t care. I know its not true, but appearances are everything. And when we lose, he list a variety of “why’s”. There is an old saying: “Winners take responsibility when they lose or if something goes wrong, and Losers blame other people or things” I want Coach Mac to succeed but keeping Coach Nuss is a mistake and a liability to his tenure as the Coach of the University of Florida.

  2. The great news is……the Florida basketball season is not far away. So we will soon get to watch a well-coached team soon. And, glory, the Gators football team can’t blow another game this weekend because of bad (or bad offensive) coaching and QB play. And there is always next year for the football program, hopefully with Nussmeier and Nord no longer on the Florida coaching staff.

  3. Freshman quarterback, Freshman runningback, Freshmen and Sophomores all over the place are trying to replace a team that had a number of players drafted by the NFL last year. Expect losses, peaks and valleys, cheering and being ticked off. The 2017 version of our Gators will have growing pains.
    Yes, like you, I miss the Fun and Gun and the Spread. Now we have three scores and we’re dead.
    Maybe some day, Mac and the crew will figure out how to score points. For now the restless Gator nation will have to be patient.
    Remember Alabama like Rome wasn’t built in one day. I hate this losing like you do but it’s better than rooting for Jawja, Criminoles, Convicts, and that gaudy orange.

      • Saban is one of the greatest coaches of his generation and maybe of all time. Those coaches are extremely rare. We were fortunate to have generational coach SOS and Urban, unfortunately both those guys quit on his. Who would lie to see replace Mac. Why will he be better? Why do you think we can get that Coach? I would be interested in your reply.

    • Terrance Thomas. It took Saban one year to turn the Bama program around and it was in about as bad a situation as the one McElwain took over at Florida. And Saban went to the national title game last year with a true freshman at QB. It took Smart one year to turn the Georgia program, which was really not very good last year, into a top four team contending for the national title this year. And Georgia is winning big with a true freshman QB at the helm this year. It has been three years of total inept offenses under McElwain. And Franks, a redshirt freshman and not a true freshman, is no better a QB than the day he did step on campus as a true freshman. He is clueless on the football field while being coached by McElwain and Nussmeier. Stop making excuses, as this team is loaded with poorly coached talent. The problem IS COACHING, not players or the age or experience of the players. Syracuse, with players nowhere near the talent that fills the roster of the Florida Gators right now, beat Clemson yesterday because of coaching and offensive execution. It coaching issues at Florida are clear and if McElwain does not get it fixed over the offseason with some excellent hires of assistant coaches on offense and special teams, Florida will be start to look for a new head coach about this time next year. I have been a McElwain supporter, but I am sick of the ineptitude of play on the offensive side of the ball due to poor coaching and bad execution as a result, and just horrible play called in an offensive scheme that seems like it should have been left in the last century. Love my Gators and will support them to my last breath. But I have had enough of excuses and blame from McElwain. Time for him to put up or shut up, I say. And putting up first would be the firing of Doug Nussmeier right now.

  4. We’ve done this before, a fourth year of Muschamp and we saw how that worked out.

    We ended Zooks tenure after Year three and ended up with a coach who gave us consistent top 5 and top 10 recruiting classes (including a #1 ranked class), a Heisman winner, 2 SEC and 2 National Titles.

    The McElwain experiment has failed. Year 3 and we are 3-3 and unranked and looking at at more losses.

    Just yank the band-aid off quickly and Let a move innfron Mac and Nussmeier’s circus called an offense.

    Its time to just be done with this and move on.

    • Urban was consensus best up and commer for his work at Bowling Green and Utah. He came to UF because his relationship with Machen. Zook was a panic move by Foley. He is only AD I’ve ever heard hire a special teams as a Head Coach. That why fire Ron Zook .com was posted the day he was hired. Calling for a firing without a realistic targeted plan for a replacement that you know can you get is just venting. Tell me your plan if you have one. Personnally, I don’t see an Urban waiting in the wings.
      Coach Mac needs ro improve on Game Day thats for sure, but he has improved the infastructure of the program and when and if he leaves he will have left a better program than he inherited. I can’t say that about Urban.

      • Kozo the Clown was the WORST. That move was doomed on Day One. Kozo had already been run out town twice as failed D coordinator. Sure, he had some success in the NFL as a special teams coach. But he was a hot mess as head coach for the Gators. I still don’t know what to make of Coach Mac. I am willing to give benefit of the doubt this season because of massive attrition (suspensions + injuries). The suspensions are on the coaches. They recruited these guys. Injuries are part of the game and can quickly derail a season. Of greater concern is the part where Mac basically lied to us all off-season (about the O-line being a “strength”). Get on the recruiting trail. Bring in some lineman. Identify a qb and keep them healthy. In the meantime, beat Dawg Scum in 2 weeks and all is well.

  5. Calls to fire Mac are WAY too premature. With the hand he’s been dealt, ie. suspensions, injuries, NFL departures, all of which mean we have a really young team on the field, it’s a given the season was going to be a challenge. I’m not sure any coach, including Saban, wouldn’t have struggled some with the circumstances Mac has faced. Now, I agree with some calling for a change with Nuss and Nord. Mac has to cut the loyalty ties or HE will face the music. As he is so famous for saying, “We all have the freedom of choice, but not of consequence”. But if you cut Mac now you set this program back for another five years. He has a great ’18 class coming in that could set the world on fire in the next two years, followed by a quickly developing ’19 class. Everyone has the right to vent and even to even call for his firing, but you also have the right to be wrong…Walk in Mac’s shoes for a day,week or season. It might change the lenses we’re looking through. I hate losing like the rest of you. Couldn’t fall asleep last night because I kept replaying the fourth quarter in my head…ugh. But I do believe we need to “weather” this season, not “back down” in our support, and give Mac a chance to grow through this adversity…Just my opinion. GO GATORS and, yes Rick, bring on Gator Basketball!!!

    • Frank, I agree partly but here’s my concern with Mac. He is simply a horrible game day coach. Do you know that during his post-game news conference he said he didn’t realize he had one timeout remaining in the first half with six seconds left. He’s the head coach. He has to know how the game is playing out. And he doesn’t know he has a timeout. There’s no saying whether a quick pass and Piniero kick would have happened but… my God he gets paid $4-million a year and he just can’t figure things out. The same thing nearly happened against Tennessee until the TD bailed him out. Timeouts on the board and Mac stumbling along with sideline (excuse me) clueless about what’ s gong on. That’s my problem with him. Nice guy, starting to recruit well, but when the clock is ticking and he needs to make a decision he does not know what’s going on. And sadly I don’t think that will ever change.

  6. What is the opposite of premature? Post-mature? “Remaining in the development stage longer than the normal period.” The fact that the Gators have not improved an iota offensively in the last 2.5 years with a “quarterback whisperer” as head coach just doesn’t wash. And no QB after 3 recruiting cycles is here or has been developed doesn’t make it. We are beyond tedious to watch on O, even with my orange and blue glasses on.

    Replacement? Right now I’d take any hot young head coach or any successful coordinator over McElwain. Now it’s the players’ fault. We clearly have talent, even with 25% of the team sidelined, but the fact the head coach can’t figure out how to put the team in a position to win, despite whatever handicaps exist, is squarely on him. Period.

    As far as walking in Mac’s shoes for a day, I’d be happy to do so. He’s paid literally $15,000/day. That’s a lot of dough for the results the Gator Nation is getting.

    And in this case, the Gator Nation is the right demographic

    • NG- Good counter. Here’s the deal. For every one of your arguments I could respond with one and likewise. It’s all conjecture because ultimately it’s about money. And the big boys will decide when the bottom line is no longer negotiable.

  7. I would like to clarify Pat’s answer to point one. The correct answer is D. Tennessee fans should be happy because they know Butch will be fired years end. Gator fans should be sad because we are going to be stuck with Mac for at least one more year.
    Perhaps we should hire James Franklin before A & m does. Bet he could turn it around.

  8. I think one thing Mac is not a good head coach. There are many good coaches out there not coaching now like:
    Les Miles (LSU had at least 10 wins each year he was there)
    Gene Chizik (Did he take Auburn to the National Champ game?)
    Charlie Strong ( good coach he was just not a good fit at TX, look at him now)
    Chip Kelly (would be my last choice) but he is good.

    It takes a different kind of coach to be in the SEC and Mac is not that kind of coach.

    • I love Charlie Strong, but I don’t think it would be a good fit. Charlie Strong is good at a program like Louisville and South Florida. Florida is too similar to Texas.

      Gene Chizik is not a good choice. He got lucky to have one of the great QBs in college football history carry the team on his shoulders. That and a good D won the NC. Without Cam Newton he was average to awful.

    • None of the above! We do not want an “established coach” We need a hungry up and coming coach to lead the Gators. Preferably with Gator connections. Someone like Coach Mike Mularkey who played for the Gators in 1981-82. I want a coach who is vested into the Gator program, who has sweated and who bleeds Orange and Blue. Yes, he is a current NFL coach with the Tennessee Titans but I bet he would head back to G’ville if asked.

  9. Here are my feelings. Agree or disagree I think most of the coaches are worth retaining. Nuss, Nord and the strength coach need to hit the road. The other coaches are showing their worth. Shannon needs to be more aggressive with his defensive play calling. It’s not illegal to call a blitz. If we fired Mac I think our program gets set back again and we lose our recruiting base and the relationships our coaches are building as a new head coach would bring in his own coaching staff. Mac let coaches go in the past and I think he’s smart enough to do it again. On a positive side if we beat GA and win out and GA loses to Auburn we can still win the east. Not likely but not impossible
    Go Gators

  10. I am supportive of Coach Mack but Doug Nuss must go immediately. My suggestion is to let Steve Spurrier come in (I know he is retired) to help in the offense the rest of the season and then bring in a new Offensive coach that has vision and coaching ability. The fans should know that Mac has won more games and second to Saban. Go Gators!

  11. Mitch, I agree with your comments. I have especially wished we could have some imput from Spurrier as to the Gators problems. Coach Spurrier is not only a great coach but he definitely knows how to bring out the best in quarterbacks. I think Franks has shown enough promise, it would be very interesting to see what Spurrier could do with him. As Spurrier always said, “We’ll coach ‘um up.” This Gator team started the season with nine players being suspended and have since had several out because of injuries. This team has had it’s share of diversity to deal with and yet I think they they continue to play with a lot of heart. I will continue to cheer for my Gators and support them in every way!

  12. I think the play-calling goes back to the QB situation. With LDR under center, all the sudden the playbook was open. The coaches are trying to call plays they feel Franks can handle. Apparently they don’t have a lot of options. And they certainly aren’t going to come out in the media and say, “Franks is terrible, but he’s the best we have.”

    All of which begs the question, where is Zaire? Maybe he needs another shot?

    • Without the PED suspension, Grier would be in his third year in Mac’s offense and would almost certainly be way better than what we have now. Even before the suspension, Grier was better than what Franks has shown so far. Franks has the physical tools, but hasn’t shown consistent ability to think and execute in game situations. The two plays where he ran out of bounds for losses instead of throwing the ball away were mind-boggling. I’m sure Mac and Nuss have coached him to throw the ball away, but for whatever reason, he didn’t get it done. I don’t want to be overly critical of Franks, and I’m certainly hoping he can put it all together and become a good QB, but right now he’s not playing well.