Dooley: The good news, bad news about Florida-Miami game

Florida players sing the school's alma mater after beating the Miami Hurricanes in the Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on August 24, 2019. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Now that you have had time to digest Florida’s opening game, try not to burp in my face.

We have discussed it, rewatched it, dissected every stat and every wild and crazy play. We can’t move on because there is nothing to move on to for another week.

So we deal with indigestion.

During the last couple of days, the mood of the Gator Nation has swayed back and forth like the cellphone flashlights in the stands during “I Won’t Back Down.”

What did we just see on Saturday night?

How can this team make so many mistakes?

What’s the deal with Feleipe Franks?

Why was a bottled water $9 at the concession stand?

We all survived it, the three first-half fire alarms, the oppressive heat even for Florida, the last eight minutes of bizarre game time.

And now we look back one last time. Just don’t stare. It’s like looking at a car accident where everyone is OK, but the cars are not drivable.

There was a little bit good and a little bit bad. (Makes me think of that old Monkees’ song).

The good news is the obvious, that Florida won and is 1-0.

The bad news is that the stamp Dan Mullen’s team put on the game is torn and crooked on the envelope.

The good news is that Franks threw for more yards than any quarterback did a year ago against Miami. And he’s third in the nation in passing yards.

The bad news is that he threw two balls at the wrong team and only five quarterbacks have played so far this year.

The good news is that Florida averaged 5.7 yards a play, not too far below last year’s 6.2 average.

The bad news is that Florida only ran 54 plays. Only once last season did Florida run fewer plays, 53 in a blowout win over Tennessee because of six turnovers and a bunch of short fields.

The good news is that the hustle shown by senior Van Jefferson as a gunner on special teams was something every player on that team can use as motivation.

The bad news is that they couldn’t find last year’s leading receiver on offense. He caught one pass.

The good news is that Florida won a game where it lost time of possession (36:13 to 23:47), was minus-3 in turnovers (teams usually win about 11 percent of the time with a minus-3), had 100 yards in penalties and averaged 1.8 yards a rush.

The bad news is that all of those things actually happened.

The good news is that Florida’s pass rush was ferocious despite Miami keeping extra players in to block on all but one of the 10 sacks Florida recorded.

The bad news is that the rush allowed the screen game of Miami to work, especially early.

The good news is that Franks played the game with a lot of emotion.

The bad news is that the Get Off My Lawn Police will tell you what you can and cannot do after a touchdown especially when your next offensive play is a potential game-losing pick.

The good news is that Jon Greenard, who had serious wrist surgery after the first game of last season, was an absolute beast on the field.

The bad news is that both Malik Davis and Marco Wilson looked like they have more rust to scrape off.

The good news is that Florida limited Miami to two first downs on 14 third-down plays.

The bad news is that Florida was 2 for 10. (But 4 for 4 on fourth down).

The good news is that Florida gets a week off.

The bad news is that this team probably needs to play again as soon as possible.

The good news is that Miami appears to be good enough to help Florida’s strength of schedule for the College Football Playoff committee.

The bad news is you are going to hurt yourself if you keep laughing that hard.

The good news is that Disney World is still the happiest place on Earth judging from the three-hour infomercial that was GameDay on ESPN.

The bad news is that Camping World Stadium is the unhappiest place on Earth.

The good news is that you can spend a couple more days replaying this game in your minds.

The bad news is that you can spend a couple more days replaying this game in your minds.

— Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at


    • I like Dooley’s writing style. It’s entertaining and clever as you said. I mean, how does anyone come up with analogies like this?:

      “During the last couple of days, the mood of the Gator Nation has swayed back and forth like the cellphone flashlights in the stands during “I Won’t Back Down.”

      Now, if you’re looking for hard hitting analysis with lots of meat or insider information, you are going to have to pay for it. Wait….I think you…nevermind.

      • I have always liked his style, Sly, it reminding me of a great Tampa Tribune writer from the days of my callow youth. Now, as a callow old fart, I’ll certainly give him credit for punching my buttons now and then. Well, somebody’s got to do it, I suppose — might as well be Dooley! I can’t go on living by the motto, “Start slow and taper off”, you know. But you’re talking to a guy who used to put salt on his fried Spam sandwiches, and always thought peanut butter and canned beer were the two best inventions mankind ever came up with. So the million dollar question still remains: You coming back full time? But I digress — I meant to ask, “You coming back full time?”. If so, hurry….the sheep are dying and I’m about to lose my marbles over here.

    • Hey bud….welcome aboard! That makes two of you down in Austin, AustinGator being the other, and I’m just up I-35 in Salado. Spread the word among your Gator buddies down there — they need to be on here too. I know there are a few of them, just don’t know who they all are.

  1. That game was exactly as sloppy and unwatchable as I expected going in. Ok, I significantly underestimated the penalties. If I were a bettin’ man, I would have set the over/under at 17 total penalties between the 2 teams. Clearly someone was holding a beer somewhere because the teams blew by that number like nobody’s business.

    Am I the only one dialed in on the “Week 0/week early” narrative? This was still the 1st game of the season – and a week early to boot. My very 1st thought remains foremost in my mind – BOTH teams could have used another week of practice. I am NOT going to panic and declare this slap-happy, mistake-fest is going to be the norm. It’s an OLD saw that teams improve the most after the 1st game. In many ways, this was the best possible outcome. The Gators got the W. And the coaches have enough mistakes (on film) to fuel a month of ass-chewing. Nobody can possibly be complacent.

    And no way do I buy the idea that the Gators took the Canes lightly. Miami’s good enough to match up with UF. Miami will probably be favored in every other game of their creampuff schedule. The Gators probably not. But the mental mistakes and lack of discipline – while horrifying – are over for at least another week. That’s the sort of stuff coaching can – and MUST – “clean up”. This IS a good time for a bye week. The coaches and the players all need to do better. Coach ’em up, Dan. Coach ’em up. Go Gators!

    • Great post, Gopher — now we’re getting somewhere. Only thing I would disagree with is Miami actually matching up with Florida, but of course I could be wrong on that. Regrettably, it’s going to be hard to tell one way or the other. I will say, tho…and my opinion only…..that the game should have not been so close but for our rust and early season mistakes. Was Miami plagued by the same thing? Probably, but what I saw of them beneath that surface, against an SEC team, does not bode well for a great season. Their game with Mack Brown and NC should tell a lot — as should our early SEC play. As STL said some time back, as far as our own prospects go, it better gel before Auburn. I think it will a lot sooner…..the errors are all correctable, and what’s missing is that sense of urgency they finally found last year. Better find it again, post haste!

    • Up here in the Great Northwest, we’re gong to be taking a close look at the Oregon Auburn game. Is one of the better teams in the Pac12 capable of playing in the SEC, or was Arizona-Hawaii indicative of the state of a once-proud conference? Unfortunately, my sports-obsessed grandson and I have a wedding to go to.

  2. I’m not that concerned. It was an odd game but it was the opening game of the season, so I think that was why we were so sloppy.

    Going into the game, everyone was saying that Miami had a young offense and a very strong defense, especially the front seven. The prediction was that it would be a blow out if our offensive line could hold up and it was going to be close if they couldn’t. Well, it seems that is exactly what happened.

    Franks played average, but he was under enormous pressure all game. The OL, especially on the right side was porous. However, we knew that might happen. There were some times where he stepped up in the pocket and other times where he hesitated way too long. The fumble near the goal line was ridiculous, but he also took off and dove into the endzone against Miami’s best DB for the winning touchdown. The interception with 4-minutes left in the 4th quarter was awful but the DL was all over him. Franks didn’t step up in the pocket either so both the OL and Franks take the blame.

    The WRs and the lack of running game were also because of the OL struggles and Miami’s defense. How is Franks supposed to throw it deep or intermediate when he is being pressured constantly? Perine was targeted the most of any player on the team; it shows that Franks did not have time for routes to develop. Now, in fairness to the OL, there were times where Franks left the pocket WAY too early; when he did this, the route trees are useless because he has rolled right or left.

    The penalties are sloppy but correctable. I was most surprised at the tackling of our secondary and the lack of desire to break down and hit someone. Everything was a shoulder dive and the angles were terrible. I think we saw just how valuable Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was to this team last year.

    Franks jawing on the sideline is way overblown. If Mullen doesn’t care, I don’t either. I do think its ironic that Herbstreit and Fowler went on and on criticizing Franks for hamming it up for the camera and talking to the crowd. Meanwhile, they praised the Miami players for posing for the cameras as they glared into the stands and put on a gaudy turnover chain and touchdown rings. Especially when those are the same Miami players that ended up losing the game.

    All in all, we need to get the OL fixed, tackle better and cut down on penalties. Franks is not a fast decision maker and he panics, so him and a bad OL is not a good combo.

    • Good analysis, Orlando. I suspect the OL will get it together muy pronto now. They got exactly what they couldn’t get fully in practice but what they needed — game time against a Power-5 defense not their own. The team came out on top someway or another — I didn’t “feel” that it would wind up a loss during the game, although I sure was holding my breath at times — but I’ve must say that I’m glad that it wasn’t an SEC team they were facing. I might have “felt” different during and after the game had that been the case. Sure as hell beat opening up with Charleston Southern.

      • I agree. I felt like we would pull it out during the game. I also think the offensive line will be fine. Miami’s front seven is very very good and, like you said, a great test. In the past, Muschamp or McElwain would’ve lost that game; Mullen figured out a way to win it.

  3. The good news is we got an actual meaningful football game a week early where we were the center of attention.

    The bad news is we have to wait another two weeks for our next meaningful game @ Kentucky.

    If we beat the football juggernaut of UT Martin in a close game the sky will continue to fall. If we destroy them, I doubt anyone will be impressed.