Gators on a real slippery slope

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I’ve been asked a lot the past week if I thought the Gators have a legitimate chance to turn things around this week against Georgia and sweep their three remaining SEC games (Georgia, Vanderbilt and South Carolina), which would put Florida in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.

My answer has been: most definitely. Absolutely.

But I quickly add that there’s also the possibility the Gators won’t win another game this season.

Georgia is on a roll right now and playing as well as any team in the SEC. The ‘Dogs are the consensus pick to win Saturday’s game in Jacksonville.

Vanderbilt on the road is another potential loss if the Gators don’t start showing significant improvement on both sides of the ball. The Commodores have been awful on the road, but they play pretty good defense at home (and pretty good defense against this Florida offense can be good enough, as we saw in the Mississippi State loss).

South Carolina in The Swamp is yet another tough matchup for the struggling Gators. The Gamecocks are strong on defense and they have the kind of balance on offense that has had success against the Florida defense.

Many have looked at Appalachian State as a gimmie win on the schedule, but the Mountaineers are undefeated and will treat their date in The Swamp like a championship game.

Then the Gators close out the season in Tallahassee, where it appears the Seminoles are strong again and plotting revenge after six consecutive losses to Florida.

I know it looks and sounds strange, but it’s conceivable the Gators could finish the season at 4-7 — what would be UF’s first losing season since the 0-10-1 debacle in 1979.

The five remaining games are all loseable. But they’re also all winnable.

The Gators could go any either direction.

This slippery slope should make for an interesting (and scary) stretch run for Urban and the boys.

42 COMMENTS

  1. I will admit i had the same thoughts except i really didn’t even give App State any real thought but you are right. And the Michigan team that they knocked off a couple of years ago was probably better than this Gator team is, at least that’s how i feel some times. Then i also think we are a fluke play away from beating LSU and a place kicker away from maybe a different outcome in the Miss State game, which sure you can say never should have been close, but this is the SEC.

  2. Have to agree totally with your interesting (and scary) forecast. At this time, I’m just not ready to concede that the dogs are on a meaningful roll until they beat a quality opponent. A Gator victory on Saturday will go a long way to redeeming this season.

  3. Georgia’s been as good or better for 3 games in a row than any other SEC East club, unless maybe S Carolina, but even that’s a close call. The Dawgs, however, have beaten theSEC’s 2 weakest teams and a third that has about the poorest defense among the 12 teams. So I’m not sold on Georgia yet. Meantime, the Gators are two plays from being 6-1, ranked in the top 10-12. Not that UF has been a good team so far, but the gap between Florida and LSU, MSU and even Bama has not been talent. It’s coaching. Games are won and lost up front. Someone needs to address that issue pretty soon or at least by January.

  4. With all due repest, I doubt App State will “treat their date in The Swamp like a championship game.” They will likely have clinched a top seed in the FCS playoffs which starts the following week. Since they will be playing for a real championship in the following weeks, the Florida game is off little on-the-field importance. Unless they are actually winning, I suspect App’s starters will see limited action in the second half.

  5. I’ve said this several times now, when UF struggled and did not put away kentucky in the 2nd quarter, knew then UF was in for a long season. You are what you are…mid-season changes rarely work…I’m hopeful but not very confident. I’ll admit, I was the one who said too many things had to happen for UF to win the mythical national ‘ship in 1996…only difference then, UF was 10 times better than this years team.

  6. We will enjoy playing but please don’t think we treat these games as championships because they are not and we have played for championships and won 3 of them. Please understand that we are very excited about the game and I will be there but it is a very fun non conf game. The championship will be 5 weeks later and I hope we will be there.

  7. While we appreciate the publicity and the respect, I don’t see the Mountaineers scaring your Gators to bad. I can’t wait for this game because I want to come and visit the legendary Swamp. Plus Coach Moore partially owes Urban for the turnaround and ultimate success of our football program. Back 2004, our coach went from the option I to the spread. He looked at what Meyer had been doing on offense at Utah and wanted to emulate it so he contacted Urban.

    In 2004, ASU went 6-5, losing all our road games. In 2005, the national title run began. By all accounts, I believe the two coaches have a great deal of respect for one another. Urban was who Coach Moore wanted to model his offense around. Unfortunately, flying our coaches out to Utah was to expensive for the program, so they headed north to WVU to learn the spread from RichRod and the rest is history. Good luck to your Gators, can’t wait to visit the Swamp.

  8. While I agree with WILEY that UGA has only beaten up on SEC cellar-dwellars so far, I don;t agree about being 2 fluke plays away from being 6-1. Sorry, but if LSU doesn’t turn the ball over a couple of times, we get blown out, and lets face it, MSU’s Mullen just bascially reading Addazio’s playbook from over his shoulder. They stuffed almost every play we ran before the ball was snapped. This is Georgia this weekend, it’s time to find some solutions and get back on track. It’s time for Urban Meyer to do with Steve Addazio what Steve Spurrier did with his incompetent DC Jon Hoke… literally hold his hand and guide him through the rest of this season until we can find a real OC who’s qualified to coordinate an offense.

  9. Great to see that all of the Gator ocaches and players are taking responsibility to really see what’s been going on with Gator play. For anyone who’s had some hard knocks in life a real in-depth look at what’s going on is the first step in making positive change and improvement. Win or loose the remaining games on the schedule in 10 years it really won’t matter. What will matter is what lessons our kids take from how the Gators handle misfortune, with perserverance or by giving up. Great lessons for my grandkids

  10. Gators have to man up and play football like men! Enough has been said already. We are not a physical team, so let’s play finesse then, that means more trickeration and smart football.
    Meyer needs to admit that his coaching staff is not up to the task at hand and stop blaming it all on the players. I tell you when it is the players fault, whenever they fumble, throw an interception, miss a tackle or miss a blocking assignment…but calling dive plays on every first down or asking Brantley to run the option is the COACHES FAULT!
    Mix it up. Pretend that Burton is going to run the option but ask his to pass. Spread the field and pretend Brantley is going to pass and actually go around, do a bootleg and gain 4 yards on first down. IT IS TIME TO INNOVATE IF NOT, THIS IS GOING TO BE A LONG AN UGLY SEASON!
    GO GATORS!!!

  11. It is extremely unseemly for UM to constantly blame the players. That is lacking in class. Spurrier, no stickler for decorum, always laid losses at the coaches’ feet. Addazio is not of the same caliber as the players he coaches. We are the best program in the country. We get the best players in the country. Mediocre is not acceptable.

  12. If App State stays healthy, this will be a very good game…We (ASU) are undefeated, but we still have those moments of stupid plays. I think ya’ll will win, but I think it will be a pretty close game, and it won’t be decided until the last few minutes of the game. It’ll still be a good game regardless. GO APP STATE!

  13. I’m tired of hearing this or that player “isn’t ready”…Pardon me but isn’t it the coaches job to GET PLAYERS READY!!!!!!!!!!!!All of these four and five star athletes can’t be “Busts”. Im sorry our coaching is just not there…

  14. Lizard,
    Miss St is in the second half of our schedule and they scare the caca out of me.

    Andreu,
    Don’t shortchange the Gators. We have seven victories in a row against the Semi-holes. The Swindle is a W for UF in every record book that matters.

  15. Just checked the stats, and the Gators rank 106th (yes 106) in the country in the number of scrimmage plays over 30 yards. No explosive stuff happening. p.s. that ties us with Indiana and Toledo(no joke). p.s.s. Utah is #5.

  16. @ Another Steve —
    If UGA is not on a “meaningful roll,” then how does a Gator victory against them “redeem” the season? What if they sucked, like Vandy (sorry Vandy) – would it redeem the season then?
    Aside from improving the series record,… not really. After the initial joy of beating our hated rival, we’d remember: “oh yeah – they suck!”
    Even a hated rival has to be better than you for a victory to have any [satisfying] redemptive value.
    I gather, then, if they beat us they’d be on a roll THEN? REALLY?! No – it’d be a CONTINUANCE of the roll they’re already on. We both would simply realize that we actually suck even more than we each realized going in!!
    Neither would it be redemptive for them.
    It would, however, INDEED be redemptive for us, but exactly BECAUSE they’re on a roll – in the opposite direction of the “roll” we’re on!!! The rivalry would only accentuate that,… for either.
    Certainly, a victory would be gratifying (and a relief) for either of us, but for different reasons: for them because we’ve owned them lately; for us because four consecutive losses is unconscionable.
    The peculiar attraction of this game this year is that the roles of late are reversed,… with the teams on opposite “rolls,” yet ironically Richt’s job is [still] on the line while Meyer’s is not (yet)!
    Two national championships in five years, an unusual display of parity in SEC play this year, AND a similarly struggling Mack Brown (of Texas) help put things in perspective!!!
    This game, as it turns out, is HUGELY important for both teams – for the very reasons above!
    One should expect Georgia – based on recent series history, current seasonal trends, and even motivations – to want to utterly SHRED us; and badly so!!!
    As recently as yesterday, I was resigned to a good ole ass-woopin’ – ’80’s style – at the filthy hands of Georgia, and it may well happen! However, I am inexplicably experiencing a resurgence of faith in Urban Meyer.
    I’m probably setting myself up for a bigger letdown, but I am hoping against hope that Urban will take the bull by the horns and “WILL” a victory Saturday!
    IGTBAG!
    Ciao

  17. Mark Schlereth hit the nail on the head this morning on Mike and Mike. When asked about the problems with the Dallas Cowboys he stated that they need to lose their stubbornness and quit trying to make their players be something their not. We have the same situation in Gainesville.

  18. FSU? Hmmm, lets see… they’ve played two ranked team so far this year, and OUY blew them out by 30 points. Miami was ranked too, but has a one-dimensional offense with no run-game and an average defense. Miami and Virginia (the Cavs’ now have a losing record), are the only two teams that had winning records when FSU beat them this season… their rest of their opponents are unranked with losing records, inlcuding Virginia mow. They were lucky to escape against unranked Boston College with a losing record. I’ve seen some improvement at FSU, but they are thriving off a schedule of ACC patsies. It’ll be interesting to watch them tonight against NC State, because the ‘Pqacks’ QB Wilson torched them for 350+ passing yards, 5 TD’s and 60 yards rushing last year in Doak, and they’re playing in Raleight this time. It would not surprise me if FSU lost this game tonight. It’s all based on whether anyone in the ACC can actually play defense.

  19. Seriuosly, you are trying to explain how UF is going to lose to Vandy and a I-AA school……seriously? Get off the ledge. I am expecting us to win Saturday and get some momentum that they will ride to ATL.

    Vandy and APP ST…………..seriously????????????

  20. Im tired of the talk and break downs of the season. Its very simple. Remove Addazio. Period. Atleast put him back at strictly o-line. He cant even do that job anymore. This o-line should have been solid. Xavier Nixon has disappointed me to know end, this dude was a very high recruit yet Ive seen him do nothing but get blasted by any and everyone.

    You find a decent OC or just simply let Meyer call the plays. You need a coach who is smart, can motive players, and can call the right plays with the types of players that we have and then this team wins 9-10 games. Addazio is F’N garbage, and im sickened as a Gator fan that he isnt gone by now. I dont care how buddy buddy he is with Meyer. Foley, please step in and make this go go away. Addazio is the worst OC ive seen in my 20 years of watching football. PATHETIC.

  21. This game is a MUST win. Im worried about Meyer stepping down if this year gets any worse. No reason, no excuses to be playing this bad on offense. No excuses at all. Im just not sure of Meyers dedication to staying at the program and turning it around at this point. He looks dazed and confused every time hes answering questions. He needs to get a grip on the program and realize that Addazio is the reason for the failure.

    Yes the defense has been inconsistent at times. But when stops were needed, they got them. Allowing MS State to only 10 points is good enough to win. How motivated can the defense be??? They cant feed off the offense, the offense doesnt help them, they are on the field A LOT, and the pressure is always on them. If they offense as just average, I think the defense would be much better. And they are playing well as it is.

  22. The slippery slope for this team began last spring, continued into the summer workouts, and fall practices. The coaching staff led the Gator Nation to believe that we had a competent, competitive team, when we did not. To win in this league you have to have a physical team on both sides of the ball, and the Gators consistently are getting beat on the line of scrimmage, on both sides of the ball. We have camouflaged that over the past few years with schemes and probably the greatest college football player ever. Coming into this season, I was asked by a coworker (Alabama fan) about the Gators chances this year. My reply was, I just don’t see how we will ever convert a 3rd and 2 or 3rd and 3 without Tebow. If we figure that out, we will have a very good team. John Brantley is a very good QB, but you have to design the offense around his talents. You have to have an OL that knows how to pass block, but more importantly, the offense has to be able to block for true running backs, not just the QB, because there is one more blocker than there are defenders. I just don’t buy it. Alabama is succesful from their tailback position and their QB’s. Let’s design the offense to fit our current QB or replace him and put the freshman in. What the heck, take a cue from the mad hatter and run a two QB system. Quit trying to do the same things that worked before. They are not going to work with your current players.