Over the past week, I’ve been called stupid, dumb, a talentless hack, a buffoon, an idiot, ignorant, clueless … and so on and so forth. And that was just from my wife.
Seriously, though, this is what happens when you make a dumb-stupid-clueless pick like I did last week when I predicted Florida would lose to Kentucky. My gut feeling was way off on that one, except for the fact that I did get part of it right: I predicted the Gators would score 24 points, which they did. Of course, I was way off on the other half of that prediction, thinking UK could score 27 points against the Florida defense. The Wildcats scored none (the lone touchdown coming against the special teams). Dummy on my part.
So, what I have learned from all this?
First and foremost, I will never doubt Tyler Murphy again. The guy is a gamer and a winner (and a quarterback his teammates have great confidence in). He showed that in the UT win. He showed it again in Lexington, in a hostile environment. I’m sure he’ll show it again Saturday against Arkansas.
Offensive coordinator Brent Pease said earlier this week that the coaching staff may have never known what they actually had with Murphy if Jeff Driskel had stayed healthy — and Murphy had stayed on the bench. And what a shame that would have been. With some guys (like Murphy), the only way to find out just how good (or bad) they are is to put them in a game. Murphy got his chance, and he’s taken off with it.
As Murphy and the Gators move forward, I see the offense getting better and better, and Murphy getting more of the playbook (especially in the passing game) as his comfort level continues to soar.
If the defense continues to play like it has, the Gators will have a chance against every team they play the rest of the season. UF will be in every game. It’s just a matter of taking care of the football and winning the fourth quarter like the Gators did a year ago.
Arkansas, a team much like Florida in terms of toughness and the downhill running game, will be a tough test, and I see the Razorbacks hanging around at least deep into the third quarter.
But I think the Gators have found their quarterback — and re-found the winning formula they lost in Miami a few weeks ago.
Prediction: Florida 21, Arkansas 13.