The High Five, Vol. 5


I’m tired from the trip, have a headache from the ridiculously-loud public address system in Tuscaloosa and really excited about my Braves making the playoffs. On to the highlights:

1. What is it about the state of Alabama? Why can’t they find a way to get a crowd home after a game in a reasonable amount of time? We walked out of the press box at 1 a.m. Eastern and got back to our hotel at 3:15. And you know what’s worse than after a game in Tuscaloosa? After a game at Auburn. I rate the post-game traffic patterns because it angers me — 1. Nashville (for obvious reasons); 2. Gainesville; 3. Knoxville; 4. Starkville; 5. Oxford; 6. Lexington; 7. Athens; 8. Columbia; 9. Baton Rouge; 10. Fayetteville; 11. Tuscaloosa; 12. Auburn. I hear Clemson is worse than any of them. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. I guess the police get Saturdays off in Tuscaloosa.

2. Is it the beginning of the Boise slide? The Broncos dropped to fourth in the AP poll after a blowout win over New Mexico State. There are people who just don’t want the Broncos in the title game. But if I had a ballot, I’d have them fourth, too.

3. Meanwhile, Denard Robinson is threatening to run away with the Heisman. But remember this — his toughest games are yet to come. The Wolverines have Michigan State and Iowa next and close with Wisconsin and Ohio State. I think any chance Mark Ingram had of repeating is over now.

4. Player of the week: Les Miles. Seriously, if it wasn’t for Les the Mess the college football world would be less entertaining. He blew it again and got bailed out by Tennessee’s inability to cipher. And then there was this gem of a quote after the game: “I think this team will force out some of the fat and get to the lean meat.” Is he cooking alligator or coaching football. Please send me your interpretations of that quote.

5. To be honest, the most fun thing I did all weekend was watch the end of that game with some of the best in the business while standing in the Alabama press box. Guys like Chris Low, Dennis Dodd, Stuart Mandel, Ray Glier, Pat Forde. Once you think you’ve seen it all, you realize you have not

This week’s Big Three
If you don’t go to The Swamp, I highly suggest a multiple TV set-up.
Alabama at South Carolina, 3:30, CBS
Michigan State at Michigan, 3:30, ABC
FSU at Miami, 8 p.m., ABC


  1. Well…Pat, I must concede that your pick for Alabam/Fla was ‘spot-on’, and I truly believe that Alabama (Bryant/Denny) is to Urban what Tally was to Spurrier…I never once considered Alabama’s O-LINE DOMINATING FLA’s D-line and backers like bama did…
    I LIKED the ‘fight’ the Gators showed in the 2nd half, but it wasn’t nearly enough to unseat ALABAMA as the BEST TEAM in the land!
    I have seen ENOUGH of BRANTLY trying to be something he IS NOT-
    a SPREAD-OPTION QB…I think it’s UNSETTLING that the Offensive coaches ~in all their GLORY~ cannot devise a better plan for the TWIN B’S(Brantly and Burton) and at the VERY LEAST draw up so NEW PLAYS for pete’s sake!!!!!
    The jump-pass would of worked if 1) he didn’t jump…2) they sent a reciever out in the flats-peel off to the left-it was UNMANNED!!!!
    LINBACKERS need help!
    O-LINE needs help!
    The GATORS got their butts KICKED, but it may have been to the football team what Duke was in ’04 with the Basketball team…THE NEXT YEAR THEY WON IT ALL!!!!! TWICE!!!
    SOMETHING to think about …with everything else!!!
    Go GATORS!!! REBOUND AND WORK LSU SILLY!!! They can’t manage the clock!!!
    gatorgi70x7 (Greg)

  2. Why doesn’t anyone ever see the bias displayed by these stupid SEC officials. In our Gators game, two touchdowns taken away, pass interneference not called in the endzone, and a fumble given to Alabama when Brantly clearly had the ball and was down. Just think of the outcome of this game if not for these stupid #$@!&&$ calls!

  3. Pat, I agree with you, the play calling was terrible! Can you answer a question, maybe in an article about Addazio and the offense – does Meyer call the plays and Addazio is just catching the heat or what? Does Meyer believe we have an issue with play calling and why do they keep running that dive play? Well, that was more than one question, but, an article from you on these issues, with the offense, may help many of us Gator fans understand just what the heck is going on! Some of it is poor execution, but, a lot of it is poor play calling!

  4. I hope EVERYTHING I’m about to say is not true, but here is what I’m seeing, “The Big Picture”:

    Urban Meyer came in and had instant success, for the 1st four years, running a new style of offense with an insane recruiting class and the best college football player ever to play (arguably). He also had the perfect partner in Mullen and a proven DC in Strong.

    What if the Meyer system is a fad and, not unlike Spurrier’s “Fun n’ Gun”, SEC coaches have figured it out and know how to defend it? What if we never get another Tebow to run that offense to perfection, will the offense ever be dominant again? Even w/ Tebow running it, Ala figured it out last year. I’m starting to notice other FL schools get the big name, in state recruits, so what if they see the system struggling and continue to choose another coach w/ a more pro-style system? What if Addazio never gets it and stays predictable & nonexplosive? (My kids think I’m a genius because I guess the play, almost every time, before the snap). If stupid me knows what they’re going to do, I know the other team does. What if it was Mullen who brought the dynamic call playing and invented new plays and now we have no one to do that?

    When the players are talented, but the system is failing, talented players will go elsewhere and UF’s dominance will come to a screeching halt. I know we have a young team, but a lot of the play makers, especially on Defense, will not be returning next year.

    Please let me be wrong! This is what everyone is seeing, how do we make it better? If there was a way, we would have done it against Ala. If we could have changed up the offense, we would have. If we had someone to go to on the offense, we would have. Please let me be wrong!

  5. Relax Guys. It’s called a rebuilding year. I know you thought you would never see another but, it happens. You can’t lose so many players and coaches and have the head coach take time off and expect to be in the top five. This is the SEC and, it’s loaded this year. These young kids will grow up. Florida will contend again. It will have more to contend with when the time comes though. What if Spurrier actually wins the East? Have you seen that freshman QB and freshman running back? That is something you can build a team around. Tennessee may be down for awhile but Richt may just be rebuilding himself. That QB is going to grow up. Everyone else gets to have some fun.

  6. One question that you do have to ask though, with the emergence of Trey Burton and Cam Newton at Auburn, why was Brantley even recruited to run the option? Newton was the obvious choice to follow Tebow. Sure, he got in trouble but, don’t kids usually get a second or third chance? Meyer’s system requires an option QB who can throw. It doesn’t really run well without it. These are the kind or decisions that make the difference between rebuilding and reloading. It may take two years to work this out this way.

  7. seriously rebuilding? the issue is not the players at all but simply an “offensive” play scheme that reminds more than just me of a Fulmer style offense. Except instead of run left, run right, try throw 8 yds on thrid down, it’s run off center left, run off center right into the heart of the defense and line mass for two yards and throw on third down, thank goodness for Moore or it would be worse than it is… I, like the rest of you can predict the plays and i am a biologist for Pete sake! This is past ridiculous. Lordy – throw the ball to open up the run and stretch the daggum field! Find a new play caller.

  8. further back off of Brantley he is a class kid and has a golden arm being forced to field inept snaps, put up with horrible play calling, and run the option… If he was allowed to throw we would be contenders on his arm alone…

  9. Two questions………

    Will we ever throw something vertical like a post pattern?

    Wiht so many great recruiting classes back to back to back to back, why are we playing so many true freshmen? I thought we be more balanced.

  10. “Doing what we do” used to mean an unpredictable offense. Now it means running the fastest player in the history of college football up the middle so he can get clobbered by 240 lb linebackers and 300 lb nose tackles. Johnny is not Timmy….that’s ok. Johnny throwns the ball down the field…..please, please, please don’t ask him to run the option to the short side of the field. Let Tey run some option where he can actually pitch it to Demps or Moody. How abou X around with Dubose or Thompson. How about going after a punt block with all that speed? What happened to agrressive, crazy, fun Florida football with great athletes. Pounce Pounce is the best guard in the country. Robey at center, Pounce at guard and then let’s kick butt. Let’s play like we expect to win and we expect to be exciting. That’s “doing what we do.”

  11. Why is Pouncey being allowed to be our center..he truly stinks!!
    Why is he not back at his old position. I truly do not understand.
    We have two excellent option quarterbacks. One is Cam Newtons twin..Jordan Reed and the other Trey Burton. Brantley stinks under pressure, he does not fit the system, and he exhibits NO leadersahip. Give one of the option quarterbacks half the snaps and let the best man win the job.
    Lastly if guys like Debose, Moore etc cannot pick up our system after a year, then the system is troo damn complicated. Let them learn 12 plays and call those while they are in there

  12. Not at all. Urban is the best coach in college football and I love Steve Addazio…super guy……super coach. We are just too darn predictable….smart guys like Saban figure that out. Johnny has to be able to throw it down the field. Fast guys need to have a little space (not the space between the tackles). Offense is rhythm. Doing what we do means that Johnny throws, Trey runs the “attack” option from the 40 (not just the goal line), Carl runs a slant, Dubose gets some space with the ball, Moody runs a pitch sweep to the wide side, Thompson goes deep. Where’s Jordan Reed? Omarius on a linebacker…no way can they cover him. Stuff like that! OK, my armchair days are over.

  13. unfortunatly my prediction came true. The Gators never even attempted a pass from the line of scrimage to receiver of 20+ yards the entire game. Bamas linebackers packed the box stuffing the run and closed passing lanes for the Gators 10 yard passes;hence, the offense was anemic. If the Gators don’t go vertical and streach the field, it will be a long season.

  14. Why are we skewering John Brantley? This young man could have gone to any school in the country. He chose Florida and patiently sat behind Tim Tebow for 3 years. His strength, we knew all along, was in his passing. Yet he is being asked to be Tim Tebow. We all love and respect our former quarterback but College Sports is a revolving door. Each year young men and women leave and new ones enter. It is up to the coaching staff to be preparing each year for the year to follow. Alabama lost as many (or more) great players to the NFL and yet Saban seems prepared to go on. If Coach Meyer is being hampered by health issues or loyalty, he needs to “fix it” as he so often says. The play calling is abysmal, even I, a non-athlete Gator fan knew the plays before they were executed and very obviously Everyone on the Alabama team, coaches and players alike, knew them. The coaches need to take responsibility for this one and not heap blame on the players! We need some creativity in our coaching and in our play calling. Basic “meat and potatoes” play calling is not going to do it in the SEC. We know we have talented players. Let’s use their talents and make the plays fit what they do best and not try to force them into plays designed for prior players. Good luck Gators, sure hope it gets better from here on out.

  15. Can you hear it? It’s the collective groan that goes out from Gator Nation every time Brantley takes the snap and starts moving parallel down the line – and it stills reverberates throughout the land! Love ya’ Addazio. But you must be quite the hard-head. Good way to be out of work at the end of the year, too.

  16. I love Urban Meyer and have great respect for him and Steve Addazio. Even so. last year, before the Alabama game, I thought the little fake dive Tebow did so effectively, where he would step forward and then throw, had become too easily read. Our offense actually regressed from the 2008 level. We missed Percy Harvin, but not nine points worth. This year we’re even more predictable. And I think someone should ask why a team returning four starting O linemen, 2 5th yr guys, a 4th yr guy, and a 5th yr addition (Hurt) can’t wedge out two yards or keep Brantley from being harassed constantly. We lost Saturday 31-6 because we were outcoached, something we wouldn’t have suspected. Good news is that Urban Meyer is 46,young and pliable. He’ll make adjustments and take this team higher. Go Gators!

  17. Pat, I love ya, pal, but you’re getting a little too generous with the red herring. Nearly an entire column about how the Gator Nation is complaining about Brantley? Seriously? I can hardly find a blog post that’s not going nuts about Addazio being an apparent mediocrity, and you take us to task for being too hard on Brantley?

    I know these coaches are your golfing buddies, but this is real simple. This is the second season in which the offense seems to be less than the sum of its parts. This is the second season in which the offense requires spectacular play by the defense to keep it in games. This is the second season in which Alabama has demonstrably, objectively, inarguably, embarrassingly out coached us. Our offense is underperforming and it’s not our fault for noticing. When a unit is underachieving the person responsible for that unit comes under scrutiny. Duh.

    Spurrier took middling talent on offense his first year and had them competing for championships. Addazio has taken elite talent – now two years in a row – and turned it into a mediocrity. We shoulc have been dominant on offense last year, yet had we not had an amazing defense we wouldn’t even have made it to Atlanta.

    Addazio might be a great guy, an enthusiastic coach, a swell fella, but he is not of the same caliber as a coach as the athletes he coaches. We are FLORIDA. We expect the very best. Anything less and… well, Hoosiers need coaches, too.

    Oh, and by the way, don’t call your bloggers cowards if you’re not even willing to write a column about what they are truly going beserk over, and that’s Addazio. Not Brantley, not Pouncy, not even some obliquely related issue like play calling, but Addazio. Say it with me… Addazio.

  18. where have yall been. in lsu, ala, aub away games under great coach meyer, gators are 1-5. the one win last year was sooooo ugly it bordered on a loss for enjoyment. i havent missed a lsu-fla matchup in 20 years and thats at both stadiums. that will end this year with meyer and addazio. its hard to even enjoy a win.

  19. Formula for immediate positive results: move Pouncey to Guard, replace Demps with Gillislee and Moody with Mack Brown, put Jordan Reed (or Murphy) in Trey Burton’s spot(s), move Trey under center, and direct Brantley to the bench!… oh, and reassign Addazio.

  20. As soon as Meyer opted to try for a TD instead of a FG on that first drive against Alabama, it didn’t take a football genius to realize it revealed a lack of confidence in his offense. He said as much afterwards: he “KNEW” points would be at a premium.
    Okay, but don’t coach like you think that. You don’t show your hand prematurely in a poker match!
    Meyer coaches like Saban is the Alpha-male between them!

  21. I LOVE the Gators!!! But it’s painfully obvious that Nick Saban is college football’s premier coach (and not JUST because he beat Meyer twice, but ALSO how fast he brought both LSU & Alabama to glory; and ‘bama will soon eclipse the Gators’ winningest four year class).
    It’s crystal clear that Saban is a superlative coach and a no-nonsense motivator (and if anything, I’m biased against him,… being that I’m a Dolphin fan, and he “used” us like he “used” LSU; that’s his character flaw I don’t care for).
    The good news is that even after previously reaching the pinnacle of college football – twice; which could invite complacency – Meyer has still higher ground to shoot for; he can get even better, but Saban IS THE standard.
    I do not want to see Meyer become to Saban what Spurrier was to Bowden: a tune-up for the National Championship!
    PS: BTW, Jim Harbaugh is no slouch either!

  22. Okay,… update. While I still think Saban is the best college coach, now that I’ve seen Spurrier’s Gamecocks handle ‘Bama, and yet another Gator debacle (still in process; geez they look terribly sloppy – in EVERY area!: …WTF!!!), I realize my initial opinion of Saban was premised on the belief that Meyer was [still] one of the best himself. It’s obvious that this assumption must now be reconsidered!
    MAYBE its his unproven coaches. Maybe they need a little discipline themselves?!
    WE KNOW IT’S NOT FOR LACK OF TALENT (and that good coaching makes up for inexperience)!!!
    PS: They just missed two FG back to back after a penalty – wide right, then wide left! WOW!
    PPS: BRACE YOURSELVES, GATORS! Rough terrain ahead!

  23. Okay, the game just ended, and somehow we almost pulled it out. I’m listening to Meyer’s post game comments. He said “the offense didn’t hold up their end of the deal.” That from an alleged offensive genius! Hey Coach, stop passing the buck!
    He was asked how he thought the OL performed, and said he’d have to watch the film first. I guess it looks different on a monitor than in person. I watched it on a monitor (live), and AGAIN the Offensive Line was by far the chief offender! Their maturity and experience only makes them more accountable and thus more guilty! They are without excuse – plain and simple!!!
    They couldn’t even give Brantley enough time to throw a hail mary – giving us one final chance to score, however remote!
    Don’t tell me they were tired at the end: were they tired in the middle of the game, or at the beginning?? … for they sucked throughout!
    This team is chock full of problems, but the OL is problem numero uno!!!
    FIX IT NOW (through COACHING), or suffer even more Gator wrath!! CHOMP, CHOMP!

  24. Please please please – stop defending Addizio!!!
    Demote him to O-Line coach only so he can spend some time and fix the O-line.
    Get some new plays in there. Use more of our highly ranked recruiting class players by throwing the ball deep!
    Team looked terrible last night.
    So frustrated with the coaches!
    Does not matter what they did before this year. They make the big $$ so it all matters what they give us this year. Nature of the business!

  25. On a more serious note, granted SC played well and Alabama probably not up to par but isn’t it a glaring dose of reality that SC with less talent could put up 35 (think it was) points against a team we couldn’t even score a touchdown against?? I understand it’s hard to compare game to game with multiple variables involved…nevertheless, it proves Alabama has weaknesses and apparently we weren’t capable of taking advantage of any of them. I agree with those who say that good players (Tebow & Co.) and a good defense have covered many offensive woes so far this year and last year as well. This is the reason I strongly disagree with those who rely on touting our winning record as evidence to justify the coaching/play calling. Without the defensive play, the LSU game would have pretty much been another blow-out. Coaching, starting with Meyer and then Addazio, are to blame. Even if Brantley isn’t living up to expectations (and hard to tell with play calling not designed for his strengths), it’s still the coach’s responsibility to either get him up to speed or sit him until he’s capable. Didn’t Spurrier bench Garcia prior to the Alabama game? Did help Garcia to have a good game and his team to beat Alabama?? Good coaching…good coaching decisions. Nuff said.