The Back Nine: Perhaps it really is Kyle's Field
The Back Nine comes at you after a perfect Saturday and a lazy, rainy Sunday that was better than melatonin.
10. It was a silly question for a column I was going to do later, but I wondered where Kyle Trask's first name came from. You know, family member, doctor who delivered him, that kind of thing. "You picked a perfect week to ask me that," he said on our Zoom call Monday. "My family is full of Aggies. I was named after Kyle Field. At least that's what I was told." His family grew up Texas A&M fans, but will be rooting for another team on Saturday, one that will be trying to beat the Aggies. "I was raised to hate the Longhorns," Trask said. So it will be special to play at the home field that bears his name. But Trask pointed out that for him, a kid who was barely recruited out of high school (and ignored by A&M), it's special to play everywhere. "There’s always a chip on my shoulder just because I wasn’t as, kind of just blown away — or, no one gave me a chance in recruiting," he said. "So, I kind of just came in with a chip on my shoulder to whatever program I came into to just try to prove myself."
11. Don't take this the wrong way, but I am concerned about your Florida Gators defensively. I know, I know. It's only two games and the offenses UF has faced have been strong and offenses seem to be ahead of defenses because of the strange practice schedules the last year. But while I think the secondary will get things figured out, the bigger issue is the lack of personnel on the defensive line. These numbers should alarm you — Florida is on pace to give up more first downs than it ever has in the history of the program. And in 10 games! Mullen said Monday that some of that has to do with scramble runs in the opener (I looked it up and it did happen four times) and a lot of short yardage plays in the second game. Still, last year, the Gator defense allowed only 5.8 first downs a game rushing. This year, it is allowing an average of 12.5 on the ground. Florida's three national championship teams allowed an average of 15.7 first downs per game. So far this year, it's 27 per game. I know, it's early.
12. But my eyes see a defense that fails to contain the edge too often and has real issues with depth at the defensive tackles. There are some great athletes on this defensive line who can rush the passer, but Florida has been struggling to get teams off the field because of the run defense. Again, I think a lot of it has to do with the personnel up front that wears down because of a lack of depth. The mysterious case of Kyree Campbell, who was on the depth chart last week but did not dress out certainly isn't helping. But, if I was Texas A&M I'd run the ball with two excellent backs and a mobile quarterback ... all ... day ... long. Not only does it appear that it would be effective, it would keep the two Kyles off the field as much as possible.
13. So I'm sorry if 11 and 12 got you thinking negative thoughts and it's important to point out that Florida is 2-0. The schedule seems to be set up in ascending order in terms of quality opponents and don't be fooled by how Alabama destroyed the Aggies on Saturday. Alabama is going to do that to a lot of teams. I do believe this is the Saturday that we really find out about this Florida football team, whether it is truly a contender or just a nice football team that scores a lot of points. There, I said it. I'm not trying to be Downer Dooley, but I know the road ahead. And it really begins Saturday.
14. This much we know, Georgia seems to have solved its quarterback problem. Thurston Howell III, I mean, Stetson Bennett IV is exactly what Kirby Smart needs, which is a version of Jake Fromm who can manage the game and let the defense dominate. Now, is that good enough to win the next two games? We'll see. It's funny how Florida fans were so fired up about the eventual Cocktail Party but now, not so much. That Georgia defense is elite, although I have no idea what the plan was for Auburn on offense.
15. It's been a couple of days so I shouldn't state the obvious which was that Mike Leach breaking LSU's win streak one week and Arkansas' losing streak the next was the most Mike Leach thing ever. It's part of the Mike Leach Experience that all of you cowbell fanatics need to understand. One week, you are a mad genius, the next week everyone is just mad at you. Maybe Dr. Football should take a break from picking Miss. State games because I'm now 0-2. And now the Doggies get 0-2 Kentucky. Yikes.
16. Hello, NFL? It's the ACC calling. You know with all of this pandemic stuff going on, it's OK to just combine all of your teams into one league and not have divisions. People here seem to love it. Just some advise so you don't end up with the 4-12 Cowboys making the playoffs.
17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Matthew Leach of MLB.com — "Of all the jaw-dropping stats about (Bob) Gibson's 1968, this is my favorite: he was never removed for another pitcher. Not once, all year. Including the World Series, he made 37 starts. He completed 31 of them. The other six, he was removed for a pinch-hitter." I was old enough to grasp what that year was in baseball (no, I didn't cover the league) and the following year after Gibby's ERA was 1.12 they lowered the mound. We lost him over the weekend and that made me sad even though I was never a Cards fan. I was never a Bears fan either but losing Gale Sayers made me sad. You have to respect greatness. It should be a law.
18. There was a lot to like this weekend, but maybe the best thing was having Saturday Night Live back in the studio. That, and coming up with this playlist:
• "Looking Out For You" by Joy Again.
• "All You Got Is Gold" by The Great Escape.
• "Sweetness Follows" by REM which I heard for the first time in a long time while pounding a sausage sandwich my wife bought for me at 4th Ave. Food Park.
• "Heather" by Conan Gray.
•And for an old one that takes me back to my days working in Jacksonville and reminds how underrated this group is, "Hold On Loosely" by .38 Special.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.