The Sunday Blog: Football failure about offense, personnel

Georgia running back Elijah Holyfield dives in to score a touchdown late in Saturday's game against Florida in Jacksonville. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

The Sunday Blog comes at you after the drive home Sunday morning and a lot of time to think about what went wrong for Jim McElwain.

If we are going to stick to football and not get into the real reason why this escalated into a toxic situation, it’s all about offense and personnel. In some ways, McElwain was no different than Will Muschamp in that he struggled to recruit well on offense and didn’t develop players on that side of the ball. And I believe McElwain also fell into the trap that coaches sometimes fall into which is hiring coaches for their ability to recruit rather than their ability to coach. This has not been a well-coached team this year on the offensive side of the ball. That falls on the head coach and certainly falls on an offensive coordinator who seems to be fighting the urge to do something innovative. I was watching a game on Saturday night and there was a play and I started screaming, “THAT’S WHAT YOU DO ON THE GOAL LINE!” Sorry if I woke anyone up.

One day very soon Jake Fromm is going to be asked to be great. But that day was not Saturday. He completed four passes, one of them to a wide receiver (for a touchdown). But when you are gashing the opponent with the running game, why throw? (Fromm’s quarterback rating was 97.5 on seven attempts; Feleipe Franks had a QBR of 2.5). That might have been the most surprising thing about the game — how easily Georgia was able to get Florida’s defensive line blocked. Georgia ended up averaging 9.4 yards a play and only needed 42 offensive plays to rout Florida.

It was a strange day all around. During the hours leading up to the game, the press box was a collection of small circles of sportswriters every 15 feet talking about McElwain. Unfortunately, we missed the end of the Ohio State-Penn State game. As we were going down for interviews, I was discussing with some colleagues whether or not to elevate Penn State above Alabama (assuming they had won, which it did not). I guess Nick Saban heard me.

My AP ballot was a mess. I filled it out on paper three times before submitting it and I’m still not happy with it. I did have Georgia at No. 2. But the bottom is the difficult part because there are so many teams that have better records than they have had performances. Does that make sense?


  1. We started off this football season with nine suspended players. Who knew we might have benefited if we had been able to suspend the head coach also? We have lots of talent on this team . We just need coaches who know how to develope that talent by actually knowing how to coach! Coach Mac has left me more than once after a press conference wondering, “What was he talking about?” He topped himself at the press conference last week when he carelessly mentioned death threats. To Coach Mac I would say, “You are Head Coach at The University of Florida, you have young players whose parents have entrusted to you their sons welfare, you have a wonderful fan base in Gator Nation and on top of all that you pick the GA vs FL week to lose all common sense!! Unbelievable!! I hope our players know they still have Gator Nation behind them!

  2. I just can’t understand how a coach of a terrible 3-3 team can allow his players to trash talk! And the trash talking was TERRIBLY STUPID! The nightmare is over! Hope the Administration has good luck finding a great head coach.

  3. We have plenty of talented players, what we don’t have is many that can follow the proper routes, check downs etc. And our foolish coaches just do the same old things that did not work. Time for almost all of them to go, and be replaced.

    • No we do not. I am willing to bet the first gator drafted by the NFL next year will be in the 4th round. Gator fans like to think the talent is there. The DL is average at best, same with the OL. The one bright spot is the RB’s

        • I beg to differ, we don’t have the caliber of players in recent years on defense. With a straight face you say these guys on roster now are just as good as, Easley, Floyd, Bullard, Jared Davis, ect ect, this group is middle of the road and most underclassmen.

  4. It’s just time for a huge overhaul. Don’t wait another day, go on ahead and fire Mac and Nuss. Don’t hire the first coach that is available. Let’s take our time and hire the right man for the job. Get in touch with the recruits and let them know we going to come back and be a great team. The recruits should be licking their lips knowing they can come in and complete for starting job. We need just about everything. WE WILL COME BACK!!!!!!!!!

  5. Got to get a total program manager. MacElwain was no manager, was thus way over his skill set, that lead to the overheated situation last Monday. Foley and staff had no discernment when they selected him. Watching the Scott Strickland media conference, he appears to be an intelligent discerning manager. I bet he vets everything before he pulls the trigger on the next guy. Grading will have to include: (1) Is he capable of managing a total top flite college football program (IE. like Saban/Meyer). (2) Can he coach and knows who to hire for assistances (3) can he recruit. Strickland has to check all three boxes this time. I would not discount NFL candidates. Lets hope they go big league this time..IE. like Bama did after they learned hard lessons (Dubose & Shula were dud head hires).