The Sunday Blog, live from St. Louis: Let ‘er roll, Gators

Missouri coach Barry Odom, right, talks with Florida interim head coach Randy Shannon before the start of Saturday's game in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

The Sunday Blog comes at you from the St. Louis Airport, which may be the easiest airport in American to navigate. Where are the people?

  1. Here’s the thing I don’t get about this Florida football team. You are on the road and the season is already lost. You claimed you were going to have fun. You had nothing to lose. So you run zero trick plays. I just don’t think it’s in the DNA of this coaching staff to take chances. And while Randy Shannon made sense as interim because of his head coaching experience, it was his conservative nature that contributed to his failure at Miami. So it’s not like it’s going to get better.
  2. Meanwhile, the Big Ten is counting on Wisconsin or it will be shut out of the playoffs. The Ohio State and Penn State losses were devastating. Wisconsin just keeps winning against mediocre teams, but it beats the alternative. I think I might be rooting for a College Football Playoff that includes two SEC teams and Notre Dame, so three conferences are left out and we take a major step in the direction of an eight-team playoff.
  3. It was a “you had to be there moment.” We were pulling into our home away from home in Wentzville, Mo., listening to the Kentucky-Ole Miss game on Sirius and I seriously felt bad for Kentucky football fans. Fumble, game over, announcer goes nuts. Color guy has to explain that the runner was down. Pass into end zone, announcer thinks it was batted away and goes nuts, color guy has to explain that it was actually caught and Kentucky has found another way to lose a game. Unbelievable.
  4. So then we went to a Buffalo Wild Wings in lovely Wentzville and watched a lot of football. My AP ballot has Alabama still at No. 1 and Georgia at 2. I just think Alabama is the better team. People expected the Tide to destroy LSU, but it wasn’t necessary. All that mattered was grinding out a win. You remember those, Gator fans? Wins?


  1. It’s because Nuss has no clue what he’s doing…I honestly wouldn’t want him calling plays for my sons junior high football team… he’s not a good coach, he’s never been a good coach and other than lucking into all the talent at Alabama (btw…Saban ran him off), he’s done nothing successfully.

    I’ll stop beating the dead horse after this….why is he still calling plays? It’s obvious the players have no faith in what he’s calling, fans are obviously upset and have been for sometime and so why not give somebody else a chance and maybe bring some life and energy to the offense? There is absolutely no way it can get worse with anybody else calling the plays.

  2. Good stuff Pat.

    There is a math equation that essentially explains this whole debacle..

    Jim McElwain = Butch Jones = Derek Dooley = Champions of, well, not a lot. Unless you count SEC East titles with a weak division and your predecessors recruits, which correct me if I am wrong, is pretty much exactly what Ron Zook accomplished.

    Message to Coach (name will not be mentioned again, but you know who I am talking about): Thanks for leaving us with this dumpster fire. You too, Mr. Foley. You are not off the hook for this mess either. Go west, Coach. As far west from Florida as you can go. Because, as you have found out the hard way, we play big boy ball in Southeastern Conference. It’s a lot harder to win here when you don’t have Uncle Nick watching your back.

    • No Cj. We play kiddie ball in a big league. Our administration does not, has not, and never will care about football again. They tolerate football as a necessary evil, and could not care less about anything else. Sorry, but gator football will never be much better than where it is now. If you want to see a real program, go to Athens, Ga. Unfortunately, they are light years ahead of Florida’s 8th grade football program.

      • If it’s so damn great in Athens, why have they only beaten this “8th grade football” program 7 of the last 27 years? Doesn’t necessarily mean it will stay as good as it is this year. Let’s see what happens when these two running backs leave along with half the defense. Most are Richt commits. Next year will be interesting for the pups as well.

        • They didn’t beat us agator, they humiliated us. Much like Mizzou did this weekend. These were not 24-20 or 21-10 games, these were, “I am taking you to the woodshed, and giving you the beatdown that you deserve” games, like we were a game one opponent from a nondescript conference. Florida has laid about 3 or 4 of those eggs in the last 40 years, but they’ve done it twice this season. The players on this team, most of them 3-stars, would have a tough time starting at USF (with the exception of stud Malik Davis, get well soon). McElwain was a horrible recruiter, a coach who teaches a 1970’s offense in a 2017 world, and a pain in the rear to his bosses. Good riddance, coach. Don’t let the door hit you in the shark on the way out.

        • CJ, as much as I hate the idea of it too, he’s right. All the tea leaves available so far say that Smart is onto something up there. If it does pan out that way, and if Tenn snags a legendary, or even legend-in-the-making, coach…, this is not gonna turn out good. Unless……………..

  3. I figured when the “knuckle head nine” were exposed at the beginning of the year that eventually the head coach had lost control of the team. The effect is like NCAA probation with 10-20% of your team is gone for the season due to legal problems or injuries.
    The new reality is that teams like Miami,USF,UCF,FAU,FIU,FSU have dynamic, high profile coaches on board. I am glad I am not the Althletic Director at Florida that has to come up with a winner.

  4. I want to throw another big name into the possible coaching hire. Shannahan (the son), and the current head coach of the SF 49ers and former OC for the Atlanta Falcons. He is a brilliant offensive mind, relatively young, great communicator and QB guru, and once roamed the sidelines as walk on QB and grad assistant for Steve Spurrier at UF. Now, that would be a big time and program changing hire. Open the bank, Sticklin, and go get him. Good connections to UF and recruits would love the hire. Fingers crossed.

    • Lets be realistic here. Shannahan is not coming to Florida. If people are going to suggest coaches fine, but at least suggest someone that at least might remotely think of the job. This is one of the most off the wall suggestion I have heard yet.

      • Rick was just speculating, George, so not “off the wall”. Stranger things have and will continue to happen in this NFL-NCAA nexus, and vice versa. Low probability for sure though (although, life expectancy of an NFL coach seems lower than HC at Florida these days).

    • If Shannahan walked away from the SF 49ers after less than a season he would probably never be considered for an NFL HC job again. That is something that Shannahan would take seriously and he would never do. The 49ers now have QB Jimmy Garappolo on board and Shannahan is challenged by building an offense around him. The 49ers will have a very high first round draft pick and probably trade down for multiple choices to get offensive help. So the Shannahan to Florida scenario will never happen.

    • I second that. That guy in the white shirt doesn’t work here anymore, those unis still suck and how about a pic of the real Mr. Two Bits, George Edmondson? By the way, does anyone know how Mr. Edmondson is doing these days?

  5. No thanks to the Shannahan. He would come to UF and be phenomenal. However, he would get the call to be an OC in the NFL again and bolt like Dan Quinn. We need someone who is willing to put down roots for the long haul!

    • Boo1. Why would anyone jump from An NFL head coaching job to a potentially higher paying college head coaching job and then go back to the NFL as an offensive coordinator? And Dan Quinn came to Florida to be a defensive coordinator from being just a defensive assistant in the NFL and then went back to the NFL as a defensive coordinator with Seattle and later HC with Atlanta, both step ups. Shannahan might eventually bolt back to the NFL as a head coach, but would only do so after turning the Florida program around, perhaps. But not if he had a Saban like contract and became Saban like at Florida, which I believe he could become at Florida.

  6. I realize our roster is majorly insufficient, but Nuss is the absolute worst OC I have ever seen. You put in a read option QB and doesn’t run a play until 2nd quarter. Zero misdirection runs. no scrub routes. He does nothing to help the players he has available. Special teams play is so bad it”s hard to comprehend. It was the first time I saw the defense quit. Wildman showed effort but his only result was to see how fast he could run himself out of play. Reese played with effort but lacks cover skills and big play ability.
    Shannahan has zero recruiting ties in Florida. I don’t know who we can get that does not have warts, so therefore go for the highest ceiling which is Frost. I have no idea if we can get him or not. There will be a ton of competition for his services. Stricklin said he is not a fan of coach buy outs well he had better get used to them. No quality head coach will come to UF without a huge buy out in place. Let;s pray we get the right guy I’m sickk and tired of dealing with this crap every three years. If we have to do it again we will have to hire an AD first

    • The AD is doing what is he told. Spend as little money as possible on football. All they want is to get 25-30 thousand fannies in the seats, and sell enough concessions and T shirts to fund the title IX sports. A bowl game every 6-8 years is all we can expect, Glen. Recruiting is dead and buried, and by 2019 UF will be mostly walk ons. There is no parent in the country that would want their kid to come to Gainesville, where the administration treats football like a read headed step child, but Womens Darts gets tons of publicity.

      • And who IS telling our AD what to do? He’s the head guy in the UAA, which is pretty much autonomous from the university, and he controls the budget. From what I’ve previously read, our athletic dept shows a profit whereas most programs show a loss. He knows that to show a profit we’ve got to field a winner in football which thereby funds all of the women’s sports.

      • I think the idea that the Administration is purposefully trying to rundown the football program is pretty over the top, but I must say that the principal purpose of a university is education and research and not fielding a football team.

      • We have to forgive gary. All of those years living in his mobile hume next to the nuclear power plant and under all of those high voltage power lines has obviously had an impact his reasoning. His assumption that the administration cares little about the football program borders between laughable and asinine. Football pays the bills in the athletic department and Mr. Stricklin is a smart man. He knows where his next paycheck is coming from. And if the administration cares so little about football, why did the build that new IPF? Why are they building a new football complex? I know part of the reason was to placate the crybaby coach mac and he is gone now. So why continue? I am sure that the soccer and lacrosse teams would prefer that we drop football altogether so they can take over the IPF.

        Gary, please move from under those power lines before they do further damage to your reasoning ability.

    • Glen Fender. Shannahan has a Super Bowl rep (be it not necessarily a great one), a famous name, and an NFL rep, all big time attractions for recruits, whom all want to play in the NFL some day. He would have immediate standing with any high school program he walked into and with a strong name recognition. Stronger even than Frost right now. So, I beg to differ. And he is an offensive genius and a great organizer and motivator, which is just what Florida needs. Recruits would flock to his team and he would coach the heck out of his team. But I am posting this knowing that it would take Saban-like money and a long-term contract for him even to consider returning to the place he once played and served as a graduate assistant. He would be the BIG TIME hire Florida desperately needs right now. I say go all in on him, Stricklin.

        • Rick..You make a good point. However, additionally, he has done a tremendous job of turning U. C. F. around this year. From what I saw, he runs a rather unique offensive scheme which somehow allows for a run, pitch, and pass option on most plays. Also, utilizes differ offensive line assignments as well. Biggest question mark to me would be what kind of staff he would hire. Not sure how developed his contacts are since he has only been a head coach for several years. FWIW, I watch some of the U. C. F. game and only imagined what it would be like to see the Gators going up and down the field…

  7. I’ve seen enough bad Gator offense to last me the rest of my life. I guess growing up in Hogtown and being ”a lifer”, I was truly blessed back in the not so distant past (1984-’85, 1990-2008). And perhaps it was God’s will to make us ”spoiled Gator football fans” suffer a little while longer (you think it’s bad with NO OFFENSE, just watch a team with bad ‘O’ and a bad ‘D’).
    So, O.K., O.K., we’re sorry Will!
    Now, go get a coaching staff that KNOWS both, U.F., please! Because, ”In all kinds of weather…” this team is awful! Thanks for ”the very few” that do play with “Gator heart”, like Perine, Reese, etc… there’s a few.
    Go Gators!

  8. Sticklin knows he can’t scrounge like Foley and must be willing to pay the bucks. However, Frost is the best winning coach who would both recruit and and lead the team without an insurmountable buyout. He built UCF without the brand of UF and proved that he is both willing and able. His offense would have the impact that SOS had and be the fun we all want. We just have to hope the NB job is not an option for him.

  9. How many of you watched the UCF and SMU game yesterday? Do you still think Frost is our best choice? He certainly didn’t convince me of that last night. The offense was nothing more than average. Defense too. That’s not going to play well in the SEC. And two years later we’ll be at this same spot again … looking for a Grade A Coach. Well, why not just go get one now? I sure hope all the Bull Gators are making their feelings known to the AD. If we’re going to be a top-5 program, then we need a top-5 coach. Nuff said……

      • Too much parity among Power-5 teams anymore for one conference to be superior to any others. We need to get off that glide path and just start enjoying SEC football, which is what we love by birth right. I also enjoy watching the ACC too, a little Big-12 as well…..but I’ll take an SEC game over any of those any day of the week. That’s all.

        • Several years ago I attended a game at Michigan Stadium. I was so excited to be visiting The Big House. BTW – Ann Arbor is EXACTLY like Gainesville. College towns are college towns. I felt right at home. The Big House is impressive. The Big House crowd? Meh. I cheered for the home team in full on SEC Fan mode. You would have thought a real wolverine had been turned loose in the crowd. My cousin looked at me like I grew third eye on my forehead. One guy, several rows in front of me, got it. We were climbing over others to high five each other. SEC games? Better. SEC fans? Better –
          and by “Better” I mean “Special” (maybe in a straight jacket kind of way). The TV ads are right. It just means more to us. S-E-C! S-E-C!

    • Dave,
      I did watch at least half of the U. C. F. game last night…His offense accumulated over 600 yards….I’ll agree his defense was mediocre….What exactly is your definition of average?? What coach would you recommend?

  10. No head coach from the NFL, please, or we’ll just get another Zook. NFL coaches have a certain mindset that is not conducive to the college ranks. Generally, they don’t like the recruiting process. They don’t seem to mind close games (20-17, 28-27 etc) when they are not necessary. When you win by a little, you can just as easily lose by a little. Fact is, they don’t mind losing a few games because a 10-6 record will get you into the playoffs which is all they want. In college ball, one loss is a killer and two losses are elimination from the playoffs.

  11. Picking a coach is a crap shoot. People have been calling for the guy at Virginia Tech and they were beat up by Miami, Iowa State lost as well. Everybody thought Michigan had solved their problems but that is not looking very good right now. Meyer could have turned out to be a bust here but he did a great job, but could not handle the pressure when Saban showed up. Then look at what Iowa did to OSU yesterday. This is the Iowa team that the gators steam rolled just 10 months ago. I like the idea of picking a young energetic coach that can recruit the heck out of the state. Go gators

  12. in retrospect, its easier to understand why both the sun and foley supported champ even after Georgia state, as grier at least had enough to keep things looking up to return to elite status (in fact he did until debacle #1 – the suspension, with debacle #2 being when grier left, and now we have even more debacles). it seems like the next coach will have to demonstrate developing a successful nfl qb, and the active ones on that list is only 10 or so people….mullen, cutcliff, the smu coach, wilson – the recently fired Indiana coach, richt, chris klieman of north Dakota state, lane kiffen (god forgive me for writing his name), Fuente, harbaugh, Kelly….
    for various reasons most are unlikely, but I would add the north Dakota state name to the 25 names, this guy wins championships, is also close to kurt warner. had it just been minor league competition, id say no, but adding a top nfl you realize this may work.

  13. I’m curious to see how this team comes out next week at SC. Are they going to pull together and play with an attitude or will they continue the downhill slide? One thing that HAS to change is the play calling. What possible reason does the OC have for holding back this offense? Is he a spy for Chump? The receivers can do more than block on bubble screens. Nuss, you have to throw the ball downfield, not to the sidelines. If not, then you’re going to see the moving vans lined up down your street.

  14. You know the worst thing is, when I see all of the defenders of these mediocre to pathetic coaches. I teach at a school (which is west of Gainesville, that I will not name), where the administration holds onto a guy that has not had a winning season since 2014, but he had a couple of 9-win seasons against mediocre teams, and they pay him enough money to fund an entire department of professors on campus. They will not let him go because of his buyout, and the impact it would have on the state university system. I am not against paying a football coach huge money. But, if you go that route, that coach had better win, quickly, and should not whine about being cut loose if they do not win, because they generally will earn more in one year that some of the most gifted Ph.D’s teaching at our campuses today will make in 20 years. If you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen..

  15. This one may have been mentioned before, but I really like the TCU coach, Gary Patterson, and I think he would be a great fit for the job. TCU was a whipping boy until he came along, and his teams look great. They also face some pretty stiff competition. I hope he is on the radar screen, along with Frost, Norvell, and a couple of others. Also, I think he would stick around for a long time, and not go running to NB or elsewhere. Just sayin’…

  16. Randy Shannon is a good coordinator and recruiter. He is uber-conservative and more than a little paranoid with the media. That contributed mightily to his failure at Miami. And should look remarkably familiar to Gator fans (Will Muschamp). I don’t know if he’s learned enough of a lesson to do things different as interim coach. The evidence of this game suggests probably not. He is who he is.

    As for playoffs, can we please stop with this farce of (2) teams from a conference? Why is it so hard to have a playoff for conference winners only? Include however many teams you think you need. Sorry Notre Dame. Get into the Big Ten-ish where you belong. That would validate and protect the best regular season in any sport and NOT reward teams for skipping their conference championship game.

    • Spot on, Mark. The playoffs should be Power-5 conference champions only, with one wild card selected from the Group-of-5 conference champion with the highest ranking. Independents pay the price, big deal. Join a conference if that upsets you too much. There’s only 4 of them.