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  Pre-Season Rant Fla. Atlantic UAB Tennessee Kentucky Alabama
  LSU Auburn Georgia Vanderbilt South Carolina Furman
  Florida State Gator Bowl National Championship





Pre-Season Rant

Hello Gator Nation…

It would not be surprising if the 2011 Gator football team runs out of the tunnel for the first game of the 2011 season with question marks emblazoned on their helmets instead of the familiar “Gators” logo. That sums up just about how much of a clue we have about this team.

Want to sum up last season? Last year UF limited Mississippi State to 10 points, but lost because the offense could only score 7.

Any time you break in a new coach and coaching staff there will be question marks. New head coach Will Muschamp will be fine. He has an outstanding pedigree from Texas, where he was “coach in waiting,” He also had stints as defensive coordinator at Auburn, LSU and the Miami Dolphins. Plus, he’s a Gainesville boy who played college ball at archrival Georgia. So it is safe to say Muschamp knows big-time southern football. On that issue, he will be fine.

But Muschamp’s forte is defense… you know as in “defense wins championships,” except that in our experience it doesn’t. Ron Zook was a heralded defensive coach and an outstanding recruiter. But it took offensive-minded Urban Meyer to win it all with Zook’s troops.

Offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss is another enigma. Weiss was fired at Notre Dame for not providing the breakthrough championship teams that school demanded. Oh, he flirted with success, recruited reasonably well, but lost a few games that he should have won. Theoretically, the pressure is off Weiss. He has sacrificed big money to come here for personal reasons not related to coaching football.

Gator quarterback John Brantley is a nice kid. Solid citizen, Gator pedigree, a kid who had had the misfortune to play in a system that was ill-suited to his particular skill set. As Gator QB, he takes the brunt of criticism for whatever the offense fails to do, never mind that his receivers are just as likely to drop perfectly thrown passes.

Still, Brantley threw for 2,000 yards last year. Weiss should be the best-possible fix for Brantley… a pro-style drop-back passing offensive coach who has made stars out of quarterbacks.

We’ll see.

The rest of the Gator offense is also enigmatic. Receivers who might… or might not catch passes. Speedy tailbacks who can break long runs, but are questionable running up the middle on 3rd down and three. A relatively new and inexperience offensive line with questionable depth.

I think the defense will be OK. We always seem to have a star-in-waiting in the secondary, which is being pointed to as the defense’s weak spot.

The schedule will be tough. Two opening game patsies followed by Tennessee at home, followed by a road game to Kentucky. UF should be 4-0 going into a big four-game stand in October.

The first October game is at home against Alabama. If the Tide rolls and humiliates the Gators like they did last year, the fragile psyche will collapse and it will be game-to-game the rest of the way… Figure UF will finish 6-6 or 7-5.

UF then travels out to LSU, a dark horse contender for a national title. Despite pundits love for the Tigers, LSU is suspect at QB. This is a game UF can win if all of the breaks go their way. The Gators play well in Baton Rouge and perhaps an upset win is more possible than anyone thinks.

Game three is at Auburn. Since Steve Spurrier left is 2001, UF has had problems against Auburn, losing games it probably should have won. Auburn is the defending conference and national champ, but was totally decimated by graduation, defection, and early departures to the NFL. This team may have more question marks that UF. But it is very possible that UF can win.

The final October game is against Georgia. The Dawgs are figured at best to be a dark horse contender in the east… Coming off of a losing season, they seem to be solid at QB with sophomore Aaron Murray. All the rest is questionable, including Coach Mark Richt, who has had problems with UF. This game is very winnable for UF.

The stretch run includes automatic wins against Vanderbilt and another patsy game, closing with – I hate to say it -- probable losses at South Carolina and home finale against FSU.

Spurrier has a great team at Carolina, and this might be the last hurrah for the Ol’ Ball Coach. FSU Coach Jimbo Fisher is a good friend of Muschamp – they own a condo together – but that friendship will last until pre-game warm-ups. UF had dominated FSU lately, but the pendulum appears to have swung back to Tallahassee. If the game were being played today, FSU would be the easy favorite.

My take is not to get too amped on the 2011 season. Take it for what it is, a stepping stone back to greatness. The program is too solid to stay down for long. So figure best-case scenario will be 9-3.



As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



Florida Atlantic Rant

The Florida Gators opened the Will Muschamp era with a solid 41-3 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls at Florida Field Saturday.

The offense, which was such a sore spot last year, looked much improved and sharp. Much maligned QB John Brantley looked like a real quarterback for one of the few times in his UF career. Brantley still has trouble throwing the ball over the middle and downfield, but was deadly on flat passes. JB was supported by a surprising ground game that churned out over 200 yards, with much of the damage being done by tailbacks Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey.

It would be easy to dismiss this game as insignificant, but FAU plays with talent harvested from the state of Florida, so it is arguable that this team has virtually the same speed as what Brantley and company will face when the SEC wars begin in two weeks.

There are areas for improvement, but overall, good job Gator offense…

After I got home, I flipped on the TV and there in front of my eyes was Georgia versus Boise State… I think.

I say I think, because it looked like a freaking video game. I’m talking about the Nike Pro Combat Uniforms that Georgia decided to wear. Let me preface my comments by admitting right up front, I don’t like Georgia. I grew up in the 60s and 70s and the “Dawgs” routinely broke my heart (exactly the way that we are breaking theirs). But at least I could count on the hated red jerseys with the hated red helmets and the ubiquitous “G” logo. Through the years, we’ve seen the silver britches, black britches, black jerseys, they even broke out the black helmets in 2009…

Now this… Georgia’s Pro Combat unis looked like an abomination Some kind of two-toned red and silver “bicycle” helmet, solid red leotard looking suits. I think Carson Kressley designed it. Like I said it looked like a video game. Rock said it looked like they were playing Tron State. Not Troy… Tron…

Boise wasn’t much better with their oversized horse helmet logo.

Then Monday night I settled in to watch Miami versus Maryland and dammit if Maryland isn’t wearing a uniform get up that looked like it was designed by Picasso… on LSD.

Made me dizzy. Listen sportsfans, enough is enough. It was barely tolerable when UF did the one orange sleeve, one blue sleeve jersey in 06, and I totally hated the so-called “retro” UF uniform worn versus FSU and Alabama in 2009. Wasn’t too keen on South Carolina’s digital camouflage unis they wore versus the Gators up there in 2009. It’s cute when a rag-tag Pac-10, Pac-12, Pac-dirt outfit like Oregon comes out looking like the Greeen Laantern or lemon-lime popsicles every game.


As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



University of Alabama @ Birmingham Rant

The “exhibition seasons” is over… no more “preseason games…” the real season begins Saturday…

Hmmm… sounds like the Gators must be gearing up to face Tennessee.

Yes, UF will open its 2011 Southeastern Conference slate facing the Tennessee Volunteers at home Saturday. This game used to be the trendsetter for the SEC Eastern Division race. The winner had the inside track to the title game.

UF is riding a six-game win streak against the Vols. Tennessee’s program remains in some disarray after the ouster of Coach Phil Fulmer two years ago, followed by the Lane Kiffen coaching experiment disaster. It has fallen upon young Derek Dooley – the son of legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley – to right the ship. And to be honest, he has done a pretty good job. UT was a couple of bizarre screw-ups away from winning eight games last year, a magnificent effort on their part.

Don’t think they have the talent to beat UF in Gainesville though…

The Gators enter the game 2-0 having run through the alphabet portion of its schedule (FAU, UAB m-o-u-s-e) The Gators trounced the University of Alabama-Birmingham 39-0 at the Swamp Saturday night.

The offense continued to show promise. Chris Rainey had a big game rushing the football as UF rushed for more than 300 yards and John Brantley threw for 195. But all of that is out the window. The only stats that matter now are the stats against SEC opponents. Of note, Jeff Demps injured his shoulder in the first half vs. UAB and did not return and Jordan Reed reinjured his hamstring and sat out the 2nd half. Mike Gillislee had a good game replacing Demps, rushing for 79 yards. Also the wildcat is alive and well…Trey Burton and Chris Rainey each took direct snaps at QB during the game.

Glad this game kicks off at 3:30. The night games were taking a toll on me. See you at the Swamp.


As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



Tennessee Rant

A new low was established on Florida Field, and I¹m not talking about Gator Growl, which in recent years (decades) has pretty much sucked.

No, I¹m talking about the University of Florida Gator Band¹s attempt to play the Led Zeppelin anthem ³Stairway to Heaven.² I have addressed this in previous rants. There are simply some artists and some songs that nerdy marching band geeks need to leave alone.

What's next? Pablo Picasso by the Burning Sensations? I'd like to see them try that one.

Thank God the sound didn¹t waft up to my row. Not that anybody could have heard it over my screaming.

On to more important things.

It was a great tailgate. He is ever more being such a benevolent God, more so than in previous years. That¹s codeS only a few people ³get² what I¹m talking about.

The Florida Gators built a comfortable 30-7 lead on the Tennessee Volunteers and then hung on for a 33-23 win in the SEC opener for both teams at the Swamp Saturday.

As Rock wrote ³I¹m only happy when its Rainey² ­ a nice take off on the song by GarbageS For Tennessee, it was too much Chris Rainey. The speedy Gator scatback amassed more than 100 yards rushing and more than 100 yards receiving plus blocked a UT punt to lead UF¹s effort. John Brantley had a good day, starting the game 10-14 passing and finished 14-26 for 225 yards.

The Gator QB continues to show improved confidence and ability, Brantley had a couple of TDs called back when receivers were ruled out of bounds and another completion (and first down) was nullified when the receiver stepped on the sideline.

While the game¹s outcome was never seriously in doubt, Tennessee mounted a furious comeback ­ helped in part by five pass interference calls and at least five dropped interceptions that kept fans in the seats until the final couple minutes. This can only help mature the Gators as they head into the October meat grinder portion of the schedule.

It¹s Florida¹s seventh consecutive win over the Vols, Tennessee owns the all-time streak, having won 10 in a row between 1916 and 1953. That is only worth mentioning in light of UF¹s 22-19 overall record vs. UTS Since the 1970s, UF is 20-6 against Tennessee. I guess the switch away from leather helmets didn¹t help the Vols muchS

Next up are the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington. UK lost to Louisville last week. Reagan was president the last time Kentucky beat UF.



As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



Kentucky Rant

Going into the Kentucky game, I had hoped that this would be the opportunity for Gators quarterback John Brantley to have a big passing game… 300 yards or better. I thought that might be the confidence builder that JB needed going into the October gauntlet portion of the schedule.

Turns out that Brantley didn’t need a huge passing game. With each game he seems to be a little more confident with the new offense installed by offensive coordinator Charlie Weiss. And while Brantley did have a beautiful over-the-middle touchdown pass to tight end Gerald Christian, if was UF’s running game that powered the team to a 48-10 victory over Kentucky in Lexington Saturday night.

The Gators rushed for 404 yards – the fifth best ever rushing total against any opponent. Jeff Demps led the way with 157 yards on just 10 carries, including a beautiful 84 yard burst on a draw play in which he turned on the jets and simply outran four Wildcat player to the end zone.

Chris Rainey also ran for 105 yards, the fourth straight game in which he has eclipsed the century mark, and Mike Gillislee added 84 yards in a mop-up role, including a 60-yard TD run.

This week, the Alabama Crimson Tide visits the Swamp. Last year, the top-ranked Tide demolished the Gators 31-6 in Tuscaloosa in a game that might’ve been closer, had not every possible break gone against UF. Bama once again is ranked among the top three nationally, but is a less experienced team than a year ago.

I have to say here that last year I was deeply offended by the media’s premature coronation of Alabama as a shoo-in repeat champion… it just seemed that UA got way more attention and respect than did the Gators in 2009, when UF was the defending national champion returning 22 of 24 starters. So I was quite happy when Alabama lost to South Carolina, LSU and Auburn to finish fourth in the SEC west… which was no better than UF finished in the East… take that, Nick Saban.

Here’s hoping the Gators bring their “A” game and that Weiss has a surprise or two up his sleeve that will befuddle the Tide. A win vs. Bama would go a long way in validating the Will Muschamp hiring and would greatly heat up recruiting. It will be The Gator’s last home game for a month and a win would also lend momentum to the remainder for the October gauntlet games vs. LSU, Auburn and Georgia.



As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



Alabama Rant

Alabama proved why it is a national title contender, spotting the Florida Gators a 7-0 lead and methodically wearing down and pounding down UF for a 38-10 win in Gainesville Saturday.

The Gators stuck quickly, electrifying the crowd by scoring on the game’s first play as John Brantley hit Andre DeBose on a beautifully thrown 65-yard touchdown pass.

Bama countered with a field goal on its initial possession. UF drove down into the red zone on its next possession and after a signaled TD pass was ruled incomplete upon review, the Gators settled for a field goal and a 10-3 lead.

That was it for UF. John Brantley had perhaps his best half as Gator quarterback, throwing for 195 yards. However, Brantley was injured just before the half and left the game. He suffered a high ankle sprain on a sack and will miss this week’s game at LSU. The extent of his injury is not known and it is not known when he might return to the lineup.

Freshman Jeff Driskell finished the game and except for a 31-yard scramble, was mostly ineffective against the tough Tide defense. Alabama meanwhile, continued to pound tailback Trent Richardson (29 carries for 181 yards, 2 TDs). It seemed that it took 4-5 tacklers to put Richardson on the ground. I saw one play where he hit a defensive lineman and drove the player backwards. It was a Hershel-category hit. Richardson’s performance elevated as a bona fide Heisman contender.

UF’s Chris Rainey was limited to four net yards as was his speedy back mate Jeff Demps. The Gators netter 15 rushing yard for the game.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Gators when the take on LSU, currently the nation’s top ranked team. It remains to be seen if Driskell and company can rebound from the loss and provide a test for the Tigers.

Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for John Brantley.


As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



LSU Rant

The good news is that the Florida Gators will not have to play a top-2 nationally ranked team this week. That hasn’t worked out well as the Gators were trounced by #2 Alabama 38-10 and #1 LSU 41-11. It was the first time UF has lost consecutive games by 28 points since 1971 – the disappointing 4-7 senior seasons for John Reaves and Carlos Alvarez.

The bad news is that UF faces offense minded and uber-lucky Auburn in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers have demonstrated this season that they can score points in bunches. What they haven’t demonstrated is any propensity to stop other team from scoring. AU narrowly avoided an embarrassing upset in its home opener versus Utah State, pulling out a 42-38 win after recovering a last-minute onsides kick. The Tigers beat Miss State 41-34 and South Carolina 16-13, again winning the SC game in the waning minutes.

It is uncertain who will start at quarterback for the Gators this week. Third-stringer true freshman Jacobbi Brissett performed admirably in his first start vs. LSU after John Brantley and Jeff Driskell both sustained ankle injuries against Alabama. The highlight was a 65-yard TD completion to Andre Debose for UF’S only TD.

The Gator Defense has thus far failed to live up to its billing. After turning in a satisfactory performance in a win against pass-happy Tennessee, the defense has faltered against the punishing running attacks of the last two weeks. There have been few sacks, and even fewer turnovers. Tackling has been poor. Most inexcusable however was allowing a TD (called back for a penalty) when LSU’s punter ran untouched 60-plus yards to paydirt. If UF cannot come up with some stops against Auburn then the inexperienced offense will be hard pressed to match the Tigers point-for-point. Auburn has an excellent and deep running game.

It’s time for UF’s heralded five-star players Ron Powell, Sharif Floyd and Dominic Easley to provide the dominant play that was expected from them. Ditto for Linebacker Jelani Jenkins.

No prediction, just a warning that the defense MUST get its act together NOW or disgruntled Bull Gators will begin drawing comparisons between Muschamp and former UF head coach Ron Zook (who by the way has coached Illinois to a 6-0 record so far…)


As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



Auburn

Combining an ineffective running game with a non-existent passing attack, plus a case of the dropsies on punt returns, The Florida Gators lost their third consecutive game, falling to Auburn 17-6 on the plains Saturday night.

Three turnovers and an impotent offense spelled doom for the Gators, helping set up short drives that Auburn capitalized on. The first was a fumbled punt by Chris Rainey. Gator coach Will Muschamp argued vociferously but to no avail that Auburn defenders interfered with Rainey’s ability to field the punt. A few plays later Auburn converted a touchdown on a jump ball into the end zone.

UF was without starting QB John Brantley who watched the game wearing a boot to protect his high ankle sprain, as did running back Jeff Demps.

Neither of UF’s two freshmen quarterbacks had success in moving the team. Jacoby Brissett led UF to two field goals in the first half and UF trailed by a point, 6-7 at halftime. Jeff Driskell came on in relief in the second half, and while he made some nice throws, the Gators could not sustain drives after they got into the red zone.

The Gators have a week off to prepare for Georgia in Jacksonville on Oct. 29. Last year UF was coming off exactly the same scenario – three straight losses to SEC west teams, but turned it around with a 34-31 overtime win against the Dawgs. Georgia will be playing for coach Mark Richt’s job security as another loss to the Gators is felt to be a certain dagger to his tenure.

Hopefully Brantley’s injury will have healed and he will return to the starting lineup. Although Brantley’s career to this point has been underwhelming, He did show much improvement and confidence in each of the first four games.

I hate to point this out but UF has way too much talent to be in the predicament of sweating out the remaining games on its schedule, but 21 total points in the last three games speaks for it’s self. Urban Meyer brought home several top-ten recruit classes, including a #1 ranked class that included five-star studs like Ron Powell, Shariff Floyd, Dominic Easley and co. A lot of “lesser” teams are winning with a talent that earned much less accolades. That points to coaching. It’s still too early to think about firewillmuschamp.com but what is not sitting well with the Gator fan base is not that we’re losing, it’s that we do not appear to be competitive. Big improvement need to be implemented right away.


As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



Georgia

The Florida Gators dropped their fourth consecutive game, losing to Georgia 24-20 in Jacksonville Saturday.

The loss evened UF’s record to 4-4 and eliminated them from contention for a division championship. It is the first time UF has dropped four in a row since 1988. With games remaining against Vanderbilt, South Carolina and FSU, UF stands a risk of having its first losing season since the infamous 1979 0-10-1 season.

Once again turnovers and penalties spelled doom for the Gators. UF was up 17-3 just before halftime when a fumble at their own 25 set yup a short TD drive. Another UF fumble at their own 18 led to another Bulldog TD to tie the game at 17. While the Gators did drive to a field goal to lead 20-17, Georgia tacked on a fourth quarter touchdown to make the final 24-20.

It was only the fourth Georgia win over the Gators in the last 22 years.

The Gators squandered several scoring opportunities. One the first play following the opening kick off, Gators Quarterback John Brantley hit Jeff Demps on a nifty 72-yard bubble screen to the UGa 23. Chris Rainey dropped a pass on a timing route at the five yard line that would have scored, and the Gators flowed that with a missed a field goal.

The UF defense collected a rare turnover at the Georgia 13 and promptly lost 25 yards on two sacks and a penalty UF punted and again came away with no points.

UF Quarterback John Brantley still showed the effects of his high ankle sprain, was limited in his mobility, having to take snaps exclusively from the shotgun. The numerous sacks continually blunted Gator opportunities.

The Gators had 14 penalties against Georgia. A pal has noted that UF has now been flagged 75 times this year which is tops in the nation. The Gators have lost 567 yards to penalties, which is more that its top runner Chris Rainey has rushed for, or just two yard less than the combined yardage of UF’s top three receivers.

Vandy comes to town for homecoming. What once appeared to be a “gimme” game, is now uncertain, as the commodores have shown some mettle in close losses to Georgia (33-28) and Arkansas (31-28). While the Gators have beaten Vandy 20 straight times since 1989, the Commodores might be smelling the blood of a wounded Gator, hoping to claim their first win against UF since 1988 (24-9).

Got to be there, got to cheer on the Orange & Blue.


As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



Vanderbilt

The Florida Gators ended a month long drought with a hard-fought 26-21 homecoming win over Vanderbilt at the Swamp Saturday.

UF still showed some of the confounding characteristics of the recent losing streak, marching some 80 yards on the opening drive to a touch… back. Yes, rather than cashing in on a touchdown, a UF receiver coughed up the ball while struggling for extra yardage and Vandy recovered to blunt another UF scoring drive.

Nonetheless, the Gators appeared to be cruising with a 20-3 lead before Vandy made the home faithful nervous, trimming the margin to 20-14. The gators appeared to be content to run out the clock with just over three minutes to play until Jeff Demps burst into the open near midfield, put a move on a defender and raced untouched to the end zone to put UF UP 26-14. The gators muffed the two-point try and almost handed a deuce to VU as Vandy scooped up the fumble and advanced the ball rugby style downfield. The play was nullified by an illegal forward lateral. The Commodores did manage a five-play touchdown drive but the upset bid ended when Jordan Reed recovered the onside kick attempt with just over a minute to play.

Florida now plays The South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia.

Gator QB John Brantley sat out the final five minutes of the game after receiving a bruise to his throwing arm. Coach Will Muschamp said he could have played, but the coach opted to sit him in favor of Freshman Jacoby Brissett. Brantley did not practice Monday – a precaution – according to UF.

The ‘Cocks lost big to Arkansas, 44-28, putting Georgia in control of the SEC East Division. A month ago this game appeared to be a lock for Coach Steve Spurrier’s Gamecocks, but since then, USC has lost its starting QB (dismissed for alcohol abuse), it’s top running back Marcus Lattimore (injury) and last week the replacement QB Conner Shaw suffered a concussion with five minutes to play against Arkansas, but has been medically cleared to play against Florida.

Those of us, who remember Gator QB Tim Tebow’s return to duty at LSU two weeks after suffering a concussion against Kentucky, know he wasn’t the same Tim Tebow for the next couple of games.

That makes Saturday’s game very interesting. As always, it’s great to be a Florida Gator.


As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



South Carolina

Offense continues to be a problem for the Florida Gators. UF missed yet another golden opportunity, scoring one offensive touchdown in a 12-17 loss to South Carolina in Columbia Saturday.

Although USC did have a back rush for 120 yards, it was the scrambling of QB Connor Shaw that broke the Gators back. Time and time again UF would force the Gamecocks into third-and-long only to have Shaw scramble for a first down.

Gator tailback Chris Rainey also eclipsed the 100-yards rushing mark, gaining 132 total rushing yards including a beautiful 47-yard run to the UCS three-yard line.

Not much else to say that hasn’t already been said. Scoring only one touchdown doesn’t win many ball games in the SEC. With a 3-5 records against SEC opponents, UF has clinched its first losing record in conference since 1986.

Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier said the win was special because his Florida friends advised him against coaching there because “you’ll never beat Florida, you can’t beat Georgia or Tennessee. Well, we’re 6-0 against those teams in the last two years.”

At least for my trouble of taking a trip up to see it, I did get an excellent meal of shrimp and grits at the Blue Marlin restaurant in Columbia.

For UF it’s back to the drawing board. A no-nothing, stat-padding, just-for-fun game against Furman is next, followed by the season ender at home against Florida State.




As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



Furman




As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



Florida State

The Gators squandered perhaps their best defensive effort of the year in a 21-7 loss to FSU at the Swamp that left a really sour taste in Gator fans mouths.

As with the UF losses to Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina, it was the fourth time this year that the Gators could have, should have, would have turned a loss into a win. It was the first time since 1988 that neither team was ranked.

The Seminoles (8-4) beat the Gators with less than 100 yards total offense and fewer turnovers. The Gators held the Noles to just 95 total yards and outrushed FSU. UF also had double the passing yardage. FSU had more penalty yardage than offensive yardage. But the Noles also gained more yardage on defense via turnovers than it had on offense. That was the difference.

Gator quarterback John Brantley completed 9 of 15 passes for 104 yards, with three interceptions, before leaving the game late in the second quarter with a concussion. He was replaced by freshman Jacobi Brissett who was 4 of 13 for 27 yards. EJ Manuel wasn’t much better for Florida State. He was 6 of 13 for 65 yards and was sacked four times on a mostly miserable night in which the Seminoles managed seven first downs.

FSU offense went shockingly bad against Florida, though its defense produced one of the best games in school history. The Seminoles forced four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown and set up touchdown drives of 21 and four yard by the offense for the other two scores.

The Gators (6-6) avoided their first shutout since 1988 when Brissett found Quinton Dunbar for a 6-yard score with 4:16 remaining. Florida is bowl eligible.

Time for Coach Will Muschamp to hit the recruiting trail and figure out how to inject some offense into his program.

On a related note, Former Gator Coach Urban Meyer was hired as the head football coach at Ohio State. That feels kind of like your wife leaving you for an uglier man...

At least basketball season is here. Billy D has a great shooting team. Should be an interesting year for the Gator cagers.


As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



Gator Bowl

As if the world needs more drama, the University of Florida will play in the Gator Bowl against Ohio State on Jan 2nd.

UF defeated Ohio State 41-14 to win the 2006 national championship under then-head coach Urban Meyer. After a six-year run in which he won two SEC and two national championships, Meyer stepped down (again) as UF head coach following last Year’s Outback Bowl win over Penn state.

After working for ESPN as a college football analyst, Meyer accepted the head coaching position at Ohio State, although Luke Fickell, not Meyer will coach the Buckeyes against UF.

Wouldn’t surprise me if Meyer sneaks onto the field at halftime to dot the “i” in Ohio. UF Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis is leaving Florida to become the head coach at Kansas. This after Weis said that he planned to be at Florida for many years as long as he was wanted.

Gator head football coach Will Muschamp hired Weis away from the Kansas City Chiefs in January. He is one of the most respected offensive coordinators in football. But his first offense at UF this past season was statistically one of the worst in the SEC, and the worst Gator offense since 1988. Weis’s pro-style offense brought a lot of excitement to Gainesville, but the UF offense never got on track, as the Gators struggled throughout the season to sustain drives and score points. UF finished the season ranked 108th nationally in total offense with an average of 334.2 yards a game. UF averaged only 25.6 points a game and scored 12 points or less in four of its last six SEC games.

Weis, who has four Super Bowl rings and formerly was head coach at Notre Dame, was the highest-paid assistant coach in UF history, signing a three-year, $2.6-million contract when he took the job.

Muschamp now must find a new offensive coordinator at the height of the recruiting season. He said there is no timetable to fill the position. He said he will continue to run the pro-style offense.

Muschamp said Jacksonville University coach Kerwin Bell, the former standout UF quarterback, could be a candidate for the job, along with UF running backs coach Brian White, who will be the offensive coordinator through the bowl game.

Muschamp also might have to look for a new offensive line coach. Current line coach Frank Verducci was Weis' offensive line coach at Notre Dame, and the two are close.

Stay tuned…




As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



National Championship

Next Year


Ever more, As Always, it’s Great to be a Florida Gator.



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