Gators fans Rock The Vote!

Gator athletic teams are doing quite well right now. The Men’s basketball team is #6 in the nation and has a chance to go to 8 straight elite eights. The seniors have a good chance to break the all time wins record for a class. The Men’s and Women’s swimming and diving teams are both ranked in the top 10. The Gymnastics team is currently #3 in the nation as they defend the national championship. These are all great things that I would love to hear about.

You know what I don’t want to hear about right now? The 2013 Gator football team, especially their loss to Georgia Southern, and ESPECIALLY Quinton Dunbar and Jonotthan Harrison blocking each other on a play where the Gators scored a touchdown! We scored a touchdown, I don’t care if they did an Irish jig at midfield.

That play occurred November 23rd. That is just over 2 months ago and yet I have to be reminded of that play and that season every Friday on SportsCenter when they show their Not Top Ten of the week. Every week the Gators “epic fail” gets voted the Worst of the Worst. It has been 9 consecutive weeks now and I am sick and tired of hearing about it.

So here is what we need to do Gator Nation. This upcoming Friday we rock the vote. We get Harrison and Dunbar off of SportsCenter. We allow the reporters to stop making stupid Muschamp references every week when they show the clip. We vote for whatever idiotic thing that happens this week to save face for Gators everywhere.

Take to facebook, take to twitter, take to myspace if you have to. #FreeDunbar @QuintonDunbar1 #FreeHarrison #FreeMuschamp @CoachWMuschamp #GatorsRockTheVote at www.sportscenter.com this upcoming Friday. Spread the word!

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Jon Halapio’s interview with the Cleveland Browns

Former Florida offensive lineman Jon Halapio is spending the week preparing for the Senior Bowl this weekend. And while there, he was asked by the Cleveland Browns to list all the things he would do with a brick according to this tweet by South Florida Sun Sentinel columnist, Omar Kelly. Now, I know every NFL team asks draft prospects these kind of off-the-wall questions to get them to think a little and keep them on their toes, but when you’ve been at the bottom of the league for quite some time and you’re having trouble finding a head coach, it’s not a good look. But since they asked, I would like to give them my answers because I can think of a butt load of things I can do with a brick. I fully expect to be their first round draft pick come April after they read this. The first few answers on this list I tweeted earlier.

-Give it a headset and name it your coach.

-Trade it for a football and score a touchdown. Something your fans haven’t seen much of.

-Hit Ben Roethlisberger with it. Is that the answer you were looking for?

-Put a Brandon Weeden jersey on it. Stand them side by side and see if anyone can tell the difference.

-Hold your city hostage with it until my demands are met to get me out of your city.

-Hand it off to Earnest Byner and watch him fumble it.

-Eat it.

-Have sex with it?

-Break it up into smaller pieces to share with my teammates because that’s the kind of guy I am.

-Tie it to the gas pedal of my car and drive it into a lake to fake my death rather than play for your organization.

-Plant it in the ground so that future generations can have a brick tree of their own.

-Smash ants.

-Trade it to the Colts for more draft picks.

-Hurl it through a store window.

-Co-star in a buddy cop movie.

-Teach it to hate LeBron James.

-Hit myself in the head with it until I’m dead, you know, because I’m in Cleveland and all.

-Glue a pair of googly eyes on it and sell it for a million dollars.

-Use it as a fetch toy for some of your Dawg Pound fans.

-Pretend it’s an old ‘80s cell phone for a few good laughs.

-Hold the brick behind me and squat down and drop the brick so it looks like I’m literally shitting bricks for a few good laughs.

-Use it as a babysitter.

-Give it to Jim Brown and watch him punch it to dust.

-Use it as a loofah.

-Develop an unhealthy emotional connection to it that makes people uncomfortable. Alienate and cry out that those people are just jealous of what brick and I have. Go through a nasty, very public, falling out with the brick. Make amends with everyone you shunned.

-Encourage it to be a Bengals fan. On second thought, encourage it to avoid Ohio football.

-Move it to Baltimore.

—–

Post by Blake Edwards (formerly known as The Unsportsmanlike Gentleman). He’s famous for the Muschamp Intensity Meter.

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So Long 2013: Gator Apocalypse

It was probably after the Vanderbilt game when I first googled “how to remove a curse” and began looking for answers to what was obviously some sort of voodoo placed on the Gators. In hindsight, I should have begun my research on January 2 when a clearly distracted and unfocused Florida football team was blitzed by Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. I guess at least we had one day in 2013 when we could hold our heads high. What followed was one of the most amazing runs of bad mojo I’ve ever seen, and it didn’t take a genius to see Gator Nation was in trouble.

The 2013 calendar year will be long remembered by Gator Nation as one of the most depressing, disheartening years ever. But the reality is a little bit different. The University of Florida took home two national championships, both in dramatic fashion. The men’s outdoor track and field team captured its second title in a row, and the women’s gymnastics team won its first ever crown. In addition, there were SEC titles for men’s swimming and diving, women’s tennis, softball and soccer and the aforementioned gymnastics squad. And Florida finished second overall in the Director’s Cup standings for the 2012-2013 athletic season.

In the current 2013-2014 athletic season, though, Florida sits 21st, and is in very real danger of finishing outside the top 9 for the first time in history. Which brings us back to the fact that despite those many triumphs that most athletic programs would kill for, 2013 can go right to hell. Here are the lowlights, ranked by how painful they were to take:

6. Baseball
After three straight College World Series trips, it was inevitable that Florida was due for a backslide. Too much talent had departed and there just wasn’t enough on the roster to compete in the loaded SEC and against the nation’s toughest schedule. Florida did manage to make the NCAA Tournament for the sixth straight season but was swept out of the postseason and finished under .500 for the first time in Kevin O’Sullivan’s tenure.

5. Volleyball
Mary Wise has built one of the most surefire regular season juggernauts in the NCAA. The Gators once again rolled through the regular season, losing only three times and were the fifth seed in the NCAA Tournament. But then about a week after the football team was blasted by Florida State, the Seminoles came into the O’Dome and ended Florida’s run of eight straight Regional Finals. This was an absolute nightmare ending for the Gators.

4. Softball
Like Wise, softball coach Tim Walton has built the Gators into a perennial contender that just can‘t seem to win it all. Florida made its fifth trip to the Women’s College World Series since 2008. The Gators entered Oklahoma City as the #2 overall seed with really good odds of making the Finals. But like every other trip to the WCWS, the Gators were out without a title, despite an epic 15-inning win that was one for the ages.

3. Men’s Hoops
I actually consider the ending to the men’s hoops run this year an upgrade from the previous two years, at yet it still was a kidney punch to Gator Nation. The Gators followed up two straight crushing losses in the Elite Eight with yet another opportunity to reach the Final Four. But unlike the previous years in which Florida led late in the second half, the Gators were never close in this one, getting blown off the court by Michigan.

2. Women’s Soccer
Like the others coaches on this list, Becky Burleigh’s reign at Florida has seen a lot of success. Since the Gators shocked the soccer world and won the 1998 NCAA championship, Burleigh’s teams have remained among the nation’s best but haven’t been able to make much noise in the NCAA Tournament. This year, Florida had arguably its best team since the national title bunch. But in the span of 30 minutes or so, everything changed. Florida was headed toward another SEC Tournament title and a high seed in the NCAAs when junior captain and all-SEC performer Havana Solaun tore her ACL. The Gators blew the lead in the second half and lost the SEC crown. They then lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Given how wide open the field was this year, there is a decent chance the ACL injury cost Florida a shot at the national title.

1. Football
Of course, if you want to talk injuries in 2013, nothing compares to the insanity the football team experienced. The Gators suffered more injuries than any other college football team this season and it is probably safe to say than any other Gators squad ever. 21 23 scholarship players missed at least one game. When you are losing players before the season, that’s rough. But when you lose your quarterback and best defensive player in back-to-back weeks early in the season, you begin to wonder what you did to deserve this. Those losses were still only the beginning for Florida. I still contend that if Tyler Murphy wasn’t seriously injured against LSU, Florida could have salvaged its season and finished with 6-7 wins. Murphy was a shell of himself in the next three games before pulling the chute on the season. Other injuries along the offensive line and throughout the defense mounted and Florida finished the year with a team that might not have won an intramural flag football championship.

Subnote: The curse of 2013 even infected the professional ranks as it saw the end to Tim Tebow’s NFL career and serious injuries to Maurkice Pouncey, Jordan Reed and Al Horford. Not even going to mention Riley Cooper’s incident and definitely not going to mention the tight end accused of murder.

So Gator Nation will ring in the New Year tonight with a lot of disappointment but also with more hope than we’ve had in a long time. That’s because there is no where to go but up. Most importantly, the football team will be better. A new offensive coordinator, a few more playmakers (including possibly a freshman quarterback), lots of underclassman with lots of experience should at minimum get us back to 7-8 wins and a bowl game. The other sports are in even better shape. This looks like Billy Donovan’s best team since the 04s. Gymnastics has four All-American returners is the preseason #1. Baseball is adding the nation’s best freshman class. Soccer returns Savannah Jordan, the most dynamic scorer since Abby Wambach, and should have Solaun back as well. The rest of the athletic program is great shape as well.

As for those curse remedies I was researching, no matter how bright 2014 looks, you can never be too safe. Let’s leave nothing to chance. Leaving out any animal or virgin sacrifices, I say we settle on two remedies. The first is the idea of placing mirrors facing out all around the Swamp and the practice field to deflect spirits and curses back upon their senders. Additionally, it can’t hurt to smudge Ben Hill Griffin Stadium with some lit sage.

Be gone demons of 2013. Happy New Year!

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Gator Nation’s Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

How are you? Hopefully well. I imagine it is a busy time up there at the North Pole, lots of presents being finished up and wrapped for kids all around the world. Big week coming up. Have the RVs arrived at the North Pole yet? You get many tailgaters ahead of your big game day?

I imagine you don’t receive many letters from adults but on behalf of all of Gator Nation, I had to step forward. You see, this past year has been a very rough one for us. I don’t know if you get SportsCenter above the Arctic Circle. Maybe you don’t follow @edsbs on Twitter. But like the rest of us, I’m sure you listen to Finebaum every afternoon. So you are aware that the Florida football program is in dire straits.

I know there are a lot of people out there hurting right now. People without jobs, kids without parents, lots of cold and hungry folks. And I surely hope you do what you can for them. But Gator Nation suffered through EIGHT LOSSES this season. We can’t live like this. We’re hungry (for wins) and dying (of embarrassment) too!

You’ve been very good to us in the past, Santa. Since you are so busy with the kids on Christmas, we know our presents don’t usually arrive until after the big day. Take Stephen Orr Spurrier’s return to Gainesville, which you blessed upon us December 31, 1989. Sometimes you even wait as long as the first Wednesday in February. Back in 1992, you delivered Danny Wuerfful . In 2006, we asked for a Baby Rhino and you brought us Tim Tebow.

This year, we’ve been extra good (pay no attention to our behavior on Twitter during games) so that you’ll bring us lots of goodies. Here’s what we’re asking for:

1 – An innovative offensive coordinator. One who doesn’t call speed sweeps and options to the short side of the field. One whose most complex pass play isn’t a bubble screen. One inclined to mix up the play calling, dare I say even throw the ball on first down from time to time. One who can actually coach and develop offensive talent. Most importantly, one who can score points, especially touchdowns in the red zone.

2 – A quarterback. You know, one who can throw the ball downfield to receivers. Our last few haven’t been very good at reads and progressions so some improvement there would be nice. One who doesn’t turn it over multiple times a game. One who can actually win a game when it is on the line.

3 – An offensive line. Is it too much to ask for 7-8 solid, dependable, reliable bulls who can block for more than two seconds? Please do not send us ones that will get whipped for 60 minutes by a FCS defensive line and certainly don’t send us one that will break our new quarterback that you are bringing us.

4 – A kicker. This one should be easy, like filling the kiddies’ stockings with new underwear. These aren’t real football players, just soccer players with low self-esteem that need more in their lives. We used to have really good ones but must have lost them playing in the backyard. One who can make the majority of kicks from inside of 40 yards and occasionally bang home a longer kick would be nice.

5 – Some more students with passion. [Old man climbs onto soap box] Back in my day, students camped out for season tickets, for bowl tickets, knowing they would sell out quickly (for you freshmen, bowls are games played at the end of the season, assuming you are at worst mediocre enough to make one). Going to a game was a duty. We showed up for the big ones and we showed up for directional schools [Old man climbs down, passes out in recliner at 7:40 pm watching Jeopardy]. UF has always been a great academic school so these young kids can’t use that as an excuse.

6 – Discipline. I know you know a thing or two about discipline, Santa. And I’m not just talking about the “who’s naughty and who’s nice” lists. Those presents don’t make themselves and whipping that rag-tag collection of little people into an efficient operation certainly doesn’t happen without some. Would you tolerate your elves putting Ken doll heads on Barbie? Is it OK if one of the reindeers bites another reindeer after the whistle? This is what Florida football has become. We need your guidance and help.

Our list is larger this year because of the depths we’ve reached. And we understand that you may have already delivered some of these gifts. Thanks for the Will Grier, David Sharpe and Drew Sarvary, we look forward to playing with them.

Unlike most children who write to you, we are not blind to all the greatness already in our lives. We understand we are much more fortunate than most. We have more toys than we could ever need. We have one of the finest public universities in the country. Our athletic program is year in and year out one of the top 10. We have one of the best college basketball coaches and programs in the nation. We annually contend for titles in soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball and track and field. But we really NEED those things for the football program. Like really badly. So please, Santa, please!! Won’t you deliver us some football goodies this year?

And if not, we’ll only be asking for one thing next Christmas, but it is a big one – a new head coach.

Merry Christmas!

 

Love the Gator Nation

P.S. We’ll be sure to leave out a slice from Leonardo’s and a cold draft from the Salty Dog for you!

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Because Gator News is Lacking (Video)

The University of Florida and Coach Muschamp have apparently NOT decided on the next football Offensive Coordinator yet, and the lack of a bowl game has seriously grinded the Gator happenings to a halt. And to make matters worst the basketball team does NOT play Kansas for a couple more days (Tuesday at 7pm on ESPN). So in the meantime…

Enjoy this Alligator destroying a watermelon…


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Dear Seminoles, Please Step on the Gators’ Throat…

FSUheader

Dear Florida State University Seminoles football team,

You probably already know who I am, but for the one or two of you who don’t, I’m The Unsportsmanlike Gentleman. I come from a prestigious line of Unsportsmanlike Gentlemen. My full name is actually Unsportsmanlike Gentleman III. My articles on Florida football have been seen in Time, Newsweek, and the Bakersfield Gazette. I’ve won Pulitzers (yes, plural), a Daytime Emmy, and even received a letter from the Queen of England requesting to have sex with me. However, I respectfully declined. Not because she is old, but because she is British and my ancestors did not fight for our glorious independence alongside General George Washington in the dead of winter for me to turn around 237 years later and engage in carnal passion with the figure head of that limey, tea sipping country!

But, enough about me. I come to you today to speak about this weekend’s game. As you are gleefully aware, my beloved Florida Gators are having quite the disastrous season. It is painfully clear that the Football Gods exist and they are furious with the Florida Gators (Gaytors? Are you also still spelling it the homophobic way or is it just Miami these days?). Bad luck and injuries have gutted what seemed like a promising season all the way back in August. The season has progressively gotten worse and each week is another shot right to our hairy grapefruits. Big Dumb Will Muschamp Football is no fun. I’ve never been so miserable in all my life. Even more than when my wife and kids left me, but I never cared about them as much as I do about Florida football. She knew that going into the marriage. It’s not my fault I missed our wedding to attend the Florida-Tennessee game. Who schedules a fall wedding? She did a really poor job planning our wedding. Man, she’s so dumb. So glad she left me.

Anyway, I’m not here to solicit sympathy from you about Florida’s pitiful season because I know that would be an exercise in futility. No, in fact, I’m here for quite the opposite. You see, this season is already, pardon my language, in the shitter, so my reasoning is that since things are so bad, let’s go ahead and make things as awful as possible and get all these awful things out of the way this season. Florida already lost to Vanderbilt for the first time in 22 years. It had to happen sometime and I’m glad it did this year and not when Florida’s actually good. Then, two weeks later, they followed up that comical performance with one for the ages by losing to an FCS school for the first time ever.

What I’m asking of you, Florida State, is to finish us off in magnificent, gruesome fashion. Put us out of our misery. Make us suffer for three more hours. Run up the score and don’t stop until the clock strikes triple zeros. When you’re up 40-3 to start the fourth quarter, please leave Jameis in and keep throwing. Throw it deep and often. I know you have the ACC Championship game next weekend and at some point you’ll think about pulling your starters to preserve them, but c’mon, it’s Duke. You don’t need to preserve guys. You’re not Miami. Your second team could beat Duke. Leave your starters in and step on Florida’s throat for sixty minutes and never let up. I want you to set a record for most points scored on Florida. Go for it on every fourth down. Run trick plays when you’re up by five touchdowns. Onside kick when you’re up by six touchdowns. Bring an all-out blitz on the quarterback when you’re up by seven touchdowns.

Not only do I want to get all these bad things out of the way this season, but also because we deserve it. The Gator Nation deserves this season because in five years when Kliff Kingsbury is in his third year as head coach at Florida and goes 9-3 and fans are screaming that “he sucks” and “the defensive coordinator needs to be fired” and “Kingsbury ain’t a Florida boy, we can’t trust him” we can grab those idiots and say, “listen here, you goddamn troglodyte, we will happily take a 9-3 season in which we beat Georgia because five years ago, we were 4-8 and everything was on fire and I went to jail for crimes I’d rather not say as a result. Always have high expectations, but do not allow yourself to become spoiled. We are fortunate to have the season we just had and will appreciate and savor every win like finding water in a desert because college football is cyclical and we are one of the lucky ones. This is a gift from the fickle Football Gods and we shall cherish it! Bathe in the knowledge of knowing that these mighty Florida Gators are among the chosen few who reach nine wins in a season. Only one below average season since 1979 is a blessing and those who fail to see it are doomed to be punished with more of the same bad fortune that plagued that team we do not speak of way back in 2013. Now, apologize to the Football Gods before they smite us again!”

This is your chance to gain my respect, Florida State. Follow through on what I’m asking and you will be my second favorite team in the world. I will root for you hard in the national championship game. I will spend a day earnestly trying to convince people that the Seminole nickname and Chief Osceola are honoring the Seminole tribe and are in no way offensive. I will have unprotected sex with one of your coeds to prove that not all Florida State females are riddled with STDs despite what all the jokes on the internet say. I know you don’t need a reason to want to beat Florida’s brains in while they’re down, but trust me, you’re going to want my respect. You need my respect. Go out there Saturday and make it as miserable as possible on the field for me and all those Gators fans. I will love you for it.

Sincerely,

The Unsportsmanlike Gentleman

P.S. I will settle for 60 points, but I want at least 81. You just put 80 on Idaho, so push yourself just a little more and you can achieve anything!


The Unsportsmanlike Gentleman can be found on twitter, @UnsportsmanGent. He’s famous for the Muschamp Intensity Meter.

 

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Get a Grip: Celebrate our (Moral) Victories

After the misery of October, it has been nice to get back to winning. Two of the past three weeks, the Gators got back in the (moral) victory column. The 20-23 win over Georgia was hardly an upset, the Bulldogs dealing with their own adversity this year and currently sitting at a mediocre 6-4. But last weekend’s huge 14-19 shocker over the Gamecocks was one no one saw coming and is something Gator Nation should be proud of.

You see, this is where we are right now. Moral victories are tangible. Much like the six and seven-year-olds I coach, the goal of each and every game is to work hard, try our best and if we do that, we might not actually win but we can be proud. This is all we have for the 2013 football season. As Will Muschamp has said, this is getting a grip.

Surely many of you disagree. It took me a while to figure it out and accept it. I first started kicking around the idea of changing my outlook after the Georgia game when I jokingly texted Sonny Beam that we had won 20-23. I was sort of kidding. I was playing off the fact that we looked so terrible against LSU, Missouri and in the first half of the Cocktail Party, the second half rally actually felt like a win. For the first time in a month, I wasn’t get-drunk-and-break-something angry after the game. It still sucked to lose to Georgia for a third straight year. It still sucked to be eliminated from the SEC East race. But after the absolute nadir reached after the Missouri Abomination (that performance really needs a name and capitalization) and the lost half against Georgia that saw a 23-3 deficit and no realistic hope of salvation, to claw back and have had a shot in the fourth quarter was nothing short of miraculous. Of course, the soul crushing penalty by Darius Cummings was really the only way for the game to end.

The Georgia game was the epitome of the Will Muschamp era for me: slow start (2011 season), fierce rally (2012 season), failure and disappointment (2013 season). And the fact that it was filled throughout with offensive ineptness and stupid penalties only solidified that personification. So I couldn’t at that point commit fully to feeling good about a loss.

Then came the Vanderbilt game and my god.

It seemed as if the entire program was on the brink of collapse. To make matters worse, the fourth-string third-string quarterback was going to step in for his first start, looking into the eyes of Jadeveon Clowney for 60 or so snaps with a rag-tag collection of offensive line scraps the only thing between living and dying.

As the weekend approached, there wasn’t a sane person alive predicting anything other than a South Carolina blowout. And so hours before kickoff, I reached my breaking point as a Florida fan. I had read Carlos Alvarez’s plea on Friday night. I had thought about what kind of a person I wanted to be in the final three weeks of this season. College football seasons come and go fast, especially as you pack the years on your odometer. They are rare and precious things, and if you are lucky you get to experience and enjoy somewhere around 70 of them in a lifetime. I’m about halfway through the ride.

I honestly assessed where the Gators were and went into the game that night expecting a blowout and knowing if it happened, I was going to be OK with it. I had another thought as well. If the Gators kept it close and had a chance in the second half, I was going to consider it a success regardless of the final outcome. Well that’s exactly what happened.

The criticism of Muschamp and Brent Pease hasn’t abated with the performance though. Many are outraged we played so conservatively on offense, some even suggesting we didn’t play to win. That’s really stupid for many reasons: 1) the way the offense had performed for the past month, 2) a redshirt freshman taking his first snaps at quarterback, 3) backups of backups on the offensive line against Clowney and company and 4) homefield advantage with a fired up crowd with a shot at the SEC title game berth on the line. For those reasons and more, the only (slim) chance the Gators had in the game was to not turn it over, control the clock and hope the defense could not only slow Mike Davis and Connor Shaw but also force a turnover or two. For three quarters, it was working.

The Cocks eventually pushed ahead and forced Muschamp and Pease to come out of their shell and we saw the results: a horrendously executed fake punt pass (that was horribly drawn up to go to defensive tackle Leon Orr) and the game-clinching interception on the only play of the game where Skyler Mornhinweg had to try to make a play. That last pass was all the evidence you needed that Muschamp and Pease were right not to put him in a position where he could make a mistake all night. If they had, that game would have certainly been a laugher a la the Vanderbilt game.

Even with the moral victory, I’ll concede there are legitimate gripes about the game. The aforementioned fake punt pass couldn’t have been drawn up to go to a LB or TE, someone who at least practices catching balls on a regular basis? Why was Austin Hardin reinstated as kicker? Were they blown assignments or were there run plays drawn up that called for Clowney to be unblocked? But those are nitpicking what to me again was a huge upset and moral victory.

The real frustration lies in seeing last week’s game and extrapolating to Vandy. If Murphy was that hurt, why did he play? Why didn’t they institute this ultra-conservative attack for that game, knowing that Vanderbilt’s offense was going to do the same with their backup freshman quarterback? And knowing that Vanderbilt’s defense was susceptible to the run? The South Carolina game plan enacted and effectively executed against Vandy would have led to a real win and with it, a .500 record and a bowl game.

We shall see what the game plan looks like against Georgia Southern on Saturday. I have a feeling it is going to feature much of what we saw against South Carolina, perhaps with a few more screens and short, quick throws mixed in. Assuming the defense figures out the triple option after the inevitable first drive success and score for Georgia Southern, the offense simply has to not turn it over to win the game. And a real win will feel really good no matter the competition.

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Florida versus South Carolina Preview (Video)

OurTwoBits’ very own Morgan Moriarty (Twitter) along with Brandon Spierto (Twitter) preview Florida versus South Carolina. The game is at South Carolina and starts at 7pm on ESPN2.


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The Gator Grind’s Best Video Yet: Starring Marissa King

gatorgrind

A little over 18 months ago a Gator Student Athlete website launched called “The Gator Grind” (website | twitter). The site is touted as the voice of the Gator Student Athlete, and allows for a sneak peak into their athletic lives. To be honest the content has always seemed to be a bit lacking, but they are busy student athletes and I can not imagine trying to juggle school, a full time job (being a scholarship student athlete), family/friends, and now blogging/video blogging. With that being said they just release probably one of their most interesting videos. And let’s hope they do more of these!

Watch Marissa King (twitter), who happens to be a Great Britain Olympian, World & European team member, and Gator Gymnast strap a GoPro to her head and go nuts in the gym.

Warning you may get a little sea sick. Check it out….


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SOS: Save Our Season

I am an idiot.

Here are my credentials. 2 career carries for 11 yards and a 2-pt conversion. 21 tackles, mostly on special teams. 0 receptions, 1 target.

That’s my qualifications for what I’m about to write here, so I figured I’d get it out of the way early… I’m JUST like any of you out of work offensive coordinators out there. By the looks of my social media, there are A LOT of you out there who appear to be experts on football and how to organize and run an offense. So since everyone else is volunteering, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring.

So there is my football resume. If you’d like, I can include the countless hours that I’ve spent on a diverse array of gaming systems running offenses. I’ve worked with Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Playstation, Playstation 2, XBox, and have what I consider a mastery of PS3. I’ve had success at Tecmo Bowl, all versions of Madden Football, and the soon to be deceased and discontinued NCAA football games by EA sports (Thanks alot Ed O’Bannon!).

Of course, there are the countless hours of time I’ve spent on the couch watching football. 12 hours every Saturday and another 10 on Sundays, every weekend for about 25 years now. Watching. Learning. Soaking it all in. Just like everyone else, I am completely and uniquely qualified to tell a Division I offensive coordinator how to run their offense.

So as you read the rest of this, keep this in mind. Come back and check out my resume and remember… Just like any and all of our gambling predictions and picks… this is just for fun… but hey, who knows.

The Gators line up today, essentially, with their respective bowl berth on the line today vs. Vanderbilt (yea, read that again!). So here I am Gators. With my Saturday morning special edition, swooping in to Save our Season. I’ve watched this team under this regime and seen the offense sputter around while dropping like a stone in total offense ranking the past 4 years. Currently, we’re just ahead of the likes of Boston College and Kansas. Ironically, both are coached by our last two offensive coordinators Steve Addazio and Charlie Weis, respectively (Thanks OnlyGators.com for that tidbit). Now I’m actually not one who thinks we’re doing a terrible play calling job. Between the injuries and loss of offensive playmakers from last year, my quarrel is more with the execution and “coaching”, rather than the actual play calls.

Like most pre-game shows and articles, there are the “keys to the game” that they will do a run down of. Those come from people who don’t watch this team week in and week out. So, I won’t bore you with the generic: Win the turnover battle… 3rd down is key (duh!)… Scored TDs, not field goals (this is true… but it always is). Instead, I’m going to address some smaller things inside the game that if tweaked, could result in some early positives for the Gators against Vandy, and some good will with the fan base, who are a little restless right now.

1.) Tempo: This is not to say that we have to run a no-huddle all game. Far from it. However, when you see other teams go up-tempo with success, it drives me nuts that EVERY play, we huddle up and take 30-33 seconds to run the play. So, my proposal is this; when the Gators are faced with a 2nd and 2 or less, or get a big play 10+ yards and a first down, get up to the line and run your next play. No huddle. Regardless of what the other team is lined up in. I mean… we’re going to run off tackle or in the 1-hole anyway, right? So just get on the ball and do it. Worst case (non-turnover) is you get no gain and it’s 3rd and short. This would put Vandy on their heels and make us couch QBs very happy.

2.) Let the athletes play: I was telling my friend at basketball yesterday afternoon that if I were football coach, I’d ask Patric Young to come out for football and the deal would be this: No practice. No running. Maintain your basketball schedule. Just show up on gameday, about a 1/2 hour before warm ups. Suit up and hang out on the sidelines. When we get in a goal to go situation inside the 10, just walk onto the field. No huddle. No play call. We’re throwing a fade. We all know what’s happening here. Line up wide and go out jump whoever they stick out there to guard you. That sounds fun, right?!

Well, aside from Billy D not likely going for that and well, see the first sentence of this post… We actually don’t need Patric Young to do this, but we act like it. Unless it’s an awful throw, a short fade route in the end zone is a pretty safe play. Quinton Dunbar has shown he’s a great athlete and can make plays, Demarcus Robinson should be primed for this type of opportunity. I don’t think we’ve attempted one fade route this season. I don’t know why, but we don’t need Patric Young to do this… but wouldn’t that be so damn fun!

3.) The Wildcat: OK, brace yourselves. I am one of the few people left on earth who doesn’t think the wildcat is stupid. The strategy and numbers game behind it make sense. It has to be blocked well though. In 2006, you may remember, Gators had a backup QB who came in the game and for about 7 games, would ONLY run up the middle or in the 1 hole when he came in. Everyone knew it was coming, but we blocked the living daylights out of that play and now he has a statue in front of the stadium. Anyway, I digress…

I don’t mind the wildcat but it needs 3 quick tweaks. The first is: Change up who is running the wildcat sometimes. Give the running back a shot. Let Solomon Patten take a snap (See “Let the Athletes play” suggestion) Burton seems to have a stranglehold on this play and formation because he was recruited as a QB, but really… i mean… there are others.

The second suggestion: Change up the formation of how you do it. When Burton lines up behind center and (again), we take 30 seconds to snap it, the defense is more than ready to stop him. Change it up a bit. I’ll even give you two versions

Version 1: Line up Murphy under center with trip to the right and Hunter Joyer offset left behind Murphy. Motion Burton (the inside receiver in trips) to the backfield as tailback. Once set, Murphy comes from under center and motions out to the wide receiver spot on the left, leaving Burton and Joyer in the backfield. Snap it directly to Burton to run his counter or his blast, with Joyer as the lead blocker. MONEY! What’s the worst that could happen? A false start or illegal formation/motion penalty, -5 yards, which is the likely outcome of the play the way we’ve been running it, so… you at least wouldn’t lose the down, and then you’d get out of the wildcat. win-win.

Version 2: The same as 1 with the exception of Taylor being the tailback and he would just line up there as usual (no motion) and you could alter Murphy under center and going in motion, or just line up Murphy wide. I prefer the motion, as it makes the defense react and adjust in seconds.

The last wildcat tweak is this, and it’s a big one. DON’T RUN WILDCAT DURING A NICE MOMENTUM FILLED DRIVE!!! We have to stop doing this. It seems like every time we have a 6 play 53 yard drive, the 7th play is the wildcat and in the blink of an eye, it’s 2nd and 14 from the 19 yard line and the Frankie Velez/Austin Hardin pu pu platter starts warming up their leg. Stop doing this. If you must do it, use either variation 1 or 2 from above. I’ll keep coming back to this, I’m an expert, see my credentials above.

4.) Spread out: My final suggestion is to spread the field more than we have. At least for the first 15-20 plays. Let’s work a little Dan Mullen magic here and get our playmakers involved early and get them the ball in space where they can do something with it. Our Offensive line is down to the nubs now, so let’s run some plays that don’t rely so heavily on them dominating. 3 step drops and quick plays to the outside, will give them some hidden breaks in the game and allow them to run our regular offense later on and start leaning on Vandy’s D-Line, who I’d imagine is not as athletic, however decent and effective they’ve been the past couple of years.

So all that being said, I have take the liberty to scrip the first 15 plays for us vs. Vandy. Given our opponenet, our personnel issues, and our strengths, I think this is the best way for us to start the game. Again, please refer to the first sentence of this post.

We’ll lay this out by personnel, formation, motion, and the play call. There’s some numbers lingo in here that is semi-standard, but mostly, I’m making it up cause really… I’m scripting Florida’s first 15 plays in a blog post. (See sentence 1)

Play 1: 4 Wide: Trips flex left: H-short orbit (“Orbit” means motion) >Swing Screen left [Swing screen pass to Kelvin Taylor]

Play 2: 3 Wide: Twins Flex right: H-orbit (Tailback lines up at WR, then motions into the backfield) > 76 Sprint right option [Designed rollout right. Twin receivers on right run a deep corner and a hook route underneath it. QB has option to run if nothing is there.

Play 3: 4 Wide: Trips flex left 983-Y4 FB Crab [That sounds fun, huh?!]

4: 3 wide: Twins Flex left: PA FB Belly [Play action pass to the fullback running a 4-5 yard belly route]

5: Wildcat (let’s get this shit out of the way early). Trips Flex Right: Y-Orbit (Burton motions from WR spot on the left to tailback): QB Switch (Murphy motions to WR spot on left). Zero Blast [It's a run up the middle. No ballfake, just go]

6:4 Wide: Trips flex right: H-Orbit . X Slant and Go- 449 [Primary receiver Dunbar runs a slant and go route on the left. If not safety cheating over, throw it up to him]

7: Pro set: Twins right: QB flex left > Direct snap sweep right [Variation of the wildcat. Murphy motions out to WR left. Direct snap to Kelvin Taylor running a sweep. We've done wildcat twice now. We should be done with it for the day... k?]

8: 3 Wide: Offset I Strong: Twins Flex Left: 41 Lead Delay [Delay Counter handoff to Taylor]

9: 4 Wide: Twins Flex right: H-Orbit (Brown motions from WR to tailback spot) Sprint right 394 [Designed rollout with Mack Brown serving as personal protector. Primary receiver Trey Burton runs belly out route underneath Patten and Dunbar crossing]

10: 5 Wide: Deuce Flex right: Y-Orbit (Patten in motion)> Jet Sweep Left [Patten needs some love and he averaged 11 yards/carry last year]

11: 4 Wide: Trips Flex left H-Orbit (Taylor motions from WR with running start behind QB) > Option left [Option play with Taylor having a head start... as we know, down to our last QB, this is more like an "extended handoff" than a real "option". that's OK.]

12: 4 Wide: Trips flex left: Play Action > 4 seams [Everybody go long! Inside receiver, Burton runs more of a skinny post as primary receiver. If not there, throw it deep to Dunbar or ::gasp:: Fulwood or Robinson]

13: 4 Wide: Trips Flex Left: H-Orbit (Taylor motions from RB spot on right to RB spot on left) > Swing Lookee- 9-Wheel-5 [Taylor runs into flat like it's a swing pass to him. Murphy looks that way. Fulwood runs a deep fly and Dunbar a wheel route behind him. Defense should bite on the swing pass look with all the nibbling we've been doing. Dunbar's wheel route is the primary read]

14: Pro Set: Twins Right: Offset I Strong > Sweep Right [Kelvin!]

15: 3 Wide: Twins right Offset I Strong > 45 Counter [Kelvin or Mack can run this play. It's the counter we all know and love]

There it is folks. Our first 15 plays. In a pinch there are some red zone variations we should try out like the fade, or the option reverse which we’ve been so good at in the red zone since 2005. A tight end screen would be great at some point… and I know that’s a Brent Pease play. No Jordan Reed doesn’t mean we shouldn’t run our offense… unless, we really have buried out tight end’s bodies in Lake Alice like I suspect ::gulp::

It’s a Noon game! Screw it. At this point, these are two Noon game teams! Let’s win this thing and book our travel to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl (yay?).

Thanks for reading… and if you read this and take it seriously, please… I can’t say this enough… See sentence 1. See you later. I’ll be in Section 4, Row 22 with the headset on :)

Go Gators!

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