Assuming the defense has improved…

Gawd, please stop with this kind of analysis.

Look, you want to tell me that you think Florida is simply going to outscore its defensive weaknesses?  Fine, I can understand that, even if there’s nothing in SEC history that suggests that’s a conference-winning strategy over the course of a season.

I can go along with the willies over Georgia’s schedule, although you never really know how things like that turn out until the season plays out.

But don’t sit there and tell me Florida’s defense magically improves, while insisting that you’ll need to see Stafford get better before you can believe it.  Especially when you’re betting on unproven freshmen in the case of the former and against a junior with two seasons under his belt in the SEC in the case of the latter.

Sorry to sound so pissy here, but this kind of stuff is starting to drive me up the freakin’ wall.  And Dead Guy is one of my more favorite sites.

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27 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, The Blogosphere

27 responses to “Assuming the defense has improved…

  1. Ally

    Amen to that. I got all the way down to “The “bad” Stafford shows up in big games…” and had to quit. Did anyone see Staff play last year before writing this crap? Better yet, did anyone see Florida play last year before writing this crap?

    I’m guessing no. Just more of the orange gaytoraid-laced regurgitation.

  2. Arch Dawg

    I’m totally with you here. They had a scary offense, yes, but I don’t see it improving sufficiently over its 43 pts. a game last year to outweigh the deficiencies on defense–esp. in the SEC.

    Glad other people see this.

  3. dallasga6

    Only two more weeks of listening & reading
    this kind of idiotic horses#%t……
    LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!
    G.A.T.A.!!!

  4. Matt

    I couldn’t agree more. I live in Florida and am surrounded by Gaytor fans who spew this crap nonstop. If their problem was youth and it was going to be fixed by getting older, wouldn’t they have gotten better throughout the year? I mean some of the defenses worst games were very late, including the bowl game, which doesn’t exactly fit that excuse.

    Another point that should be made is that while UF averaged 42.5 points per game, if you break it down they averaged 49 in their 9 wins and 26.5 in their 4 losses. Looks to me like good defenses stopped that unstoppable offense pretty well.

  5. NM

    People just refuse to believe the Urban the Great isn’t going to win titles every year. But two of his three seasons have ended with three or more losses, and the one in the middle included two one-point wins (and a loss). Why should we assume that 2008 will be more like ’06 and less like ’07?

  6. RedCrake

    After losing Trinton Sturdivant, I am proud to say, nay declare…that UGA will have the most dominant offensive line in the country this year.

    Fine Print: Presupposing whoever we play at left tackle is the second coming of Walter Jones, Jonathan Ogden, or Anthony Munoz.

    I love the Dawgs chances this year, but losing Sturdivant is certainly a hit. I’ll admit it. we will have a replacement (and I believe a good one at that), but the type of logic exhibited above is akin to what Gator fans are doing. Of course, I wouldn’t expect any less from our jort-wearing retard neighbors to the south.

  7. AceG8tr

    Just keep whistling past that graveyard, guys!

    AG

  8. RedCrake

    I’m sure you’ll be singing Newton’s praises too if Tebow blows his knee out in the Hawaii game.

  9. Sam

    I can understand UF fans overlooking the obvious, so many are from the North and just don’t get CFB yet, but highly paid analysts are really blowing this one. Florida got drilled by nearly every decent team they played last year….plus, not just lost to a weak Michigan team, but gave up 500 yards of offense.

    I see UF losing 3, maybe 4 games this season. It doesn’t mean they might not beat a quality team so where along the line, but they are weaker than the national perception by 10+ ranking positions. And that doesn’t include IF Tebow gets injured again when Meyer puts up front and center again.

    I really thought they would roll TN this year, but I have changed my outlook on that one now. I see TN beating UF straight up, and that could push Florida to 3rd in the East IF they can beat SC. Yes, they have some athletes, but there is something wrong in gainesville with all the players leaving, lack of harmony, serious disciplinary problems that go unpunished, etc. Meyer is proving to be the snake-oil salesman he appeared to be in early press conferences, and his lack of integrity seems to be undermining the program. OK with me, they are at the bottom of the SEC in ethics and class anyway, but some of those young men are decent and have just got caught up with a bad guy with no one willing to rein him in. The good news for UGA is it is bound to help recruiting in that area, and it already has. No way we get Murray if Meyer weren’t there. He grew up a UF fan, but passed them over.

  10. RedCrake

    Florida fans and media types projecting an 8-4 or 7-5 season for Georgia are living in fantasy land.

    Georgia has only lost 4 games twice during Richt’s tenure and has never lost 5. Both of those years featured teams with freshman QB’s. UGA has never finished lower than 3rd in the SEC East (only once) and each of the other years has finished 2nd (twice), tied for 1st (twice), or 1st (twice). 8-4 or 7-5 would require that they finish 3rd or worse unless you are projecting that they lose 2 out of 3 to Az. St., Cent. Mich. and GaTech.

    It’s true that the schedule is truly difficult, but this type of hyperbole is patently ridiculous.

  11. RedCrake

    Forgot to mention that you would be assuming all of the above happened with arguably Richt’s most athletically gifted team.

  12. KG

    I don’t understand the issue here. Everyone knows the best thing about freshmen is they become sophomores, sophomores become juniors, etc, etc. The more kids play the bigger and better conditioned they become, the more physically mature, etc. You see all the times that a slightly average offense is considered on the verge of greatness because they have most of their players returning. This isn’t the NFL, it’s a common for college teams to get better just by getting older.

    I’m not saying that Stafford won’t improve, he likely won’t make the same jump as he did freshman to sophomore (historically the largest improvement) but Georgia will be looking to maintain the level they finished last year with a few new faces rather than improve it to a new level.

    Florida’s defense returns 5 players who started at one time or another in the secondary (Wright, Anderson, Haden, Rickerson, and Pierre-Louis), the three starting linebackers and has 14 defensive linemen competing for 4 slots including many players who were in the top 8 from last year. In fact other than Derrick Harvey who was drafted the only other significant loss was Michael Pouncey who was shifted to defense mid-season due to a catastrophic cascade of injuries. Pouncey is now back on offense and expected to be a starter.

    Unless you feel that the coaching staff is inept, how can the defense not be significantly improved when it is older, bigger, stronger, and has a year in the system? This is the nature of football. The defense that dominated in 2006 was very good in 2005 but absolutely horrible in 2004 when most were forced to play as freshmen and sophomores.

    Where are all the history buffs here? This isn’t at all without precedent. Here’s another tip for any betters. The Gator basketball team will be much improved next year too. Why? Because they were so young in 2007 and have so many returning players. Some things are just so common in sports that they are assumed.

  13. 1) You seemed to get worse as the season progressed.
    2) Your D came up empty in every big opportunity.

    Room to grow? Yes. Proof of growth? Not yet.

  14. In fact other than Derrick Harvey who was drafted…

    KG, that’s not exactly a minor detail there. He was Florida’s best defensive lineman last year.

    I’m not arguing that the Gator defense can’t be better this year. I simply don’t understand why it’s a given. Florida’s LBs are great and the CBs will have more experience, true. But I don’t see how counting on significant contributions from true freshmen at key spots like safety and defensive tackle leads to automatic improvement.

    And look at how you’re arguing here – Georgia is merely “looking to maintain with a few new faces”, while the Gator defense will evidently improve by leaps and bounds with 22 returning players. I’m sorry, but I don’t see the logic to the argument.

    As for coaching staff ineptness, how do you explain how pitiful Florida’s safeties looked in the WLOCP last year?

  15. Dawg93

    Great post, Senator. One question I’d like to ask the Dead Guy about Stafford is this: how many games did he lose for us last year? If he’s really THAT concerned about “bad” Stafford showing up in some games, which games did “bad” Stafford lose for us last year? We lost 2 games, neither of which I’d put on Stafford. Against SC, our WRs couldn’t catch a cold and quite frankly it was one of Bobo’s worst games as an OC. We’d run all over SC between the 20’s and then we’d forget what got us there and would try to pass the ball. Against UT, the whole team looked out of sorts, especially the defense. Once we fell behind early, their D pinned their ears back and our young O-line folded.

  16. Hey Blutarsky, I hope you don’t mind if I “defend” myself here. This has obviously generated some attention here and on my site as well.

    Like I said in my post, I wanted to pick UGA to win the division. I definitely think they’re the most talented team in the division. I like Richt a lot (i’m about half way through the upcoming Top Dawg book) and think Moreno is the best RB in the college game. That said, there’s just something I can’t necessarily put my finger on that makes me think Florida wins the East this year. If I’m wrong, so be it, but it’s just the feeling I have.

    Also, nowhere did I say that the Gators D will be better. They’re unproven and with Harvey drafted and Monroe (among others) out, it’s certainly a question mark, but I get the feeling they’ll be satisfactory enough to win some games. Again, I can’t put my finger on it…

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback. You’ve got a great site here and one that I read just about daily.

  17. DG, sorry to have unleashed my inner crank on you. ;)

    I didn’t accuse you of claiming that the Gator D would be better this year – just that you seem to have a more open mind about that possibility than you do about Stafford stepping up. My only point is that I don’t understand why both don’t get an equal benefit of the doubt.

  18. AceG8tr

    Just to clarify–I’m not saying UGA won’t be better this year–I’m just saying that our defense will be *significantly* better–only because they were so bad last year they have more room to improve! And they were so bad because they were so young. Let’s just agree to do one thing: On 9/27, after both our teams have been playing for a month, let’s have a thread on whose team has improved more–the UF defense or the UGA offense. My bet is that it will be our defense–hands down.

  19. Dawg93

    AceG8tr – why does our offense need to improve as much as your defense? Heck, I think we looked pretty darn good once we figured out who our #1 RB was. If we can pickup where we left off from last year, I think our team will lose 1 game at most. The UT/Vandy/LSU/UF/UK/AU stretch (with the latter four away from Sanford) is what concerns me most.

    Also, how do you know your defense will be significantly better than last year? Just because you can’t get any worse doesn’t mean you’re going to get better, especially “significantly” better, as you put it. Honestly, other than some young guys maturing & learning from last season (which just about every team can claim when you think about it), what has occurred this offseason that you can point to that convinces you the Gator D will be significantly better? You guys may very well be a lot better but I haven’t seen anything to convince me that will actually happen.

  20. KG

    Senator B,

    I’m not the one expecting contributions from true freshmen. The problem these days is that if a player comes in with a lot of hype a la Percy Harvin or Tim Tebow then people expect them to just hit the ground running and have an immediate impact. Sometimes (as in the case of those two) it happens. But I don’t expect any major contribution by Omar Hunter or Will Hill before mid season if ever.

    Personally I think some Gator fans expect Hunter and Will Hill to have this huge impact the same way Bulldog fans expect AJ Green to walk in as a freshman and take the Georgia WR corps to a new level. Could it happen? Sure, we’ve seen it done in the past. Should people be relying on it? I wouldn’t. It’s just part of the hype. People don’t take into account the mental part of the game, learning the schemes, adjusting to the speed, etc.

    Luckily the vast majority of defensive players we are talking about are NOT true freshmen and have spent at least one year getting significant playing time in the system. The biggest weakness of last years team was in relying on so many young players. When you rely on young players and they get hurt what do you have? Nothing because your kids are ALREADY STARTING!!!

    Florida’s lack of depth last year was a huge chink in the armor and became worse as the year progressed. We started a young team and when they got hurt there was nothing in the pot to replace them with. While it’s a much more painful to take your lumps like that as opposed to players just watching and learning from veterans it can pay dividends in the long run. Two of the worst defenses the Gators had 1992 and 2004 were both cases of talented players thrown into the fire much too early. But by 95-96 and 04-05 those defenses were strengths rather than weaknesses.

    Derrick Harvey was the best player on a weak defensive line. I personally believe that he benefited from playing across from Jarvis Moss the previous year in building his “legend” (his best game was the championship when everyone was watching). In the same vein Jermaine Cunningham benefited from the attention given to Harvey last year. This year Dunlap will likely benefit from being across from Cunningham. Harvey was a very good defensive end but couldn’t singlehandedly make up for the loss of three (or was it four) other defensive linement who went to the NFL. The defensive line was so thin last year that a converted center started the last 4 games of the season at defensive tackle. He didn’t just “play significant minutes” or “add depth”, he STARTED!!! How does everyone forget that???

  21. KG – the Omar Hunter hype started with Meyer himself, if you’ll recall. As for Hill, given the Gators’ losses at the position, he’s almost got to be a contributor early on, hype or not.

    I’ll take your word on Harvey and I agree with you that Dunlap will be a good ‘un. But the fact that Patchan got switched to the DL upon his arrival tells me your coaches are still a little concerned about depth on that side of the ball.

    I didn’t forget about Pouncey playing DL last year because your guys had injuries. But that doesn’t explain how bad your safeties looked against Georgia, either. For that matter, I didn’t see much improvement out of the Gator secondary at season’s end.

    Again, my beef here isn’t over the possibility that Florida’s defense won’t be better this year – it could very well be. I’m just frustrated over the fact that it seems to be accepted as a general principle while Stafford doesn’t get the same consideration from the pundits.

    When South Carolina fans engage in that kind of reasoning, we mock them. When media guys do it, we’re just supposed to accept it, I guess.

  22. AceG8tr

    Dawg93:

    OK, fair enough. Let’s just resume this thread a 6 weeks from now. One quibble: I didn’t say your offense had to improve as much as our defense. You offense will be fine. I personally believe we will be the two best teams in the country and the MNC will be decided in Jax. You will have an excellent team this year–too bad your schedule is so brutal.

    AG

  23. KG

    This somewhat relates to a comment on another thread regarding Stafford. Matt’s improvement (or lack thereof) is not comparable to Florida’s defense because the room for improvement is nowhere near as great. The Gator defense was just plain bad last year. Stafford was not bad last year, he was quite good. Florida and Georgia are loaded with HS All-Americans so it’s hard to imagine either team’s offense or defense would be bad unless Georgia was forced to play a freshman QB (as in 2006) or Florida was forced to play a bunch of freshmen on defense (as happened in 2007).

    It is true that Florida has actually created a logjam at the defensive line. Patchen was promised a shot at DT during his recruitment (I know he was rated higher as an OL than DL). Another incoming freshman who was expected to play defense (Bryan Jones of Jax) was instead shifted to offense. By my count Florida has 8 DTs (Sanders, Howard, Hunter, Estopinan, Epps, Davis and Brown) with 3 others (Trattou, Patchen and Dunlap) who can play both quick tackle and DE. This assume Antwine takes the year to continue rehabbing his back. Davis will miss part of the season for off the field problems.

    Either way, to ME that’s a logjam when you consider that includes 1 Sr, 1 Jr, 4 So, 2 RFr and 2 Fr. Also consider we have a to DL commitment in Gary Brown for next year and could possibly add another and depth shouldn’t be a problem for the foreseeable future.

    Florida went from having the thinnest D-Line in the country to one of stongest (in terms of depth). That’s why I think if Hunter plays any meaningful minutes this year he must be a monster.

  24. KG, I’ve got to tell you that you’re one of the few outside of the program’s fans I’ve seen who are of the opinion that Matt was quite good last year.

    What kind of shape is Estopinan in? I root for kids like him that fight their way back from injuries.

  25. KG

    Sometimes you have to base an analysis of a QB on what he is asked to do. Richt didn’t install a high scoring aerial offense and tell MS to score 50 pts a game, he was asked to manage a conservative offense that tried to establish the run first yet stay balanced. I thought his decision making and understanding of the offense was much better in his second year. In his freshman season it looked like Richt scaled back the offense considerably to simplify it for his young QB. Not so in year 2.

    Sure MS can get better but he’s already one of the top QBs in the SEC and country.

    I don’t think Estopinan will be asked to do more than contribute 15-25 snaps a game. He’ll be solid and provide leadership but doesn’t have the natural playmaking ability of the younger DTs. If they continue to develop he’ll see his minutes reduced as the year goes on. He’s a kid who does the dirty work anyways and doesn’t get the limelight. I would just like to see him finish the season healthy for once.

  26. KG, about that depth at defensive tackle: if your coach is waxing enthusiastic about the 3-3-5 stack, that’s not a raging endorsement of his DTs.