Category Archives: Gators Gators

Too cute by half

Really, I just don’t get what Dan Mullen thinks he’s up to with this.

Of course, just about everything Mullen has done so far has done that organically. His penchant for trolling rivals being one of the chief things fans have loved about him. He’s got a little bit of that Steve Spurrier swagger to him, not afraid to take snipes or joke at a rival’s expense.

The most recent was an announced attendance figure of 39,476 fans at UF’s spring game. After a few days of digging, a fan on the r/FloridaGators Reddit page realized that it had been 39 years since Georgia last won a national title, with the Bulldogs playing that title game 476 games ago.

So when a fan got a chance to ask Mullen if he realized it had been that long since the Bulldogs’ last title, Mullen laughed and explained some of the back story.

“No,” he said. “I will say this, there was a press conference early in the week. And they said, ‘Have you ever done, like, spring game attendance?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, you know what, I’ve had some different numbers out there for spring games before. I was at Mississippi State and it was always like kind of picking on Ole Miss.’

“But I told (the reporters) before the game, I said, ‘Well, if we do it there might be like 41,140 people at the game. Right?’ That one would make sense, y’all could figure that out pretty quickly. (Someone’s) yelling out Florida State in the back.

“So after the game, the press conference, they’re like ‘OK, so what’s the attendance?’ I just looked with a straight face at the media, said, ‘It’s there, you’ve got to figure it out.'”

Of course, the media floated a few different ideas, but none seemed to stick. Not until the Reddit sleuths uncovered the meaning.

If it was planned, Mullen was playing coy about it Monday night when he spoke to the Polk County Gator Club. Of course, not without taking perhaps another little swipe at Georgia.

“I had no idea. I don’t even know how they came up with that number, the most random thing ever,” Mullen said. “But everybody started freaking out about it, I guess, until three days later somebody put enough math together to go figure that out.

“Maybe Georgia fans were really so uptight they haven’t won in 39 years they got all uptight and tried to figure it out. But it was pretty random actually, it was pretty funny.”

I’d have to figure out what he means first before I can get uptight about it.

That line about “He’s got a little bit of that Steve Spurrier swagger to him” cracked me up, though.  Kind of reminds me of the way they used to describe Florida football pre-Spurrier — combining the arrogance of Alabama with the history of Vanderbilt.  As a head coach, the man’s got a losing record against Georgia and his last two games against Smart saw his teams beaten by double-digit margins in each.  There’s a lot of ways I could describe that, but Spurrier-esque wouldn’t be one of them.

If Gator fans are eating this up, bless their hearts.

(h/t)

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UPDATE:  Welcome to Gatorchatter.

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The life is like a box of chocolates quarterback

I got a chuckle out of this, from Mike Farrell’s “most intriguing quarterbacks I’m excited to see next season”:

10. Feleipe Franks, Florida – Can he take Florida to the next level offensively? Can he hold onto his job? It’s boom or bust for Franks, which is always interesting. No Jake Fromm on my list? Nah, I’d rather see guys like Franks where you just don’t know what you’re going to get.

I can live with Fromm’s high level of predictability just fine, thanks.

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Number four, with a bullet

Some random dude on Dawgs247 posts about the toughest defenses Florida will face this season, and the team ranked sixth nationally last season in total defense ranks fourth on the totem pole.

Georgia lost a lot to the NFL on the defensive side of the ball, but they are talented. The best unit on defense, at least early in the year, should be the defensive line with starters Jonathan Ledbetter (SR) and Tyler Clark (JR) returning from a year ago. Julian Rochester (JR) in the middle is another with experience. Like the Noles, the Bulldogs will have to replace all four starting linebackers, and that was a very talented group past year for the Bulldogs. But, recruiting has been great and familiar names like Walter Grant (SO), Natrez Patrick (SR), Monty Rice (SO), and D’Andre Walker (SR) are the guys that have to step in and fill the roles now with high profile newly signed players waiting in the wings. Corner Deandre Baker (SR) and safety J.R. Reed (JR) are talented returning starters in the back end, but the other spots are going to be occupied by players with very little experience. Tyrique McGhee (JR) may get the nod at the other corner spot while super talented safety Richard LeCounte (SO) will have to grow up pretty quick from the limited experience he garnered a year ago.

Bottom Line: If this defense is going to be the fourth best defense or better that the Gators face in 2018, they are going to have to rely on a lot of the young guys they have recruited over the last two years that haven’t seen the field much if any so far. But, that is the kind of talent they have recruited and that is expected at this point. The Bulldog defense should take some lumps early on, and getting better will rely on those young guys panning out.

I could pick a few holes in his analysis, but suffice to say that if this defense is only the fourth-best the Gators face in 2018, it’s going to be a long season for Florida’s offense.

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“We obviously thought he was coming back.”

Evidently there are so many early departures from Florida that Jim McElwain’s convinced there are kids leaving…

Jim McElwain talked departures on Monday — some clear-cut, one possibly not.

First, the UF coach elaborated on suspended quarterback Will Grier’s decision last weekend to transfer, saying the choice was completely of the redshirt freshman’s own volition. Then he announced running back Kelvin Taylor, defensive lineman Alex McCalister and wide receiver Demarcus Robinson have all decided to enter the NFL draft, joining defensive back Vernon Hargreaves.

… who actually haven’t made up their minds to do so yet.

Maybe he’s waiting for another vote by the seniors.  But I digress.

The strange decision is that of Will Grier.  He’d won the job as the starting quarterback this season, only to see that derailed by running afoul of NCAA drug policy. But whether he stays in Gainesville or goes, the six-game suspension he’s been ordered to serve follows him to any other D-1 program at which he enrolls.

It’s pretty clear from the tone of the linked piece that McElwain was surprised by Grier’s decision.  Now he’s left with the likelihood that the Gators will lose Grier, as well as their leading rusher and receiver, best defensive back, and one of their top pass rushers.  Not exactly a recipe for success.

Add that to the possibility Georgia, with its change in coaching staff, will consider the possibility of starting a true freshman quarterback next season, and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Tennessee will be the preseason favorite to win the SEC East in 2016.  Dayum.

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“It was a family decision.”

As someone who’s fretted that Jim McElwain might be a Florida coach I didn’t dislike, it’s nice to see the man reverting to type.

The more things change, and all that…

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How the East wasn’t won.

Here’s a way to make your defense look better.

That’s impressive.  Damned impressive.

Basically it’s the product of good field position management (the Gators are first in Brian Fremeau’s FEI Field Position rankings) and favorable turnover margin (the Gators lead the SEC, at +9).  You know, the kind of things Georgia was hoping to do, but has fallen woefully short of accomplishing (81st in FEI Field Position; minus-5 in turnover margin).

That’s also how Georgia can be more effective than Florida on keeping opponents from scoring on longer drives, while having less to show for it.

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Gator scouting report

… is about what you’d expect.  Florida likes to spread the ball around on offense and stay balanced between run and pass.  And the Gators are fast, solid and pretty conventional on defense.

I do wonder about how injuries may affect the game, though.  Georgia seems to be getting almost everyone back – do not underestimate what Christian Payne’s return may mean – while Florida has to deal with this.

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