65 Reasons to Be Happy, If Even for a Moment

65-0 should be enough. For me, it is.

I woke up Sunday morning—one day after our beloved Florida Gators dismantled Eastern Michigan—and took to Twitter. There was plenty of positivity in Gator Nation and, for the most part, fans were happy. But there were still the few. Those that have to find the flaw in the win. Those that may finally be happy at an undefeated season and a national championship. Those that may never be pleased.

Kelvin Taylor - Florida Gators

That’s their right. Every fan has that right. Cheer when you want; critique when you feel the need. The type of fan a person chooses to be is a choice they stand by and I’m not here to tell them they’re wrong. All I’m here to do is to say that I’m happy and that happiness will last for more than just one moment.

EMU was far from an SEC opponent. They were not a world-class team. The Gators should have beaten them 65-0. But here’s the thing: one season ago, Florida didn’t beat the teams they were supposed to beat. The Gators lost to Georgia Southern at home. Go back one season further and you find a narrow win over Louisiana. Lately, Florida hasn’t been taking care of business against the teams they’re heavily favored against. Saturday was different; be happy.

To start, we saw football. The game wasn’t delayed. There wasn’t one play hours after the scheduled kickoff. There wasn’t a postponement that turned into a cancellation. Instead, there was football. Good football at that. For 60 minutes, it felt like the orange and blue channeled the teams of old. 65 points, 655 yards, and big plays. Oh those big plays. I grew up in the PlayStation generation. Video game offenses didn’t exist in real life, but they could get close. Steve Spurrier kept scoring. The brakes were never applied. That was Saturday. When your backup quarterback—a true freshman making his first appearance in The Swamp at that—goes deep on his first pass attempt (AND COMPLETES IT FOR A 70-YARD TOUCHDOWN!!!) you aren’t letting up.

Let’s stop there for a second and look at Treon Harris’s line:

2 completions, 2 pass attempts, 148 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1,051.6 rating.

Read that last stat again. The highest rating a college quarterback can possibly achieve is 1,261.6. To do so, he would have to have every pass attempt result in a 99-yard touchdown completion. Harris was darn close.

Yes, I know it was against a team without a great defense and he was doing so late in a blowout, but those facts do little to diminish what was a great first showing by the freshman. We may have ourselves quite the backup quarterback.

There were plenty of more good performances in the win. Jeff Driskel was solid and looked calm in Kurt Roper’s offense. The running game accounted for 259 yards on the ground and the trio of Kelvin Taylor, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown averaged 8.7 yards per carry. Demarcus Robinson had 5 catches for 23 yards his freshman season; he had 6 for 123 and a touchdown on Saturday. Clay Burton led the team with 7 catches, more than doubling his career total of 3 going into the game. Andre Debose looked like the player we thought he could be all those years ago. Duke Dawson had quite the debut. Brian Poole was everywhere on defense. And the entire defense was smothering. Like I said, I’m happy.

Many will call this a warm-up game, and they would be correct in doing so. The Gators were supposed to get two warm-up games. Lightning wiped that plan away. Now, Florida will head to SEC play with one game and a big win under its belt. Kentucky has not looked like the Kentucky of old and could present a challenge, but I will gladly accept that challenge after Saturday’s showing. There are many worse ways to go into your first SEC game.

The Gators will be favored, and rightfully so, but we may not completely know what we have just yet. An explosive offense, check. A shutdown defense, check. Capable special teams, check. All looked good on Saturday and that’s enough to keep me positive, so for now I will be.

In one game, the Gators answered as many questions as a team could in only 60 minutes. There are 10 games to go, though, and Florida will be questioned going into every one. That’s fine and perfectly acceptable, but all I ask is that you try to keep that positive outlook. I’m not sure if cheering for a team is all that much fun if you go into a game seeking gloom and doom. Call it naiveté, but I enjoy hope and I’ll keep that hope going a little longer after the 65-0 win.

As for Kentucky, there’s a win streak to keep alive. We’ve seen some of those fall recently and would like the bleeding to stop. Let’s keep the Kentucky streak alive and in a few weeks extend the Tennessee streak. The Gators may not be a championship-caliber team yet, but they need to win the ones they should. Fall against the Wildcats and progress may be a dream at the moment. Handle their business against Kentucky and go into the Alabama game with two impressive wins and we’re headed in the right direction. All in all, just win. Win more then you lose. Don’t go 4-8. Becoming the orange and blue we all know they can be.

It’s hard to imagine that after just another 60 minutes, we’ll be a quarter of the way through the season. AH! MAKE IT SLOW DOWN! We were shorted a game and now that the season has started, it’s going ahead full force. 10 games to go, each one counts, blah, blah, blah. I could hype it up one hundred different ways. You don’t need me to get you hyped for the first SEC game. You know the importance. Go Gators! And again, Just Win!

Monday Morning Driskel: Florida Gators Thoughts After Win Over The Kentucky Wildcats

Another win, another new Florida Gators feature at The Bull Gator. The name is inspired by our quarterback Jeff Driskel and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback, which discusses a plethora of topics concerning the week’s NFL games. We hope to do something similar, but on a minor, more pertinent-to-us level. Don’t worry, it won’t be nearly as long.

And another happy week in Gatorland.

This week, the Florida Gators continued their football domination of the Kentucky Wildcats, shutting them out. Will Muschamp’s squad rose to No. 11/12 in the AP and Coaches Polls. The big story was the extension of the Gators’ 26-and-counting win streak over the Wildcats, a probable reason for the Kentucky fans to continue to revert their focus back to the basketball season, which is quite a while from now.

What Happened

Jeff Driskel continued his balling: Sir Driskel could eventually be one of the best Gators to play at Florida by the time he graduates. As a true sophomore, JD looks better in Brent Pease’s system than Brantley looked in Charlie Weis’. Part of that has to be because of Driskel’s mobility. His ability to avoid the pass-rush and make plays deep down the field thus far has been Roethlisberger-esque, and right now, he is leading our football team.

The defense was, for the most part, dominant: Led by a surprise Jaylen Watkins pick six, the Gators’ defense forced three turnovers, all interceptions. All could pretty much be attributed to Morgan Newton’s erratic inaccuracy, which was really terrible, but we’ll still claim those turnovers. On a similar note, there were a lot of open Wildcats that Newton completely missed, which needs to be worked on. Other than that and some success for Kentucky in the run game, Florida’s defense did indeed look pretty dominant.

Kentucky as, same-old Kentucky: There’s a reason none of the players on Kentucky have been alive since the last Wildcat win over the Gators. Kentucky is back this year with their usual football mediocrity, and their cause wasn’t helped much by starting quarterback Maxwell Smith’s unavailability.

The game was secured early: The Gators led 24-0 at the half, and Jeff Driskel and other key starters started their rests in the fourth quarter. Mike Gillislee got his rest early, not playing after the first series in the second half.

Receivers are getting open: This can be largely attributed to Driskel’s ability to extend the play and give the receivers more time to get open, but there’s no doubt that this team is better than last year’s in the receiving corps. Sure, no player is averaging 100 yards-per-game, but a good number of the Florida receivers are chipping in with a few catches in each game. With 10 players targeted in Saturday’s game, speedster Andre Debose, who was largely nonexistent in all areas of the game, was the notable exception.

The defense is great in the fourth quarter: I put this up last week, and nothing changed this week, so I figured I’d put this up again.

More raving for Jeff Driskel: Driskel threw his first interception of the year on a terrible throw up into double-coverage in the end-zone, but give him loads of credit. He followed up his mistake with another game that showed his improvement. Another game note: his accuracy is amazing.

Ouch Video Of The Day

• Tight end Jordan Reed sandwiched: I really don’t know how Reed got up after this play, let alone held onto the ball. He came out of the play with a shoulder injury, but he appears to be fine.

This is also the play of the game, simply because I can’t find video of Jaylen Watkins’ interception and touchdown return.

Football Preview: Florida Gators @ Texas A&M Aggies – September 8, 2012

Road games this early in the season aren’t common for the Florida Gators. It’s not that we haven’t seen them, but there’s an infrequency to traveling this early in the season. This time around it’s different. It’s Welcome to the SEC Weekend. The conference’s newest members are hosting two of its most storied programs. Florida travels to College Station to face the Texas A&M Aggies while the Missouri Tigers host the Georgia Bulldogs.

The Facts

Opponent: Texas A&M Aggies
When: Saturday, September 8, 2012 – 3:30 PM (Eastern)
Where: College Station, TX
Television/Radio: ESPN
Records: Florida: 1-0, Texas A&M: –
Rankings: Florida: 24/23, Texas A&M: –
Current Streak: Florida: W1, Texas A&M: –
Point Spread:
Over/Under: 49.5
Calculated Score: There are no ties in college football anymore.
Points Scored: Florida: 27, Texas A&M: –
Points Allowed: Florida: 14, Texas A&M: –

The Preview

The Gators have a starting quarterback, which shouldn’t be something we have to say two games into a season, but they didn’t have one for week one. At least, they’d like us to believe they didn’t have a starting quarterback. Plenty has come out following the season opening win that suggests that Jeff Driskel had the upper hand over Jacoby Brissett going into week one and it would have taken a disastrous performance for him to not get the ball in the second half.

So the Gators have their man, for now, and move forward to SEC play with a quarterback that has plenty to work on, but gave us one thing that makes us smile. That one thing? Confidence. If you had to pick one big difference between Driskel and Brissett during the 2011 season, it was confidence. Neither played well and they weren’t really expected to right out of the gate, but Brissett looked composed as Driskel looked scared. In week one, Driskel had his confidence under control. The Gators never got much of that from John Brantley during his two years as a starter, but desperately need it from whoever holds on to this job for the long-term. Driskel can get better, but game one was an improvement and that’s what we want to see.

If Driskel hasn’t made that game one to game two leap we all hope for (or maybe we don’t; it really depends if you were pulling for him or Brissett from the beginning, doesn’t it?), it will be a heavy dose of Mike Gillislee and the run game. That’s not necessarily a horrible thing. The Gators ran the ball 42 times in the win over Bowling Green. On those 42 carries, they totaled 220 yards, which was good for 5.2 yards per carry. An effective passing game needs to complement that, but it was good to see the senior running back take control and lead the unit to success. If Gillislee even gets close to his week one performance, he’ll set career highs in carries and yards some time during game three. The challenge presented to him is keeping it up.

Given how early it is in the season (it’s ridiculously early people; please just realize that), we won’t get too critical when discussing the wide receivers just yet. Frankie Hammond Jr. showed some burst and we might be okay if Quinton Dunbar can get multiple passes thrown his way each week. The issue is the player wearing No. 4. Kick returner extraordinaire he is, but reliable wide receiver he needs to be (sorry for sounding like Yoda there for a second). Andre Debose needs to be put into the passing game, but he needs to prove he should be on a consistent basis. We’ll reserve full judgement for a few more games, but Debose needs to make the offensive leap.

The defense was expected to be the strength and they were. There were first-game wrinkles, such as a few tackling issues and not enough aggressiveness in the run game, but it was an overall serviceable performance that showed us this side of the ball can be something special. Allowing 327 yards in your opener to Bowling Green is far from ideal, but, again, it was game one and Will Muschamp appeared to be figuring out his personnel rotation. We learned that no one can take plays off, the defensive backs need to wrap up, and the line needs to bring pressure whether it’s a running down or a passing down. The defense needs to be as great as everyone predicted. The offense is figuring itself out and it will be rough at times. That’s where the defense needs to step up.

And then there are the penalties. We’ve already covered penalties and the problem they present. Our main thought: fix it.

The Gators welcome the Aggies to the SEC and the Aggies welcome the Gators to College Station. It’s the beginning of a new era for the Southeastern Conference. Exciting for all of us that are fans of SEC football, but as fans of the orange and blue first, we just want to win. Go Gators!

Coaches Look To Andre Debose To Step Up And Perform In 2012

The Florida Gators coaches are hoping for big things from wide receiver Andre Debose in 2012. In order for him to get there, he’ll need to find consistency to his play and be able to keep himself on the field.

Debose has been labeled a star-in-waiting since before he committed to Florida. He was dubbed the next Percy Harvin, an unfair comparison for anyone but the first Percy Harvin. Debose has had his moments – he’s a great kick returner and a deep threat at wide receiver – but overall, he has yet to live up to the enormous hype put on him when he came to Gainesville. 2012 needs to be a breakout season for not only Debose, but the entire Gators’ offense.

The coaching staff loves what it has in Debose, but wants to see him perform consistently. While he had the occasional big play, he only caught seven balls in eight SEC games. There was a time when Florida’s leading receivers caught seven passes in each conference game, not all of them combined. While the staff may not expect him to do that, they do expect more and they want to be able to rely on him as a go-to receiver.

This is a big season for Debose; one in which he can be one of the stars to lead the Gators’ offense into the future.

Florida Gators Set Depth Chart For First Game Of 2012 Football Season

Be afraid Bowling Green. Fear the two-headed quarterback monster that is coming your way. Or go about your day in a regular fashion because not you, us, or even the Florida Gators seem to know what will work heading into the 2012 season.

On Monday, the Gators released their depth chart for that first game against the Falcons and it doesn’t answer many questions. We’re not surprised and you shouldn’t be either that it contains four “OR” entries; even if it is only one of those we’re all really focusing in on – Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel. It hasn’t reached the level of debate of those two teenage vampires in those movies (was one not a vampire?), but Team Brissett and Team Driskel have picked their sides and are ready to see how the season plays out. Enough talk, it’s time to see how these two perform.

The other “OR” position battles won’t get headlines, but could be vital to the outcome of the first few games. Backing up Frankie Hammond Jr. at the X wide receiver spot is either true freshman Latroy Pittman or superstar-in-waiting (is this the year?) Andre Debose. We have to think that’s just to get both on the two-deep depth chart. Realistically, they are different receivers and Debose could see plenty of time as a deep threat while Pittman has already proved himself as a tough WR willing to do the dirty work.

The other position(s) up for grabs are both cornerback spots. It’s a four-man battle between Loucheiz Purifoy, Cody Riggs, Marcus Roberson and Jaylen Watkins. Purifoy is the only one without extensive experience, but has become something of a practice and workout legend during the offseason and has definitely implanted himself into the rotation. All four will play and we may see that rotation deep into the season to keep all the corners fresh.

So there’s the depth chart, mere days away from the first game of the 2012 season. Two quarterbacks – as we knew – and not a lot of surprises (if any).

“10 Things I Want Out Of The 2012 Florida Gators Football Season” – Evandagator

We spend so much time discussing what’s best for the Florida Gators, what will help the sports teams both on and off the field. From time to time, we decide to be selfish though and discuss what’s best for us. These thoughts could help the football team or they could simply help us as fans. We may want a certain player to succeed because he’s a vital part of the roster or just because we like his jersey number. Whatever the case, these are the things we want out of the Gators’ 2012 football season. One Eyed Willy was first, The Bull Gator second; now it’s my turn.

10. To be able to look forward to Florida having the ball. Two years–that’s how long it’s been since I’ve almost had to close my eyes every time Florida has possession of the ball. I didn’t think it was possible, but I felt the Gators had a better chance of scoring on defense than on offense. I want the Gators to establish some rhythm on an offense that was largely sporadic over the last two years. I want a quarterback that puts some moxie (Jon Gruden) into his throws, a receiver that opposing defenses fear, and a running back that makes defenders look like bowling balls.

9. Decrease in Arrest Record. I don’t expect our arrest record to suddenly disappear completely, but I do want to see a gradual steady decrease in the number of constant mistakes the players make. To be frank, the idiotic mistakes the Gators seem to be making year after year are flat out embarrassing. I’m not sure how to correct the thug-life attitudes of some of the players, but maybe it starts with pointing out character red flags in recruiting. The Bull Gator pointed out to me that coaches see “Number 1 tight end” and may look right past character issues. That’s something to think about, character vs. talent.

8. Please no injuries on the offensive line. Injuries completely plagued the Gators’ line last year and could hamper any progress the Gators make if more pour in next year. They can’t handle injuries on the offensive line—their depth won’t allow it. The Gators made progress on adding quality to the offensive line with Jessamen Dunker and D.J. Humphries but failed to address their gaping depth issue. I’m hoping we can address this in recruiting.

7. Leaders to emerge. What do championship teams have year after year? Oh yeah, leaders. We were spoiled with leadership from ’06 to ’09 with Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes. I want someone who gives inspiring half time speeches. These are the guys who fill Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The players the fans come to see. So far, the leadership watch list only includes Matt Elam. For the offense, no obvious visible candidates. Now, if the Gators want any chance at a championship run, leaders must emerge.

6. The return of the lockdown corner. It’s a well-known fact that having a shutdown cornerback drastically makes winning games and defending an opponent easier. Thankfully, Florida doesn’t have to worry about the game changing receivers that they’ve had to deal with over the last few years: Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Alshon Jeffery. Not so thankfully, with his size and skill, Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham looks to be the successor to those tall and athletic SEC receivers and more will be coming. The Gators will not be able to avoid these types of players without moving to the Big Ten (which I don’t suggest). I miss the days where we could count on Joe Haden or Janoris Jenkins to completely shut down these tall receivers. Sadly, Haden was drafted two years ago and Jenkins decided that smoking pot was a little more important to him than shutting down receivers. Please, give us a cornerback that’s not an idiot, please.

(more…)

Florida Gators 24 – Ohio State Buckeyes 17: Winning Record Secured With Gator Bowl Victory

How nice is it to win? The answer is very nice. Regardless of the circumstances or situation, a win can become a moment of happiness or at the very least relief that’s much needed and desired. In this instance, it meant 7-6 and not 6-7 for the Florida Gators. Defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Gator Bowl 24-17 secured a winning record for Will Muschamp is his first year as a head coach. The season was far from pretty, but it ended on a positive note. A win is a win.

To say the Gators improved to 7-6 could be construed as reaching, but that’s what the bowl season is about. The last hurrah for your team. You’re hoping to hold on to that final moment, those 60 remaining minutes before your team goes into hibernation. It can be a joyous occasion or one to forget. In Florida’s case it became one lasting memory for the seniors and something to carry those players that will be back for 2012 into the spring semester. Again, a win is a win and winning is good.

A loss would have meant the first losing season for the Gators since 1979. While that didn’t happen, a longer streak was broken. The Buckeyes hadn’t lost seven games in a season since 1897. 1979 is the year I was born. I’m going to venture a guess and say no one reading this was around in 1897. Then again, I haven’t looked at the Google Analytics in quite some time.

Special teams won it for Florida and the defense did its part. Andre Debose provide the spark with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. You can credit Debose’s speed, but his blockers deserve the applause. You could describe it as a thing of beauty when a play unfolds like that. The other special teams highlight was aggression at its best. Sending the house after the punter resulted in Chris Rainey blocking another one. You think Graham Stewart thought he’d find himself in the end zone during this one? Probably not.

The Florida defense took a page from the Gators’ national championship victory over the Buckeyes five years ago. Pressure the Ohio State quarterback relentlessly and force him to beat you. Braxton Miller didn’t and the defense was able to contain the Buckeyes and limit the big play.

With the long break upon us, I’m sure we’ll talk about this victory more, but for now just enjoy it. As with many others, the real world comes back into the picture on Tuesday. For a few more hours, I can live in the moment of the win.

Florida Gators 54 – Furman Paladins 32: When A Win Isn’t A Win

A win should make you happy. Not content or relieved, but happy. Actually, we’d take content or relieved at this point. Those are acceptable emotions after the roller coaster the Florida Gators have been on during the 2011 season. What isn’t acceptable is a feeling of “what just happened?”

After one quarter of what many might try to define as football, although it was hard to call it that, the Gators found themselves down 22-7 to the Furman Paladins and Florida fans found themselves looking frantically for the basketball schedule (and resume templates for head coach Will Muschamp so he could update his). A 20-point second quarter eased the pain for only a moment until we all realized the Gators were up by only five. Another quarter and 10 more points for each team found Florida up 37-32 with one frame to go. Any other season and we’d need to be talked off the ledge, but this one brought nothing more the a sigh. A familiar sigh that has replaced any anger or discomfort in wondering what could possibly happen next. But then there would be the fourth and final quarter. Far from perfect, a close contest became a 22-point game. The Gators would win for only the second time since September while we would begrudgingly move forward to the FSU Seminoles.

Before we move on though, we look at the victory over the Paladins. We look because we are determined to learn. Our curiosity is what overwhelms our ability to go quietly ahead into the night. We can’t do it because it’s not within our nature. Instead our nature says we must evaluate and over-analyze everything that has happened from every different angle. It’s sadistic in a way, but it’s what we do. We praise the good and attack the bad. And here we go…

Games such as those against Furman aren’t winnable for Florida. Beat the Paladins and you were supposed to. Lose to them, or play like the Gators did for much of the game, and there are far more headaches than worth the warm-up for a matchup with a rival. It’s better to avoid games like these all together, and one day a nine-game SEC schedule may solve the problem for us, but until them we stomach what was supposed to go down without the need for an antacid.

No one told the Paladins that they were supposed to roll over and die and for their effort, we have to give applause. Good for Furman for staying in the game. Kudos for taking advantage of a situation and disrupting an afternoon. In the end, it wasn’t enough, but in some strange way it was. By gaining 446 yards, the Paladins exposed the Gators’ defense. In recent weeks, we’ve labeled the defense the rock of the Florida squad. It was the unit we saw marked improvement in. We looked forward to 2012 and the further progression of the defense. After Saturday, we wonder if another step, or leap, was taken back. You don’t give up 446 yards to an FCS team. Maybe you do, but you shouldn’t. Not in game 11, and not in The Swamp, and not with a defensive head coach even if he is in his first year. But if you are weathering through a record of 9-10 over the last 19 games you’ve played as a team, maybe you do. Pick sixes by De’Ante “Pop” Saunders and Jelani Jenkins were highlights, but little else was. Taking a step back in game 11 is like taking a step back for 2012 and, yes, that has us worried.

We find bright spots on the offensive side of the ball because in any 22-point win, you have to find them somewhere. There was John Brantley’s career day; we’ll start there. If the Gators’ 2011 season has been a roller coaster, Brantley’s career has been the fastest, scariest one there is. Brantley’s 329 passing yards? A career high. His four touchdown passes? Another one. We try not to celebrate the FCS wins as much, but we can celebrate Brantley. If this is what the offense was supposed to look like when Muschamp hired offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, then it came too late. Too late to make an impact on the season and realistically too late to change the fortunes of Brantley’s career. But just in time to allow us to enjoy what the quarterback was expected to be able to do. A 64-yard touchdown pass to Andre Debose in the third quarter was only overshadowed by an 80-yarder one quarter earlier. Years from now, when we look back at the career of John Brantley, we may do so with mixed emotions. A game we’ll have to recall was this one. One game where it looked like it was supposed to. One game that gave us hope for the regular season finale.

We can go ahead and classify this as a win; for Brantley, for Debose, and if only because the standings dictate it. Although we’re still not sure to think of what happened (Andy Hutchins of Alligator Army may have summed it up best with words like “worst” and “weirdest”), it’s technically a victory. A victory that is only the Gators’ sixth of the season and one that keeps the hopes of eight alive. It’s not often you dream of an eight-win season, but it has come to that. There are 120 minutes of football left for Florida and two outcomes to be discovered. Confidence in what those two outcomes may be isn’t high, but now the Gators play for something. Maybe state pride, maybe to go out on a winning note, maybe just to shut the door on 2011.

Will Muschamp to the Wide Receivers: "You Got to Get Open."

The Florida wide receivers have been a topic of discussion all season long. After 10 games, the Gators’ leading pass catchers are a running back – Chris Rainey with 335 yards – and tight end – Jordan Reed with 24 receptions. To make matters worse, the leaders at the wide receiver position are Andre Debose with 272 yards and Deonte Thompson with 17 receptions. 10 games have passed; you can do the quick math to figure out the somewhat pitiful averages.

Blame has been placed everywhere at this point. We’ve discussed the offensive line at length throughout the season and we’ve also mentioned the quarterbacks’ inability to get the ball to the receivers. But what about those wide receivers themselves? What can they do to become part of the offensive attack? Will Muschamp thinks the answer is right in front of them: they have to get open.

During Wednesday’s SEC press conference, Muschamp mentioned the receivers and a need for consistency from the unit. He also keyed in on two points: getting open and making catches. Muschamp discussed the need for the receivers to get seperation from man-to-man coverage and put themselves in a position to make plays. He said drops have hurt the Gators and he went back to the one word that could end up defining Florida’s season – inconsistency.

Maybe Muschamp is right; he is the head coach after all. The offensive line does need to hold up and the quarterbacks do need to get the ball out quicker, but without the wide receivers putting themselves in the position to make plays, it’s all for naught. Youth is not an excuse. Thompson, Frankie Hammond, Omarius Hines and even Debose have been around for long enough regardless of a new system. Quinton Dunbar is the youth, but much more was expected from the redshirt freshman. Inexperience can’t be blamed. It’s past the time for the receivers to step up; that was months ago. It’s now time for them to make a quick leap and a big one. With two games left – and possibly a third – eight wins can’t even be whispered in passing without this unit making plays. Seven may even be a stretch.

First Thoughts: Auburn Tigers 17 – Florida Gators 6

I’ll go ahead an keep this short because weekends are supposed to be enjoyable and the last thing you need is more frustration.

Florida’s defensive play improved. Tackles were made and pressure was put on the Auburn quarterbacks. It wasn’t a great performance or anything to use as a model game, but it was good enough. Actually more so when giving the Gators a chance to win the game. The offense, however, couldn’t take advantage of an improved defense.

It’s hard to determine exactly what Charlie Weis is doing on offense because, well, we don’t know and there have been injuries. John Brantley was obviously out. Jeff Demps didn’t dress. Andre Debose went out early. Mike Gillislee didn’t get the carries he was expected to receive and we saw him getting taped up on the sidelines at one point. So more than enough frustration sets in with those right there. Then there are the other issues…

Whether a quarterback isn’t putting points on the board or not, by removing one for the other and either for the option guy in between, no one is getting into any kind of rhythm. Jacoby Brissett didn’t light the world on fire, but removing him in the second half put in a cold Jeff Driskel who couldn’t get into a flow either didn’t make a difference. In the end, the Gators managed two field goals and nothing more. That’s a total of 27 points and only two touchdowns in the last three games – all losses.

I’ll have more tomorrow, but for now we mourn. We mourn a chance to turn things in the right direction, a chance to stay in the SEC East race, and a chance to win. Florida falls to 4-3 and we just fall. Goodnight, as good as it can be.