Monday Morning Driskel: Florida Gators Thoughts After The Win Over The Tennessee Volunteers

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. Let me know how you think this goes.

Also to take note: I AM NOT CRAZY. I know it’s Tuesday. Sadly, the idea came to me Monday night, so I figured why let a week go to waste?

Let me start this off by saying this was a fantastic college football week. The Florida Gators defeated the Tennessee Volunteers in stunning fourth quarter-shutout fashion, and Florida moved up to No. 14 in the polls, just behind Lane Kiffin and USC, who, to top it all off, lost to Stanford 14-21. And if there’s one thing Tennessee and Florida fans can agree on, I think it’s the happiness brought by seeing Lane Kiffin fail.

Beyond that, there’s not a great deal the Volunteers would be willing to agree with us about, after our 37-20 win in the hostile Rocky Top-land. For the Gators, it was a tale of two halves. The first half was slightly ugly, which featured Mr. Muschamp screaming at the top of his lungs at a referee, and the second half was, as TBG said, “glorious.”

What We Learned

Jeff Driskel is improving, quickly: I don’t think we could ask for much more than what Driskel has given us so far, and he looks like he can be so much better. He was extremely accurate, and his touchdown pass to Jordan Reed with defenders surrounding him was a thing of beauty. I feel bad for Jacoby Brissett, but Team Driskel all the way!

Driskel, calm and composed: The knock on Driskel coming into this year was his composure level. After showing he can effectively control the football game, accurately facilitate the football to his receivers, and thankfully handle the football without coughing it up, Driskel would appear to have better composure tenfold. Seriously, you couldn’t ask for much more from a sophomore quarterback who was starting in only his second game.

Against the run, Tennessee is tough inside, extremely flawed on the outside: If you noticed a trend in Florida’s results from different run plays, you weren’t alone. The Gators busted out long runs, including an 80-yard run by Trey Burton by avoiding the middle of the Tennessee defense, which was stuffing Florida at the line all night. The Vols have a few kinks to sort out on the corners of their defense.

Trey Burton can be a factor running the Wildcat: Burton was potently effective Saturday, running for 91 yards and two touchdowns on only three carries. We knew Burton had a chance to make an impact from the Wildcat, but it’s been a while since he has made much of a difference.

Frankie Hammond Jr. looks like Percy Harvin: Hammond Jr. is nowhere near the athletic level that Harvin is, or was, but Hammond sure has looked explosive and surprisingly smart in the open field.

The defense is great in the fourth quarter: Not so great in the first half, but I think preventing opposing teams from reaching the end-zone in the fourth is somewhat impressive, especially against a couple pretty good offensive teams. Jeff Dillman’s conditioning probably has a lot to do with this.

The safeties are all over the field: Josh Evans was everywhere at once during the first two games, despite getting knocked out of the second. Matt Elam also seemed to be picking up the slack during the last game by leading the team with 10 tackles.

Our defense, Marcus Roberson can’t catch: Very disappointed by Roberson’s hands. He’s always there for an interception, only to find it just beyond his grasp.

Things We Already Knew That Proved To Remain True

Will Muschamp is somewhat of a hothead: Haha, TBG seems to be unhappy about this.

Gilly’s good: Mike Gillislee is continuing to live up to his role as the probable best player on offense.

The Vols would be very sad when they lost: I wish I could have found a picture of the fans crying when they realized there was no chance of a burnt orange win, but if you watched the game on ESPN, you know what I’m talking about.

Surprise Of The Day

Derek Dooley may also be a hothead: Spiking the ball down is not an appropriate reaction after his quarterback Tyler Bray delivered a perfect pass to the disgruntled coach.

Play Of The Day

Trey Burton’s 80-yard touchdown run: This was just great. The Tennessee guy took an awful angle, though.

SEC Coaches And Their SEC Backgrounds

SEC Media Days are currently happening. You already knew that because you are a good fan that follows everything there is to follow about the SEC. You know that during these days, we hear a lot from the head coaches at the 12 SEC programs. We hear their thoughts of the state of the SEC, what the future of the SEC might bring, and how they like SEC. Basically, it is a lot of SEC.
12 coaches in all and plenty with experience in the SEC before their current positions. Whether they were a head coach at another SEC school in the past, an assistant somewhere else within the conference, or actually played in the SEC, they have been around the conference’s block. Did you know that only three of the current 12 SEC head coaches – or 25% – are at their first SEC stop? Of the remaining nine – which would make 75% – seven are with their second SEC program in one capacity or another. The remaining two have been at three or more places with Florida’s own Will Muschamp leading the way with four stops (for those liking the percentages, that means Muschamp has played or coached at 33% of the SEC programs). The current SEC head coaches average ties to exactly two SEC schools.
I will admit that is a lot of numbers. And there are more. For instance, four coaches (33% again) have ties to the Gators. But that is enough of that. Trying to keep up with it all can leave you scratching your head and just wishing the season was here so you no longer had to find others things to fill your brain. We at The Bull Gator are here for you. To eliminate the confusion of the numbers and who coached or played where before they became the head coach at a particular SEC school, we have created the chart below. It should clear everything up and paint you a perfect picture of which SEC head coach has ties to which SEC programs. You are very welcome.

The Orange and Blue Guide to Florida Gators @ Tennessee Volunteers

There are certain games where it’s important to brush all logic aside and only focus on what you believe makes your team better (so much better) than your opponent.  Realism doesn’t show its face for those games.

You have one goal and one goal only and that is to understand every possibly way your team is higher on the success ladder than your opponent.  Oh, and to tell everyone you know all about it.  Everyone.  Your significant others, coworkers, mailman, dog, even the lady at the toll plaza.

In other words, Florida plays Tennessee tomorrow.  Put on your orange and blue glasses and let the fanatical in fan come out.  You are a Gator.  Your team holds a five-game winning streak over the Vols and you know – within reason or not – that you are better than them.  Plain and simple.  And here’s why:
• That five-game winning streak.  Before it began, Florida had a 15-19 record against Tennessee.  That record is now 20-19 in favor of the Gators.
• The streak means current Florida head coach Urban Meyer has never lost to the Vols.  It also means there isn’t a single player on the Gators’ roster that has either.
• In both of those instances history matters.  In this one it doesn’t.  Tennessee is 11-9 at home against Florida.  Whatever.  That’s the past.  As a homer, you’re only to bring up the past when it works in your favor.
Jabar Gaffney made that catch.  The refs said so and you know it to be fact.
• Tennessee cornerback and punt returner Eric Gordon can bench press 450 pounds.  He’s still slower than Jeff Demps.
Bryce Brown is actually pretty goo…huh?  What’s that?  Oh really?  Hahahahaha.  Never mind then.
Oregon scored 45 points in 29 minutes and six seconds against Tennessee.
Lane Kiffin is gone, but we’re still within the period of time in which we can bring him up.  His whirlwind of disaster is still being felt at Tennessee.
• His replacement, Derek Dooley, has a losing career record.
• While John Brantley has experienced some growing pains in the Gators’ first two games, his Tennessee counterpart is Matt Simms.  Insert your own comments here.
Joey Kent still has a headache.
Jonathan Crompton never beat the Gators and neither did that Peyton Manning guy.
Alex Brown.
• In the five losses to the Meyer-coached Gators, the Vols averaged 13.2 points.
• Tennessee’s run defense is ranked 76th in the nation.  Demps averages 12.5 yards per carry.
• The Vols’ starting defensive line weighs in at an average of 267 pounds.  The Gators’ starting offensive line?  321.
Tennessee will always be Tennessee and the Vols are always a concern for Florida.  This season is no different.  Playing in Knoxville isn’t easy and the Vols are still a SEC East rival.  A depletion of talent with the departures of Philip Fulmer and Kiffin is the biggest issue Tennessee currently faces and is what has the Vols as a two-touchdown underdog to the Gators.
But none of that is of your concern.  The game is only one day away and your primary concern is letting everyone know exactly how much better your orange is than their orange.  Be a homer.  Be a fanatic.  It’s Tennessee week.

Derek Dooley, a Timeline in Pictures

Polyester coach’s shorts were rumored to sterilize the typical man, but not celebrated Georgia head coach Vince Dooley.  His son, Derek, was born in 1968.

At Clarke Central High School, Derek Dooley was a star tight end on the 1985 state championship team.  He was also a teammate of future Carolina Panther kicker John Kasay.  That’s right, a kicker AND team captain.

After two years as a walk-on receiver at Virginia, Dooley gave up making phone calls during practice to concentrate on football.  It paid off and he was awarded a scholarship entering his third year.

Pictures of Dooley as a graduate assistant at Georgia are scarce, but here’s a lovely look at his mother’s book.  You can own the hardcover version for as little as $1.71 through Amazon.  A bargain if you ask me.

Dooley coached wide receivers as SMU from 1997 to 1999, but Google doesn’t think so.  It jumped right to his time at LSU.

Dooley spent four years under Nick Saban at LSU.  In that time, he coached tight ends, running backs, and special teams.  This isn’t a picture of Dooley, but it does come up fourth when searching “Derek Dooley LSU.”  Works for me.

When Saban left for the NFL and the Miami Dolphins, he took Dooley with him.  What a handsome man.

Dolphins are cute.

As the Louisiana Tech head coach, Dooley turned the Bulldogs into a national power.  He would leave the school after three years, a 17-20 overall record, and an Independence Bowl victory.

In January of this year, Dooley was named as the new head coach of Tennessee.  Replacing the legendary Lane Kiffin will be tough, but at 1-1 Dooley has proven he can equal the success the former Vols’ coach had.

The Long Snapper (7/12/10)

College football.  James Smith.  Pageant contestants.

The countdowns have been there for quite some time, but it’s time to start seriously paying attention.  The college football pages of the major sports sites will be more active.  Most of the stories will be positive.  Ones about the upcoming season and what to expect.  Things like that.  Some won’t be so great though.  This is also the time of year athletes get bored and sometimes find themselves involved in the wrong kind of extracurricular activities.  While I was away enjoying everything wonderful that comes along with going on a vacation, two SEC programs found themselves in a heap of trouble (more on both below).  Definitely not the type of news you want to hear as we race toward the start of a new season.  Florida even had its hand in the cookie jar.  Secondary violations for improper use of Facebook.  We are definitely in the technology age if schools are violating recruiting rules by utilizing social networking.  It’s probably best for schools just to stay away from those things.

There are a number of ways to end a college football career prematurely.  Leaving early for the NFL is probably the best way to ensure one’s future.  You know, assuming the individual becomes a high draft pick.  Injury is an unfortunate way to have a career stop dead in its tracks.  But if you want to go out with a bang, assaulting a police officer and resisting and evading arrest is definitely the way to go.  Not sure if I completely understand attempting to resist arrest.  More often than not you’ll get caught.  Even the Barefoot Bandit ended up behind bars.  Darren Myles Jr. has plenty of time to think about why he attempted to evade police after assaulting an office now that he doesn’t have football to worry about.  The sophomore safety has been dismissed from the Tennessee football team after being arrested after his involvement after an altercation in a bar.  Freshman wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers was also arrested and several others are rumored to have been involved.  Two of the “several” – sophomores Greg King and Marlon Walls – have been suspended.  I’d imagine Derek Dooley isn’t the most pleasant guy to be around right about now.  Altercations with the police aren’t something you welcome as you try to bring a once proud program back to prominence.  Dooley doesn’t have an easy road ahead.
Georgia will be missing some players as well when the season starts.  Mark Richt handed out suspensions to Dontavius Jackson and Tavarres King due to alcohol issues.  Jackson was charged with driving under the influence and then he added leaving the scene of an accident for good measure.  Just a piece of advice kids: never leave the scene of an accident.  Nothing good comes from it.  If you’re at fault, wait around and take what comes to you.  The backup running back may not be missed too much.  Jackson carried the ball a total of three times in 2009.  King on the other hand was expected to make an impact.  He only caught 18 balls last season, but averaged over 20 yards per catch.  The wide receiver’s charge was a little less coming in at underage possession of alcohol.  King will probably only miss one game while Jackson will be suspended for at least six.  Suspensions for idiotic behavior are never good, but you definitely don’t want them coming so close to the season right when your favorite team is gearing up for a new year.  All those preseason predictions go out the window when your team’s lineup may not be what was expected.
Not to be outdone, the ACC had a team get into the mix too.  UNC linebacker Quan Sturdivant (I liked him better when he went by Quantavious) was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana.  Sturdivant was expected to be a leader of the Tar Heel defense in 2010 and probably still will be.  It remains to be seen how long Butch Davis will suspend his leading returning tackler for, but odds are it won’t be long.  It might not be at all considering UNC opens the season against LSU.  Gator fans will remember Sturdivant for more than just his name.  He wanted to be part of Florida’s 2007 recruiting class and went as far as trying to commit.  The coaching staff wouldn’t accept his commitment though.  They had other linebackers in their plans.  Sturdivant ended up becoming quite a player before his arrest.  The linebacker Florida took over him – John Jones – has since transferred.

The Long Snapper (4/16/10)

USF has had a proud legacy at middle linebacker the past few years.  Not Ohio State linebacker proud, but proud enough for the little program on the rise (can I still call it that after all these years?).  And now the next in line is ready to show what he can do.  Sophomore Sam Barrington is ready to leave his mark and most importantly is ready to take over as a leader on the defense.  Barrington returns the second most tackles of any Bull (I have no idea if that sentence is structured correctly, but it’s good enough).  He has the size – 6’3”, 220 pounds – to excel at any linebacker position, but looks to master the middle one.  And along the way to becoming the leader of the defense, Barrington also looks to help others.  He is currently setting up a foundation to provide assistance to the children of Ghana – where his father lives.  Barrington is one to be proud of USF fans.
I get discipline, but I never fully understood the no profanity rules some coaches put in place.  Turner Gill at Kansas is the latest.  Maybe it’s because I view them as just words.  Maybe it’s because it’s football.  Maybe it’s because it honestly doesn’t offend me if someone says something that may be considered profane (although I do like to point out when it’s used for absolutely no reason, but let’s not get into the whole Tim Tebow and the Alabama game discussion again, that won’t go well for anyone).  Then again, I tend not to curse on this site.  That is of course out of respect to readers who may not like it.  Maybe that’s the same thought process behind football coaches implementing the ban.  Respect for others.  Maybe it’s because they feel they are molding gentlemen.  Maybe this paragraph has too many maybes in it.  Moving on.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl has extended its partnership with the SEC and nothing could make me happier.  Chick-fil-A is a glorious restaurant for which chickens proudly give their lives for our pleasure.  If you don’t like Chick-fil-A, there is something wrong with you.  Their breakfast menu is quite surprising and their general food is absolutely amazing.  While peaches are alright (the Chick-fil-A Bowl used to be the Peach Bowl, keep up with me), Chick-fil-A is so much better.  So much better.  That my fast food establishment of choice has a partnership with the SEC only helps its cause.
Is the deck stacked against Derek Dooley?  I’m seriously asking.  Not trying to poke fun here, but things don’t seem too bright for Dooley at Tennessee.  After all, he was an “oh crap, we don’t have a coach” hire and didn’t have what you could really refer to as success in his previous position.  That doesn’t mean he can’t head the Vols in the right direction (Gene Chizik did better than anyone expected during his first year at Auburn), it just means it seems he’ll have to overcome overwhelming odds.  Maybe he’ll do it.  Maybe he won’t.  But right now it seems highly unlikely that five years from now we’ll still be talking about Dooley as the Tennessee head coach.
The List: For Friday, a just because list:
1. Tomas Plekanec
2. Bon Jovi
3. Lane Kiffin’s last loss at Tennessee?  Yup, the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
4. Brandon Marshall
5. The weather right now is why I live in Florida.
The Sixth Man: Florida has a chance to add a scoring guard if everything goes great this weekend.  Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario is unhappy with his development with the Scarlet Knights and has been granted his release.  He will visit the Gators this weekend to determine if they are a viable candidate for his services.  After sitting out next season, Rosario would have two years of eligibility remaining.  In two seasons with Rutgers, Rosario averaged over 16 points per game.  With depth at guard always seeming to be an issue for Florida, Rosario would be a welcome addition.  The former McDonald’s All-American seems very open to becoming a Gator.

The Bull Gator (4/1/10)

And I’m back. After a much needed vacation and then a few extra days of doing virtually nothing, I’m back and, more importantly for those of you who visit the site frequently, The Bull Gator is too.  I thought about posting some grand April Fool’s Day article about shutting down the site or its conversion to a curling-only blog, but we all know I’m not that funny and probably couldn’t pull that off.  So TBG is back and returning in the most reasonable way with The Long Snapper.
I’ll get started with a brief item that appeared on the Orlando Sentinel’s site way back on March 18. Basically around the last time I actually made the effort to post anything.  Andrea Adelson gave us her thoughts on the Urban Meyer situation of the previous few months and goes as far to say “[s]orry coach Meyer, but you owe us all an explanation.”  Read through most of the comments and you’ll find many stand exactly where I do in response to that.  Meyer doesn’t owe any of us a damn thing.  Billy Donovan didn’t owe us an explanation when he left for the Orlando Magic only to return almost immediately.  And Meyer doesn’t owe us an update on his health or more information about why he went from resigning to declaring he would be taking a leave of absence.  As a whole, we expect way too much from athletes and other sports figures.  We analyze every move they make and everything they say.  This site is no different.  If I only discussed what actually occurred on the field, TBG would go from being much slower during the off months to being completely dead.  But I’ve never felt an individual owes me anything.  Meyer is a grown man.  He can make whatever decisions he wants.  Sometimes, I may not agree with them or like them, but that’s okay.  I’ll never expect him to explain them to me.  Just like I don’t expect Tim Tebow to tell us why he may choose to endorse one organization over another.  Why should I care?  I’m at the point with Meyer where I would love it if he were the Florida head coach forever.  What he’s done on the field in his five years is remarkable and I don’t want to see it end.  I can’t imagine any Gator fan does.  But when he decides he’s done, his reason is his reason.  I don’t need to know it.  And I definitely don’t need an explanation about everything that transpired in the last few months.  Meyer has produced an on-the-field product I’ve been more than happy to cheer for over the past few years.  He definitely doesn’t owe me anything else.
What in the name of potentially stellar wide receivers is going on with Carl Moore?!?  The senior pass catcher has missed a few practices and no one is completely sure if he’ll be welcomed back with open arms if he chooses to return.  Moore seems to be absent for personal reasons, but there’s no telling what those are.  There is a rumor going around that he left practice on Saturday and wasn’t the least bit happy when he did so.  Moore reportedly stormed off the practice field and hasn’t been seen on it since.  Coaches are stating personal issues at the moment and no one knows if we’ve seen the last of Moore or not.  Moore had the chance to have a big senior season after missing all of 2009 due to injury.  His size makes him an important target, especially in the red zone, however; Moore has only had a few flashes over his Gator career so far. No one knows what he can do on the field, but I was definitely excited to see.  Hopefully the situation is able to be remedied and we’ll see him back soon.
Get excited about new USF defensive coordinator Mark Snyder because he’s sure excited about heading up the Bulls’ defense.  After spending a few years as Marshall’s head coach, Snyder is happy to be back with the defense, getting his hands dirty.  Remember those Ohio State defenses of the early 2000s?  That was Snyder.  Snyder’s #1 priority?  Making defense fun.  He wants kids that can run, hit, and just enjoy the game.  Sounds like the focus on defense will be just playing football.  Schemes won’t be out of the ordinary necessarily, but Snyder and company will be about doing the simple things great.  As long as cornerbacks are no longer left out to dry on deep routes, I’m all for the new defense.
Tennessee is determined to not let another head coach with a losing career record go without a fight.  The Vols have set the buyout on Derek Dooley high.  Laughably high.  If Dooley leaves before 2012: $4 million.  2013: $3 million.  2014: $1 million.  Oh but the fun doesn’t stop there.  If Tennessee were to get rid of Dooley before 2013, they would have to pay him $5 million.  So apparently no one has learned their lesson.  In the real world – you know the one where people have jobs that don’t involve them coaching sports teams – most people can’t get fired for a lack of performance and that’s that.  No big check as you get your ass kicked out the door.  But Dooley could end up sub-.500 over his first few seasons and still receive millions to be kicked to the curb.  Gotta love the world we live in, huh?
The List: Today’s theme: comebacks. Well, not really. Things I’d like to see comeback actually.  Things – or people – that I’d like to see get a chance to do their thing and be successful at it.  As usual, take what you want from it.  And add lists of your own to the comments section if feel the need to speak up.  No list is denied, but I can’t guarantee it won’t be shredded apart.  After all, if you get ridiculed around these parts, it means we like you.  We really, really like you.
1. Alex Brown.  More on AB later.
2. Spring.  Might actually already be back.  The weather in Florida is wonderful today.
3. A good medical drama.
4. Carl Moore!
5. The Gator basketball team.
6. A blockbuster movie NOT in 3D!
7. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
8. TV without the Southwest bags fly free ads.
9. Music I can tolerate listening too.
10. Grilling.  Oh the glorious grilling this time of year brings.
The Sixth Man: With the Final Four comes The Second Annual Bull Gator Final Four Fiesta.  Not that you are invited of course.  We don’t know each other.  At least not personally.  And there’s just as much chance I’d let you into my house as I’d let my neighbor who continues to do his best to destroy the grass in my backyard (damn you Mr. I Have No Idea What Your Last Name Is!!!).  But know we’ll be partying on Saturday regardless of the participants in the two games and you should too.  If you’re a college sports fan first, these are the last great moments until football season begins again (sorry College World Series’ fans).  So take it all in and enjoy it.  And know that my luck has turned.  I’ve already won one pool and am one more Duke victory away from winning another.  I like winning, even if it means having to pull for the Blue Devils to do so.  File that under things I never thought I’d say.