Big game tonight

I’m not even being sarcastic. The Gators need this game pretty badly, but not in the typical sense. Meyer has begun to retool the offense, but we’re far from polished. We squeaked by Georgia using a stripped down offense that mostly went north-south. But that’s not Meyer’s vision and I’m sure he hasn’t forgotten his beloved Spread.

This game will be a chance for the Gators to add some Spread plays and work on blocking in the more complicated schemes. We have to remember that we still have to beat South Carolina on their field, then we have FSU at home and a bowl game. But, if Auburn prevails in Athens, we’ll be playing in Atlanta for the SEC Championship, a likely rematch against the Tide. We already saw what happened in Tuscolusa and if we’re going to beat them the offense has to be clicking on all cylinders. Now is the time to start tuning up the engine.

I expect to see a good mix of old school play calling and some new school Spread plays. I also expect our defense to give Vandy fits. I’m not necessarily predicting a blowout, but I expect us to cover the spread (looks like about 19 points).


The football infestation continues…

Well, I said I didn’t want this to become a football blog, but since I have no life and I love football, I guess that’s just what’s on my mind. We beat Georgia… again. I’m not saying that in a cocky way, it’s just how it is. Yes, they were without their quarterback, but that elicits little sympathy from me. We’ve been playing without our stars all season–Chris Leak hurt his shoulder against Alabama and it clearly affected his next couple games; Andre Caldwell, our first receiver, broke his femur against Tennessee; several of our key defensive players have missed games and on and on–and we’re not looking for sympathy. We’re just playing good football, the same as Georgia. And this game wasn’t as close as it looked on paper, either. We should’ve scored just before the end of the first half, but we fumbled on the 5 yard-line when a Leak/Wynn exchange went poorly. That wasn’t good Georgia defense, it was a gift from the statistical gods. Also, Georgia’s only touchdown came on a trick play that only worked because it was botched. It was a nice catch by T3, but he wouldn’t have been open if he didn’t accidentally fall down earlier in the play. It was like hitting a 3-pointer off the glass–you get 3 points, but everyone in the game attaches a mental asterisk whose note reads, “3-point airball.”

Anyway, it was another SEC slug-fest and we were fortunate enough to win it. Our offense actually came alive in the first quarter and then it went back into hibernation as the defense dominated the rest of the game. Meyer is finally figuring out what to do with Leak and company. Keeping it simple is the best way with these guys. Zook’s problem in 2004 wasn’t offense–we torched most of the teams we played–it was a lackluster defense who took naps and drank drinks with little pink umbrellas in them during the fourth quarter. Our defense has totally transformed this year, but our offensive personnel are the same. Give Leak a pocket, let him pass and use our running backs to run it right down their throats. We are best on the ground when we’re running downhill.

So now what? Well, we should win out in the SEC, which means we’re going to be chanting “War Eagle!!” soon enough. I think it’s silly that we’re depending on UGA’s game with a Western Division foe to vault us into the SEC Championship. Each East team plays 3 random West teams and Florida had to play AT Alabama and AT LSU. Georgia? They get Auburn at home. They don’t have to play ‘Bama or LSU at all. Must be nice. The planets have aligned and UGA may have a shot at the SEC Title in spite of their second-best SEC East record.


Two losses to two Top 10 teams

I guess Florida haters like to see that we have two losses and we’ve fallen to 5-2 overall. But I don’t think it’s really that bad. Of course, we didn’t look good against Alabama, but they’re still in the Top 10 right now. After this week, LSU should be Top 10 as well. All things considered, I think that’s reasonable.

Our hopes at a shot for the SEC title are all but gone, but I guess that’s just the way it goes. What’s frustrating is that we could be undefeated in the East and still not play on December 3rd in ATL. Something seems a little off there, but I’m just a biased Florida fan.

Speaking of Top 10 teams, our next opponent lives there as well. In two weeks, we go to Jacksonville to play Georgia. That should be a good game and could be Urban’s second win against a Top 10 team. Of course, we’ll be underdogs, but that’s the way it has been many times over the past few years. We’ve only lost to UGA once since I started school back in 1998 and I think we have a good shot at keeping that stat intact.

I don’t like that this has turned into a football blog, but at least I’m updating it with some frequency.


It’s great to be a Florida Gator

Wow. Saturday’s football game was really incredible. I’m pretty sure the last time a home game held that much significance was Tennessee in 2001 at the end of the season. If we won that game, we would go on to play for the SEC Championship and possibly play in the National Championship. But we lost.

It’s been almost four years since then and we’ve had some big disappointments and a couple nice wins, but Saturday’s game was the first game in a while that’s meant something. We’re back in the Top 5. Our schedule is difficult, but if we remain undefeated and win the SEC, we’ll have an excellent shot at playing for the Championship. We still have to play LSU, Georgia, Alabama, another West team in the SEC Championship and so-far-undefeated FSU. If our schedule is as difficult as it seems it will be, we could have to win five games over Top 10 opponents.

But all that’s just chit-chat. The real deal was going to a big game in the Swamp and beating a solid opponent when it really counted. And the best part of the real deal was watching the game from the student section, 20 rows up on the 30-yard line. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had at the Swamp, and I’ve been to a lot of home games.

Now, I just have to see about getting tickets (plane and football) for the FSU game in November. I’m hoping to take Thanksgiving week off and travel home to see family, friends and some Florida football.


Won one on the road

Looks like the Gators pulled out another win today. Although Arkansas was one of the worst teams in the SEC going into today’s game, it was entirely possible that Florida could find a way to lose. They tried to, but managed winning in spite of a late-game meltdown that brought the Hogs within 5 points as the clock expired.

We had trouble with turnovers, just as we’ve had the past few games. I think that’s the one area of the game where losing Drejer has really hurt us. He protected the ball, made smart passes and always finished with several assists. Other guys–Roberson, Walsh–are stepping up and getting assists, but they’re not protecting the ball like they should be. I think we had about 20 turnovers today and that’s just unacceptable. The reason turnovers hurt us so much is that we simply can’t get back and stop the other team from scoring after we turn the ball over; we’re just not fast enough. Our defense is slow anyway, and giving the team multiple opportunities to explicitly exploit our slow transition defense is not a good way to win close games.

I think we’re doing pretty well offensively, but if our perimeter game goes cold for a day, we’ll be struggling to win. That may or may not be a problem with so many great shooters–Roberson, Walsh, Abukar, Humphrey–that can tow the line. I’m looking forward to closing out our SEC schedule against Georgia and Kentucky. If we can with both those games, it’ll give us a huge boost of confidence as we move into the NCAA Tourney, regardless of how we perform in the SEC Tourney.


Real World quote of the week

“You are misinterprettating the situation…” – Brad

Quickly comin’ together

Turns out my computer desk will be here tomorrow, so that means my apartment will essentially be settled and furnished by this weekend. That’s just in time for me to ship out to El Segundo for a week. Ah, sweet irony.

Is there some sort of lame weblog award? I think I could win that. Speaking of winning…

Gators droppin’ the ball

So, we had another basketball game tonight and things seem to be getting worse by the game. I’m pretty sure this is the worst season I’ve seen as a Gator. Tonight’s loss was to Georgia, who already had 10 losses to our 6 or 7. We managed to lose another decent lead by crummy play, careless passing and cruddy defense. It didn’t help that our only senior, Colas, and our best passer/assist leader were out for stupid reasons. Colas is apparently serving a 3-game, University imposed suspension for who knows what, while Christian Drejer is back in Gainesville contemplating playing pro ball in Europe. It looks like there’s an outside chance that we could miss the NCAA Tourney this year, although that’s extremely unlikely. I guess the upside is that we can’t really do much worse and, although we just broke our streak of 98 consecutive weeks in the polls, we have an opportunity to begin a new streak. Of course, the streak I’m interested in starting is a winning streak.