Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lewd Holtz

I know of another person who wore dark suits and gave "pep" talks to people. (He also liked "teamwork" and tradition.)

For Your Viewing Pleasure

• 12:00 — CFB: Texas Tech at Texas A&M [FSN]

12:30 Vandy-Georgia.... RAYCOM!!! Best Football Commentary in the Business!

• 3:30 — CFB: Purdue at Northwestern [CBS]
• 12:30 — CFB: Nebraska at Iowa State [Versus]
• 3:30 — CFB: Mississippi at Alabama [CBS]
• 3:30 — CFB: North Carolina at Virginia [ABC/ESPN]
• 3:30 — CFB: Ohio St. at Michigan St. [ABC/ESPN]
• 4:30 — CFB: Michigan at Penn State [ESPN]
• 5:00 — Golf: Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, third round [Golf Channel]
• 7:00 — Movie: Napoleon Dynamite [Comedy Central]

You fool me once, shame on you... Fool me- can't get fooled again

Wow! Kentucky has the 3rd ranked scoring defense in the nation. Are they for real? So far they are. Offenses have had a hard time moving the ball against the defense that's only giving up 274 yards/game... and an even harder time scoring against a defense that's only giving up 10.5 points/game! That's what I call Wildcat defense! Actually, no it isn't. That's not Wildcat defense at all. I'm not fooled Kentucky.

You won't have to wait until the Kentucky defense comes to the swamp to see them exposed as the phonies they are. Just turn on the Kentucky-Arkansas game this Saturday night. They do not have the athletes to stop speedster Michael Smith. Look for him to have a 3rd straight 100 yard game, and expose them as the Mildcats of old. And they certainly don't have the athletes to hold down the high powered Gators offense. In his three years at Florida, Urban Meyer has averaged 493 yards and 40 points per game against Kentucky. Don't expect that trend to change next Saturday.

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's not over until Brandon Spikes punts

The Florida Gators defense has come a long way since last year. So far they have been great. But the season's not even half over... and its the second half that will tell us how good they really are.

This is the time of year offenses really start to click. Last year Florida scored 30, 17, and 24 points against Mississippi, Auburn, and LSU respectively. Following the bye week they went on to average 45 points/game the rest of the season. Georgia's offense also took off around this time last year. Coming off a blowout loss to Tennessee and a close win with Vandy, they went on to average 38 points/game.

Offenses get better as the season goes along. As a consequence, defenses get worse. This same trend also happens throughout the course of a single game. Maybe that means you can tell how a team will play the second half of the season by how they play the second half of their games.

One reason for the trend may be that there are a limited amount of ways to stop an offense, but there are an infinite amount of ways to score. So as time goes on defenses have pretty much shown everything they've got. Meanwhile offenses are still running plays no one has ever seen.

Another reason may be that players get worn down over time, which probably has a greater effect on the defense. Offense is mostly about concentration and execution. These things get easier with repetition. Defense requires concentration, but it relies more on strength and hustle- which weaken with repetition.

What does this mean? For the rest of the season, we should expect offenses all over the nation to start hitting their stride. Will Florida's D step up, or step aside?

Auburn finds offensive coordinator, all-time quarterback

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville thinks he has finally found an offensive coordinator that can put some points on the board for the Tigers. Landy Hulse was playing wide receiver this afternoon, when he took over and started calling the plays in the huddle. "Chris was drawing our next play in the dirt like he usually does, when I noticed Tray was watching over our shoulders. So I just drew my rout on the palm of my hand so Chris could see what I was running."

Apparently he did something right, because Tuberville was impressed. "He ran a basic post pattern, but the genius of it was how he used the mailbox to pick the defender," coach Tubbs said after practice.

A few minutes later Landy was asked to play all-time quarterback while Chris finished running the vacuum and loading the dishwasher. On his first snap he connected with Ben as he ran past Jerraud, who had a sand spur in his toe. "I saw (Jerraud) had a sticker in his foot, so I told Ben to do one of these."

Coach Tuberville wasn't the only one who was impressed by Landy. Rodgeriqus had nothing but praise for him today, "I like when Landy is Quarterback because he doesn't sweat so much. Chris makes the ball so slimy when he touches it. Plus, his mom always comes out here and gives him jobs to do."

Tuberville said Landy still has room to improve his decision making. "He needs to work the check down a little more. Sometimes he forgets that hitting the lawn chair is an automatic first down. I'd also like to see him call shotgun whenever the defense looks like they're going to rush." Coach said he's anxious to see how well Landy can perform in a hostile environment like Alabama. "With crowd noise like that, you aren't always going to hear them counting to five Mississippi."

When asked how long he thinks Landy will remain all-time quarterback, coach Tubberville said, "The best thing he's got going for him right now is that he's a team player. He's both teams' player."

Injury Update:
Brad, who sprained his ankle while running a down-and-out in the sugar sand, is still not back to full speed. Robert, who has been wearing a band-aid all week, is cleared to play Saturday. Robert had skinned his knee on the driveway during Monday's practice.

Up 2, back to Interstate 275

The Rays wanted to give Gator fans something to watch this weekend. No worries here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Earnest goes to Fullback

Graham volunteered to play fullback for Tampa Bay in place of the other injured FBs... he blocked for W. Dunn, a Seminole. But Dunn is a good Seminole, at least after he actually played for the Seminoles. Dockett was not a good Seminole, however, when he did some funny business to Graham's knee after a tackle in 2001, which kept Graham out of the following game against Tenn, which kept the Gators out of Atlanta, which kept the Gators from playing Miami for the BCS championship game. Nebraska got the honors and wasted it.

The Bucs won the game and Graham was a kind of a hero, getting complimented by the grumpy Gruden in the locker room speech after the game.

Another quiet Fenway

Shouldn't we refer to the "Devil Rays" teams as the (e)x-Rays? or is that too clever for a team that refers to their haircuts as "Ray-Hawks?"

Holy-Ef. Upton just hit 2nd homer of the game, 7th in playoffs.

Holy-Es. Longoria followed him up with another back-to-back between the 2.

Hey, Hey, Tampa Bay...

The Bucs know how to shine, but sunshine IS a ray(s), right?

I used to think the Rays were doomed by virtue of being in the AL East. Of course, that's not the case anymore--which means it never was (if doom is paired with "fate"). But right now, it seems to help the Rays being in the division with the mighty Sox and pin-stripes: 1) it gave them true confidence when they did win because of who they were beating, not that fake kind that comes from beating up on the mediocre 2) it made them less intimidated in the playoffs-- and even the regular season-- since they've been playing in Fenway and Yankee stadium all these years. Once they had some good play to go along with that familiarity, they were on their way. It's ironic that its the Rays that now seem to have the best homefield advantage in baseball... that is... the team that most wants a new ballpark is best in the ballpark they don't want.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Tipping Point (not a Roots album)

This blog was wrong. (link)

Meyer was in danger of being 5-5 in the SEC in his last five games. And Miles and LSU were close to getting an upper hand on the Gators--both in Miles' records and overall momentum in the series, as if something like that really exists. Not so worried anymore. It felt like a Gator national championship game because it was a blowout involving two otherwise good teams (see: Nebraska 95, FSU 96, OSU 06). Georgia will be another "tipping point" type of game--one of those games that makes us feel as if a team has a real, palpable advantage over a course of years despite having similar talent. I think injuries will be the best indicator of what's to come. We have a week off, then Kentucky, whereas Georgia has an improved Vandy, LSU, then us-- advantage Florida.

Touchdown...then Check-Down

During his Sunday show, Meyer complimented Tebow for not pressing the long ball and for dropping off passes underneath, when available. In other words, it's okay to be a little like Chris Leak (the passer, of course) when circumstances allow. Also similar to Leak, Tebow made those shorter crossing routes and curl route throws a bit more catchable--less like sinking/diving fastballs in the dirt.

A Short Football Companion List (Books) to Previous Post

Best of Sports Journalism

ESPN's Bill Simmons gave his list and "The Millions" linked some of the stories (link on this post title). Notice the recently passed "Infinite Jest" author, David Foster Wallace, is mentioned, as well as MNF/PTI's Tony K.

Finally, the real Gators show up

I've been worried that the real Gators were not going to make an appearance this year, but Saturday night changed my mind. We showed signs early on that our defense would be good enough to win the SEC given our vaunted offensive attack. However, the offense has struggled. I kept saying to myself and anyone else who would listen: "Why are we hiding our playmakers?" Surely a Rainey or Demps getting 10-15 carries would be a better choice than Tebow pounding it up the middle a dozen times a game. Don't get me wrong, Tebow up the middle should stay in the playbook. But it will be a lot more effective when the defense is guarding against the homerun threats we have.

I feel much better now. The Gator offense now looks like I thought it would at the beginning of the year. And with them playing the way they are, it will open up a lot more opportunities for the defense. Once teams get behind, they will make more mistakes and we will get more fumbles, picks and sacks.

Go Gators.

#1 Percy Harvin

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