Former Florida Player Feedback: 10 Observations

Oct 7, 2021 | 0 comments

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Former Florida defensive end Johnie Church (1992-1995) shares 10 observations on Florida football five games into the 2021 season, after a season-altering loss to Kentucky.


1) Pass the tissue please! Kleenex, toilet tissue, it doesn't matter. Kentucky wiped their butts with us & I had to wipe my eyes with Kleenex while I was drowning my sorrows. We must (and will) move on. We weren't prepared mentally to play. I don't know why, but it can't happen again.

2) Championship caliber teams WAKE UP at some point during a game, find a way to win despite not being mentally prepared, and close out games they are supposed to win. I feel/felt we were a championship-caliber team going into the season & still felt that way even after our loss to Alabama. So the road to a potential National Championship run in 2022 starts against Vanderbilt this week. That's the mindset we have to have every game going forward. 

3) We were probably penalized for false starts seven or eight times alone on second or third and short situations. Those penalties stalled good drives. That's just too many mental mistakes made too often in a competitive game. Our offensive line is really good this season & they've been outstanding in both the running and passing game. I hope they understand that our offense goes as they go this season, unlike in past years, when it was more dependent on the skill position guys. They have been the most dominating unit for us this year, and they need to understand collectively that the leadership duties fall to them. 

4) I was confused on some clock management situations before the half and on the last drive, BUT, sometimes coaching decisions are based on instincts and vibes as to what is going on on the sidelines between series. That is information and a feeling that fans aren't privy to knowing. I BELIEVE we have a Top eight college football head coach who tries to gauge his players' disposition as well in particular situations. I could be totally wrong, but hey, it's my opinion!

5) I've mentioned this before, & I'm sure we have enforcements in place to play OUR GAME, but one thing we were unexpectedly hit with in the "old days" was a 5 a.m. Sunday or Monday stadium run for underperforming against teams. A 70-14 win against Kentucky could get us a few trips through the entire stadium because "offense sputtered with 70 points" or "defense allowed them to score 14 points that they shouldn't have."  A lot of guys complained and didn't understand the message, but the few of us who understood that we were of national title worthiness always got the message. It didn't matter if the imperfections in the games came from a fourth-teamer or walk-on that got well-deserved playing time, the unspoken expectation was that they shouldn't have had some successes on anyone on those squads that touched the field. 


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6) I think our running backs have been playing lights out, filling all of their roles in the offense. I have no clue how we implement the remaining two (Lorenzo Lingard and Demarkcus Bowman) into the offense at this stage. Both seniors still have the extra granted year after this one, so I expect 2-3 to be in the portal next season (rightfully so). 

7) We're a bit of a M.A.S.H. unit on defense with so many players down or transferred between our second and third levels. We have so many freshmen having to be baptized by fire that we have to understand that there are growing pains involved with that. 

8) We need our defense to at least slide into that Top 15-20 range to make some noise. That's easier said than done with so many young guys on the field learning as they go.

9) I felt that on the blocked field-goal attempt we were lax in blocking then gave a half-hearted effort in getting the defender down on the return. I just didn't think there was enough "want to" on that special team's play that gave them the lead. That was a 10 point swing right there!

10) I expect a 65-3 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday. I expect a nearly flawless transition back to the W column! It's necessary in order to push the reset button & hopefully win out. Right now, we're the nerd with the ugly glasses, bad posture, and bad-fitting wardrobe. But, a quick fix-up can transform us from Steve Urkel back to Stefan Urquelle. (Lookup old Family Matters episodes when Steve became "Stephon")

Tags: Sport

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