Florida Football

On the Mark: It's finally safe to say Florida football is back on track

October 7, 2018
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I like to think that I am a realist or as I try to argue - at the very least, fair minded. However, some see me as being more of a pessimist.

Okay, fair enough, I'll own that.

Therefore, it may be a bit surprising for you to find out that I think it is safe to say that the Gator Train is back on Track.

On Saturday No. 22 (for now) Florida extended its winning streak to four games by beating No. 5 (for now) LSU 27-19 – for the Gators second consecutive win over a ranked opponent – and I actually felt somewhat disappointed in the outcome.

After all it was ONLY an eight point victory, when I honestly thought it would be much more.

Think about that for a second.

I was expecting more out of Florida than beating the No. 5 ranked team in the nation by eight points.

You can have your own opinion about me perhaps having set the bar too high, but there is a reason why I did and why it will only be raised higher in the future.

That reason being Dan Mullen.

The reason I stated in the Staff Roundtable that I felt a tsunami coming (I am still not sure it is PC to say that, if not I apologize to those offended) is because that is the vibe around the program right now.

That reason being Dan Mullen.

Well, to be precise, it was actually a combination of Dan Mullen and Ed Orgeron.

Make no mistake about it, maybe not by much, but from top to bottom LSU is more talented than Florida. Players such as cornerback Greedy Williams and linebacker Devin White are top tier NFL prospects. They will come off the board before anyone on the Gators' roster.

Florida's edge, the Gators biggest edge, came on the sidelines.

I knew that if Florida were to lose, it wasn't going to be because Ed Orgeron out-coached Dan Mullen.

You can take that to the bank.

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The reason Florida's future is so bright though is that it extends beyond Orgeron.

Other than if Florida meets up with Alabama in the SEC Championship – who on the Gators' schedule has a better head coach than Dan Mullen?

That isn't to say a team can't rise up and play the perfect game or that Florida can't just have an off day, but on average, if both teams are playing to their ability, I don't see a scenario on the Florida schedule where I would bet that an opposing coaching staff is going to out-coach or out-scheme the Gators.

Now, Georgia might out-talent Florida – and make no mistake bout it,  that talent gap needs to start closing if Florida wants to win championships – but seeing Kirby Smart in action, he won't out-maneuver Dan Mullen.

That is a built in advantage Florida now enjoys for the first time since Urban Meyer roamed the sidelines in the Swamp.

Under Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain, the talent on hand carried the missing link(s) Florida had on the sidelines.

As their records would show, if the talent was at least comparable to the opposing team – Florida was in trouble.

An example of that is that while at Florida Muschamp went 4-7 and McElwain was 4-8 against ranked opponents.

On Saturday Mullen improved to 2-0 at Florida against ranked opponents.

For the second week in a row at the end of a game I felt like if Dan Mullen were coaching the opposing team, the outlook for Florida would have been dire.

He is bringing back memories of Steve Spurrier, where the mindset was he would beat you with his players, or change sidelines and beat you with your own players.

I never once felt that way under Muschamp or McElwain.

Hell, not even after Florida destroyed No. 3 Ole Miss at home during McElwain's first season. Because by the time that game was played there was already questions swirling about his handling of quarterbacks and his sideline outburst directed at Kelvin Taylor.

It was hard to feel really good about the direction of Florida football for more than a game or two stretch in any of the last seven seasons.

However, that was then, this is now.

you have to believe that Dan Mullen has Florida football back on track.

So, maybe Florida didn't win by as much as I expected on Saturday. However, standing here looking out on the horizon, that tsunami is still out there, gaining strength, roaring towards the shore. It may or may not arrive this season, but it is coming and the rest of the SEC East would be well advised to head for higher ground.

On the Mark: It's finally safe to say Florida football is back on track

Lilgator
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I agree with everything you wrote. If we start to recruit better we can get back to being what we were under Spurrier and Meyer.

I love the in game adjustments from the staff in the last two weeks.

If we can keep this up we can give Georgia a game and might beat them in Jax.
Eric-UF
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Agreed...

It has been very interesting to watch the adjustments that were made during the game, especially on defense.

Those first two drives LSU was moving the ball almost at will. First drive was TD and the second ended with that fumble. Front that point until mid 4th QTR (on 2 run plays) the gator defense shut them down.

Great to watch!

On a different note, it was apperant to me to see LSU come out and challenge McWilliams at DB. Seemed like almost every pass they made in the first half went directly at him. He gave up a lot of catches, but again I think the defense adjusted and we started to do better (of course the pressure helped)
---Go Gators!
EricN
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I think we replaced McWilliams with Trey Dean and we tightened up the coverage
Verobeachgator
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There's no doubt Mullen is going to lead us back to bring a top ten team but I don't think we're there yet.

We need a couple of recruiting classes to stay with Alabama and Georgia.
SFFLORIDAFAN
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Verobeachgator said:

There's no doubt Mullen is going to lead us back to bring a top ten team but I don't think we're there yet.

We need a couple of recruiting classes to stay with Alabama and Georgia.

Not if we recruit behind those two. If we keep recruiting behind them then we'll stay behind them.

Georgia and Alabama have 10 to 20 players who were 5 stars. We have 2 or 3.

Recruiting is the only area I am disappointed with Dan Mullen. If Bama and UGA keep getting top 5 classes and we keep finishing outside the top 15 we will be just good enough to be where we are now better than we were with Mac but not good enough to get to the top.
SORT14
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SFFLORIDAFAN said:

Verobeachgator said:

There's no doubt Mullen is going to lead us back to bring a top ten team but I don't think we're there yet.

We need a couple of recruiting classes to stay with Alabama and Georgia.

Not if we recruit behind those two. If we keep recruiting behind them then we'll stay behind them.

Georgia and Alabama have 10 to 20 players who were 5 stars. We have 2 or 3.

Recruiting is the only area I am disappointed with Dan Mullen. If Bama and UGA keep getting top 5 classes and we keep finishing outside the top 15 we will be just good enough to be where we are now better than we were with Mac but not good enough to get to the top.
Too early to be disappointed.
SORT14
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I was very confident Mullen would get the Gators playing better. I did not think he would get them playing this good this quickly. Hopefully it continues!
Eric-UF
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Disagree.

Having a bunch of 5 stars sitting on the bench doesn't help win today.

We need to be able to recruit top 10 classes, keep a balanced roster (offense / defense) and talent balance (50% BC at each unit, OL, DL, LB, WR, TE, DB, ect) and we will have more than enough talent to win a title.

Clemson and Oklahoma have not landed a Top 5 class in the last 15 years and not to many Top 10 classes either. What they do have is balance on both sides and each unit.
---Go Gators!
EricN
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Seeing our coach doing everything he can to make this a winning environment. He is just authentic at every level.

Watching Mullen get pumped and jumping around before leading the team out of the tunnel makes me smile every time!

https://t.co/uXYhWm7Bpm

Mikesizemore
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Clemson signed 3-4 5 stars last cycle.... check your stats on that one but I think you're at least correct on Oklahoma
OrangeandBlue
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Eric-UF said:

Disagree.

Having a bunch of 5 stars sitting on the bench doesn't help win today.

We need to be able to recruit top 10 classes, keep a balanced roster (offense / defense) and talent balance (50% BC at each unit, OL, DL, LB, WR, TE, DB, ect) and we will have more than enough talent to win a title.

Clemson and Oklahoma have not landed a Top 5 class in the last 15 years and not to many Top 10 classes either. What they do have is balance on both sides and each unit.

Clemson and Oklahoma do recruit better than us and they don't have to go through Georgia and Alabama to get to the playoffs. We do.
Eric-UF
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Mikesizemore said:

Clemson signed 3-4 5 stars last cycle.... check your stats on that one but I think you're at least correct on Oklahoma
My stats are 100% accurate, Clemson has never signed a Top 5 class and has only 2 Top 10 classes in the last 15 years.
---Go Gators!
Eric-UF
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OrangeandBlue said:



Clemson and Oklahoma do recruit better than us and they don't have to go through Georgia and Alabama to get to the playoffs. We do.
Disagree completely.

As I said, neither team has landed a Top 5 class in the past 15 years and very few Top 10 classes. They have balanced recruiting, and quality B/C at every position, but they are proof positive that you can secure Top 10-15 classes year in and year out and be competitive.

Auburn has not landed a Top 5 class and ends up with classes in the 8-14 range every year and they face Georgia and Alabama every year and they have managed to compete and defeat them on a regular basis.
---Go Gators!
SORT14
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Eric-UF said:

OrangeandBlue said:



Clemson and Oklahoma do recruit better than us and they don't have to go through Georgia and Alabama to get to the playoffs. We do.
Disagree completely.

As I said, neither team has landed a Top 5 class in the past 15 years and very few Top 10 classes. They have balanced recruiting, and quality B/C at every position, but they are proof positive that you can secure Top 10-15 classes year in and year out and be competitive.

Auburn has not landed a Top 5 class and ends up with classes in the 8-14 range every year and they face Georgia and Alabama every year and they have managed to compete and defeat them on a regular basis.
This. Nobody is denying recruiting is vital to success. But it is not the only factor, and it is crowded at the top. The degree of separation shrinks for Top 10-15 teams. Keep in mind rankings are ordinal, they only tell you what place you're in, but not the distance between you and the next guy. A team could be ranked #1 with a .00001 advantage over #2. They would essentially be tied.
Eric-UF
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Agreed.

Recruiting is absolutely critical and while recruiting rankings are important, they can also be misleading. For example, Muschamp landed several Top 5 classes, but because they were imbalanced classes (2/3 defense & 1/3 offense with respect to talent distribution) the overall roster suffered as the talent on the team shifted toward mostly defense.

The most important aspect of recruiting is Roster Management and that is something that Class Rankings do not account for. Class Rankings will always rate a 3 Five Star HB's higher than a 4 Star DE, 4 Star QB, and 4 Star OL even though from a roster management perspective it was better the diversify.

---Go Gators!
SORT14
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Excellent point. I would add player development to that too, but that is probably one step away from recruiting success. Achieving roster balance, as you noted, and obtaining players that fit your program are not metrics that directly show up in recruiting rankings.
upstateg8tor
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Thank you.
I've screaming that very point the last 3 years. Everyone seems to want to heap praise on Muschamp for his recruiting prowess but I would argue that he did more damage to the roster than Mac ever did.
SwampMagic
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A positive story about our football team. Am I in the wrong place?
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