Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day Sept. 23

A few thoughts to jump start your Tuesday morning...

Archie Manning, who never once played on a winning team in the NFL, once said, “It’s a common thing, if Captain Kangaroo came out there as the second team quarterback they [fans] would cheer him. The second team quarterback is always the most popular guy in town.”

Right now, Treon Harris might not be the most popular guy in Gainesville, but if Florida football fans had their way, he would be the starting quarterback and Jeff Driskel would be riding the pine. Driskel has started 19 games at Florida and won 14. His stats in the wins have rarely been overwhelming and his stats in the losses are typically the cause of a collective groan that can be heard around the Gator Nation world. Harris is a true freshman who has never started a game at UF and his entire experience constitutes a handful of plays against an Eastern Michigan defense that would find it difficult to halt the advances of the powder puff football team at a convent. Harris has thrown two passes but they were indeed spectacular, both for touchdowns, one of 70 and the other for 78 yards.

Those two passes have the Gator Nation clamoring for Driskel’s benching. Emmitt Smith tweeted, “Put Jeff Driskel on the bench, please, I have seen enough.” Later, Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson retweeted “RETWEET if you want to see a new face at QB.” Robinson later deleted the tweet but a whole lot of fans took a screen shot and it went viral.

After the game Saturday, head coach Will Muschamp stated that Driskel is the starter because he gives their best chance to win and that is probably true. At least, the Driskel who played so well in the second half and in overtime against Kentucky gives the Gators the best chance to win.

The guy who went 9-28 for 93 yards against Alabama doesn’t. Take away that 28-yard touchdown pass to Valdez Showers on the first play after an Alabama turnover and Driskel was 8-28 for 65 yards. That’s 2.3 per attempt after the TD and you don’t win football games averaging 2.3 yards per attempt. He did run for 59 yards and a touchdown on 11 attempts and looked rather good once he broke containment, but 59 rushing yards won’t beat an Alabama defense. Nor will 93 passing yards.

It’s as if there are two Driskels – good twin Jeffy who comes through in the clutch and makes all the throws or evil twin Skippy, who hasn’t played particularly well in three of his last six starts (Louisville, Miami, Alabama). The Gators need Jeffy. If Skippy Driskel is going to show up, then the Gators need to consider giving Treon Harris a shot. For now, Driskel should be the starter but he has to play better. If he can’t play better and with more consistency, then Harris needs to be phased in and at least given the chance to learn on the fly.

SPURRIER SAID IT

In his post game remarks following South Carolina’s 48-34 win over Vanderbilt Saturday night, Steve Spurrier said, “We’ve seen all good teams and we ain’t one … Don’t say we’re one right now. It’s no fun for me watching us play tonight.”

A STAT TO THINK ABOUT

Alabama’s Amari Cooper had more catches (10), yards (201) and touchdown receptions (3) than the entire Florida receiving corps Saturday. Florida’s receivers caught nine passes for 93 yards and one touchdown.

THIS WEEK’S STATS

The Gators in the national stats:

Total offense (41): 462.3 yards per game
Total defense (83): 406.7 yards per game
Rushing offense (40): 201 yards per game
Rushing defense (38): 119 yards per game
Passing offense (48): 261.3 yards per game
Pass defense (106): 287.7 yards per game
Scoring offense (28): 40.7 points per game
Scoring defense (Tie 59): 24 points per game
Kickoff returns (60): 21 yards per return
Net punting (5): 44.31 yards per punt
Penalties (Tie 68): 23-214 yards
Third down conversions (102): 17-50
Third down defense (96): 21-46
Turnover margin (Tie 1): +8
Interceptions (Tie 19): 5 (returned 81 yards)

Individual stats:

Passing yards per game (61): 212.0
Pass efficiency (97): Jeff Driskel, 111.1
Rushing yards per game (50): Matt Jones, 86.0 (49-258)
Receptions per game (Tie 10): Demarcus Robinson, 7.7 (23-353)
Punt returns (6): Andre Debose, 24.3 per return
Interceptions (Tie 16): Keanu Neal .7 per game (2 interceptions)
Punting (1): Kyle Christy, 50.4 per punt
Scoring (17): Frankie Velez, 32 points (10.7 per game)

AROUND THE SEC

The numbers that matter:

#3 Alabama (4-0, 1-0 SEC): Alabama is #6 in total offense (587.5 per game); #5 in total defense (250.3 per game) … Alabama is #12 in passing yards per game (335.8) and #29 in pass defense (188.3 yards per game) … Alabama is #23 in rushing offense (251.8 per game) and #3 in rushing defense (62 yards per game). Alabama gives up just 2.67 yards per running play … Alabama is #2 in third down conversions (34-54) and #4 in third down defense (12-50) … Amari Cooper leads the nation in receptions per game (10.8, 43-655 yards and 5 touchdowns) … Blake Sims is #4 nationally in pass efficiency (190.8, 71-87 for 8 touchdowns), #16 in passing yards (1,091) and #24 in total offense (301.3 yards per game).

Arkansas (3-1, 0-1 SEC): Brandon Allen is #18 in passing efficiency (162.5) … Allen is tied for #26 in touchdown passes (8) … Alex Collins ranks #15 in rushing yards per game (122.5) … Jonathan Williams is tied for #25 in rushing yards (391) and is #33 in rushing yards per game (97.8). Williams averages 8.15 per carry and Collins averages 7.54.

Arkansas is a 9-point home underdog to Texas A&M.

#5 Auburn (3-0, 1-0 SEC): Auburn is #1 nationally in third down conversions (29-46) Duke Williams is #17 in receiving yards per game (108.0) and is tied for #21 in receiving (21-324, 2 touchdowns) … Cameron Artis-Payne is #37 in rushing yards (352) … Auburn is tied for #23 nationally in scoring (41.3 per game) and #34 in total offense (482.3 per game). Auburn is #20 in rushing at 262.7 yards per game … The Tigers are #11 in rushing defense (86 yards per game) and #23 in total defense (310.7 yards per game).

Auburn is a 33-point home favorite against Louisiana Tech.

#12 Georgia (2-1, 0-1 SEC): The Bulldogs are #4 in scoring offense (48.7 per game), #37 in total offense (471.3) and #25 in total defense (318) … Todd Gurley ranks #10 in rushing yards per game (134) and #1 in yards per carry (9.80, 41-402) … Hutson Mason is #33 in pass efficiency (153.2) … Georgia allows only 103.7 yards per game rushing, which is #25 nationally, giving up only 2.75 yards per attempt … Georgia is tied for #12 in turnover margin (+4).

Georgia is a 17-point home favorite against Tennessee

Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC): Patrick Towles ranks #13 in passing yards per game (305.3), #50 in pass efficiency (141.4) and #30 in passing yards (916). Towles is #10 nationally in total offense (342.3 yards per game) … The Wildcats rank #20 nationally in passing offense (320.3 per game) and #24 in total offense (502.7 per game) … Kentucky is tied for #46 in scoring (36.3 points per game) and ranks #42 in third down conversions (23-50) … Kentucky is tied for #12 nationally in turnover margin (+4).

Kentucky is a 16.5 home favorite against Vanderbilt.

#17 LSU (3-1, 0-1): Travin Dural is #4 in receiving yards (494, 18-494, 4 touchdowns) and #8 in receiving yards per game (123.5) … Anthony Jennings is #42 in pass efficiency (147.7) … The Tigers rank #49 in scoring offense (36.0 points per game) and #45 in rushing offense (192 per game). The Tigers rank #17 in total defense (296.8 per game) and #7 in pass defense (137.8 yards per game) … LSU is tied for #20 nationally in turnover margin (+4).

LSU is a 43.5 home favorite against New Mexico State.

#14 Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0 SEC): Dak Prescott is tied for #8 in touchdown passes (11). Prescott is #11 in pass efficiency (178.4), #12 in total offense (335.5 yards per game), #28 in rushing yards (390) and passing yards (964) and #36 in rushing yards per game … Josh Robinson is #16 in rushing yards per game (117.3 per game), #11 in yards per carry (7.82) and #13 in rushing yards (485) … The Bulldogs rank #15 nationally in total offense (537.5 yards per game). The Bulldogs rank #10 against the run (82.5 per game), giving up only 1.37 yards per carry … Offensively, the Bulldogs are #25 in scoring at 41.3 points per game.

Missouri (3-1, 0-0 SEC): Maty Mauk is #2 nationally in touchdown passes (14), #27 in passing yards (973), #41 in total offense (272.0 per game) and #24 in pass efficiency (158.0) … Shane Ray is tied for third in sacks (6.0, 1.5 per game) and Markus Golden is tied for eighth (4.0, 1.33 per game) … Russell Hansbrough is #30 in rushing yards (377) and #38 in rushing yards per game (94.3) … Missouri is tied for #14 in sacks (14-95 in losses).

Missouri is a 5.5 road dog to South Carolina.

#10 Ole Miss (3-0, 1-0 SEC): The Rebels are #1 nationally in interceptions (8), #3 nationally in scoring defense (10.3 per game), #13 in pass defense (151 yards per game) and tied for #15 in total defense (296 per game) ... Ole Miss is tied for #12 in turnover margin (+4) … The Rebels are also #8 in passing offense (364.7 per game), #10 in third down conversions (22-40), #15 in scoring offense (44 per game), Bo Wallace is #5 in pass efficiency (190.0), #8 in passing yards (1,023), #9 in total offense (346.3 yards per game) and tied for #20 in touchdown passes (9) …

Ole Miss is an 18-point home favorite against Memphis.

#13 South Carolina (3-1, 2-1 SEC): Dylan Thompson is tied for #8 in touchdown passes (11), #11 in passing yards (1,140), #32 in total offense (285.5 per game), #39 in pass efficiency (150.7), and #21 in passing yards per game (285.0) … South Carolina is tied for #43 in scoring at 36.8 per game. The Gamecocks rank #35 in pass offense (285 per game).

South Carolina is a 5.5 home favorite against Missouri.

Tennessee (2-1, 0-0 SEC):

Tennessee is a 17-point road dog at Georgia

#6 Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 SEC): The Aggies are #2 in total offense (612.5 per game), #2 in scoring (55.3 per game), #4 in passing yards per game (405) … The Aggies are tied for #7 nationally in sacks (17-71 in losses) … Kenny Hill is #3 nationally in touchdown passes (13); #6 in passing yards (1,359) and #9 in pass efficiency (181.3). Hill is #6 nationally in total offense (366.3 yards per game) … Myles Garrett is #7 in sacks (5.5, 1.38 per game) … Malcome Kennedy is tied for #13 in receiving (7.5 per game, 30-334, 1 touchdown) …

Texas A&M is a 9-point road favorite against Arkansas.

Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2 SEC): Caleb Azubike is tied for #8 in sacks (4.0, 1.33 per game) … Ralph Webb is tied for #33 in rushing yards per game (97.8) … Vanderbilt leads the nation in kickoff returns for touchdowns (2).

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher is taking the blame for Jameis Winston dressing out with the team prior to last Saturday’s Clemson game. Really? I guess it’s the fault of Publix that those crab legs were shoplifted, too … Tennessee coach Butch Jones dismissed running back Treyvon Paulk from the team following a police report that he hit a woman in the mouth with his fist at a party … After Nate Freese went 3-7 on field goals in the first three weeks of the season, he was cut by the Detroit Lions, who promptly signed former Eagles kicker Alex Henery … The Tampa Bay Bucs are so disgusted with their quarterback play that they’re giving Terrelle Pryor a long look. He can’t be any worse than Josh McKown or Mike Glennon … Apparently, the Pittsburgh Steelers are about to bring back James Harrison, who will be coming out of retirement … Mr. College Football, Tony Barnhart, says if you’re looking for impressive role models, look no further than Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott and Alabama quarterback Blake Sims … ESPN’s College Game Day will set up shop in Columbia, South Carolina this week for the South Carolina-Missouri game.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Should Jeff Driskel continue to start at quarterback or is it time the Gators began phasing in Treon Harris?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

Back in the 1980s, before the really good bands started skipping Gainesville altogether, Hall and Oates rocked the O-Dome. I always liked the fact that Daryl Hall never forgot his R&B roots from the days when he used to play guitar for bands like The O’Jays, The Delfonics and the Stylistics. When they played the O-Dome in March of 1982, they did a terrific live version of “Sara Smile” which was the best song from their 1975 debut album “Daryl Hall and John Oates.”


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