The Florida Gators probably won’t turn their version of the Maytag Repairman into the busiest guy on the block Saturday at Vanderbilt, but there is every good reason to believe Demarcus Robinson will actually see the football coming his way. After a game in which the Gators threw the ball only six times and ran it 60, offensive coordinator Kurt Roper has plans to open up the offense a bit for true freshman quarterback Treon Harris which means Robinson, Florida’s leading receiver (34 catches, 524 yards, 4 touchdowns) could factor as something other than a polished blocker.
Against Georgia, Robinson gave it up for the team and gave an instructional video for wide receivers who wish to improve their blocking skills. Against Vanderbilt, Robinson and all the other wide receivers figure to be running routes and catching footballs. The Gators aren’t going to abandon the power running game that Georgia couldn’t stop – Vanderbilt gives up 170.89 yards per game so the Commodores have their problems against the run, also – but the plan is to incorporate more of the passing game into the game plan for Harris.
“He’s ready for me to call more plays than we called,” Roper said Wednesday. “Whether we’re successful with them or not is a whole different discussion. He has been repping a lot more plays and it doesn’t matter [if it is] drop-back, moving pocket or play-action. He has repped a lot of our offense. Knowing what the play is and then applying it successfully against the defense are two different things.”
In his so far limited role in the offense, Harris is 15-24 throwing the ball for 290 yards (12.1 yards per attempt) and three touchdowns against only one interception. As a runner, Harris has 21 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown.
The Commodores rank #70 nationally in pass defense which isn’t that bad (Florida ranks #49, giving up 216.7 yards a game), but Vandy’s numbers are a bit deceiving. Opponents average 7.51 yards per pass attempt, 234.1 yards per game and they’ve thrown 15 touchdown passes. Vanderbilt has only picked off four passes and the D-line has had its share of problems bringing the heat. The Commodores are #110 nationally in sacks with 12.
Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason crafted stop the run first defenses that were outstanding when he was Stanford’s coordinator. In his last three years at Stanford, the Cardinal never gave more than 97 yards a game running the ball. Given his history at Stanford and the fact that the Gators will be starting a true freshman, expect Vandy to load up the box to stop the run and bring the blitz every opportunity.
Roper says that shouldn’t faze Harris.
“He doesn’t get flustered by a lot,” Roper said.
“The reality of the situation is this: Machen, the school’s president, and Foley, the school’s athletic director, desperately want to keep Muschamp. They like him, they like what he stands for and how he has cleaned up the program — and how the team looked in 2012 with everything clicking.
“All that talk about Florida’s talent? It wasn’t close who had the better talent last weekend.
“For the first time since November 2012, Florida felt good about itself during a game. Good things happened; bad things didn’t.
“Maybe it was an anomaly and Muschamp can’t get a team ready to play every week — and Florida still will be looking for a new coach in December. Or maybe this team, after finally experiencing some good through all that bad, starts winning.”
The attorney for Jameis Winston is planning a bare knuckles approach to the hearing before the Student Conduct Committee at Florida State, set for November 17. When FSU set a November 17 date for a disciplinary hearing, David Cornwell went to Twitter Tuesday where he once again named the accuser while complaining that she had “20 months to file a complaint and Jameis has 13 days to learn 1,000 documents. #dueprocess??”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, although it is common practice not to out the accuser in a sexual assault case, Cornwell has ignored this standard courtesy many times in the past and “has asserted those claims have been proven unfounded by the criminal justice system.”
The hearing will be conducted by retired Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Major Harding two days after the Seminoles play Miami on the road. Even though the Seminoles will have two games remaining at the time of the hearing, don’t expect a quick ruling. Harding’s decision will be delivered in writing after the hearing and it will make recommendations to the president and board of trustees who will make the ultimate decision. Winston will have the right to appeal any decision.
Given the way Florida State has handled things so far, you probably can expect a final ruling in February or March long after Winston has departed for the National Football League.
Imagine this scenario for the College Football Playoff Committee: Mississippi State loses one game in the regular season but makes it to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game where it loses to either Missouri, Georgia or Florida. The loss by Mississippi State creates a logjam of three SEC West teams, all with two losses – Mississippi State, Alabama and Auburn. Does the playoff committee choose the SEC champion, decided in Atlanta, for the final four or does it pick a team from the SEC West? And, which team would be selected?
It’s fairly obvious that the teams in the SEC West are stronger than the teams from the East although anything can happen in one game on a neutral field. Would Missouri or Georgia with at least two losses against an SEC East schedule be considered worthy to represent the conference in the final four? Would it create a scenario where the committee would feel the necessity to pick both the SEC champ and a team from the West for the semifinals, therefore eliminating a team from the Midwest or the Pac-12? And which team from the SEC West in the event of three teams with two losses each?
If anything close to this scenario unfolds, the cry to expand the playoffs immediately from four teams to eight will be deafening.
Matt Hayes points out that last year Florida State’s average margin of victory was 40 points per game. This year it’s 15. Through eight games last year, Jameis Winston had 24 touchdowns and only six interceptions. This year, Winston has 16 TDPs and 9 picks.
This is why South Carolina defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward probably needs to avoid long term real estate investment in Columbia. The Gamecocks rank #104 in the nation in total defense (460.6 yards per game); #104 in scoring defense (34.1 points per game); #111 in rushing defense (223.4 yards per game); #74 in pass defense (237.1 yards per game); #119 in sacks (8); #94 in turnover margin (-4) and #98 in pass interceptions (5).
Maybe the best game any running back ever had against the Gators in The Swamp was turned in by Marcus Lattimore on November 13, 2010 when he carried the ball 40 times for 212 yards and three touchdowns while leading the Gamecocks to a 36-14 win over Florida. Lattimore was a true freshman but when he was healthy he was a man’s man on the football field. He ran over, under, around and through every Florida defender, leaving cleatmarks on their chests that are probably still visible.
Lattimore ran for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns as a freshman and was having a Heisman-like season in 2011 when he tore up his knee four games into the season. At that point, Lattimore already had 818 yards and 10 touchdowns. He came back from the injury in 2012 and had 662 yards and 11 touchdowns through nine games when he injured the knee a second time.
Even with two severe knee injuries, Lattimore was a fourth round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2013. His pro career never panned out and Wednesday he announced his retirement due to continuing issues from the two knee injuries. Immediately, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told Yahoo Sports that Lattimore is welcome to come back and work in the athletic program.
"If he wants to come back and work for the University of South Carolina, certainly the president, athletic director or myself, whatever we can find job-wise for him here, we would certainly do that," Spurrier said. “Between the three of us, we'll find something for him to help out here with the athletic program, not only football but all athletes."
At Wednesday’s practice, Tulane tackles Sean Donnelly and Tanzel Smart turned a couple of shoves into a fist fight. Nothing unusual about that. Wherever there is football practice that’s full contact stuff like that happens. What is unusual is the way that Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson disciplined Donnelly and Smart.
They were made to walk around the field continuously for 20 minutes HOLDING HANDS.
Speaking to the Times-Picayune, Johnson explained, “Yeah, we had a little bit of an altercation and they kind of wasted some of my practice time so I took a different approach in disciplining them. If they want to act like kindergarten kids, then I just want to treat them like kindergarten kids.”
Do you see Kurt Roper opening the offense up against Vanderbilt or do you see another very conservative game plan?
Jimmy Johnson’s prom date – the football coach, not the NASCAR driver – was none other than Janis Joplin. For two kids who came from the wrong side of the tracks, they both found fame and fortune although Janis died way too early of a heroin overdose. Her early work fronting for Big Brother and the Holding Company remains my favorite. Today’s music is a live performance of “Piece of My Heart,” the lead track of Big Brother’s 1968 album “Cheap Thrills.”