Kan Li / Scout.com

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; September 15

Some thoughts to jump start your Tuesday morning...

It doesn’t require a discerning eye to poke a hundred holes in Florida’s 31-24 win over East Carolina but in the process of highlighting the many negatives, it’s easy to lose sight of one positive that perhaps outweighs all the negatives combined – the Gators didn’t panic and blow up at the first sign of adversity.

Take a moment and consider the following items: (1) The Gators obviously didn’t play well, but they still won the game; (2) When faced with adversity several times in the game, the Gators had answers; and (3) In the fourth quarter with ECU driving and threatening to score the touchdown that would send the game into overtime, the Gators came up with a clutch defensive play that guaranteed victory.

From Jim McElwain’s post game explanation, a poor performance was all but guaranteed in the days preceding the ECU game because the Gators were too full of themselves and lacking the kind of focus it takes to play at a high level. From the very first play of the game, it was patently obvious that the Gators weren’t taking ECU seriously enough but through it all, the Gators still made enough positive plays to come away with a win.

If you think the Gators were far too cocky and unprepared mentally against ECU, consider what they might be like this week had ECU proven to be another path of least resistance team such as New Mexico State. If ECU had just stopped by The Swamp long enough to take a beating like a man and exit with a $1.2 million balance the athletic department books paycheck, it’s quite possible there would be an even greater false sense of worth this week and that’s something the Gators simply cannot afford.

Florida is no longer good enough to simply show up and win games. Back in the Spurrier and Meyer days, an unfocused Florida team could win on sheer talent and coaching but those days have come and gone. The Gators are way too young, way too inexperienced and while there are a lot of talented players, there aren’t nearly enough of them. For Florida to win now – four years of mediocrity haven’t sufficiently lowered the expectations; Gator Nation still expects to win – young guys are going to have to grow up quickly. Inexperienced players will need to grow wise beyond their years and play like seasoned vets sooner and not later.

The lessons learned from Saturday’s win over ECU can be priceless if the game served as Florida’s ice bucket challenge and the freezing cold water over the collective head of the Gators awakens them to the fact that the next eight games are against SEC opponents so there are no weeks off, no truly weak links in the chain to exploit. It starts this week in Lexington where Kentucky fans have had this game circled on their calendars for a year. Commonwealth Stadium is going to be louder than any time since the Gators went there in 2007 to face the 8th-ranked Wildcats, who had stunned LSU in Lexington the week before. The Wildcats are 2-0, much improved and thinking it’s about time to end Florida’s 28 straight years of domination.

If the Gators are focused all week in practice then the adversity faced and overcome against ECU will prove helpful Saturday night against Kentucky. There is no doubt this is a winnable game but to beat the Wildcats in Lexington, the Gators must show up understanding that any lack of focus and any expectation that Kentucky will just roll over is a sure ticket to become the first Florida team since the second term of the Reagan administration to lose to UK.


Florida -4 over Kentucky

#2 Alabama -6.5 over #15 Ole Miss

#7 Georgia -16 over South Carolina

#13 LSU -6.5 over #18 Auburn

#17 Texas A&M over Nevada

#22 Missouri -23.5 over UConn

Arkansas -10 over Texas Tech

Mississippi State-Northwestern State NO LINE

Tennessee-Western Carolina NO LINE

Vanderbilt-Austin Peay NO LINE


National rank in parenthesis

ALABAMA: Scoring: 36.0 (Tie, 44); Rushing offense: 229.0 (37); Passing offense: 288.0 (33); Total offense: 517.0 (Tie, 18); Sacks allowed: 2 (Tie, 26)

Scoring defense: 13.5 (Tie, 25); Rushing defense: 63.0 (12); Passing defense: 208.5 (67); Total defense: 271.5 (27); Sacks: 3-24 (Tie, 75)

Turnovers lost: 2 (Tie, 31)

Turnovers forced: 5 (Tie, 16)

ARKANSAS: Scoring: 30.0 (72); Rushing offense: 142.5 (88); Passing offense: 360.0 (12); Total offense: 502.5 (Tie, 25); Sacks allowed: 0 (Tie, 1)

Scoring defense: 14.5 (28); Rushing defense: 69.5 (13); Passing defense: 191.5 (57); Total defense: 261.0 (23); Sacks: 1-6 (Tie, 111)

Turnovers lost: 1 (Tie, 8)

Turnovers forced: 3 (Tie, 55)

AUBURN: Scoring: 29.0 (Tie, 75); Rushing offense: 177.5 (70); Passing offense: 185.0 (93); Total offense: 364.0 (97); Sacks allowed: 0 (Tie 1)

Scoring defense: 22.0 (Tie, 61); Rushing defense: 199.5 (96); Passing defense: 222.0 (80); Total defense: 421.5 (88); Sacks: 6-42 (Tie, 21)

Turnovers lost: 6 (Tie, 111)

Turnovers forced: 3 (Tie, 55)

FLORIDA: Scoring: 46.0 (Tie, 18); Rushing offense: 195.0 (61); Passing offense: 294.5 (28); Total offense: 489.5 (31); Sacks allowed: 3 (Tie, 46)

Scoring defense: 18.5 (Tie, 43); Rushing defense: 25.5 (3); Passing defense: 241.0 (87); Total defense: 266.5 (24); Sacks: 5-38 (Tie, 38)

Turnovers lost: 3 (Tie, 63)

Turnovers forced: 4 (Tie, 29)

GEORGIA: Scoring: 41.0 (Tie, 33); Rushing offense: 262.0 (21); Passing offense: 166.5 (Tie, 102); Total offense: 428.5 (62); Sacks allowed: 2 (Tie, 26)

Scoring defense: 14.0 (27); Rushing defense: 75.0 (16); Passing defense: 250.5 (91); Total defense: 325.5 (49); Sacks: 6-43 (Tie, 21)

Turnovers lost: 0 (Tie, 1)

Turnovers forced: 4 (Tie, 29)

KENTUCKY: Scoring: 33.0 (Tie, 56); Rushing offense: 192.5 (64); Passing offense: 224.5 (Tie, 73); Total offense: 417.0 (68); Sacks allowed: 4 (Tie, 71)

Scoring defense: 27.5 (Tie, 81); Rushing defense: 221.0 (Tie, 110); Passing defense: 227.0 (82); Total defense: 448.0 (103); Sacks: 4-22 (Tie, 55)

Turnovers lost: 2 (Tie, 31)

Turnovers forced: 5 (Tie, 16)

LSU: Scoring: 21.0 (Tie, 101); Rushing offense: 266.0 (19); Passing offense: 71.0 (125); Total offense: 337.0 (106); Sacks allowed: 2 (Tie, 26)

Scoring defense: 19.0 (Tie, 46); Rushing defense: 43.0 (6); Passing defense: 335.0 (114); Total defense: 378.0 (71); Sacks: 3-28 (Tie, 21)

Turnovers lost: 0 (Tie, 1)

Turnovers forced: 0 (Tie, 126)

MISSISSIPPI STATE: Scoring: 26.5 (84); Rushing offense: 124.0 (100); Passing offense: 286.0 (Tie, 34); Total offense: 410.0 (Tie, 72); Sacks allowed: 4 (Tie, 71)

Scoring defense: 18.5 (Tie, 43); Rushing defense: 184.0 (86); Passing defense: 191 (56); Total defense: 375.0 (68); Sacks: 4-21 (Tie, 55)

Turnovers lost: 2 (Tie, 31)

Turnovers forced: 2 (Tie, 86)

MISSOURI: Scoring: 30.5 (Tie, 68); Rushing offense: 199.0 (105); Passing offense: 233.5 (67); Total offense: 352.5 (103); Sacks allowed: 4 (Tie, 71)

Scoring defense: 11.5 (Tie, 18); Rushing defense: 119.0 (43); Passing defense: 90.0 (3); Total defense: 209.0 (6); Sacks: 4-24 (Tie, 55)

Turnovers lost: 4 (Tie, 86)

Turnovers forced: 4 (Tie, 29)

OLE MISS: Scoring: 74.5 (1); Rushing offense: 276.5 (15); Passing offense: 358.0 (13); Total offense: 634.5 (3); Sacks allowed: 1 (Tie, 9)

Scoring defense: 12.0 (Tie, 21); Rushing defense: 139.5 (Tie, 59); Passing defense: 163.5 (Tie, 36); Total defense: 303.0 (43); Sacks: 2-18 (Tie, 98)

Turnovers lost: 4 (Tie, 86)

Turnovers forced: 5 (Tie, 16)

SOUTH CAROLINA: Scoring: 19.5 (108); Rushing offense: 224.5 (41); Passing offense: 181.0 (96); Total offense: 405.5 (75); Sacks allowed: 3 (Tie, 46)

Scoring defense: 19.5 (50); Rushing defense: 207.5 (103); Passing defense: 212.0 (Tie, 68); Total defense: 419.5 (87); Sacks: 5-22 (Tie, 38)

Turnovers lost: 1 (Tie, 8)

Turnovers forced: 4 (Tie 29)

TENNESSEE: Scoring: 41.5 (32); Rushing offense: 264 (20); Passing offense: 165.0 (105); Total offense: 429.0 (61); Sacks allowed: 4 (Tie, 71)

Scoring defense: 30.5 (Tie, 93); Rushing defense: 142.5 (65); Passing defense: 310.0 (108); Total defense: 452.5 (105); Sacks: 5-30 (Tie, 38)

Turnovers lost: 1 (Tie, 8)

Turnovers forced: 3 (Tie, 55)

TEXAS A&M: Scoring: 47.0 (15); Rushing offense: 224.0 (Tie, 42); Passing offense: 240.0 (Tie, 60); Total offense: 464.0 (Tie, 44); Sacks allowed: 7 (Tie, 118)

Scoring defense: 20.0 (Tie, 51); Rushing defense: 166.0 (78); Passing defense: 160.0 (34); Total defense: 326.0 (50); Sacks: 10-55 (Tie, 3)

Turnovers lost: 4 (Tie, 86)

Turnovers forced: 3 (Tie, 55)

VANDERBILT: Scoring: 13.0 (Tie, 120); Rushing offense: 136.5 (93); Passing offense: 256.0 (51); Total offense: 392.5 (81); Sacks allowed: 4 (Tie, 71)

Scoring defense: 22.5 (Tie, 65); Rushing defense: 159.0 (74); Passing defense: 175 (48); Total defense: 334.0 (54); Sacks: 3-18 (Tie, 75)

Turnovers lost: 6 (Tie, 111)

Turnovers forced: (Tie, 126)


Tennessee linebacker/defensive end is out indefinitely with a hip injury. Butch Jones says there is no timetable for Magitt’s return, only that it’s going to be for an “extended” period of time.

LSU running back Leonard Fournette (159 rushing yards, 3 TDs) was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week. Missouri linebacker Kentrell Brothers (16 tackles, 2 interceptions) was Defensive Player of the Week. Special Teams Player of the Week was Georgia’s Isaiah McKenzie (77 yard punt return for a TD). Freshman of the week was Kentucky DB Chris Westry, who got a game-saving interception against South Carolina. Defensive Lineman of the Week was Georgia’s Jordan Jenkins (11 tackles, 2 sacks) while Offensive Lineman of the week was LSU center Ethan Pocic, who graded out 92%.

Arkansas wide receiver Keon Hatcher is gone for at least six weeks after surgery on a foot injured in the Razorbacks loss to Toledo. In two games, Hatcher caught 13 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns.

Nick Saban still hasn’t decided whether Jacob Coker or Cooper Bateman will start at quarterback when Alabama faces Ole Miss.

Ole Miss is preparing for Alabama as if All-America left tackle Laremy Tunsil will not play. Tunsil is being held out until his NCAA issues are resolved.

Arkansas only has to look at the film to find the culprit for the loss to Toledo. The Hogs had two touchdowns called back for holding and altogether had nine flags for 85 lost yards.

Penalties (9-95) cost LSU 200 yards and 17 points in their 21-19 win over Mississippi State.

Georgia running back Nick Chubb tweaked his ankle against Vanderbilt and while he might miss some practice time this week, is expected to play against South Carolina.

South Carolina quarterback Connor Mitch will miss the next six weeks with his hip injury. Perry Orth will step in for now. At some point Steve Spurrier is going to have to play freshman Lorenzo Nunez.


A week ago everyone was raving about the SEC. Now everyone is questioning the strength of the SEC again. It wasn’t the best of weeks for the league but I still haven’t seen a conference with as many good teams as the SEC.

I’m not nearly as impressed with Michigan State as the rest of the country. The Spartans are a good team, but I think they would have a hard time winning nine games in the SEC.

Kyle Flood must feel like a bonfire is raging under his already hot seat. Not only did Flood lose to Washington State Saturday but yet a seventh player was suspended from the program, this one the team’s best player, wide receiver Leonte Carroo.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly lost starting quarterback Malik Zaire to a broken ankle leaving untested sophomore DeShone Kizer to carry the torch the rest of the season. Kelly said, “We’re not going to make any excuses for where we are … Anybody that we lose, we believe we’ve go guys that can step up.”

Former Gator Preston Tucker’s ninth inning homer Sunday night put the Houston Astros ahead for good in their 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels and kept the Astros 1.5 games ahead of the Texas Rangers in the American League West. Tucker has hit 13 homers and driven in 33 runs in limited duty with the Astros this year.


Jim McElwain plans to use both quarterbacks against Kentucky. Do you think it’s about time he named Will Grier or Treon Harris his #1 or are you comfortable with the two QB scenario?


I’ve developed a growing appreciation for Mingo Fishtrap and their funky arrangements of blues, soul and funk. This was a great bar band that has evolved into a band that can command a large audience on stage. They’ve done six albums but they’re best enjoyed live.


Fightin Gators Top Stories