Kan Li / Scout

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; Sept. 29

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

Remember how mad Jim McElwain was after the East Carolina game when he complained about how a lack of focus on practice Monday played itself ugly on game day Saturday? Apparently, that happened again last week and manifested itself in the poor tackling that besieged the Gators throughout their 28-27 win over Tennessee.

Tennessee gained more yards (254) against the Gators than three previous opponents combined. Probably half the yards quarterback Joshua Dobbs and tailback Jalen Hurd gained came after at least one Gator missed a tackle. McElwain attributed all the missed tackles to poor practices.

“Usually what happens Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday shows up on Saturday,” McElwain said at his Monday press conference as 25th-ranked Florida began its preparations for Saturday night’s encounter with #3 Ole Miss at The Swamp. “If they choose to not want to tackle, it will show up again. Or they understand how to do.”

Tackling better is a priority for the Gators this week against an Ole Miss team that is as capable on the ground (13 touchdowns in four games) as it is through the air (also, 13 touchdowns). Ole Miss will send six quality receivers on the field and they’re all big (smallest is 6-2, 193), strong and fast, plus scatback Jaylen Walton is a darter (5-8,175) who brings back memories of Dexter McCluster, who was a thorn in Florida’s side the last time the Rebels came to The Swamp (2008).

Florida’s inability to wrap people up and put them on the ground against Tennessee wasn’t what McElwain saw in the first three games.

“We’ve been really good tacklers in the first three games,” McElwain said. “Then all of a sudden, we didn’t wrap up.”

If the Gators want to see what happens when an opponent doesn’t wrap up the likes of Laquon Treadwell (22 catches, 322 yards, 1 TD) or Cody Core (14 catches, 320 yards, 3 TDs), all they need to do is take a look at the Rebels’ 43-37 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Miss a tackle against this Ole Miss team and it could be strike up the band time. 

OPENING VEGAS LINES FOR ALL SEC GAMES THIS WEEK

#3 Ole Miss -7-½ over #25 Florida

#8 Georgia -2 over #13 Alabama

#9 LSU -44-½ over Eastern Michigan

#14 Texas A&M -5-½ over #21 Mississippi State

Tennessee -6 over Arkansas

Auburn -20 over San Jose State

Missouri -3-½ over South Carolina

Middle Tennessee -1 over Vanderbilt

Kentucky NO LINE over Eastern Kentucky

SEC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Offensive Player of the Week: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU (244 rushing yards, 2 TD vs. Syracuse)

Defensive Player of the Week: Richie Brown, LB Mississippi State (13 tackles, 2 sacks, 3.0 sacks vs. Auburn)

Special Teams Player of the Week: Christian Kirk, KR/WR (4 kickoff returns for 77 yards, 5 rushing yards, 173 receiving yards vs. Arkansas)

Freshman of the Week: Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida (5-112 receiving, game winning TD vs. Tennessee)

Offensive Lineman of the Week: Fahn Cooper, OT, Ole Miss

Defensive Lineman of the Week: Cory Johnson, DT, Kentucky (11 tackles vs. Missouri)

THE SEC IN NCAA STATS

OFFENSE

Scoring (points per game): (2) Ole Miss 54.8; (11) Georgia 45.5; (18) Texas A&M 41.5; (20) Tennessee 41.3; (40) Alabama 35.8; (Tie, 53) Florida 33.5; (55) LSU 33.3; (Tie, 57) Mississippi State 33.0; (Tie, 87) Arkansas 26.3; (Tie, 99) Kentucky 24.0; (108) South Carolina 22.5; (Tie, 109) Vanderbilt 22.3; (111) Auburn 22.0; (115) Missouri 20.8

Rushing (yards per game/per attempt): (7) LSU 315.0/6.90; (17) Georgia 257.8/6.87; (18) Tennessee 248.0/4.75; (38) South Carolina 209.8/5.15; (45) Alabama 202.5/5.29; (47) Ole Miss 199.0/5.49; (59) Texas A&M 186.5/4.84; (60) 186.3/4.97; (65) Auburn 179.0/4.31; (90) Kentucky 155.0/4.34; (91) Florida 154.8/4.30; (98) Mississippi State 144.8/5.17; (103) Vanderbilt 137.0/3.45; (116) Missouri 108.5/3.24

Passing (yards per game/per attempt): (12) Ole Miss 344.5/9.84; (24) Mississippi State 303.5/8.04; (31) Arkansas 385.3/9.59; (32) Texas A&M 285.0/8.91; (35) Vanderbilt 275.0/6.67; (41) Alabama 257.5/6.32; (47) Florida 249.3/7.79; (66) Georgia 233.5/10.61; (Tie, 76) Missouri 219.8/6.51; (86) Kentucky 206.0/7.23; (102) Tennessee 183.0/7.18; (109) Auburn 165.3/6.61; (113) South Carolina 157.5/6.24; (123) LSU 100.7/6.43

Total Offense (yards per game): (11) Ole Miss 543.5; (23) Georgia 491.3; (Tie, 32) Arkansas 471.5 and Texas A&M 471.5; (37) Alabama 460.0; (42) Mississippi State 448.3; (56) Tennessee 431.0; (65) LSU 415.7; (67) Vanderbilt 412.0; (74) Florida 404.0; (96) South Carolina 367.3; (100) Kentucky 361.0; (112) Auburn 344.3; (119) Missouri 328.3

Turnovers Lost: (1) LSU 0; (Tie, 5) Tennessee 2; (Tie, 16) Georgia 3 and South Carolina 3; (Tie, 30) Kentucky 4; (Tie, 45) Florida 5, Mississippi State 5 and Arkansas 5; (Tie, 69) Texas A&M 6, Ole Miss 6 and Missouri 6; (Tie, 95) Vanderbilt 8 and Alabama 8; (105) Auburn 9

Sacks allowed (total and yards lost): (Tie, 6) Arkansas 2-13; (Tie, 13) Georgia 3-19; (Tie, 25) Vanderbilt 4-26 and LSU (3-26; 3 games); (Tie, 36) Alabama 5-44, South Carolina 5-30 and Mississippi State 5-38; (Tie, 53) Ole Miss 6-41; (Tie, 64) Missouri 7-40; (Tie, 70) Florida 8-38; (Tie, 83) Auburn 9-61 and Tennessee 9-74; (Tie, 107) Texas A&M 12-79 and Kentucky 12-83

DEFENSE

Scoring (points per game): (12) Missouri 12.5; (13) Georgia 13.5; (Tie, 16) Mississippi State 14.8; (Tie, 25) Alabama 17.5; (30) Florida 18.3; (34) Ole Miss 19.3; (Tie, 40) Vanderbilt 19.8; (45) Kentucky 20.5; (Tie, 47) LSU 21.3; (Tie, 50) Texas A&M 22.0; (Tie, 57) Arkansas 23.0; (70) Tennessee 24.8; (Tie, 74) South Carolina 26.3; (Tie, 76) Auburn 26.5

Rushing (yards allowed/per attempt: (4) Alabama 56.8/1.97; (17) Arkansas 93.8/3.57; (22) Florida 105.0/3.09; (24) Georgia 107.3/3.09; (25) Missouri 108.8/2.75; (26) LSU 110.0/3.51; (37) Vanderbilt 125.8/3.70; (52) Tennessee 145.8/4.08; (60) Ole Miss 155.5/3.53; (Tie, 70) Kentucky 168.3/4.46; (74) South Carolina 171.8/5.20; (80) Mississippi State 178.8/3.91; (81) Texas A&M 179.7/4.32; (108) Auburn 223.0/5.31

Passing (yards allowed/per attempt): (13) Missouri 146.3/5.47; (23) Georgia 166/5.35; (26) Mississippi State 170.3/6.68; (39) Texas A&M 187.8/6.16; (43) Florida 193.3/5.95; (45) Vanderbilt 195.3/6.05; (48) LSU 196.3/5.31; (49) Auburn 197.0/5.88; (52) Kentucky 201.5/6.45; (53) Ole Miss 202.3/5.25; (60) Alabama 210.3/5.32; (85) South Carolina 239.5/7.79; (87) Tennessee 248.3/6.41; (99) Arkansas 264.0/9.10

Total Defense (yards per game): (7) Missouri 255.0; (14) Georgia 273.3; (22) Florida 298.3; (25) LSU 306.3; (Tie, 34) Vanderbilt 321.0; (47) Mississippi State 349.0; (52) Arkansas 357.8 and Ole Miss 357.8; (60) Texas A&M 367.0; (62) Kentucky 369.8; (76) Tennessee 394.0; (85) South Carolina 411.3; (87) Auburn 413.5

Turnovers Created: (Tie, 7) Ole Miss 10; (Tie, 41) Alabama 7, Florida 7, South Carolina 7 and Tennessee 7; (Tie, 57) Texas A&M 6, Missouri 6 and Kentucky 6; (Tie, 71) Arkansas 5 and Georgia 5; (Tie, 95) Auburn 4; (Tie, 109) Mississippi State 3, LSU 3 and Vanderbilt 3

Sacks (total and yards lost): (2) Texas A&M 17-93; (Tie, 9) Florida 14-108; (Tie, 17) Mississippi State 12-94 and LSU (9-60; in 3 games); (Tie, 26) Alabama 11-62); (41) Missouri 9-46 and Vanderbilt 9-55; (Tie, 51) Kentucky 8-49, Georgia 8-55 and Tennessee 8-46; (Tie, 75) South Carolina 7-41; (Tie, 88) Auburn 6-42;

(Tie, 117) Ole Miss 3-26 and Arkansas 3-19

SEC NEWSWORTHY

#13 Alabama (3-1, 0-1 SEC): When Alabama travels to Georgia the Crimson Tide will be the underdog for the first time since the SEC Championship Game vs. Florida in 2009, a streak of 72 consecutive games … Nick Saban called Georgia RB Nick Chubb a complete back “in every sense of the word” … RB Bo Scarbrough (suspension/medical) is cleared to play Saturday.

Arkansas (1-3, 0-1 SEC): In an effort to cheer his team up after their third straight loss, Bret Bielema said, “I gave our guys 15 stories of failures who became success stories.”

Auburn (2-2, 0-2 SEC): After an unexpected 2-2 start, Gus Malzahn says, “We should be disappointed, but the thing about it, we’re going to get better. I think everybody kind of sees, these preseason rankings and all that, it doesn’t matter until about halfway through.”

#8 Georgia (4-0, 2-0 SEC): Mark Richt has told the Bulldogs beware the Alabama hype. Richt told his team, “You focus on your job. You focus on getting better” … Southern University wide receiver Devon Gales suffered several fractures in his neck Saturday. He had what has been determined “successful surgery.” In a classy move, Georgia picked up the tab to fly in Gales parents from Louisiana so they could be with their son and the Georgia coaches also visited Gales.

Kentucky (3-1, 1-1 SEC): Kentucky moved JoJo Kemp ahead of Stanley “Boom” Williams on the running back depth chart. Kemp ran for 66 yards against Missouri while Williams had only 21.

#9 LSU (3-0, 2-0 SEC): It seems that Leonard Fournette goes out of his way to initiate contact rather than avoid it. That’s not a problem for Les Miles, who says, “He knows what his body can do, and I wouldn’t want him to listen to me and change the recipe some way.” Fournette has been the SEC Offensive Player of the Week three straight weeks and is the Heisman frontrunner.

#21 Mississippi State (3-1, 1-1 SEC): The Bulldogs have been pass heavy this season. Against Auburn, they threw 41 passes and ran the ball only 21 times. That doesn’t bother Dan Mullen, who says, “We’re going to do what we have to do to win,” noting that the Bulldogs are throwing more because opponents are stacking the box to stop the run.

Missouri (3-1, 0-1 SEC): The injury bug has hit Mizzou hard. Tackling machine Kentrell Brothers (ankle/knee) is questionable for Saturday’s game with South Carolina while tight end Sean Culkin and right tackle Nate Crawford are definitely out.

#3 Ole Miss (4-0, 2-0 SEC): There is no official word on the status of All-America left tackle Laremy Tunsil (NCAA issues), but Hugh Freeze was optimistic Monday. Freeze said, “I’ve been told progress has bee made in Laremy’s situation last week and that we’re pushing as hard as we can to get him back on the field as soon as possible.”

South Carolina 2-2, 0-2 SEC): True freshman quarterback Lorenzo Nunez will get his first road start Saturday at Missouri, where he will be facing the #7 defense in the country. In his first start against UCF, Nunez threw for 184 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 123. Said Steve Spurrier, “We knew he could run, but gosh, he hit a lot of passes. He threw the ball a lot better than maybe we anticipated. He’s a gamer. I think we learned that.”

Tennessee (2-2, 0-1 SEC): Like Arkansas, the Vols were thought to be SEC contenders this year, but just like Arkansas the Vols are trying to figure out what went wrong and where to go from here. Butch Jones said Monday, “Nobody is going to feel sorry for Tennessee.”

#14 Texas A&M (4-0, 1-0 SEC): Arkansas dominated time of possession so much Saturday that the Aggies managed only 48 snaps in the entire game, just 16 in the first half. “It makes you uneasy when you have only 16 snaps in the first half,” TAMU head coach Kevin Sumlin said. “For our defense to be on the field that long and allow only seven points … we knew we had a chance.”

Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2 SEC): Quarterback Johnny McCrary continues to improve. He’s thrown for 1,074 yards and 5 touchdowns while completing 58.5% of his passes. Last year McCrary threw for only 985 and 9 touchdowns while completing just 51.3% of his passes.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Clay Travis of Fox Sports held back nothing when writing about Butch Jones and his numerous coaching mistakes in Tennessee’s 28-27 loss to Florida. Travis writes: “Butch Jones committed complete and total fourth quarter coaching malpractice Saturday at Florida. Amazingly, he seems to be unaware of this coaching malpractice. His answers in press conferences suggest either a coach in denial or a man too dumb to see his own mistakes. Both are troubling.” Of the five games in which a team has come back from a 13-point or greater lead in the 2015 season, it’s happened twice against Tennessee.

The average secondary market price for Georgia-Alabama tickets was $493.79 as of Monday afternoon. Currently the cheapest ticket listed is $292.

Did Arizona rush All-American linebacker Scooby Wright back too early from a torn meniscus? He suffered a sprained foot in Zona’s loss to UCLA and will miss the next several weeks.

Michigan’s rise back to respectability is being led by a defense with a very serious Gator connection. The coordinator is D.J. Durkin, UF’s coordinator from 2013-14, and the D-line coach is former UF co-defensive coordinator Mattison. The Wolverines rank #2 in the nation in total defense (203.8 yards per game), fifth against the pass and seventh against the run. 

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports has Ohio State, UCLA, Ole Miss and Michigan State as his all too early top four teams for the college football playoff.

Ex-Gator quarterbacks are doing just fine through four games. At Louisiana Tech, Jeff Driskel is 88-146 for 1,171 yards with 8 touchdowns and only 1 interception while at North Carolina State, Jacoby Brissett is 74-95 for 809 yards, 6 TDs and no interceptions.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Which matchup concerns you most for Florida-Ole Miss: the UF O-line vs. the Ole Miss D-line or the Florida secondary vs. the Ole Miss receivers?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

A couple of days before Hot Tuna did a 75th birthday bash for Jorma Kaukonen, the band played a live show that was captured on You Tube. They’ve been rocking since the 1960s and they’ve still got another 19 dates left on their fall tour.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuBW6_fmtak


Fightin Gators Top Stories