Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; Oct. 6

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

Suddenly, the gauntlet that is Florida’s October SEC schedule doesn’t look quite as imposing as it did last Friday.

Ole Miss? Sent packing with a 28 point loss to the Gators.

Missouri? Dangerous at 3-1 but as good as the defense is (#8 nationally in total defense; #7 in scoring defense), the offense is anemic (#119) nationally. It’s on the road so that’s always a challenge, but Florida already has a road win against a team that beat Missouri (Kentucky).

LSU? Formidable no matter where it’s played, but this is in Tiger Stadium at night so it will be the loudest and most imposing place the Gators will play. But, the Tigers haven’t been able to develop any type of passing game and even with Leonard Fournette if they’re one-dimensional against the Florida defense, you have to like the Gators’ chances.  

Georgia? The Bulldogs have won three of their last four games against the Gators in Jacksonville, so they will feel cocky but Greyson Lambert proved against Alabama that he’s a very ordinary QB. This is a very winnable game.

So, instead of looking at October and praying for a 2-2 finish, the Gators have the look of a team that could win the next three games and go into November unbeaten and needing only a split against Vanderbilt and South Carolina to win their first SEC East championship since 2009. When you think back to the start of fall practice, the idea of Florida winning the SEC East was akin to asking for a miracle of feeding the 5,000 proportions.

It doesn’t seem like such a preposterous idea anymore.

As long as the Gators stay humble and understand that championships are won one game at a time while avoiding any devastating injuries in areas where depth is questionable, they will have a chance to do what seemed impossible just a few short weeks ago.


Remember the folks who laughed at Will Grier’s outrageous high school stats, claiming the only reason he piled up the stats was because he was the best player in a bad private school league where most of the players were slow white kids? Well, nobody’s laughing anymore. At the rate Grier shows improvement on a week-by-week basis, does anyone doubt he has a shot at All-SEC as a redshirt freshman if he stays on his current pace?

Take a look at his numbers through five games: 86-128 (67.2%) passing for 996 yards (7.8 per attempt) and 10 touchdowns (only three interceptions). His pass efficiency rating is 153.64 (206.78 against Ole Miss).

Last year in 12 games Florida quarterbacks were 169-324 (52.2%) for 2,159 yards (6.7 per attempt) and 18 touchdowns (14 interceptions) with a pass efficiency rating of 117.83.


Offensive Player of the Week: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
Henry ran for 148 yards with 1 touchdown vs. Georgia

Defensive Player of the Week: Antonio Morrison, LB, Florida
Morrison was in on 16 tackles with 3.5 for losses totaling 9 yards vs. Ole Miss

Special Teams Player of the Week: Jonathan Ford, KR, Auburn
Returned two kickoffs for 81 yards to set up two TDs vs. San Jose State

Freshman of the Week: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
Caught 5 passes for 120 yards and a TD vs. Georgia

Offensive Lineman of the Week: Sebastian Tretola, OG, Arkansas
Graded 83% with 4 knockdown blocks while playing all 73 plays vs. Tennessee

Defensive Lineman of the Week: Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Garrett was in on 7 tackles with 1 sack for -7 yards and 2 tackles for -8 vs. Mississippi State



Scoring (points per game): (6) Ole Miss 45.8; (17) Texas A&M 39.2; (24) Georgia 38.4; (30, Tie) Tennessee 37.0; (33) Alabama 36.2; (34, Tie) LSU 36.0; (41, Tie) Florida 34.4; (64, Tie) Mississippi State 29.8; (86) Kentucky 26.0; (87) Arkansas 25.8; (93, Tie) Auburn 24.6; (113, Tie) Missouri 21.4; (115) Vanderbilt 21.2; (118) South Carolina 20.0

Rushing (yards per game/per attempt): (4) LSU 336.0/7.23; (15) Georgia 244.8/6.51; (19) Tennessee 225.0/4.65; (32, Tie) Arkansas 204.0/5.10; (38) Alabama 199.8/5.00; (48, Tie) South Carolina 190.2/4.83; (50) Auburn 190.0/4.44; (53) Texas A&M 188.0/4.72; (65) Ole Miss 173.0/4.86; (90) Vanderbilt 157.0/3.94; (93) Mississippi State 155.0/5.31; (101) Florida 140.6/3.95; (106) Kentucky 135.0/3.77; (112) Missouri 119.4/3.39;

Passing (yards per game/per attempt): (16) Ole Miss 327.4/9.09; (22) Texas A&M 292.4/8.65; (28) Mississippi State 284.8/7.70; (32) Arkansas 272.0/9.51; (41) Vanderbilt 255.4/6.52; (42) Florida 253.6/8.08; (50) Alabama 244.0/6.82; (60) Kentucky 230.6/7.39; (84) Georgia 208.0/8.74; (85, Tie) Missouri 201.6/6.23; (95) Tennessee 192.8/6.94; (109) South Carolina 163.2/6.23; (115) Auburn 153.8/6.99; (123) LSU 95.5/6.16

Total Offense (yards per game/per play): (17) Ole Miss 500.4/6.99; (23) Texas A&M 480.4/6.53; (24) Arkansas 476.0/6.94; (30) Georgia 452.8/7.37; (37) Alabama 443.8/5.85; (40, Tie) Mississippi State 439.8/6.54; (47) LSU 431.5/6.96; (53) Tennessee 417.8/5.48; (56) Vanderbilt 412.4/5.22; (75) Florida 394.2/5.88; (95) Kentucky 365.6/5.46; (101) South Carolina 353.4/5.39; (109) Auburn 343.8/5.31; (119) Missouri 322.4/4.76

Turnovers Lost: (1, Tie) LSU 1; (8, Tie) Tennessee 3; (24, Tie) Arkansas 5, Florida 5; (36, Tie) Missouri 6, South Carolina 6, Texas A&M 6; (55, Tie) Georgia 7, Mississippi State 7, Kentucky 7; (84, Tie) Auburn 9; (95) Alabama 10, Ole Miss 10; (108, Tie) Vanderbilt 11

Sacks Allowed (total and yards lost): (5) Arkansas 2-13; (17, Tie) Georgia 5-30, Alabama 5-44; (30, Tie) Vanderbilt 6-35; (37, Tie) LSU 5-35; (40, Tie) Mississippi State 7-50; (59, Tie) South Carolina 9-58, Auburn 9-61, Missouri 9-56; (69, Tie) Ole Miss 10-80, Tennessee 10-82, Florida 10-48; (94, Tie) Texas A&M 13-81; (114) Kentucky 16-116; (101, Tie) Auburn 7-45; (112, Tie) Ole Miss 5-36; (118, Tie) Arkansas 4-27


Scoring (points per game): (7) Missouri 12.0; (19) Alabama 16.0; (20) Florida 16.6; (23, Tie) Mississippi State 17.8; (28, Tie) Vanderbilt, 18.4, Georgia 18.4; (44, Tie) Texas A&M 21.0; (47) LSU 21.5; (50, Tie) Kentucky 21.8; (54, Tie) Arkansas 22.4; (58, Tie) Ole Miss 23.0; (71) Tennessee 24.6; (75, Tie) Auburn 25.4; (78) South Carolina 25.8

Rushing (yards per game/per attempt): (10) Alabama 84.0/2.75; (15) Florida 97.8/2.89; (16) Arkansas 101.6/3.68; (19) LSU 106.0/3.31; (20) Vanderbilt 107.4/3.38; (23) Missouri 109.4/2.85; (31) Georgia 123.6/3.32; (48) Ole Miss 141.2/3.38; (75) South Carolina 170.0/4.89; (76) Kentucky 170.6/4.22; (78) Tennessee 171.6/4.45; (84) Mississippi State 181.8/3.99; (85) Texas A&M 182.6/4.57; (107) Auburn 209.6/5.21

Passing (yards per game/per attempt): (13) Missouri 154.2/5.63; (25) Georgia 170.8/6.10; (36) LSU 187.5/5.56; (38) Alabama 189.4/5.01; (42) Texas A&M 192.2/6.16; (46) Kentucky 197.8/6.30; (49) Mississippi State 200.6/7.01; (50) Auburn 202.4/6.06; (53) Florida 206.4/6.07; (60) Vanderbilt 213.4/5.93; (65) Ole Miss 216.0/5.90; (68) South Carolina 218.8/7.25; (88) Tennessee 242.4/6.77; (99) Arkansas 257.6/8.42

Total Defense (yards per game/yards per play): (8) Missouri 263.6/4.01; (10) Alabama 273.4/4.00; (16) LSU 293.5/4.46; (17) Georgia 294.4/4.52; (22) Florida 304.2/4.49; (28) Vanderbilt 320.8/4.73; (48, Tie) Ole Miss 357.2/4.56; (51) Arkansas 359.2/6.17; (58) Kentucky 368.4/5.13; (62) Texas A&M 374.8/5.26; (69) Mississippi State 382.4/5.15; (74) South Carolina 388.8/5.98; (92) Auburn 412.0/5.60; (93) Tennessee 414.0/5.56

Turnovers Created: (12, Tie) Alabama 11, Florida 11; (24, Tie) Ole Miss 10; (42, Tie) Missouri 9; (50, Tie) Auburn 8, Texas A&M 8; (65, Tie) Georgia 7, Kentucky 7, South Carolina 7, Tennessee 7; (84, Tie) Arkansas 6, LSU 6; (98, Tie) Vanderbilt 5; (120, Tie) Mississippi State 3

Sacks (total and yards lost): (4, Tie) Texas A&M 19-105; (7, Tie) Florida 18-147; (24, Tie) LSU 11-71; (29, Tie) Missouri 13-74, Mississippi State 13-96, Alabama 13-73; (55, Tie) Kentucky 10-65; (71, Tie) Vanderbilt 9-55; (90, Tie) Georgia 8-55 and Tennessee 8-46


Alabama (4-1, 1-1 SEC): Now that Arkansas is back to its Ground Hog pound it out offensive attack, Nick Saban calls the Razorbacks “one of the toughest teams you’ll play,” adding, “You really have to get your jaw set.”

Arkansas (2-3, 1-1 SEC): No team in the SEC has been hit by injuries harder than Arkansas, which lost linebacker Josh Williams to a broken leg Saturday night. Already lost for the season are running back Jonathan Williams, wide receiver Keon Hatcher, wide receiver Cody Hollister and wide receiver Jared Cornelius.

Auburn (3-2, 0-2 SEC): Auburn’s bye week is much needed per head coach Gus Malzahn, who says, “It will give us a chance to really catch our breath as coaches and really evaluate the big picture and get our best plan moving forward.”

Florida (5-0, 3-0 SEC): In two weeks the Gators have gone from unranked to #11 nationally. Noting all the attention and sudden praise pouring in, Jim McElwain said at his Monday morning press conference, “I’m excited where we’re at. At the same time it’ll be really interesting to see how we handle the praise from all the people that obviously said they weren’t worth a hill of beans and now are talking about them.”

Georgia (4-1, 2-1 SEC): Although he had a poor game against Alabama, Greyson Lambert will remain the starting quarterback … Linebacker Reggie Carter, will have shoulder surgery and will take a medical redshirt … Wide receiver/kick returner Isaiah McKenzie (hamstring) is questionable for Saturday’s game at Tennessee.

Kentucky (4-1, 1-1 SEC): An open date gives the Wildcats a chance to work on a ground game that produced only 55 yards in 36 carries against D1AA Eastern Kentucky. The run defense also needs some fine tuning after allowing EKU 180 yards. Running back Stanley “Boom” Williams didn’t play against EKU but he’s expected to be back for a Thursday night, October 15 encounter with Auburn.

LSU (4-0, 2-0 SEC): There is a reason LSU played so poorly against overmatched Eastern Michigan. Leonard Fournette said, “That’s on the leaders on the team for not stepping up in practice while everybody was joking and playing.”

Mississippi State (3-2, 1-2 SEC): The injury bug has hit Mississippi State. Safety Kendrick Market tore an ACL and is done for the year. Offensive tackle Rufus Warren sprained an ankle and is day-to-day. Corner Will Redmond had an ankle in a boot Monday and tight end Gus Walley, wide receiver Gabe Myles and wide receiver Joe Morrow were also injured but should be cleared to play Saturday against Troy. 

Missouri (4-1, 1-1 SEC): Maty Mauk’s suspension will continue through the Florida game and the Tigers will start true freshman Drew Lock for the second straight game against Florida Saturday. Lock was 21-28 for 136 yards and 1 TD in his first start last Saturday against South Carolina.

Ole Miss (4-1, 2-1 SEC): Injuries and the suspension of Laremy Tunsil have forced Ole Miss to play a lot of inexperienced kids, particularly on the O-line but Hugh Freeze isn’t buying that as an excuse. “Everybody has got some young kids and everybody has got some injuries and nobody really wants to hear that,” Freeze said. “We have to get the ones we have prepared to play.”

South Carolina (2-3, 0-3 SEC): Flooding is so severe in Columbia that South Carolina coaches were advised to leave the film room at the football complex and go home Sunday morning at 10:30. “We were advised to leave the stadium and try to get home,” Steve Spurrier said. Although floodwaters are expected to start clearing Tuesday, the status of Saturday’s game with LSU is in doubt.

Tennessee (2-3, 0-2 SEC): Reason for concern at Tennessee: The Vols rank 10th in the SEC in plays of 10+ yards allowed (68); 13th in plays of 20+ yards (23) and dead last in plays of 30+ (14); 40+ (14) and 50+ (9). The Vols are dead last in the SEC and 93rd nationally in total defense (414 yards per game).

Texas A&M (5-0, 2-0 SEC): Proof positive that the Aggie defense has improved since last year – in 2014 the Aggies forced 10 turnovers in 13 games. Through their first five the Aggies have already forced eight. Texas A&M has a bye week this week.

Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-2 SEC): Although it was Middle Tennessee of Conference USA, Derek Mason isn’t about to discount the significance of Vandy’s 17-13 win in Murfreesboro. “It was our first road win since I’ve been here and that’s huge for this young, growing football team,” Mason said.


Writes Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham Post and regarding the Alabama-Georgia matchup, “Put up hype billboards and bark like rabid dogs during warmups and bring back the greatest player in school history for inspiration. Oh, by the way, Nick Chubb is a nice player but he’s no Herschel Walker.”

Writes Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, “Mark Richt can take a team pretty far. But it’s hard to take a team all the way when there’s always at least one awful performance waiting to happen at just the wrong time.”

The headline of the weekend came from The Big Lead after Miami lost to Cincinnati: “Al Golden Channeled His Inner Butch Jones.”

Former Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn would be a runaway choice if they voted for NFL coach of the year today.


General consensus in the preseason was that Florida would win 6-7 games at best. How many wins did you think the Gators were good for at the start of the season and now that they’re 5-0, what is your revised prognostication?


While watching one of those silly Kentucky Fried Chicken commercials with the fake Colonel Sanders, I was reminded that Phil Collins helped PETA’s campaign against KFC about 10 years ago. I still eat KFC and I still listen to Collins. Today’s music is Collins’ 1985 “No Jacket Required” album that went #1 worldwide and produced four top ten singles.

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