I also made a promise to everyone that at the end of the season, if I felt that the line had improved and the coaching had been up to par, that I would apologize publicly. I keep my promises Joe.
I apologized to you Saturday night on the field in Tallahassee face to face, and I'm making my apology public, just as I promised you I would. You did your part this year by working that offensive line hard, coaching them well and getting the performance out of them. What the Florida offensive line of Mike Degory, Lance Butler, Mo Mitchell, Randy Hand and Jon Colon did this season could not have been done with a poor coach.
The Gators finished the regular season with 1726 rushing yards, an average of more than 156 yards per game. The offensive line opened the holes for Ciatrick Fason to gain 1173 yards, sixth best in school history and there's still a bowl game to be played. Those stats will be added on, so there's every good chance that with a little bit better than the typical production C4 could finish with perhaps the fourth (1292, Fred Taylor) or fifth (Errict Rhett, 1289) rushing seasons in Gator history.
Florida has also produced 20 rushing touchdowns this season, almost two per game.
If I hadn't already been convinced that the offensive line was having a really fine year, then Saturday night in the fourth quarter answered whatever doubts were lingering. That 80-yard drive for the touchdown that clinched the win was outstanding. Of those 80 yards, 56 came on the ground against the best defense against the run in the nation. Fason had consecutive runs of 16 and 12 yards. Skyler Thornton added a 10-yarder.
On third and goal at the eight with 4:59 remaining, Florida offensive coordinator Larry Fedora called a draw play and Fason blew threw a truck size hole.
That was the kind of blocking that only a well-coached offensive line can deliver.
So I offer an apology from the heart. You did your part, Joe, by coaching the offensive line so very well this year. Now it's my turn to do my part by keeping my word.
You were right.
I was wrong.
I'm glad I got to tell you on this forum, but I'm even happier I got to do it face to face. You're a good football coach and you proved it this year.