Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is UF's Addazio In Over His Head? Week 8 Review

It's no secret that the University of Florida Gators have looked sluggish, to say the least, these past few weeks. The once revered offense looks mediocre and predictable with little energy and Tim Tebow has been less than "super."

In Tim's five SEC contests this season, he's an okay 63%, 734 yards passing with only three touchdowns to four interceptions. His rushing yards are incredible though, racking up 97 yards rushing per SEC game with four scores.

I'm not placing the blame on Tim at all. If anything, he's the reason Florida's winning. If Hernandez is covered, Tim runs and picks up the 1st down. If Tim sees a wide open Thompson, Tim double clutches and runs for a 1st down.

The offense is stale and on the brink of exploding any game now, but why the set backs? What's different?

Steve Addazio, UF's offense line coach and new offensive coordinator, might've bit off more than he can swallow taking the coordinating position. This talent laden team has regressed offensively since he's taken the reigns and the players, most notably Tebow, have taken notice. It's tough having to adjust your o-line and game plan during the game. Why do you think UF's offensive line, which returns nearly everyone from a season ago, has been getting beat by lesser talent? Addazio's struggling coaching up his line as well as making the proper adjustments on offense. In SEC play, the Gator offense averages 382 yards and nearly 26 points per game, but against competition with a 51% winning percentage. Not exactly domination.

Going back to Tim for a moment: young man, if you want to make it in the NFL, you can't have these sulking sessions on the sideline and you cannot leave the stadium while not addressing the media. That'll lighten your pocket and piss off your teammates. You're young with incredible talent and leadership, but it's time to get serious before this team gets itself into trouble and who do you think they're all looking to?

Don't get me wrong, UF fan. You'll win the National Title on talent and will alone. I wouldn't doubt if it was a frustrating road though. Heck, just use the ancient Chinese proverb during times like these: scoreboard.

This was an extremely busy week for me, so I have to jump straight to this weekend's predictions and I'll finish the rest of the review tomorrow. Why not just do the whole thing tomorrow? Because some Big East team plays tonight.

Miami upends and dominates at Wake, South Florida loses tonight at home against West Virginia, Florida State loses their homecoming game against North Carolina State, and Florida........wins the "Adult Beverage Fiesta" by a close margin over rival Georgia.

Week 8 Review, to be continued...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Were The Bulls Out-Coached? Week 7 Review

I'm going to go ahead and apologize to Miami fan for the second week in a row. I didn't watch nor keep up with the Miami v UCF game because, well, it's UCF and it isn't exactly the most compelling match up. Congrats on your win though.

Now that that's out of the way...

Bulls fans...I told you so. Please stop with the National Championship nonsense. Please stop with the whole "Big 4" hoopla. You're not there. Yet.

I really think this USF football program is on the right track defensively, but it has been the offense that's holding this program back. Daniels looked like a superstar against two abysmal defenses. He did his Michael Vick impressions. He threw the football better from the FSU game to the 'Cuse game. He looked like a leader heading to stardom. Now, there's film on him and Cincinnati knew what to do against the young signal caller.

South Florida has some studs at running back, particularly Ford and Plancher. Neither saw the ball very much. Cincinnati is known for their explosive offense. In order to keep their offense off of the field and help protect a young quarterback in Daniels, USF needs to run the football and run it to the ground. I know, running the ball 50 times a game won't put butts in the stands, but it will win you football games. It is crucial to run the football in order to accelerate Daniels progress. BJ threw the ball way too many times and got caught in the backfield playing "high school quarterback" as well.

But the offense isn't all to blame. USF's defense did it's job by knocking out Cincinnati QB Tony Pike. It should've been a breeze after that, right? Wrong. Brian Kelly had his back-up well prepared and USF had no idea what to do. Yes, Bulls fans, Leavitt was out-coached in yet another big game.

Oh, and penalties were a slight factor too. Just sayin'.

South Florida is eventually going to get there, but not with Leavitt at the helm.

You're not going to like what I have to say, Gator fan, but it's not like I really care either...

You. Got. Lucky. Missed field goals and missed wide open touchdowns by the opposition. Nah, they weren't forced. Just overthrown. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

I'm still baffled over the difference between Arkansas' defensive tackle celebrating and Tim's celebrations. The 15 yard unsportsmanlike wouldn't have mattered as much if it was called both ways. I digress...

The refs helped the home team out and that's expected. They got suspended for multiple bad calls in this game and the LSU v UGA game as well. Se La Vie.

Enough of that. Let us get to the meat of this thing. The Gators came out lethargic and unprepared in the first half. Arkansas' front four was dominating at the point of attack with quick penetration and sure tackling. That recipe has worked in slowing the Gator offense in the past. Arkansas forced 4 fumbles, and no, Gator fan, your players didn't just accidentally drop the ball or fumble the ball away. They were forced meaning the Razorbacks caused those "mishaps" to happen. Give credit where credit's due.

I continue to believe Tebow has little faith in his receivers, other than Hernandez. Thompson was open many times and Tim clutched on tossing him the football. You can say he had little time to throw because he was under so much pressure, but there were times Deonte was wide open and he didn't throw to him. Although, that deep pass for the touchdown in the second half was textbook.

I'm beginning to like Cooper more and more too. He's a solid receiver, but his physical presence is what makes the difference. He'll take your head off.

I can't say the defense was the hero this time around. Spikes went out with a groin injury and never returned. Bobby Petrino is an excellent big game coach and exploited the middle of the defense by running up the gut on multiple occasions with tremendous gains. When Mallett had time, he hit his receivers deep. I will give the Gator D credit for manning up late in the game. I'm not exactly sure which player got the defense fired up, but they were a completely different 4th quarter team and championships are won in the 4th quarter.

The Gators stomp Mullen and Mississippi State, Clemson keeps it close, but Miami prevails, USF loses to a very physical Pitt team, and Florida State upsets UNC tonight in Chapel Hill (is it really an upset though?). Have a beautiful weekend, college football fans!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Is Mickey Andrews The Root Of FSU's Troubles? Week 6 Review

The Seminole's were absolutely man-handled by a team with lesser athletes and better coaching. Sound familiar? It has been FSU's tale all season. I know they lost by 5, but the defense gave up 49 points. How in the world does a team score 44 points and lose?

Florida State led in every statistical categories, except rushing, which Georgia Tech should have had the advantage in considering they're an old school, wing-T, triple option team.

Tech's style of offense is strictly a run-oriented offense. If you want an explanation on the wing-T, triple option Google it. Now, I said "run-oriented." The Yellow Jackets were slinging the ball, deep, with incredible results. That's embarrassing.

The 'Noles held onto the ball for most of the game. I'm sure everyone is getting tired of reading this because I'm getting tired of writing it, but Christian Ponder was beyond phenomenal and is a top 5 quarterback in the NCAA. Statistically, he's even better than Saint Tebow. We won't hear Ponder's name on Heisman ballots due to a lousy 2-4 record.

Even the run game held it's own. The offensive line was crushing Georgia Tech defender's off of the line and supplying gaping holes for Jermaine Thomas and Lonnie Pryor to run through. Clock management was not an issue, especially when FSU's defense was allowing for 2 play scoring drives.

The Yellow Jackets had multiple scoring drives that consisted of 3 or less plays. Defensively, the 'Noles were beyond horrible and looked like a lost high school team. To me, the blame is on Mickey Andrews and his staff for not preparing his kids better. Andrews had some ridiculous excuse about how his players are too young to make the necessary in-game adjustments in the second half. He also alluded (and I've heard fans say this too) that his team isn't as "talented" as past defenses. Let us pretend for a moment that's true. How does one explain missed tackles and assignments on Tech's basic plays? There were times when a Yellow Jacket runner wasn't even touched. We know the Seminoles recruit talent. Almost every kid on that defense was recruited by Florida, Texas, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, and so on. Are you trying to tell me that they got it all wrong too?

I will agree that tackling is the players fault...to an extent. When you see it every week that means it isn't being corrected. That's coaching.

Weekly missed tackles, bad adjustments, missed assignment, discipline, and a lack of passion is all coaching. Fire and energy may not be coachable, but it's something that's mimicked by players via the coordinator. This defense looks lethargic and bored. Much like Mickey who resembles someone who can't wait for this season to end so he can retire.

Tim Tebow was the story coming into the Florida v LSU game, but he wasn't the story. The story was these two monster defenses and the way they handled each other. Both teams struggled to move the ball consistently and the game was decided by one great pass from Timmy to Cooper.

I must admit I held my breath during some of the blows Tebow took throughout the game, and there were a bunch of solid hits. Tim came out like a champ though. Florida's game plan wasn't as stellar as past game plans. Usually Meyer has something special drawn up for these types of games, but UF was very vanilla. The stretch option play was useless because the LSU defenders knew Tim wasn't going to keep the ball himself due to his concussion, but they continued to run it.

The casual spectator sees unsuccessful, short yardage runs as a waste of time, but the Gators were wearing LSU out. The Tigers had to respect the run and that's why Cooper was able to run past LSU cornerback, Jai Eugene, for the touchdown because the safety was looking inside for the run. Eugene had zero help behind him.

The real MVP of this contest was Florida's defense, which continues to amaze. They held the Tigers to 3 points and terrorized LSU quarterback, Jordan Jefferson, all night.

No one touches UF the rest of the season, not even Alabama, if they play them in the SEC Championship Game, and they should cruise past everyone for back-to-back National Titles.

I can't give any opinion on the Miami game as I just didn't care to watch it or get info. Sorry, 'Cane fans. I knew it'd be a blow out and your team would handle itself accordingly, unlike another in-state school.

Miami demolishes UCF, Florida, whose defense will be tested by a potent Arkansas offense, wins in a shoot-out, Florida State gets crushed by -bye week-, and South Florida loses at home to Cincinnati. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Should Timmy Play? Week 5 Review

The LSU v Florida game has been watered down due to the uncertainty of Tim Tebow's status for the Saturday night showdown. Personally, I say sit the young man. It's now Thursday and the doctors have yet to clear him. Tell him to throw on the sweats, cheer on and coach up his teammates, and make sure Brantley gets all of the reps and up to par for the game.

It's not worth risking a young man's health and potentially life. Tebow leads with his head when he initiates contact on his scrambles, and if he plays he will scramble. It's just what he does. It has nothing to do with LSU's pass rush.

Hopefully, Urban Meyer and the University will do the right thing. If Florida's as good as they say they are, they should win with Brantley. The kid has the tools and the talent surrounding him. Let Tim rest. Let us see what John can do.

South Florida played a sloppy 1st half of football against the 'Cuse. I watched the game thinking, "They're going to have the 'Big Game' hangover," but the Bulls came out firing in the 2nd half, absolutely dominating the Orange.

That's not to say the Bulls were without negatives. Their secondary got burned by Mike Williams for a ton of receiving yards. Williams just out-athleted USF's secondary. Cincinnati has 2 or 3 guys just like Williams. Leavitt ought to have that corrected by next Thursday.

BJ Daniels looked excellent. We knew he could scramble, but his arm is incredible. He was extremely poised in the pocket and when the pocket did collapse, he was able to evade defenders while still looking down field for the open receiver. That young man will be a superstar before his time's done at USF.

And Bulls fan, I'm sorry, but you're not part of any "Big 4." Yes, you beat Florida State on their home field. This may be the worst FSU team in 30 years. Not something to brag about. Beat Miami later this season, win your conference, beat Florida next season, compete for a National Title and maybe, just maybe, you can include yourself in a Big 4 conversation. In the meantime, you're still nobodies.

The 'Canes shocked me with their want-to. Oklahoma was more physical and aggressive in the 1st half, but the 2nd half was all Miami. They never quit or faltered. The 'Canes kept grinding it out for a way to win.

Jacory Harris went from looking awful against Va Tech to regaining his All-Conference form versus the Sooners. Yes, I said All-Conference. He's not that good yet people. I'll eat major crow if he's invited to New York, but I seriously doubt that happens.

The running game and defense were the real winners during UM's victory. They had Oklahoma off balance and tired by the end of the game.

Florida State has lost it's heart. When teams lose close games like that it's not because of lack of talent or coaching. It's all about leadership, which is something that hasn't been displayed at FSU for 8 or 9 years.

Ponder was once again excellent, but he can't do it by himself. The 'Noles are seriously struggling running the ball and that was supposed to be their strength this season. In the one game this season they dominated, they ran the ball very effectively. They've been shut down every other game.

Florida State is awful defensively and I place the blame on Mickey Andrews and his staff. It looks like the kids are unprepared and lost. That's coaching.

If this team wants to stop itself from going 3-9, a leader must emerge. I personally don't see one in sight.

I'll comment on the Bowden fiasco on my next blog and I think some of you may be surprised.

Miami cruises past FAMU, Florida State, with multiple distractions, gets hammered and ran all over for 400 plus yards versus Georgia Tech, and Florida, with Brantley at the helm, wins a squeaker up in Baton Rouge. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Is USF For Real? Week 4 Review

Florida State walks into Provo with slim hopes of upsetting then #7 BYU and comes out victorious. Not only did the 'Noles win, they absolutely trounced a ranked team on their turf.

South Florida should be a walk in the park, right? The Seminoles were honoring the '99 National Champion team before the game. The "White Out" was well received and represented. USF was breaking in a freshman quarterback making his very first start, on the road, nonetheless. Easy, right?

FSU may have lost by 10, but it felt like 100.

That might be one of the most embarrassing losses in FSU history. Wake came into Doak a few years ago and skunked the 'Noles and even that wasn't as horrible as this. At least Jeff Bowden called it quits after the Deacon's stomped Florida State. Who's to blame for this loss?

I'm not even sure where to begin or what to comment on. Florida State's offensive line got man-handled by USF's front four. Ponder had little time to throw, but when he did have time he connected.

Ponder fought hard through this game. That young man has the heart of a fighter and refuses to quit. That's why it has to be disheartening for Seminole fans to see his receivers fumble the ball 4 times, twice while in scoring position, and watch his offensive line play turnstile. The 'Noles were at USF's 1 yard line and couldn't punch it in on 4 attempts.

Greg Reid was another person playing hard. He single handily brought the 'Noles back to life.

And if the rumors about Jimbo and Amato fighting in front of the players are true, this season will be a dark one, Seminoles.

Don't get me wrong. South Florida played a great game. BJ Daniels is a heck of a runner. Yes, I said runner. His passing skills need to develop immensely. He got a couple of balls picked that went right to the corners and he should have had a couple of more. The deep ball he hit for a touchdown isn't something for USF fans to hang their hats on. Every team this season has burned that FSU secondary.

Defensively, USF is for real. Their corners made every tackle. Leavitt obviously has tons of faith in his cornerbacks because they were giving the Seminole receivers 10 yard cushions on every down. If they miss a tackle on one of those simple curl routes, it's a 40, 50 yard gain every time. They were solid tacklers and did a fantastic job.

Something I didn't like in this game was Leavitt and his chop/cut blocking. It happened several times during the game and was only flagged once. Florida State defensive tackle, Jaccobi McDaniel, stormed off of the field fuming at a non chop block call. On the replays, you clearly see BJ Daniels 30 yards down field from where McDaniel was and Hermann, USF's guard, chops McDaniels at the knees while he's not looking. Cheap and dangerous, but I'm not surprised coming from a Leavitt coached kid.

All and all, Florida State got their butts handed to them by an inferior team. I don't foresee this 'Nole team winning another game this season if they play like that.

Miami had all of the momentum in the world. The team looked like they were coming back. Harris was a Heisman candidate, correct? The "U" was back, right?

They choked...

I said it earlier this season that if Miami didn't fix that soft defense, well-coached teams like Va Tech were going to crush them. Don't I look dumb.

Virginia Tech applied pressure onto Harris all afternoon. He had zero time and when he did have time he overthrew the football. The running game was stagnant because Maimi was playing from behind and that all-world offensive line (I'll be the first to admit I thought they were honestly one of the best in the nation) got beat by a faster, more physical Hokie d line.

It doesn't get easier for the 'Canes with Oklahoma coming to Miami.

I don't have much to comment on the Florida game other than I was praying for Tim Tebow. Let me preface this with saying that the hit Tebow took was legal. I keep hearing from Gator fans that it was a cheap shot and it would've been a fine in the NFL. I disagree on both counts, but I don't see how any of your incessant whining will heal Tim any faster.

That young man is a warrior and I'm sure will bounce back and be 100%. I hope the coaching staff monitors him closely because concussions can be a very tricky thing. They might go away in a day or linger for the rest of your life. I pray for a speedy and healthy recovery.

The only comment I have to say on the Kentucky game is UF's defense may be one of the best I've seen ever. I know it's Kentucky, but the Gator defense was flying and hitting. They are well-disciplined and don't allow big plays.

As for Brantley, he's very talented, but he's not Tebow.

That's all I've got, kiddos. Miami wins a close one versus Oklahoma, South Florida loses to the fighting Paulus' errrr Syracuse, and Florida State loses at Boston College. Enjoy a great a football festive weekend!