Bitter about Vanderbilt
Do the Florida Gators remember seeing their 22-game winning streak against the Vanderbilt Commodores coming to an end last season with the Dores topping the Gators 34-17…on homecoming…in Gainesville, Florida?
“They completely embarrassed us last year,” said redshirt senior center Max Garcia. “We’re going to go to their house and we want them to experience the same disappointment that they gave to us last year. We definitely have to redeem ourselves in that way. We’re going out there to play football. We’re going out there – it doesn’t matter who we’re playing against – but it is an added token just knowing that they embarrassed us last year at The Swamp.”
Vanderbilt beat Florida last year despite totaling just 183 yards of offense to UF’s 344. Tyler Murphy threw for 305 yards on 30-of-46 passing, but his three interceptions just kept giving the visitors opportunity after opportunity. The Commodores led 17-0 early in the second quarter, 24-10 at the end of the third and coasted to the finish.
“It was embarrassing, on homecoming. It was just a bad feeling,” recalls junior defensive back Brian Poole. “That’s personal. We just use it as motivation this week. We’re going to come out and hopefully have a good game. Everybody was on the team last year. Everybody remembers the feeling.”
Redshirt senior right tackle Chaz Green was one of those players, and he believes it was one of his lowest moments in five years. “It was rough. I had the same feeling a lot of guys that play did. We felt like we could’ve put on a better show and getting embarrassed, having them come into our home field and take one from us. We got to use that motivation this week on the practice field and then go from there,” he said.
Junior linebacker Antonio Morrison remembers as well, but he said it was just one part of an overall embarrassing 2013 campaign. “That was a long time ago. We don’t want to lose anymore,” he said. “We just want to win, man.”
2015 NFL Draft
With the regular-season about two-third complete, more and more attention is being paid to the Gators as it pertains to players eligible for the 2015 NFL Draft.
Junior defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. is leading the pack, of course, as the only Florida player projected to be a first-round pick as long as he leaves school early.
On Wednesday, ESPN‘s Mel Kiper Jr. ($) and Todd McShay ($) moved him up their respective big boards to No. 15 and No. 17, respectively. Kiper notes that Fowler “isn’t dominant in one area” but is “pretty good pretty much anywhere you line him up” with potential that makes him well-deserving of a selection in the top half of the first round. McShay says Fowler “lacks elite physical traits and isn’t yet a polished finisher” but is a playmaker with “above-average first-step quickness for his size” and plenty of versatility.
CBSSports.com‘s Dane Brugler ignores the fact that Fowler only has 3.5 sacks on the season, noting that he “has been consistently dominant with his combination of versatile athleticism and relentless energy, forcing the offense to always gameplan where he is on the field.” Brugler also believes Fowler should be a top-16 pick, saying what he does on a game-to-game basis cannot always “be seen on the stat sheet.”
Green, who was tremendous against Georgia, was Florida’s most consistent lineman that day, according to Brugler.
He displayed excellent movement skills for his size and although he lacks elite power, he showed strong hands to control defenders at the point of attack. Green also showed terrific anticipation to pick up extra rushers with quick eyes to pass off targets and pick up blitzers. He has excellent patience, discipline and spatial awareness, displaying a strong understanding of everything going on around him. Green does need to tweak his finishing technique and stay healthy, but he was successful on Saturday at left and right tackle, showing his versatility. He isn’t a special player, but is consistent and plays like a seasoned veteran. Green doesn’t receive a lot of ink and probably won’t get drafted as high as he should, but he will be on a NFL roster a year from now.
A handful of other Gators will also be considered draftable prospects when the event rolls around in early May, though many need to make the most out of their final four regular-season games in order to boost their stock.
Mission Belt: Review, caption contest!
Last week, the good folks at Mission Belt Co. – perhaps you remember them from Shark Tank? – sent over a tremendous care package including their brand new Florida Gators belt buckle, a black leather belt and an additional Black Magic buckle, all of which I have been trying out over the last week.
What was apparent from the moment I received the package was the quality of these products. The belts are well-crafted with strong and thick premium leather (crack-free guarantee). The buckles are exceedingly attractive and just as solidly made, with mechanisms that support one of the best features of the belt – it does not have holes!
Mission Belts operate in very much the same way as a zip tie with one end of the belts sliding into the buckle and out the other end, locking into place when you stop pulling it after determining the fit you want that day. The belts are fully interchangeable – buckles and leathers can be swapped out for each other giving you endless different looks – and the relatively low cost ($34.95-59.95) is shocking when you consider the quality and flexibility you get with this product.
In short, I love mine. Not exaggerating, I have worn it every single day since I received it in the mail. And the folks at Mission Belt Co. are so cool, that they want you enjoy one, too. Enter the long-awaited return of the OnlyGators.com Caption Contest.
Rules: If you think these belts are awesome (you do) and think you have a good sense of humor (you probably think you do), go ahead and e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your funniest (publishable) caption to the picture below. The funniest or best caption – chosen by your’s truly – will win a FREE Florida Gators Mission Belt (up to a $59.95 value) in your choice of size and color. There will be one winner announced Friday, but you are encouraged to submit multiple captions in order to increase your chances.
Though our last contest was more than a year ago, OnlyGators.com has given away cufflinks, digital picture frames, boom boxes, DVDs, Fatheads, card games, rugs, purses, books, artwork, towels, razors, scarfs and scented warmers since 2009. Hopefully you can be our next winner!
Not Only Gators: St. Vincent
As much as I enjoyed The Judge two weeks ago, I saw a better film last Thursday. During a rare calm afternoon in the middle of the college football season, I ran over to my local theater to check out St. Vincent, a movie with some definite star power but without a substantial amount of promotion.
Theodore Melfi got everything right in his first full-length feature. First, he went out and secured Bill Murray by pitching the script to him and receiving a commitment during a limo ride from a Los Angeles, California, airport to an In & Out Burger. Awesome.
Then he turned Melissa McCarthy into an actual actress, allowing her charm and sensitive to shine through instead of forcing her into a role where every joke is about her weight, brashness or outlandishness. Many are turned off by McCarthy after seeing her play versions of the same character in Bridesmaids (great), Identity Thief, The Hanover Part III and The Heat, but her performance in this film may change your perspective.
Melfi also hit a home run with Naomi Watts as a pregnant stripper/hooker turned girlfriend/live-in nurse, and nailed it by casting newcomer Jaeden Lieberher as Murray’s new burden/latest charity case/saving grace.
Simply put, if you do not cry in the final few scenes of this movie, you don’t have a heart. See it while it’s in theaters, wait until it pops up on Netflix or check it out on pay cable. Just see it and enjoy it so you’re not wondering why Murray is nominated for multiple awards this season.
This Week’s Movie Trailer
The Top 5 List
From the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska…
1. Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola
2. Mexican Coke
3. Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda
4. Cherry-Vanilla Coke
Note: I prefer not to use caffeine, and I have not been a regular soda drinker since 2006. For good reason. Though I did have one today.
Thanks for reading. Leave your comments below.