Snell’s Slant: Beat Florida State? It can happen.

By Adam Silverstein
November 27, 2013

A three-year starter for the Florida Gators who played under Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, former guard Shannon Snell joined OnlyGators.com in 2012 as a football columnist to provide his unique perspective on the team. He has returned to continue sharing his musings through the 2013 season. Snell, who played in 46 games over four seasons and started 36 of those contests, was named a First Team All-American by Sporting News in 2003 and spent two seasons in the NFL.

I honestly did not think this season could get any worse for the Gators when I sat down to consider the final two games on the slate last week…obviously I was wrong. The loss to Georgia Southern was easily Florida’s most embarrassing defeat in school history and set a number of other records that Adam has already written about multiple times here on OnlyGators.com.

This sucks. It truly blows. I could perhaps express that sentiment more eloquently but that’s how I truly feel. I never thought I would see the day where this team would be what they are now: a horrific, atrocious, undisciplined football team.

I wish I could provide you a fantastic parralell of how I once faced this kind of adversity, overcame it, and the end result was me riding off into the sunset like a hero. I also wish I could tell you that this story will eventually have a happy ending. I cannot.

Fortunately for me, I never had to endure a season like this, and unfortunately for everyone, there probably won’t be a happy ending to this story. More likely than not, it will get worse before it gets better. Unless…

While it may appear on the surface that UF has nothing left to play for but pride let’s not forget about this Saturday’s opponent. When you commit to play for the Gators and join the Florida football program, you usually do so despite being heavily recruited by in-state rival Florida State. You likely have friends and former teammates on the other side and have a special fire burning inside you during game week.


This season, unfortunately, the Gators are playing the role all too familiar to the Seminoles over the last decade – potential spoiler. Florida State was unable to beat Florida when it truly counted – to knock the team out of the national title picture or a BCS game – but UF has that very opportunity this week.

Some of you might be laughing at me for even proposing that the Gators have a chance to win this game – writing it makes me smile a bit, too – but what if the Seminoles take this defense too lightly in the first half and give zero respect to an offense that has a well-put-together game plan like it did for South Carolina? What if their eyes are already ahead to the ACC Championship and BCS Championship games? What if UF, with nothing left to play for this season and a long offseason to heal and regroup, goes absolutely balls to the wall and fights this team tooth-and-nail?

This kind of stuff happens and has before. Usually not with a third-string quarterback at the helm but nevertheless. Hell, remember back in 2001 when Florida was primed to clash with Miami in the Rose Bowl but Tennessee took a big swing the season finale and ruined the opportunity? I’ll admit, speaking for myself and a few other guys on the team, some of us were looking past them and rather towards the SEC Championship and eventual bowl game. Nothing, absolutely nothing should be taken for granted.

I think right now, even with a defeat over Clemson in their back pocket, the Gators are the most dangerous team the Seminoles will face unless they reach the Promised Land of the BCS title game. Florida has absolutely nothing to lose. Neither does offensive coordinator Brent Pease. Perhaps the Gators will play and be coached that way.

[Editor’s Note: The one caveat here is that head coach Will Muschamp has historically not been big on honing in on the importance of rivalry games – at least not nearly the same way Urban Meyer did during his tenure.]

One can only hope that Muschamp understands what is necessary to send these seniors out with a bang and Gator Nation home with some hope for next year. It does not have to be a win, but it could be. There is precedent. Florida can do it, no matter how unlikely.

If you bump into me on Saturday, you’ll see me cheering the loudest I can because nothing has changed with my relationship to this university. I am a Gator – victory or defeat. But as a member of the Florida football program, I also want nothing more than to see Florida State fall flat on its face.

I hope these players and coaches feel the same way. I hope this team gets the memo. This is the last game; there are no do-overs and statements about “fixing” the program’s bigger problems won’t matter until if or when those comments are proven to be true nine months from now. It’s over after this. This is UF’s last chance to do something legitimately special in 2013 and save one of the worst seasons in school history.

14 Comments

  1. 305Gator says:

    Amen Shannon. That would ease some of the pain this year has brought us.
    Beat FSU. how sweet it would be.
    Go Gators!!

  2. SW FL Joe says:

    Get real. Muschamp won’t knock his buddy out of the BCS championship game just to allow the guy who left him a broken program to sneak in the back door. FSU scores enough in the first quarter to ice it

  3. Uf_84 says:

    I was there for the 97 FSU game and it remains to this day the greatest Gator game I have ever seen. I’d love to see a repeat this Saturday. Unfortunately Fred Taylor and Jaquez Green will not be on the field. I guess it could happen, and I’ll be there yelling loud myself, but if I was in Vegas I’d lay the 27 and take the Noles.

    • HeadOfficial says:

      Actually, from what I hear among those you know Fred Taylor from his time with the Jaguars, Fred Taylor will be on the field on Saturday. He’ll be there to cheer on his son, Kelvin, and possibly get to give the team a motivational speech before the game!

  4. Zach says:

    I am about tired of the editors anti-Muschamp rhetoric. Constantly going after the man, it isn’t helping anything. He isn’t Urban, you aren’t Foley. Get over yourself. He had made mistakes, no doubt, but the bashing isn’t helping and its probably the worst thing you can be doing for the team. Chill out, it’ll be alright.

    • There’s no rhetoric and I’m not anti-Muschamp. I added an informative note of relevance.

    • Frank says:

      Adam, you beat me to the punch ;). I’ve said it before- You are one of the most even-handed, reasonable and well thought-out guys out there. Keep it up! Zach- I agree with Adam- for whatever reason, Will plays down the rivalries. In some ways, I think he’s trying to send a message to the players to treat EVERY game with the same intensity as a rivalry game, hoping they don’t get UP for a rivalry while down-playing a Ga. Southern. It hasn’t worked with uga and I wish he’d try and light a fire under our guys with rivals. Georgia has come out with so much more emotion than us and I think it’s been a factor in them winning three straight over us. By the way, I also support Muschamp. Check any of my comments. I wish him great success and hope/believe we’ll pull this one out against those stinkin’ noles!!! GO GATORS!!!

  5. Cano says:

    Shannon,

    I agree with your assessment of the need for Muschamp to send his Seniors out with a bang, however, I am not optimistic towards the Gators chances against FSU this year.

    -Cano

  6. Ken (CA) says:

    Against a team that hasn’t won by less than 2 TDs all season and averages 25 more points per game than we do, It seems extremely unlikely. About the only thing that might give us a chance is if Winston gets booked before the game on Saturday. They have everything to play for, and they will not soon forget the stinging loss we gave them at home last year, I think they will try to absolutely demolish us for bragging and recruiting rights.

    I hope I am wrong and until the game is played, anything can happen (see GA Southern), but even to keep it close would be a phenomenal achievement. I just hope there is more orange and blue in the swamp on saturday than garnet and gold

    • HeadOfficial says:

      The 12th man can make a statement by drowning out any tomahawk chops that start in the stands. This sign of fan support can turn these “good” Gator players into “great” players, at least for one afternoon!

  7. J.J. is a Gator says:

    Great stuff, Shannon. Where do you stand on the coaches that should be brought back? The OL play this year? The best offensive lineman this year? I honestly don’t know why Halapio is considered by some to be the best OL on the Gators. I’m not calling him bad or anything, just think he’s been real inconsistent his whole career.

    Next year I think we will see:

    LT – Humphries, JUNIOR
    LG – Garcia, RS SENIOR
    C – Moore, RS JUNIOR
    RG – Brown, SENIOR
    RT – Green, RS JUNIOR?

    Back ups:

    Silberman inside
    Q. Williams outside
    The four RS Freshmen (Johnson, Jackson, Dillard, and Young)

  8. J.J. is a Gator says:

    *Trip Thurman. I always forget about him. LOL

  9. JaxGator384 says:

    This can definitely happen with Pease being a lame duck Offensive Coordinator. I was there in 1997 in the endzone section with the Football Recruits (My nephew from Ed White was being highly recruited by the Gators and I accompanied him) where Fred Taylor scored the go ahead touchdown and we upset then No 1 FSU. It remains one of the highlights of my Gator fan experience which started as a 11 year old growing up in Jacksonville and watching the Florida/Ga games. However slim the chance I will be rooting for the upset but it remains to be seen if Muschamp has lost the team or not. Go Gators!!!

  10. collegeballdude says:

    i simply want to say: i just want us to win so freaking bad! i don’t care how we do it…..just win!

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