Snell’s Slant: Gators on the rise, will it last?

By Adam Silverstein
November 11, 2014

By Shannon Snell – Featured Columnist

What a difference a few weeks can make. Will Muschamp was basically tied up on a serving platter with an apple in his mouth two weeks ago. Then suddenly, he took the heat emanating from his seat and somehow transferred it to the team, lighting a fire under his players’ asses that has Florida playing with noticeably more passion and enthusiasm – and success.

As beautiful as it was to see the Gators pound the Bulldogs into the ground with a punishing running game, I think the game plan against Vanderbilt was equally impressive. I admit, before Saturday, I hadn’t completely bought in to the Treon Harris revolution as most others had. The realistic part of me knows that Harris is still a freshman – unproven and untested.

We all got to see him light up Eastern Michigan with a couple long throws in garbage time, but that’s EMU, a team that was never in any position to pose a real threat in any phase of the football game.

However, on Saturday night, Harris showed poise that allows me to believe he may be Florida’s quarterback of the future. The jolt he has given the Gators’ offense is akin to that which Willie Beaman provided the Miami Sharks in “Any Given Sunday.” He is doing things the right way from a football standpoint, and he is making very few mistakes, especially compared to the fourth-year junior who held down the position before him.
For the first time in a while, Florida has a passing game that needs to be respected. That’s not to say it is going to shred South Carolina, but the Gamecocks must recognize it and not overlook the fact that the Gators can now throw the football.

Look, Harris will make his fair share of mistakes in the next few weeks. He’s unlikely to be different from many young quarterbacks that start hot but ultimately get game planned against and struggle adjusting. Then again, maybe he’s that very special type of player that can buck such a trend.

But what does it really matter? For now, it is exciting to watch him pull the ball down and run. It’s exciting to watch him throw the deep ball. Hell, it’s exciting to watch this offense put up points again. Each of your parents have told you, at some point, that you will never know how much you miss something until it’s gone. Well, I missed what it feels like to watch a Florida football game and feel confident that we have a chance to make a splash, rather than spend three hours watching crap settle on the ground. It finally seems like the offense is changing for the better, and I’m excited to see what these guys can do.

I would be remiss if I did not discuss one other topic that popped up before the game, which was fifth-year senior defensive tackle Leon Orr not suiting up for the game – and actually being sent home from Vanderbilt – after he quit the team due to being upset that he was not named a starter. Listen, I liked Orr as a player. I thought he was tough-nosed and very talented. With that said, he’s a quitter in my book. He not only quit on his coaches who believed in him – as well as his teammates that he bled, sweat and cried with – but also the entire Gator Nation that cheered for him.

It is one thing to have a disagreement with a coach. That happens in the heat of battle sometimes and many players – and some coaches – can be much better for it at the end of the day. Ultimately though, he’s the coach and you do what he tells you, even if you do not like it. What Orr did is probably the most despicable thing a player can do to his own team – leaving them high and dry on a game day for a non-personal reason.

There’s no turning back from the decision he made. The unfortunate part is that his decision-making process here was that not being seen as a starter and getting a handful of extra snaps would affect his professional career. Well, he took care of that. NFL scouts are on notice now and not for good reasons.

While I don’t think he should be let back on the team for his actions, I personally believe he owes his entire team a sincere apology. He was wrong and there’s no getting around that. The best thing he can do now is be a man, admit he was wrong privately to those he actually wronged and work his ass off to get prepared for Pro Day – if the coaches allow him to compete – and potentially the NFL Combine – if he receives an invitation.

Back to football.

It would have been unimaginable two weeks ago that we would be sitting here today talking about the Gators still being alive in the SEC East. A lot has to happen, but it is still conceivable that Florida could end up in Atlanta as the SEC East winner. After everything that has happened this season, I think that would be one hell of an accomplishment – and it is absolutely something for these guys to continue playing for at this time.

It is always nice to see the Head Ball Coach back in Gainesville. This time though, I hope he leaves upset after his team falls to 4-6.

A three-year starter for the Florida Gators who played under Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, former guard Shannon Snell joined in 2012 as a football columnist to provide his unique perspective on the team. He is now in his third year sharing his musings and will do so through the 2014 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.


  1. UFGATORFAN100 says:

    Shannon let me begin by saying that I agree with everything you said in regards to wasted 3 hours waiting for crap to sit on the ground….LOL I literally cracked up… Also, I have both Coached & seen Treon Harris play during high schoo. l know his father coach ice who is now working for UM as running back coach.

    PS when I would see him play he had the it factor cool calm and collected in regards to playing vs top flight competition in high school. He rarely gets rattled and is a Team first player. Having his father as his head coach definitely helped in regards to that aspect of Football….

    PS Shannon can you imagine how much more Harris would be developed if he would have started the whole year as opposed to a 4th Year Junior who played like a Freshman….

  2. Dave Massey says:

    Great perspective as usual Shannon. I think it is a real long shot to see the Gators in Atlanta this year. But one thing is for sure. WE WILL BE PLAYING FOOTBALL in Tallahassee. Two more weeks to mature, gel, and get better. All of us true Gator fans have your backs guys. Let’s go out and whip some Cocks and criminole asses!!! GO GATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. W2 says:

    Great read. I think the Gators will be in Atlanta. The Tigers will lose those 2 games, we need to take care of SC and let the chips fall. Go Gators

  4. Tguygator says:

    I agree Dave M–pounding the dawgs and ruining a perfect season for the semis in one year will certainly end the regular season on a high. Two weeks ago, I would have been embarrassed to even consider the possibility.

  5. 305Gator says:

    Hey Steven I’m calling you out. Massey, W2 and Tguygator all give a shot to the Gators winning out the rest of their games. Just what I said on the other thread and you called me crazy. Most Gator fans will tell you right now we have a chance to win out, something inconceivable just 4 weeks ago. And it’s all made possible thanks to the Treon Train Express. Treon has given hope to Gator nation and has doused the fire under Muschamp’s seat.
    Gooooooooooo Gators!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dave Massey says:

      A lot of guys on ESPN are starting to say that we have a good shot at beating the Noles. They have poor running game, one receiver and Winston will throw the ball up for grabs when pressured. If we have a good consistent pass rush we WILL WIN THE GAME.

      • Michael J. says:

        Time to get back on your meds, you’re hallucinating. Jameis winston is the best player in college football, and it’s not even close. I have eyes that aren’t blind because he’s on a rival team. He just might be the best player to ever play college football. He has won more games and has more honors and trophies that any player to ever suit up up a freshman. I’d love to see you be right, but Winston is the best I’ve ever seen from the onset of his career. Herschel Walker comes close, but even he didn’t win or lead his team like Winston does. When he loses, I may have to change my thinking, but until then, he’s just setting new records in excellence. P.S. Don’t whine about stats, Hutson Mason, for example, has better stats. Stats are for losers. The reason you play the game is to win, and in that area, Winston is unparallelled.

        • senuod says:

          I don’t understand how the words “best college football player ever” just escaped your mouth. That alone discounts your entire post. Insanity, insanity, insanity. You have to be an FSU superfan to even think such a thing. Hershel Walker comes close?!?


  6. Spike says:

    I just hope we win the next game – carolina- as a loss and the negativity returns.

  7. Tguygator says:

    This week will be a critical test. Can our play calling outsmart the old ball coach? Can our players give 100% and not quit 3 weeks in a row? Can Treon brush off any freshmen mistakes?

  8. Rob says:

    Senuod, let me introduce you to Michael J. He is the frequent nole on this site. He is happy that the rape charge against Winston have been postponed until after he has no obligation to the team and he can go pro. At the end of the day, UF needs to beat fsu on the field and, then he will disappear.

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