Podcast: Talking Dan Mullen firing and previewing FSU

    GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we talk about the firing of Dan Mullen on Sunday, plus we preview the Florida State game.

    Andrew Spivey and David Soderquist breakdown what’s next for the Gators after Mullen was fired.

    Andrew and David also preview the FSU game as the Gators look to become bowl eligible.



    David: What’s up folks of Gator Country? This is none other than your boy David Soderquist, along with Andrew Spivey. Andrew, I’m just going to go ahead and cut to the chase, man. I do see the smile on your face a little bit. Dan Mullen, excommunicated, fired, out of there like a solar homerun.

    Andrew: I never like to celebrate a man getting fired.

    David: Not for $12 million?

    Andrew: Not even for $12 million. But my God, will somebody hire me and fire me and tell me to quit doing my job for $12 million. I’ll do it. Don’t worry. I’ll take the negative publicity and the bad tweets and everything else. If you want to give me $12 million to send me packing and just sit at home, do it.

    David: I’m sure Dan’s pretty well off.

    Andrew: Not only that, but Dan’s going to get a new job and get more money on top of that $12 million.

    David: He is. It looks like we seen our old boy Coach Hevesy down there at the Jacksonville Jaguar stadium.

    Andrew: Poor Trevor Lawrence. He’s probably sitting there praying. Please, coach, don’t hire this guy. No. Here’s the thing for me. It’ll be interesting, because I don’t know that Urban can afford to hire these guys. I say that. Granted, his job’s not on the line, but things aren’t going well for him right now in the first place. So, what does bringing in some of his buddies do? Here’s the thing too. Remember this. Urban demoted John Hevesy before whenever he was there and brought Addazio to take over most of the offensive line and the offensive line recruiting, because he knew how bad John Hevesy was. Now, John Hevesy don’t have to recruit, so maybe he does okay. Just keep him away from Atlanta. That’s all I care about. I don’t need him in Flower Branch coaching my Falcons.

    David: He’s not going to be able to cop an attitude with those grown ass men out there.

    Andrew: He cops one with them and pulls some of his stunts, and somebody might be laying on their back. I don’t think it’ll be the players.

    David: Anyway, as reported this Sunday, Dan Mullen was officially terminated. There was a player’s meeting at 1:30. After that Scott Stricklin came on at 3:00 and was talking about his next coaching hire in a press conference. He said basically he wanted longevity, somebody that was going to work hard, and somebody that was going to be here pretty much for a long time.

    Andrew: He hit on three keys. A guy who could build a program is what he said and recruit people to work with him, I believe is what it was. Then he said, someone that is able to build a team. Then he had another quote where he said about recruiting, needing somebody to build recruiting. A line stuck out to me, David, in the Stricklin comments or press conference.

    David: What’s that?

    Andrew: He said, despite the wins, some things behind the scenes were still going on that showed us it was unraveling.

    David: Yup.

    Andrew: So, what that says is everything we’ve talked about has been going on, and it’s been going on pretty good. I will say this. Scott Stricklin’s full of it when he says he just decided to fire him after the Missouri game. After the South Carolina game, he knew Dan was gone. They fired Hevesy and Grantham to try to take some heat off Dan for the next three weeks, and then Samford came, and it really got bad. Then Missouri came, and you lost, and it really got bad. Here’s another thing. He loved the program so much, but he wouldn’t coach the Florida State game.

    David: Exactly.

    Andrew: I don’t like that. I don’t like that a bit.

    David: My thing is he said he didn’t want to further be a distraction for the team. I’ve seen coaches get fired. Let’s say Will Muschamp. He did it. Ron Zook did it. A lot of other Florida coaches before they were fired.

    Andrew: Ed Orgeron did it.

    David: Ed Orgeron, currently. Just now did it. Finished the season, even though his staff and students and everybody knew he was going to fired. He finished the season. He had so much of an ego that he didn’t want everybody to go out there and see him already fired as a head coach to go coach one more game for his seniors that so-called loves and cherishes so much. Says, no, I don’t want to be a distraction. It’s okay. It’s the last game of the season. Y’all can go out there against Florida State and be coached by Greg Knox out there. One of the guys that loves to rotate his running backs, and hopefully he won’t be rotating quarterbacks. That’s a different story for a different day.

    Andrew: Dan Mullen released his comments or statement after being let go. My wife, we don’t talk very much football, especially Florida, just because I do this 24/7 seven days a week. I don’t really care to talk about it with my wife. She came up to me, and she said, did you read his press release? I said, no, I didn’t, because to me he was fired, and what do I need to read it for? I said, no, why? She said, that was the most egotistical statement I’ve ever seen in my life. She said, all he did was brag on himself. She said, eat a piece of humble pie for a change, buddy.

    David: Yup. And people wonder why we’re so hard on Dan Mullen, outside on social media and Twitter. It’s because he can’t admit his wrongs. He can’t do anything. He’s kind of a narcissistic guy. One of those key factors of a narcissist is never admitting to when they’re wrong, always thinking they’re above everybody else. They basically lie to themselves mentally in thinking that they’re above anything that comes their way. What I didn’t like about that letter is he was talking about, I would like to thank Florida for my two national championships, my three New Year’s Six bowl wins. It was a very short letter. It wasn’t like a long letter at all. It’s a very short letter, and it was short and to the point, but not one person did he thank but himself.

    Andrew: Here’s the thing. I didn’t know there was banners or logos or whatever in the Swamp saying you went to a New Year’s Six bowl.

    David: I remember when Jim McElwain had the SEC East Champs, and that was quickly taken down. We don’t celebrate SEC East Championships. We celebrate SEC Championships.

    Andrew: You sure don’t celebrate going to a New Year’s Six bowl. Who cares?

    David: And losing.

    Andrew: Yeah.

    David: And getting blown out by Oklahoma.

    Andrew: I don’t know. I’ve said a lot about this on the message boards. If you haven’t read it, I kind of laid out some things, what went wrong under Dan Mullen. I think those comments will speak for itself. The Gator program, I think, is in a better place now than it was.

    David: Definitely. Even with the recruiting class the way that it is. We did get a commit from McClellan there, a top 100 defensive tackle. Chris McClellan. That’s a good sign. It looked like he was coming to Florida before Dan Mullen left anyway. I don’t want to give Dan Mullen credit for that though. We’ll say Greg Knox got him. How about that?

    Andrew: I think when you look at that, that’s a little bit of a situation where his top choice was Oklahoma, and Oklahoma wasn’t ready to take him. He liked Florida, and he understands that at Florida he is going to play. He’s going to play early. Outside of Gervon Dexter, what defensive tackle has proven anything on this team? Valentino, Truesdale, and Newkirk are gone.

    David: Credit to Valentino and some of those transfers that came in. I know one of them came in Saturday and then had to play Monday, which was not a lot of preparation to get acquainted with all the training and all that. I give one of them a pass for that. I don’t think that’s fair.

    Andrew: But again, they’re transfers.

    David: Right.

    Andrew: Teams don’t let good players leave.

    David: Right.

    Andrew: Let’s move on here. Let’s talk about some replacements. That’s where our focus is. Dan Mullen’s took up enough of our life. He don’t deserve any more. The name with the most smoke around him is Billy Napier. Louisiana Lafayette. In my opinion, it is a homerun hire. It is a great hire.

    I was talking to someone before we started taping this podcast who actually coached with Billy and said, I’ve heard that the morale is down in the dumps in Gainesville. He said, the one thing that is going to be good at Florida is he’s going to get morale up, and he’s going to make morale go from zero to a hundred very quickly. He said, that’s a big. He said recruiting is going to go very well under Billy Napier. He said, the one thing about Billy Napier is outside of Nick Saban, who he worked for, Billy Napier was the most detail-oriented person he’d ever been around. He said he evaluates everything, and he thinks everything over, and that that is a big thing with Billy Napier.

    For me, that’s big. I think this culture at Florida is bad. It’s the most disorganized place probably in the SEC, maybe even over Vandy, where there’s 50 million messages coming out of this place. A guy like Billy Napier, in my opinion, would be great.

    David: So, he doesn’t evaluate like Dan Mullen does that, right?

    Andrew: He doesn’t have his own evaluation system?

    David: No, he doesn’t. I actually was on social media a little bit. A buddy of mine, David Waters, you know him. I talk about him all the time on here. He’s one of my best friends, one of my best buddies. Has a great podcast, Gators Breakdown. He was actually in a Twitter space earlier last week, and he was talking to a guy named Josh that happened to just join Twitter space, because he wanted to see what was up, because it said Napier. Obviously, Napier is over at Louisiana Lafayette right now. He does the Ragin Cajun podcast, and he was in there listening. He had requested to talk. He was talking about Billy Napier as well, and he went into real big detail.

    I can’t remember every single detail, but I can remember the gist of it. He said, that’s a guy that’s going to go into your program. He is very detail-oriented, like you said. He’s very respectful, wants to recruit, wants to work. He’ll stay in his office for 18 hours a day to get whatever he can, and he wants a staff around him that will do the same thing.

    Right then and there, that is a night and day different from Dan Mullen. If a guy can sit in his office for 18-20 hours, I’ll let him have a vacation, if he’s getting me some recruits here at the University of Florida. Those are the type of guys that don’t take vacations. Those are hard workers. Those are guys that want to succeed at a program.

    Billy Napier, as far as when it was first announced that Billy Napier might be a candidate, I knew a little bit about him, but I didn’t really know a lot. If you go on YouTube, go look up some Louisiana Lafayette promo videos or something like that of him talking to somebody in the locker room. That guy is very different from Dan Mullen and very different in a good way.

    I’m excited for it. That’s the smoke right now, Billy Napier. It looks like now with a lot of guys getting extensions. Aranda, looks like he’s going to head to LSU. We’ll see what happens with that. I heard Virginia Tech or LSU still might be in the mix, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be the case. Looks like it’s pretty much Florida at this point. Hopefully.

    Andrew: LSU hasn’t contacted Napier much yet.

    David: I heard there was a meeting for Napier on Monday for LSU, and it got cancelled. Is that true?

    Andrew: Got cancelled. That’s correct. Napier feels at LSU that there’s too many cooks in the kitchen with decision makers. The one thing Billy Napier wants is he wants to be able to come in and control his program. He doesn’t want to have to answer to 50 people. Obviously, he has to answer to Scott Stricklin, his boss, and he has to answer to President Fox, but he does not want to answer to 50 million boosters and stuff like that. That’s a bad problem right now at LSU.

    Virginia Tech is real. He has legit interest in Virginia Tech, from what I’m told by people close to him. I do feel like Florida is in the driver’s seat there. I want to say this. I want to talk more about Billy, but let me say this. I don’t know that it’s a good thing that Billy is the only one being talked about, because a lot of times that’s throwing you off to who the real candidate is. There may be a real candidate out there that we’re getting thrown off by.

    David: I hope not.

    Andrew: Yeah. I say that. There may be a good one. If Lincoln Riley’s walking through the door, maybe it’s not a bad thing. Cristobal, maybe that’s not a bad thing. We’ll see. I want to hit on Napier. I want to hit on more thing with Napier real quick.

    David: Let’s do it.

    Andrew: You’re going to get a guy who’s going to recruit, like you said. He’s a guy that’s going to work till midnight, 1:00 in the morning and be back up there at 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning, because he’s ready to go. He’s driven for success. Beating Alabama and Kirby are huge to him. Beating those guys and being that top guy is huge to him, but it’s different with his ego and Dan’s ego. His ego is very I’m going to handle it on the field, kind of like Saban kind of mindset, not be up there and be smug arrogant at a press conference. There’s a big difference there.

    I love the Billy Napier hire. If that’s what happens, I love the Billy Napier hire. I think that Florida raised their expectations, and I think Florida improved dramatically from Dan Mullen to Billy Napier.

    David: Yeah. The press conferences will be a lot more fun now. Not getting our questions shut down and just dodging everything and giving the same replies, like some guy named Dan. That would be a lot better as well.

    Andrew: Here’s the thing, and I said this on Twitter. I could care less what is said at press conferences. I could care less. It does not matter to me. I don’t have to cover the team at a press conference. I do recruiting. That’s Ethan’s job. I don’t care what he does at press conferences. I could care less. To be honest with you, I could care less how he treats the media that’s at his press conference. That’s their problem.

    But when you hear about how he’s treating people behind the scenes, and you know it personally, and you’ve seen the text messages, you’ve been told by people, you’ve heard things, that’s what infuriates me. That’s what makes me not like a person. You can be ugly to the media all you want, but the people in your building and the people in the profession is how you treat people.

    Players who played their heart out for you, and you go tell the NFL bad things about them. That speaks on your character. That speaks on you, because you’re supposed to get those guys better men. That speaks on you. When you’re telling coaches who have busted their tail for you, cussing them out and saying they’re not doing everybody’s job, that’s on you. When you lie to a coach about a raise or about a position, that speaks on you.

    David: Yeah. I don’t want to harp too much more on it. I do like the fact that Billy Napier is the guy that’s hopefully coming here to the University of Florida. Looks like, from what I’ve heard, deal might be almost close to done. That’s just rumors. It’s speculation. It’s not true. Florida needs that boost right now. Florida’s getting killed in recruiting, been getting killed for the past three, four years, since Mullen’s been here. Kids not qualifying or missing out on elite recruits or not sending recruits national letters of intent, like Terrion Arnold. That’s all got to stop. Obviously, it has stopped now, and hopefully we can get Billy Napier in here. That’s my opinion. I like it. It looks like there’s a 90% chance he's probably coming here, Spivey?

    Andrew: I’ve learned a long time ago, don’t put percentages.

    David: Okay. Well, I’m a stats guy.

    Andrew: Scott Stricklin took five people up to meet Chip Kelly, and you don’t take the president and the finance manager and your media PR person, you don’t take those people with you unless you thought something was getting done, and it didn’t get done. Again, I am the first one to say I’ve been through this. This is my fourth one now.

    David: Oh God.

    Andrew: When there’s smoke on one candidate, a lot of times they’re throwing you off, and there’s somebody else they’re after. It very could be true that Billy Napier is the smokescreen and maybe a backup plan or something to somebody else. That very well may be the case. For a while, I know Bob Stoops was a name mentioned. Now, he’s come out and said he’s good with TV. I do know that Florida was asking him to guarantee or promise he would stay around for a certain amount of years, and he wasn’t exactly keen to that.

    David: I’m good with that.

    Andrew: That’s okay. If you’re not willing to stay four or five years, then don’t do it and everything else. I know Luke Fickell was contacted, and then that went, I don’t want to say sideways, but it went nowhere. From both sides. There was not the love from Florida that they thought would be there, and then there was the thing from Luke. Luke’s pretty much set on Notre Dame and Ohio State. He wants one of those jobs. Cool. Again, if he’s a Midwest guy that doesn’t want to recruit Florida, better to know now than in four years. I don’t think Lane Kiffin gets called. I’ve been told that multiple times. I don’t think Lane Kiffin gets called.

    David: Not a Kiffin guy.

    Andrew: I’m trying to think of other names. Cristobal. I just don’t see that working out. There may be. There very well may be somebody. In a coaching search, there’s a lot of unknowns. There’s more unknowns than knowns.

    David: Yes. For you Billy Napier fans out there, I always say, good coaches win close games. Go look at his schedule. He’s won a lot of close games, and he’s found out ways to win football games over there at Louisiana Lafayette, who does not recruit the best talent, but he gets the best out of the talent that he says, and he’s actually improved the recruiting classes there too. If you go look at 24/7 Sports, Rivals, whatever recruiting site you like to look at, go look at Louisiana Lafayette’s recruiting classes from before when he was there till after. They’re dramatically improved and increased. That’s all I got. I don’t want to concentrate too much on the coaching search, because we still got to preview for Florida State Seminoles. You ready, Spivey?

    Andrew: Yeah. Greg Knox talked on Monday, and then quickly after he talked and at practice Emory Jones goes down with an ankle injury. Anthony Richardson is going to be the guy on Saturday, with Del Rio, Wilson, and Kitna behind him. It’ll be good. It’ll be good to see. I said this. I didn’t like the rotating in of the quarterbacks, but also Anthony Richardson didn’t get a fair shake by having to go against the #1 defense in the country against Georgia. What does he do against Florida State, who’s not as good of a team? That’s my thing. He earns that shot, if he’s healthy. Hopefully, he’s healthy. Hopefully, he's ready to go and gives you a boost.

    Garrick McGee is going to call plays. I said this to you before we got the air. It’ll be interesting to see what Garrick McGee does as a play caller. Is he conservative? Is he aggressive? Does he come out and try to take some shots against Florida State? How does he interact in this game? You don’t have Dan Mullen calling plays or John Hevesy calling plays. It’s Garrick McGee. Every play caller has their own way of doing things. It’d be different if McGee was calling plays and Dan Mullen was still the head coach, because he’d have that kind of mind over him, but this is McGee’s game plan. He had to design it. He had to go through it. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of play caller he is and what kind of game plan he puts together for Richardson and the rest of the offense.

    David: This will be the 65th meeting for the Florida Gators and the Seminoles. Florida leads the all-time series here, 36 wins to 26 losses and two ties. Florida’s currently carrying a two game winning streak, as Florida did not play Florida State last year due to Covid and the all SEC schedule. All this would lead up to this Saturday at noon with a team led by the undisputed and undefeated 1-0 head coach Mr. Greg Knox. Spivey, do you feel that Knox will be undefeated after this Saturday?

    Andrew: Yeah. I do. I think Florida comes out with a little bit of energy on Saturday. I heard that the morale was down under Mullen, and the pressure of that was there. I do. I think they can come out. This is a senior class that has been to a bowl game every year. They’re probably itching to get back to a bowl game where they actually get to enjoy a bowl week. They didn’t get to enjoy bowl week last year because of Covid. I think they got there a day or two beforehand, and there was no bowl activities. That’ll be good for this class. I think they do. I think it’s probably more important for Florida State, simply because they’re trying to be the up-and-coming team, as in Florida is now reversing back to having a new head coach. It’ll be a good game, I think.

    I’m interested to see how the crowd is in the Swamp. I hope it’s good. These seniors deserve for it to be good. These seniors deserve to go out on a high note, and these seniors deserve the fans to root for them. You don’t have to like the coaching staff. Most of them will probably be gone, or will be gone, so you don’t have to be there for them. Be there for the class. Be there for the rest of the guys. Some of the guys who may leave early as well.

    David: For one night only, man. Another Greg Knox, and the last time Greg Knox coached a game he beat Lamar Jackson, when he was the Mississippi State interim head coach when Dan Mullen was on his way to the University of Florida. What an accolade to have, right? Defeating Lamar Jackson. He talks about that a little bit too in his presser.

    Andrew: Yeah. Listen, if you’re Greg Knox, I’d talk about it too. Lamar Jackson was having a phenomenal year that year.

    David: Having a decent year in the NFL now too.

    Andrew: Until he was sick last week or something, I think. Again, we’ll see. FSU is just an average football team. They’re 82nd in the country in total offense, only 382 yards a game. Florida’s at 480. They’re only averaging 28 points a game. Florida’s averaging 32. We’ll see. Defensively they’re giving up 26 points a game.

    I asked you this question before. Which defense shows up? Does the defense that showed up against Missouri show up, or does the defense show up that was against Samford?

    David: Hopefully the defense that showed up last week with Grantham gone and all of our beloved assistants that we loved for four years are gone. I’m hoping that the defense plays like it did last time. With Anthony Richardson in there, and I know a lot of fans are going to be excited about it, so am I. I’m a big Anthony Richardson guy. We’ll finally get to see him play a team that’s not the #1 defense in the nation and see if he can maybe get his feet. We saw what he did to LSU. He ripped LSU, man. It was every single drive, except for one, and it was that last drive, was a touchdown drive. He scored within like two minutes. I’m curious to see what Anthony Richardson can do. I’m hoping he can stay healthy, because if he goes down, then we’re down to Del Rio and Kitna. You don’t want that happening.

    Andrew: No. You don’t. I’ll say this. If Anthony’s not fully healthy, you’re not playing for much. Don’t risk having a situation turn out to him mess something up worse to where he misses spring football or something. You have to be careful with that for sure. I’m sure they are. I’m don’t think that they would, by any means. It’ll be interesting. Again, I’m very curious to see just how the play calling is. Do they it up and allow Anthony to take some deep shots in this game, or do they kind of go conservative and get Anthony into the game a little bit?

    David: I hope they don’t.

    Andrew: Where does it go? I hope not either. Listen, you’re both 5-5. Both teams are just average to okay. Go out and air it out.

    David: I’m pretty sure that’s what Florida State’s thinking too. They got nothing to lose really. I guess to gain a bowl game. Florida State’s now won five of its last seven games, which is their total wins for the season. The total average margin of victory between Florida State’s five wins is 15 points. The biggest one is coming from a 59-3 victory over Massachusetts. The rest of the opponents they beat were by 3, 10, 3, and 3. So, Florida State’s won five games, but they’ve had really close games when they’ve won those last four games. How good is Florida State really? I don’t think they’re that good. Florida should beat them, and I hope that they do. They don’t have the same assistants that they got now.

    Speaking of Anthony Richardson, Malik Davis in the press conference said Anthony Richardson is looking good, and he’s back. I did hear that Mullen had called Greg Knox and told him that Anthony was still injured, so I’m not sure about that.

    Andrew: We’ll just have to see on Anthony. I don’t know. I don’t know how injured he was the last few weeks. I don’t know how he’s rebounded. I’ve heard it’s a little bit of him hamstring still bothering him a little bit. If that’s the case, then you have some concern there, because a hamstring is one of those things where the more you play on it the more of a risk you run in just tearing it, and you don’t want to do that. So, you run that risk more so than like an ankle sprain or something where an ankle sprain it’s not going to really get worse. It’s how do you handle the pain? That’ll be something to watch in this game as well. How does this offensive line play? They didn’t play very well last week. How do they play this week?

    David: Actually, I was trying to pick apart some stats that were maybe uneven on both parts. The turnover margin, obviously, is not going to go in our favor. We’re almost dead last in the nation in turnover margin. That’s just courtesy of all the interceptions and all that that we threw at the beginning of the year.

    Andrew: Right. And the lack of interceptions.

    David: Yeah. The lack of. Right. Florida State’s turnover margin per game is actually -0.1, so it’s not really that good either. It’s like 72nd in the nation. I did see a stat that jumped out to me. Sacks given up per game. Florida’s given up 1.1 sacks a game. That’s 10th in the nation. Florida State, they’re giving up an average of 3.3 sacks, 118th in the nation. So, their offensive line isn’t that good.

    We do have a pretty good, I think our defensive line is going to get sacks. Zachary Carter, what I saw from him last week, he played pretty good. I know Missouri’s offensive line is a lot better than Florida State’s offensive line. So, I’m hoping these guys at the front and the defensive line can eat this whole game, get some sacks, get some turnovers. Sacks given per game, they’re tied. Florida and Florida State on average 2.7 both, tied for 27th in the nation. Florida State’s sacking people too, just like we are. I think we have the better offensive line, to be honest.

    Andrew: 100%. It’s just, like you said, it’s one of those things where who shows up? What team shows up on Saturday? This may be the biggest thing. What team comes out with the most energy?

    David: Yeah. That’s what it’s going to really boil down to. I think Florida at home in Gainesville, Senior Night, they’re going to come out with energy anyway. Actually, listening to Greg Knox’s press conference, and I’ll go ahead and give Knox some credit, because he gets a lot of crap out there on social media for recruiting and all that and switching running backs, which I don’t agree with either. We’ve given him crap all year. I really liked what I heard from him in the press conference. He came out there, and I remember him saying, he wants to win the game. His players want to win this game, and he said he’s going to go out right. He basically almost promised a win in the press conference. I mean, he wants to win the game.

    Andrew: He kept saying rivalry. Rivalry, rivalry.

    David: Yup. He put emphasis on that. He really wants to win the game. I can’t really comment on Greg Knox’s interim coaching status. All I know is he’s 1-0, and he was able to beat Lamar Jackson, but Mississippi State’s defense that year was pretty good. I think they lost to Alabama by like seven points that year. It’ll be interesting to see. It’s a game that’s going to be unfortunately a noon game. I really wish this was a night game, like a 7:00 game. I always love those Florida-Florida State night games, for some reason. Unfortunately, it’s a noon game, because nobody is ranked.

    a row, due to not playing in:

    Right now, the spread is at -2.5 for Florida. They’re the favorite. The ESPN matchup predictor has them at a 72.7% chance to win the game, and that’s for Florida. Florida State, 27.3% chance to win. I have to go look this stat up, but I don’t know how I’m going to find it. How right is ESPN on their matchup predictor? How many times has Florida been in favor of the ESPN matchup predictor and still lost or still won?

    Andrew: Right. That’s a good point. I don’t know. I don’t really worry too much in this game about this team’s the favorite, that team’s the favorite. It’s a rivalry game. You can throw all that stuff out the window when it comes time to kick the ball off, because a lot of these guys don’t like each other. A lot of these guys either played together in high school or played seven-on-seven ball together or something along those lines, played travel basketball together or stuff. There’s always a connection there. You got several guys, Kaiir Elam and Jordan Travis played on the same team together. You got a lot of guys that played together too.

    It’s a good game. You don’t worry too much about records and all that stuff. Ron Zook won the game that year. Will Muschamp and Treon Harris won. You get some weird ones, like always. Who comes out with the energy on Saturday, and who comes out just wanting it more? That’s the thing. The seniors are going to come out with some energy, but how do the rest of the team kind of come out? Then again, if I’m Garrick McGee, how do I go about calling plays? Do I trust that Anthony’s fully healthy and ready to do everything? Do I have a limited playbook there? I’m not Garrick McGee, obviously, but that’s a question I’d have to be asking myself.

    David: I was wondering if Gonzales would have called offensive plays in this game instead of Garrick McGee. I don’t know which one would be better or worse. I really don’t.

    Andrew: I wouldn’t want Garrick McGee calling my plays. I mean, Billy Gonzales calling my plays. I’d want Garrick McGee calling my plays. Billy Gonzales hasn’t shown me anything that he’s even close to being ready to call plays. There’s a reason Billy Gonzales has never called plays in his 14 years under Dan Mullen.

    David: At least he can recruit decently. I won’t say great, but decently.

    Andrew: There’s a reason Brian Johnson was going to get to call plays.

    David: Yeah. Exactly. Like I said, you got Anthony Richardson this game. Maybe he can be the difference. Hopefully, he stays healthy the whole game. If we somehow beat the Florida State Seminoles at home, we get an extra game with Greg Knox. Can he be 3-0? We’ll see in the, what, the Tony the Tiger Bowl? Since we only won six games, Andrew.

    Andrew: What will it be?

    David: Idaho Potato Bowl.

    Andrew: The Birmingham Bowl probably.

    David: Hopefully they don’t have another crapping accident like they did at the Birmingham Bowl.

    Andrew: That’s a miserable place to go play football. Let me just tell you. Let me just tell you, it’s not a good place. Let’s pick some games around the country, my friend.

    David: Shout out to Adam Lane out there too. I’m just kidding, man.

    Andrew: That was hilarious. That was the last time Florida had an interim coach coaching a bowl game.

    David: That’s true.

    Andrew: DJ Durkin won that bowl game. Let’s pick some games around the country. This one’s interesting to me. Mississippi State’s a favorite over Ole Miss in Starkville on Thanksgiving night.

    David: I can probably see that, because Mississippi State’s been playing really good lately, and Ole Miss had kind of a shaky game against Vanderbilt last week. They still won, but not an impressive win, I would say.

    Andrew: Who you got?

    David: It’s hard. I will pick Mississippi State. Ole Miss’s defense gives up a lot. Mississippi State, they’re averaging almost 32 points per game. They’ve looked very impressive down the road. They’ve gotten better as the year’s went on, and it looks like Ole Miss, I think they’ve gotten worse as the year’s went on. I’m going to go ahead and pick Mississippi State.

    Andrew: Does Mike Leach make it there and not be in a food coma?

    David: He does like gummy bears.

    Andrew: And candy corn.

    David: Candy corn.

    Andrew: Snickers and any other candy I think he named, because he named like 50 of them.

    David: You a candy corn guy?

    Andrew: The Nerd thing, the Nerd gummies. He named them. That was good. Here’s a sneaky one. Does Texas snap their five game losing streak against Kansas State on Friday?

    David: No. I think Texas goes down with the hammer.

    Andrew: Sark going to take some pressure.

    David: Yeah, he will be. What is it, his first year?

    Andrew: Nope. Yeah. First year. First off, I’m going to go Lane Kiffin in Game 1. I’m going to go Ole Miss, and I’m going to go Kansas State in this one. Let’s move over to the big house. Ohio State travels up to Michigan. Does Michigan snap the losing streak?

    David: No. I think Ohio State’s primed for that playoff, man. What they did to Michigan State last week, and I don’t think Michigan State was as good as they were ranked, but they took them to town. That game wasn’t even close. I think it was 49-0 at halftime. I watched most of that game. I think just about everyone in America watched that noon game last week, because it was the only good noon game. I’m picking Ohio State, definitely.

    Andrew: What is it? Is it like 13 in a row?

    David: For Ohio State and Michigan?

    Andrew: Yeah.

    David: I know Harbaugh’s never beat Ohio State.

    Andrew: What is it? Let me hit the quick Google thing real quick. It’s a long losing streak.

    David: It’s an eight-point spread too.

    Andrew: Yeah. Michigan is playing better, so you do have to remember that. They are playing better. Now they don’t have to worry about Michigan State being ahead of them. Let’s see. Here it is. It is eight straight.

    David: Sheesh. Eight straight.

    , Ohio State is, since:

    David: Good grief, man.

    Andrew: That ain’t even a rivalry.

    David: No wonder Michigan fans hate Ohio State.

    Andrew: The team up North. As soon as the game was over against State, Michigan State on Saturday, Ohio State, Ryan Day was already talking about the team up North and how he was ready to go play the team up North. Props to him. I got Buckeyes. They’re ready for the playoffs. For whatever reason, Harbaugh don’t win this game.

    David: I think they beat Michigan by over 20 points.

    Andrew: Really? I don’t know if it’s that bad.

    David: Ohio State’s that good.

    Andrew: Ohio State is scoring the most points in the country at 47.2, but Michigan’s at 36.9.

    David: Right under them is Alabama, which we’ll get into next, because I want to get into that.

    Andrew: Yeah. I’m saving that one, I think. Let me see if there’s another good one. I’m just going through the top 25 schedules here. That might be it. Nope. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

    David: That’s hard. I’m going to pick Oklahoma State.

    Andrew: The distractions with Lincoln Riley?

    David: Yup. That’s what I was thinking too. I was thinking really quick, and I’m like, well, Lincoln Riley might be leaving. Is Rattler their quarterback again?

    Andrew: I don’t know. It changes like somebody changes underwear it seems like.

    David: Five times.

    Andrew: Goes back and forth. I’ve got Oklahoma State too. Cowboys. Lets go to the Iron Bowl.

    David: Iron Bowl.

    Andrew: Alabama at 19.5-point favorites. They did drop in the College Football Playoff poll though. They’re third now behind Ohio State, so Saban’s got a little fuel to add to his fire. Against Auburn, and looks like Bryan Harsin is trying to get out of Auburn, but nobody wants to take him.

    David: I would pick Alabama this game, but I always tell people to watch this game, because this Iron Bowl, it never matters where these teams are ranked, and sometimes Auburn just pulls out a victory out of their butt for no reason.

    Andrew: Gus Malzahn is proof for that. Gus Malzahn kept his job at Auburn because he found stupid ways to beat Alabama. I say stupid ways. I don’t mean stupid ways. The kick six. Just crazy ways of winning the game, and that’s what happens. This game’s always a close one, but Auburn’s not very good. No Bo Nix. They got TJ Finley, and he’s not very good. I got Alabama rolling in this game. Saban’s pissed, I’m sure. I got Bama.

    David: I’ll tell you this too. When I watched Auburn play Georgia, Auburn’s receivers can’t catch a ball. They can’t.

    Andrew: No.

    David: I’m picking Alabama all the way. It could be bad too.

    Andrew: Could be bad. Yeah. Let’s talk next week, that Bama-Georgia game. I’m really interested to see how Bama matches up with Georgia, because I think there’s a hole in Georgia’s secondary that Bama can exploit.

    David: South Carolina and Clemson, what about that one?

    Andrew: It’s a sellout.

    David: 7:30 game.

    Andrew: Bryce, whatever that stadium is, is sold out this week. Beamer’s bowling. They beat Auburn to go bowling. I’m going to go with the upset. Beamer ball.

    David: I’m going to go with the upset too, just because they beat Florida, and I don’t want to feel bad about it. I’ll go with the upset.

    Andrew: What a year that would be for Beamer.

    David: Clemson is playing good defense though. Just not good offense.

    Andrew: What a year that would be for Beamer, if he beat not only Clemson but Florida too.

    David: I know, right? A first year.

    Andrew: Muschamp never beat Clemson. Wow. That would be something.

    David: There’s an unranked versus a ranked, which might be good. Penn State and Michigan State. Might be good.

    Andrew: James Franklin. Whoever his agent is, hats off to you, brother.

    David: Right? How do you get paid more money to go 7-4?

    Andrew: It’s 7-4 the last two years, right?

    David: Yeah.

    Andrew: Like I said, pay me the money, and I’ll just sit at home, like Dan is.

    David: He is recruiting well, but that’s about it.

    Andrew: I had somebody tell me this today though. Billy Napier goes to Florida, and Dan Mullen goes to Louisiana Lafayette.

    David: Just trade coaches. Just an even trade across the board?

    Andrew: All right, Louisiana Lafayette, you pay the $12 million buyout.

    David: That’s what I don’t get. A lot of people were like, you shouldn’t make fun of somebody that got fired. I’m sorry. I’m making fun of somebody that got fired, if they just collected $12 million. They’ll be fine. They’re not out on the street. They have housing, food, and I’m pretty sure Dan Mullen’s got millions of other dollars left over in his bank account. He’ll be fine.

    Andrew: Here’s the thing. I’ve been in the business. I understand the business. It’s not fun at times. There’s bad parts to it, and there’s good parts to it. I’m not making fun of the situation. I’m going to say this, and then we can move on. Like I said before, when you treat people poorly, it comes back to bite you. This is not me being a media person who someone said he peed in my cornflakes. He never did nothing to me personally. To me personally, he never did nothing to me. To people I know in the coaching business, to players he coached, that’s who he hurt and showed his true colors. Things he did in his personal life, that kind of stuff is what I’m talking about. As far as what he did to me, he didn’t do nothing to me. I never interacted with the guy.

    David: He made me cry this year, recruiting and win and loss totals. He did something to me, damn it.

    Andrew: He made football not fun this year. That’s for sure. These last, really since Week 4, right? Tennessee.

    David: Yeah.

    Andrew: Was that Week 4?

    David: Then he lost.

    Andrew: Week 4 of the season. It has not been fun.

    David: Lost to Kentucky twice. Had a close one against Alabama. Our best win was the close loss to Alabama. That was our best win this whole season. You realize that, Spivey?

    Andrew: Wow. How things went quickly after the Alabama game.

    David: It’s crazy. It’s been a mess.

    Andrew: Wow, wow. David, sign us out of here. We’ll get out of here. We hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving. I know you’re listening to this on Friday, hopefully, and had a good Thanksgiving. Be safe out there and enjoy the game. Make sure to check out Gator Country. We got our Black Friday special going on too. Check that out. Make sure you’re checking those out and getting all the coaching info. That’s the way you can support us with the podcast is by joining Gator Country in the Black Friday special. Good deal.

    David: That’s right. I’ll be retweeting that link out there too on Twitter, along with Spivey and all that. Just to keep reminding you guys, Black Friday special here. It’s $20 off for a year, correct?

    Andrew: I think so.

    David: $20 off for the year, I believe. I think that’s what I saw. It is a Black Friday special.

    Andrew: I have a free membership, so I haven’t taken a look at it, David.

    David: Spivey’s taking everybody’s money. You heard it here first.

    Andrew: Definitely. No. We really do, guys, we appreciate it so much. Sorry for the negativity in the podcast the last few weeks, but I guarantee you this. Brighter days are ahead for Florida, and brighter days are ahead for the podcast.

    David: Yes. That is correct. Greg Knox is going to get a victory here at home and be 2-0, undisputed, undefeated champion here in the Swamp.

    Andrew: He just needs to be a traveling interim coach. If a team needs an interim coach, call Greg Knox.

    David: It’s kind of like a substitute teacher almost.

    Andrew: Just like a substitute teacher. You’re firing your coach? Hold on, Greg will be here in a minute.

    David: Greg Knox is who I want as my interim if something happens.

    Andrew: I’ll say this. Greg Knox don’t stay in the SEC for 27 years unless he’s a good coach. He’s got some recruiting problems, but he’s a good football coach.

    David: That’s right. Good luck to Greg Knox. Good luck to this team in Gainesville here. Hopefully they can smash Florida State one more time for us with Anthony Richardson as quarterback.

    Andrew: Yeah. Hats off to the seniors, by the way.

    David: Yeah. Hats off.

    Andrew: Props to all the seniors. Zach Carter, all the seniors. I won’t try to name them all. Hats off to these guys. Dameon Pierce. Props to you guys. Know it hasn’t been the easiest for you guys, but once a Gator, always a Gator.

    David: Once a Gator, always a Gator. I would love to sit here and go down the whole list of seniors and tell them how much I do appreciate them, but we don’t have enough time. We’re actually running out of time on the podcast. So, for Andrew Spivey and for David Soderquist, this will end the GatorCountry.com podcast. You can follow me @SoderquistGC on Twitter, and you can follow Andrew Spivey @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter as well. That’ll wrap it up, folks, for this episode of the GatorCountry.com podcast. Go, Greg Knox.

    Andrew Spivey
    Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.