Friday, November 13, 2009

Q & A about USC v UF with Gators First (Part 2)

By now I hope you have read PART 1 of our Q&A with Gators First.  Again make sure you visit Gators First on a regular basis to get your Gator Sports News.

Here is Gators First responses to my questions, which can also be seen on his blog HERE ----

Leftover Hotdog (LOHD): Knowing that Carolina has lost two heartbreakin' losses in a row now, what are your general thoughts about Saturday...does Carolina have a chance to upset UF?

James Brown, Gators First (G1): If you would have asked me this question a few weeks ago- after watching Crompton turn his life around against the UGA defense- I would have told you that the Gamecocks had the best chance to knock us off (pre-Atlanta) of any team outside of LSU. And even then, edge to South Carolina because of our bye week before the LSU game (though Vanderbilt week is close to a bye). I think Garcia-to-Jeffrey could be the most lethal combo in the SEC. So I, at least at some point this season, had that level of respect for South Carolina.

After the way the last two weeks have gone, I now will rest much easier Friday night. I also think we are pretty much on cruise control, content to let our defense do it’s thing, and let the offense grind out 24-point victories for the national media to deem “unimpressive”. Whatever. I don’t see any reason not to expect more of the same this weekend. I would like to stress my optimism for this weekend is a reflection of the confidence I have in our team- though it doesn’t hurt that the Gamecocks aren’t what you’d call “hot” right now.

LOHD: Sell me on Tim Tebow for Heisman in 2009. What are his chances?

G1: To say his chances are anything but “excellent” is not really being honest. He’s the best player on the best team in the country. He certainly is a name Heisman voters will know and be comfortable with. He leads most “real” Heisman polls I’ve seen this week as well. So his chances are excellent.

As far as selling you on him- I’m not sure what more anyone needs to see. He doesn’t have his 2007 stats- but no one did before, and no one has since. Like it or not, the Heisman does have a “career” factor to it- a reason why it wasn’t until Tebow’s astronomical 2007 numbers that a sophomore took it home. He’s the SEC’s leader in career rushing TDs- as a freaking QUARTERBACK.

Then there’s the leadership point of view. He returned from a concussion to lead us to a victory in our biggest game of the year (on the road, at night, with whatever 30+-game winning streak LSU had going in Baton Rouge). He put us on his back and carried us to a come-from-behind win vs. Arkansas. Without him, we are not undefeated right now.

In a year so many are quick to call “disappointing” and “unimpressive” he’s 8th in pass efficiency among FBS teams, and the 3rd-leading rusher among QBs in BCS leagues. Our offense is 7th in FBS in pass efficiency and 8th in rushing. He has stats that total less than Colt McCoy’s- but he throws the ball 20 times per game, not 50. The most important stats: we’re 9-0 and #1.

In an argument to appeal more directly to you, he did run for those 5 TDs last time he was in Columbia. That should sell him to any and all Gamecocks, no?

LOHD: Do the UF faithful fans still hold Coach Spurrier near and dear to their hearts or is he just a distant memory now?

G1: I wrote about this extensively in 2007, when our site was still new and I still had a terrible fear of facing him every year (and I was even worse at writing than I am now). Now, I’m comfortable with playing him, mainly because we always seem to face him in the middle of the late season Gamecock swoon.

I still love the guy. I miss watching passing plays where the goal was to get someone WIDE OPEN and not just into a “mismatch” or “one-on-one coverage”. I miss throwing the ball on something other than a bubble screen, shovel pass, or just bombing it 40 yards down the field. I sort of miss the time he punted on 3rd down. I definitely miss “God smiled on the Gators”. I miss bringing in the backup quarterback extremely early in games- and letting him throw. I miss the 1995 SEC Championship game, where he faked a Wuerffel injury to let Eric Kresser throw a deep touchdown pass. I miss the Emory and Henry. So I’d say he’s quite dear to my heart.

As far as Gator fans as a whole- unless you’re talking about someone who only recently went to the school and “became a Gator” that way, who wouldn’t have seen a single game from the Spurrier era- I’d expect we all hold him very dear in our hearts. If the early-to-mid 80s taught us that real success was possible at Florida, Spurrier was the one who actually brought us there- to a place that we now see as our rightful place in the national college football scene.

LOHD: Are the rumors or chances for Urban Meyer to leave UF and head to Notre Dame even remotely close?

G1: Nope. He could go to the NFL. And even then, it’d have to be a premier job, not like the Rams or Raiders or some other job like that. Any other job seems like a lateral move, at best, and considering we’re discussing the possibility of 3 BCS Titles in 4 years, it’s not like he needs to go somewhere else to find a better situation to be successful.

LOHD: Give your thoughts to the Post-Tim Tebow 2010 College Football chances for UF. What will America do- much less UF- without the golden boy?

G1: Johnny Brantley was a highly touted recruit, and now has many years of coaching under his belt. The numbers Tebow put up his first year as a starter are staggering, and won’t be duplicated. But Brantley will have every opportunity to succeed; we won’t all of a sudden lose to USF or something. So UF will be fine.

In fact, I think with the seniors (and probably juniors) Florida will lose for 2010, the continued fall from grace of Mark Richt, the talent departing Knoxville, and Spurrier finally finding a QB in Columbia, the HBC will easily have his best shot at an SEC East title next season. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re still the preseason favorite, based on returning talent on defense, along the offensive lines, and our 9,000-headed running back monster. But I’m saying you wouldn’t be crazy for picking the Gamecocks. I expect almost everyone will pick Alabama for the preseason SEC title in 2010.

As far as what America will do without Tim Tebow- America will always have Tim Tebow. He won’t be going away just because he’s moving onto that less-fun league on Sundays. I actually think we haven’t seen the peak of Tebow-mania yet, just wait until he makes the NFL combine his own personal workout video. It’s unfortunate that the current sports media trend is to detract from great stories, because I could make an honest argument that Tim Tebow is underrated.

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