2011 Gators Will Be Mirror Image of 2010, As In 180 Degrees Different

It’s been a few months since Steve Addazio left Florida, yet his awful job as our OC has stuck with me all this time. I can’t shake it, even knowing that Charlie Weis is coming to town and will be running our offensive show. And I don’t buy Muschamp being our head coach.

Right there is inverse #1. Last year, there was no firm leadership of our team. But Muschamp and Weis will be co-head coaches of the Gators, ensuring that both units will be disciplined, and, well, better.

Then we look at the strengths of our team. If you can call it a strength, our offense got the yardage it did by grinding it out. Of course, this caused more three and outs and heart failure than it did anything positive, but whenever our offense WAS clicking, it was because of a good long drive (to be fair, there was about one of these per game).

This year, look for our offense to throw, throw often- and maybe too often. Weis has a tendency to get pass happy when things aren’t going great, which is inverse #2. This is the inverse of last year, where Addazio would run dives whenever things weren’t going well (and even when they were, honestly).

In 2010, our offensive line was a “strength”, if you could call it that. It was certainly a veteran bunch, though you wouldn’t know it whenever Champion Pouncey snapped balls all over Alacha County. But an experienced line is a luxury we don’t have this year.

Now, the rest of the experienced offense is going to have to pick the young o-line, instead of the other way around, for inverse #3.

Now, let’s go to our defense. Last year, our pass defense was abysmal, and this was only not known on a wide scale because Addazio’s offense was SO bad. Either that, or the defense snagging enough errant footballs to build a house (who would build a house out of footballs? Oh, Addazio, of course. Then when the wolf comes by and threatens to blow it down, Addazio would tell him to bring it on. Then the wolf huffs and puffs and blows the house farther than Addazio’s longest drive all year.)

This year, without Janoris Jenkins, our secondary will certainly go through growing pains. Jeremy Brown can do a good job on one receiver, but our defensive line, which will be Muschamp’s baby, will have to carry a huge load. They promise to be nasty, following great springs from former ESPNU Top 5 recruits Dominique Easley and Ronald Powell. Inverse #4 will be our front 7 carrying the secondary, not the reverse.

Then we look at the coaching staff. There are a bunch of differences here. The first one, is, of course, the head coach. Even Muschamp vs. Meyer can be broken down into a few inverses, but if there is one glaring difference, it’s their energy level. Meyer in 2010 was clearly not the Urban Meyer that loved life and showed it in 2008. Will Muschamp? Check out the videos of him chest bumping Brian Orakpo and going nuts over a big 3rd down stop on youtube.

So, inverse #5 will be Muschamp being one of the most energetic guys to ever step into the Swamp, as opposed to Meyer, who was near the point of indifference in 2010.

How about the rest of the coaching staff? Meyer’s 2010 group included three guys that are now coaching Temple, and Teryl Austin’s role was demoted in his move to the Baltimore Ravens. Muschamp’s staff includes one of the best offensive minds in the nation, and a slew of others with lots of NFL experience.

So inverse #6 is a switch from a below average coaching staff to an above average one.

This one is probably the most obvious, but it’s going to happen- functional offense from I-hope-Chas-Henry-wins-the-Ray-Guy-Award-or-else-our-offense-accomplishes-nothing offense. Henry battled safety Ahmad Black for the title of our best offense. As great as he was, that’s something that any decent coach would be ashamed of. No more. With Weis, we can rely on our offense more. If only because it cannot get any worse, the offense will be better.

But you guys knew that from the day that Weis was hired. So I’ll put it this way- our offense will have more responsibility. Even in 2009, with Tebow, the Gators won games with fantastic defense, fantastic special teams, and one good drive from the offense. That was all it was. If not for a 500+ yard Sugar Bowl performance, Tebow would have had his worst year as a starter statistically.

THAT’S HOW BAD ADDAZIO WAS.

He was smart enough to realize what a lights out defense we had- you’d have to be a residential idiot not to- and simply didn’t care what the offense did, because he knew Brandon James and our D would win the game. Then we all saw what happened when you don’t trust your offense against a good team.

So inverse #7 will be playing to win on offense, not playing to avoid catastrophe.

From the team itself we move to the fan base. Gator fans everywhere want a national championship, but realistically, that’s probably not going to happen. Last year, many fans (not all) bought into Urban Meyer’s promise to tweak the offense. Let’s face it. I love Urban Meyer, but that was nothing more than a bald faced lie. Running the option with an immobile QB that broke Tim Tebow’s record for passing TD’s is simply not a good idea. But by hearing that, Gator fans became giddy and bragged about how the offense would be the most explosive one yet. Funny, I’m not hearing that about last year’s team much anymore.

This year, we fans know maybe 2% of what our team will look like, since Muschamp blocked spring practice. We know we’ll be better, but we cannot take much at all from our spring game. The fans this year are in the dark, and know to be patient. That’s inverse #8.

The ninth inverse is probably the one that will work most to our advantage- assuming Brantley steps up. That probably gave it away, at least somewhat. But in 2010, leadership came from the underclassmen. Andre Debose sparked our team numerous times with big kick returns (too bad we had you know who to throw all our momentum away). But at least he tried. Ahmad Black certainly led to some extent, but the front 7 was a mess. Terron Sanders and Justin Trattou didn’t do badly, but Jelani Jenkins, Sharrif Floyd, and even Jon Bostic led by example and made some huge plays. Bostic in particular excites me for the future.

But then look at Jeff Demps. It seems that poor Mr. Demps was rewarded by Addazio for reeling off huge gainers by a comfy seat on the bench. Chris Rainey was suspended, and rightfully so, but when he returned, the was the only legitimate threat on our team. Deonte Thompson? Well, it depended on his mood. Carl Moore? Maybe if he got the ball more (no pun intended).

But most of those guys above were young. This year, (hopefully) John Brantley will lead our team. It’s what QB’s are supposed to do. Of course, to this point Brantley has shown as much leadership capabilities as an albino kitten roaming around a library, but you’ve got to believe that Weis can change that at least somewhat. If you don’t, then I advise you against watching Gator football this year.

Jeff Demps will be counted on a lot more, let me tell you. This year, there will be no sprained ankle plan. You know, where guys that don’t show as much emotion as Tim Tebow in practice do not play in the games. Brantley, Thompson, Rainey and Demps will all have heavier loads. I’m not sure Demps can fully maximize his potential, if only because there’s just SO much talent in that offense. What he can do is lead by example- reel off a big one and watch the younger guys follow suit.

Inverse #9 is that this year, we have proven upperclassmen leaders.

The 10th and final inverse is simple. Reclaim the Swamp. Our biggest games are at home. Alabama, Tennessee, Florida State. Whereas last year, many of them were away. Or so it seemed. Then we lost to a trio of teams at home that we had beaten by 10 points each the year before in their homes. We went from a 13-3 win at LSU to a 33-29 home loss. Sure, blame it on the field goal, but then remember how many times we went 3 and out. We went from a 29-19 win at MSU to a 10-7 loss at home. We went from a 24-14 win at South Carolina to a 36-14 embarrassment in the Swamp.

Tim Tebow and a smothering defense certainly had something to do with this, but come on. We hadn’t lost three games at home in a row since 1989. The last time we lost three straight home night games? Gee, I’m not sure that EVER happened before, though I invite anybody to look it up.

The point is, this year, our Swamp motto will read: The Swamp, Where Only Gators Get Out Alive. Whereas last year, the Swamp’s motto was: The Swamp, Where Only Riverboat Gamblers, Former Favorite Sons and Former Assistants Get Out Alive. Or even more simply: The Swamp, Where Only Tigers, Bulldogs, and Gamecocks Get Out Alive.

The Swamp will become a fearsome place once again, and it will be a place to fear for opponents once again.

Inverse #10 is very easy to remember: NOT IN OUR HOUSE!!!

There are easy things to tell that will be completely reversed- Addazio to Weis for example- and then there are others that aren’t quite as easy to detect unless you think about them. But nobody here is a Georgia fan. We all know how to use our brains. Right?

So, after taking a look into the changes from 2010 to 2011, we can be sure that if Muschamp’s boys didn’t wear orange and blue, we wouldn’t know what team this is.

It’s certainly not the Gators of 2010.