Former Gators Thinking Big About 2011… And Why Not?

If you don’t really know football, and just like to say yay team, then just believe what you want to believe.

If you think you know football and you don’t, then just google your team’s name followed by “looking great”.

But if you know football and can see through propaganda and coach-speak, then you know that a former player talking with great excitement about the 2011 team is a big deal.

Shane Matthews is no longer being ear-whispered by University public relations guys; he’s now been out of UF for roughly 20 years. He isn’t subject to the BS compliance rules that shattered my chance at getting an interview with Jeffrey Demps. He’s a free man and can say whatever the hell he pleases.

He doesn’t have to say things just to make fans feel good and UF look good.

But he did.

He gave his honest opinion about the new offense.

“It’s a concept,” the former Florida quarterback said. “It will be easy for these guys to pick up on that. It won’t take long at all. Charlie Weis and Aubrey Hill and the offensive coaches will coach it up well. They’ll make it simple for these guys. People think it’s complicated, but it’s not. They’ll put the players in a position to be successful.”

Not only is he speaking his honest mind, he’s also talking from experience. Once upon a time, the Gators had this guy named Emmitt Smith. When he left, Spurrier took over and tore down the offense to build it back up all over again in a completely different way. Matthews had to learn the new Fun n Gun offense, which as I’m sure you know was a wacky machine gun type offense that passed on nearly every play and sent waves of receivers in different directions.

Matthews was adamant in stating that it wasn’t a difficult transition. Perhaps this was due in large part to the offensive brain power of Steve Spurrier.

Replace Matthews with Brantley… now replace Spurrier with Weis… and there’s really no difference, aside from Matthews being a little more successful prior to the switch than Brantley.

Charlie Weis knows offense the way Tim Tebow knows the end zone.

Expect Weis to do what he’s done previously- exploit favorable one on one matchups and ride those mismatches to blowout wins.

More specifically, the play-calling needs to be better… wait I forgot I was just talking about Charlie Weis. I nodded off into a dream about the Gators going five and out. Yes, five, because the refs had such pity on Steve Addazio that they gave us six downs instead of four.

Anyway, Weis made his living in one way in particular.

For every defense, there’s a way to beat it. I was only kidding when I pretended to be Addazio and said that the way to beat bump-n-run coverage is to lie down and take a nap and hope for a flag. But in reality, there are a bunch of ways to beat it.

One way to beat bump-n-run is to overload one side of the line of scrimmage with a trips set of receivers, and have them run very unnatural routes. The possibility of the defensive backs getting confused is maximized, which is when Brantley will release a bullet, because there’s got to be SOMEONE open in that split second of confusion.

Another way to beat it is to send a man in motion, to confuse them. They might lose track of who they’re covering, allowing a quick snap and a throw for an easy 15 yards.

But thanks to my time toying with offense as a GA, I always think one step further. And I’m wondering if maybe we could even pull off that three headed clusterf*ck Addazio imagined up during a particularly intense session with a curled up dive play pamphlet that I mentioned. You know, where one QB lines up to take the snap but somebody else walks behind the center and takes it instead. However, in the name of scoring points, let’s ditch the part about throwing a two yard hitch right where the defense is waiting. Because there’s no doubt, Georgia was confused when we did that.

So let’s take it a step further. How about we line Chris Rainey up in the gun to start with, after running some first quarter Wildcat. Let’s assume we’ve run it a minimum of five times and at least three of them were big gainers (10 yards or more). Now they don’t know what the hell to do if they see Brantley quickly get in position to take the snap. So let’s capitalize on their consternation and lob a bomb downfield for an easy touchdown.

But as much as I’d like to think otherwise, chances are that Charlie Weis is smarter than me at offense. So if he doesn’t use the play I just described,he’ll come up with something else effective. Because that’s what he does- finds mismatches and exploits them all day.

So I don’t really want to hear this transition BS. We’re big boys now, we can manage.

Matthews’ Gator teammate, receiver Tre Everett, agreed with me and then made a bold prediction.

“I don’t think there is going to be a tough transition for anyone. I think it will be far easier than some think. They have some great athletes and these coaches have done this before. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re right back where we’re supposed to be- as a national contender next season.”

But even better, Everett predicted that the receivers at Florida would have a lot of fun, saying it will be a welcome change for them.

Whether Deonte “Dr. Strangeglove” Thompson learns to catch a football is yet to be seen.

But the point of this post isn’t to plagiarize a reporter’s article (Robbie Andreu); it’s to infuse some confidence in you guys.

Again, these guys aren’t being assaulted by PR guys 24/7; they’re free men, and can say whatever they want.

And they have every reason to be optimistic.

I’ve said this a lot before; I’ll say it again.

Florida is stacked with talent.




Speed especially remains.

Will Muschamp has enough speed on this team to form an Olympic track team.

The pieces are in place for a BCS Championship. We’ve got a QB with a great arm, an offensive coordinator that has proven to wring out as much production as possible, three very talented running backs, speedy receivers, a nasty front 7 on defense and a ball hawking secondary.

Oh and a brilliant defensive mind.

If something goes wrong on our quest for a third national championship in six years, it won’t be talent.

15 thoughts on “Former Gators Thinking Big About 2011… And Why Not?

  1. I believe!
    Oh and thank you Neil for teaching us that Emmit Smith once played at UF. I doubt any of ever knew that before you told us.;)

  2. It wasn’t directed at the intellegent fans; I was thinking that Jurgensen was not Addazio but Mark Richt and so I wanted to clue him in on the fact that Smith in fact did NOT play at UGA, but at Florida.

  3. I’m trying to be optimistic to Neil I love this article! If we can win the east I would be happy and if we go farther I will probably have a heart attack from bein so happy BOOM

  4. lol I know who you were directing at. But seriously whoever doesn’t know that needs to have their head blown off.:p

  5. I would love to see the tremendous talent we have explode as it should under coaches with brains and balls, two things the Dumbazzio did not have. And maybe you’re right Neil and Jurgensen is actually Richt, I mean the amount of retardation he spewed could only come from someone affiliated with Georgia.

  6. I’ve been saying this for weeks! Thanks Neil, now I’m so super pumped, it’s awesome to have you say it too!

  7. Meh, Shane Matthews is just bitter and taking an indirect shot at Meyer.

    I’m excited about WM/CW too, and these former players are just doing their jobs being optimistic.

    However, let’s remember – a LOT of people didn’t like Urban’s way. Coming from Utah he was thought to be Mormon. Then it was discovered he was catholic, which didn’t go over much better.

    Then there were his methods/style which was tolerated because it was winning.

    One bad year because of a QB they forced down his throat and they ran him off and are “revamping the system” that’s worked not only at Florida, but across the country.

    While Tebow was there and they were winning big, you can actually visualize a bunch of fat sweaty old men sitting in a room, CM Burns style, eating ribs saying “but it ain’t Flo-da Gaytahs footboal”

    “Ah know, ah know, but the mayun is winnin and the Tebow kid is makin a gosh dahn tootiin heck of a lot of munneh foe us all”

  8. Shane might be bitter but that wouldn’t mean he would over hype this years team. I would assume shane would’ve said something on the lines of Boom would have more success with the new offense for a longer period of time and wouldn’t need a Tebow every year to be competitive. Just my opinion….

  9. Urban Meyer vs. Shane Matthews was a nothing but a huge Cold War. He’s ALWAYS been honest- in fact, thank you bone, that strengthens my argument. The Meyer vs. Matthews fight began because Matthews voiced his honest opinions that Ole Miss played lots of man-to-man and Florida did nothing to counter it.

    He says he’s a Gator, albeit one who criticizes the program when things aren’t going well. Aside from the fact that neither Ryan nor I played QB for UF once upon a time, is there any difference between us ripping Addazio and Matthews ripping Meyer? Obviously, Meyer is a much better coach than Mullen, but aside from that, there is no difference- we’re diehard Gator supporters who aren’t afraid to say it like it is when things go wrong.

    I don’t think Matthews is really bitter, although I can’t say for sure because I am not in his head. He’s just doing the same thing that he always does- tells his honest opinion.

  10. Correction: Meyer is much better than Addazio, not Mullen. I don’t know why I typed that.

  11. Once upon a time, I went to school w/Emmitt Smith. 1989: he had just announced he was leaving early for the draft. My friends and I happen upon him at a sports bar on Univ. Ave. He’s sitting up on the back of a booth seat (in a black and white polka dot silk shirt, which if you’ve seen his draft day outfit doesn’t surprise you), and he’s literally holding court as people come up to him in praise, “Thanks for all you did for us,” etc. I said “Please don’t go we need you.” He said “I’ve got to”, and kissed my hand. Too bad I washed it after that; probably worth something on E-bay and I’ve got a spare. 🙂

  12. Guess so. Remember though, if we catch punts against Auburn, don’t commit 16 penalties against Georgia and convert in the red zone against South Carolina, we’re 8-2.

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