Brissett or Driskel, it doesn’t matter, Florida is in big trouble

Less than an hour before kickoff of the Florida/LSU game in Baton Rouge comes this tweet from Tracy Wolfson:

Jacoby Brissett out warming up. Jeff Driskell not.

This is bad news for a lot of people: Will Muschamp, Charlie Weis, Driskel, Brissett and Verne Lundquist, who is likely to fall asleep by halftime of what is sure to be an absolute blowout. It looks like the true freshman will be replacing the other true freshman against the second ridiculously scary defense the Gators have had to face in as many weeks.

Driskel replaced John Brantley last week against Alabama after the Tide knocked him out of the game. Now Driskel seems questionable at best leaving Brissett as the next option. A kid who has never played a down of college football, taking his first snap in the Bayou against the nation’s No. 1 team. Good luck with that.

LSU isn’t literally an NFL defense like you may hear often today. That’s hyperbole. But will most all of the players Brissett sees today one day be in the NFL? Yes. And he’s going to see a lot of them, mostly charging through his offensive line while frothing at the mouth.

If I was Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, I’d think of getting the ball out of Brissett’s hands as quickly as possible, just to protect your future investment. Although that might leave Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps open to certain injury, and you don’t want to lose them. Maybe take a knee on every down and just punt? This literally may be Florida’s best option.

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Les Miles very nearly sealed his own fate and other Saturday thoughts

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Head coach Les Miles of the Louisiana State University Tigers against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

There have been rumblings in Louisiana that Les Miles has worn out his welcome as coach at LSU. Some have written this off as ridiculous — “He won a national title in 2007!” — but Saturday night was a harsh reminder of why the LSU faithful have lost a lot of, um, faith, in Miles.

The Tigers survived Saturday night in a 30-24 win against half of North Carolina’s team. And it really wasn’t even the good half. Worse still is that LSU very nearly blew a 30-10 lead in the fourth quarter to do it.

Give a lot of credit to the North Carolina players who know the NCAA rules. They played with a lot of heart down the stretch and were two dropped passes and a probably-missed pass interference call away from winning a game nobody gave them a chance in.

But the story here is Miles and the Tigers nearly blowing the game. The Tigers failed to put the game away, and star defensive back Patrick Peterson’s postgame quote said a ton. When asked why he wasn’t on the field for a 97-yard touchdown pass that gave North Carolina life, Peterson responded, “I guess he thought we had a comfortable lead.”

The “he” in that sentence is defensive backs coach Ron Cooper, but how does that decision not go through Miles? If it doesn’t, it should. The head coach doesn’t need to micro-manage his assistants, but he does need to make sure his best players are on the field while the game is still in any kind of doubt. Miles needs to at the very least contend for an SEC title this year, or it could be his last.

Now some other thoughts on the first Saturday of college football. Read the rest of this entry »

Game 1 of the post-Tebow era in Florida goes, um, not so well

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 01:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators hugs his head coach Urban Meyer after scoring a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisana Superdome on January 1, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Urban Meyer probably has this photo framed in his house. He’s probably going to sit in front of it tonight and weep.

The 34-12 score in Florida’s opening win against Miami (OH) doesn’t necessarily send up any red flags, but anyone who watched it knows that there could be some serious trouble in Gainesville this fall. The Gators managed 235 yards of total offense against a MAC team that had one win last year. One. In the MAC.

And that doesn’t even begin to tell the story. The Gators’ offensive numbers were helped tremendously by a 72-yard run from Jeff Demps early in the fourth quarter. It was the kind of play Florida fans expect from the countless number of exceptional athletes the team puts on the field each Saturday. It was also nearly half of the team’s offense. The Gators gained 177 yards in the fourth quarter. I’m not a math major, but I think that means they only had 58 yards in the first three quarters.

To be fair to new starting quarterback John Brantley, it wasn’t all his fault the offense sputtered (he was 17-for-25 for 113 yards and two touchdowns). The Gators generally looked out of sync, and suffered from a severe case of fumbilitis. They coughed up the ball six times, giving away three of them. You think Nick Saban is going to have his boys tackling the ball when Alabama and Florida meet?

Sure, it was the first game and I’m assuming the Gators weren’t exactly that fired up to take on the RedHawks. And Meyer was probably only working with about a quarter of the offense. But based on sheer athleticism, you think Florida would have made up for that.

The defense was stout, as you would expect it to be, and forced four interceptions while holding Miami to 211 yards of offense. But if the offense plays anywhere near this bad against a good team over the next 11 games, I don’t know if the defense can hold up.

Urban Meyer goes off on reporter

Urban Meyer just tongue-whipped this reporter:

Here’s the back story (from

“You’ll be out of practice—you understand that?—if you do that again,” Meyer told the reporter. “I told you five years ago: Don’t mess with our players. Don’t do it. You did it. You do it one more time and the Orlando Sentinel’s not welcome here ever again. Is that clear? It’s yes or no.”

Meyer was reacting to a story posted on the Sentinel’s Web site following Monday’s practice. Thompson was asked what the biggest difference was between Tebow and Brantley.

“You never know with Tim,” Thompson said. “He can bolt. You’ll think he’s running, but then he’ll just come up and pass it to you. You just have to be ready at all times. With Brantley, everything’s with rhythm, time. Like, you know what I mean, a real quarterback.”

Thompson was embarrassed by the remark and the attention it got, mostly because he likes Tebow and never wanted to say anything negative about him.

You can read Fowler’s originally story here.

Meyer is out of line here. The reporter was just doing his job, which was quoting a player (not misquoting, mind you) verbatim. While Fowler wasn’t being protective of Thompson in his piece (not that he has to), he did go on to write that Thompson was “either intentional or he meant to say Brantley’s a more conventional style of quarterback.” When I read the quote, I took it as Thompson was saying that Brantley is a more conventional quarterback and didn’t mean any harm to Tebow. If other media outlets twisted Thompson’s words around and made it sound like he was ripping Tebow, then they’re the ones Meyer should be mad at.

There are some guys that would have been rational about the situation and put the fire out with water. Meyer tried to put it out with a gallon of gasoline and a sledgehammer. He could have made a public statement in defense of Thompson and moved on, but instead he had to be Tommy Tough Tits and rip a reporter to make a point. He handled the situation poorly and here’s hoping he’s ripped because of it.

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