My apologies for being absent for the past couple of days. I made it down to Columbia for the game, so between spending time with old friends and traveling all day yesterday, I haven't had time this weekend to maintain the blog.
As you know, the game itself was exciting. There were some incredible high points, and I'm willing to give the coaches and team some credit for the way they played. A couple of years ago we folded in a similar situation against the Gators in Columbia, and we didn't do that this weekend against a better Gators team. We played them as well as anyone other than Arkansas has this year, and that gives me some hope that this team is going to fight for a win against the Tigers and in their bowl game.
At the end of the day, though, a loss is a loss, and they all add up to a subpar season. We're finishing 3-5 in the SEC. The best possible bowl scenario is the Peach Bowl, and that's only if we beat the Tigers and get some help from some of the other SEC teams in the crowded middle. A more likely bowl destination is probably Nashville or Memphis, and Shreveport or Birmingham aren't out of the realm of possibilities if we can't beat Clemson. That's all incredibly disappointing to me. I really thought this team was capable of doing bigger things, and while I'm willing to give this young group until next year before I really pass judgment on them, I think we should have rightly expected at least eight wins this year, especially after the fast start.
A few more thoughts on the game after the jump.
Despite the turnovers, Stephen Garcia played a quality game. He had Gators in his face more or less all afternoon, yet he still managed to make some great throws and runs. Florida doesn't give you much, but he still managed to take a little bit. I can't wait to see what he looks like next year.
I was also incredibly impressed by our running game. Whatever you want to say about our offensive line's inability to protect Garcia, you have to admit that Eric Wolford has made a difference for the running game. Now if only we could commit to it, like, you know, when it's 3rd and 2 and you can tie it with a field goal.
- Our defense also played well. I was especially impressed by Clifton Geathers, who was in the backfield all night. If he can play like that again in two weeks when we have Cliff Matthews back on the field, we can make things frightening for Kyle Parker.
- The defense's few hiccups, though, made a major difference. We really whiffed on Riley Cooper's long touchdown.
Florida's defense is unbelievably good. Despite getting some truly breathtaking play at times from Stephen Garcia as well as a surprisingly good from Brian Maddox, the Gators still held us to 14 points and around 250 yards. Moreover, they made the plays when it mattered. The interception at the beginning of the fourth was the big one, obviously, but the multiple sacks on our last couple of drives were also huge for making sure we didn't find a way back into the game.
- I sure am glad that we managed to stop Florida on their final drive. Trying to score in that situation was uncalled for on Urban's part, but I guess I wouldn't have expected anything less from Corch.