Tag Archives: Teez Tabor

Gator Defense Will Silence Austin Allen and Company

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another smackdown. Interestingly enough, I have only written one of these in favor of my Florida Gators. But fear not, because this week it’s time for another one.

The Gators beat the Georgia Bulldogs last weekend in the annual World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. While the offense may have been lackluster as always, the defense was scary good.

This weekend Florida travels to Fayetteville to play the Arkansas Razorbacks. The last time the Gators traveled to Arkansas was during the Meyer era, and they won that game by 31 points.

Overall, the Gators boast a 9-1 record over the Razorbacks. And after this weekend I fully expect that record to improve to 10-1.

It’s not that the Razorbacks can’t beat the Gators. It’s just that they won’t.

The season was actually going pretty well for Arkansas just a few weeks ago. It had only lost two games to two very good teams, and not by completely ridiculous margins. Then the Razorbacks traveled to Auburn and got absolutely blown out by the Tigers. They lost 56-3. Yes, that means it was a 53-point loss. Now that is an example of a completely ridiculous margin.

While Auburn is good, there’s no way the Tigers are that good. That’s the kind of score you expect when a major FBS team is playing some tiny FCS team. That’s not the kind of score you expect in conference play.

Arkansas did have two turnovers to Auburn’s none. But what really hurt most is its 215 totally yards on offense to Auburn’s 632.

No, Florida’s offense will probably not put up 632 yards (I can only dream of the day when it does). Actually, the Florida offense only had 231 yards in the win over Georgia. But after holding Georgia’s offense to 164 yards, that was more than enough for the Gators.

Arkansas may have an offense significantly better than that of Georgia. But it also has a defense that is much worse than Georgia’s. And because of that, this matchup favors the Gators.

My favorite game-predicting statistic, the ESPN FPI Matchup Rater, gives the Gators a 65.2% chance of winning this game. But if we dive deeper into the numbers from this season, you’ll see why the Gators are favored (and rightfully so).

The Razorbacks are averaging 30.9 points per game on offense but giving up an average of 31.4. They are gaining an average of 416.8 yards each game but allowing an average of 428.0. Furthermore, the Razorbacks average 256.4 passing yards per game while giving up an average of 206.3. And as far as rushing yards go, they average 160.4 yards per game but give up 221.8.

The Gators are averaging 29.4 points each game and only giving up an average of 11.7. They gain an average of 398.6 yards per game but only allow an average of 239.9. The Gators average 228.4 yards per game in the air but allow an average of only 134.3. They gain an average of 170.1 yards on the ground while allowing an average of only 105.6.

I’ll let all that sit for a minute. Read it again if you must.

But if you look at these numbers you’ll see an interesting pattern, a pattern that results in more W’s for the Gators and more L’s for the Razorbacks. The Gators put up more points and gain more yards than they allow. The Razorbacks put up fewer points and allow more yards than they gain, with the only exception being passing yards.

That one exception could be very significant in many games. But when you’re playing the Gators, you really can’t rely on success in the passing game. The Gators have a borderline erotic defense. Maybe even just erotic.

They have an incredibly strong defensive line, especially when the linemen are all healthy. They boast one of the best linebackers in the country in Jarrad Davis. The Gators also have Marcus Maye, who you really don’t want to throw the ball anywhere near, at safety. Not to mention they have the best cornerback duo in all of college football this season, Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor.

It comes down to this: Austin Allen is good. But he, along with the Arkansas O-line, should prove to be no match for this Gator defense. As long as this defense performs the way it has been for most of the season, the Razorbacks will end up on their knees begging for mercy, much like Bret Bielema in this lovely clip from a Hog Walk.

And just because I can’t talk about Arkansas without mentioning its first game of the season, let’s not forget that Arkansas almost lost to Louisiana Tech. No, the Gators didn’t blow out UMass, but they didn’t only win by a single point. So there’s that.

Go Gators! It’s only natural for gators to annihilate hogs anyways.

 

Email Kristen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @OGKristenB.

Photo: Bryan McDonald, Flickr

Comment on this and every other article by becoming a Campus Pressbox Insider!

How Twitter Has Changed the College Football World

Throughout this season I’ve noticed how intertwined college football has been with Twitter. Any given day of the week, I can get on Twitter and see multiple tweets about college football. And this isn’t to complain. To me, it’s just really interesting how Twitter has come to interact with college football.

When you think about it, Twitter has really transformed so many aspects of college football. Coaches tweet now. Players tweet. Analysts tweet. Fans tweet. We all tweet, often interacting with each other. The interactive aspect of Twitter has really made college football more fun in countless ways.

Coaches can tweet random facts that let people into their lives, or they can (with restrictions) use Twitter as a recruiting tool. One of the most prominent college football coaches as far as Twitter goes is Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. He uses his account for all sorts of different things, and it’s clear that fans eat it up.

I mean, I don’t even like Michigan football at all, but those tweets make me like Harbaugh a little more. He is clearly a Twitter master.

Players being on Twitter is a whole different animal. Being a Florida fan, obviously the most interesting player to follow is Teez Tabor. Though some of his tweets have been deleted, his Twitter has always been a goldmine. College ball players often just shut up and play, but having Twitter and thousands of followers on Twitter gives them the chance to actually talk.

Talking is definitely something Tabor has proven to be great at. He compared college football to slavery once. He also called out Florida’s UAA for being bogus after he was suspended for refusing to take a drug test. But in a totally different light, he’s tried to set a good example for younger fans. This summer he actually live streamed himself giving to a homeless man in Gainesville.

Say what you want about the first couple tweets I mentioned, but Tabor is clearly a Twitter master, too. He uses it not only to express himself and support his teammates, but also to try to inspire his followers to do better.

Analysts have also become increasingly active on Twitter. Even bloggers like myself use Twitter to interact with fans of the teams we write about. We also can use Twitter to promote our work and get precious views.

One very recent example of analysts using Twitter was with the postponement of the LSU-Florida game at the beginning of the month. Many major analysts immediately jumped on Twitter to give their commentary on this news.

LSU got its narrative out first, causing the majority of analysts to pick up its version of the events. Analysts were bashing the Florida team, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, Coach McElwain and even the SEC Commissioner, who ultimately made the call to postpone the game.

Clay Travis was one of the most overwhelmingly loud voices speaking out against the Gators. I’m sure he gained thousands of LSU and Tennessee fan followers that weekend. And kudos to him for exploiting a sensitive topic to get more clicks. It’s the smart thing to do.

On the other side of things was one of my favorite Twitter presences as far as analysts go, Barrett Sallee. Sallee, for anybody who understood why the game was postponed, was the voice of reason. He even went so far as to say exactly why the theory that Florida was scared of playing LSU that weekend was ridiculous.

Sallee obviously received a lot of criticism and insults for being one of the few analysts to publicly defend the Gators. But, as always, he handled his critics very well. And in this case, both Clay Travis and Barrett Sallee proved that they are masters of college football talk on Twitter.

The last aspect of how Twitter has changed college football has to do with the fans. The fan experience is entirely different now that there’s Twitter. There are really three major ways Twitter changed college football for the fans: fans interacting with other fans of the same teams, fans interacting with fans of other teams and fans interacting with and/or criticizing the players.

Fans interacting within the same fan base has become incredibly popular. Vol Twitter, Gator Twitter and so many other Twitter worlds exist out there because of college football. Having other fans to commiserate with or celebrate with, without ever leaving your house, is really awesome.

But what happens when the good people of Gator Twitter and Vol Twitter clash? Well, if you’re sensitive then you should probably stay out of it. During #FloridaHateWeek/#TennesseeHateWeek leading up to the September 24th game in Knoxville, these fans really went at each other. I got to see both sides of it, which was honestly incredibly amusing.

Having Twitter to talk crap with fans of opposing teams can be really fun. But like I said, keep your feelings out of it. It’s not that serious, bro.

This last part of things can be great when used correctly. But when abused, it really irks me. Fans have the ability to criticize and/or interact with the players via Twitter now. In theory, this is great. In practice, it’s not always so great.

If you know me, you know I defend athletes whenever my writing allows. I defended Josh Dobbs and all other college athletes earlier this season after a student wrote a really nasty article about “whiny” football players. Here’s my chance to defend players in another way.

Because Twitter is Twitter and it creates a mob mentality in a lot of ways, fan bases often find scapegoats to take out all their frustration on. Sometimes the scapegoats kind of deserve it. But in other cases, it just gets to a point that is completely ridiculous.

For example, earlier this season Florida safety Nick Washington had a game-sealing interception off a Jarrad Davis tipped ball. A play like that shows great awareness and athleticism. But, since he’s a Gator Twitter scapegoat, he got virtually no credit for it.

LOL. You have to be kidding me. A) I assure you that it was not “shitty” play that got him to the University of Florida. B) Random Twitter troll, do you start for a top 25 college football program? C) Who hurt you? D) Aren’t you a Gator fan? What are you doing??

Now, most college football players would never lash out in response to something like this. As someone told me a while ago, “There’s a reason we’re on that field and they’re just watching.” But at the end of the day, fans need to realize that the players do see these tweets. These guys are devoting countless hours, their bodies and so much else to try to generate income for the universities and entertain the fans.

Being ungrateful just because Twitter gives you a place to do so is just plain dumb. Is it really worth the RTs and likes? Is it really worth the players thinking their own fan base is ridiculous?

As we Gators would say, “In all kinds of weather, we all stick together.” Now, if college football fans on Twitter (including Gator fans) could actually take that to heart, college football Twitter would be a much happier place.

At the end of the day, Twitter has changed college football for everyone involved. I really do think it’s mostly a good thing, too. Sometimes it’s even a great thing. But as evidenced by my last point, it clearly isn’t always a good thing.

As technology changes and platforms like Twitter become even more popular, it’ll be interesting to watch how it continues to affect college football and all of us that are so invested in the game.

You can email Kristen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @OGKristenB.

Photo: Pixabay

Florida Gators Will Beat Mizzou and Prove They Aren’t Afraid of Tigers

Contrary to what seems to be popular opinion lately, the Florida Gators are not scared of Tigers. They are not scared of the LSU Tigers and are definitely not scared of the Missouri Tigers.

Due to Mother Nature having a mind of her own, the Gators were not able to host the LSU Tigers last weekend. Because conspiracy theorists are everywhere nowadays, a hurricane postponement somehow morphed into the storyline of Florida being scared to play a football game. Ha. The internet trolls must’ve been incredibly bored last week.

The Florida Gators are in the AP Top 25. They have no reason to be scared of anybody.

Apparently losing one road game in an SEC East rivalry with the Tennessee Volunteers means that the Gators are just going to be scared from now on. Not only do the Vols get credit for being a top 10 team, this was also the first time they had beaten Florida since 2004. For some reason, I don’t think that all adds up to mean the Gators should be frightened by the remainder of their opponents. That moonshine up in Tennessee must be great, because countless Vol fans would disagree.

So, now that we know the Gators have no reason to be scared of the LSU Tigers, let’s talk about why they also have absolutely no reason whatsoever to be scared of the Missouri Tigers.

Last year Florida marched into Columbia, Missouri, and beat the Tigers 21-3. This year’s team seems pretty similar to last year’s except with far more potential on offense, especially now that Luke Del Rio is back at quarterback. This Florida team also now has a great kicker in social media sensation Eddy Pineiro.

The Tigers have been all over the place this season. They started out with a 15-point loss on the road to the West Virginia Mountaineers. The next week they hosted the Eastern Michigan Eagles and beat them by a whopping 40 points. After that, they hosted the Georgia Bulldogs and eventually lost that game by only a point. Not surprisingly, the Tigers then beat up on the Delaware State Hornets the next week, winning that one 79-0. Two weeks ago, the Tigers traveled to Baton Rouge and lost to some other “scary” Tigers, 42-7.

That puts the Missouri Tigers at 2-3 overall. Meanwhile, the Florida Gators are 4-1, even though they’ve been missing some of their defensive line as well as their starting quarterback for the last two games.

When you look at it that way, the Gators have absolutely nothing to be afraid of this weekend. There are a lot of other ways you can look at it that will support that same Gator confidence.

Missouri’s biggest strength is its passing game. Florida’s biggest strength is probably its group of defensive backs led by likely first-round draft picks Quincy Wilson and Teez Tabor. No SEC team has more interceptions so far this season than the Gators. Georgia also has eight interceptions but has played one more game than Florida has. Only one SEC team has more sacks than Florida and unsurprisingly that team is Alabama. Texas A&M also has 19 sacks but, again, they have played an extra game comparatively.

By the way, as far as yardage goes, Florida has the fourth-best passing defense in the country. Do I hear a “DBU” chant starting?

Even though Missouri’s rushing attack hasn’t been its biggest strength, Florida is also ranked in the top ten in rushing defense. And even beyond that, Florida has only allowed an average of 11.6 points per game this season. With a defense like that, the Gators have nothing to be scared of when it comes to this Missouri team.

The Missouri defense, on the other hand, has been shaky at best. The Florida offense has performed similarly. But, now that Luke Del Rio will be starting again, I expect Florida’s offensive production to improve at least marginally.

Florida’s special teams? Well, kick returning hasn’t been great. Like I said before, Florida finally has a solid kicker in Pineiro. Florida also has a great punter in Johnny Townsend, who has averaged 50.2 yards per punt this season.

Basically, no matter which way you look at it, Missouri is the team that should be (and probably is) scared. I know that the last time Missouri came to town for homecoming, things didn’t go so well for Florida. But that was the Muschamp era and this is the McElwain era. Coach Muschamp is currently 2-4 at South Carolina, if you really needed any explanation on why the difference in head coaches is significant.

So, after a week off and a week of ridicule from LSU Tigers and Tennessee Vols fans alike, the Gators are going to remind everyone just why we aren’t scared of anybody. Championship teams often have one loss anyway, so you can’t count out the Gators just yet.

You can email Kristen at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @OGKristenB.

Photo of student ticket from Kristen Botica.

Comment on this and every article by becoming a Campus Pressbox Insider.

Watching Only One SEC Football Game Each Week: Part One

The Amway Preseason Coaches poll was just released and it inspired me to look forward to some of the best games that lay ahead. In all honesty, I would gladly watch college football, even just SEC football, all day each Saturday starting next month. But unfortunately that isn’t always possible, because let’s face it, not all people are the as awesome as us die-hard college football fans.

And for that reason I decided to create a list of the SEC football games I would watch this season if for some terrible reason I could only watch one game per week. Let’s hope it doesn’t come down to this, but if it does at least I have you (and myself) covered.

Week 1: #12 Ole Miss vs. #4 Florida State

While I could’ve easily picked #1 Alabama vs. #17 USC or #6 LSU vs. Wisconsin, but the Ole Miss-Florida State matchup takes the cake here. I fully expect Alabama to be able to handle the Trojans and although Wisconsin wasn’t bad last year, LSU should be able to handle them between Leonard Fournette and a much-improved Brandon Harris. Ole Miss and Florida State is most intriguing of these matchups to me because I expect it to be the closest game. Ole Miss is returning a fantastic quarterback in Chad Kelly and while Florida State may not have quite the same kind of weapon at quarterback, they do have one of the best offensive lines in the country. Usually I watch games for the defense, but this time I’ll definitely be watching for the offense. And as much as I ride for SEC football, I have to admit I do expect the Seminoles to come out victorious.

Week 2: Arkansas @ #14 TCU

Arkansas may not be a team picked by too many to have a great season this year, but I do think they’re a team to watch early in the season. If the Razorbacks can get off to a good start with what Coach Bret Bielema might call a “borderline erotic” (no, I’m not letting that one go yet) victory over TCU, then the sky’s the limit. Arkansas may have an inexperienced quarterback, but they make up for that lack of experience elsewhere. They return numerous starts on the defensive side of the ball and they have plenty of options for offensive production when you look at potential running backs. The TCU Horned Frogs will undoubtedly be a formidable opponent, but I’d definitely put this game on “upset alert” right now. And who wouldn’t want to watch a good upset?

Week 3: #1 Alabama @ #12 Ole Miss

This game needs very little explanation. Both were great teams last year, both are expected to be about equally great again this year. Ole Miss has proven to be somewhat of a stumbling block for the Crimson Tide lately, so Alabama needs to find a way to overcome whatever the issue is and get off to a better start this season. While Chad Kelly is going to be a fantastic quarterback for the Rebels, I’d put my money on Alabama’s suffocating defense just about any day. Do I expect Ole Miss to get its third victory in a row in this series? No, but I do anticipate a very interesting football game.

Week 4: #25 Florida @ #10 Tennessee

For me, this is the hardest game to watch every single season. I was raised a Volunteer but became a Gator when it was time to go to college. Since I’ve been a Gator, Florida has yet to lose to Tennessee. They’ve actually won eleven in a row in this rivalry…but who’s counting? This year I truly do expect that winning streak to come to an end. The game may ultimately come down quarterbacks. Josh Dobbs is reliable as a threat on the ground, but will he become a real passing threat this season? The Gators are likely to start Luke Del Rio this season, but he may not be the answer to all their offensive woes. I will say that the Gators aren’t going to be a pushover in the SEC East this season but the Vols return too much talent, both offensively and defensively, for the Gators to be able to handle them once again. I could be wrong about that, but again this one is bound to be another really good game to watch.

Week 5: #10 Tennessee @ #16 Georgia

I’m just going to throw this out there but the last time Tennessee was ranked #10 in the preseason poll was in 1998. The last time Tennessee won a National Championship was also in 1998. So, there’s obviously something to be said for their preseason ranking. Georgia is still a bit more of an unknown heading into the season. Nick Chubb returns this season after he was injured on the first play of the Tennessee game last year and that could be big. Not to mention, Georgia did one of the smartest things you can do when hiring a new head coach. They sought out a former Alabama coach to lead their team, Kirby Smart. Florida will tell you what a great idea that type of hiring decision can be. Since the game is in Athens, this could be a tough one for the Vols to win. But if the Vols do get that win then it’s safe to say they are national contenders and Alabama better watch out for them in a couple weeks.

Week 6: #6 LSU @ #25 Florida

The hype heading into this game last season was incredible and I expect the same kind of energy this year. While LSU returns Leonard Fournette at running back and now has a more experienced Brandon Harris at quarterback, Florida has made some adjustments. Like previously mentioned, quarterback transfer Luke Del Rio is expected to start for the Gators. If they had him at the helm of their offense last year, they might have even been able to get a win in Death Valley. On top of that, the Gators can still claim the title of being the “Real DBU” with Jalen “Teez” Tabor picking up right where Hargreaves left off last season. And let’s not forget that Florida might actually have a kicker in Eddy Pineiro to help them out in those tight games this year. With the Tigers traveling to the Swamp, I give a slight edge to the Gators here. This is another one of those games that will be highly entertaining, regardless of the outcome.

Be on the lookout for part two of this article, coming next week!

 

All the rankings listed above are according to the Preseason Amway Coaches Poll, released on August 4th, 2016.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tate Nations

If you feel the need to debate my picks for each week, feel free to interact with me on Twitter, @OGKristenB.