Ever since Florida finished being blasted by Alabama, my phone and email has been blowing up with people asking the same question: what happened? It's one thing to lose to a quality team like the Crimson Tide, it's a whole other issue entirely to look as bad as the Gators did in doing so. A few thoughts:
1. Dunlap being out did hurt, in that Bama was much more willing to throw early than they likely would have been had he been there. They did a great job of protecting Greg McElroy and creating matchups like Marquis Maze on Ryan Stamper that were nightmare scenarios for Florida. When the Gators began to blitz more to try and get pressure, Alabama hit them with the perfect call of a screen pass to Mark Ingram that went 69 yards and may have been the most important play of the game.
2. Dunlap's absence does not explain repeated missed tackles by usually steady performers. It does not explain dropped passes by normally reliable receivers. It does not explain a player with the chance to make the block to spring Brandon James on a punt return wandering by the one man who could make the tackle, the punter, with no apparent interest in even appearing to block him. Florida looked like another team in their all white ensemble - since when do the Gators aspire to resemble Miami? - and their performance did as well.
3. Alabama must be given their due. Even if Florida had produced a slightly above average performance by UF standards, they would have lost to them Saturday. Plays like Greg McElroy's toe hopping sideline scramble to keep a drive going on third down have nothing to do with coaching and everything to do with desire. Alabama made those kind of "heart" plays all game long. I saw very few Florida players other than Tim Tebow making those kind of plays Saturday.
4. Steve Addazio is a very solid offensive line coach. There is no way to defend his performance in this game as offensive coordinator. Florida tailbacks getting three carries TOTAL for the game is absurd. I understand that Cody clogs the middle, but outside runs were there. The few times UF did give a back the ball, they ripped off 8 and 9 yard gains. Jeff Demps is one of the fastest people in college football. He got one play with ball in his hands (after dropping a pass early - is that why?), and that is completely unacceptable. Next year there will be a new QB, Hernandez and Cooper will be gone, and UF's offense will look completely different. That means continuity won't be as valuable as it is in some seasons. Urban Meyer is a loyal guy, but he is doing himself and his team a disservice if he does not seriously evaluate what has gone on this season with the playcalling.
5. I don't think the team will mail it in against Cincy in the bowl the way Bama did last year, but the Bearcats are an excellent offensive team. This will be interesting, especially if Charlie Strong is gone to Louisville as most believe he will be by Tuesday. There's no reason for Strong to coach a bowl game when Dan McCarney's on staff and has ample time to prepare. Vance Bedford has DC experience as well, which will make Meyer's choice on how to handle the opening very interesting. I don't think Brian Kelly will be in South Bend when the game's played - just a hunch, but keep your eye on UConn's Randy Edsall for the Notre Dame gig. If Kelly did get hired by Notre Dame, it would change everything about the Sugar Bowl matchup because he's the Bearcats equivalent to Spurrier in his UF days.
Speaking of Notre Dame, Charlie Weis did something over the weekend that was pathetic. For no apparent reason, he decided to take a direct shot at Pete Carroll by claiming he was living with a grad student in Malibu rather than his wife. Weis, as quoted by longtime Notre Dame reporter Tim Prister...
"Let me ask you this question: You guys know about things that go on in different places. Was I living with a grad student in Malibu, or was I living with my wife in my house? You could bet that if I were living with a grad student here in South Bend, it would be national news. He's doing it in Malibu and it's not national news. What's the difference? I don't understand. Why is it okay for one guy to do things like that, but for me, I'm scrutinized when I swear. I'm sorry for swearing; absolve my sins."
"He's doing it" doesn't seem to leave any wiggle room, but Weis now claims the comments were taken out of context. Sure they were. The good news for Weis is he'll probably be hired by an NFL team as offensive coordinator soon and the head man likely won't let him talk at all. That way he can't say something this stupid again. I think it's hilarious Weis believes internet chatter was a big problem for him. Losing to Navy twice in three years seems like a bigger deal to me.
The BCS is ridiculous, as is anyone voting for Colt McCoy to win the Heisman. I'll hit those things tomorrow when we have the list of finalists for the trophy.