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CIS Roundtable: Florida Gators Preview

CIS Roundtable: Florida Gators Preview

Stefan Adams
As we get ready for the 56th edition of the long and storied rivalry that is Miami-UF, we decided to bring back the Roundtable series to see what our writers are thinking heading into "The Big One". Let's dig into it.


Q1: How do you view Florida's success in Dan Mullen's first year last season? A fluke or a sign of things to come?

Stefan Adams
: I actually like Dan Mullen… well, before he became the Gators’ head coach. At Mississippi State, Mullen strung together some pretty good years at a historically underwhelming program in what was probably the toughest division in college football. I think you have to commend how Mullen took UF from a 4-win team to a 10-win team in the SEC with a New Years 6 bowl win in one year, and he did wonders to get a QB as terrible as Feleipe Franks to be serviceable, but I personally think UF grew too big, too fast and will see some regression to the mean in 2019. For all the previous staff’s faults, Mullen was handed a top-tier offensive line last season; will he be able to replicate that as more of his own recruits filter into the program? And speaking of recruiting, I’m not sold on Mullen’s recruiting acumen. In just a few months, their top 10 recruiting class from 2019 has already fallen apart, and a lot of that has to do with taking highly-ranked kids that other schools backed off on because of academic qualifying concerns. It sure seems like it was a desperation move that was undertaken because Mullen was not confident in his ability to go win head-to-head battles against the best recruiters in the country. I think the Gators can be a quality program under Mullen, but I still have a lot of questions about the program’s long-term ability to compete for titles.

Roman Marciante: Dan Mullen was 2-15 vs. ranked opponents coming into last season, which was the worst record of sorts in AP history. Miami passed on him twice and the whirlwind of negativity and culture issues in Gainesville has been the complete polar-opposite from Manny. Fluke. UF is expected to win this Saturday, but they will be still UGA's b*tch until further notice.

Matthew Suero: Dan Mullen understands the game of football and will have his team prepared to play every time they take the field. I feel like Florida is in for a slight regression this season. That is largely due to the talent they lost from their 2018 squad and also the schedule that they face in 2019. For the 2019 season, I think Florida will be a solid team. However, I would not call that a sign of things to come. When you are taking so many recruits with questionable academics, you are not going to have a successful long-term program.

Phil Wood: Unfortunately, I think it's a sign of things to come. If this was a program with no past success, I would say it was a fluke, but bringing winning ways back to a school with multiple national titles is huge for recruitment. Florida has a bright future.


Q2: What have you seen/heard about Miami that makes you confident the Canes will win against UF?

Stefan
: Just like it has been against FSU the past two season, Miami’s biggest strength (D-Line/pass rush) matches up perfectly for them against UF’s biggest weakness (O-Line). Jonathan Garvin is an All-American, and the fact that Scott Patchan has been good enough in camp to keep both Trevon Hill and Gregory Rousseau on the second team means Miami is going to have a scary good pass rush on their side this Saturday. Feleipe Franks was one of the worst QB’s in the FBS last season when facing pressure, so if Miami can get in his face and cause havoc, they’ll create mistakes and be in prime position to pull the upset. In that same vein, UF facilitated their entire offense in 2018 with a ground game that started up front with a punishing O-Line. With question marks on the OL in 2019, if they can't use the run to set up the pass because of Miami's swarming front, it will expose a lot of Franks' deficiencies as a passer.

Roman: The offense. The fact that a Dan Enos' offense has rule-breakers and completely put defenses in conflict is centerfold sexy to me. The shifts, the motions, the play-actions, the creative post snap RPO's is something I have screamed for from the rooftops FOREVER. Switching to the other side of the ball, I am confident the front seven of Miami will do enough to give Florida trouble. If we can piggy-back off some defensive stops and just find a rhythm on offense early, Miami most certainly can win this thing.

Matthew: Miami has a real quarterback and a real offensive coordinator. Also, Miami still has the Manny Diaz's defense. Finally, lets not forget Louis Hedley. One year ago, all Miami had was the defense. Last season, many people preached, myself included, that Miami simply needed an average offense and an average punting game to become a top-level team. It seems like the 2019 Hurricanes have at least that.

Phil: I don't see the Canes pulling off the victory Saturday, but if they do it, will be because of a much-improved offense taking care of the football and scoring when needed. But I haven't seen/heard much of anything about the offense that makes me confident in them.


Q3: What have you seen/heard about UM that makes you believe the Canes will lose against UF?

Stefan
: There are a lot of question marks on this team that need to be answered, including a completely new offense that will be in its first game. Just like the Gators, Miami has a very inexperienced offensive line, but the difference is that they will be relied upon to protect a freshman QB. There’s a very real possibility that the O-Line is worse than last year’s version that got pushed around by mid-tier opponents at times. If the starting 5 can’t get it together, it will be a long night for UM’s offense against a stout Gators defense. UM also has a relatively green secondary and will be going up against a UF offense that has their top 6 pass-catchers back from last season.

Roman: The offensive line. A new starting center and two freshman tackles? It will obviously be the talking point leading up to the game and for good reason. The fact Zion Nelson came into the program as a 240 pound, 2-star flip from Appalachian State and emerged as this week's starting left tackle sounds like fiction. Scary movies don't even start out with plot lines that freakish. If UF gets pressure consistently and often, I see a long night for Canes’ fans.

Matthew: Miami is incredibly young and inexperienced on offense. The offense as a whole is littered with first and second year players. They are talented, but they are also unproven. This offense should improve greatly over the course of the season, but they may not be ready for primetime just yet. I would feel much more confident if this game were being played in October or November.

Phil: The QB situation will terrify me until the Canes prove otherwise. Tate Martell was brought in and immediately thought of as a shoo-in to take over the starting role after terrible QB play last season. Yet, he was unable to do anything in camp to separate himself from N’Kosi Perry or Jarren Williams. Did Williams get the start because of how good he looked or because his competition struggled? Until I see Williams on the field with the lights shining bright, I can't confidently pick the Canes to pull any big upsets.


Q4: Who in particular needs to step up for Miami to win?

Stefan
: The obvious answer here is Jarren Williams, and he certainly must at least be a competent game manager for UM to win, but I want to see a big night from Jonathan Garvin. The junior’s already shown he can start a season with a bang and that the moment is not too big for him, as he racked up 3 TFL and a sack in the LSU opener last year. The opportunity is there for Garvin to feast against a UF O-Line filled with question marks. Garvin disrupting UF’s offense and harassing Franks makes it that much more likely for turnovers to happen, which I think Miami is going to need at some point to help out the offense and get an easy score.

Roman: #15. He just needs to own the moment. I am curious to see his demeanor come game time and how his maturity can evolve as the game unfolds. There will no doubt be adversity this game and Williams cannot lead a rudderless ship. He needs to be the captain of certainty and not let the moment get too big for him. If there is one Richt-ism I want to employ, it’s "Do not let a mistake turn into a catastrophe." Throw a pick? No big deal. Have a short memory and just battle on. Dan Enos has admitted that the leash on Jarren Williams is a long one and they fully expect their first-time QB starter to make mistakes. But if I would not be opposed for a change if Williams appears shell shocked.

Matthew: Shaq Quarterman needs to play his best game as a Miami Hurricane. Quarterman will be tasked with neutralizing Felipe Franks in the running game. Should Shaq not get fooled by the eye-candy Dan Mullen presents on offense and should he be able to bring down Franks and make Franks feel him, Miami will control the game. If Quarterman does that, UF has nowhere to turn to on offense.

Phil: Jarren Williams. It's that simple.


Q5: What about UF concerns you heading into this game?

Stefan
: Manny Diaz mentioned something in his weekly presser that I agreed with. I think one of the more underrated aspects of the Gators last season was how, when adversity struck, they fought through it and often times pulled out victories. They were down double-digits to Vanderbilt on the road last year, as well as down multiple scores to South Carolina at home, but battled back in both and willed their way to a win. On the other hand, Miami just found ways to lose all last season and seemed to fold in some games. In other words, UF has shown a killer instinct more recently than UM and has demonstrated they won’t be demoralized and quit when hope seems lost. The Gators won’t be put away easily, and that concerns me with a Miami offense that is very unproven; even if UM gets up early, if the Canes let them hang around with a bunch of 3-and-outs on offense, Florida will have no issue priming for a comeback.

Roman: Their Fans. They Suck.

Matthew: To be honest, I do not see anywhere where Florida simply dominates Miami talent wise. Where UF could cause some trouble is if they simply overmatch Miami’s two freshmen tackles. If Florida can make Jarren Williams feel uncomfortable without having to send extra pressure, they can really do damage on defense. If UF can drop seven guys into coverage every play they can run some zone packages that will make Jarren Williams think more than Dan Enos would like.

Phil: Their corners. CJ Henderson and Marco Wilson are going to make things very hard on Miami's wide outs. With this being Jarren Williams' first start, they're going to be looking to make some huge, game-breaking plays.


Q6: What would a win against UF mean to start Manny Diaz's tenure at Miami and for the program in general?

Stefan
: If the Canes win on Saturday, let’s just say the hype train in South Florida will run off the tracks and through the roof. It would validate all the fast-talking that Manny Diaz has done over the offseason and show that he can be more than just a good face for the program. A coach that consistently beats his rivals usually hangs around. UM will be back to ranked in the top 25 and will have the toughest opponent on their schedule already out of their way, setting them on a path to a double-digit winning season and national prominence. The impact on recruiting cannot be overlooked either. While no recruit has ever made a decision based on one game, it almost always happens where the “best team in Florida” during the season finishes with the top recruiting class that cycle also.

Roman: House money. No one in their right mind in the national media circles will pick Miami, nor has Vegas given Miami the edge. Play loose and realize you have the ability to “shock the world." No. Not the Orange and Green world where Miami fans reside and believe the Canes can win. They most certainly can. But the outside world could use the shocking. Before Miami owned the college football world, they certainly shocked it. This win would be a step in that direction. But honestly, I just want to see a Miami Hurricane team that beats who they are supposed to beat this year. I haven't seen that trait consistently in a very long time.

Matthew: When Miami wins on Saturday, the college football world needs to watch out. Miami has no excuse to lose to anyone else on their schedule and should run the table. Miami will assert itself as the best team in the state and will be able to close the 2020 class out strong. Also, if you haven't heard, South Florida is loaded in 2021. Miami will have a very easy sales pitch for the first eight months of that recruiting cycle. When Miami wins on Saturday, this ship is going to take off.

Phil: This Gators team is a very good team and a victory for Miami would mean that Manny Diaz has the Canes believing they can beat anybody. For the program, a win would be massive. The national stage, with a new head coach who invented the turnover chain, playing against an in-state, top-10, SEC rival. Wins don't come much bigger.


Q7: Prediction time: How does this game end up going? (include a score prediction)

Stefan
: This was a tough one, and I hate predicting openers because there’s just so many unknown variables, a la the LSU game last season. Without a dominant offensive line, the Gators struggle to run the ball against Miami's front and therefore can't set up easy throws for Franks, which throws the entire offense out of whack. Despite the question marks on offense, UM will hit on a big play or two down the stretch, and the defense will help out by forcing some key turnovers from Franks to lead to an easy score. The Canes do just enough to win, 24-20.

Roman
: 27-21, Canes. A close one on paper that I hope is 27-14 late and the Gators just scored in garbage time. The Manny Diaz effect and the fact he will have imprinted his culture and demeanor onto his team will have Miami simply punish the Gators into submission with an unflinching attitude and that’s the difference.

Matthew: Miami’s defensive front will control the game and Feleipe Franks will not be able to win with his arm. Miami will be much improved on offense and will break off a few big plays. Miami wins comfortable. 27-14, Miami.

Phil: Miami's offense is going to struggle early, and while the defense will keep them in it for a bit, I expect Florida to string together some drives and create a lead that the Canes can't overcome. FINAL SCORE: Florida 24 - Miami 14.
 

Comments (69)

Take their predictions with a grain of salt. DMoney has it in their contract that he can fire them at any moment if they pick against the Canes.
 
Kudos to Phil, he nailed it. You guys are forgetting the huge question mark at QB and the OL which was one of the main reasons we struggle last year.
 
Kudos to Phil, he nailed it. You guys are forgetting the huge question mark at QB and the OL which was one of the main reasons we struggle last year.
Only thing Phil nails is his first cousin.

Sorry but he's just covering his ass. That's not being a true fan, nor is it being honest and unbiased. He's saying these things because it's much easier to come back AFTER a win and say, "Hey I was wrong. We're better than I thought." than it is to come back after a loss and say "I guess we're not that good."
 
You don't think we all remember last season? But that was last year and while we may struggle a little early on we have a real offense and a QB that can complete routine throws.
You’re complete right but we just can’t assume that it’s already been fixed. We’re going up against a good Gators teams. Our O is unproven, let’s see what they can do first before we hand them the W.
 
Only thing Phil nails is his first cousin.

Sorry but he's just covering his ass. That's not being a true fan, nor is it being honest and unbiased. He's saying these things because it's much easier to come back AFTER a win and say, "Hey I was wrong. We're better than I thought." than it is to come back after a loss and say "I guess we're not that good."
After that embarrassing performance at the opener last year I don’t blame him. We have to see what we can do on offense first. I know we’ll be good on the other side but how will our OL performance, what about JW with his first career start, will the RB’s have any room to run?

If we’re good on that side we’ll be a force this year but if not it will be another disappointing year.
 
After that embarrassing performance at the opener last year I don’t blame him. We have to see what we can do on offense first. I know we’ll be good on the other side but how will our OL performance, what about JW with his first career start, will the RB’s have any room to run?

If we’re good on that side we’ll be a force this year but if not it will be another disappointing year.
I'm not disagreeing with you at all, I'm just sayin' Phil is a jackas$. He's not giving a true and honest view here. He's just covering his ass.
 
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