Some of you may recall that I once ran the semi-popular Gators blog "Orange and Blue Hue," which is on a hiatus for now (and maybe forever) due to my work schedule. However, it's impossible for me not to comment on this very interesting season developing before us.
Those who've read my writings in the past may recall I'm about half-and-half -- half hand-wringing, half positive outlook. It's very easy for me to go into a funk on issues the team may be experiencing.
However, a step back and an overall look at the program should show we're in excellent shape. A MNC seems unlikely at this point in the year -- not impossible, but unlikely -- and winning the SEC East seems to be the most reachable goal. Beating Bama twice, or even once, seems like a fairly remote possibility.
But Gator Nation needs to step back off the ledge, folks. Mass attrition on the team thanks to NFL graduation (a good thing), new coaches (our coaches are in demand thanks to their success), and early scoreboard success despite obvious -- and, to some extent, fixable -- issues all add up to a program that is in excellent position to be dominant again next year. Look at the number of freshmen and RS freshmen getting serious playing time, and producing while they're at it. Notice that Brantley has stepped up and converted critical third downs to win games at home and on the road. Notice that we have a running game that is starting to take shape, and an offense that has been made more conventional this year thanks to our personnel. Think that's easy to do, or obvious for coaches that live and die by one doctrine? Rich Rodriguez couldn't do it early in his tenure at Michigan, stubbornly trying to fit a square peg in a round hole for three seasons.
Look at Urban Meyer's lights out recruiting. Think we won't have a chance to rule the SEC again for another nice run? Show me more talent stockpiled for the next few years at any other SEC school. Some may be close, but our talent is ridiculous, and time has proven that this coaching staff successfully develops talent -- not something to overlook, certainly.
When we live and breathe each and every snap on the field, not to mention follow breathlessly throughout each game week for team updates, we sometimes lose sight of the big picture, and surely that has happened to some fairly significant segment of Gator Nation. I hate the buzzwords "reloading" vs. "rebuilding." Every team... every team eventually must rebuild. Look at how far USC has fallen after a long string of dominance in the Pac-10. That's not happening at Florida -- our issues are simple, and related only to the rebuilding process, and it's a short term process.
Florida football hasn't gone anywhere, and to expect this team to win every game and win championships is only reasonable in light of their imrpovement and week-by-week successes. Be satisfied that even in a "rebuilding" year, Florida:
1) Has already beaten Tennessee on the road
2) Has an excellent chance to beat rival Georgia
3) Has an excellent chance to beat South Carolina (our defense will be too much for Garcia)
4) Has a very good chance to beat FSU on the road
5) Has a very good chance to make it back to Atlanta and play for the SEC Championship
And we'll be back next year loaded for bear, and likely a pre-season favorite to compete for a National Championship, assuming Brantley continues to improve.
Don't forget Trey Burton, the heir apparent at QB, will return Florida to what it does best, being a spread option team. He'll have a nice opportunity to lead the offense down the road as well.
There are so many positives that to be frustrated with individual, short-term issues is simply missing the point of college football. Enjoy this team for what it is, a work in progress that has played hard for 60 minutes every game, and has a chance to beat anyone they play.