During the Arkansas game, Urban Meyer was shown several times from the side and back of his head. He is only 45 years old, yet is graying at a pace of a man much older. Following the game, Steve Addazio leveled the blame for Florida's struggles on his players, despite a Chinese fire drill of a final drive that was on the backs of Tim Tebow (22 yards rushing), Jeff Demps (17 yards rushing) and Riley Cooper (30 yards receiving). It was not genius playcalling that got the Gators down the field. The weak playcalling and response by the Gators over the last few weeks has knocked this team from the AP Number One spot. Yes, it is a symbolic ranking, but symbols mean something.
It also means something when your quarterback, Tim Tebow, has touches on 209 of 410 offensive plays. You have no confidence in anyone around him. It means something when your only big back, Emmanuel Moody, has 27 carries, despite a desire to run the same dive play with your track stars. You have no confidence in Moody.
It also means something when Florida is on pace to have about 23 pass attempts, same as 2008, but with less effectiveness. Or that Florida is playing well, but not closing the deal when it counts. Like typical Florida fans, we watch every game, wondering when the ceiling will fall in and our run to Pasadena will end in a smoking wreck on I-75. And it does not help us to see our offensive coordinator trying to call plays from inside his ass and our coach looking like he has aged 10 years in the past 10 weeks.
The fact is that Florida is doing what it needs to do to win. We don't know yet if they can win a shootout, but they can win a slugfest (Tennessee), crush throats (LSU) and win ugly (Arkansas). Alabama has already done this and they will probably murder Tennessee this weekend too. Florida needs a big number at Mississippi State, 30-40 points, to prove they are not trying to give the least amount of effort for the greatest gain. Because that crap won't fly next week against a rested Georgia.
As it is right now, Florida cannot win a National Championship. Championship teams are cold blooded assassins. Florida has guys who can do that and those were the guys against Arkansas who flipped the switch and won the game. But that feeling of confidence, that feeling of "We will destroy all," is lacking. Maybe is that Florida is without Percy Harvin, or that it looked like Tebow was dead for about five minutes at Kentucky. The kevlar vest has been dented a few times and it's hard to get over that. The Gators have to get over it now because not only do they still wear the crown, the bullseye on their back says "Kick Me" and Dan Mullen, Mark Richt and Nick Saban are waiting for their chance.
For the Gators to repeat as National Champions, it will take an effort far greater than last year's run. It takes more than skill and experience to do it. It takes confidence. We need to see that this weekend and especially at Jacksonville.