Thoughts of the Day: October 11, 2021

A few thoughts to jump start your Monday morning:

HALFWAY THROUGH THE SEASON IT’S A MIXED BAG FOR THE GATORS Now that we have reached the halfway point of the 2021 football season, we can safely draw this conclusion about the Florida Gators: They will drive you absolutely crazy with their inconsistency.

As they proved for three quarters in their matchup with then No. 1 Alabama, the Gators (4-2, 2-2 SEC) are more than capable of going toe-to-toe with Nick Saban’s collection of future NFL talent and even physically dominating them for 40-45 minutes. Of course, the game is played in four 15-minute increments and that first 15 was an absolute killer.

Then there was the Tennessee game, another one in which the Gators were physically the dominant team for three quarters. Fortunately, the Gators didn’t fall 18 points behind to Tennessee in the first quarter as they did to Alabama.

Against Kentucky, the Gators held those same Wildcats who systematically destroyed LSU to 247 yards. The defense really gave up one touchdown. Special teams gave up one and the other was a gift thanks to an interception that forced the Gators to defend a short field. The offense let the Gators down with eight false starts, two holding penalties, the interception and numerous wasted opportunities to put points on the scoreboard.

The Gators took out Vanderbilt 42-0 over the weekend, a game that proved a blowout isn’t always a blowout. Just because it was a 42-point final margin doesn’t mean the Gators played a consistently good football game. If they had, they would have won the game by a minimum of three or four more touchdowns.

We’ve seen enough to know the Gators can play with just about anyone when they are playing well and when they’re healthy. So far, they haven’t played well for an entire game in all three phases. Something has always been missing, and they haven’t had a full contingent of healthy players. Would Ventrell Miller have made a difference against Alabama? How about Kaiir Elam against Kentucky? The answer to both questions is quite possibly.

Even with all the inconsistencies and injuries, the Gators can look back at the first half of the season and realize two plays against Alabama and two against Kentucky and they would be 6-0 right now, ranked in the top four nationally, and wouldn’t be sweating a road trip to Baton Rouge to play an LSU team that is even more bafflingly inconsistent than the Gators.

Saturday in Baton Rouge would be an excellent time for UF to somehow put it all together and play a complete game. It’s a pleasant thought and certainly do-able. I expect the Gators to win, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for consistency.