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Just What I Feared


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I get the headlines out of Gatorland on my phone in the days directly after a game.
Of COURSE we are all down, somewhat disappointed and depressed after not just ANY loss to a certain extent, but at least DOUBLY so to UK, the WAY it happened (AR having to shoulder the DARK spotlight this time) in the context of how the season had STARTED--cor him AND for "US". More than ever we have had it stressed that the two are irreversibly intertwined.
Dooley leading with the "glaringly obvious"--how young and inexperienced Anthony Richardson is and how he came INTO Week 2 sensing fans may be going too far, too fast...And now he reminds us: AR is neither as great yet as Week 1 had fans (and everyone ELSE!) SAYING he is, nor as poor and disappointing as many (certainly among "everyone ELSE") is bemoaning now.
Anthony always DID have a ways to go; Mullen hardly played nor even really "brought him along" last season the way he might have/SHOULD have.
We just don't KNOW how much that banged up leg limited him here against UK, but long as he is reasonably healthy this season we will see strong improvement, AND some dazzling performances just as expected, too, as play continues.
He took full responsibility--maybe more than he should...but that is what "team leaders" DO.
Now, with respect to the above title here:
This is not just unwarranted, but exactly the kind of thing I began to worry about the moment I began to buy into Billy as possibly EXACTLY the right kind of person to rebuild us, bring us more of a strong, steadily more tough and exciting program, once again among the elite--year in/year out.
When I heard his remarks, I didn't t take it like that at ALL: I don't believe in "moral victoriez" at this level EITHER, but I didn't hear that in Napier's lostgame comments. Was I wrong?
We KNEW it would take time, hard work--ups and DOWNS. However, there always remains that inevitable portion of shallow fans whose sole measure of achievement is the very latest result: I guess we can only assume Coach understood that when he TOOK this job, and was prepared to take all aspects of those "ups and downs" in stride...
For now, the main thing is that Coach told the truth, said what needed to be SAID--and told it STRAIGHT.
On behalf of himself and the staff he took RESPONSIBILITY, NOT necessarily "blame".
We ALL want WINS--Players, coaches, boosters, fans... There was and still IS a lot of WORK to be done.
For a lot of reasons this one hurt, hurt badly.
But DAMN--give the man a BREAK. He already appears to "FEEL IT!" like no Coach we've had since SS (maybe Zook too--but we never got much hint HE might be able to DO a whole lot about it...I was never sure WHAT Meyer was feeling--about ANYTHING; Muschamp seemed to have just the various shades of ANGRY; MacEllwaine was all-"management", and Mullen, well, you just can't take anything that fellow said or DID at face value).
Coach Napier is real. I'm thinking "What you see (and HEAR) really IS what you get!".
We all NEEDED that--not just the fans and media, but the team and program.
Let's not hate on him for that:
"Embrace it. Cherish it. He's gonna make you PROUD one day."
(Yes--I WILL quote Al Pacino at key points sometimes. Am looking forward to an excuse for trotting out, "Say hello to my little FRIEND!!!")


Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
All QBs have to start games against new opponents. Richardson might be the first QB in history to face ranked opponents in his first three starts: #2 (eventual national champion and top-3 defense), #7, and #20. He did so with only 38 pass attempts as a backup. 99% of all other dual threat QBs went 5 or more games and 120+ pass attempts before facing 3 ranked opponents—and none of them did 3 in a row.


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Important to point that out, apparently...for the benefit of those (both outside AND--sadly--inside "Gator Nation") now voicing 2nd thoughts just days after being "over the MOON" in their praises.


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Anthony himself--and probably us fans as much or MORE--need a big win against USF.
I mean, one healthy OFFENSIVE BREAK OUT, one that has us scoring early and often and has the announcers debating the "ifs and whens" of bringing in one of our lesser back-ups for AR (despite his need for "maximum reps") as early as the 3rd quarter? I normally don't look for, let alone project such outcomes--but it seems an opportunity for a much-needed "washing the taste from our mouths" from Game 2.
Or am I a damn fool for saying that out loud?