Chat with Mike DiRocco
Welcome to GatorNation! On Wednesday, reporter Mike DiRocco stops by to chat about the state of Florida football.
DiRocco came to ESPN.com in 2011 after spending more than 10 years covering UF for the Florida Times-Union. He lives in Middleburg, Fla., with his wife and two sons.
Send your questions now and join DiRocco Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Michael DiRocco (4:05 PM)
Welcome everyone. Let's get started.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What is the Coldest College Football game that Florida will play this season?
Michael DiRocco (4:06 PM)
Chris -- Probably the game at Tallahassee on Nov. 24.
jack b (fort walton beach)
I was embarrassed by our team's conduct last saturday. The game looked like an after school parking lot street fight. We lost our poise, discipline, patience, class, the ball 6 times and subsequently the game. I'm sure FSU will try to do the same thing. Hopefully we will refrain from the finger pointing and trash talking and do what we did all year until saturday and play solid football.
Michael DiRocco (4:08 PM)
jack b -- A lot of that discipline/poise stuff had to do with the fact that it was a rivalry game. I don't think that had anything to do with the six turnovers, though. That was just bad football and they could have done that against anyone. But you're right, FSU will attack UF the same way -- go after the ball, pressure Driskel, and stack the line to stop the run.
Mike If we win out, do you see us getting to the sugar bowl even over Ga assuming they win out and lose to bama in the SEC championship! Thanks for all your great work and CHOMP IN THE SWAMP this weekend.
Michael DiRocco (4:09 PM)
Layton -- If UF wins out, the Gators likely will be in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia would drop below UF in the BCS standings because of the loss in the SEC title game and the fact that UF is coming off a win over FSU.
What would you say the odds are that Georgia falters in either of their remaining sec games? Is there any way we could make it to Atlanta?
Michael DiRocco (4:10 PM)
UFFreshman -- Hate to disappoint you, but I think Georgia will beat Ole Miss and trounce Auburn and win the division. They only way UF goes to Atlanta is if Georgia loses one of those games and UF beats Missouri. Ole Miss would have a better shot at beating the Bulldogs if that game were in Oxford, but it's in Athens.
LALMCGatorsfan@att.net (Jacksonville, Florida)
Does Muschump plan to play Debose more?
Michael DiRocco (4:11 PM)
LALM -- Yup, because he's the best person to run the jet sweep that Patton has run so successfully this season. Muschamp said earlier this week that Debose is going to have to step up.
Given all the attention on the lack of a passing game, I wonder if the coaches feel confident with the receivers we have and expect to sign already. Are there any other big WR recruits left on the board? Someone needs to help!
Michael DiRocco (4:12 PM)
Nick -- My story tomorrow is on the WRs, so be sure to check it out. The staff likes those four commits (Fulwood, Hawkins, Bailey, Thompson) and they'll be given EVERY opportunity to play because the WRs right now are not very good. From talking with GatorNation's Derek Tyson (recruiting guru), the Gators aren't expecting to sign any more WRs.
Nick (Seymour, CT)
Hey Mike. Do you think the loss of Patton leads to more touches for Debose? Or can Dunbar fill that role?
Michael DiRocco (4:14 PM)
Nick -- That's a role for Debose, who should get more touches. The jet sweep has been a good play in the offense and the Gators don't want to lose it. If Debose doesn't run it, then watch for Omarius Hines. Don't think Dunbar will be asked to do it, but we'll see.
Jorge (Los Angeles, Ca)
Mike, Who do you think will transfer after the season? and How many?
Michael DiRocco (4:16 PM)
Jorge -- There's always guys transferring after the season. My best guess is Brissett, who wants to play QB somewhere.
Reed (Knight Library, OR)
Do you think that with the SEC only playing eight conference games compared to the pac-12/BIG-X11 having nine that it gives the SEC a competitive edge when it comes to computer rankings in the BCS standings?
Michael DiRocco (4:17 PM)
Reed -- I think it has more to do with the quality of the league than the number of games. If the league wasn't any good, then playing eight games wouldn't matter. The SEC is a darn good league (the argument over whether it's the best is for another time) and that's why teams that play in it can play for the national title with one loss, where teams from other leagues (ahem, ACC) can't.
Trent (Jackson, Georgia)
Do you think Gators still have a legitamate chance at going to the BCS National Championship?
Michael DiRocco (4:19 PM)
Trent -- Mathematically, the Gators are alive, but they need a lot of help. Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, LSU and Georgia all have to lose again and UF has to win out. Slim chance.
What's your opinion on the passing game struggles. UGA game sort of exposed the issue when rushing wasn't working like it had in previous games.
Michael DiRocco (4:21 PM)
John -- There's no one reason why the Gators can't throw the ball well. The OL has struggled, the backs/TEs haven't done a good job in picking up blitzers or rushers, and Driskel has held onto the ball too long or not made a quick enough decision on where to throw it. But the No. 1 reason, in my opinion, is that the WRs aren't very good. They can't get open against man coverage, and there isn't anyone who scares opponents. Teams are packing the LOS to stop Gilly and Driskel in the run game and letting their secondary handle UF's receivers one-on-one or with just one safety. The WRs aren't good enough to make them pay.
BioGatorDoc (Daytona Beach,FL)
Granted there were a lot of penalties on Georgia last week, it seems they blew some calls. For example, tackling our players by the head; borderline horsecollar tackles; holding on a screen pass (which I saw the same play this weekend in the NFL, no call for holding on the DL); and some other suspect calls and non-calls.
Michael DiRocco (4:22 PM)
BioGatorDoc -- There's always going to be missed calls and penalties that shouldn't have been called. The bottom line is UF turned the ball over six times. Can't win games when you're doing that.
Will (Gainesville, Fla)
Hey, Mike, when are you going to get in the arena and play instead of criticizing from the outside? Just wondering. I'll take my answer off the air.
Michael DiRocco (4:24 PM)
Will -- I'm 5-foot-4. Where you want me to line up? Actually, I will take a second to air a pet peeve of mine: When I'm asking a question of a coach, I'm not asking it to be critical. I'm just looking for an explanation because I know readers are wanting the answer. But coaches take it so personal and feel like they're getting attacked, when it's far from the truth. There are guys who do that, but I'm not one of them. I just want to know. And for those wondering, the question that prompted that response was: Would you have liked to have seen Jordan Reed lower his shoulder instead of trying to leap over 3 guys?
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will the Gators earn a BCS berth if they win out?
Michael DiRocco (4:25 PM)
Tony -- I think so. If they're 11-1 with wins over LSU, SC, FSU, they'll be high enough in the BCS standings to get an at-large berth to the Sugar Bowl.
Nick (Seymour, CT)
Any insight about Reed leaving early for the draft? Also, why is he always jumping?! Seems like he has missed out on some quality YAC throughout his career because of it.
Michael DiRocco (4:27 PM)
Nick -- I'm with you on the jumping. It worked for him once and he continues to do it. I can tell you it won't work at the next level. I think he does consider leaving early but I'm not sure where he fits in. He's still just in his second season as a full-time TE. He's got good speed and size and is a matchup issue, but he's got to work on ball security and toughness.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Who misses who the most, Dunkley-FLA or FLA-Dunkley?
Michael DiRocco (4:29 PM)
Tony -- Probably Dunkley missing UF. He'd have a chance to make plays here because the WRs are not very good. But he hasn't produced for a 2-6 Bulls team. Just four catches.
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
Will Tim Tebow be in the NFL three years from now?
Michael DiRocco (4:30 PM)
Keenan -- Good question. I hope he is, and I hope it's in Jacksonville, but I'm not sure any more. I worry about him because he is on his third head coach and offensive system in three years. That's not an easy thing to handle (ask Jason Campbell and Alex Smith).
mike- maybe this was discussed earlier in the season and i missed it but how come andre debase is not in the game at WR much? he seemed to make some great catches last year and is super fast- i don't understand why he isn't playing?
Michael DiRocco (4:31 PM)
Greg -- Short version on Debose: He doesn't work hard in practice and the staff doesn't trust him on offense. If he were to start busting his rear end and consistently work hard, he'd be on the field more.
Mike do you think it is so hard for Fla to get top notch rec??
Michael DiRocco (4:32 PM)
Bill -- I'm writing about the WRs for tomorrow, so check the story out. I think it has been a combination of things over the last five years: They missed on some guys and the staff did not develop the ones that did sign. That last part, to me, is more of a problem because you're going to miss on guys in recruiting. That happens. But nobody will develop if they're not getting coached.
What does your gut tell you about the FSU game at this point?
Michael DiRocco (4:33 PM)
Bruce -- Carbon copy of the Georgia game, without the six TOs. FSU stacks the box, stops Gillislee and Driskel running, and UF can't throw it so the offense flounders. UF can win if they get three or more TOs, but otherwise I think FSU wins.
So what odds do you give Christy to win the Ray Guy Award? ;)
Michael DiRocco (4:35 PM)
ProudPoppa -- As far as I'm concerned, he should get the Ray Guy Award and be first-team All-SEC and first-team All-American. He has been phenomenal this season, and without him the Gators would definitely not be 7-1. UF has had some good punters in the last decade, but I've never seen someone flip the field like he does. And I wish I could get the same action with my sand wedge that he does when he drops punts inside the 5.
If you don't think we are going to recruit any more WR, what position do think we will recruit to fill the last spots on this class?
Michael DiRocco (4:35 PM)
Joe -- OL and DL. Can never have too many OL.
How much does Fla win by this weekend?
Michael DiRocco (4:36 PM)
Brandon -- I can see them winning by 10. But they won't cover, unless Mizzou turns it over like SC did. Offense isn't explosive.
Michael: Is it just me or does Notre Dame get way too much attention?
Michael DiRocco (4:37 PM)
corey -- Well, they are unbeaten and a national championship contender. They're getting probably what they deserve. Now when they were 7-5 and still getting a ton of attention, I'd have agreed with you.
Chris (Laguna Niguel, CA)
Mike, why don't you think our offensive productions were higher than they are so far under Pease? I think we all had higher expectations. There were glimpses of great moments at times, but they never turned into any big trends.
Michael DiRocco (4:40 PM)
Chris -- The OL isn't as good as we thought, although they were fantastic against LSU. The WRs aren't very good and that keeps the Gators from being able to throw the ball down field. Teams are crowding the box because UF can't throw it well.
Michael: Interesting question here. If you had to pick, what College Football team do you think is "America's Team?" The team with the most fans but also the most hated?
Michael DiRocco (4:41 PM)
Daz -- Probably Notre Dame. Although Alabama might be a close second.
Am I wrong to see the next three as easy wins?
Michael DiRocco (4:41 PM)
Julio -- Well, the Missouri game won't be easy. They're not bad on defense. But La-Lafayette and Jax State should be.
MD, why wouldn't a kid like Ricky Seals-Jones, a receive who could make an immediate impact, want to come to UF and be the missing piece to a championship team?
Michael DiRocco (4:45 PM)
Tyler -- Any WR who wants to play immediately next year (or the year after) should want to come to UF. Plenty of spots open.
Mike--- Any chance Pitt knocks off Notre Dame this week? --- I'm sick of hearing about ND!
Michael DiRocco (4:45 PM)
Corey -- Uh, no. Might want to invest in ear plugs.
Did the OL just have an off day against UGA or is it perhaps not as good as we thought?
Michael DiRocco (4:46 PM)
Bret -- Not as good as we thought, although it did play very well against LSU. Plus, it's having to deal with 8 men in the box all the time because the Gators can't throw the ball. That's hard on any OL -- except for those Nebraska teams in the mid 1990s.
Will Florida be able to run the ball vs Mizzewwwww?
Michael DiRocco (4:46 PM)
Brandon -- I think Driskel will have a good day, but I think it's going to be another struggle for Gillislee.
James (St. Louis)
Given the success we've had this season. Do you see us contending for a national title next year?
Michael DiRocco (4:48 PM)
James -- There will be significant losses on defense, but I think the Gators will be OK there. The OL should be better, especially at OT. But if the WRs don't make any strides or the incoming freshmen aren't impact players, it's going to be tough. Might be another year like this one, where the defense and special teams carry the team.
Captain D (The Sea)
Which bowl do you see us going to?
Michael DiRocco (4:50 PM)
Captain D -- If you win out, the Sugar. Otherwise it'll likely be the Capital One or Outback. Chick-fil-A is in play, too.
Think anyone has a chance against Bama? They seem like a 14-0 team.
Michael DiRocco (4:59 PM)
Don -- LSU has a shot because they're good enough defensively. The Tigers won't be able to score a lot of points, though. Notre Dame is in the same situation. But the team that might be able to get the Tide is Oregon because they're so explosive offensively. Even as good as Bama is defensively, if they sleep for just a second the Ducks can go 80. I hope that's the national title matchup. Would be a fantastic game.
Josh (Dallas, PA)
Where do you see Florida finishing in the BCS standings?
Michael DiRocco (5:00 PM)
Josh -- In the top 12. I think they'll lose to FSU and will end up in the Outback/Cap One.
Michael DiRocco (5:02 PM)
OK everyone, thanks again for another great chat. Same time next week.Have a safe and happy Halloween.