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September 19, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike DiRocco

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Who do you think is the Best Florida Gator that is Playing in the NFL Right Now?

Michael DiRocco
  (3:59 PM)

Chris -- Probably Maurkice Pouncey. Thought I was gonna go with Percy Harvin, didn't you? Harvin is spectacular, but Pouncey was a Pro Bowler as a rookie and is already one of the league's best centers. He'll play for 12 years at an elite level.

Jeremy Schultz (Waco, Texas)

Hey Mike we all know that if Florida can score points they can compete with the best of them, but how far off would you say this Florida team is compared to Urban Meyers National Title contending teams?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:00 PM)

Jeremy -- This team isn't anywhere near as explosive offensively as Meyer's title teams. They had Tebow, Harvin, Murphy, Nelson, Caldwell, Cooper, Demps, Rainey, etc. They could score from anywhere at any time. Defensively, this team is pretty good, but it lacks the big-time playmakers that those teams had (Spikes and Haden, especially).

chris j (plano, tx)

Do you think that the Gators are deserved a better spot than 12th being that the have won both of their first two road games?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:02 PM)

chris j -- No, because I don't believe Texas A&M and Tennessee are anything other than average SEC teams. Still, very impressive to go on the road with a young QB and win those games the way they did. The test comes against LSU on Oct. 6. Be competitive in that game and that changes everyone's opinion of this team.

Lou Brancaccio (Vancouver, WA)

I'm still not sold on our QB. Don't the Gators have to be much, much more vertical when it comes to the passing game?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:05 PM)

Lou -- UF does need to add that element to the offense. But Driskel has been phenomenal. He hasn't turned the ball over, hasn't panicked, has gotten better each week, and last week in particular made some good throws under pressure. I'm not saying he's Wuerffel or Tebow, but he has been very impressive.

Alan (Orlando)

When was the last time the Gator Offense was known as a "second half" offense? Urban and Spurrier would always run up the score and try to hold on.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:06 PM)

Alan -- Different style of offense. This is a power run based offense. It has been pretty consistent. It's the defense that has been much better in the second half of games.

Ryan Miller (Dallas, TX)

I know we have a shot at beating UGA every year, simply because it's a rivalry game, but how do you think we do in that game? W or L? Also, are both teams still undefeated at that point?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:08 PM)

Ryan -- I like the matchup of UF's secondary vs. UGA's WRs and QB. Similar to Tennessee, and while UT's WRs made plays, UF's DBs did too. Problem will be moving the ball against Georgia's defense, which should be at full strength by then. Georgia could be unbeaten heading into that game, but UF has LSU and SC before, and those will be tough games.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do you think the Tennessee game will give Driskel the confidence he needs to continue his development and lead the Gators to the SEC Champiionship Game?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:09 PM)

Tony -- I've been very impressed with the way Driskel has played. He's a confident kid, anyway, but playing as well as he did on the road in back-to-back weeks should raise the confidence of his teammates in him for sure. Getting ahead of yourself for the SEC title game, at least for this year. Still a lot of tough games ahead and he's going to have a game where he looks like a first-year starter and throws a couple picks and plays badly.

Adam (Windermere)

Weeks ago you felt this team would be 7-5, do you still believe this to be the case?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:11 PM)

Adam -- No no no no. I said 8-4, and yes, I still think this team is on pace for 8-4/9-3. They will be better than 7-5 for sure. Figure the two November cupcakes, Kentucky, Missouri and Vandy and that's eight wins. SC/GA/FSU are the swing games. This team is better than last year for sure.

Johnny B (Tampa)

Any word on if Jelani Jenkis will be ready for Saturday? If not then, by LSU?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:13 PM)

Johnny B -- He'll be out this week, getting a pin taken out of his thumb in 8 days and could play against LSU. If he's cleared he could play against LSU with a cast.

Monte (Columbus OH)

Would you agree the MVP of the Gators so far the season is the Kansas Athletic Director?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:14 PM)

Monte -- That made me laugh out loud. Brent Pease has certainly made a huge difference in this offense. Great hire by Muschamp.

Phil (Cincinnati)

Do you think that Florida is an sec contender?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:14 PM)

Phil -- They will contend in the Eastern Division this year, and should be the favorite next year. Still a ways to go to compete with LSU/Bama for the SEC title, though.

Keenan (Atlanta, GA)

Which Gator defensive lineman will in your opinion go higher in the draft Shariff Floyd or Dominique Easley?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:15 PM)

Keenan -- Well, DEs generally go higher than DTs. Easley hasn't had the production to match his skills and hype yet, though.

UFSTUDENT (Gainesville)

Hey Mike! Who do you think joins me in gainesville next fall that isn't already committed? Thanks!!

Michael DiRocco
  (4:16 PM)

UFSTUDENT -- Per Derek Tyson, GatorNation's recruiting writer, Shaq Wiggins (Georgia commit) and David Dawson (Michigan commit)are two guys to keep an eye on who could end up at UF.

Tom (Windermere)

Most overrated team in SEC and College Football?S. Carolina & ND or FSU my thoughts.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:18 PM)

Tom -- Most over-rated team in the SEC is Arkansas. What a fall for the Razorbacks. SC probably isn't as good as its ranking. We'll find out more about ND this week. Same thing for FSU, but Noles looked really good against Wake last week. But it's the ACC, which everyone knows isn't very good.

Brian (Tampa)

Hello Mike, Do you think Matt Patchan is going to play at all this year? Are there any details on the kind of injury he is recovering from?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:19 PM)

Brian -- Patchan has a pectoral muscle strain, and he's out this week. Muschamp said he doesn't know when Patchan will be back. I don't think he figures into their plans, anyway. They're developing DJ Humphries to take over at LT.

CP (Clearwater)

Is Easley's knee swelling doing okay? Haven't heard much this week.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:20 PM)

CP -- He's been on crutches, but Muschamp said that's precautionary. Personally, I think they hold him out this week so he's got three weeks of rest before LSU.

Johnny B (Tampa, FL)

I though Jeff Driskel made some great throws under pressure, great running ability and cut down on mistakes. Do you think Florida has found it's long term QB?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:21 PM)

Johnny B -- He has looked fantastic as a young QB in his two starts, both on the road. The fact that he hasn't turned the ball over and is improving his reads and decision making each week says a lot. But we won't know for sure how good he is until he's put in a spot where he has to carry the team. That may come against LSU.

Mo (Richmond)

I just saw an article on how Fred Taylor's son is braking all kinds of running back records in Florida and will be a gator next year. How good do you think he is and what how will he impact the gators?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:22 PM)

Mo -- I spoke with Fred about his son a while back and he told me Kelvin is better than he was at the same age. That should tell you a lot. He should be the starter next season. But I am concerned about his high mileage. He's carried the ball a lot since 8th grade and you worry about wear and tear from that many carries.

CP (Clearwater)

Any word on Jenkins possibly being able to give it a go against the Tigers on Oct 6th?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:23 PM)

CP -- He'll be out this week, getting a pin taken out of his thumb in 8 days and could play against LSU. If he's cleared he could play against LSU with a cast.

Aaron (Fort Myers, FL)

Why do teams find so much success when running fake punts/fake Field Goals over the Gators the past few seasons?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:25 PM)

Aaron -- Against Bowling Green, it was one player who broke down and lost contain. Against LSU last year it was the team not paying attention and forgetting to keep an eye on the punter and being too concerned with setting up the return. It's a discipline issue.

Rob (Gainesville)

UF is the only team to win 2 Conf. Road Games thus far. I disagree, and think UT could give UGA a handful

Michael DiRocco
  (4:26 PM)

Rob -- We'll see about UT. Tyler Bray seems to lose it a bit when things don't go well, a little like Jay Cutler. If Georgia rattles him, can he dig down and put the Vols on his back?

Al Simmons (NYC)

How big of a factor do you think having LSU at home with a bye week prior will be?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:27 PM)

Al -- Certainly a better situation that going to Baton Rouge. As for how much a bye week helps, ask Georgia. The Gators had a bye week before playing the Bulldogs in Jax for years.

Thomas (Birmingham, AL)

How do you see us doing against LSU?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:29 PM)

Thomas -- It will be a competitive game into the fourth quarter. I don't think Mettenberger is a great QB and UF does defend the pass OK. I just don't think there will be much success against LSU's defensive front. They're fantastic. Might need a couple turnovers and a special teams score.

Bruce (Sopchoppy)

What do you think will be the solution to UF's short yardage issues that they have been having?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:30 PM)

Bruce -- One thing I think the Gators should do is stop giving Joyer the ball when he lines up 3 yards behind the QB. Let him clear a hole for Gillislee. And I do think the Gators should spread the field on those short yardage plays. That keeps the defense from crowding the box and should open up more running room.

Julio (NYC)

I agree that the defense has made great adjustments in the 2nd half but we will need a full 60 minutes against some of the teams left on our schedule. Thoughts on the first half defense so far?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:32 PM)

Julio -- DC Dan Quinn said today that the Gators are playing a lot of guys in the first half so the top-line defensive guys will be more rested for the second. That means some guys who aren't as good as the top-line guys are on the field and offenses are having success against them. It's a catch .22 -- play the top guys all game and be exhausted at the end (like last year), or rest them and maybe give up some yards/big plays. It has worked so far, so I say stick with it.

Lothar (Hill People)

What are your thoughts on the offensive line so far? 3rd down push problems but also zero sacks against UT. I am not sure what to make of them yet.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:33 PM)

Lothar -- I don't think the line is great, but it's better than last year. The tackles aren't the caliber you would expect at Florida. It will be tested against LSU. But it has done a solid job of run blocking so far.

Brian (Tampa)

Mike,The Gators don't seem to be getting a great pass rush from the D-Line. Bray seemed to have a ton of time early in the game. Why do you think that is? There seems to be plenty of talent in those positions.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:35 PM)

Brian -- It has to do with the Gators playing more guys in the first half so the top-line guys can be rested for the second half. If you noticed against UT, the Gators got more pressure on Bray in the second half and fourth quarter. The pass rushers were rested and UT's OL was a bit gassed.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Did the much maligned receiving corps provide you with some hope with their performance in Knoxville?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:36 PM)

Tony -- I have been killing that group for two-plus years, and I still stand by my statement that they're not very good. But Hammond and Dunbar did deliver against Tennessee. The problem has been that the group hasn't delivered in back-to-back games. If they come out and play well against UK and LSU, I'll give them credit and start to reconsider my stance.

Brian (Tampa)

How is the Purifoy at WR experiment panning out? Has he gotten into the games at all? UFSTUDENT: Keep an eye on Jalen Ramsey (USC CB commit) who is visiting this weekend.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:37 PM)

Brian -- Purifoy hasn't been on the field at WR since. I think it was a bit of a message to the WRs, to be honest with you.

Dave (Palatka)

TRUE or FALSE, we will see Orange Jerseys this year? Or any special uni change?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:38 PM)

Dave -- False. I don't think Muschamp is big into uniform changes and stuff. I may be the only one who thinks this, but: those orange jerseys are terrible. I hope they stay in storage.

andrew (texas)

what chance do you give the gator's of pulling off the upset over LSU in the swamp on oct 6?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:38 PM)

andrew - 25 percent chance. Gonna need some big plays on defense and special teams to get it done. A couple LSU turnovers would help, too.

CP (Clearwater)

Has Brandon Spikes given Bostic or Jenkins any punting lessons yet to prepare for a pick six then punt into the south end zone for Oct 6th? Loudest game I have ever been to in the swamp was that game in 08, I hope we can match that level this year. Any thoughts on how this years game has a similar feel to 08 being the underdogs and ranked just about the same as 08?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:40 PM)

CP -- I have never heard it louder than when Moss blocked the FG against SC in 2006. I don't get the same feel as the '08 game. For one thing, the Gators were more explosive offensively and could put up points on anyone, and the defense was lights out. This group isn't there yet.

Alan (South Florida)

When do you see Andre Debose being part of the offense again? Last year he was effective when they threw the deep ball to him.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:40 PM)

Alan -- He won't be anything but a bit part of the offense this season. He'll get a play or two, but he's not consistent in practice or working hard enough to earn the coaches' trust to get more work.

Phil (Chicago)

Other than Jacksonville State, what remaining game on the schedule scares you the most?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:41 PM)

Phil -- I'm scared of any game that starts at 8 p.m. That keeps me up past my bedtime. However, I think the Vandy game is one that people are overlooking. It's in Nashville and the 'Dores are better than they have been. They probably should have won last year's game in Gainesville.

Dapo (Orlando)

Do you think Mike Gillislie should sit and nurse his groin? Or is that too risky considering the drop off is pretty big to our back up RBs? Maybe start Trey Burton?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:43 PM)

Dapo -- Gillislee says he felt better after UT game than before it, but that may just be euphoria over the big win. If he's healthy, play him the normal amount. None of the other RBs - including Burton -- are good enough to carry the load. Burton does a good job in the wildcat but not as a RB.

Jim (Jacksonville)

It appears that Muschamp did hold back against Bowling Green. Do you think this gave the Gators any advantage in the next two games?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:44 PM)

Jim -- I think it did a little against Texas A&M but not Tennessee. The Aggies didn't know what to expect, but the Vols seemed pretty ready for what UF had. The Gators just executed better than the UT defense.

Pete (Brooklyn)

O c'mon, you are worried that Kelvin Taylor has carried alot in highschool? Based on what? What previous running back that carried alot in highschool makes you worried about him?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:50 PM)

Pete -- He has 1,134 carries already, and he still has the rest of this season to go. He was playing varsity ball as an 8th grader. He had 286 carries in 2009, 290 in 2010 and 292 last year. That's a lot of wear and tear on a young body. Maurice Jones Drew led the NFL in rushing last year and he carried it 343 times in 16 games.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:51 PM)

Alan -- He won't be anything but a bit part of the offense this season. He'll get a play or two, but he's not consistent in practice or working hard enough to earn the coaches' trust to get more work.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:51 PM)

Alan -- He won't be anything but a bit part of the offense this season. He'll get a play or two, but he's not consistent in practice or working hard enough to earn the coaches' trust to get more work.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:51 PM)

Alan -- He won't be anything but a bit part of the offense this season. He'll get a play or two, but he's not consistent in practice or working hard enough to earn the coaches' trust to get more work.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:51 PM)

Alan -- He won't be anything but a bit part of the offense this season. He'll get a play or two, but he's not consistent in practice or working hard enough to earn the coaches' trust to get more work.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:51 PM)

Alan -- He won't be anything but a bit part of the offense this season. He'll get a play or two, but he's not consistent in practice or working hard enough to earn the coaches' trust to get more work.

Chad (Middleburg)

Do you think Stanford is really good, or was USC overated?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:52 PM)

Chad -- Stanford was pretty good along the OL and DL and they popped USC in the mouth. People get caught up in the skill position guys, and USC is fantastic there, but they forget games are won on the LOS and Stanford was better there.

jack b (fort walton beach)

I've been a gator fan since 1963. Can't recall a team ever showing this much character in the second half two games in a row. We may have had more talent before but not the heart this team has shown. I think we're going to be a tough out for anyone we play.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:53 PM)

jack b -- I agree that this team isn't going to be easy to beat. They haven't made many mistakes and when teams don't turn the ball over, can run the ball, and play solid defense, they're hard to contend with.

Chris (Gainesville)

Mike, I'm a UF student a proud Gator, and a Gator my whole life. I remember when I was a kid we sold out every game no matter who we played. When will we see that again? After two great victories these boys need support at home this week. Its just annoying not seeing The Swamp full every game.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:55 PM)

Chris -- It is weird seeing empty seats, but I think the economy has a lot to do with it. Without getting political, the recession isn't over regardless of what officials say. It's expensive to go to games. Plus, the last two seasons haven't exactly given Gators fans a lot to cheer for. If UF gets rolling again, the fans will come back.

Alan (South Floirida)

Mike, with Driskel being awarded the starting job is it safe to assume Brissett transfers? If so, where do you seem him going?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:55 PM)

Alan -- I do think Brissett will leave. My guess is Miami, which is where his mom wanted him to go, if I'm not mistaken.

Chad (Middleburg)

It was Andre Debose who fumbled that exchange at the beginning of the Tennessee game correct? I believe the ESPN commentators were saying it was Dunbar, but it seemed to me it was number 4, who I think is Debose.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:55 PM)

Chad -- Correct. It was Debose.

Logan (Gainesville)

Any chance that we see Trey in the wildcat throw a pass or two vs UK? It would give LSU and others a new look to prepare for.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:56 PM)

Logan -- Maybe, but Burton is not a good passer at all. I do think they'll eventually show that just to give other teams something to worry about, though.

Brian (Tampa)

Which freshmen are impressing you the most? Who are the future stars out there?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:56 PM)

Brian -- Fowler, Bullard, Morrison. Those three are going to be big-time players.

JohhnyB (Puerto Rico)

With recruiting shortfalls on the OL won't this effect the productivity and development of the QB in the near future?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:57 PM)

Johnny B -- That's why they went with Driskel. He can run. The OL will be better. It just takes a while to fix that position.

Chad (Middleburg)

At the end of the Texas A&M game, Muschamp said that Manziel was a good QB and that "he's glad we don't play them next year". Does Muschamp already know next year's schedule?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:58 PM)

Chad -- No. It's just an assumption. The league is working on the schedule now, but UF's permanent opponent in the West is LSU and that Texas A&M game was essentially the replacement for Auburn. It's unlikely they'll play the Aggies again for a while.

Maria (Waldo)

I am surprised on some of those 3rd and shorts that they didn't try a QB sneak. Think we might see that in the future?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:59 PM)

Maria -- Maybe, but I think they'll do something with Driskel on the edge instead, a bootleg with a pass-run option. That would be a better option, in my opinion.

nick (punta gorda)

how long do you think until we are SEC contenders?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:00 PM)

nick -- You are division contenders now, should be the favorite to win the East next year, and are probably 2 years away from being able to challenge Bama.

Akeem (Chicago)

With an opponent of UK's caliber coming up this weekend, do you think our backups at QB will get any playing time?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:00 PM)

Akeem -- It's likely, if UF is up big late, but he won't be throwing it around. Muschamp wants to run the ball late in games to kill clock. More work for Matt Jones, Mack Brown.

Craig (New York City)

Tennessee's clearly not worthy. Why not start a Texas A&M / Florida rivalry? There's already bad blood with Muschamp coming from Austin and both teams seem to get pretty fierce with each other. (This would also help elevate the smack-talking between myself and my Gator buddy to new heights). - an exiled Aggie

Michael DiRocco
  (5:01 PM)

Craig -- That would mean dumping LSU as UF's permanent West opponent. That's got some tradition to it and I'd hate to see that series end.

nick (punta gorda)

how much of the playbook do you think we will see against LSU tht we havent seen already?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:03 PM)

nick -- I'm sure there's some stuff in there we haven't seen and I'm sure there will be some new wrinkles, but I don't think there'll be anything drastic.

Fake Will Muschamp (Swamp)

Please Keep Doubting Us...

Michael DiRocco
  (5:04 PM)

Fake Will -- I'm just being realistic. But I'll say this: The program is on the upswing. It'll take awhile for Real Will to replenish the talent, especially at OL and WR, but it's getting there. The Gators will be back in the national title race soon.

Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)

Hi Mike, do any former Gators come around for practice or games?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:04 PM)

Craig G. -- Yup, see guys all the time. Travis Taylor is actually working with the team now.

Donnie (Alpharetta, GA)

There was some talk at one point of us switching from LSU to TAMU. I think that was mainly because The Hat wanted to dump UF. Is that for sure not going to happen now? I would think it could be better for UF recruiting to play every other year in Texas.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:06 PM)

Donnie -- I'm pretty sure the UF-LSU series is going to stay. As for recruiting, the Gators' base will always be Florida. It's hard for a school to go into Texas and pull a kid. Texas gets whoever it wants first, and then you're fighting with A&M, LSU and Oklahoma, too.

Brian (Tampa)

Mike, shouldn't the SEC just dump the permanent rival? It's unfair to the schools that have traditional powers as permanent rivals. Also, it takes like 10+ uears to cycle through the teams on the other side.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:09 PM)

Brian -- Well, it is unfair that UF's permanent West opponent is LSU and Vanderbilt's is Ole Miss. But remember, things are cyclical and LSU will have another run of tough years. Hate to lose such great games as Auburn-Georgia and Tennessee-Bama.

Alan (South Floirida)

Mike, why wasn't Charlie Strong even interviewed for the Gator coaching job? He is by far the best recruiter in the state of Florida and has strong ties to UF.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:10 PM)

Alan -- Foley had zeroed in on Muschamp and Charlie had just finished his first year at Louisville. Trust me, Charlie will not be at Louisville much longer. He's a great coach and recruiter and he'll end up in the SEC soon. Maybe Arkansas? He did play at Arky State.

John (Gainesville)

How well do you think we matchup against FSU? I'm not really sure how good FSU is, considering who they've played.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:11 PM)

John -- FSU's defensive front is terrific. If UF's OL can't handle those guys, gonna be a long day. I think UF's defense should have no trouble with FSU's offense. I don't think EJ Manuel is very good at all.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:12 PM)

OK everyone, we went a bit over today but that's fine. I enjoy talking to everyone. See you guys next week. There may not be a game, but there will be a chat!