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God Bless America, Justin, and Inky
But please wait a week to bless the Gators
Posted: Sunday, September 10th, 2006, 9:57 PM
by Beano
• Permalink
Prior to launching into my usual blogasity I want to honor those who lost their lives or loved ones five years ago today, and those that did everything in their power to return our nation to a sense of normalcy. I was coordinating a 40-Hour Training Class for the Operating Engineers when the disturbing news began to make the rounds. I hooked up the TV to a makeshift antenna and the class and staff followed the dayís events with heavy hearts. At that point we all witnessed the worst of evil. In the months ahead we witnessed the best that mankind has to offer as our country and most of the world united for a common cause. I am still very proud of Tony and Geoff Brock for their actions that day. Their on-air therapy session helped ease the pain. LET US NEVER FORGET.

As we came to the conclusion of Calhouns Saturday Conversation Brocky asked me what I wanted to see in Saturdayís game. I said a win and to come out healthy. Mission half accomplished. It was reported by Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com that Justin Harrell and Inky Johnson have been lost for the season due to injuries suffered in Saturdayís game. Harrell will have surgery to repair a ruptured biceps tendon and Johnson underwent surgery to repair blood vessels in his right upper extremity (shoulder) and will require additional surgery in the future for a nerve injury. While I hate it for the team Iím more disturbed for two fine young men. Harrell came back for his senior season and this is not the way for it to end. Johnsonís injury was very scary but I was glad to see him wave to the crowd after being strapped to the backboard. Letís hope he has the opportunity to play again if he so chooses. From a football standpoint someone else will simply have to step up. Demetrice Morley will obviously become a bigger factor. Hey Antonio Gaines, Ricardo Kemp, Antonio Wardlow, DeMonte Bolden, Dan Williams, and JT Mapu. Itís time to earn your scholarship. WE NEED YOU!

I donít want to ever see it again. Donít schedule another team that runs the wishbone, flexbone, I-Bone, T-Bone, hambone, milkbone or any otherbone. We HAVE never, and WILL never stop it. Since Texas first threw the bone to us in the 1969 Cotton Bowl weíve been in a state of befuddlement. Texas, Alabama, Auburn, and Nebraska have all run it down our throat. So have Army and Air Force. I swear I believe Mississippi State could practice it for two weeks and meat-grind us to the tune of 500 yards rushing. Maybe we can get the geniuses of the rules committee to ban its use in the college game. That would be as feasible as the new timing rules.

We did survive however. I think some very good things can come out of the close call as well. (1) We were forced to execute offensively in order to win the game.(2) We proved that we can score on sustained drives and have some success in short-yardage situations (3) We succeeded in winning a close game. After last season I didnít think I would utter these words for some time but God Bless our offense. For the first time since late in the 04 season our defense needed a lift and Ainge and Company provided just enough of a boost. The defense simply had an off-day against an off-brand. It certainly wasnít a day off with Air Force executing with mistake-free precision. Iím not worried about our defense based on one outing. Playing against The Bone is like hitting off a knuckleballer. Your goal is to get through the game with a win and try not to let it put you in a three-week slump.

Hats off to the Air Force. They were well prepared, inspired, effective, and courageous. I agree with Fisher DeBarryís decision to go for two one-hundred percent. His team had fought their hearts out and deserved the opportunity to pull off the upset with one more properly executed play. I do not however agree with the play call. A toss sweep is something WE CAN defend. I would have put the game in Shaun Carneyís hands. He was terrific.

AND THEN IT WAS FLORIDA WEEK. Itís flag-flyin, gator-hatin, hand-wringin time in Tennessee. They appear to be more talented. Weíre more tested. They will be favored. We will be at home. It as usual will serve as a reliable barometer of what type of season lies ahead for both teams. I hate that it occurs so early but I love the intensity. After the well-being of our injured players my personal hand-wringing starts with discovering the quality depth needed to compete with a quality SEC opponent. After that Iím concerned that the Gator Defense is so much better than anything weíve seen to date that we will be shocked by their size, speed, and ability to disrupt and pressure the passer. We have had the luxury to this point of execution our offense on our own terms. That will not be the case Saturday. The Gators however face the same challenge. Their unofficial Conference USA Eastern Division Title (courtesy of victories over Southern Miss and C Florida picked to finish 1-2) will matter little when an angry bunch of Chavis-ites take the field Saturday night. Itís a special game in what we hope becomes a special season.
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