It's just been one of those years for the Florida Gators, as the team has dropped more games than fans are used to. Even in victory, the team hasn't looked particularly threatening.
But even after surviving the ride to this point, probably with your eyes closed and teeth gritted for most of it, the Gators are right where we thought they would be: Playing for a spot in the SEC Championship.
Those three losses might not be part of what was expected of this team, but the tide has shifted since then. The team finally looks like it is figuring things out, putting pieces together and heading in the right direction.
You can credit a lot of that to the man at the top, Urban Meyer, who seems to have finally found a balance, not only with the team but with himself and his coaching duties.
Heading in to the season, there were many questions surrounding Meyer's health and his ability to delegate many of the duties that he was used to monitoring so closely. His fine comb on the attention to details is a major reason why the Gators have been so successful under his watch. But as Meyer tried to pass that comb around to others, the team seemed to struggle with the lack of direction and cohesiveness. It could be seen in the discontinuity even from one play to the next. The lack of rhythm and discipline seen from the team was certainly surprising.
Of course, looking back on it all, we probably should have realized that there would be a transition period as Meyer figured out how to properly manage his health and his team, without sacrificing any in either arena. If you suddenly had to completely change the way you approached life for as long as you remember, wouldn't you want a little bit of slack as you found the right combination and approach to things all over again?
It may not have been that stark, but it was clear that Meyer knew the way things were delegated prior to the season just wasn't working out. It would be hard to make major changes in a few days time, but with an extra week to shuffle some things around, Meyer seems to have gone back to the lab and returned with the right concoction to get the Florida Gators back to being Meyer's Gators.
Now, we are finally seeing some creativity and thinking outside the box when it comes to the offense. It may not be completely unpredictable, but the team has found a way to get into a groove and finally put points up on the board. A lot of that may have come from the realization that a few more fundamental changes needed to be made without Tim Tebow lining up in the shotgun. Many people don't like seeing two quarterbacks rotating behind center, but Meyer said to hell with that, we need to use all three to win. It's unconventional, but you can't say Meyer doesn't know his players and won't find the right wrinkle to win his team games.
Most importantly, we saw signs of life from Meyer's beloved special teams that was left for dead when he handed the reins over before the season. The only thing that was surprising about Meyer retaking control of the unit was how long it took him to do it. But even then, it didn't take very long to see vast changes with a pair of blocked punts last weekend.
The special teams isn't completely back to where it needs to be, but neither are a lot of aspects of the team. But they now finally seem to have a sense of direction and things are starting to feel right in Gainesville again.
The team may not have lived up to preseason expectations, but it is finding its way at just the right time. Just when it seemed like the season was about to swirl down the drain, Meyer decided to take more control and the results are starting to show. He seems to be pushing the right buttons now, and some of that probably has to do with the fact that he is actually the one pushing them. And, with a trip to Atlanta on the line, it's kind of hard to doubt the man who hits the right notes in the most important games, especially when his seems to be finding its tune again.
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