LISTEN IN: Mark McLeod
ESPN Radio host from Gainesville previews LSU-Florida matchup
By CODY WORSHAM
Tiger Rag Editor
ESPN Radio’s Mark McCleod joined Tiger Rag Radio Tuesday night from Gainesville ahead of LSU’s matchup against Florida in The Swamp on Saturday. Mark is a former columnist with Gator Country who now hosts his own radio show in Gainesville and Ocala.
He called in with Jeff Palermo, Cody Worsham, and Richard Fischer to talk Gator football and preview Saturday’s contest between the two top-10 teams.
Jeff opened by asking Mark how shocked Florida fans are with the Gators’ 4-0 start
“I don’t think there’s a lot of shock. I think there’s… I would use the word surprise in the offensive line play, certainly in the quarterback play of Jeff Driskel, and maybe they found a little more use and playmaking ability out of wide receivers than they had last year, so I think that’s kind of where everybody is right now.”
Jeff followed up with a question on what’s clicked for Driskel in 2012.
“You know, Jeff, he’s playing like he did in high school. He’s got a grasp on things, he’s playing much more loose. If something breaks down he’s not panicking, he’s not holding the ball like he did last year. Certainly, it was even worse than it was this year, if you can believe that. He’s really doing things a little bit differently this year, and he seems much more at ease in Brent Pease’s offense and Brent Pease’s direction. I think if you look at those things, you look at the Florida run game, it’s very different than it was last year where it was a speed game with Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps. Now, it’s a bit more of a power game certainly with Mike Gillislee, and then you’ve got guys like Trey Burton in there and Mack Brown. So I think that it’s helped Jeff adjust a little bit and certainly that time last year didn’t go to waste because he’s been pretty good this year, and has adjusted really well under Brent Pease.”
Cody then asked whether or not Florida, who is 1-7 in October games over the past two seasons, could avoid another huge drop off entering SEC play.
“That’s where the shock would come in, if Florida were to go 4-0 in October. Then you would have Gator nation absolutely shocked and stunned, as would the world of college football. Will Muschamp has told us that the difference between this year’s team and last year’s team first and foremost is maturity. Most of these guys are back. They experienced last year, experienced a lot of disappointment last year, were able to come in under a new direction under Jeff Gillman, strength and conditioning coach, who really worked with the guys to make them become stronger and add some bulk to those guys and they gained confidence and they gained a lot of momentum through that summer in those conditioning workouts right into August and right through September. I think this is going to be the key - this game right here is really going to be a barometer of where Florida football is. They’ve made it to this level: level one and level two. But now you’re getting to the top step now when you’re going against the likes of LSU.”
CLICK HERE to listen to Tiger Rag Radio’s interview with Mark McLeod in its entirety.