There are times when it’s important to remember the past even though some college football teams are still doomed to repeat it.
But my philosophy has always been that you have to suffer before you can really enjoy the happiest moments of your life as a fan.
That’s why I’m doing this to you.
And for this edition of Dooley’s Dozen, I bring back very bad memories. But with a caveat.
What if you could go back in time and get a mulligan? A redesign? A second chance ?
Well, not YOU specifically. I don’t think any of you are catching Lindsay Scott.
But if the coaches knew what was coming, it might have changed the course of history. Yeah, I know. There is no time travel. But we can still dream while watching Dooley’s Dozen Do-Overs for Florida football.
Don’t throw a shoe
This one is pretty obvious, but the ramifications were huge for a lot of reasons. Florida was in a battle with LSU in 2020 but fired even when the Gators appeared to stop with 2:51 left. However, after the Tigers picked up four yards on third-and-10, Marco Wilson threw the LSU receiver’s shoe into the fog and it gave the Tigers a first down. They finally scored a basket and Florida missed one and – in my mind – that was the beginning of the end for Dan Mullen.
Play different coverage against Georgia
It was a zone defense on Lindsay Scott’s famous play. Third-and-12, if Florida gets a stoppage, Georgia will have to pitch and use their timeouts, but even Larry Munson was in forfeit mode just before the play happened. Blitz, double Scott, play your fastest defensive back at 50. Whatever. There were too many linebackers not covering anyone on the play.
Call a better game against Ole Miss
Look, it all worked out in 2008. Tim Tebow made his promise, Florida won the national title. Maybe the 31-30 loss to Ole Miss helped. But I would have liked to see what a jump pass or a wide option would have done against a defense that was selling to stop the quarterback’s power play.
Don’t fumble the punt, Darrell
Florida saw its 30-game home winning streak snapped in 1999 by Alabama when they missed an extra point in overtime. But the game would have been as good as over if Darrell Jackson had properly lined up a short punt with 3:17 left. He set up the Tide at the Florida 21 and Alabama forced OT with a score. To be fair, Jackson had three touchdowns in the game.
Play well, Danny
No, we never mean anything bad about Danny Wuerffel and maybe it wasn’t his fault. But with Florida up 10-0 and driving at Auburn 11, there was a misunderstanding and Wuerffel played poorly. He threw straight into coverage and Calvin Jackson pulled back 96 yards for a game-changing score in the 1993 game. Florida lost despite 560 yards on offense.
Don’t Play Funnel Defense
Ron Zook had this way of trying to direct receivers into the middle of the field on long-range plays. He did that on fourth-and-14 against FSU in 2003. Chris Rix hit Dominic Robinson with a 24-yard pass for the first down, then threw a 51-yard to PK Sam for the winner. It’s a very painful memory because it was also the game “Swindle in the Swamp”.
Don’t put Rodney Brewer in
No offense, Rodney. It was a bad mistake by Galen Hall in Game 2 of the 1985 season. Kerwin Bell was unstoppable and Florida was leading 28-7 early in the second period when Hall opted to give Brewer playing time. His first pass was intercepted for a TD and he had two more turnovers. No. 3 Florida barely escaped with a 28-28 draw.
Hit the extra point
You all know that story about the 1965 Sugar Bowl when Florida trailed 20-0 before Steve Spurrier started drawing plays in the dirt. If Florida had scored the extra point after the first score, who knows what would have happened. Instead, the Gators went for two three straight and lost 20-18.
Don’t back down
This game more than any other led to Ron Zook’s demise. Florida led Tennessee, 28-27, on a missed extra run. The Gators ran three straight and Tennessee was out of timeouts. But after the third straight run, a defensive back picked up momentum at Dallas Baker. He backed off, was penalized, and the Vols got a reprieve from the clock and eventually threw a 50-yard field goal to win it.
Make Jack Jackson lunch
You probably weren’t expecting this one. It was 1994 and Florida was leading FSU 31-3. But the Gators continued to lose players to injury as FSU made a comeback in the fourth quarter. One guy sitting outside was Jack Jackson, who burned down the ‘Noles in the past. He had gone out with cramps because he hadn’t eaten that morning. It was the worst meeting in history.
Don’t fumble in Raleigh
I still can’t believe we came all this way in 1975 to see the Gators lose 8-7. A huge fumble late in the game brought NC State to life and they drove for the score and two-point conversion (the running back never crossed the goal line, by the way). Then Florida came down to set up a winning field goal and fumbled again. I’m still bitter.
Don’t call a trick game in the Outback Bowl