Florida football has reached the two-thirds mark of the 2022 campaign with an even 4-4 record overall while notching an unimpressive 1-4 mark in Southeastern Conference play so far. The next opponent on the schedule is the Texas A&M Aggies, who stumbled through the season amidst sky-high expectations.
Nobody knew exactly what to expect in Billy Napier’s first campaign at the helm of the Gators’ program but the optics are much different when it comes to Jimbo Fisher’s squad. After landing the top recruiting class in the 2022 cycle and earning preseason top-10 votes, TAMU has precipitously tumbled en route to a 3-5 record coming into Saturday’s game.
Ahead of the matchup in the Lone Star Star, Gators Wire caught up with Aggies Wire’s managing editor Joey Ickes to get his take on the state of current affairs in College Station ahead of the Week 10 conference matchup with the Gators.
Exactly how hot is Jimbo Fisher’s hot seat?
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I don’t think it’s actually all that hot… Yet. There are obvious reasons, like the massive buyout that they would have to pay if they fired him. But on top of that, there are a ton of really positive things going on in the program as a whole with the way they’ve recruited, how they’ve kept guys bought in and competitive despite this rough stretch, etc.
There’s a ton of momentum for them to hire a new offensive coordinator who would call plays in 2023, but things would have to fall apart in a major way over the last month of the season for Jimbo to lose his job.
What’s one particular aspect of this team that has resulted in the disappointing season?
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It’s been pretty clearly the quarterback play. Haynes King and Max Johnson both struggled mightily as the starters and as a result, they just haven’t had the ability to score enough points this year.
Is the top 2022 recruiting class enough to keep the fanbase at ease for now?
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For the most part, yes. Especially with Conner Weigman playing so well in his first start last week, especially with so many important throws to freshman wideout Evan Stewart. There are something like 20 true freshmen getting meaningful snaps right now. Which is a great sign for the future.
Who will be the X-factor in Saturday’s game for TAMU?
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Outside of Weigman at quarterback, who is the obvious answer, it will be the run defense as a whole. They gave up nearly 400 yards on the ground against Ole Miss, and Florida can beat them the same way if there isn’t significant improvement on the defensive front.
What’s your final score prediction?
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The last few weeks the Aggies have been within one play of winning big SEC games, but have come up short. I think this is gonna be the week where that changes, and they drive into position to kick a game-winning field goal late in the game.
Texas A&M 31, Florida 28
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