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  • Tim Tebow during the first half of the Gators' 26-3 win against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday, September 6, 2008 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. Photo courtesy of Tim Casey.

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Written by Andrew Spivey, April 24, 2015, 1 Comment,
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In the latest episode of Gator Country’s  podcast, Nick de la Torre and Andrew Spivey talk all things Florida Gators Gators sports including the recent signing of Tim Tebow to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Also in this podcast the Gator Country gang talks about the recent arrest of J.C. Jackson and what it means for his future at Florida plus how the Gators are doing on the diamonds.

Stay tuned to GatorCountry.com for many more podcast on the class of 2016 recruiting as the coaches hit the road recruiting plus many more baseball and softball updates.

* * * TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:            What’s up, Gator Country? Your boy, Andrew Spivey, back ready for action. My man, Nicholas de la Torre has finally come back from the Windy City. Did the wind blow you back, or did you actually get to fly in an airplane?

Nick:            The wind helped us get back quicker, that’s for sure. The Windy City is no joke. If it says it’s 50 it feels like 30. The wind is crazy there. Very cool city though, I definitely recommend. Any of you, if you have the opportunity, go check it out.

Andrew:            Wrigley Field. I cannot lie. I’m a little jealous of Wrigley Field. I want to go there. It’s on the bucket list, and I’m going to go there. One of the most famous Gators of all time got kind of his dream come true.

Nick:            You know what time it is, Andrew?

Andrew:            What time is it?

Nick:            It’s Tebow time.

Andrew:            Tebow mania. I love it. I cannot lie. When Twitter lights up with Tebow I light up. It’s just like the man. The man, the myth, the legend, Tim Tebow. I know you and I are probably going to disagree here. So let’s just debate it. Who cares? Nothing else to talk about. It’s off season. Let’s just debate it. You want to go first, Nicholas, or you want me to go first?

Nick:            You can go first.

Andrew:            Okay. I think it’s a great move. Here’s my reasons why it’s a great move. A, Tim Tebow, with the day and age right now, we’re going through right now in Gainesville, of bad reputations, players getting arrested. That’s something Tim Tebow’s never going to do. Is the media circus going to be around there? Sure. But it’s going to be mostly positive, because he’s a great guy. Second of all, the guy wins games. You can’t lie. The guy wins football games, and whether it looks good or it doesn’t look, he wins football games. It does not matter how good it looks, as long as he wins games. The third thing, my point, is it’s Chip Kellys offense. That is Tim Tebow’s offense made over, and he’s better than all them other slouches on that team. So I’m all for it. I’m ready to see Tebow time, and I hate Philadelphia, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them win a Super Bowl if Tim Tebow got to be the MVP.

Nick:            Okay. Here we go. I’ll agree with a couple things you say.

Andrew:            You’re going to agree with me?

Nick:            A little bit.

Andrew:            Okay.

Nick:            First thing is I agree. I think this is the spot. Everyone said when Tim went to New York, that’s the spot, because look, Rex Ryan went out. They traded for him. They want him. It quickly became apparent that New York wanted Tim Tebow because of that media circus. They wanted the back page headlines over the Giants, and they just wanted the media circus around the team. It became very clear that Rex Ryan had no intention, despite telling Tim before he came over that he would have a chance to win the starting job. It became apparent that that was not the case. Tim Tebow was never going to be named the starter in New York. It was going to be Mark Sanchez.

Right now, Chip Kelly, last season Philadelphia ran the most read option plays in the NFL. They ran 514 read option, zone read kind of plays, which is what Tebow ran with Urban Meyer at Florida. The next closest team was Russel Wilson in Seattle, and they have 235. So less than half of what Philadelphia ran. So I think what you’re seeing is Chip Kelly, and Nick Foles is not the guy to run that style of offense. They traded him, despite having a very good year in 2013, before getting hurt last year.

Sam Bradford’s coming off of two ACL surgeries. He wasn’t even mobile before two ACL surgeries, so that’s not really your guy to run that kind of offense. Mark Sanchez is not that guy. This is a guy that ran into an offensive lineman’s butt and fumbled the ball. He’s not a guy that you want running the football. So I think in Chip Kelly you get the first coach who has believed in Tim Tebow since Josh McDaniels drafted him. So Tim has that going for him. So in that aspect I say, yes, he’s a good fit. He’s been working on his throwing motion for 18 months, since he’s been out. He’s been working on his throwing motion for 18 months with Tom House, who’s worked with Tom Brady, Drew Breeze, Carson Palmer, and big league pitchers on throwing motions.

I believe that the problem I have with it, and it’s nothing that involves Tim. It’s no fault of Tim. It’s what you’re saying right there. It’s the media circus.

Andrew:            But that’s not his fault.

Nick:            No, and that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that it’s not his fault, because what happens is the media circus, and the fan frenzy that comes along with it. Right now when you look at it Tim Tebow is the third string quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. There’s more buzz about him than any of the other quarterbacks on the roster. So what it does is creates headaches for the team. Now you’ve got wide receivers and running backs and linebackers being asked questions about Tim Tebow, and they’re saying, I don’t know. The third string running back on NFL roster’s maybe getting eight snaps a week. I don’t know. What does he look like in practice? I don’t know. He took eight snaps. I don’t know what he looks like.

In the media circus that comes with him, Sam Bradford incomplete pass. People freak out. Tebow has to be in there. Tebow has to be in there. It’s to no fault of Tim’s, but the media circus that follows him is what has hampered him throughout his NFL career, because it hasn’t given him the opportunity to just sit back and learn and develop. The media circus that follows him demands that he’s in there right now, that he’s playing right now. This is a guy who hasn’t played football in the NFL for two years. He needs time, and to say that he’s going to get that time and that time is going to afforded to him with the media circus that follows him is just not the case.

Andrew:            Now hold on. When he was in Denver, and he was winning eight games in a row and winning a playoff game, the media calmed down with him. He was winning games. My thing for this is, first of all, he’s not a fourth string quarterback. He’s not going to be fourth string. You go to the roster now, he’s probably second string behind Sam Bradford. Tebow could not play for 10 years, and he’s better than butt fumble Mark Sanchez. He’s awful. I guess my thing is good publicity for Tebow means less bad publicity for Ray Rice. Less bad publicity for Adrian Peterson. The NFL needs good publicity.

Nick:            No, I’m saying the NFL gets great publicity. Listen, like you said, absolutely. Tim Tebow’s a guy you’re never going to have to worry about. When he leaves the house on Saturday night, Friday night, you never have to worry about what Tim Tebow’s going to do. You’re never going to go to sleep and wake up with a bad Tim Tebow headline in the morning. For the NFL Tim Tebow is fantastic, drives ratings, stories. Tim Tebow brings the NFL more money.

For the Eagles though, for the organization that he signs, that media frenzy around him becomes a distraction. Now it’s not, Coach what happened on that third down? It’s, Coach, why wasn’t Tim Tebow in the game there? The only answer for Chip Kelly is, listen, I see the guy every day in practice. He’s our second string quarterback. He’s our third string quarterback, whatever he is. He’s not our starter. That’s why he’s not in the game. Then it’s the same questions over and over. What about Tebow? It becomes a headache for that organization. For the NFL as a whole is fantastic.

Andrew:            It becomes a headache if you allow it to be a headache though. That is the thing. Rex Ryan wanted it to be a headache, so it was a headache. Bill Belichick was like, it’s not going to be a headache, so it wasn’t a headache.

Nick:            Right, and they cut him.

Andrew:            Sure, they cut him.

Nick:            That’s why it wasn’t a headache, because they cut him.

Andrew:            But it wasn’t even a headache when he was on the roster going through training camp. It wasn’t a headache, because Bill Belichick didn’t allow it to be a headache. I’m not sure that Chip Kelly allows it to be. I think it’s more of do you allow it to be a headache or not? Part of it can be good. You bring it in, all the headlines go to him. The rest of your team gets to go and go for it, but I don’t see, for Chip Kelly, in my opinion, it’s a win-win situation. A, you get good publicity out of it, and, B, you get a potential to have a good quarterback, and if it fails, it fails. You cut him. You’re not going to get bad publicity for cutting Tebow because he didn’t make your roster, if you gave him the opportunity. I can’t see where it’s a bad situation for him, and again, the guy’s a winner. You can’t debate the guy wins football games. It does not matter. He wins football games.

Nick:            Yeah. He did. When he started he took 1-4 Denver team, and he turned them into the NFL’s top rushing attack that year. Even though he’s winning football games that was a bad offense. That defense played light’s out. There’s just something about Tebow, and there always has been, that’s not quantifiable. It may look ugly, but, like you said, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if it’s ugly or if it’s pretty, if you get a W, that’s all that matters. There’s just something unquantifiable about Tebow. It’s that passion and that drive to win that a lot of people don’t have. A lot of people when you get to the NFL it’s a nasty business. Guys who are 27, now you’re old. You’re getting pushed out. We’ll find someone cheaper and younger than you to do what you’re doing, and we’ll pay them less.

So it’s a nasty business, and you get guys that turn into, well this is just a job for me. I’m just here to collect a paycheck. That’s never going to be Tim Tebow. This is a guy, working for SEC Network, and he’s still flying across the country to LA to work with Tom House. So obviously the passion is there, and the want and the drive. You always intangibles with Tebow, and those are through the roof. You can’t put your finger on it. It’s just something about him.

I just think that Bill Belichick is a one of a kind coach. Bill Belichick can get asked Tim Tebow questions 50 times, and he’ll give you the exact same answer 50 times. His blood pressure doesn’t raise. He just says, he’s fine, or he took reps today. He was at practice. Chip Kelly has already shown that he can get snippy with the media. Reporters will try to ask, a lot of times a reporter’s story will be written, and he’s looking for a very specific quote. So he’s questions in a specific way to get a certain answer, and when Chip Kelly gets four questions that are all asking the same thing, just worded differently, he’s shown the propensity to lose his temper a little bit.

So I think when you start getting into these camps, and all of the questions are going to be about Tebow. Nobody’s going to care about what Sam Bradford’s doing or how his knee rehab is going to be. How’s Mark Sanchez? It’s what did Tebow do today? That’s going to be the only question. I think that starts to wear on a head coach who’s worrying about all the games that are coming up, trimming the roster from 75 down to 53, and the season coming up, and all he’s being asked about is one specific player.

Andrew:            But that could be good for Sam Bradford, because, A, it takes the attention off of him, allows him to recover, and the scrutiny’s not there, but, again, I think that all of the media aside, this is the perfect fit for Tim. Like you just said, even if it just to run their run game package, their sweeps, their options, their play actions, anything like that, from the gun, even if it’s just he has a small portion of the offense. You’re not going to find a better guy that can do that. Even Russell Wilson, Tebow is a better runner than Russell Wilson. So, again, I can’t see negatives in this. All I can see is positives.

Nick:            Listen. There is, with Tim Tebow in the NFL, there is no better NFL quarterback at running that zone read. There’s no NFL quarterback built the way that Tebow is, in a similar fashion to Cam Newton, that has the willingness to tuck in that ball. He just has the instincts when to tuck it and run it and when to keep it. Cam has dealt with some injuries, so he’s become a less willing runner, and they really made him the franchise guy. So they’ve asked him to run less and less. Cam Newton in his rookie year and his second year was basically Carolina’s go lineback. When they got inside the five there was no handing the ball off. We’re just going to run Cam up the middle until he got into the end zone.

So I think as a pure fit, and if Chip Kelly really believes that Tebow has made enough progression. Skip Bayless, and I can’t stand Skip Bayless, but Skip Bayless wrote a column, and he said that Chip Kelly came and worked out Tebow and loved what he saw. They wanted to sign Tebow the day they worked him out, because I remember everyone was talking about Chip Kelly brought in Tim Tebow. No, he sent him home. They didn’t sign him. They’re not going to. Skip Bayless quotes sources that he has saying that Kelly wanted to sign Tebow that day, but they were still holding out hope that they would be able to trade Matt Barkley to my Dolphins. Thank God that fell through. That basically after that workout signing Tebow was a formality.

So if you go into the situation thinking, Chip Kelly believes that Tim Tebow can run his offense, and is going to give him an opportunity, one that he obviously wasn’t going to have in New England, because Tom Brady’s there. One that he didn’t even really have in Denver. With, who was it? Was it Plummer? Who was there?

Andrew:            No. It was Brady Quinn was there, and it was Tebow.

Nick:            Kyle Orton. It was Kyle Orton. Tebow was never really even given a chance. The only time he was inserted in was after Orton went 1-4. Then they had a bye week, and they gave Tebow the job before the bye week, let him work with the ones for the bye week, and then the week leading up to the game. If Chip Kelly is actually going to give Tebow and afford Tim the opportunity to win a starting job, and we all know he’s not a great practice player. Urban Meyer would have told you that while Tebow was winning national championships here at Florida.

Not a great practice player, but if he has a chance to win I think this system is perfect, and that Chip Kelly is enough of an offensive guru mastermind to figure out ways where, okay, Tim’s motion may be shorter now, but it’s still a little bit long. What routes is best throwing? How do we utilize his running? System wise I think this is the best opportunity for Tebow to succeed. So this will be Tim’s last opportunity. I think if this doesn’t work out in Philadelphia I don’t think any other team would take a chance of signing him, but I think this is his best opportunity to be a successful quarterback in the NFL.

Andrew:            Yeah. Again, I think it works out, but the one thing I want to hit on real quick is you know where Tom House played ball at, right?

Nick:            Where’s that?

Andrew:            He was an Atlanta Brave.

Nick:            I don’t like him.

Andrew:            There it is. Well, all things can’t be good, and we know that. Bad publicity this weekend for the Gators. A guy you and I were pretty close to during the recruiting process, JC Jackson, arrested for allegedly armed robbery. He didn’t have the gun, wasn’t the one holding them up, but he was there. You were just telling me that basically he can get charged with the same crime. Tell me what you know. I know you have a better perspective on this, so tell me what you know about what he’s facing, the crime, and such.

Nick:            Well, I was able to get the police report while I was in Chicago, and basically the police report said that there were three victims in the apartment, and the victims, their names were not released, because two of the alleged robbers are still at large, haven’t been caught. So they’re just Victim 1, 2, and 3. JC Jackson called Victim 1, who lived in the apartment. Said we’re going to come over, we’re going to smoke some weed. Jackson comes over, opens the door, Victim 2 and 3 see him. JC kind of just opened the door, peeped in, then closed it. Victim 1 comes. Opens the door, sees JC, let’s JC in, and let’s these other two guys in who have yet to be identified. They’re there for a little while talking. Then JC says he has a phone call, leaves the apartment, and is gone. Never went back into the apartment, wasn’t there after the robbery took place.

According to the police report, Victim 1 said almost as soon as Jackson left one of the other two men grabbed a bag of weed from the table, took out a handgun, and demanded that the other three people who lived in the apartment get down on the ground. They wanted to know where the rest of the weed was, where the bigger pile of money was. Then made the people who were there in the apartment take all the money from their pockets. They ended up leaving the place with some marijuana, $380 in cash, and two Xbox systems. They left.

When the robbery was reported the police provided a lineup, and the victims were able to point out JC Jackson. One, because they had dealt with him before, and, two, obviously because he’s a Florida football player. It’s very hard for most football players, scholarship guys, to walk around Gainesville without being noticed by somebody. So Jackson found out that he was identified and turned himself in on Sunday. Sunday he was arrested. Due to the violent nature of the crime, the state of Florida didn’t even have to give him bail.

So JC Jackson is facing a first degree felony, robbery with a firearm charge. That’s serious. That’s mandatory 10 years plus in prison, and even though he wasn’t there there is a Florida statute 777.001, and I won’t read you. It’s all legalese, but basically what it says is that Jackson, because he facilitated the robbery in bringing the people there can be charged as if he was there and held the gun and did the robbery himself. Basically, a better analogy is if you are the getaway driver in a car for a bank robbery. In the state of Florida you are as guilty as the people who went into the bank and took the money.

So right now Robby Andrew at the Gainesville Sun reported that JC’s not talking to cops to tell them who the other two guys are. Right now, after talking to an attorney, who’s not representing Jackson, just an attorney who’s been practicing for more than 20 years in the state of Florida, he told me that Jackson’s best case scenario is if he rolls over on his buddies and the state decides to give him a deal. He’s had run-ins with the police before. There was the time in December where he, Treon Harris, and Jaylen Tabor were pulled over for speeding on campus. There was marijuana in the car. Nobody was charged there. That same month he was involved in a drive by shooting back home in Immokalee where he was grazed by a bullet. Obviously he’s not charged with anything there. It’s just showing, I guess, a pattern of not necessarily bad behavior, but bad decisions putting him in bad situations and bad circumstances.

So best case scenario is if he rats on, I’m guessing, his friends. I mean at least acquaintances or associates that he’s bringing that perpetrated the robbery. Worst case scenario, or best case, he could also say nothing. They never get the other two guys, because he doesn’t roll on them, doesn’t rat them out, and he goes to trial, and they win. By saying there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence. I didn’t know these guys were going to rob them. I left, got a phone call, had to leave, didn’t know what was going to happen. There’s a chance that a jury could find him innocent, but when you’re facing charges like these you never really want to leave it in the hands of a jury.

The charges he’s facing, if found guilty of these charges, that’s it. It’s not like his Gator career is done. No. He’s spending years and years in prison, and this is not a situation where, the lawyer I talked to said he would be surprised, given the severity of the charges, would be surprised if JC even ever played at Florida again.

Andrew:            I mean, the legal stuff is the legal stuff for me, but for me with JC is JC came from a bad area, and you and I knew that. You and I knew that JC was maybe not the smartest guy in the world, but for me I really thought JC would become very close with Duke Dawson, a guy that he was close with, and maybe turn himself around. That’s not the case, and for me, I told you this last night when you and I were talking about this.

Nick:            You hope. I think we both hoped that if you remove somebody, Immokalee’s not a good area. It’s a really poor area, and you hope that when you move a kid from that area that he can find new people to hang out with and not be around the same kind of stuff that might get him in trouble. Apparently that just hasn’t been the case. It’s hard to leave things you’ve grown up with. It’s hard to leave your boys that were there before you were, there’s a certain prestige that comes with playing at a school like Florida, and it’s hard to leave your boys that were there before. You know what I mean?

Andrew:            The thing for me though is it becomes a situation where you have to think, and JC didn’t think. This is just not a going to smoke marijuana deal. This is not a driving drunk deal, and neither one of those are good things, but this is a crime that you planned. You said I’m going to go to my boy’s house with a gun, and I’m going to take everything he’s got. In my opinion, this is bad. You and I talked about this last night. Mac has a decision to make of does he kind of stick around and see what goes on, and see if he does want a trial, or does he make a point and say, you’re not bringing bad publicity to my team. I’m going to make a point out of you, and Mac has the ability, because it’s kind of his first year. It’s a guy he didn’t recruit. He can set an example with it, but it may not even be Mac’s choice.

Nick:            No. Based on the severity, based on that the victims in this case were able to identify JC, that JC came in and turned himself in. He’s at least saying I was there at some point. No, I didn’t commit the crime, but in Florida that doesn’t matter, because the crime happened, and you basically facilitated it.

Andrew:            It’s tough for him to turn his boys in. You and I talked about this yesterday. It’s almost like the Aaron Hernandez kind of thing.

Nick:            You look at Aaron Hernandez, and he never talked, never cooperated with the police, and now he’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Andrew:            Supposedly the guy he shot and killed was going to talk to the police, so Aaron and his boys got rid of him. I don’t want to say that’s going to happen to JC, but that stuff does go through. You and I both, we know the family really well, and for the family’s sake, and for JC’s sake, I really hope that it was a mistake in identification, and he wasn’t there. It’s just all a mistake, and if it was the truth, then hopefully this is a lesson that JC takes to heart and can overcome, because JC does have a good family.

Nick:            Yeah. JC, this is a situation where you look at Muschamp making a statement with Janoris Jenkins, and that was just for failed drug test. This is obviously, listen in the state of Florida smoking weed is illegal, so it’s a crime, but when you’re talking about the scale of severity armed robbery is above smoking weed. Can McElwain make a statement? I think maybe he does, and if you were going to have to kick somebody off of a team for doing something wrong, cornerbacks not the worst situation for Florida to have to do that.

With the amount of talent that they have, they can withstand losing somebody like JC, even though he’s one of the best cornerbacks on the team. Do I think Mac makes a statement and gets rid of him? If these charges are true, and the charges go through, there’s no waiting for the legal system to take care of it. You know what I mean? The move might be taken, like you said, out of Mac’s hands.

Andrew:            Definitely. Before we get off I want to personally say something real quick. Rod Johnson made that statement yesterday, and, Nick, I’ve told you several times I had the opportunity to kind of get to know Rod really well from the beginning of his process. For me, it breaks my heart that a guy like Rod, who does try to do what is good for the team and everything and has dealt with the injury. I thought he handled his statement really well yesterday. I personally am really hoping that he succeeds in the coaching profession, and that he does stay healthy, because he is a great guy.

He really did, he worked his tail off. He said in his statement that he was close to not qualifying. I know that personally. He had to work really hard the last semester of his career to get in, and he did the work that was necessary and made it in, and so far it hasn’t been a problem. I personally am just really hoping that whatever is his next step, whether it be coaching or whether it be to get a degree and go elsewhere, that he finds a way to take his competitive nature from football to that part of his life.

Nick:            How about just the maturity that he’s able to show? The line that really struck me in there is, saying because of this move, because of ending his career, he’s grateful, because he’s able to stand and be able to talk to Gator fans and tell them, and get that message out, and he’s not in a wheelchair. Because while the severity of spinal stenosis is great, losing his career right now and being able to walk away from the game is much better than, it’s hard to even think about how bad it could have gotten. If they didn’t find this out now, heaven forbid, you could have found out because he was paralyzed on the field while playing a game.

Andrew:            Yeah. I completely agree. I don’t want to compare this, but I think everybody goes through a stage where they move on for stuff. For myself, I was able to walk away from the coaching profession, but if somebody would have took that away from me it would have killed me at the time, because that was my life. Now if somebody was to take away what I do I’d be lost. I would. I’d seriously be lost, because I’ve grown into what I do now so much that I’d be lost.

Again, I really hope that if he does decide to go down that coaching role he does well, because he really is a guy that can mentor these guys, because he’s been through the bad. We talk about JC coming from a bad area. He came from a single parent household where he didn’t have a lot, and he’s kind of made it through. Again, I hope that he’s able to make a good career out of whatever he decides and does well.

To kind of end on a positive note a little bit. My Braves are 8-4. We’re winning baseball games. I’m not too sure about your Marlins though there, Nicholas.

Nick:            They are driving the struggle bus right now, at 3-10. Never really liked the hiring of Mike Bregman, and it looks like that will be coming to an end soon. It’s early, very early. Still more than 150 games to go.

Andrew:            I’m still scratching my head a little bit. What’s that record that you all have, because I haven’t even ever had that in my vocabularly?

Nick:            Well, we’ll see where your Braves are and where my Marlins are when it comes down to September, October.

Andrew:            One more positive note before we get out of here. Baseball and softball are back on that roll train. Baseball back to back sweeps. Peter Alonzo is stroking the ball, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say congratulations to Lauren Haeger. 67 career home runs, the SEC record holder, and Florida record holder. She hit it with a grand slam the other day. You and I talk about all the time with the baseball team and softball team. They play a lot alike that they can hit the ball. Florida regained the number 1 ranking in softball. Baseball’s back up to 5 or 6, depending on your poll. I really think they’re hitting that streak right now that Omaha and Oklahoma City are very realistic opportunities for both of these teams if they can just keep the roll going. Of course, they’re not going to sweep every series, but I think winning series is very likely the rest of the year.

Nick:            Yeah. I think it is. Florida has a good test in Kentucky coming in this week. We’re taping this on Tuesday, and I’m assuming Florida handles Bethune-Cookman today, but Florida’s got a nice little home stretch coming up. Like you said, when Peter Alonzo, I mean I said it, you said it, when Peter Alonzo is hitting like we thought he was going to be capable of before getting hurt, this is a different lineup. You’re talking about JJ Schwartz, who’s leading the team in homeruns, is batting seventh. Get out of here. This Florida team, and there’s been some people who doubted them as they lost a couple series in a row. This Florida team seems to be hitting their stride in the last quarter of the season, getting ready for the post season.

Andrew:            I mean pitching staff wise they’re really starting to get on a role. Logan Shore has kind of hit that spot again where he’s lights out. Yeah. Again, I think that when you start to look at this lineup on the baseball side of things, and you’re looking at really Peter Alonzo hitting sixth the other day, Schwartz hitting seventh, and then Mr. RBI Machine, Ryan Larson hitting ninth. This team’s really good.

Again, we go back to the softball, and on the softball side of things this team’s really starting to hit. Walt changing up his lineup a little bit. He’s got Kirsti Merritt now hitting third and Haeger hitting fourth. They’re getting on base, and Lauren Haeger’s coming into her own on the mound. Still now 20-0, doesn’t have a loss on the year. They’re 45-4. The haters can really get off the train. Real quick, I know this is running long, but Rhonda Faehn threepeat in NCAA gymnastics. I don’t care what sport it is, you win three national championships in a row you’re doing pretty well.

Nick:            Give that woman a raise.

Andrew:            Give that woman a raise, and her white pants. Make sure she keeps her white pants for the championship. That’s all the time we got. Your man, Andrew Spivey, is signing off. Nicholas, do your thing.

Nick:            Stay class, Gator Nation.

Andrew Spivey

About Andrew Spivey

Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.

  1. landportApril 25, 2015, 9:47 am

    In the Jackson matter there are two separate issues. Legal Issue: Given the evidence as it now exists, Jackson ‘walks’. Two possibilities may change that ‘happy ending’. First, one or both of the other guys get arrested. With the level of involvement of these two there would be a strong motive to ‘flip’ on Jackson. A second possibility is for the SAO to ‘ rent a witness’. With Jackson now out of jail this is less likely to happen but it may happen. The essence of the ‘ rent a witness’ testimony would be that ‘me and Jackson were sitting around smoking dope and he confessed to me’. The witness testifies against Jackson and the SAO does him ‘a favor’. Non-Legal Issue: Regardless of the legal issues, Jackson will NEVER play a down of football for the Gators. In his very short time in Gainesville, Jackson has by his behavior earned the reputation of ‘walking probably cause’. It is unlikely that the University Administration will allow Jackson to represent UF, not after Aaron Hernandez and not after the off-the-field record of Urban Meyer.

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In the latest episode of Gator Country’s  podcast, Nick de la Torre and Andrew Spivey talk all things Florida Gators Gators sports including the recent signing of Tim Tebow to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Also in this podcast the Gator Country gang talks about the recent arrest of J.C. Jackson and what it means for his future at Florida plus how the Gators are doing on the diamonds.

Stay tuned to GatorCountry.com for many more podcast on the class of 2016 recruiting as the coaches hit the road recruiting plus many more baseball and softball updates.

* * * TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:            What’s up, Gator Country? Your boy, Andrew Spivey, back ready for action. My man, Nicholas de la Torre has finally come back from the Windy City. Did the wind blow you back, or did you actually get to fly in an airplane?

Nick:            The wind helped us get back quicker, that’s for sure. The Windy City is no joke. If it says it’s 50 it feels like 30. The wind is crazy there. Very cool city though, I definitely recommend. Any of you, if you have the opportunity, go check it out.

Andrew:            Wrigley Field. I cannot lie. I’m a little jealous of Wrigley Field. I want to go there. It’s on the bucket list, and I’m going to go there. One of the most famous Gators of all time got kind of his dream come true.

Nick:            You know what time it is, Andrew?

Andrew:            What time is it?

Nick:            It’s Tebow time.

Andrew:            Tebow mania. I love it. I cannot lie. When Twitter lights up with Tebow I light up. It’s just like the man. The man, the myth, the legend, Tim Tebow. I know you and I are probably going to disagree here. So let’s just debate it. Who cares? Nothing else to talk about. It’s off season. Let’s just debate it. You want to go first, Nicholas, or you want me to go first?

Nick:            You can go first.

Andrew:            Okay. I think it’s a great move. Here’s my reasons why it’s a great move. A, Tim Tebow, with the day and age right now, we’re going through right now in Gainesville, of bad reputations, players getting arrested. That’s something Tim Tebow’s never going to do. Is the media circus going to be around there? Sure. But it’s going to be mostly positive, because he’s a great guy. Second of all, the guy wins games. You can’t lie. The guy wins football games, and whether it looks good or it doesn’t look, he wins football games. It does not matter how good it looks, as long as he wins games. The third thing, my point, is it’s Chip Kellys offense. That is Tim Tebow’s offense made over, and he’s better than all them other slouches on that team. So I’m all for it. I’m ready to see Tebow time, and I hate Philadelphia, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them win a Super Bowl if Tim Tebow got to be the MVP.

Nick:            Okay. Here we go. I’ll agree with a couple things you say.

Andrew:            You’re going to agree with me?

Nick:            A little bit.

Andrew:            Okay.

Nick:            First thing is I agree. I think this is the spot. Everyone said when Tim went to New York, that’s the spot, because look, Rex Ryan went out. They traded for him. They want him. It quickly became apparent that New York wanted Tim Tebow because of that media circus. They wanted the back page headlines over the Giants, and they just wanted the media circus around the team. It became very clear that Rex Ryan had no intention, despite telling Tim before he came over that he would have a chance to win the starting job. It became apparent that that was not the case. Tim Tebow was never going to be named the starter in New York. It was going to be Mark Sanchez.

Right now, Chip Kelly, last season Philadelphia ran the most read option plays in the NFL. They ran 514 read option, zone read kind of plays, which is what Tebow ran with Urban Meyer at Florida. The next closest team was Russel Wilson in Seattle, and they have 235. So less than half of what Philadelphia ran. So I think what you’re seeing is Chip Kelly, and Nick Foles is not the guy to run that style of offense. They traded him, despite having a very good year in 2013, before getting hurt last year.

Sam Bradford’s coming off of two ACL surgeries. He wasn’t even mobile before two ACL surgeries, so that’s not really your guy to run that kind of offense. Mark Sanchez is not that guy. This is a guy that ran into an offensive lineman’s butt and fumbled the ball. He’s not a guy that you want running the football. So I think in Chip Kelly you get the first coach who has believed in Tim Tebow since Josh McDaniels drafted him. So Tim has that going for him. So in that aspect I say, yes, he’s a good fit. He’s been working on his throwing motion for 18 months, since he’s been out. He’s been working on his throwing motion for 18 months with Tom House, who’s worked with Tom Brady, Drew Breeze, Carson Palmer, and big league pitchers on throwing motions.

I believe that the problem I have with it, and it’s nothing that involves Tim. It’s no fault of Tim. It’s what you’re saying right there. It’s the media circus.

Andrew:            But that’s not his fault.

Nick:            No, and that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that it’s not his fault, because what happens is the media circus, and the fan frenzy that comes along with it. Right now when you look at it Tim Tebow is the third string quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. There’s more buzz about him than any of the other quarterbacks on the roster. So what it does is creates headaches for the team. Now you’ve got wide receivers and running backs and linebackers being asked questions about Tim Tebow, and they’re saying, I don’t know. The third string running back on NFL roster’s maybe getting eight snaps a week. I don’t know. What does he look like in practice? I don’t know. He took eight snaps. I don’t know what he looks like.

In the media circus that comes with him, Sam Bradford incomplete pass. People freak out. Tebow has to be in there. Tebow has to be in there. It’s to no fault of Tim’s, but the media circus that follows him is what has hampered him throughout his NFL career, because it hasn’t given him the opportunity to just sit back and learn and develop. The media circus that follows him demands that he’s in there right now, that he’s playing right now. This is a guy who hasn’t played football in the NFL for two years. He needs time, and to say that he’s going to get that time and that time is going to afforded to him with the media circus that follows him is just not the case.

Andrew:            Now hold on. When he was in Denver, and he was winning eight games in a row and winning a playoff game, the media calmed down with him. He was winning games. My thing for this is, first of all, he’s not a fourth string quarterback. He’s not going to be fourth string. You go to the roster now, he’s probably second string behind Sam Bradford. Tebow could not play for 10 years, and he’s better than butt fumble Mark Sanchez. He’s awful. I guess my thing is good publicity for Tebow means less bad publicity for Ray Rice. Less bad publicity for Adrian Peterson. The NFL needs good publicity.

Nick:            No, I’m saying the NFL gets great publicity. Listen, like you said, absolutely. Tim Tebow’s a guy you’re never going to have to worry about. When he leaves the house on Saturday night, Friday night, you never have to worry about what Tim Tebow’s going to do. You’re never going to go to sleep and wake up with a bad Tim Tebow headline in the morning. For the NFL Tim Tebow is fantastic, drives ratings, stories. Tim Tebow brings the NFL more money.

For the Eagles though, for the organization that he signs, that media frenzy around him becomes a distraction. Now it’s not, Coach what happened on that third down? It’s, Coach, why wasn’t Tim Tebow in the game there? The only answer for Chip Kelly is, listen, I see the guy every day in practice. He’s our second string quarterback. He’s our third string quarterback, whatever he is. He’s not our starter. That’s why he’s not in the game. Then it’s the same questions over and over. What about Tebow? It becomes a headache for that organization. For the NFL as a whole is fantastic.

Andrew:            It becomes a headache if you allow it to be a headache though. That is the thing. Rex Ryan wanted it to be a headache, so it was a headache. Bill Belichick was like, it’s not going to be a headache, so it wasn’t a headache.

Nick:            Right, and they cut him.

Andrew:            Sure, they cut him.

Nick:            That’s why it wasn’t a headache, because they cut him.

Andrew:            But it wasn’t even a headache when he was on the roster going through training camp. It wasn’t a headache, because Bill Belichick didn’t allow it to be a headache. I’m not sure that Chip Kelly allows it to be. I think it’s more of do you allow it to be a headache or not? Part of it can be good. You bring it in, all the headlines go to him. The rest of your team gets to go and go for it, but I don’t see, for Chip Kelly, in my opinion, it’s a win-win situation. A, you get good publicity out of it, and, B, you get a potential to have a good quarterback, and if it fails, it fails. You cut him. You’re not going to get bad publicity for cutting Tebow because he didn’t make your roster, if you gave him the opportunity. I can’t see where it’s a bad situation for him, and again, the guy’s a winner. You can’t debate the guy wins football games. It does not matter. He wins football games.

Nick:            Yeah. He did. When he started he took 1-4 Denver team, and he turned them into the NFL’s top rushing attack that year. Even though he’s winning football games that was a bad offense. That defense played light’s out. There’s just something about Tebow, and there always has been, that’s not quantifiable. It may look ugly, but, like you said, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if it’s ugly or if it’s pretty, if you get a W, that’s all that matters. There’s just something unquantifiable about Tebow. It’s that passion and that drive to win that a lot of people don’t have. A lot of people when you get to the NFL it’s a nasty business. Guys who are 27, now you’re old. You’re getting pushed out. We’ll find someone cheaper and younger than you to do what you’re doing, and we’ll pay them less.

So it’s a nasty business, and you get guys that turn into, well this is just a job for me. I’m just here to collect a paycheck. That’s never going to be Tim Tebow. This is a guy, working for SEC Network, and he’s still flying across the country to LA to work with Tom House. So obviously the passion is there, and the want and the drive. You always intangibles with Tebow, and those are through the roof. You can’t put your finger on it. It’s just something about him.

I just think that Bill Belichick is a one of a kind coach. Bill Belichick can get asked Tim Tebow questions 50 times, and he’ll give you the exact same answer 50 times. His blood pressure doesn’t raise. He just says, he’s fine, or he took reps today. He was at practice. Chip Kelly has already shown that he can get snippy with the media. Reporters will try to ask, a lot of times a reporter’s story will be written, and he’s looking for a very specific quote. So he’s questions in a specific way to get a certain answer, and when Chip Kelly gets four questions that are all asking the same thing, just worded differently, he’s shown the propensity to lose his temper a little bit.

So I think when you start getting into these camps, and all of the questions are going to be about Tebow. Nobody’s going to care about what Sam Bradford’s doing or how his knee rehab is going to be. How’s Mark Sanchez? It’s what did Tebow do today? That’s going to be the only question. I think that starts to wear on a head coach who’s worrying about all the games that are coming up, trimming the roster from 75 down to 53, and the season coming up, and all he’s being asked about is one specific player.

Andrew:            But that could be good for Sam Bradford, because, A, it takes the attention off of him, allows him to recover, and the scrutiny’s not there, but, again, I think that all of the media aside, this is the perfect fit for Tim. Like you just said, even if it just to run their run game package, their sweeps, their options, their play actions, anything like that, from the gun, even if it’s just he has a small portion of the offense. You’re not going to find a better guy that can do that. Even Russell Wilson, Tebow is a better runner than Russell Wilson. So, again, I can’t see negatives in this. All I can see is positives.

Nick:            Listen. There is, with Tim Tebow in the NFL, there is no better NFL quarterback at running that zone read. There’s no NFL quarterback built the way that Tebow is, in a similar fashion to Cam Newton, that has the willingness to tuck in that ball. He just has the instincts when to tuck it and run it and when to keep it. Cam has dealt with some injuries, so he’s become a less willing runner, and they really made him the franchise guy. So they’ve asked him to run less and less. Cam Newton in his rookie year and his second year was basically Carolina’s go lineback. When they got inside the five there was no handing the ball off. We’re just going to run Cam up the middle until he got into the end zone.

So I think as a pure fit, and if Chip Kelly really believes that Tebow has made enough progression. Skip Bayless, and I can’t stand Skip Bayless, but Skip Bayless wrote a column, and he said that Chip Kelly came and worked out Tebow and loved what he saw. They wanted to sign Tebow the day they worked him out, because I remember everyone was talking about Chip Kelly brought in Tim Tebow. No, he sent him home. They didn’t sign him. They’re not going to. Skip Bayless quotes sources that he has saying that Kelly wanted to sign Tebow that day, but they were still holding out hope that they would be able to trade Matt Barkley to my Dolphins. Thank God that fell through. That basically after that workout signing Tebow was a formality.

So if you go into the situation thinking, Chip Kelly believes that Tim Tebow can run his offense, and is going to give him an opportunity, one that he obviously wasn’t going to have in New England, because Tom Brady’s there. One that he didn’t even really have in Denver. With, who was it? Was it Plummer? Who was there?

Andrew:            No. It was Brady Quinn was there, and it was Tebow.

Nick:            Kyle Orton. It was Kyle Orton. Tebow was never really even given a chance. The only time he was inserted in was after Orton went 1-4. Then they had a bye week, and they gave Tebow the job before the bye week, let him work with the ones for the bye week, and then the week leading up to the game. If Chip Kelly is actually going to give Tebow and afford Tim the opportunity to win a starting job, and we all know he’s not a great practice player. Urban Meyer would have told you that while Tebow was winning national championships here at Florida.

Not a great practice player, but if he has a chance to win I think this system is perfect, and that Chip Kelly is enough of an offensive guru mastermind to figure out ways where, okay, Tim’s motion may be shorter now, but it’s still a little bit long. What routes is best throwing? How do we utilize his running? System wise I think this is the best opportunity for Tebow to succeed. So this will be Tim’s last opportunity. I think if this doesn’t work out in Philadelphia I don’t think any other team would take a chance of signing him, but I think this is his best opportunity to be a successful quarterback in the NFL.

Andrew:            Yeah. Again, I think it works out, but the one thing I want to hit on real quick is you know where Tom House played ball at, right?

Nick:            Where’s that?

Andrew:            He was an Atlanta Brave.

Nick:            I don’t like him.

Andrew:            There it is. Well, all things can’t be good, and we know that. Bad publicity this weekend for the Gators. A guy you and I were pretty close to during the recruiting process, JC Jackson, arrested for allegedly armed robbery. He didn’t have the gun, wasn’t the one holding them up, but he was there. You were just telling me that basically he can get charged with the same crime. Tell me what you know. I know you have a better perspective on this, so tell me what you know about what he’s facing, the crime, and such.

Nick:            Well, I was able to get the police report while I was in Chicago, and basically the police report said that there were three victims in the apartment, and the victims, their names were not released, because two of the alleged robbers are still at large, haven’t been caught. So they’re just Victim 1, 2, and 3. JC Jackson called Victim 1, who lived in the apartment. Said we’re going to come over, we’re going to smoke some weed. Jackson comes over, opens the door, Victim 2 and 3 see him. JC kind of just opened the door, peeped in, then closed it. Victim 1 comes. Opens the door, sees JC, let’s JC in, and let’s these other two guys in who have yet to be identified. They’re there for a little while talking. Then JC says he has a phone call, leaves the apartment, and is gone. Never went back into the apartment, wasn’t there after the robbery took place.

According to the police report, Victim 1 said almost as soon as Jackson left one of the other two men grabbed a bag of weed from the table, took out a handgun, and demanded that the other three people who lived in the apartment get down on the ground. They wanted to know where the rest of the weed was, where the bigger pile of money was. Then made the people who were there in the apartment take all the money from their pockets. They ended up leaving the place with some marijuana, $380 in cash, and two Xbox systems. They left.

When the robbery was reported the police provided a lineup, and the victims were able to point out JC Jackson. One, because they had dealt with him before, and, two, obviously because he’s a Florida football player. It’s very hard for most football players, scholarship guys, to walk around Gainesville without being noticed by somebody. So Jackson found out that he was identified and turned himself in on Sunday. Sunday he was arrested. Due to the violent nature of the crime, the state of Florida didn’t even have to give him bail.

So JC Jackson is facing a first degree felony, robbery with a firearm charge. That’s serious. That’s mandatory 10 years plus in prison, and even though he wasn’t there there is a Florida statute 777.001, and I won’t read you. It’s all legalese, but basically what it says is that Jackson, because he facilitated the robbery in bringing the people there can be charged as if he was there and held the gun and did the robbery himself. Basically, a better analogy is if you are the getaway driver in a car for a bank robbery. In the state of Florida you are as guilty as the people who went into the bank and took the money.

So right now Robby Andrew at the Gainesville Sun reported that JC’s not talking to cops to tell them who the other two guys are. Right now, after talking to an attorney, who’s not representing Jackson, just an attorney who’s been practicing for more than 20 years in the state of Florida, he told me that Jackson’s best case scenario is if he rolls over on his buddies and the state decides to give him a deal. He’s had run-ins with the police before. There was the time in December where he, Treon Harris, and Jaylen Tabor were pulled over for speeding on campus. There was marijuana in the car. Nobody was charged there. That same month he was involved in a drive by shooting back home in Immokalee where he was grazed by a bullet. Obviously he’s not charged with anything there. It’s just showing, I guess, a pattern of not necessarily bad behavior, but bad decisions putting him in bad situations and bad circumstances.

So best case scenario is if he rats on, I’m guessing, his friends. I mean at least acquaintances or associates that he’s bringing that perpetrated the robbery. Worst case scenario, or best case, he could also say nothing. They never get the other two guys, because he doesn’t roll on them, doesn’t rat them out, and he goes to trial, and they win. By saying there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence. I didn’t know these guys were going to rob them. I left, got a phone call, had to leave, didn’t know what was going to happen. There’s a chance that a jury could find him innocent, but when you’re facing charges like these you never really want to leave it in the hands of a jury.

The charges he’s facing, if found guilty of these charges, that’s it. It’s not like his Gator career is done. No. He’s spending years and years in prison, and this is not a situation where, the lawyer I talked to said he would be surprised, given the severity of the charges, would be surprised if JC even ever played at Florida again.

Andrew:            I mean, the legal stuff is the legal stuff for me, but for me with JC is JC came from a bad area, and you and I knew that. You and I knew that JC was maybe not the smartest guy in the world, but for me I really thought JC would become very close with Duke Dawson, a guy that he was close with, and maybe turn himself around. That’s not the case, and for me, I told you this last night when you and I were talking about this.

Nick:            You hope. I think we both hoped that if you remove somebody, Immokalee’s not a good area. It’s a really poor area, and you hope that when you move a kid from that area that he can find new people to hang out with and not be around the same kind of stuff that might get him in trouble. Apparently that just hasn’t been the case. It’s hard to leave things you’ve grown up with. It’s hard to leave your boys that were there before you were, there’s a certain prestige that comes with playing at a school like Florida, and it’s hard to leave your boys that were there before. You know what I mean?

Andrew:            The thing for me though is it becomes a situation where you have to think, and JC didn’t think. This is just not a going to smoke marijuana deal. This is not a driving drunk deal, and neither one of those are good things, but this is a crime that you planned. You said I’m going to go to my boy’s house with a gun, and I’m going to take everything he’s got. In my opinion, this is bad. You and I talked about this last night. Mac has a decision to make of does he kind of stick around and see what goes on, and see if he does want a trial, or does he make a point and say, you’re not bringing bad publicity to my team. I’m going to make a point out of you, and Mac has the ability, because it’s kind of his first year. It’s a guy he didn’t recruit. He can set an example with it, but it may not even be Mac’s choice.

Nick:            No. Based on the severity, based on that the victims in this case were able to identify JC, that JC came in and turned himself in. He’s at least saying I was there at some point. No, I didn’t commit the crime, but in Florida that doesn’t matter, because the crime happened, and you basically facilitated it.

Andrew:            It’s tough for him to turn his boys in. You and I talked about this yesterday. It’s almost like the Aaron Hernandez kind of thing.

Nick:            You look at Aaron Hernandez, and he never talked, never cooperated with the police, and now he’s going to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Andrew:            Supposedly the guy he shot and killed was going to talk to the police, so Aaron and his boys got rid of him. I don’t want to say that’s going to happen to JC, but that stuff does go through. You and I both, we know the family really well, and for the family’s sake, and for JC’s sake, I really hope that it was a mistake in identification, and he wasn’t there. It’s just all a mistake, and if it was the truth, then hopefully this is a lesson that JC takes to heart and can overcome, because JC does have a good family.

Nick:            Yeah. JC, this is a situation where you look at Muschamp making a statement with Janoris Jenkins, and that was just for failed drug test. This is obviously, listen in the state of Florida smoking weed is illegal, so it’s a crime, but when you’re talking about the scale of severity armed robbery is above smoking weed. Can McElwain make a statement? I think maybe he does, and if you were going to have to kick somebody off of a team for doing something wrong, cornerbacks not the worst situation for Florida to have to do that.

With the amount of talent that they have, they can withstand losing somebody like JC, even though he’s one of the best cornerbacks on the team. Do I think Mac makes a statement and gets rid of him? If these charges are true, and the charges go through, there’s no waiting for the legal system to take care of it. You know what I mean? The move might be taken, like you said, out of Mac’s hands.

Andrew:            Definitely. Before we get off I want to personally say something real quick. Rod Johnson made that statement yesterday, and, Nick, I’ve told you several times I had the opportunity to kind of get to know Rod really well from the beginning of his process. For me, it breaks my heart that a guy like Rod, who does try to do what is good for the team and everything and has dealt with the injury. I thought he handled his statement really well yesterday. I personally am really hoping that he succeeds in the coaching profession, and that he does stay healthy, because he is a great guy.

He really did, he worked his tail off. He said in his statement that he was close to not qualifying. I know that personally. He had to work really hard the last semester of his career to get in, and he did the work that was necessary and made it in, and so far it hasn’t been a problem. I personally am just really hoping that whatever is his next step, whether it be coaching or whether it be to get a degree and go elsewhere, that he finds a way to take his competitive nature from football to that part of his life.

Nick:            How about just the maturity that he’s able to show? The line that really struck me in there is, saying because of this move, because of ending his career, he’s grateful, because he’s able to stand and be able to talk to Gator fans and tell them, and get that message out, and he’s not in a wheelchair. Because while the severity of spinal stenosis is great, losing his career right now and being able to walk away from the game is much better than, it’s hard to even think about how bad it could have gotten. If they didn’t find this out now, heaven forbid, you could have found out because he was paralyzed on the field while playing a game.

Andrew:            Yeah. I completely agree. I don’t want to compare this, but I think everybody goes through a stage where they move on for stuff. For myself, I was able to walk away from the coaching profession, but if somebody would have took that away from me it would have killed me at the time, because that was my life. Now if somebody was to take away what I do I’d be lost. I would. I’d seriously be lost, because I’ve grown into what I do now so much that I’d be lost.

Again, I really hope that if he does decide to go down that coaching role he does well, because he really is a guy that can mentor these guys, because he’s been through the bad. We talk about JC coming from a bad area. He came from a single parent household where he didn’t have a lot, and he’s kind of made it through. Again, I hope that he’s able to make a good career out of whatever he decides and does well.

To kind of end on a positive note a little bit. My Braves are 8-4. We’re winning baseball games. I’m not too sure about your Marlins though there, Nicholas.

Nick:            They are driving the struggle bus right now, at 3-10. Never really liked the hiring of Mike Bregman, and it looks like that will be coming to an end soon. It’s early, very early. Still more than 150 games to go.

Andrew:            I’m still scratching my head a little bit. What’s that record that you all have, because I haven’t even ever had that in my vocabularly?

Nick:            Well, we’ll see where your Braves are and where my Marlins are when it comes down to September, October.

Andrew:            One more positive note before we get out of here. Baseball and softball are back on that roll train. Baseball back to back sweeps. Peter Alonzo is stroking the ball, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t say congratulations to Lauren Haeger. 67 career home runs, the SEC record holder, and Florida record holder. She hit it with a grand slam the other day. You and I talk about all the time with the baseball team and softball team. They play a lot alike that they can hit the ball. Florida regained the number 1 ranking in softball. Baseball’s back up to 5 or 6, depending on your poll. I really think they’re hitting that streak right now that Omaha and Oklahoma City are very realistic opportunities for both of these teams if they can just keep the roll going. Of course, they’re not going to sweep every series, but I think winning series is very likely the rest of the year.

Nick:            Yeah. I think it is. Florida has a good test in Kentucky coming in this week. We’re taping this on Tuesday, and I’m assuming Florida handles Bethune-Cookman today, but Florida’s got a nice little home stretch coming up. Like you said, when Peter Alonzo, I mean I said it, you said it, when Peter Alonzo is hitting like we thought he was going to be capable of before getting hurt, this is a different lineup. You’re talking about JJ Schwartz, who’s leading the team in homeruns, is batting seventh. Get out of here. This Florida team, and there’s been some people who doubted them as they lost a couple series in a row. This Florida team seems to be hitting their stride in the last quarter of the season, getting ready for the post season.

Andrew:            I mean pitching staff wise they’re really starting to get on a role. Logan Shore has kind of hit that spot again where he’s lights out. Yeah. Again, I think that when you start to look at this lineup on the baseball side of things, and you’re looking at really Peter Alonzo hitting sixth the other day, Schwartz hitting seventh, and then Mr. RBI Machine, Ryan Larson hitting ninth. This team’s really good.

Again, we go back to the softball, and on the softball side of things this team’s really starting to hit. Walt changing up his lineup a little bit. He’s got Kirsti Merritt now hitting third and Haeger hitting fourth. They’re getting on base, and Lauren Haeger’s coming into her own on the mound. Still now 20-0, doesn’t have a loss on the year. They’re 45-4. The haters can really get off the train. Real quick, I know this is running long, but Rhonda Faehn threepeat in NCAA gymnastics. I don’t care what sport it is, you win three national championships in a row you’re doing pretty well.

Nick:            Give that woman a raise.

Andrew:            Give that woman a raise, and her white pants. Make sure she keeps her white pants for the championship. That’s all the time we got. Your man, Andrew Spivey, is signing off. Nicholas, do your thing.

Nick:            Stay class, Gator Nation.

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Kelsey Stewart, Gainesville, Florida
Gators preparing for senior weekend

The Florida Gators softball team is preparing for senior day this weekend.

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