Thoughts of the day: November 21, 2013


Florida’s game with Georgia Southern Saturday could end up being the fastest game played at The Swamp in many, many years. Georgia Southern only throws the ball nine times a game, and it’s doubtful the Gators are going to throw it much more than that. Without a lot of incomplete passes to stop the clock, this is a game that could be over in less than three hours. Will Muschamp’s nature is to line it up and knock Georgia Southern off the football, but with Florida State coming to town the following week and Skyler Mornhinweg quite possibly the starting quarterback for the rest of the season, it would be nice if Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease let him try at least a few downfield throws. Without a downfield threat it’s hard to imagine that the Gators would stand a chance against FSU.


Looking forward to 2014, Muschamp needs to re-evaluate his offensive philosophies. Three years of failure to crack the national top 100 is all the evidence necessary to know that something has to change. If Muschamp wishes to play smash mouth, grind it out football, then he’s got to recruit the kind of players to pull it off. If he intends to stop opponents from stacking eight in the box on every play, then he’s going to have to make some changes. That might include bringing in a new offensive coordinator or promoting a coordinator from the current staff (Joker Phillips and Brian White both are experienced and have had success). If Muschamp elects to stay with Pease, then we need to see more of the Boise State offense he coached and less three yards and a cloud of dust that Muschamp seems content to run. Jeremy Foley has made it perfectly clear that he thinks Muschamp is the right coach to lead Florida football forward, but if the right coach doesn’t offer up some changes in the offense forward isn’t going to last a long time.


You could make a very strong case that Chandler Parsons is the league’s most underpaid player. Parsons scored 21 points to go with five rebounds, 11 assists and four steals Wednesday night, his fourth game in the last five when he’s topped the 20-point mark. Through the first 13 games of the season, the former Gator is averaging 16.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. Parsons is making $926,500 this season, but the Rockets are working diligently to sign him to a long term extension that would substantially increase his pay to prevent him from going on the free agent market. Not bad for a guy that Florida State didn’t want and Florida fans thought was a throw-in to make Nick Calathes happy coming out of high school.


The ongoing saga in Tallahassee took another turn Wednesday night, and this one doesn’t look good for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. DNA analysis by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirms that Winston’s DNA is an exact match for a sample taken from the underwear of a woman who has accused Winston of sexual battery. The FDLE noted that the chances of the DNA not belonging to Winston are one in 2.2 trillion. Earlier in the day, the family of the alleged victim issued a statement that the Tallahassee Policed Department urged her not to pursue a case against Winston because Tallahassee is “big football town and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable.”


Johnny Manziel, who it seems has never met a photo op he wouldn’t take, must be loving the fact that he almost has the big stage to himself Saturday. Johnny Football can take a large leap forward in the Heisman Trophy race against LSU while Florida State’s Jameis Winston and A.J. McCarron are facing a pair of nobodies. Winston and the Seminoles face 1-9 Idaho while McCarron and Alabama face D1AA Chattanooga. There is nothing Winston or McCarron could do against those teams that would advance their Heisman causes. Although LSU’s defense isn’t the same as it has been in the past, LSU’s offense should have a field day against the Aggie defense, creating a shootout situation and a chance for Star Wars numbers. This is Manziel’s chance to seize the Heisman lead and become the first back-to-back Heisman winner since Archie Griffin did it in the 1970s.


Southern Cal athletic director Pat Haden said Wednesday that interim coach Ed Orgeron is indeed a viable candidate for the permanent position of head football coach. Haden said he got 136 pro-Coach O emails on Wednesday and that didn’t include the tweets, letters and phone calls. Southern Cal has games remaining with Colorado and cross-town rival UCLA, which is ranked 14th nationally. If Southern Cal wins Saturday and UCLA knocks off Arizona State, it will set up a winner-take-all battle for the Pac-12 South championship. If Southern Cal beats Colorado and UCLA, Haden might have very little choice except to go with Coach O. Now, how many of you had Coach O on your hot list for the Southern Cal job when Lane Kiffin was canned?


Tuesday, offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao flipped his commitment from Alabama to Southern Cal. That may not seem like such a big deal since Talamaivaro is from California and will be staying home where family and friends can see him play. That flip seems like a bigger deal today because another Bama commit flipped Wednesday when cornerback Stephen Roberts, who had been insisting that he was rock solid for Alabama, dropped the Crimson Tide and committed to Auburn. Now there is no question that Nick Saban will put together an extraordinary recruiting class at Alabama but apparently not everybody thinks there’s no place like Tuscaloosa.


I have no doubt that Alex Rodriguez used performance enhancing drugs but the more we know about how baseball commissioner Bud Selig went about obtaining the evidence on A-Rod makes it easy to believe that of the two, the real lowlife is Selig. There is no excuse for the commissioner of baseball to authorize strong arm tactics and payment of tens of thousands of dollars to secure witnesses that would testify against A-Rod and others who were customers of the Biogenesis Clinic in Boca Raton. That Selig won’t testify in the arbitration case against A-Rod speaks volumes. As much as I believe A-Rod used the PEDs, I think what the commissioner did was reprehensible. Bud Selig is baseball’s black eye and the sooner the sport jettisons him the better off it will be.


The older I get the more I appreciate the music of Steely Dan. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker have always created such a unique sound and when it comes to lyrics, Fagen is off the charts. Half the time I have no idea what he’s trying to say, but the words just seem to fit with the tune so well that I really don’t care. One of the few songs Steely Dan did that I understood the lyrics and the meaning behind from the very beginning was “Hey Nineteen,” which is about an older guy who finds he has absolutely nothing in common with the young girl that he’s dating. It’s a very cool song.


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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.