What is usually a slow week in sports most years, has been particularly exciting this year between the World Cup, the Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James decisions to opt-out of their contracts and test the free agent market, the Tim Lincecum no-hitter, and the NBA Draft.
Here are some thoughts on the week. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts.
Freshmen Recruits Enroll – Expect Big Things.
The remaining members of the 2014 football recruiting class enrolled at UF this week and many of those players better get settled quickly because they will be relied upon this season.
Of the 15 players that enrolled this week, look for Khari Clark, Treon Harris, Thomas Holley, J.C. Jackson, and either C.J. Worton or Ryan Sousa to get some playing time during their true freshmen years.
Quarterback Treon Harris will play his freshmen year – I don’t doubt it. It will be hard to keep his athleticism, decision-making, and change-of-pace ability off the field, especially under Kurt Roper’s spread offense. With Jeff Driskel getting injured each of the past three years, look for Roper to utilize Harris to run quarterback draws, option plays, and because he does have a strong arm, look for him to be utilized as a player that not only can run, but can throw the deep ball and catch defenses napping.
Khari Clark and Thomas Holley will also likely help fill some holes at defensive tackle because going into this year, the Gators can only really rely on Darious Cummings and Leon Orr for guaranteed production, while hoping that Jay-nard Bostwick and Caleb Brantley are ready to step-up with one year in the program under their belts. Clark and Holley are both speedy defensive tackles, and while they do need to add some weight and strength, they can jump in packages right away and make an impact.
At athlete, look for J.C. Jackson to see the field – likely on special teams while he earns his spot on the defense. Jackson was one of the most underrated recruits of the class, even though he was ranked relatively high. Jackson has speed, agility, and a great set of hands. I predict Jackson will be in the discussion to join Andre Debose in returning kicks, will play the gunner position on kick/punt block, and will see the field in particular packages on defense that require 5-6 defensive backs – he is that talented. If Jackson focuses on improving his technique, he could be a formidable force for the Gators for the next three to four years.
Finally, look for either C.J. Worton or Ryan Sousa to get on the field at the slot position. Roper uses a ton of wide receivers in his packages and distributes the ball accordingly. With that lack of production from the wide receivers on the roster, look for either Worton or Sousa to play at least 5-10% of the snaps in packages that use slot receivers, while also seeing time on special teams.
All in all, this is a very solid group of recruits, joining nine players that are already enrolled. This could be one of the very best recruiting classes in recent history, if lady luck falls in Florida’s favor this season.
Loyalty Doesn’t Mean Crap
There is a hot debate going on in sports right now about loyalty, specifically about Lebron James, and about the supposed “loyalty” that players should have to their teams. It is stupid. And the entire debate is propagated by people that have switched jobs numerous times in their lives.
The idea that players should remain loyal to programs simply because they were drafted by them or have played for them for a while is a fallacy. Hear me out.
Back in 2003, Lebron James declared for the NBA Draft – a superstar out of Akron, OH. The NBA rigged, I mean, the NBA draft lottery selected the local Cleveland Cavaliers to draft number one in the draft, and of course, drafted Lebron James. Fast forward to 2010 and Lebron James decided to make a move to a new team, the Miami Heat, and join friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Lebron was chastised, I mean, dragged over the coals because he was not loyal to the Cavaliers – his hometown team. Well, I hate to break it to those fans – Lebron could have very easily been drafted by the Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, or Detroit Pistons and I guarantee if he would have left in 2010 to move to a new team, no one would question his loyalty.
But Lebron wanted to win and win he did. Advancing to four NBA Finals and winning two of titles proves the mission was accomplished. He got what he sought – an NBA championship.
Fast-forward again to this past Tuesday and Lebron James opted-out of his contract with the Miami Heat to test the market and become a free agent. Now again, people are questioning his loyalty – and it is unfair.
Think of yourselves for a moment. You are in the prime of your working career, the pinnacle of your money-making years; your goal is to do two things: make money and be happy doing it. You will chase the dollar because you want to provide for yourself and your family. During that those prime money making years, odds are, you will make a job move and likely more than one. You want that promotion, you want that raise, and you want to make the most of the years you worked hard to accomplish.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most people change jobs between 10 and 15 times in the working career — an average of 11 moves in their career. How is that different than Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, and the rest that are looking at perhaps making a move?
An NBA career, of course, is not long and not as long as your career will likely be. Why fault players for looking for the best chance for themselves? Because, in the end, options will grow limited and ultimately, end in none.
NBA players owe no loyalty to owners or teams, because owners and teams rarely show loyalty to them. Players can be cut or traded without any notice – the same way you can be fired without much of a reason, especially when numbers are down and quotas are not being met. It is life. And the sooner we realize that people are loyal to business and companies that are seldom loyal to them, the better our career decision making process will be.
Do not fault Lebron or anyone for wanting to move on from a team – especially after delivering what he promised to do. It is natural, it is positive for the game, and hell, you would do the same thing.
For further reading, check out this piece by Pat Dooley.
New Fan Council Announced to Make It Seem Like They Care
The Florida Gators announced a new organization to help make game day at “The Swamp” better – The Gators Fan Advisory Council.
This council will be assist the Athletic Association in “the evaluation and enhancement of the overall fan experience at Gator football games, while representing broader interests of The Gator Nation.”
Sounds pretty awesome, eh?
I fear, however, that the council is nothing more than a public relations stunt, similar to opening spring practice this past March.
While it has good intentions, I doubt that much will come of the council that is not known already.
Fans want these things:
- Night games
- Improved Wi-Fi and cell reception in the stadium
- Better opponents
- Improved food options
- Coke instead of Pepsi
Those seven things are the seven things on the top of fans minds and I made that list in 30 seconds, not with 13 members of a committee, and most of those requests are not likely.
When I was an undergraduate at UF, I served on the “Title IX Compliance” committee as an undergraduate representative. What did we do you ask? We listened to Athletic Association staff members and UF staff members tell us what was going on. Sure we could ask questions and offer insight, but the decisions were already made – we were there to listen and nod.
I applaud the University Athletic Association for their public relations push, but that is all this is.
The answers are obvious, but hopefully the quote from Charles Kettering isn’t true, “If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it.”
Ban Luis Suárez – For Life
I am sure you have heard, but if not, Uruguayan soccer player Luis Suárez bit his opponent, Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini. Yes, bit – like with his teeth.
This Mike Tyson-esque choice, however, was not the first time he has bit a player, nor was it his second, no, it was his third (!!!) bite of an opponent in play. The first bite came in 2010, yielded Suárez a seven-game ban, while his second biting incident came in 2013, forcing him to sit out the next ten games in the premier league.
Suárez is known as one of the best three goal scorers in the world, but is also known as one of the dirtiest and FIFA needs to take a stand. When will Suárez learn? Suárez has already received more than 125 yellow cards in his career, and is considered one of the dirtiest players in the history of professional soccer.
If you watch this YouTube compilation, the answer is probably never.
FIFA handed down their sentence on Thursday with a nine game ban and a suspension from all soccer related activities for the next four months.
Soft. No backbone decision.
A dog that bites a human gets one chance before it is put down, Mike Tyson had his boxing license revoked, and Luis Suárez should have been banned for life before a fourth victim gets bit, because we know it will happen.
GIF of the Week
Good for this young man for making the most out of his time on the jumbotron.
Must Read Articles of the Week
- N. R. Kleinfeld | Baptism by Fire: A New York Firefighter Confronts His First Test
- Adam Kramer | Inside Look at How Las Vegas Oddsmakers Come Up with College Football Spread
- Travis Haney | Charlie Strong’s poor first impression
- NY Times | “What does it mean to be American?”
Song of the Week
This week one of my favorite country music singers, Brett Eldredge released his newest song. He has had two number one songs in a row and this one will likely climb close to it.
As a young man that will likely be getting engaged soon, it hits home.
I know, this sports website, but this a love ballad. You’ll get over it. It’s a good song.