Another week down and we are one week closer to the start of football season. Enjoy!
THE MARK OF THE DEVIL
Six coaches in six years.
When Joker Phillips announced on Wednesday that he would be stepping down and that Chris Leak would assume his responsibility, it meant the Gators will now be entering their sixth-consecutive season with a new wide receivers coach.
Let’s take a look over the past six years:
2009 – Billy Gonzalez
2010 – Zack Azzanni
2011 – Aubrey Hill
2012 – Bush Hamden
2013 – Joker Phillips
2014 – Chris Leak
As we all know, the wide receiver position has been the blackest of the black eyes on offense over the past six seasons, with no individual receiver ever eclipsing 1,000 yards in a season or ever amassing more than nine touchdowns in a season. Results are actually worse than just that, outside of Aaron Hernandez and Riley Cooper in 2009, no receiver has amassed more than 600 yards in a season and the position, to put it mildly, has been atrocious.
Of course, lack of talent at the position and lack of consistent quality play at the quarterback and offensive line, play into it, but the biggest problem has been the lack of consistency in coaching.
Andre Debose, who is entering his sixth year at UF will now have his sixth wide receiver coach, and we wonder why he has struggled at the position… Quinton Dunbar has been on the verge of breaking out under multiple wide receiver coaches, but seems to be missing that last bit of coaching to take him over the hump.
While I have no doubt that Chris Leak will step in and do an admirable job and while I thought Joker Phillips was just an OK coach, the lack of consistency at the wide receiver coaching position is troubling and must be frustrating for players at UF.
CRAZY ATHLETICISM AT QUARTERBACK
When 2015 quarterback Sheriron Jones committed to UF over the weekend, the Gators turned an exceptionally athletic group of quarterbacks into a ridiculously athletic group. When Jones comes to campus, Jeff Driskel will be a redshirt senior and Will Grier and Treon Harris will be one year into the system. All four quarterbacks are mobile, love being out of the pocket, and can make more plays happen with their feet – and as a collective are the most athletic quarterbacks UF has ever seen.
Of the four, Grier has the best arm, Harris has the best speed, Sheriron has the best accuracy, and Driskel has the best vision, although that is not always clear during games.
The addition of Sheriron Jones is big for the Gators, not only because he is gifted, but he allows the opportunity to build considerable depth – something that the Gators have not had in at least a decade.
Assuming no transfers, which is tough to imagine these days, this group is good, really good.
Could the biggest, and only, issue be getting them on the field and keeping them happy? Yes.
How will UF do it? Ask Kurt Roper.
O’BANNON TRIAL MEANS NCAA IS O’SCREWED
It is a former student-athlete class action v. the NCAA showdown in Oakland, CA and there is almost no chance the NCAA wins the case.
Obviously, right now, NCAA athletes are required to sign waivers that prohibit them from receiving a penny for their likeness, or forfeit their amateur status. The NCAA says that their payment comes in the form of an athletic scholarship, which includes room/board, education, access to healthcare (including surgeries, etc.), top-of-the-line coaching, and athletic gear from team sponsors.
While my personal thoughts on the matter doesn’t matter much, the truth is, the NCAA will lose. The NCAA is currently forcing kids to sign a waiver that does not allow them to collect any money for the use of their likeness, in exchange for a monopoly on the amateur athletic league for kids 18-23.
“But, Dan, they didn’t FORCE them to sign the waiver, they could have done their own thing!” you say. But I say, “Boom, Sherman Antitrust Act and no they couldn’t have.”
The Sherman Antitrust Act bans price fixing and keeps players from capitalizing on their likeness, which they could have done if their rights weren’t sold to EA Sports, t-shirt companies, and the like. Further, the NCAA is the perhaps the only athletic outlet for athletes to move onto in America to further their athletic aspirations – and the NCAA profited billions because of it.
Again, this is not a discussion of whether college student-athletes should be paid or not, nor is it a discussion about whether a scholarship is enough in terms of compensation – it is a discussion on whether the NCAA violated the Sherman Antitrust Act and unfairly profited off thousands of players. And the judge will likely say, “The chair rules in favor of the plaintiff” no matter how hard the NCAA tries.
STATE OF FLORIDA NEEDS TO RAISE TUITION
It is that time of year – election season!
The other day while I was watching the Miami Heat defeat the San Antonio Spurs (whoop!), this commercial came on. In it, Rick Scott lambasts Charlie Crist for approving a 15% tuition hike yearly for a number of years to bring in-state tuition more inline with other major public schools – maxing out at a number just less than the national average for a public schools, which is $8,893.
When you compare Florida’s tuition at $4,425, you see that Florida is considerably cheaper than its main competition. The University of Michigan charges $12,800 per year; UNC-Chapel Hill costs $5,823 per year; and the University of Texas is $9,790 per year in tuition.
Just imagine what UF could do with that additional income….
If Florida charged just the average cost of tuition nationwide (again, $8,893), they would have an additional $145,680,462 to hire more professors, build more buildings, improve facilities, and offer the best education money could buy.
Florida is a huge bargain for students and that, coupled with Bright Futures, keeps many bright minds in Florida – heck, I stayed in Florida and attended UF because it was a great school and basically free – but there needs to be continued tuition increases.
I understand many of you will disagree, but the only way UF will continue to stay competitive is by increasing tuition.
(Of course, that money MUST be spent correctly and I don’t necessarily know if I trust school administrators to do so, but I digress.)
MUST READ ARTICLES OF THE WEEK
John Infante, Mike Corgan, and Peter Baran | NCAA Student-Athlete Licensing Program — How Could It Happen and What Are the Elements?
Greg Bishop and Thayer Evans | Twenty years after infamous Bronco chase, O.J. Simpson still a mystery
Max Olson | A single move, a Texas-sized ripple
Sarah Barker | This Guy Will Be Representing England In The Marathon
SONG OF THE WEEK
Because I have an awesome forum to share music with you, I wanted to introduce you to a friend of a friend.
One of my favorite old co-workers grew up with this young man’s father and introduced me to him a few years ago.
I have had the chance to meet him a few times and you couldn’t find a more down to earth artist.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Michael Ray!