UP TEMPO, NO HUDDLE WILL ONLY HELP
One of the benefits of Florida’s switch to an up tempo, no huddle offense is that the defense will see it every day in practice and that can only help when the games count for real. Of the nine real football teams on Florida’s schedules – Idaho, Eastern Michigan and Eastern Kentucky have no business being on an SEC schedule – seven of them employ some sort of a spread offense on a regular basis and most of them run an up tempo, no huddle offense a good portion of the time. Only Alabama and Vanderbilt are expected to stick with their pro set, standard huddle up offenses unless it’s the last two minutes of the half or they are trailing in the fourth quarter. It’s fairly easy to get alignments set for a team that simply goes spread, but tempo changes everything from the speed of the game to how you substitute. Going against this every day in practice should give the Florida defense an advantage in the fall.
DRISKEL HAS TO COME UP BIG IN THE OFFSEASON
While this is true that just about every starting quarterback of every college football team in the country has to have a strong offseason if their team is to do well in the fall, it’s especially true for Jeff Driskel. In the minds of Will Muschamp and Kurt Roper, Driskel solidified his position as the starter in the spring, but it was evident in the Orange and Blue game that he’s still not getting the ball out of his hands as quickly or as accurately as he needs. “This summer is for timing on the offensive side,” Driskel said Saturday, an understatement if ever there was one. Yes, it is about timing but it’s also about leadership. Driskel will set the tone for the whole team and if he is a tireless worker and a leader whose relentless pursuit of getting it right carries over to the rest of the team, the Gators have a chance to be vastly improved next season. When you are the quarterback at a place like Florida where losing isn’t an option, you better be the hardest worker on the field and the unquestioned leader who won’t tolerate anything less than a full effort from everybody else.
ANOTHER REASON WHY THE NCAA IS CLUELESS
The Atlantic Coast Conference tried to nominate Duke head coach David Cutcliffe to the football rules committee, which is a fine idea. Cutcliffe is a bright, scholarly type who really does understand college football. Unfortunately, there is no room on the committee since it’s already represented by two Division I coaches – Air Force’s Troy Calhoun and Louisiana-Monroe’s Todd Berry. The rest of the 12-person committee is decided by gender, diversity (another way of saying race) and divisional alignment. You see, Divisions I-AA, II and III all have a say in the rules for Division I and you can also have people on the committee who have nothing at all to do with football. This is just another sign that it’s time for the NCAA to either undergo radical change or for the power conferences and those who can truly support Division I football to break away and form their own organization. The NCAA’s sell-by date has indeed expired.
NEW MEANING TO THE TERM “CAT” WALK
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, who is regularly ridiculed on a twitter site called Faux Bo Pelini in which you see Pelini always holding a cat, had a little fun Saturday in Lincoln. Before the Cornhuskers took the field for their spring game before 72,000 Nebraska fans (it’s Nebraska; what else is there to do?), Pelini walked out of the tunnel holding a cat. Pelini walked a few yards out of the tunnel, then held the cat up to the roar of the fans. Who says Bo doesn’t have a sense of humor? What this tells me is more coaches really do need to lighten up.
NBA DRAFT COMINGS/GOINGS
Kentucky coach John Calipari said Monday that as many as eight UK players could go early for the NBA Draft. Subract one. Willie Cauley-Stein says he will be back for his junior year even though he was certain to go in the first 20 picks. Alex Poythress is also expected to be back along with Darkari Johnson. Julius Randle, James Young and the Harrison twins are all expected to declare for the draft later this week … Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III will enter the draft. There is also some speculation that Mitch McGary might also leave for the draft even though he missed the season due to back surgery … Montrezl Harrell of Louisville will return for his junior year … Michigan State’s Gary Harris is leaving for the draft as is Syracuse’s Jelani Grant.
DRAFT STOCK NOSEDIVING
As if running a 4.83 40 at the NFL Combine wasn’t bad enough, former Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. keeps shooting his own draft stock in the foot by showing that dumb is a state of mind. Wilder was arrested – again – Sunday night in Tampa on an outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear in court. This is the fourth time he’s been arrested in two years – two for suspended license, once for resisting arrest and once for underage drinking. Wilder left school early for the NFL, but instead of doing everything he can to improve his already questionable draft stock, he’s seeing it tank by showing he’s immature and irresponsible. At the rate he’s going, he will be fortunate if he is drafted at all.
QUESTION FOR TODAY
The question for today comes from Eric Brewer: How is the UAA making use of SEC and UF generated dollars, when so many of our SEC competition clearly are beating us in the arms race? Check out the plans for TXAM’s football stadium … unreal. You can make the case Florida Field is in the middle rung of game day revenue production within the SEC. Perry Field is in the middle of the conference in size and amenities.
Bottom line: will new the new SEC Network boost our capital expenditure budget and if so…to what prioritized ends? How have our SEC peers gotten so far ahead of us in facilities when we are the largest school with the biggest population (not counting TXAM’s very recent entry)?
I can accept that when UK finally replaces Rupp, we won’t match them. I cannot accept however, Ole Miss and Auburn having superior game day facilities for their players and fans. Especially in the face of Coach Donovan’s Hall of Fame accomplishments.
Now is the time to think big at the UAA. The right campaign will pay for excellence.
In my own assessment of facilities, Florida is in the second half of the Southeastern Conference and it’s not going to get any better any time soon. The athletic plants at Texas A&M and Arkansas are absolutely first rate and they’ve really upgraded things at Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina and LSU. Missouri is expanding its football stadium and renovating everything. Ole Miss is getting a brand new basketball arena and completely upgrading Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Even Mississippi State is doing a major upgrade of its football stadium. Now, that being said, I would bet that other than Texas A&M, Florida has less debt than any school in the SEC. Jeremy Foley is the best in the country when it comes to bottom line. I think there should be upgrades and the new infusion of money from the SEC Network will help to pay for them but Foley will keep it all within reason. My only real criticism is the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. I think the upgrades will be like putting lipstick on a pig. I always thought the University Corners property would have been a great place for a new arena or else out on Southwest 34th Street. And you are right, Billy Donovan deserves a first class arena.
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MUSIC FOR TODAY
The morning after I did my own Tin Cup at the Valle del Sol Golf Club in Santa Ana, Costa Rica in 1999 – I put 10 straight balls into the water and had to send my caddy to the pro shop to buy more balls – I got up at 6 a.m. to play golf at Cariari Country Club. On the way to the course while wondering why I was such a glutton for punishment, I was listening to Radio Dos in the car when Sting’s “Brand New Day” played. That was my sign from up above that I was supposed to play golf. I only lost two golf balls that day, birdied the par 3 fourth which has a pond in front of it, and hit the ball over the water and onto the green at 18 where I got a bogey to finish with a 99. I heard “Brand New Day” today and it reminded me of my memo from up above that I wasn’t supposed to take my clubs to the pawn shop.