Podcast: Talking Florida Gators baseball and SEC softball tournament

GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as we preview this weekend’s diamond action as baseball host their last home series, plus the softball team is playing in the SEC tournament.

Andrew Spivey and Ethan Hughes talk about Tim Tebow potentially signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars, plus the latest recruiting news for the Gators.

Andrew and Ethan also break down what the baseball team needs to do this weekend to continue to trend in the right direction.


Andrew:​What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, back with Ethan. It’s a duo today, tag team. We’re back. Pretty jampacked show we got planned here, Ethan. Gators last weekend at home, correct?

Ethan:​In baseball, yes. Last home series against Georgia.

Andrew:​Overall, it’s been a good season at home. Welcome the new ballpark. Obviously, things could have went better overall. Let me ask you this. First impressions of the new stadium. Playing as you expect them?

Ethan:​It’s played pretty much like I expected. It’s a little bit bigger and more of a pitcher’s park than what McKethanStadium was, but at the same time, it plays very fair. If you absolutely crush a ball, like you saw with Jud Fabian and Chris Armstrong a couple times, it will still sail out of there in a hurry. From a playing standpoint, I think it plays very similar to what the stadium is like in Omaha. Just from a fan standpoint, it’s a gorgeous stadium. The shade is going to be so beneficial over the years with the heat and then rain. It’s one of the nicer stadiums in the country, I would imagine. I haven’t seen any other college baseball stadiums, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to build anything a whole lot nicer than that.

Andrew:​I haven’t seen Florida’s new stadium in person yet. We’ll see that soon. Seen a lot of stadiums around the SEC, the new box at LSU is beautiful. The thing about it is is they don’thave the whole 360 and being able to see the field from everywhere like the new Minor League stadiums are, and I’m a big Minor League guy. From the photos I’ve seen and the impressions I’ve gotten from people, Florida’s new stadium is as close to a Minor League ballpark as it is.

​Like you said, I think it plays true. If you hit the ball good enough to go out of the ballpark, it’s going to go out of the ballpark. It’s definitely an extra base hit ballpark in the gaps. Definitely a pitcher’s ballpark at times too. That’s kind of to be expected with Kevin O’Sullivan, even though this year hasn’t been a great pitching year overall, but we’ll get into that here in a minute.

​Softball was the SEC regular season champions, entered the SEC Tournament as the one seed. We’re taping this on Thursday, and they’re taking on Mississippi State in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Playing Mississippi State. Should be a good weekend for the Gators as well. They technically tied with Arkansas, but took the #1 seed over percentage points against Alabama, because they were the third seed, and Florida won two out of three against them. We’ll get into that in a minute.

​Some big news in the NFL. The man, the myth, the legend, the goat, Tim Tebow is expected to be signed to a one-year deal by the Jaguars to play tight end. You heard that right. Not quarterback, but tight end. After he worked out for Urban Meyer’s staff. Did not workout for Urban, as Urban said he didn’t want to be a part of it, so that no one called him biased or anything else, and I get that. Ethan, first impressions are what? You’re a Jaguar fan.

Ethan:​Urban can try to remove himself from the process as much as possible, but if he’s not the head coach of the Jaguars, I don’t think Tim Tebow’s getting a job in the League right now. From a Jaguar standpoint, it’s the worst tight end room in the NFL, possibly by a pretty large margin, so it’s kind of a low risk, high reward move. Either he’ll improve the position group and help the team get better, or they’ll cut him in preseason. There’sreally not a whole lot to lose here other than maybe the fan perception if they cut him or don’t end up signing him. Could be a little bit of backlash, but shouldn’t be any sort of long term consequences if this doesn’t work out.

Andrew:​Let me ask you this. Obviously, I’m not getting into the politics of it. I honestly don’t want this to turn into that. Do you think that him being a Jacksonville guy and all of that is a PR stunt here, or do you think he can actually play? I was reading something on Thursday where supposedly the Jaguars trainer said he looked like he was an 18-year-old kid, and he was in great shape and everything else. Do you think this is a PR stunt or what?

Ethan:​It’s probably part PR stunt, part trying to help the team. They did just draft Trevor Lawrence, and they hired Urban Meyer as their head coach. They’re selling season tickets at a level that hasn’t been seen in a long time, so I’m not really sure how much of a PR boost they needed. Getting Tebow back in the stadium, even if he’s just standing on the sidelines holding a clipboard or two, can’t hurt.

Andrew:​You’re going to draw fans, and at the end of the day, a lot of that is that. I did not think he was a baseball player. I went and watched him play for that reason, so they got a ticket from me. They got me to buy a shirsey when he was playing with the Columbia Fireflys. That was Tebow. I’m a Tebow guy, love Tebow, so it worked on me. I think it’s all over sports in general. Obviously, with the Jaguars they hired Urban Meyer because he’s a great coach, but also for a PR move, and they’re trying to turn it around.

​The thing for me is this. Tebow’s not going to be a distraction to your team. He’s going to come in, and he’s going to work hard. He’s going to be a veteran leader. He’s going to come in, and he’s going to help the quarterback room. He’sgoing to come in, and he’s going to help the team in general with their psyche and everything else. I see it as a low risk, high reward kind of thing. If he gets cut, he gets cut. For what little bit of change he’s going to get to report to training camp, so be it.

Ethan:​Yup. He’s going to, I think, really have an effect on the tight end room, because those guys aren’t going to want to let some guy who hasn’t played an NFL game in close to 10 years come in and take one of their jobs. It’s only going to have kind of a trickle-down effect throughout the entire roster. Nobody is going to want to lose to that guy.

Andrew:​Right. Here’s the thing. If he comes in and makes some plays, good for him. We’ll see. Obviously, the signing is not official yet. There’s still some stuff they’re working through. I’m sure it’s contract, that kind of stuff, or whatever it may be. Maybe even something with the Mets. I don’t know. Something there. They’re still working through it all and getting through that.

​Gators did pick up some big news in football recruiting. Picked up a big wide receiver, Isaiah Bond, who’s one of the fastest guys in the state of Georgia. He committed as a slot receiver. He’s an athlete overall, but committed at slot receiver to the Gators. I think it’s a big pickup. I say that heading into this year on the Gators’ offensive side of the ball, the biggest weakness is they don’t have a guy to replace Kedarius Toney. I know they say Trent Whittemore is going to play there some. Justin Shorter is going to play there some. Cope’s going to get some run there. They don’t have a guy, in my opinion, that can really be that Kadarius Toney type of guy. I think Isaiah Bond is that guy that can be that guy.

Ethan:​That’s kind of been one of their bigger weaknesses in the recruiting trail. They’ve gotten some good receivers, but they haven’t gotten that one track star guy, like an Anthony Schwartz type, who you can just give the ball to, and he can just run past everybody on the defense. Bond, it would appear, is that guy. I think he ran like a 10 300 meters or something.

Andrew:​Something like that. It was crazy. Again, it’s a big pickup for that reason. Obviously, you don’t want a track star that can’t play football. I like Anthony Schwartz. I think he’s a good speed, but I think Anthony Schwartz is a track guy who’s trying to play football. I think Isaiah Bond is a football player who’s just able to run track. It’s kind of like Kadarius Toney. Are either one of those guys ever going to be an Olympic gold medalist in track? No, probably not. But they’re both going to be really good football players. Heck, look at DK Metcalf. He’s one of the fastest receivers in the NFL, and he goes out and finishes last in his heat. It just doesn’t work like that.

​So, I think it’s a big pickup. I think it’s an underrated pickup as well. You look at Mullen’s offense, and when Mullen’s offense is going well, same thing with Urban, they have that guy who can do everything. You see Kadarius get touches in the backfield. You see him get touches at slot receiver. You see him come on jet sweeps. You see him do all kind of different things, and he’s also a weapon on special teams as well. It just makes such a big mismatch to your team. When you don’t have that guy that can do that, I think it makes this offense change a little bit. I’m not saying that it’s going to be a bad offense this year, but I think when you have that weapon it makes your offense that much more dangerous. Especially when you have a dual threat quarterback that can get out there and do things with that slot receiver.

Ethan:​I think you’re seeing the offense for the future starting to resemble more of what we thought the Dan Mullen offense was going to be, based off of his time as offensive coordinator, where you have some smaller speedy receivers like Bond. Now you got a whole roomful of running quarterbacks and guys like Demarkcus Bowman in the backfield who can run with the best of them. Your offensive line is basically kind of four guards, or five guards at this point. It really feels like you’restarting to get back to that spread option roots that the thing was based off of, that they just didn’t have the personnel for the last couple years. Which, for good reason, because you’re not going to run that offense with Kyle Trask, so made sense. Now they’regoing to kind of shift it.

Andrew:​Urban’s deal when he was in Gainesville, and I think he’s even doing it a little bit in Jacksonville, is he wants to have the fastest team in America. If you have the fastest team in America, you’re going to win a lot of football games. You just are. You can be strong. You can be physical. You can be whatever it may be, but guess what? When the defense catches up to you, and they team up and tackle you, you’re going down, but if they can’t catch you, you’re really good. Like you said, I think it is starting to begin to look like that, an offense that you thought it was.

Again, it started to go that way last year. You saw KadariusToney really step up. You saw what Kyle Pitts did. You saw all that stuff, and you were able to pick up the mismatches, and that is what Dan Mullen’s offense is. It’s what Urban Meyer’s offense is. It’s really what any good offense is, but in particular Dan Mullen and Urban Meyer’s offense. They go into every game and find the mismatch. A lot of times the mismatch was Kadarius Toney versus whoever the linebacker was going to be covering him or whoever the safety was going to be covering him or Kyle Pitts.

Again, I’m not taking anything away from Justin Shorter or Trent Whittemore or any of those guys. I just don’t think that them at the slot receiver does what Kadarius Toney could do, what Isaiah Bond could do. Then there’s another guy in Chandler Smith who just was one of the top guys in the state in track. They’re recruiting him as well at that slot receiver position. If you can add two of those guys there, watch out. You got a really dangerous slot receiver room now.

Ethan:​I think what you hope is that eventually you’re able to create mismatches with everybody on the field. You don’t just have to have a Toney or a Pitts that you’re able to get a mismatch. You’re able to basically just force a mismatch in every play, just by virtue of having five guys out there that the defense can’t all guard at once.

Andrew:​Absolutely. Good point. You want to continue to have that and to be able to just kind of go out there and run your offense and find the mismatch. It’s starting to develop. There’ssome question marks, especially on the offensive line and all that stuff. That’ll have to be answered, but I think it was a very big pickup to get Isaiah Bond on Sunday. You get a little bit of momentum as you head into the end of the dead period in June 1st, when they’re expected to be about 50 or 60 guys on campus. You hope to pick up some commits. This is going to be a busy June.

​I wanted to go to this real quick, Ethan, and get your thoughts on this. Tyree Johnson has entered the transfer portal from Ohio State. Was a once five-star out of Jacksonville, Trinity Christian. Florida recruited him a little bit, but he was dead set on playing corner. Florida wanted him at safety. Obviously, he went up to Ohio State and didn’t work out at cornerback. Florida has reportedly reached out to him. I’veconfirmed that they’ve reached out to him a little bit. I guess my question to you is this, Ethan. First of all, he hasn’t had a good career at Ohio State. Is it okay to take him now in the transfer portal, after you passed on a guy like Terrion Arnold, who was coming out of high school, who was a really good athlete at safety? What’s your thoughts on this?

Ethan:​I think you have to take a guy like him, if he wants to come, because right now you don’t have a whole lot that you can feel comfortable with at safety moving forward. You have some young players, but that’s kind of risky, because you don’tknow how good any of them are going to be at this point. Getting a guy like him, if you can convince him to play safety now, go for it.


Ethan:​I see the Arnold situation being, I don’t see how that’s really relevant to this, deciding to take a transfer or not.

Andrew:​I think the biggest thing for me is this. The reason they didn’t take Terrion Arnold was because they felt good with the safety room, so that’s where I’m at. Do you take Tyree Johnson now? There’s a lot of people frustrated by it. Here’s my thing with it. I personally don’t think they end up taking Tyree Johnson. I think he’s a corner. I mean, I think he’s a safety who wants to play corner. I don’t think he has improved a lot, so I don’t think they end up taking him.

​My only thing was you passed on a guy like TerrionArnold, who was a really good player. You had the opportunity to develop him. I would be a little upset and frustrated by that, that you took a transfer safety, when you passed on him and let him go to Alabama, because you said you didn’t have room for him. That’s kind of where that is. Again, I don’t know. I don’tthink they take him. They reach out to everyone, just to kind of gauge interest. I don’t think they take him, at the end of the day. It was just something I wanted to bring up as let’s weight the pros and cons of it.

Ethan:​It would be interesting if they end up taking him. Would that basically be the staff admitting that they were wrong on Terrion Arnold? Is that how you would view that?

Andrew:​Yeah. I guess that’s kind of my point a little bit. Did you go through the spring and say, crap, maybe we overestimated how good some of our young safeties was going to be? I don’t know.

Ethan:​That’s the one biggest concern on defense, other than, obviously, the scheme. Everybody wants to talk about Grantham. Position wise, safety’s been the biggest mess for a couple years now. Why not add all the pieces you possibly can? The more pieces you add, they can’t all be busts at the same time, can they?

Andrew:​Right. Listen, there’s no right. There’s no formula for recruiting. Obviously, the transfer portal throws a wrench in things. Obviously, it’s kind of touché, because you look at the situation, and you say, they were able to go through the spring and figure out maybe they don’t feel as good about this person as that person. It’s not exactly fair there. I just wanted to bring it up, just simply because I thought it just was a little weird. I’mstill kind of in shock that they let Terrion Arnold walk to Bama, when you needed safeties.

​Obviously, outside of Trey Dean, is there really a safety on this team that you really feel great about at this time? We all think Corey Collier is going to be a good player. We all think Rashad Torrence has a chance to be, but those are all chances.

Ethan:​Yeah. They don’t have a lot of sure fire.

Andrew:​Proven depth.

Ethan:​Going to be star players at this point.

Andrew:​Exactly. Let’s move onto the diamond sports. Gators host who this weekend?

Ethan:​Georgia. Going to be a fun series.

Andrew:​Should be a fun series. Little rivalry series. What’sthe Gators now in the SEC race?

Ethan:​They are currently one and half behind Vandy for second, because Vandy didn’t get to play their final game against Alabama, due to weather. Two games behind Tennessee, which who would have thought Tennessee would be leading Vanderbilt this late in the SEC season?

Andrew:​Exactly. Who do the Gators finish with next week?

Ethan:​At Arkansas.

Andrew:​At Arkansas.

Ethan:​Got to find a way to at least go three and three these next six.

Andrew:​Obviously, you would love to sweep Georgia this weekend and give yourself some breathing room. The latest projections are kind of out. Looks like the Gators are now back in the hosting frame of mind there. This is the question that I have for you. Do you feel like this team is still trending in the right direction? They lose to Stetson on Tuesday. It’s whatever. It’s midweek game. They were playing everybody, pitching Johnny Wholestaff, so I don’t put too much into that. Do you feel like this is heading in the right direction still?

Ethan:​I do feel like they’re still heading in the right direction, just because they’ve won two really competitive SEC series in a row in games that they had to kind of battle from behind and games that I think maybe a month ago they don’t win.


Ethan:​The Stetson game, that game didn’t matter at all to me. Just to be honest, I wasn’t even looking forward to having to cover that game.


Ethan:​It’s just a game in the way before you get to play Georgia. I think one thing they’ve got to get figured out is they’ve got to get the starting rotation back on track. They’regoing to move Tommy Mace back to Friday this week against Georgia. Hunter Barco’s getting bumped up to Saturday, and Aleman is going back to Sunday. If they can get some, just consistently get five or six innings out of those guys, with the way the bats have been going pretty much all season, with the exception of the Stetson game, if they can get those three going just a little bit more, they’ve got a chance, I think, to definitely host a regional. They’re coming out with the top 20 regional host possibilities on Friday, and then the Gators will definitely be on that.

You have to win these next two series. I think they’re not only in a regional lock, to host a regional, but they could be in the top eight national seed discussion to host a super-regional at that point. I think they’re definitely trending in the right direction, but Georgia’s not going to be an easy series to win. They’re a team that’s a lot better than what their record would suggest. They just had some back luck with injuries. I know their Sunday starter, Ryan Webb, recently they announced this week that he’sgoing to be out for the year with an elbow injury. Georgia, they took two out of three at Vanderbilt. They almost took the series at Arkansas. They’re fighting to get into the NCAA Tournament. They’re going to be a tough out this weekend.

Andrew:​If my memory serves, and I haven’t looked at it too much, but if my memory serves, the lost a lot of one run games.

Ethan:​Yup. They feel kind of like Auburn a little bit, where the talent they have on that team does not add up to what their record shows.

Andrew:​Yeah. That’s that. Give me your thoughts on this rotation moving around.

Ethan:​It needed to happen. Franco Aleman, he was giving you three, four good innings, and then it would just completely go to heck in the fourth or fifth inning. Then you’d have to use a bunch of your bullpen, and that put you behind the eight ball for the final two games of the series. Tommy Mace, he hasn’t been great the last couple weeks, but he’s battled through some stuff and thrown 115-120 pitches and given you seven or eight innings. He’s a guy that you trust the most in a high leverage situation from a starting rotation standpoint, so you need him on Friday.

Then Barco has been going really well the last couple weeks. He’s been the most consistent pitcher on the staff the last few weeks, starter or rotation wise. You move him up to Saturday, and then I think the hope is that by moving Franco Aleman to Sunday they’re able to take some of the pressure off of him. If he’s only able to give you four innings, that’s okay, because you’ve got hopefully a fully rested bullpen, and you’re able to piece it together matchup wise from there on.

I like it. I think it’s also part to kind of set up for the postseason, because you’re going to want Tommy Mace probably going Game 1, even if you’re a one seed playing a four at this point. I don’t think you could take the gamble of having a lesser starter against that weaker opponent. You’re probably going to have to start off with Tommy Mace.

Andrew:​I think the thing for me is this. You know this as well as I do. You just can’t allow your bullpen to get fried in the first game. I say that, and that just means depleted. You cannot go into Saturday and Sunday with the chance that you’ve used four or five guys out of the pen. It doesn’t work like that. That really hurts you all weekend. I think that’s been the biggest issue, so I’m okay with it.

Again, I think the biggest thing is this. This team is only going to go as far as Mace will allow them to go. He has got to be the guy. Tommy Mace was the guy who everyone talked about being the guy. If this team is going to go like they want to go, Tommy Mace has to be that tone setter from the get-go. Doesn’t look like Jack Leftwich is going to settle in to be that two guy. He’s a bullpen guy and settling into that role. So, this team’s got to figure out where they’re going to go Saturday and Sunday. I think they have a little bit, but it’s got to start with Mace on Game 1.

Ethan:​It does. He needs to get off to a better start. It seems like he’ll give up three or four runs in the first three or four innings, and then he’ll the last three or four innings give up one hit, strike out four, no runs scored. It just takes him 50 or 60 pitches before he really kicks it into gear. He’s just got to find a way to get that ticked off, tired of this feeling before the game even starts, because it just seems like he has to have his butt kicked a little bit before he gets the right emotional level to pitch well.

Andrew:​Give him some Jeff Collins, that smelling salt or something, early in the game. That’s a joke. I’m sure you remember that whole deal, right, Ethan? I’m not telling you something you don’t remember, right?

Ethan:​I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Andrew:​He was at times they had some smelling salt on the sidelines, and I don’t know. One game before the game they caught him, and he was just like smelling his smelling salt to get him fired up. It was funny.

Ethan:​Jeff Collins is a weird dude.

Andrew:​Weird dude, but a winning guy at that. Again, overall, like you said, they’ve got to figure it out. It all starts with the pitching staff. It’s always going to start with the pitching staff. They got to figure out, and I think they will. I’mexcited to see that they’re starting to get going in the right direction finally. We’ve all been waiting for that to happen. Again, we can all talk about the regular season all you want. There’s a lot of teams who have not been very good in the regular. I mean, you’ve got to be good in the regular season, but there’s been a lot of teams who have went the last few years where they’ve had just okay regular seasons, and then came out and done really well in the NCAA Tournament. This team is set up to do really well in the NCAA Tournament. I’m excited to see what they’re able to do.

Ethan:​It shows you how far, where this program is at under Kevin O’Sullivan, where they’re going to be a regional host, possibly a borderline national seed, and people are talking about how this team is a disappointment and one of the worst teams Sully’s ever had. Any other sport, I think Gator fans would be killing for a season like this.

Andrew:​Yeah. You better watch out. LSU, Mainieri is going to supposedly retire and LSU wants to back the Brinks truck up to a coach, so don’t want to run Sully out of town.

Ethan:​They can join Texas and Clemson in that line.

Andrew:​Let’s talk about softball just for a quick second. They won the SEC Tournament with a come from behind win against Texas A&M on Sunday. Excuse me, won the regular season. Is the #1 seed in the SEC Tournament that is going on onThursday. This team has had, I want to say some question marks throughout the year of just whether they’ve been consistent and whether they can hit. Just kind of everything that goes along with it. You’re starting to see them kind of get together. It’s kind of a Tim Walton team, and that is when the lights come on at the end of the year, that’s when they start to play well. Is this team dominant? Not by any means, but they do all the little things right, and they play the game the right way. They’re a veteran based team, and they’re doing really well.

Ethan:​Watching them too, they’re just a team that seem to always live on the edge. Just keep getting walk off homeruns. You’re like, their luck is eventually going to run out, right? And then it just never runs out it seemed like.

Andrew:​Listen, as a Braves fan, I dealt with that the last few years, where it was just like they come from behind. It does. It seems like this team doesn’t hit for the majority of the game, and then it always seems to find Hannah Adams at the end of the game, and it’s like, okay, there it is. You know it’s coming. It was on Sunday where Cottrill was on fire, and, boom, there she was. Found the way to hit the game winning homerun. Again, is this team dominant by any means? No, not at all, but I think this is a team that’s destined to do well, because of just how veteran based they are and Tim Walton at the helm.

Ethan:​It’s just kind of a very un-Tim Walton like team too. They don’t have one dominant pitcher, but they just seem to just always have what it takes to have one more run on the board than the other team, even if it isn’t very pretty to get there.

Andrew:​Who would have ever thought Arkansas would be the team that they tied with? Go ahead.

Ethan:​Arkansas has like taken over the SEC in everything. Always been good in baseball. Went the farthest they’ve gone in a basketball tournament in a long time. They’re winning softball now. Football is a little bit better than what they have been. They’re having maybe the best most unexpected year of any athletic department in the SEC.

Andrew:​It was weird, because when you talk about Arkansas the last few years, they were always the team was going to get run ruled. They were always the team that you came into thinking this is going to be a blowout. You’re going to play five innings and win 10-0 or 8-0, whatever it may be. Then they’re able to continue to do what they’re doing. Good to see. I like to see competitive overall. Again, the Gators are hosting. They’re pretty much a lock to be a national seed and to host not only a regional, but a super-regional if they’re able to go there.

​Real quick, I got to talk about lacrosse for a second. Lacrosse is also hosting. They’re the #6 seed overall in the national tournament, and they’re hosting the #6 seed Jacksonville on Friday.

Ethan:​They lost to Jacksonville in the regular season, so seemed like when you look at the schedule, they would have a pretty easy time to third round, but they lost to Jacksonville. I think they played one of the teams very competitively. Could be an interesting weekend for them.

Andrew:​Yeah. Any final thoughts on the diamond sports, lacrosse?

Ethan:​I think we just about covered it all.

Andrew:​Am I missing anything? I don’t think so, right?

Ethan:​We were going to talk about some of the rule changes.

Andrew:​I was meaning the smaller sports.

Ethan:​I think we got it all.

Andrew:​I think so too. I know tennis is still going on, and golf’s still going on. That’s that. Let’s talk about some of the rule changes. Go ahead, Ethan. I’ll let you start. The overtime rule in football is the biggest one. Give us the rundown on that.

Ethan:​From now on, after you score a touchdown, you’vegot to go for two points starting after the second overtime, instead of the third, which it was previously. Then once you get to the third overtime, it basically becomes a two-point conversion shootout from the three-yard line. I think all this is just a very large overreaction to that seven overtime LSU-Texas A&M game a couple years ago. I’m not a fan of this rule. First of all, that game was awesome to watch. Like 150 points on the board, and Ed Orgeron’s coaching a game soaking wet, because they dunked him with Gatorade because they thought they had it won. Just seemed like you’re making an overreaction for safety reasons to an event that happens maybe every 10 years you see a game go that long.

​I don’t like it either because it’s kind of like in baseball, where you start extra innings with a runner on second. You’refundamentally changing how the game is played at this point, and you’re basically taking the line of scrimmage out of it, because nobody’s going to run the ball on their two-point conversion shootout. It basically becomes a receivers and quarterback game at that point. It negates any advantage one team might have in the trenches. You’re changing how the game is played to decide a winner.

Andrew:​I was able to watch, and you might not remember this, but the LSU-Arkansas game that went seven overtimes with Darren McFadden. I was in attendance at that game, and what an awesome game. The most exciting game ever. I don’t like this rule either. I do kind of like the two-point shootout a little bit, but I’m also one of those guys who say in hockey, I don’t like hockey, but I don’t mind the whole shootout kind of thing, but then in baseball I wouldn’t want a homer derby to end it, in a way, but in a way it’d be fun. I don’t know. I don’t like the whole runner on second base thing.

​I don’t know. I’m okay with it, in a way, but I do think it’s a little bit of an overreaction. The Covid stuff hopefully is going to go away, so the health concerns of being on the field shouldn’t be an issue going forward. I don’t know. I don’t like it.

Ethan:​I don’t like it. That seven overtime game, LSU-Texas A&M, people loved that. Everyone except for people in the NCAA office, apparently.

Andrew:​Yeah. Exactly. The other rule was about eliminating the contact, as much contact as possible, in practice, especially the Oklahoma drill. No more Oklahoma drill. I ask you this, Ethan, because of this. We’re already seeing pitiful defenses around the country. We’re seeing terrible tackling around the country. This is only going to make it worse, this hardly no contact kind of thing. It’s only going to make it worse in college football. You not being able to tackle correctly is going to, first of all, have more injuries, in my opinion, because guys are not going to know how to tackle correctly, but also I think tackling is just going to be worse.

Ethan:​It’s going to be a lot worse tackling. I think what you saw last year with the teams getting things shut down for Covid, that’s going to become like the new norm. You’re going to see basically every game look like a Big 12 game with missed tackles. It’s going to become a wide receiver dominated game, even more than it already is. Then you’re going to see more injuries, because you’re having all these rules in place with targeting, and you can’t hit people here or there, but yet now you’re not giving them a chance to practice how to properly tackle. It just seems kind of contradictory.

Andrew:​Right. That’s the thing. That’s what I think is frustrating, when you see the injuries. I think you’re just going to continue to see it. I don’t know. I get it. Try not to get people hurt in practice. I get it, but it’s been going on for years. I don’tknow. You don’t see very many injuries in practice from the Oklahoma drill.

Ethan:​No. I feel like coaches already do a pretty good job of limiting contact, because they don’t want their best players injured anymore than the NCAA does.

Andrew:​Right. I don’t know. What was the other rule changes? I know I’m missing something.

Ethan:​I don’t know of any other, other than NIL.

Andrew:​Let’s hit on that for a second here. We got a few minutes. Let’s hit on that. Florida’s gone back and forth. They were off. Now they’re back on, whether they’re going to allow it to start in July, like it was supposed to. It was voted not to, then Mullen and some other people came out and was against it, and now it’s back on to do it. It’s one of those things where you voted it into a law. Put it into effect. Just let it be done and move on with it, and let’s get the show on the road and start allowing it to happen. I think it’s beneficial to the state of Florida to do it. Guess what? More people are going to come to your colleges, and that’s going to allow more revenue, that kind of stuff, when parents and that kind of stuff come in. Obviously if the big three is winning it’s more revenue for your state as well. I don’t get it, why they wanted to go back on it. I’m glad they decided for right now that they’re going to allow it to start in July. I think it’s good for Florida.

Ethan:​I’m not sure what the whole reasoning was for delaying it for a year. I think they were concerned about maybe some of the unintended consequences, but the only way you’regoing to figure any of that out is by doing it. It’s going to be probably a rocky road of having to learn things as you go and kind of adjust. As far as Florida is concerned, it was going to be a big advantage, but now pretty much every other state is kind of following suite, so I’m not really sure how much advantage it is at this point. Tennessee just passed a similar law a couple days ago.

Andrew:​It was weird, because Georgia, and I know Georgia and Georgia Tech has already came out, but Georgia had the whole thing about they may allow some of the money to be taken away and put into other athletes. Somebody had a comment about it. I think it was on social media. Is it going to cause problems in the locker rooms between the bigger names and the smaller names?

Let’s just say. Let’s go back to last year. Kyle Pitts, for instance, would get endorsement deals. Kadarius Toney would get endorsement deals. Kyle Trask would get endorsement deals. Would Kemore Gamble get upset as a backup tight end? Would Emory Jones get upset as a backup quarterback? I don’t know that you can worry about that, in a way. I think it’s kind of what it is. Should push you to work harder, but it happens in the NFL. Not every NFL player gets an endorsement deal. Some get it, some don’t.

I don’t want to say be happy that you’re in college, but I think it should push you a little bit. I don’t think that it’ll cause much drama there, and I definitely don’t think it’s fair to say, Kyle, because you’re so good, some of your endorsement deals from the local automotive play you got to give it to the backups. That’s not fair to him.

Ethan:​It’s not fair. I’m glad to hear that the University of Georgia, I think Georgia Tech too, aren’t going to follow through with doing that like they could. Also, I think people are overestimating just how many players are going to be able to make lucrative amount of money off of this. On the Gators football team this year, who’s going to get a major endorsement? Emory Jones. Maybe Kaiir Elam. Who else?

Andrew:​Yeah. Obviously, your quarterback is probably going to always get it. That’s always the face of the franchise. No. Maybe some of your big recruits that come in, they may. Again, no. There’s not going to be a ton. You can’t limit it, and you can’t take it away either and give it to other people.

Ethan:​No. You can’t. That law in Georgia, it seemed like you’re trying to make it seem like you’re giving the players more freedom to earn money, but then you put these restrictions on it, so you still have control. It just felt like kind of an effort to find a happy medium, and it’s not going to be implemented, so I’m not really sure what the point of having that clause in there was.

Andrew:​Exactly. What’s your thought on it in general? Are you glad to see it?

Ethan:​I like the fact they can make money off of their name, image, and likeness now. I’m mostly for it, just because I hope we get that video game back in a couple years, from a selfish perspective.

Andrew:​Yeah. Selfish perspective, I like that. Again, I don’t see an issue with it. I really don’t. I’ve never really seen an issue with it. I think that if you’re good enough to earn it, you might as well. What does it hurt the school? It doesn’t. I’m okay with it. I’m glad to see it done. To be completely honest with you, and this is selfish as well, I’m ready for it to come into play, so that we don’t have to continue debating when it’s going to come in, all this other stuff. I’m just ready to see it come into effect, so that it can be done, and people can get off the itdoesn’t need to happen, when’s it going to happen, that kind of stuff.

Ethan:​I think this law too, people talk about how it’s going to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, I actually think you could see Group of Five teams actually benefit from this. If you have a really talented player, like an Ed Oliver at Houston, he’s a big fish in a small pond. There’s I think maybe a better chance for someone like him to make money than somebody who’s just one of many stars at Florida, for example.

Andrew:​Yeah. Obviously, I agree with that. Who was the quarterback that was at UCF when they were really good?

Ethan:​McKenzie Milton.

Andrew:​No. Sorry. USF.

Ethan:​Oh, USF.

Andrew:​I don’t remember. But UCF is a good one, McKenzie Milton. You’re telling me that those Orlando businesses and stuff like that wouldn’t be flocking to get him advertisement and support him for the Heisman and all that kind of stuff? Absolutely. I don’t see it as a bad thing. Here’s the thing too. The lower level schools aren’t going to get these kids anyway, so it’s not going to hurt them any worse. The schools aren’t giving them any more money.

Ethan:​No. It’ll be interesting how it affects recruiting too, because can coaches promise a guy an endorsement deal? How involved can they be in all this?

Andrew:​I don’t know that they can. I don’t think they can do that, and I don’t think they can help them. I mean, I don’tthink they can point them in a direction, but I definitely think they can advertise them more. Florida had the Gator Made program they started, or something like that, to help them. I think they can help them, but I don’t think they can push. Here’sa contract, sign it. I don’t think they can do that.

Ethan:​A lot of these businesses too are run by big time wealthy Gator boosters, so it’s kind of a gray area there.

Andrew:​Exactly. There you go on that. Any final thoughts on things?

Ethan:​I think we just about covered it all.

Andrew:​Anything we missed?

Ethan:​Basketball is still looking for assistant coaches.

Andrew:​Luckily, they didn’t lose a third.

Ethan:​Sounded like they were going to for a couple days there.

Andrew:​I think that’s it, Ethan. We’ll be back next week. We’ll recap the SEC Tournament for softball, and we’ll recap how baseball does. Maybe by then they’ll have some new assistant coaches in basketball.

Ethan:​One can only hope. That’s dragging on longer than the football assistant coach search that we thought was never-ending.

Andrew:​For real. Guys, we appreciate it. As always, follow us. @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter and on Instagram. Follow Ethan all weekend on Twitter, and follow myself on Twitter as well. We’ll have all the action in baseball and softball and anything else that’s going on. As always, we appreciate it, guys. We will talk to you guys later.

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.