Thoughts of the day: April 18, 2014

A few thoughts to jump start your Friday morning.


Midway through spring practice, Clay Burton ran a nice route in the seam that beat the coverage and turned what was a less than spectacular throw into a spectacular catch which had fans alternating between that “where the hell was he last year?” look and “I didn’t know he could do that.” Either Burton and Tevin Westbrook discovered that it’s legal to catch the football between December and March or else Kurt Roper made it abundantly clear to them that they better catch the ball because the tight end is definitely going to see the football in this offense. So is fresman DeAndre Goolsby, who consistently showed that he can (a) catch the ball and (b) knows what to do with it after the catch. The same is true for what we used to call fullbacks. They are B backs now and Hunter Joyer and Gideon Ajagbe will get to do something more than serve as a battering ram to help a tailback through a hole in the fall. All these guys will block – they have to in this offense – but all of them have to catch the ball as well. It’s all part of a scheme that spreads the football around to exploit every inch of the field. None of these guys may catch the ball enough next year to be a star but they will catch it enough to be a consistent threat and that will only help the offense exploit whatever weaknesses there are in opposing defenses. Trending: Up.


Louisville just got a 5-year, $40 million contract to stay with adidas, a huge coup for the brand since Notre Dame left for a 10-year, $90 million deal with Under Armour and Tennessee bolted for Nike for eight years and $35 million with performance bonuses that could seriously increase the payout. In the SEC, Florida is signed with Nike through 2017 in a deal that will pay $2.085 million in apparel and $1.835 million in cash per year. LSU extended its deal with Nike until 2022 for $3.1 million a year in apparel and $1 million in cash. Kentucky gets $1.6 million in apparel and $1.8 million in cash while Alabama gets $2.69 million in apparel and $780,000 in cash. South Carolina’s deal with Under Armour runs out in 2016. It pays $1.9 million in apparel and $1.05 million in cash. Auburn gets $3.1 million from Under Armour. Georgia’s Nike deal is surprisingly small — $1.77 million in apparel and $600,000 in cash.  Florida State gets $1.5 million in cash and $3 million in apparel from Nike.


There may not be enough wins in a football season to repair the damage done to the public image of Florida State University by the New York Times story about the botched rape investigation against Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston. The findings in this story won’t put Winston in jail although you might come to the conclusion that it’s where he probably belongs and it might not result in the alleged victim getting any sense of justice. But, the stench of the Winston investigation isn’t going to go away any time soon. When you have a police department perhaps deliberately blowing an investigation to protect a football star and a university that refuses to take action even when it knew back in February of 2013 that Winston had most likely assaulted one of its co-eds, it creates the illusion that football will always be more important than protecting students from harm. There is something seriously wrong with that. Today a friend of mine asked me to take a moment, close my eyes and contemplate what he had to say – Imagine you are a parent who has a daughter attending FSU. Are you going to sleep well tonight knowing that she’s on a campus and in a city where football players can get away with sexually assaulting women without fear of prosecution? I shuddered at the thought.


Perhaps this is the eternal optimist in me that is speaking, but something good can come out of this story if not only Florida State but every campus across the country re-evaluates how it handles sexual assault cases and if every athletic department starts dealing with players who bring harm to women in swift, harsh terms. Now, I do believe in innocent until proven guilty, but schools can no longer tolerate athletes getting away with crimes against women and too many turn a blind eye. The NCAA could do better, also. It needs to put a rule in place that states if any athlete assaults a woman and is dismissed from his team that he can’t transfer to another school and be on scholarship.


Slimy Frank Haith, the basketball coach at Missouri, to become the next head coach at Tulsa, which moves from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference in the fall. While that may seem dumb to go from making more than $2 million ($1.7 guaranteed; reportedly $500,000 or more in outside income) in the SEC to a little more than a million at Tulsa, this is Haith staying one step ahead of the jailer or getting fired, whichever comes first. The only reason Haith didn’t get show cause from the NCAA for his days at Miami was the NCAA was too inept to run an investigation properly. At Missouri he has been a declining investment since taking over a ready made team that won 30 games three years ago. Although he’s turned down a lot of jobs the last three years, Missouri is a job that probably will get the attention of Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall. Dayton’s Archie Miller is also expected to be a candidate to replace Haith.


James Young of Kentucky made it official Thursday that he’s off to the NBA. Decisions are expected shortly from Julius Randle (99% certain to go) and Aaron and Andrew Harrison (likely to go although some seem to think they will stay) … Jordan Adams of UCLA will stay another year while teammates Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine are going. Anderson will probably go in the picks shortly afte the lottery while LaVine probably goes late first round after a freshman season in which he averaged 6 points and 3 rebounds a game … Arizona State point guard Jahii Carson will skip to the NBA with two years of eligibility remaining … Kansas State gave Bruce Weber a raise and a one-year extension to 2019 on his contract … Byron Wesley, who averaged 17.8 points per game for Southern Cal, plans to graduate and transfer this summer. There will be no shortage of suitors but watch Wesley go east with Louisville a strong possibility for a landing place.


While consensus is that UCF’s Blake Bortles and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel will go in the first five or six picks when the NFL drafts in three weeks, a couple other quarterbacks are heading in opposite directions. Maybe the quarterback making the biggest move is Fresno State’s Derek Carr, whose workouts have been so pristine that some have him moving from early second/late first to the middle picks in the first round. Heading in the wrong direction is Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, whose workouts have been so uninspiring that Mel Kiper has him falling completely out of the first round.  Although he’s always been projected as a top ten pick, Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins might end up being the #2 overall pick. There are reports that the Tampa Bay Bucs and trying to engineer a trade for the #2 pick which they would use to draft Watkins. Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin projects in the first round but his stock seems to be dropping following a report by Gil Brandt that he blew off a scheduled workout with an NFL head coach because he was tired. FSU’s James Wilder’s stock is also dropping after another arrest on top of a disappointing 4.83 40 time at the NFL Combine. No one should be surprised if former Gator Jaylen Watkins (Sammy’s older half brother) is drafted ahead of both Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy. Watkins could go as high as mid-second but is likely to go early third round. Roberson is likely to go third round whereas Purifoy could end up being a fourth or fifth round pick.


Today’s question comes from Gregory Smith: The debate between “sunshine pumpers” and “negators” rages on in all of the forums regarding Muschamp’s tenure.  Winning is said to “solve all things” but going undefeated next year and/or winning the national title doesn’t seem realistic.  What does this team have to do next year to win the hearts of Gator fans and give Muschamp another year or more?

I don’t think a national championship and going unbeaten are realistic expectations but when the season starts, that will indeed be the goal of the Gators and if it isn’t then Will Muschamp is the wrong coach at the wrong time and in the wrong place. I don’t know if there is a set number of wins that Muschamp has to get to if he is to remain on the job at least another year, but I know the Gators have to show significant improvement and another losing season will not be tolerated. If you look at the schedule, which is brutal, the Gators could be the most improved team in the SEC and still lose five or six games. I think a realistic goal is 8-4, an optimist goal is 9-3 and a stars and planets align year is anything with 10 or more wins. If the offense can put points on the board and play an exciting brand of football, I think fans will be far more generous with their love and support of Muschamp than they have been in the past. I don’t think they will tolerate 8-4 or 7-5 if this is another offensively challenged team.

Each day one question will be chosen as Question for Today. Submit your question to:


What Booker T and the MGs were to southern soul music (house band for Stax Records and the recording studios at Muscle Shoals) The Funk Brothers were to Motown. Nearly everything that had the Motown label had The Funk Brothers as the backup band until the record company moved to Los Angeles in 1972. Some of The Funk Brothers followed the company out to LA but most of them stayed in Detroit. The Funk Brothers reunited in 2006 and toured for the next five years. If you’ve never seen the documentary “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” then I highly recommend it. It’s a marvelous story about the music that came out of Detroit in those days and it features some very cool stuff by the Funk Brothers including this classic of the late Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” with the great Chaka Khan on the vocals.

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.


  1. I feel sorry for Jameis Winston. He has not done anything wrong and still has people like this writer saying that he “most likely assaulted” a coed.He is innocent of any crime and wasn’t even charged. There is also no evidence that anyone covered up a crime. Winston is right to not say anything when people jump to conclusions that are not based on any evidence. I think Mr. Winston is becoming the victim in this case since he has not done anything wrong and there is zero evidence to the contrary. I know the writer doesn’t like him because he’s the quarterback of a rival, but that’s no excuse to slander him based on supposition and innuendo. I’m sure that one of the first things you learn in college is that a hypothesis needs some foundation in facts, and saying Winston assaulted anyone is not using the scientific method, it’s just an opinion that doesn’t have anything concrete to support it. Please get off the young man’s back and denigrate him for his performance on the field, if you feel the need to, because that can be backed by empirical evidence. This witch hunt is beneath you.

    • Winston a victim?

      Surely you jest.

      I couldn’t care less where he plays or who he plays for and I have not slandered him. Reading comprehension is a wonderful thing. Try it sometime.

    • There’s certainly more evidence that it did occur then didnt. Most definitely enough to warrant a investigation which is what this whole ordeal is about. Don’t worry snowprint your lil ‘ snuggle bunny winston will probably skate on this crime but one thing is for sure either A.) You don’t have any daughters or
      B.) You have absolutely have 0% respect for women or C.) Both.

      So Please return back under whatever rock you reside under while you dream of jameis running all over you in his jockstrap. :)

      Good article again Franz. Thanks

    • Once again…
      Once again…
      Another prime example of:

      Deny & Deflect…
      Deny & Deflect…
      I have seen so many of these type comments from FSU fans…over the last four decades… it is downright sickening!
      Where is the moral compass in Leon County???
      Better yet, where has the moral compass been for decades in Leon County?????

      Let’s say that… six months from now, The University of Free Shoes is found quilty of coverup and delaying an investigation…. AND that the beloved Winston is found to actually have his DNA on the victim (oh wait, he does)…
      Will you be man enough to come back on here and face reality?
      Tick… Tock….

  2. He’s not slandering Winston… Once again it is how everything was handled by the University and the police department. It doesn’t matter what university this happened at or which person is being accused, the fact that things were not investigated further or in a timely manner, when people knew about it, is very disturbing.

  3. I will be far more generous with my “love and support” of Coach Muschamp just as soon as he proves to me that he deserves it! He is on his THIRD offensive coordinator and he may have finally figured out that he needs an OC that can actually use the mad talent available in the Sunshine State. Welcome to the 21st century coach – Thats PROGRESS! Muschamp must develop his players and not just the first string. He must be a true leader and control his emotions on the sidelines. He must take back the SWAMP. And for the love of God he MUST BEAT HELL OUTTA GEORGIA. Do those things and he will have all the “love and support” he could ever ask for.

  4. Franz, I read correctly that you said that “Winston had most likely assaulted one of it’s coeds.” That’s slander since there is not any evidence to back it up. If I say that someone is a child molester, that’s not enough to label someone. The only thing we know that is a fact is that someone accused Winston. I’m glad our legal system has a higher standard than you do. As for feeling sorry for Winston, how would you feel if you were accused and there was any action taken because there was no evidence to back the accuser’s claim. Wouldn’t you feel that you were being persecuted unfairly when pundits like yourself continue to say things like you most likely committed a crime? Thank god our legal system in Florida has progressed further than some people’s attitudes. During the last century, Florida prosecuted rape as a capital crime. Guess what race the people who were executed were in over 99% of the cases? Winston was right to say nothing and should continue to do so because the evidence means very little to some people, they are going to believe what they want to believe. I’ve got news for those folks, it’s over, you should get over it as well.

    • Once again, I will make the case that reading comprehension is a wonderful thing. You should try it some time. Stating an opinion based on what is written on the public domain is not slander, which requires (a) malicious intent and (b) proof that anything said was a deliberate lie intended to harm someone else.

      As someone far more competent than either of us with regards to this case — Georgia Cappleman, the assistant state attorney for Leon County — has stated, “I believe that Mr. Winston cannot be convicted. I don’t necessarily believe that he’s innocent.”

      And the New York Times story, which believe me, was raked over by its legal team a thousand times to ensure there was nothing either slanderous or libelous, paints a picture that isn’t flattering to Jameis Winston and does indeed lead us to believe that this girl was indeed victimized.

      Your defense of Jameis Winston and all things FSU has gotten rather comical.