Thoughts of the day: January 6, 2014

A few thoughts to jump start your Monday morning:


Saturday night it seems that everyone had a source confirming that Stacy Searels would be Florida’s offensive line coach, but Sunday came word through the UAA’s Twitter account that nobody had been hired and there were still people to interview. One that was interviewed was Mike Summers, who spent the past season coaching the offensive line at Southern Cal. Summers has experience coaching the O-line for Bobby Petrino at Louisville and with the Atlanta Falcons, for Houston Nutt at Arkansas and with Joker Phillips at Kentucky. Summers’ O-line gave up 34 sacks in 2013. USC averaged 4.51 per rush and 8.2 per pass attempt. During his three years at Kentucky, the Wildcats gave up 65 sacks in 37 games. The best year for rushing for UK was 2010 (158 yards per game) and in the 2011 and 2012 seasons the Wildcats averaged 4.8 and 5.5 yards per attempt respectively.


CBS is reporting that Brent Key, the offensive line coach at UCF, will interview on Monday. He played for George O’Leary at Georgia Tech and has been at UCF for the past nine years. He’s coached the offensive line since 2009. The best year for protecting the passer was 2012, when the Knights gave up only 17 sacks. They gave up 29 this past season and in his five years on the job, opponents have sacked the UCF quarterback 142 times (average 28.4 per year). The Knights averaged 4.41 per rush in 2013 and 4.83 in 2012, their best two years in the time Key has been coaching the OL. UCF did average 9.1 yards per pass attempt in 2013 and has never averaged less than 7.2 per attempt while Key has been coaching the OL.


Of the candidates whose names have been tossed about as the next O-line coach at Florida, the one that has the best and most consistent numbers is Stacy Searels and he is also the one with the most Southeastern Conference experience, which has to count for something. The people that I talk to insist that nothing has changed, that Searels is going to be the next offensive line coach at Florida, but it appears to be less than the done deal it was said to be Saturday night. Nothing is certain until they announce, particularly with this staff, but the people I talk to have known Muschamp and Searels for a long time and at this point in time, none of them are backing down from their Saturday statement that Searels would be a member of the Florida staff.


All the talking heads think the Seminoles win the national championship game tonight in a very big way. If you go by ESPN’s power index predictor, Florida State should win this one by 13 points. The experts rave about the talent on both sides of the ball for the Seminoles but I don’t hear anyone talking about how the Seminoles got to 13-0. It certainly wasn’t against a Southeastern Conference schedule. If there is an advantage for Auburn it is the fact that it has already faced six ranked SEC teams including four that were ranked in the top seven at the time the game was played. Conventional wisdom says that Florida State wins this one but I’ve never been a conventional kind of guy. As long as Auburn doesn’t turn the ball over, I think this will be the SEC’s eighth straight national championship. I like Gus Malzahn to outcoach Jimbo Fisher in this one and while I think the Seminoles are going to struggle stopping the best running game in all of college football, I think Auburn is going to have surprising success in the passing game. Expect 80-100 points and at least a thousand yards of offense from the two teams.


Al Golden will be coaching at Miami next year. He interviewed Saturday at Penn State but announced Sunday that he’s not going anywhere. Although Golden played for Joe Paterno at Penn State and became a Paterno assistant, it makes sense that he would remain at Miami. He’s just gone through two full years of uncertainty and difficulty with the NCAA so why go to Penn State where the program will be feeling the effects of the NCAA hammer for years to come. Even though he is under contract to coach Miami until 2020, I can’t see Golden staying with The U long term, particularly with what they’re paying him ($1.75 million per year). Next year is expected to be a huge year for coaching turnover and with a good season, Golden can punch a ticket to somewhere else that pays a lot more money.


With Golden out of the way, the Penn State decision is expected to come down to former Penn State lineman and Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, who interviewed for the job Sunday. Franklin is a very hot property right now but Munchak is a Pro Football Hall of Fame offensive lineman with ties to Joe Paterno, which should appease that crowd. Still, Munchak has never coached at the collegiate level so that is a huge negative. Franklin is a Pennsylvania native who is younger, graduates his players and has a dynamic, charismatic personality that should translate well into Penn State recruiting success. The prediction: I’m going with Munchak. He might end up being the last coach standing because I’m not sure that Franklin will accept the Penn State job when he can wait one more year and have a choice of a bunch of  high profile college jobs that will come open.


The Gators knocked off sixth-ranked Kentucky, 83-73, in Lexington Sunday, one of the biggest wins in Amanda Butler’s career at Florida. Injuries eliminated any height advantage that the Gators might have this year, but that has simply turned them into a high pressure defensive team that gets after people the full 90 feet of the court. The Gators (12-3) are on an eight-game winning streak, their longest since the 2008-09 season. The Gators are unranked but this win could get them close, if not into the Top 25.


When the Paul Butterfield Blues Band broke up after Woodstock, Butterfield stayed on in the community of Woodstock, New York and started a new band called Paul Butterfield’s Better Days. They did two albums, one of which was entitled “Better Days,” which turned out to be one of the great blues albums of the 1970s. The new band featured vocals by Geoff Muldaur, whose wife Maria had a hit called “Midnight at the Oasis.” One of the tracks on “Better Days” was the old Percy Mayfield song “Please Send Me Someone to Love.” There have been some great renditions of this song including one by Maria Muldaur featuring Amos Garr on guitar, but I like Paul Butterfield’s best because of the great harmonica by Butterfield, guitar by Amos Garrett and really nice horns backing up Geoff Muldaur’s soulful baritone.

Previous articleFlorida talking to Penn State receiver commit
Next articlePowell declares for NFL Draft
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. Personally, I believe Malzahn stole every ounce of good luck the Gators were supposed to have in the 2013 season. I’ll root for the SEC tonight. Take away FSU’s secret, get us out of trouble play which is Jamais to his 7 foot tall receiver and that might give Auburn a chance to kill FSU. That probably won’t happen.

  2. I really enjoy this column, especially the music reference which, fortunately or unfortunately, I am old enough to remember nearly all of them. Keep up the good work, and the positive tone of the column.

  3. Franz…Franz…
    Ah…. now you are being cruel…. Paul Butterfield! The “Holy Grail” of the Caucasian harmoncia players! All of us harp players aspire to have his tone… his vibrato. Thank goodness we still have Charlie Musselwhite and Kim Wilson to look to.

    As for the Nolies… I hope they go down in flames… big, bright burnt orange and navy flames tonight!

  4. Franz,

    I have enjoyed reading your posts, so much so that I signed up to Gator Country today just so I could post (been reading for weeks now). Your posts are insightful and a joy to read. I especially love the music picks as I am an avid music lover. Your tastes are varied and interesting (especially the Mingo Fishtrap pick – a favorite of mine). Continue to provide us with great reasons to visit!