Thoughts of the day: March 11, 2014

A few thoughts to jump start your Tuesday morning.


Sporting News came out with its All-America team Monday, naming Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin to the third team. Making third team is an honor, but Wilbekin is probably hurt by the overall reputation of the Southeastern Conference. The perception of the league is weak beyond Florida and perhaps Kentucky and Tennessee. There is not a better perimeter defender in the country than Wilbekin and considering he is the leader and the top clutch player on the best team in the country, he probably should have made at least the second team. The SEC will announce its superlatives as voted on by the coaches today. It will be an upset of monumental proportions if Wilbekin isn’t the Player of the Year or at least shares it with Patric Young.


The All-Glue team is made up of the guys who hold teams together with the way they play, leadership, etc. Patric Young is the captain of this year’s All-Glue team for Sports Illustrated. Seth Davis made it a point to emphasize “THE play” against Tennessee when Patric dived head first to save a ball from going out of bounds to help preserve Florida’s win over the Vols in Knoxville. The others on the first team are Tekele Cotton (Wichita State), Josh Gasser (Wisconsin), Justin Jackson (Cincinnati by way of Cocoa Beach and Nike Team Florida; former teammate of Will Yeguete and Scottie Wilbekin); T.J. McConnell (Arizona) and Akil Mitchell (Virginia). Sports Illustrated has been doing this team for 14 years. This is the first time a Gator has made the team since 2003 when Justin Hamilton was selected.


Without ever mentioning Nick Saban’s name, Les Miles took a swipe at the Alabama coach when he talked to about the “Saban Rule” proposal that was recently tabled by the NCAA Rules Committee. The “Saban Rule” would have prevented the ball being snapped until 10 seconds had elapsed from the play clock, all in the interests of safety, per Saban, to which Miles said, “I find there’s no reason to make the change unless you want to limit plays, slow the ball from being snapped, reduce scoring and make college football less marketable.” When it comes to injuries, Miles offered these goodies: “He hurt his hand. Why” Because he was playing football. He hurt his elbow. Why? Because he was playing football.” As a parting shot, Miles said that playing up-tempo, no-huddle teams such as Oregon, Auburn and Texas A&M “has not been an issue for us.”


Saban has tried to distance himself from what will forever be known as the “Saban Rule,”  but Spurrier called him out on the Dan Patrick Show, saying “He’s the guy that went out there and got them to put it (“Saban Rule”) on the table to discuss it so I don’t know what else you would call it.”


Georgia coach Mark Richt has joined Stanford coach David Shaw in speaking out against a proposal that would give college football an early signing period. While speaking to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Richt said he doesn’t want any changes to the current recruiting calendar, particularly those that might affect the few weeks of vacation time that he and his coaching staff get each summer. I’m a firm believer in an early signing period, but Richt makes valid points. This has to be done in a way that fits well into the current calendar. For example, if a kid comes to camp, gets offered a scholarship and wants to sign, that’s ideal. He is already on campus and because it’s the camp, gets a better idea of who the coaches are and how they’re going to coach him.


Here are some tidbits from around the SEC where spring practice is just beginning and will be in full swing next week … At LSU, sophomore Anthony Jennings has the early lead in the quarterback derby but redshirt freshman Hayden Rettig and freshman Brandon Harris are pushing him … South Carolina is having to make due with only three healthy corners … Alabama is trying to replace three starters on the offensive line … Vanderbilt opens spring practice today. New head coach Derek Mason says the focus will be on finding playmakers for the offense.


That’s an interesting question posed by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports. Dodd contends that there are two Miami Hurricanes on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot more worthy than Lewis (Jerome Brown and Warren Sapp), that Lewis’ pro football career enhances a college career that was good but not great, and that there are some serious character issues (two unsolved murders in Atlanta for which Lewis was charged with obstruction of justice and escaped going to trial for the murders by ratting out two of his buddies). Of course, the murders happened after he left the University of Miami, but still, the Hall says that character counts. I would argue that Ray Lewis should not get in at the expense of someone like Wes Chandler of Florida or Dre Bly of North Carolina, who was  a three-time All-American, or Eric Dickerson, who has been on the ballot seven times. All three of them had better college careers and no issues. Here is a link to a story about Lewis and the murders.


Taurean Green is averaging 12.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists for Limoges in the French League … Walter Hodge is averaging 14.3 points and 6.3 assists per game for Arecibo in the Puerto Rican league … Mike Rosario averages 7.3 points for Ponce in the Puerto Rican league … Lee Humphrey is now playing for Alba in the Hungarian League after averaging 12.8 points for BC Kyiv in the Ukrainian League … Matt Walsh is averaging 18.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game for Granarolo BO in the Italian League … Erving Walker is averaging 10.3 points and 1.7 assists per game for Chalon in the French League … Kenny Boynton is averaging 11.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game for Galil Gilboa in the Israeli league … Alex Tyus is averaging 10.2 points and 7.3 rebounds for Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli League … Anthony Roberson is averaging 8.7 points and 1.3 rebounds per game for Ikaros in the Greek League … Donnell Harvey is averaging 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for Shandong FB in the Chinese league … Bonell Colas is averaging 19 points and 14.2 rebounds per game in the Danish league … Adrian Moss is averaging 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for Bambitious Nara in the Japanese … Brent Wright is averaging 8.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game for Oostende in the Belgian League … Justin Hamilton is averaging 3.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game for Spirou in the Belgian League … Mohamed Abukar has been traded from Spirou in the Belgian League to Lugano in the Swiss League after averaging 11.9 points and 3.1 rebounds for Spirou … James White is averaging 13.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for Grissin Bon RE in the Italian League … Kenny Kadji is averaging 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for the Rio Grande Vipers in the NBA Developmental League …


I just got my tickets to see “Jersey Boys” when it comes to Orlando in April. If you love the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons then this is must see. I’ve seen it on Broadway and loved the show so much I can’t wait to see it in Orlando. The Four Seasons were a big deal in the early to mid-60s. Before The Beatles came along they sold more records than anyone in the world. This is “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”

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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. My wife dragged me kicking and screaming to see Jersey boys in 2011, I was NOT looking forward to it…but it was fantastic. I’ve seen a couple of highly hyped shows since then, which I did not like, but I would absolutely pay to go see the Jersey Boys again. Amazing show.