Thoughts of the day: October 1, 2013


By declaring that he won’t seek a medical redshirt to come back to the University of Florida for a fifth year, Dominique Easley did the right thing Monday. Oh, it’s easy to speculate that Easley could build his knee back up and then have a spectacular fifth year that would assure him of first round status in the NFL Draft, but what happens if he comes back and re-injures the knee? He’s already damaged goods. Injure the knee again and he would slide way down the charts. He probably won’t be a first rounder in the May draft, but he will be drafted high enough to merit a nice contract so that if he injures the knee again, he will have money in the bank that he won’t have to give back. Be happy the Gators got three years and three games out of him and wish him well on the next stop of his journey.


Through the first five games of the season, Arkansas has registered 15 quarterback sacks, led by bookend defensive ends Chris Smith (6) and Trey Flowers (3). Kentucky and Tennessee gave Tyler Murphy multiple looks to try to confuse him – it didn’t work – but those two didn’t have the athletes to get into the Florida backfield with any consistency. Arkansas has the athletes. That puts it on Murphy to read what’s going on at the line of scrimmage and know where he needs to put the football. He’s shown plenty of poise and the ability to read the defense then make the right decisions in his first two games so nothing will change there except that Arkansas is bigger, stronger and faster so he’ll have to be that much quicker in everything he does. This is the next big step in Murphy’s development as a quarterback. If he passes this test with flying colors then he’s going to be much better prepared to handle what he will see at LSU where he will be going against great athletes and the loudest crowd in the SEC.


As expected, the NCAA granted Rutgers transfer Eli Carter a waiver that will allow him to play immediately for Billy Donovan and the Gators instead of sitting out a season. Although it might take Carter a month or two to get back into great playing shape – he’s spent the past few months rehabbing a broken leg suffered last season – having him available at the start of the season to take some of the point guard minutes when Scottie Wilbekin is serving his six-game suspension will be huge. Kasey Hill is the only point guard on the Florida roster, but Carter is a fine combo guard who can play the wing or the point. Even if he can only play 10-15 minutes in the first month will be vital for the Gators, who have a legitimate shot to make the Final Four this year. Once Wilbekin returns and stud freshman Chris Walker joins the team after the December semester break the Gators are going to be one of those teams nobody — including Kentucky — wants to play.


Lane Kiffin and Paul Pasqualoni were fired Sunday because they didn’t win enough football games. What we never stop to think about is the ripple effect this has as so many lives are disrupted whenever there is a coaching change. If they are lucky, one or two Southern Cal and UConn assistant coaches and maybe a few of the support staff will be retained by whoever replaces Kiffin and Pasqualoni but the other guys will have to scramble to find jobs. Except for rare occasions, assistant coaches are on one-year contracts and if the head coach is fired, they are fortunate if they get paid through the end of the year. The head coaches walk away with their million dollar buyouts when they are canned. The assistants aren’t nearly so lucky.


There will be new coaches hired at Southern Cal, Connecticut and a host of other schools in the months to come and that means a lot of assistant coaches will be pulling up stakes to join new coaching staffs. These guys have families, too, and their wives and kids see their lives turned upside down. Typically, the coach goes to the new place leaving the wife to sell the house and the kids to finish out the school year before leaving for a new destination where they will have to go to a new school and make new friends. I know that fans demand winners and that means coaches are hired and fired, but I don’t think either  the fans or boosters take too much time to think about the ripple effect it has on others.


Dallas will host the first college football championship game in January of 2015. It was announced Monday that Tampa, Jacksonville, Glendale and New Orleans have put bids in for the 2016 game and for 2017 the bids are in from Jacksonville, Tampa, Miami, San Francisco, Minneapolis and San Antonio. Personally, I’d like to see three permanent sites: Glendale, Dallas and Atlanta. I’d hate to see college football go brain dead like the NFL and put the game in a northern city where it’s cold in January. The Super Bowl is in Giants Stadium this year?  I hope it snows just to ensure something that dumb never happens again.


It is being reported that Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds will announce Tuesday that he will retire in August of 2014. If true, it will be interesting to see what he does about Mack Brown, particularly since he’s the guy who hired Brown in the first place. Does he fire Brown and then leave the new AD with a football coach that he didn’t hire? Or does Dodds leave Mack’s fate in the hands of the new guy? Perhaps the better question is does Mack Brown announce that he’ll go out honorably with the guy who hired him?


Nick Saban says the only thing his director of player personnel was doing in the coaches booth last Saturday was watch a football game. Some think he was stealing signs from the Ole Miss sideline. Tyler Siskey, who was the Ole Miss recruiting coordinator before he bolted to Alabama to work for Saban, was seen in the booth with binoculars when Alabama hosted Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa. NCAA rules allow one head coach, nine assistants and four graduate assistants to work during games, so if Siskey was stealing Ole Miss signs and relaying them to the coaches that would be an NCAA violation. In that Saban was once a protégé of Bill Bellichick, it does make you wonder, doesn’t it?


One of the things I love about Lyle Lovett is his willingness to go outside his comfort zone. Although technically a country music star, if you go to one of his concerts you’ll hear some country, some blues (especially if Francine Reed is working with him), some pure rock and roll, and in the case of “Church” a bit of black gospel. This is why everybody in the music business wants to work with Lyle. If you get a chance to go to one of his concerts you will not be disappointed.

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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. It is a rough profession.

    Obviously, the rewards are great of those who make it to the top; and now by most standards the pay is pretty nice for those who don’t. But, the uncertainty is wearing on everyone.

    Like most service families, my wife and kids could probably relate to the Coaches families as they also pulled up stakes every few years for the 25 that we were Navy (well the kids weren’t at home for all 25 thank goodness). I will say that we usually knew that the next move was coming, and approximately when, if not where. Of course they also had to cope without the Poohbah for as long as a year at a time. The families who serve now are even more stressed than during my time. Bless them all.