Thoughts of the day: February 7, 2014

A few thoughts to jump start your Friday morning.

Now that National Signing Day is over, here is a look at the Florida roster position-by-position. Assuming that the entire signing class qualifies and there are no more transfers, the Gators will have 83 on scholarship — 44 on offense, 36 on defense and three on special teams.

OFFENSE (44 on scholarship)

QUARTERBACKS (4): Jeff Driskel (RJR); Skyler Mornhinweg (RSO); Will Grier (FR); Treon Harris (FR)

Driskel has never made it through a complete season without going down with an injury. Grier is already in school so he will get the full package in the spring. Harris is a dynamic athlete who arrives in the summer. Mornhinweg is an emergency guy.

RUNNING BACKS (6): Mack Brown (RSR); Valdez Showers (RJR); Matt Jones (JR); Kelvin Taylor (SO); Adam Lane (RFR); Brandon Powell (FR)

Taylor and Brown will be 1-2 in the spring. Jones just had a second surgery on his knee so his status won’t be known until August. Lane is a squatty body who is at his best between the tackles. Showers could be a flex guy who plays a lot in the slot. Powell is a speed guy.

FULLBACKS (2): Hunter Joyer (SR); Gideon Ajagbe (RSR)

Coordinator Kurt Roper uses a lot of one-back sets but he uses fullbacks in the passing game. Ajagbe has good hands while Joyer is a crushing blocker.

WIDE RECEIVERS (11): Andre Debose (RSR); Quinton Dunbar (RSR); Raphael Andrades (JR); Latroy Pittman (JR); Demarcus Robinson (SO); Ahmad Fulwood (SO); Chris Thompson (SO); Alvin Bailey (RFR); Marqui Hawkins (RFR); Ryan Sousa (FR); C.J. Worton (FR)

If Debose is healthy he has stretch the field speed. Dunbar could catch as many passes this season as he has in his career (82). Fulwood, Robinson and Thompson should thrive in this offense. Sousa and Worton will be slot guys. Showers could also move to slot from running back.

TIGHT ENDS (6): Clay Burton (SR); Tevin Westbrook (SR); Colin Thompson (RSO); DeAndre Goolsby (FR); C’yontai Lewis (FR); Moral Stephens (FR)

Burton and Westbrook have never been offensive threats. Thompson has never been healthy. Goolsby can catch and so can Lewis. Stephens needs to gain weight.

TACKLES (7): Chaz Green (RJR); Trenton Brown (SR); D.J. Humphries (JR); Drew Sarvary (JR); David Sharpe (FR); Kavaris Harkless (FR); Andrew Mike (FR)

The question of the spring: can new O-line coach Mike Summers convince the tackles that there is no rule against impeding pass rushers off the edge? Green missed all of last season, Humphries a good portion of it and Brown was never in shape. Sarvary is a juco transfer who could challenge for a spot this spring. Sharpe is already 318 and he has great feet. Don’t expect him to redshirt. Harkless is already enrolled but needs to gain strength and weight. Mike arrives in the summer.

GUARDS (6): Trip Thurman (RJR); Tyler Moore (RJR); Octavius Jackson (RFR); Roderick Johnson (RFR); Nolan Kelleher (FR); Travaris Dorsey (FR)

Pencil Johnson in as a starter. If he’s healthy, Moore probably moves from tackle to guard where he’s much better suited. Thurman played in all 12 games last year mostly on special teams. Kelleher is already in school and will get a lot of work in the spring. Dorsey is a grinder with size who arrives in the summer.

CENTERS (2): Max Garcia (RJR); Cameron Dillard (RFR)

Garcia played both guard and tackle last year. He moves to the middle this year. Dillard will be the backup after a redshirt year last year.


DEFENSE (36 on scholarship)

ENDS (8): Dante Fowler Jr. (JR); Jonathan Bullard (JR); Bryan Cox Jr. (RSO); Alex McCalister (RSO); Joey Ivie (SO); Jordan Sherit (RFR); Taven Bryan (FR); Justus Reed (FR)

Fowler is the BUCK while Bullard plays outside on a 3-4, inside on a 4-3. McCalister needs some weight but he is an athletic freak with great speed. Ivie has a chance to move on up the chart in the spring. Sherit is coming off a redshirt year. Bryan is already in school and impressing Muschamp. Reed needs to redshirt and gain about 30 pounds.

TACKLES (8): Leon Orr (RSR); Darious Cummings (SR); Jay-Nard Bostwick (RFR); Caleb Brantley (RFR); Antonio Riles (RFR); Gerald Willis III (FR); Thomas Holley (FR); Khairi Clark (FR)

Orr and Cummings have experience but they will be pushed in the spring by Bostwick and Brantley. The three freshmen are going to be very good and all three will play early. Clark and Brantley can be two-gap nose tackles. Holley and Willis are very explosive.

LINEBACKERS (8): Neiron Ball (RSR); Michael Taylor (RSR); Antonio Morrison (JR); Jeremi Powell (RSO); Jarrad Davis (SO); Daniel McMillian (SO); Alex Anzalone (SO); Matt Rolin (RFR)

Anzalone will miss the spring so this is a position that can’t afford any injuries. Taylor missed the last game with an injury, Morrison missed the last three and Rolin took a redshirt to rehab a knee. Jarrad Davis came on strong at the end of the year and probably starts the spring in the middle. McMillian and Rolin need to have big springs.

CORNERBACKS (7): Brian Poole (JR); Vernon Hargreaves III (SO); Nick Washington (RFR); Jalen Tabor (FR); J.C. Jackson (FR); Duke Dawson (FR); Dieondre Porter (FR)

There isn’t a senior in the bunch but they’re all very talented. Hargreaves will be on everybody’s preseason All-America team and Tabor probably starts from day one. Poole plays nickel but will double at corner. J.C. Jackson could move to safety but probably starts at corner. Duke Dawson is a tough guy who will get on the field in a hurry. Porter probably needs a redshirt year.

SAFETIES (5): Jabari Gorman (SR); Keanu Neal (SO); Marcus Maye (SO); (RFR); Marcell Harris (RFR); Quincy Wilson (FR)

Gorman is experienced and solid. Neal and Maye were up and down as freshmen so they need to take the next step upward. Harris was injured and took a redshirt but is healthy and should be a contributor. Wilson and J.C. Jackson could flip flop between corner and safety.


SPECIAL TEAMS (3 on scholarship)

PUNTERS (2): Kyle Christy (SR); Johnny Townsend (SO)

Christy’s production went south as a junior. If he punts like he did as a sophomore he’s the best in the country. If he can’t, then it’s Townsend’s job.

KICKERS (1): Austin Hardin (RSO)

Hardin was once the top placekicking prospect in the country. If he can’t get it together this year one of the walk-ons will take his job and he’ll be relegated to a kickoff specialist.


Baseball Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner died at age 91. He played 10 years in the majors, hit 369 home runs and led the National League in homers seven straight years. He became the play-by-play guy for the New York Mets where he became the Bill Peterson of baseball broadcasting. Here are a few of his “Kiner-isms.”

“All of his saves have come in relief appearances.”

“All of the Mets road wins against the Dodgers this year occurred at Dodger Stadium.”

“If Casey Stengel were alive today, he’d be spinning in his grave.”

“I think one of the most difficult things for anyone who’s played baseball is to accept the fact that maybe the players today are playing just as well as ever.”

“Don Sutton lost 13 games in a row without winning a ball game.”

“The Mets have gotten their leadoff batter on only once this inning.”

“The Hall of Fame ceremonies are on the 31st and 32nd of July.”

“There is a lot of heredity in that family.”

“The reasons the Mets have played so well at Shea this year is they have the best home record in baseball.”

“And my favorite: “Solo homers usually come with no one on base.”



“In My Life” was a very cool song off The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” album that was released in 1965. The album featured “Norwegian Wood.” Being 14 at the time, I was particularly aroused by that line “We talked until two and then she said, ‘It’s time for bed.’” There were radio stations all over the country – not just in the south – that wouldn’t play the song because the lyrics were too racy. But I digress. “In My Life” doesn’t have such arousing lyrics as “Norwegian Wood” – okay they were arousing way back when – but it’s a great song. I heard it driving down to Tampa Thursday and it was in my head all day.

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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. Thanks for the information. Everyone was wondering who would be the center. If Garcia can go from a tackle at Maryland to a guard and tackle last year at Florida, and now play center, that would be very impressive. I’ve always thought center was the most important position on the line, if you’ve got a good one, you have a chance to be a good line, if not, the line will be poor. The line must make dramatic strides, the injury thing is just an excuse. UF was the only team that made Miami’s defensive line look good, because the reality is that Miami’s defensive line was terrible.

  2. One more thing, FSU signed an offensive lineman named Roderick Johnson this year. You can never know if an offensive lineman will pan out. But it’ll be strange if in the future the Gators and Seminoles have the same name starting for them. It might put a little fire in them to show who’s the best Roderick Johnson.