Thoughts of the Day for April 29, 2010

Good morning, Gator Nation: These little gems should be well worth the wait. Have a great Thursday.

1. BLANK OR GET OFF THE POT: Aaron Hernandez is a very talented young man who has made some questionable decisions in his still young life, and he likely learned a very, very, very expensive lesson when his draft worth dropped from the first round to the fourth round in the NFL Draft because of “questions” about his character. I’m not sure any of us would have wanted to walk in Hernandez’s shoes – losing your father after complications to surgery. Who among us hasn’t been tempted and succumbed to alcohol and/or drugs use. The fact that Hernandez turned into an All-America tight end is credit to him and those who cared for him, specifically head coach Urban Meyer, offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Steve Addazio (his recruiter) and his teammates. A recent story that Hernandez’s drop in the draft was the result of multiple failed drug tests was not only factually wrong – Hernandez admitted to one failed test during his days at Florida – but also was used by some of Meyer’s critics to question his handling of the program. BACK OFF. YOU dogs are barking up the wrong tree. Meyer is more hands-on with his program than the majority of college football coaches. As for Hernandez, remember the money that you left on the table because you’ll never get it back. But there’s money out there you can earn if you can resist society’s temptations. And always remember the sacrifices others made for you. Now go have a great career.

2. DITTO: Remember Florida President Bernie Machen’s words about Tim Tebow – “Having him means we don’t have to ever apologize for having a football program having someone like that who’s a leader, good student and role model” – change student to coach and Machen very well would be talking about Urban Meyer.

3. THE FINERAN MEASURING STICK: Ara Parseghian. The retired Notre Dame coach, a winter-time Marco Island resident and once someone considered for the position in Gainesville (the Gators hired Ray Graves; Parseghian went to Notre Dame) is my mold for what a college football coach should be. Has been since 1970. Never found anyone who matched him – until now and that guy works in Gainesville.

4. OH, MY GOODNESS: The Travel Channel has a show called “Chowdown Countdown” and today they are featuring the 10 best places to get Italian treats. A place in New Jersey, Jimmy Buff’s (four locations), serves up an Italian Hot Dog that’s to die for (and I probably would if I ever bit into one). A couple of hot dogs, potatoes, grilled onions and peppers in a fresh Italian bread pocket topped off with marinara sauce. No wonder Jimmy Buff’s slogan is “You never SAUSAGE a thing.” Then some guy named Adam Richman in “Man vs. Food” took on the Southwestern Exposure – a 12-egg omelette with chili and hot sauce on top of hash browns – at Beth’s Café in Seattle. Care to recommend a cardiologist?

5. YOU GO LADIES AND GENT: The Florida women’s tennis team, ranked No. X by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association after a 24-2 regular season that included an unbeaten march (14-0) through the SEC regular-season and postseason tournament, swept the league’s individual honors for 2010. Freshman Lauren Embree of Marco Island, ranked No. 11 in the country by the ITA, was named the SEC Player of the Year, while Allie Will of Boca Raton, ranked No. 7, was named the SEC Freshman of the Year. They also were named to the All-Freshman Team. Senior Marrit Boonstra of The Netherlands, joined her two teammates on the All-SEC first team, while senior Anastasia Revzina of Russia made the second team. Their coach, Roland Thornqvist, is the SEC Coach of the Year.

6. BOYZ IN THE HOODIES: Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, whose team is of to a 16-5 start, recently was involved in a flap with Major League Baseball when Buddy Selig’s Style Police told Maddon he could not wear his blue hoodie underneath his jacket on cold nights because it wasn’t MLB-approved outerwear. After much publicity, most of it negative, MLB relented and Wednesday Maddon received a new hoodie – from Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots. The hoodie has the Patriots logo on it and was engraved with the initials “J.M.” on the front. “Very cool,” said Joe Cool. “It’s quite an accomplishment, quite an achievement to get something from a coach who’s won the Super Bowl.” Ah, if Major League Baseball had only moved as swiftly on the steroid matter.

7. BOWLS FOR EVERYONE: Now that the NCAA has approved 35 postseason bowl games, we now faced with the possibility of having bowl teams with losing records. Mr. College Football, Tony Barnhart, a friend of Gator Country who covers college football for CBS Sports and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, believes (as do I) that enough is enough. “I’m not one of those guys that’s like, well, that’s too many bowls. But everything can have an excess, and to me, I think that’s kind of where we need to draw the line is having 5-7 teams playing in the bowl games.” Last season, there were eight 6-6 teams in bowl games, with six of those from BCS conferences. Oh, by the way, the International Bowl, played in Toronto, is now gone and has been replaced by two bowls – the Dallas Football Classic and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium. Last season, the SEC sent 10 teams to bowls and Mississippi State might have been the 11th with its 5-7 finish.

8. THE KING SPEAKS: Peter King of Sports Illustrated wrote this about what Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels told him were the reasons why the team drafted Tim Tebow: “When I went to Gainesville Monday to work him out,’’ McDaniels said, referring to his hush-hush trip to spend the day with Tebow, “we spent about seven hours together. We went over a lot of things. Now, understand that our offense is pretty complicated, and the terminology and the scheme is totally different from what he did at Florida. But about midway through my time there, we’re going through plays, and he starts using our terminology. He’s so smart about football that he was able to begin to speak my language and talk apples to apples. He’d already translated what he knew of our scheme into my words. That’s something that carried a lot of weight with me.’’

9. THE KING SPEAKS II: “McDaniel has cast his lot with Tebow. He’ll sink or swim, over the next three years with him. But if he sinks, he’ll be sinking with a kid he believes in. I hear it in McDaniels’ voice: This is his guy. Let the training begin. It’s going to be fun to watch.”

10. IS A LONELY NUMBER: Don’t buy into that notion that Tebow is going to wear No. 10 in Denver. He will wear No. 15 (which belonged to wide-receiver diva Brandon Marshall before he was shipped to Miami). The Broncos, the NFL aren’t dumb. In fact, Tebow helped to sell more jerseys after he was drafted, surpassing any drafted player’s total since 2006 when they first started keeping records.

One of the funniest movies ever made: Enjoy

Later Gators.

John Fineran