SIX BITS: Oh-Fours, Donovan, Spikes, SEC, Marotti

By Adam Silverstein
June 4, 2010

1 » Asked his thoughts about the one-and-done mentality perpetuated by the Kentucky Wildcats, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan decided to reminisce about the 2007 season, when his National Championship-winning team decided to take the unselfish route and return to school to repeat. “I don’t know all the situations in terms of [Kentucky players] with their families,” Donovan said per the Knoxville News Sentinel at the 2010 Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings. “My situation was very, very unique. There was an incredible chemistry and bond. And coming off a championship, they also wanted to try and do it again. Three of the [starters’ fathers] were professional athletes. I think the one thing their parents talked to them about was that they would never, ever play on a team like that, and that the NBA would always be there.”

2 » Donovan also spoke about his passion for the Florida program and how he does not envision leaving anytime soon, citing how nice the Gainesville, FL, community has been to raise a family and build a life. “I’m in a unique situation,” Donovan said. “Florida’s been great to me. I still have a passion for it.”

Four more BITS on Brandon Spikes, potential conference realignments and strength coach Mickey Marotti…after the break!

3 » Former Gators linebacker Brandon Spikes has already expressed his level of excitement in working alongside former Tennessee Volunteers star Jerod Mayo on the New England Patriots. Asked his thoughts about Spikes, Mayo was sure to heap on the praise. “He was a great player at Florida,” Mayo told NESN. “Those are kind of our rivals, if you want to call it that, even though they beat us the last, about, five times. I wouldn’t really call it a rivalry right now at this present time, but he was a good player in college. He’s a Patriot now, so we’re all wearing the same helmet.”

4 » Though the Pac-10 is set to invite six Big 12 schools to join it in a 16-team superconference, according to a report from OrangeBloods.com, SEC commissioner Mike Slive does not expect the move to impact his plans to keep his conference at 12 teams – at least for right now. “We have to think about who we are. We’re a very special league,” Slive said according to the Orlando Sentinel. Florida president Bernie Machen explained that, while the SEC may eventually have to expand, it prefers to be proactive rather than reactive in doing so. “We have no plan that we’ll take out of [the SEC Meetings],” Machen said earlier in the week. “We would react to a paradigm shift. If there were two mega conferences that emerged in the next 18 months. What would that do to us? I don’t know.”

Note: Additional reports state that the Pac-10 and Big 12 may actually be considering a full merger (or a variety of other options), things that could very well change the entire landscape of conference alignment in college sports.

5 » Praising strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti at the Spring Meetings, head coach Urban Meyer explained how integral he is to the team. “You look at our success in the fourth quarter, our success in getting guys back from injury,” Meyer said. “That’s how you really evaluate a strength coach. Do you dominate the fourth quarter? Do you play hard in the fourth quarter? Do you have enough juice in the tank to finish a game? That’s how you evaluate a strength coach. I hear people say, ‘Well, this guys benches 600 pounds.’ We’re not evaluating bench-presses. We’re evaluating how a team performs in the fourth quarter. That’s not easy. You don’t start that in August, either. That starts in January and February. The body shuts down in the fourth quarter. The teams that can fight through that are the ones who win championships.”

6 » Coming off of that quote, Jeremy Fowler of the Sentinel sent a public records request to the state to find out what Marotti is pulling in each season with the Gators. Like many of the team’s position coaches, Marotti received a brand new deal in 2010 that will earn him $240,000 in salary along with $10,000 more from Nike and bonuses that change depending on how and where Florida finishes its season each year.

Photo Credit: Bruce Floyd

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