The Silver Lining for Wednesday, September 17

By Adam Silverstein
September 17, 2014

There is a video embedded in this post that will autoplay once the page loads. Yes, I know autoplay videos are terrible. There was no other option in this instance.

If you care what Nick Saban thinks…

Through the comment section here on OnlyGators.com, my inbox and my Twitter mentions, it is quite obvious that the [vocal] majority of those that follow or root for the Florida Gators believe Saturday’s showing against Kentucky – a triple-overtime victory at home – was representative of the team failing to show improvement from 2013 rather than it heading in the right direction after being unable to win tough games a year ago.

Well, Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban agrees with the minority in this particular instance.


“It’s always exciting to get into SEC play, obviously some really, really good teams we have to play, starting with Florida, who I think is vastly improved and really off to a good start,” said Saban on Wednesday during the league’s weekly teleconference.

“They have a lot of really, really good football players and they’re showing great balance on offense and really playing well on defense, like they typically do. This is a really, really good overall team, it will be challenging for us, but the SEC is always that way.”

Saban also took a moment to praise the job Florida head coach Will Muschamp is dealing with the Gators, especially coming off a season in which the team lost 15 players – 10 starters – for the season due to injury.

“It’s never personal with me when it comes to the opponent. I never try to make it personal. We compete against each other and we’re still friends. That’s the way it’s going to be. I never like to see anybody not be able to continue to do the things they worked hard to do for a long time,” explained Saban.

“I personally think Will is doing a really, really good job. I think he was dealt a tough hand and got a lot of players hurt last year, which affected their season. And I think they have a really good team this year.”

The Freak: Hall of Famer?

Former Gators defensive end Jevon Kearse is one of 15 first-year eligible players who will be on the Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot this year.

Nicknamed “The Freak” during his time at Florida in 1996, Kearse was a member of the UF’s first National Championship team. A two-time First Team All-SEC selection and one-time First Team All-American, Kearse finished his collegiate career with SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1998.

The following season, Kearse was the unanimous NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and AFC Defensive Player of the Year after registering league-highs of 14.5 sacks and eight forced fumbles. He was also named to the Pro Bowl and listed as an All-Pro. Freakish, indeed.

Kearse would play seven of his 11 NFL seasons with the Tennessee Titans, which selected him No. 16 overall in the 1999 NFL Draft. He also had a four-year stint with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2004-07.

Kearse finished his career with three Pro Bowl nods and two conference championship crowns – in the AFC with Tennessee in 1999 and in the NFC with Philadelphia in 2004. He started 122 of the 133 games he played, racking up 314 tackles, 74 sacks and 28 forced fumbles.

Facing some stiff competition from his rookie peers – like Junior Seau, Kurt Warner, Issac Bruce, Torry Holt, Jamal Lewis, Edgerrin James, Orlando Pace and Kevin Mawae – plus 98 other well-deserving nominees, Kearse likely has a long wait ahead of him if he ever does make it into the Hall.

The selection committee’s list will drop from 113 to 25 in June and from 25 to 15 in January. The only other former Gators play also eligible is offensive tackle Lomas Brown.

Inside the Office

ESPN.com has been running an interesting multimedia feature this season in which the offices of college football coaches are photographed and broken down based on some of their contents.

Muschamp’s was profiled on Wednesday with ESPN.com‘s Jeff Barlis describing some of the contents contained with in. You can check out all the pictures by clicking here.

The standout item, in my opinion, is a framed photograph of Muschamp – with his arms stretched high in celebration after Florida defeated South Carolina 44-11 in 2012 – walking next to former Gators defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who has his left arm around Muschamp’s back. Floyd presented this as a gift to Muschamp when he decided to end his college career a year early and declare for the 2013 NFL Draft.

Also in Muschamp’s office is a new Miami Dolphins helmet signed by the three Florida players drafted by Miami in 2013 as well as the 17-inch steel rod he had surgically inserted into his broken leg in high school. He discusses that memento in this video:

“I think that I wanted it [mounted] because I wanted him to remember that he did not have hold of his destiny,” Muschamp’s mother, Sally, said told Barlis in an accompanying feature. “He was not in control, but this was something that he could overcome. I said, ‘Remember what happened to you, and you can overcome anything if you can overcome this damn thing that was in your leg.'”

Not Only Gators: Apple iPhone 6 (Plus)

It does not make me proud to admit that I am an iPhone fanatic despite the fact that I have never owned any other Apple product in my life. I have purchased six of the eight iPhone models that have existed — all but the 3G and 5C — and actually stayed up until 3:45 a.m. last week just to order the iPhone 6 Plus and ensure I had it in my hands this Friday.

My excitement normally dissipates a day or two after receiving the phone but this time, for some strange reason, I actually have a sense of foreboding regarding this device.

For one, I struggled deciding which model to get. The standard iPhone 6 was a marginal upgrade on the iPhone 5S with a slightly larger screen and somewhat improved guts. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 Plus featured an enormous 5.5″ screen, the same improved guts and a couple additional features. The problem with that model? The inability to, you know, hold and operate it with a single hand.

In the end, I relented and purchased the latter model knowing full well that I will face but of a learning curve when it comes to efficiently using the device. My hope is that it will eventually result in making all the work-related things I do on the phone — typing this column, tweeting and running this website — easier in the long run.

This Week’s Movie Trailer

The Hunter Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

The Top 5 List
From the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska…

Best Batmans (live action), ranked:
1. Christian Bale
2. Michael Keaton
3. Adam West
4. Val Kilmer
5. George Clooney

Thanks for reading. Leave your comments below.

29 Comments

  1. Joe says:

    I noticed your OGGOA tweets are now showing on ESPN’s college football page. Not sure how long they’ve been aggregating your tweets but pretty awesome to see.

  2. gatorboi352 says:

    It is nice to see iPhone finally inch closer to Android at the top of the pile. 🙂

    Loving my LG G2 and cannot wait to EDGE up to a G3 soon.

  3. Michael Jones says:

    What’s this? An SEC coach praising his opponent’s personnel and head coach during the week that they are about to play each other? How unusual.

  4. Steven says:

    Saban comments before the FAU game probably sounded similar.
    These coaches don’t want to give opponents anything. They praise every team they play.
    Those quotes are meaningless.

  5. Mike Harwood says:

    I would not read too much into either Saban’s comments or the UK game. Yes, Florida is much improved compared to 2013. The question is whether we will return to 2012 caliber or 2011. UK was definitely a better team than in the past, but we also saw some familiar problems with UF along with some unexpectedly new ones.

    This is the best backfield that we have had in a long while (Jones, Taylor, etc). Finally, we have a dominant WR. All good. Unfortunately, Driskel was not hitting deep balls. That is a real game killer. If he does not get that fixed, we are toast. If he does, we might contend for a NC.

    I was surprised by the breakdowns in the secondary. We haven’t seen that since the Zook years. Very concerning.

  6. Miami Gator says:

    Jevon Kearse is a class act and great gator… He is always at the Gator bars rooting on the team and signing autographs.

    I wish him the best of luck to get in the Hall and hope many future Gators follow in his footsteps.

    Go Gators.

  7. Fphin says:

    The only hall fame musts I see,Pace no problem,Kearse and James why not,Bruce iffy but sure.The rest of the batch had great seasons as opposed to careers.

  8. gradygator says:

    Adam, I know there are a lot of folks out there who want Champ to fail and get fired and clearly that crowd is very vocal. But there are also many “silent’ gators, like myself, that simply don’t waste the time arguing with trolls on message boards all day but we are still supportive of our coach, our AD and most importantly our student athletes. I read this site every single day and check in every couple of hours waiting for an article to pop up but i RARELY share opinions on this message board or any other. Again, it doesn’t mean im in the “majority” it means that despite my silence i am in a “minority” that is bigger than it may appear.
    Am I happy with last year’s results? Of course not! Am I naive or do I live in a gator kool-aid bubble? Don’t think so. I was a big believer we needed to fire Ron Zook the day he was hired. Obviously, last year was not ideal, injuries were a factor but the system was also at fault. Enter Roper who is bringing the same offense that took Duke to the conference championship. Again, that was Duke at a conference championship game and people still have a problem with the hire? Roper mentored 3 NFL QB’s including Eli Manning–and people still have a problem with that? He came highly recommended by Peyton and Archie–but the trolls would suggest they know more about football therefor Champ has to go. We score 63 and the trolls continue. We match score for score with Kentucky’s Air Raid and WIN the game and trolls still speak of this offense as if it was the same as last years. I don’t get it. I guess that everyone forgot that SOS struggled with a vastly inferior Kentucky team and Meyer lost to Ole Miss–shit happens, didn’t anyone see these games?

    As for what Saban thinks, we don’t need to look at his gameweek quotes to see what he thinks of Muschamp, all we need to do is look at the record: Saban hired, mentored, and promoted Muschamp to be his DC when he went to the Miami Dolphins. What other evidence do the trolls need to see to understand that Saban (who by the way knows a little more about football than the trolls) respects Will Muschamp’s coaching ability?
    Another point the haters should consider is that VH111, Kelvin Taylor, Skyler Morningweg, Bryan Cox Jr., Will Grier, Treon Harris all have Dads/Fathers in the football coaching profession. Treon’s Dad is a coach at the University of Miami, Bryan Cox Sr is a Hall of Famer, Fred Taylor is probably one too, Grier’s Dad is a former QB and winner of a State Championship as a HS Coach. But I guess none of them know anything about football and they decided to take a gamble on their sons future by putting their kids in the hands of a guys that the trolls would like us to believe is an incompetent coach. How people could be so dumb to think that Saban and all these other guys are uninformed is beyond me. Maybe Saban, and all the parent/coaches should read the this message board to glean expert advice from our trollers.
    And don’t forget the caliber of coaches Champ has been able to attract. The Seattle Seahawks won a SuperBowl with our former DC. Dan Quinn thinks the world of Muschamp and has been vocal in giving Champ credit for everything he learned from champ during his time at UF but he must not know anything about football either, right? Mike Summers must be an idiot too and not know anything about football, afterall he only worked with Bob Petrino including his stint in the NFL but what does he know?
    Finally, I again don’t understand how these same trolls are so happy to pronounce this new offense DOA only two games into the season. First, doesn’t anyone realize that it is year 1 of an offensive system. Didn’t they see this new offense hang 63 in their first game? Been a long time since we put 60 up. Didn’t they see that we matched Kentucky score for score and still one the game? Yes, I know it was KENTUCKY!!! But teams do get better–accept that. Last years team would have lost by 21–clearly this offense has improved, they can move the chains, pass the ball and score points. Did’t anyone see D.Rob tie Carlos Alvarez record? And they still bitch about the offense? Didn’t they see Matt Jones return to form and pile 150+ yards in an SEC game? Am I watching a different team? Am I on the right site?
    Don’t they realize that Muschamp has begun to fill the cupboard with the kind of talent that Meyer bankrupted us of. We finally have 2 SEC caliber tailbacks and are 4 deep at the position, 3 NFL capable receivers in D.Rob, Dunbar and Fulwood (they are all 6’0 +) and 6 deep at the position and finally tight end took a hit with Jake McGhee’s injury but we still have two guys that have shown they can make plays. Driskel is driskel and hopefully he improves over time with Roper as his position coach. But we got Treon from FSU and Will Grier. The base of talent for years to come is growing and I don’t want to F it up!!
    Clearly, the trolls on this board know a lot more about football than the so-called experts. When they get their wish and Muschamp is gone, I look forward to watching them apply for the job and hopefully Foley will give it to them that way we can get back to our dynasty and go 12-0 for the next 10 years. It will be great but it will never happen because as the trolls would have us all believe, Foley is too stupid to hire a quality coach even if he is staring at him right in a message board. As for me, what do i know, i’m in the “minority” and happen to agree with Saban and the many others who believe we have a quality coach that can lead us in the right path. Be patient, give the guy one more year–2 yrs with the same offensive system and if he can’t make it happen then I’ll be in the “majority”.

    • I hear where you’re coming from and appreciate you deciding to comment.

      I probably could have worded it better by saying “vocal majority” instead of simply “majority.” It is obviously impossible to know how most fans feel without doing a scientific poll.

      Thanks for being such a loyal visitor and reader.

    • Michael J. says:

      If you’re impressed with scoring a lot of points against Eastern Michigan, I just have to ask one question. As for UF or Kentucky being improved, same question. Neither team has played a good team yet, so to say they are better is just speculation. Even the 2013 Gators scored 21 points before halftime on the road at Kentucky. This years team can’t score that many points in regulation at home. So why would you say the offense is improved? Florida gets it’s first chance to play a good team Saturday, Kentucky’s chance comes October 4. Let’s see the result of those games before pronouncing either team is better this year. Right now, they are a couple of bad teams that have yet to play a good team. How can you say they’re better until they do so? They also have to win a game against a good team, this ain’t horseshoes or hand grenades. Maybe UF is a better team, even a great team has an occasional bad game. Maybe that’s what happened Saturday night. But until UF plays and wins against a good team, pronouncing them as an improved team is not based on anything but hopes and wishes. As for Muschamp, you are what your record says you are. His record says he’s a mediocre coach, at best. If UF loses to Alabama, his record against ranked teams will be 4-12. If you think that’s acceptable, you will be happy with Florida becoming another Tennessee after firing Phil Fulmer. I have seen absolutely no reason to think UF is better this year, in fact I think they are getting worse. I’ll get some true answers this week in Tuscaloosa, it’s hard to know anything from playing a couple of bad teams, like Eastern Michigan and Kentucky.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      While I disagree with some of your post, I also agree with some of it, however I see why you rarely post, when every other word in your post is TROLL about the people voicing opinions here, it puts you in the vocal minority of people here we would rather not hear from very often. Even when we disagree, it is only those that are impolite or condescending that people would rather not hear from.

  9. suedawgue says:

    Best post I believe I’ve ever read. Not only here, but on any site. Agree wholeheartedly.

  10. MAR says:

    Well typed Gradygator! I completely agree.
    We need to remember that Driskel was injured most of last year, is adjusting to yet another OC, and missed an important tune up game in Idaho. He will come around, and so will the deep throws. They are there and will start hitting sooner or later.
    UK played hard and is due to beat UF. They will make a bowl this year IMO. It was a good wake up call for a young secondary.
    Remember 94 when it took a last second 4th down TD from Danny W to Chris D to win? That season turned out alright. And… LSU LOST to UK and still won the NC a few years ago. Muschamp is on the right path. His coaching, recruiting and ability to instill discipline are things we fans should appreciate. Relax haters and Go Gators!!!

  11. Mike the Red says:

    I remember the 94 UK game very well. I also remember that Spurrier was not afraid to bench a QB. Didn’t that game start a season of two QB?

    I hope Muschamp succeeds, but this year 4. This is his team. We have the potential to do well, but not playing like we did last week.

  12. James Kaleb Wolfe says:

    I’m as well apart of that “Silent Majority” & always have been if only Coach Muschamp could catch a break as far as the injury bug has gone so far bottom line the man understands the concept of football and is as smart as they get out there, besides who would you replace him with, I’m sorry there’s no under the radar urban Meyer out there this season, I knew Zook never had it in him though he would make a great recruiting coordinator as well as Special Teams coach but I knew he wasn’t on the level of a winning SEC Coach he was too much of a friend to the players and you don’t some Jack Del Rio type you need a coach who’s going to earn the respect of his players and coach them to go into hell if they have to Coach Muschamp has that kind of respect from his players and couldn’t attended Annapolis & become an officer in the Navy but he wanted to play for the team he grew up watching in Gainesville the Gators but Spurrier wasn’t interested well being that his parents had moved to Georgia he still wanted to play college football so Ray Goff at Georgia gave him a chance as a walk-on in 2 season as a junior he had earned his scholarship and was captain of the defense he played safety & that’s why he coaches them, sound familiar gee I think Saban did the sane thing over at Kent St. University, let me remind you he’s the only defensive coordinator that I ever saw handle Tim Tebow the way he did in the swamp in 2007 the very same season Tebow won the Heisman, he’s also got us in 2006 when we won our 2nd National Championship look he’s still a Gator and as long as he’s our head coach lets not continue to chastise him he’s been through enough this past year loosing his father so as long as he’s our Head Coach just be a true Gator & treat him with atleast some respect please I mean damn he’s still a man & very good man with a great track record on & off the field. Thank you gradygator for speaking up for us Go Gators!!!!!!!!!! “Remember in all kinds of weather we all stick together” if we don’t stick by that then it stands for absolutely nothing Muschamp would never leave UF no matter how successful he ever got he loves this place and knows it’s the best job in college football for many many reasons. Hopefully he gets a shot to prove that to y’all Go Gators!!!!!!

  13. SW FL Joe says:

    If your rivals like you, you are doing something wrong. I preferred the days when everybody else’s coach hated the head gator because that meant we were beating them.

  14. 5wideU says:

    Great job gradygator …. chalk the vocal majority up to a bunch of spoiled, immature individuals who require instant gratification likely in all parts of their lives. We’re 2-0 and they can’t even enjoy that fact even after last year. True fans would be wise to let the season play out and reserve their judgments until we have a complete picture. Believe or not, teams can and do improve throughout the year. Try something novel and support the team (including Muschamp) until then. The constant whining, bitching and complaining does no one any good.

    I’ll never forget being at the Cocktail Party in 2009 sitting in front of some of the most spoiled rotten Gator fans I had ever encountered. We were 8-0 (on our way to 13-0), beating UGA, and all these fools could do was bitch and moan the whole game about Addazio, the offense, etc. Would love to see these idiots now !! The point is, sit back and try to enjoy the ride. If you can’t do that, why even watch and call yourself a fan ?

    • Mike The Red says:

      You really threw down the gauntlet. Most of us avoided name calling.

      I want to see Muschamp succeed as much as anybody. I just want to see my Gators win, and for what it is worth, I actually like Muschamp. However, we have seen some reoccurring issues throughout his entire tenure. We have been through 3 OC, and we are still seeing the same issues. All of those OC had a strong resumes. How many top 10 recruiting classes has he had? He has been here for 4 years. This is his team.

      We will see how much progress he has made Saturday. I honestly think that we have a shot pulling off an upset.

  15. Dan says:

    Adam – ever thought about doing a blurb/background story on your work methods/routine to keep the site going as strong as it does? Think several of us would find it interesting. Thanks for what you do.

  16. Michael Jones says:

    So let’s see. . everybody who thinks Muschamp is doing a great job is a loyal Gator who really knows football? And anyone who has any criticism of Muschamp is either a disloyal Gator or a troll who doesn’t know anything about football? And because Foley has had some success he is now a god incapable of making any mistakes? The same guy who hired Zook and Adazzio? The same guy who leaves his house on a Saturday morning, flies around the country and refuses to come home until he finds somebody who’ll sign a contract to coach the Gators?

    Okay. . I’ve got it now. Thank you for illuminating us, all of you intelligent, more-loyal-than-me Gators.

    Those of you who claim that Meyer left the cupboard bare are hysterical. Whose players do you think Muschamp went 11-2 with? I know it’s chic to hate Meyer and apparently loyal to love Muschamp, but that claim is a joke. You think that Muschamp can out-recruit Meyer? How many Texas football players were drafted by the NFL last year? Oh, that’s right, ZERO. Who do you think recruited that class? Ask Charlie Strong how he feels about Muschamp as a recruiter.

    Also, and this is the most important thing: THE GATOR FOOTBALL PLAYERS QUIT ON MUSCHAMP LAST YEAR. FOOTBALL PLAYERS DON’T QUIT ON GOOD COACHES. Got it, you rocket scientist Muschamp lovers? See LSU, South Carolina, Alabama and other teams that refuse to quit no matter how bad of a beating they are taking. They refuse to quit because they have heart and don’t want to let the coach they love down. Ask LSU and UGA about how many injuries and suspensions they have had to deal with but you don’t hear anybody over there whining that excuse for being pathetic, do you?

    I, like Mike the Red, want the Gators to do well. I want Muschamp to do well too, of course. I hope he does great because we’ll all be happier. But don’t tell me that if I speak my mind about what is obvious, that if I offer legitimate criticisms, then that makes me somehow less of a Gator than you are.

    I liked the so-called self-proclaimed “silent majority” a lot more when they were silent.

    All that being said. . . . . PAH NAH NAH NAH NAH: GO GATORS!!!!!!!!!!! BEAT BAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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