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
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