Drawing comparisons between Urban Meyer‘s current quarterback dilemma at Ohio State and the Florida Gators depth chart in 2008 – which included one former and one future Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback – Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said Tuesday that he believes the Gators would’ve still won the 2008 national title even if Tim Tebow had gone down with an injury and Cam Newton finished the season under center.
Jim McElwain, new head football coach of the Florida Gators, likes to laugh. This much was obvious when he held his introductory press conference.
He got another chance to do just that on Tuesday when asked by 740 The Game radio host Mike Bianchi what he thought of a recent comment by Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, who panned the decision of defensive coordinator Geoff Collins to leave MSU for UF.
Said Mullen: “I don’t like anybody leaving for what I would view as lateral moves, to be perfectly honest.”
You’re getting what you wanted
Over the last two seasons – and a little before that as well – my inbox, the @OnlyGators Twitter account and the comments section here on OnlyGators.com have each been inundated with requests and demands for Will Muschamp to lose his job. And while it may have taken longer than many of you have wished, it happened. Muschamp was fired, athletic director Jeremy Foley hired a new head coach Jim McElwain and – though some of you were not pleased with that replacement – the program is headed in a different direction.
Well, you know what happens when one head coach gets fired and another is hired in his place? The coaching staff changes, too. That’s the name of the game. It’s how this process works and thinking otherwise is absolutely foolish.
Basketball: early signing period
College’s basketball’s early signing period began Wednesday, and the Florida Gators expect to receive National Letters of Intent from three of their four 2015 commitments – four-star power forward Noah Dickerson (Montverde, FL), three-star PF Kevarrius Hayes (Live, Oak, FL) and three-star small forward Keith Stone (Deerfield Beach, FL) – before that period is out.
Florida is not sure, however, when it will be given an NLI from its highest-rated pledge, four-star guard KeVaughn Allen (Little Rock, AR). The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette first reported Tuesday that Allen “will not sign during the early period and will hold off until the spring to sign,” despite planning to remain committed to the Gators.
The Silver Lining will return to its regular Wednesday afternoon slot next week. Extenuating circumstances, most recently the men’s basketball media day, have delayed this column the last two weeks. Thank you for your patience.
Will Muschamp’s Leash
What is it going to take for Will Muschamp to get fired as head coach of the Florida Gators? According to athletic director Jeremy Foley, there is neither a set number of games Muschamp needs to win nor particular set of goals he must achieve this season.
I used to believe Foley. I believed Foley was being honest when he made that statement before the season. Now, I cannot see how he could possibly maintain that mindset five games into the 2014 campaign.
Foley had to expect better than this. He may have believed Florida would be 4-2 now (adding in the canceled Idaho game), but there is no way he thought the Gators’ offense would have made this little progress or their defense taken as deep of a step backward.
Former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer opined during a football camp last week that his 2008 squad, winners of the 2009 BCS Championship, were the best team in the history of college football.
Though measuring such a claim is near-impossible, Meyer can rightly boast that his 2008 roster and coaching staff were supremely special.
One-fourth of the Gators’ official 120-man roster – which includes walk-ons – has either played a game in the NFL or is currently under contract with a team in the league.
Florida’s roster had 19 players eventually selected in the NFL Draft including six first-round picks, five second-round picks, a third-round pick, two fourth-round picks, four fifth-round picks and a seventh-round pick. Only three of those draft selections are no longer in the league (for a variety of reasons, see table).
Additionally, a total of 11 players signed after the process as undrafted free agents have either played in the NFL or are currently a member of an NFL roster.
UF’s success did not stop at the players on the field.
The 2012 Southeastern Conference Media Days concluded Thursday in Birmingham, AL. Though the Florida Gators contingent met the media Wednesday, below are some highlights from the final two days of the event, which featured Georgia, LSU, Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Kentucky. Quotes courtesy of transcripts created by ASAP Sports.
FLORIDA GATORS ON ALL-SEC TEAMS (as voted by the media)
Redshirt senior kicker Caleb Sturgis (first-team specialists), junior safety Matt Elam (second-team defense), senior tackle Xavier Nixon (third-team offense), junior defensive linemen Sharrif Foyd and Dominique Easley (third-team defense), senior linebacker Jon Bostic (third-team defense), redshirt junior kick returner Andre Debose (third-team specialists). [SEC coaches selected eight last week.]
Florida tied for fifth with the most selections (seven) though most of them were on the third team (five). The media picked the Gators to finish tied for seventh overall in the SEC and third in the SEC East (12 first-place votes).
GEORGIA HEAD COACH MARK RICHT
On having seven home games this season (one more than usual): “I love having seven home games. I’d like to have 12 home games if we could, certainly for our fan base and for our players. This season is one that I think the amount of home games is outstanding. The fact that we always play Florida in Jacksonville is going to give you a cycle of every other year not getting that one home game, but it’s certainly worth it to play in Jacksonville.”
On being picked by the media to win the SEC East (and that the media is usually wrong): “I hope the media’s right this time. But we haven’t done anything yet. We haven’t played a game. We haven’t won a game. We know our league is tremendous. We know the Eastern Division is going to be a rough road. All we’re trying to do is prepare the best we can to hopefully play the very best we can play and maximize the potential of this football team. Hopefully that will be good enough to get back to Atlanta and hopefully play a little bit better this time around.”
On the upcoming four-team playoff: “I think the four team playoff is going to be outstanding. I’m not sure who’s going to decide who the top four teams are, but hopefully we’ll get a chance to have one and maybe two teams play out of our league if the season’s just right. One of the reasons why I like it is it doesn’t destroy the bowl system the way it is. Some people may not like it the way it is, but I think the bowl system is outstanding. I think our regular season games are huge. I’m talking about the entire BCS. […] I just hate to see a day where we might play Florida, and whether you win or lose, you still go to the playoffs, no one thinks it’s that big of a deal. It is a big deal every game we play. I don’t want college football to lose that.”
Check out thoughts from eight more coaches…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2012 SEC Media Days – All-SEC, coaches speak
1 » Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, acting team leader with point guard Derrick Rose sidelined for the remainder of the season, looked very much like his young teammate during Game 2 on Tuesday when he performed a quick crossover and broke the ankles (figuratively) of Philadelphia’s Thaddeus Young.
2 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Chris Leak, the new starter for the AFL’s Orlando Predators, has also decided to continue his career as an analyst and sports commentator by accepting a new gig. Leak will join Chris Childers as a co-host for College Sports Coast-to-Coast on SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation, the company announced via press release on Tuesday. The show airs weeknights from 7-10 p.m. and Leak will appear on the program multiple nights each week. “SiriusXM College Sports Nation offers college sports fans outstanding coverage of their favorite conferences, schools and players all year long and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Leak said in the release. “I still get amped up every spring, like I did when I was at UF, knowing a new college football season isn’t far off. I look forward to talking directly with the fans about the BCS, this year’s national title contenders and the teams and players that you’re going to want to keep an eye on from now through the upcoming season.”
4 » With former Florida head coach Urban Meyer going to Ohio State, there should be no doubt that plenty of comparisons and parallels will be made throughout his tenure with his new employer. One thing that will not be the same is that Meyer plans to use a no-huddle offense at OSU, something that he sent former Gators offensive coordinator Dan Mullen to Missouri to learn but never implemented at Florida. “The minute you go no-huddle, you lose the intangibles and the immeasurable leadership of guys like Tebow and Mike Pouncey,” he told ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach. Meyer, during his year off from coaching, travelled across the country and picked up plenty from all the other head coaches he visited while working for ESPN. The no-huddle, up-tempo offense he is installing may be similar to another school that has recently gained prominence. “All you’ve got to do is look at Oregon,” he said. “We’re committed to it. We’re going to pop a huddle once in a while, but we’re committed to it.”