FOUR BITS: Easley, Pouncey, Lee, Driskel

By Adam Silverstein
April 30, 2014

1 » Concerns about the health of Florida Gators defensive tackle Dominique Easley seem to be falling by the wayside with each passing day. Easley, who likely would have been an early first-round selection had he completed the 2013 season and been healthy entering the 2014 NFL Draft, has been projected by some as a third-round pick due to his second torn ACL (albeit in a different knee) during his college career. However, according to a source close to Easley and a recent report from the Dallas Cowboys website, teams are confident in his ability to participate in training camp and play in preseason games. If his second set of medical re-checks in Indianapolis, Indiana once again show significant improvement, Easley will likely be selected at some point in the second round of the draft next Friday.

2 » The Miami Dolphins on Monday exercised their fifth-year option on the contract of former Gators center Mike Pouncey, which the team chose with the No. 15 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Pouncey, who has started 46 games over three seasons, earned his first NFL Pro Bowl nod last season. He is set to earn $2.95 million in 2014 before seeing his salary balloon to $7.44 million in 2015, which gives the Dolphins every reason to attempt and sign Pouncey to a long-term deal in order to lessen the team’s cap hit in two seasons. Pouncey himself has said multiple times that he hopes to have a contract extension in place before the start of the 2014 campaign.

3 » Had NBA commissioner Adam Silver not levied the maximum possible penalty against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, players across the league were planning to boycott Tuesday night’s playoff games. According to Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News, the Golden State Warriors had already come up with an orchestrated plan in which they “were going to go through pre-game warm-ups and take part in the national anthem and starting line-up introductions. They were going to take the floor for the jump ball, dapping up the Clippers players as is customary before games. Then once the ball was in the air, they were just going to walk off. All 15 of them.” One of the four players who came up with this idea? None other than former Florida forward/center David Lee, who is currently in his ninth NBA season (fourth with Golden State). Lee and every NBA player wound up seeing the court on Tuesday after Silver banned Sterling for life, fined him $2.5 million and put the onus on the owners to throw him out of the league (via a three-fourths vote). he finished with his second double-double of the series, notching 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting and grabbing 10 boards.

4 » college football columnist Bruce Feldman sat down with new Gators offensive coordinator Kurt Roper for an extensive question-and-answer session that mostly had to do with Roper’s coaching style and his myriad of thoughts on redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel. Roper praised Driskel extensively for his natural and learned gifts and explained where he believes Driskel needs to improve. He also defended his signal caller a bit in terms of the 2013 campaign – and for good reason.

Q: One the UF staffers I knew raved about Driskel going into last season–strong arm, good speed, smart, super tough, good leader. What was missing with him before?

Roper: I don’t really know because I wasn’t here. I do think there was an unfair critique of him because he didn’t play very long. He played in part of three games, and in that last game, his last play was a pick-6, and he had a couple of picks in the Miami game.

I think people almost apply the whole season to him and he wasn’t there. I think if he was there for the whole season, I do think you’re looking at a different year for Florida and to be honest with you, I’m probably not here.


  1. Gatoralum88 says:

    That last comment by Roper is the dumbest comment I’ve seen come from him. “I think if he was there for the whole season, I do think you’re looking at a different year & to be honest with you, I’m probably not here”??? Uh, that’s the point Kurt! The line was so pathetic last year there’s NO WAY Driskel would have survived “the whole season”. That’s why they were stuck with their 3rd-stringer by mid-November. So, yeah, you’d still be here.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Think you’re reading too much into that statement. It was basically just an endorsement of Driskel. All part of the rebuilding his confidence process. No question but that the O-line was horrible last year, just as you’ve said.

      But lots of things were horrible about last year’s team, and not sure even that the O-line got the coaching or the scheme to give them a fighting chance. Just a bad year all the way around.

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