FOUR BITS: Johnson, Macklin, Pouncey, Foley

By Adam Silverstein
August 20, 2012

1 » Former Florida Gators left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson, a first round pick in the 2012 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox, took a line drive to the face on Saturday while pitching during the Futures at Fenway doubleheader that showcased the team’s minor leaguers. The organization announced shortly after he arrived at the hospital that Johnson has multiple orbital bone fractures on the left side of his face but neither suffered a concussion nor lost consciousness. Eye-witness reports noted that Johnson waved to the crowd when he was carted off the field. Boston’s Short-Season A affiliate, the Lowell Spinners, posted a Facebook update on Sunday that said he “popped by the park today after leaving the hospital and is in good spirits.” Fellow former Gators pitcher Tommy Toledo took a similar line drive to the face on March 14, 2009 during a game against Charleston Southern.

2 » Free agent forward/center Vernon Macklin, who was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft but did not receive a qualifying offer from the team following the season, has chosen to sign with Gaziantep of the Turkish Basketball League. “Vernon decided to turn down three NBA camp invites,” agent Greg Nunn told HoopsHype. “He feels he needs to play to showcase his talents and return to the NBA next year.” Macklin averaged 5.9 minutes of action in 23 games last season, registering 2.0 points and 1.5 rebounds. He was invited to Detroit’s summer league team but not picked up by the organization for the main roster.

3 » Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey recently answered four questions for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and gave this gem of a reply when asked about taking Bowling at the University of Florida:

“Oh yeah, it went great. It went awesome for me. Passed that one with flying colors. [My average] was terrible. I didn’t really care, I just wanted to play that game. I couldn’t do the spin thing – I’m usually a gutter ball type of guy.”

4 » Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley recently told that he is pleased with the progress that the football team is making as well as the job that head coach Will Muschamp is doing in year two at the helm of the program.

“I just met with the football staff and I see it building. Like anything, it doesn’t get built overnight. All coaches want that and all fans want that. I get that, but if it’s going to be something substantial, and it’s going to be built to last, it’s got to be built the right way. I see that in terms of what is happening with our team: discipline, the weight room, academically. I see the buy-in from the players. I see the way the staff works. At the end of the day, you’re judged on winning games in any sport, but I see it building to where Gator fans want it to be and where Will wants it to be. I think that’s very exciting. If we’re going to build it, we’re going to build it the right way. Will has said that a thousand times. He’s building a program here and that’s what you want – a program built to last.”

It also would have been extremely interesting to read Foley’s answer to a potential follow-up question (Was the program previously not built the right way?) to that response.


  1. Malikg says:

    Good question, Adam. In retrospect, I’d say that the way Urban rebuilt the program was… unsustainable.

  2. Aligator says:

    I agree Mailkg. I think in Muschamp will be here for a while and wins some games and NC’s. I think he will be doing this so that the program is sustainable. I would rather see a Spurrier type legacy than a Meyer one. Yes we won some ball games and NC’s but look at the mess that was made on many levels.

  3. Malikg says:

    Don’t get me wrong — I’m still very proud of a lot of the things Meyer did when he was here, and will always remember those years fondly. The traditions he brought to UF and the way he went out of his way to embrace former Gators of all sports and make feel welcome and part of the program are actions that will echo in Gainesville and in the state for years to come.

    However, the way he recruited didn’t serve the overall DEPTH of talent and the way he coached and lived overall just burned him out physically and emotionally.

    And, his motivational techniques of playing favorites worked in the short term, but over time got more and more skewed, leaving devastating chemistry issues in their wake.

    Of course, I’m in the minority — I hope he succeeds at Ohio State AND am glad to have moved on to Coach Muschamp.

  4. gatorboi352 says:

    It also would have been extremely interesting to read Foley’s answer to a potential follow-up question (Was the program previously not built the right way?) to that response.

    If not built the right way equals 2 championships in 6 years, I’ll take that every time. The last 2 years were no different than Billy D’s 2 years after his back to back title teams. It’s just the UM dipped out and Donovan didn’t.

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