The Back Nine: NCAA still has to rule on Jefferson

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Florida Gators receiver Van Jefferson (87) runs with the ball after making a catch during the first Spring Practice with new head coach Dan Mullen. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

The Back Nine comes at you after a rainy weekend and hopes that this weekend is a lot better, especially Saturday between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. so we can have a dry golf tournament.

10. It was weird last week when the SEC passed a rule that allowed grad-transfer players to transfer within the conference without penalty and players to transfer from a school on probation without having to sit out a year and everyone just assumed Van Jefferson is now eligible for the Gators. The Ole Miss transfer still has to be cleared by the NCAA and while I expect that to happen, he’s not eligible right now. It’s funny how two years in a row something that happened in Destin added a player to the UF roster (possibly). Of course, last year it was Malik Zaire and that didn’t really help Florida in the long run, but seemed like a big deal at the time. If Jefferson is eventually cleared I expect him to have way more impact on this year’s Florida team than Zaire did. To get an SEC veteran receiver with a track record will be a boost and if they can get Trevon Grimes eligible as well, Florida will be as deep as it has been at the receiver position since 2008. If the offense doesn’t work then, UF will petition the SEC to shorten the field to 70 yards. I kid, because I’m a kidder.

11. I blame Brady Singer. Remember his explosion when Florida’s Super Regional game was postponed last year and he knew he was done on the mound? Maybe the NCAA was scared of something else like that happening Monday so it didn’t start a game in perfect weather. Still kidding, of course, because if it’s June there must be some bizarre weather situations in Rainesville. On Sunday night, Kevin O’Sullivan was clearly miffed that the last game of the day was postponed. But on Monday, he didn’t want to lose Jackson Kowar after a few innings because of rain, hence the delay in the start of the game despite clear skies and oppressive heat. There were more people sunbathing at their Gainesville pools than in the stands Monday. It’s easy to blame ESPN because the network decides game times and could have had Florida and Florida Atlantic play at 11 a.m. and we’d have been done by the time weather was even in the same county. But ESPN is writing big checks to televise these events EVEN WHEN THEY ARE NOT ON TV! Explain it to me how the No. 1 seed in the tournament and defending national champs were not scheduled for real TV one time during the regionals. I know all about streaming, but that’s not for the masses. The delayed game eventually made it on the SEC Network. And, yes, I have more rants coming.

12. It was a great season for Florida’s softball team even if it ended short of the ultimate goal. I know there are a lot of people hurting especially because of the blown call at the plate on Friday night, but you have to play around umpire errors no matter how egregious because they are going to happen. Do you think NCAA softball is scouring the earth for the best of the best when it comes to umpiring? Of course not. You just have to deal with it even if it was a game-changing call and the Gators looked like a team in their final game that was still mentally dealing with the heartbreak of the night before. That said, this team had one heck of a year and remember there is only one winner at the end of it all and everyone else is lamenting what might have been. Meanwhile, the subject of Tim Walton and Texas came up after the final game and here is what he said: “Well, first of all, I don’t know about the interest on my part. Two, I don’t think that this is the place to have that conversation. But thanks. It’s flattering. I’ve got a great job, so thank you.” Texas has been interested in Walton for awhile, but everything I have been told is that Florida fans shouldn’t be concerned and UF has been proactive in working on an extension well before the trip to Oklahoma City.

13. Perhaps the issue of no replay reviews at the Women’s College World Series despite more technology than is possibly needed will come up again. Usually, all it takes for a major change is for Florida to get robbed, right? It happened after Brian Johnson hit a homer in Omaha only to have it ruled a double (replay reviews were added) and after Mary Wise’s volleyball team received one of the worst calls in the history of sports at Texas in 2015 (replay reviews were added). Florida fans are using the line from “Caddyshack” — “Tanks for nuttin’ ” One more thing about the NCAA (and you know I’m not a big fan), this was the explanation after Walton was tossed Friday night — “He was ejected because he came and was questioning the strike zone, and he received a warning and he continued to argue and threw his clipboard down.” They must not have been watching the same game as everyone else because the ejection clearly came before Walton threw his clipboard to the ground. In fact, the ejection was why he spiked it. There still might be a dent in the playing field, that’s how angry he was.

14. It’s great to see that former Florida tackle Lomas Brown is on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot, but it’s a crime that he is on there for the fourth straight year and still hasn’t been elected. What’s taking so long? (I’m sure Eric Dickerson is wondering the same thing.) If it’s the scandal that enveloped the UF program while Brown was here, then don’t put him on the ballot. But he was the best offensive lineman to play here and one of the best I ever saw. In fact, I believe he should be in the Gators’ Ring of Honor, but that’s another rant for another day. They don’t announce the class until January, but here’s hoping a deserving player finally gets his due.

15. Oh, I guess I should have a comment about the NBA Finals, eh? I am a Golden State fan and even I couldn’t believe some of the calls in Game 1. First of all, as I have said before, the block/charge call is an opinion and to make it subject to slow motion review would drastically change the way the college game is played because I think they get it right about half the time. But this goes back to what I said earlier, you have to play around bad calls. So make your free throw or don’t get the rebound, dribble around like you think you have the lead and it may not have mattered. Also, I’m the guy who says to never count LeBron James out no matter how bad his supporting cast is or how bad the situation looks so I’m not going to start now.

16. I could tell when Gregg Troy retired that Florida was going to split the head coaching duties after talking to Scott Stricklin so it was not a big surprise they stayed in house to name Anthony Nesty and Jeff Poppell. There is something to be said for continuity and for two guys to step into the big shoes left behind there aren’t going to be any surprises.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Jenna Laine of ESPN — “Rex Culpepper, Syracuse quarterback and son of former Buc Brad Culpepper, has completed his final round of chemotherapy. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in March.” There was also a video of him ringing the bell at the hospital and getting hugs from his family. Keep fighting the good fight Rex.

18. So I received a lot of feedback about the issue of backing into parking spaces, including reasons why it’s safer and smarter and we’re just going to all have to agree to disagree. Just put on this playlist and go outside and either sweat through your clothes or get drenched by a storm. Either way, welcome to summer and to this list of great covers inspired by the fact that Sirius now has a channel that plays nothing but cover songs”

• “Africa” by Weezer (and Toto).

• “Rebels” by Johnny Cash (and Thomas Earl Petty).

• “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?” by Al Green (and the Bee Gees).

• “Because” by Elliott Smith (and the Beatles).

• And because they were the best cover band ever “You Really Got a Hold On Me” by The Beatles (and The Miracles).

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at pat.dooley@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Shortening the field to 70 yards would only work if we still had Eddy. We don’t.

    This does assume that Mullen can improve punt/kick returning and the offense enough to reliably get 20 yards every time the Gators get the ball.

  2. Lady Gators softball team. Sad to see it end. To me, it wasn’t so much the missed call at the plate – that was bang, bang and I don’t consider it an egregious miss. It was the whole sequence. Clearly Kelly Barnhill went tilt after the error and the illegal pitch call. She had been an absolute steamroller up to that point. You could almost smell a no-hitter. The whimsy of the game of softball (or baseball) allowed the other team to score thru a twisting series of strange events that individually could be ignored, but collectively gave life to team that had none and allowed Ol’ Mo to switch sides. Then in the next game, more of the same. Maybe just Fate. Get after it next year, ladies.

  3. The strike zone was so blatantly biased against U.F. that at one point a U.C.L.A. batter questioned a ball call that was clearly a ball. Because the Bruin team was actually adapting to the unfair strike zones. That’s my story, and I know what I saw, so I am definitely sticking to it! But it may not have changed the O.U. outcome, either way.
    And if W.R.’s Grimes and Jefferson get cleared by the NCAA (and they should according to a Robbie Andreu article last month), the Q.B.s will have zero excuses for ineptness, other than the O-line perhaps.
    So… let’s go Gators! It’s past time to represent FLORIDA ‘O’ the way it should be played!

  4. I need more coffee before I comment on 5 day old Gator softball games. A Bruin player thought a strike was a ball, when clearly it was a strike… she was visibly upset that the ”unfair calls” didn’t go her way, too.

  5. I agree Pat. Hard to believe the team ranked No. 1 for a majority of the season, the No. 1 seed in the tourney and the defending national champions ( who also had three guys drafted on Day 1 ) didn’t get more TV love. I guess this is what happens when a school wins too much. The truth becomes a batting average like everything else out there. Can’t overdo Florida, despite multiple national championships and high rankings, because we don’t want to to look biased!

  6. The umps were horrible in the softball game. But, what really stood out to me is how poorly Barnhill deals with adversity. All it takes is for her to make one error, walk a batter, have an illegal pitch called, etc. and she just implodes. And it’s not just this game, as we’ve seen it a few times this year. (like the Supers when she walked the bases loaded and Ocasio had to come in). Some pitchers walk a couple hitters, then bear down, strike out the side, and walk off the field pumped. But, Kelly gets this expression on her face that looks like she is bewildered. She is the most physically gifted pitcher in the country and is a buzzsaw when things are going well. But, she has to figure out how to add some mental toughness to her physical prowess.

  7. My list of best covers ever:
    1. Aretha Franklin doing Jumpin Jack Flash (better than the Stones version)
    2. Al Green doing How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?
    3. Charlie Pride doing Kawliga by Hank Williams
    4. Michael Bolton doing When a Man Loves a Woman by Percy Sledge
    5. Allison Krauss doing When You Say Nothing at All by Keith Whitley
    6. Clint Black doing Desperado (better than the Eagles)
    7. Luther Vandross doing anyone else song. He covered a Dion Warwick song and shamed her!

  8. I think ESPN uses the regionals to showcase many different programs around the country and I think in that way it is better for the game of college baseball when thinking big picture. Thanks to the SEC Network and the SEC being such a great baseball league. we get plenty of regular season games on TV. Not much name recognition in our regional either (other than us).

  9. Some covers that are pretty much considered, “THE” best version of the song….

    1. Mr Tambourine Man — The byrds
    2. Twist and Shout – The Beatles
    3. With a Little help from my friends – Joe Cocker
    4. One (is the loneliest number) – Three Dog Night
    5. Mama told me not to come – Three Dog Night
    6. Louisiana Saturday Night – Mel McDaniel (I still prefer Don Williams though)
    7. The Midnight Special — Credence Clearwater Revival

    • Agreed. Van Halen’s version is great. they also did “Where have all the good times gone” by the Kinks. Another good rendition, not to mention “Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison.

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