Can't hold down Noah's spirit


Published: Friday, May 1, 2009 at 4:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 1, 2009 at 4:12 p.m.

When they left, I wondered if it would change.

The boys. The Oh-Fours. When they left Florida, I wondered if they would melt my cynicism about the NBA.

I used to be a fan back in the Magic vs. Bird days. Who wasn't? But the Association lost me about the time that Ron Artest went into the stands.

I'm back.

I'm planning my Saturday around an NBA game and I can't tell you the last time that happened. (Actually, I can. Second date with my wife-to-be. Magic-Pacers, game seven, 1995).

That's how compelling the Bulls-Celtics series has been. Best series ever? Let's see how the deciding game plays out, but it has a chance.

Of course, a big part of my interest is watching Joakim Noah. Maybe now Chicago fans can understand why the Gator Nation loved the guy so much. His gallop down the court after he made one of the biggest plays in triple overtime (steal, dunk, and one) shows that even the NBA, even a troubled rookie season, none of it can take away his passion.

STRETCHING RULES: You may have read where Auburn used stretch limos to parade recruits around the state of Alabama. The idea was that the limos would not only appeal to the kids but get Auburn plenty of attention because of the decals on the limos.

The real question here is whether other schools will follow suit or will the NCAA enact a new rule banning their use. We've seen the NCAA react to excessive meals and plane trips as well as text messaging. Can this be far behind?

"I think it should," Urban Meyer told Dooley Noted when asked if the NCAA will get involved. "We're trying to sell graduation rates and academics and trying the sing and dance routine.

"The Florida coaching staff will not be riding around in limos or ripping off our shirts."

That's an obvious reference to reports that some Tennessee assistants ripped off their shirts in front of recruits.

SPREADING FIELD: Speaking of recruiting — in this case the negative variety — check out this quote in the Palm Beach Post from Pahokee receiver De’Joshua Johnson.

“I dropped Florida and West Virginia because of the spread offense,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to play in the spread offense. I’ve seen how it affected receivers in the NFL draft."

Johnson is reportedly leaning to Florida State and is considering Tennessee.

He might want to check his facts.

Didn't Percy Harvin go in the first round? Chad Jackson? Meyer has had five receivers drafted from Florida during his tenure (six if you count Cornelius Ingram), the most for any school in the nation. FSU hasn't had a first-round skill player in seven years and two receivers taken in the draft during Meyer's tenure. Tennessee has had three during the same span.

I'm just saying.

TAYLOR MADE: Former Gator wide receiver Taylor Jacobs deserves a tip of the cap — or in this case the mortar board.

Jacobs, one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, came back to school this last semester to finish the 15 credit hours he needed to graduate, and today is the day. He's not going to walk but he is going to graduate.

"I really needed to get it," said Jacobs, who spent five seasons in the NFL. "And I was able to do it with my wife and two children in tow. I needed to do it just to make my life more comfortable."

ROLLED TIDE: Now we get it. Now we understand why Alabama laid an egg in the Sugar Bowl against Utah.

It was the fans' fault.

After the Alabama spring game a couple of weeks ago, Nick Saban came down on the Tide fans.

“I tried to tell everyone, you’re only going to remember one thing about this game and that’s the outcome," he said. "So there’s no interest, there’s no passion and everybody is embarrassed because of how we played. Well, it’s because you didn’t have any passion for it, you didn’t have any interest in it, you didn’t have any enthusiasm to do it, and that’s across the board. And that’s not right."

But if it's across the board, doesn't that include the coaches?

DREAM TEAM: Seeing Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning playing together got me thinking about what would be a dream pro-am pairing for Gator fans.

You and three current or former Gators. Who would it be?

I'd take Cris Collinsworth, Dudley Hart and Noah. Although I hear he gets extremely frustrated on the golf course. Joakim, I mean.

Send e-mails to dooleyp@gvillesun.com with your threesome and I'll run the best one next week.

STILL STANDING: Sometimes the people who make decisions for college athletes amaze me. First, the NCAA contracts the length of college baseball's season to give the teams in cold weather a better chance to compete. So now someone realized that 56 games in a shorter season means that players would miss more school because of so many more mid-week games.

A proposal to cut four games from the schedule was rejected and instead the season will start a week earlier next year.

Nice foresight.

Meanwhile, high school sports other than football in our state are going to have games cut by 20 percent to save on expenses. The good news there is that it's only going to be for the next two years. We'll see.

PAT-POURRI: Tony Barnhart, writing in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, points out that the SEC average attendance for spring games of 37,936 is higher than 63 of the 119 Div. 1-A schools. And the SEC has to count Vanderbilt. ... The folks out west are upset that Deion Sanders didn't make the College Football Hall of Fame this time around. Sorry, but when the Board of Regents has to put in the "Deion Sanders Rule" to make sure athletes go to class, it's going to be an issue with voters who are supposed to consider character. ... Former UF coach Andy Lopez is struggling at Arizona this year. After consecutive 42-win seasons, the Wildcats headed into the weekend at 17-19 and 3-12 in the conference. ... Be safe ... and get well, mom.

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