Florida's season will come down to quarterback play


Published: Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 5:26 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you a couple of days late because of what happened Monday at Penn State. But better late than never. Or is it the other way around?

10. I try not to believe a lot of what comes out of coaches' mouths in the preseason. Some of it is pure coachspeak and some of it is a smokescreen designed to throw off opponents. Remember when Urban Meyer talked about using Joe Haden at quarterback … when his quarterback was Tim Tebow? Right, like you're going to pull the Heisman Trophy winner off the field and replace him with a defensive back. This rant is brought to you by word out of Jets camp that Tebow could be covering kicks and returning them as well. I'll believe that when I see it. I get that the Jets think Tebow can be used in a variety of ways, but does it really make sense when there is talk about eliminating the kickoff because of injuries to put Tebow out there? It is going to be an interesting season in New York, but be careful drinking the Kool-Aid on any talk about Timmy. So much of it is to combat the popularity of the Super Bowl champion Giants.

11. I have said this on a couple of radio shows around the South so I'll say it here — if you could give me the stats for Florida's quarterbacks at the end of the season right now, I could give you Florida's record. To me, it all hinges on their success. They don't have to be Tebow or Danny Wuerffel or Rex Grossman. But they have to be able to manage the game and avoid turnovers. If one or both of them does that, Florida has a chance to have a really good season. If they don't, it's going to be difficult. Not to put any pressure on the sophomores.

12. You'll have to excuse the Back Nine for getting a little excited here, but we can smell football season coming and the first weekend should be declared a five-day national holiday. On Thursday night, Aug. 30, we get South Carolina at Vandy plus our first look at Texas A&M as an SEC team and our first look at Washington State under Mike Leach. On that Friday, it's a huge early game between Tennessee and North Carolina State plus Boise State-Michigan State. On Saturday, we get our first full day of football, and on Sunday, it's Kentucky-Louisville. It all wraps up Monday with Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech. I know, I'm looking too far ahead. I always preach that we should just let the season come to us and slow down, but why have I already looked at the schedule for Florida's open date?

13. One more thought on the Penn State case — why doesn't the NCAA hire Louis Freeh to conduct all of its investigations? There was almost a look of amazement on Mark Emmert's face when he talked about the Freeh report being way more detailed than anything the NCAA could do. The enforcement division is woefully understaffed, and I'm one of those people who doesn't get how there can be so much money in college sports, but it takes months for an incoming freshman to go through the clearinghouse and then find out after he's started school he hasn't been cleared. I'm sure if the NCAA went to every BCS school and asked them to kick in $250,000 to boost the staff and expedite investigations those schools would be more than happy. It beats being left twisting in the wind. Just ask Miami.

14. You saw over the weekend why you don't walk away from a major championship on Sunday no matter who is leading by how much. You had to feel for Adam Scott, who had played incredible golf until the last four holes. (Was it just me or did the announcers make way too big a deal about a 10 mph wind?) At the same time, you had to be happy for Ernie Els. I wondered if he'd ever have another chance to win a big one. Overall, I thought the whole weekend was riveting, but I'm a big fan of golf on TV, especially the majors. That said, one reason The Masters will always be No. 1 for me was that we saw more commercials in one hour of The British Open than we did in the entire weekend from Augusta.

15. So, Tiger's still not back. Or is he? Tiger Woods leads the Tour in scoring average, American Ryder Cup points, money and FedEx points. He is second in the world rankings. He'll never get back to where he was, but he has a real shot at being the PGA Tour's player of the year and comeback player of the year.

16. If you are a Gator fan, you have to be as fired up about the future of this basketball program as its past under Billy Donovan. The commitments of Kasey Hill and Chris Walker are huge and make sure that UF will be among the elite teams in 2013. I saw a mock draft that has Hill as the second player taken in 2014. And if you haven't seen Walker's highlight mixtape, go on YouTube and find it. And then you will definitely be fired up.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Dan Wetzel of Yahoo.com from Monday when Penn State's sanctions were announced — “NCAA 9am: We must change culture of college football! NCAA noon: Welcome the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl!” Exactly.

18. Getting ready to head to the West Coast this weekend to see Jenny so you know the iPod is crucial for the flight. Try these downloads — “Mercy” by the Dave Matthews Band, “Broadcast This” by Emily's Army and for the old school in you “The Last Time” by The Rolling Stones.

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

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