Back Nine: Gators eye NFL?


Florida's Sharrif Floyd chases after Missouri quarterback James Franklin during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium of the Nov. 3 game.

Doug Finger/Staff Photographer
Published: Monday, December 10, 2012 at 4:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 10, 2012 at 4:48 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend of decorating the house for Christmas. Well, mostly, I watched my wife do it. She won't let me touch fragile objects.

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Florida's Sharrif Floyd chases after Missouri quarterback James Franklin during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium of the Nov. 3 game.

Doug Finger/Staff Photographer

10. There has been a lot of speculation about which Florida juniors might leave early for the NFL Draft. There are four players who have sent in their paperwork — Sharrif Floyd, Matt Elam, Jelani Jenkins and Jordan Reed. (Nope, Dominique Easley did not). From everything I'm hearing, Floyd is gone. He'll likely be a first-round pick. Personally, I think he's the best player on this team. Elam is 50-50. He's leaning heavily on his brother, Abe, who is a free safety with the Chiefs. Reed probably will go out. He will be a bit of a project for an NFL team but the body and talent are there even if the focus sometimes wanders. And Jenkins most likely just wants to see what the NFL has to say. I think he'll stay. But you never know. Certainly, when you add a couple of departures to seniors leaving such as Mike Gillislee and Jon Bostic, Florida will take a hit, but with last year's recruiting class and the one Will Muschamp is putting together Florida isn't going away.

11. There has also been some speculation concerning Dan Quinn, the Florida defensive coordinator, possibly going to Florida International as the head coach, but I've been told that's not happening. And all the rumors about Andre Debose being off the team? Not true either. Debose suffered a knee injury and was healthy enough to play against FSU but didn't give the effort in practice. The word I get is that he had great practices last week and will be ready to go in the Sugar Bowl.

12. I really think too much was made of the fact Johnny Manziel is the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. I mean, he's a second-year guy. I want to see a true freshman win it. And I really don't think there were many people out there who would not vote for him because he was a redshirt freshman. I just don't believe anybody thinks that way anymore. Then again, as I've said many times, there are too many Heisman voters who don't really pay that much attention to college football. Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch received as many first-place votes as Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller. That boggles the mind. At any rate, good for Manziel and it will be fascinating to see how he goes forward from here.

13. You knew some football program would take a chance on Bobby Petrino, but I didn't think he would have to wait for Western Kentucky to call. He actually will inherit a pretty good team and he won't be there long. But, Bobby, as long as you're going to try to rebuild your image, try being a little more likable instead of being a jerk all the time. OK? We're a forgiving nation and the transgressions that cost Petrino his job will be included in every story written about him for awhile. But his personality will have a lot to do with how people take to him, even in his own fan base. It does fire me up for next Aug. 31 — Mark Stoops vs. Bobby Petrino. And Sept. 7 — Bobby Petrino vs. Butch Jones. I know, let's get this season over first.

14. I watched a lot of NFL on Sunday and it seems to me that when you get to this point in the year that there are no secrets and the offenses struggle some in the first halves of games. It's just a theory. And it seems to me that a lot of guys are looking to not get hurt at this point of the season. Again, just a theory.

15. I keep getting this question — is Florida's basketball team this good or are the teams they are playing that bad? It's a little bit of both. I love the way this UF team is defending and they have been fun to watch. And as tough as the schedule looked on paper, FSU, Wisconsin and Marquette haven't looked very impressive. Still, Florida hasn't just beaten those teams, they've hammered them into submission. We'll see what happens at Arizona on Saturday. It's not just that the Wildcats are pretty good, it's never easy to go across the country and play a game that starts at 10 p.m.

16. Apparently, there is a lot of stuff going on in baseball. Someone wake me up when the rosters are set. I know I sound old and crusty, but I liked baseball a lot more when there would only be a few moves in the offseason and you knew who was on your team.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from an Auburn fan website called Fearless and True — “From Auburn to Texas Tech to Cincinnati. Tommy Tuberville is the Benjamin Button of college football.” Made me laugh out loud. Tuberville was never comfortable at Texas Tech, especially after the school hired Kirby Hocutt to be its athletic director. Hocutt had turned Tuberville down for the Miami job when he was the AD there. Tuberville tried to get in the mix at just about every school that had an opening this season. Still, it's a strange deal to see a guy go from Tech to Cincinnati.

18. I'm getting my other eye free of cataracts today and I will be so excited to be able to see the colors of New Orleans with two good eyes. Need some good downloads for the trip so I pulled these — “Waving at Airplanes” by Guided By Voices, “Yeah Yeah” by Willy Moon and for the old school in you “Here Comes The Night” by Them.

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

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