Back Nine: Morrison a punchline


Antonio Morrison's arrest over the weekend made him a punchline.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, July 22, 2013 at 3:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, July 22, 2013 at 3:50 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after a great weekend that included pool time and plenty of golf watching. Also, I finally put everything away from The Bob. That in itself was a project.

10. Sometimes you want to take these student-athletes by the shoulders and just shake them. What Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison did to end up in trouble over the weekend made him a punchline around the nation because it seems too ridiculous that he was arrested for barking. But that's not why he was suspended for the first two games. He was suspended because he was out at 2:30 a.m. after already being in trouble once this summer. All kids make mistakes, but when you are at a high-profile place like Florida and you already have been arrested once, you shouldn't be out at 2:30 in the morning.




Especially when the coaches have told you that the rest of your summer had better be boring. I don't want to sound like an old man here, but if I was Antonio Morrison and the coaches read me the riot act and made it clear that I needed to stay out of trouble, well, I would stay out of trouble. Being out at that time at a place that has a track record for attracting the police is, as a former coach at Florida used to say, just dummy. Everyone I have talked to about Morrison said he is not a bad kid and hopefully he understands that no matter how ridiculous anybody thinks it is that he was arrested for barking at a police dog, he was arrested. He's costing himself future earnings because the NFL guys are going to see the arrests as a red flag. Maybe that will get his attention.

11. You know, every time I go to SEC Media Days, I leave there with a different feeling about one or two teams. Like I remember one year being convinced Vanderbilt was going to be in a bowl game after listening to their players and coach. (The Commodores went 3-8). And last year, I came away thinking LSU would win the national title. (Not even close). So maybe it's good that I didn't feel any differently after SEC Media Days than I did before it. I think Alabama is the team to beat. I think South Carolina will win the East. I think Florida might be better than it was a year ago but it may not show up in the record because of a brutal schedule. I think Texas A&M is going to lose two or three games. I think the loser of the Vandy-Ole Miss game is going to have a hard time recovering and won't end up in a bowl game. I think the Bama-A&M game might make Mark May's head explode. I think I can't wait for the season to get here.

12. Have you noticed that we haven't seen or heard a lot from Tim Tebow of late? It wasn't a condition of the Patriots signing him, but it's clear there is a plan that includes Tebow being under the radar instead of all over the news. It's probably just as well that he is being treated like a third-string quarterback instead of a rock star.

13. You were probably wondering when the Back Nine was going to get to the British Open. What a great Sunday it was to see my man Phil Mickelson win. I think you are either a Philly Mick guy or a Tiger Woods guy the way you were either a Jack Nicklaus guy or an Arnold Palmer guy back in the day. I'm a Phil guy and was rooting hard for him to win. The shot he hit on 17 was one of the greatest golf shots ever and his closing 66 has to be among the 10 best rounds ever because of the conditions. With five majors now, should we be asking whether Phil can catch Tiger instead of whether Tiger can catch Jack? Probably not, but if he had just won two of the six U.S. Opens where he finished second, it would be a compelling question. As it is, Mickelson is the second best player of his generation and I think he has at least two more majors in him.

14. The second biggest story was that Woods didn't win again and his streak of going winless in majors is now at 17 straight. I really thought this was the one he would win, especially when he was right there starting both Saturday and Sunday. But there is no question he is pressing. In the last two years, he is 23-over par on the weekends of majors. And does anyone else notice that when he fails to play well, he's always blaming the speed of the greens? Everyone is playing the same greens, aren't they?

15. A couple of TV/radio notes — baseball's All-Star game drew the second-worst ratings ever, but the ratings were actually up from a year ago (which was the worst ever). To be honest, I can't even tell you which team won. And the ESPYs had a drop in ratings again this year. I watched some of it, but without sound. It seemed better that way. Both the All-Star game and the ESPYs are good ideas that need retooling. Meanwhile, I heard that Sirius/XM is going to have Gene Chizik host some shows on its College Football Nation channel. I'm a fan of the channel, but I fear that we're going to see some accidents when drivers are put to sleep by the former Auburn coach.

16. Six college football players joined in on the federal lawsuit against the NCAA, and I have a feeling we are headed to a world where players receive a stipend of some sorts. I still don't get how they will do it. When Steve Spurrier talked about it at Media Days, I wanted to stand up and say, “What about Title IX?” Maybe someone smarter than me can explain how you are going to pay football and basketball players and not women's basketball players or women's softball players. And while Spurrier said the coaches could pay the players out of their own pockets, I wonder how a coach like Sean Kugler at UTEP ($280,000 salary) feels about that. I get where Spurrier is coming from — that college football and basketball bring in billions of dollars. But that money isn't just sitting in a vault collecting interest. It's being used to run championships and athletic departments.

17. The Tweet of the Week goes to Yahoo columnist Jeff Passan — “Funniest sentence ever typed? Might be: ‘Morrison's defense was the dog barked first, according to a police report.' ” Exactly.

18. So we were supposed to have Sirius/XM in our rental car, but it didn't work and I didn't bring anything else that we could play, so the trip to and from Hoover was filled with a lot of bad music and talk shows. One more reason it was great to be home. Try these downloads — “Second Chances” by Gregory Alan Isakov, “Mission Bells” by Matt Nathanson and for you old-timers “Build Me Up Buttercup” by The Foundations.

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

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