THE BACK NINE
Dooley: Coach mum, but Franks looks part
Published: Monday, April 3, 2017 at 8:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 3, 2017 at 8:19 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after a whirlwind weekend of sports and grilling and not in that order.
10. So Jim McElwain said Monday the quarterback situation is sorting itself out, but he's not going to tell us who has taken the lead (Feleipe Franks). You can understand he wants to keep both quarterbacks hungry and paying attention (Feleipe Franks). After all, in two seasons at Florida, he has yet to get through a season with one quarterback and even though he'd like to (Feleipe Franks), he knows the second and possibly third guy have to be ready (not Treon Harris). I think there are a lot of people in the national media who are going to really study the Florida situation and realize the Gators have an offensive line that looks like an SEC offensive line, one of the best sets of wide receivers in the conference, a couple of running backs who are only going to get better and know that if Florida has a quarterback (Feleipe Franks) who is solid it should be UF and not Georgia that we should be picking to win the East when we go to Hoover, Alabama in July. Florida just might get some of that summer lovin' we talk about. Hope not. Leave that for the Kardashians.
11. It's another one of those special weekends in Gainesville with the spring game on Friday night, a big baseball series at home, a huge softball series at home, lacrosse at home and the No. 1-ranked women's tennis team at home. This, coming off a weekend where we hosted an NCAA gymnastics regional and the Florida Relays. Sometimes we take it for granted how many opportunities there are to watch high-level sports in this town. It's pretty amazing. Maybe that's also why we don't see more packed stands. There are so many options.
12. I cannot imagine the emotions that our brethren up in Columbia, South Carolina have been going through. After all, Tim Tebow is in town getting ready for his debut with the Columbia Fireflies on Thursday. I'm kidding, of course, although the Tebow hoopla has been pretty loud. It just can't compare with what happened in men's and women's basketball. What a run for the Gamecocks in both sports. In between the women and men's Final Four games, they also had a spring football game. So you're freaking out and then you go to a pretend game and you're freaking out again. And then you had the ultimate freak out Sunday night. Back when South Carolina won the baseball national title, Steve Spurrier played off that to point out that the breakthrough could also happen for football. After their spring game, Will Muschamp told his team, “Now we have to do something. It's our turn.” There certainly is a lot of momentum in that city.
13. Yes, I found myself watching women's golf Sunday because Twitter was blowing up about the four-stroke penalty given to Lexi Thompson because she incorrectly put her ball an inch away from where she marked it and someone emailed the tour to point it out THE NEXT DAY. Ironically, Thompson probably received more attention from not winning a major than she would have from winning it, but it's time for all of golf to change a stupid rule. Or rules. First of all, you can't turn in an incorrect scorecard if all of the evidence in the world tells you it's correct. She lost two strokes for that because she should have lost two strokes for her incorrect placement of the ball. The rule that really needs to be changed is that you can penalize someone because her mistake was on TV while others were not. And certainly, once a round is completed, it should be over. And the reason I watched so much of it was because I was rooting for Thompson, who came back to make three birdies down the stretch to get into a playoff only to lose. Just dummy.
14. This is one of my favorite weeks of the year — Masters week. OK, so it's also the week when Major League Baseball has a bunch of opening days, but it's a long season. Some people get sentimental about opening day, but I get sentimental the first time somebody three-putts on No. 14. I've thought long and hard about my pick for this year's “toonimint” and while a lot of people are going with Dustin (as in Johnson), I'm going with Justin (as in Thomas). I think he has the length and the talent and he got the first time out of the way last year. Thomas admits it was all overwhelming. Kind of like the first (and likely last) time I played Augusta National. Except there were no fans. And nothing on the line.
15. A while back I wondered out loud whether Florida's batting average would be higher than its ERA? (It's not). The good news for the Gators is that they have won seven of eight games and put themselves back into the SEC East race. The bad news is that it is pretty clear after 29 games that this team isn't going to hit. The Gators are hitting .240, worst in the league, but they are also 20-9. They also are second in the conference in pitching and first in fielding despite missing Dalton Guthrie at shortstop for a big chunk of the season. They are what they are. We need to accept it and so do they. Maybe if they do, they will stop pressing and start hitting. The Gators have a big week with Stetson and Tennessee coming to Gainesville and then a bigger week on the road at FSU and Vanderbilt.
16. Meanwhile, the UF softball team continues to pile up the numbers with a .332 team batting average, the SEC's best ERA and the league's best fielding percentage. Tim Walton just keeps reloading. It's a ginormous series Saturday through Monday when the Georgia Bulldogs, the team that ended Florida's 2016 season, come to town.
17. The Tweet of the Week goes to Matt Smith of Southern Pigskin — “If you lose by 4 in the Final Four to a 37-1 team, you can get away with Champions of Life comments. You can't when you lose by 11 to Vandy.” My sentiments exactly.
18. So it was an interesting week with my wife and daughter out of town. Lot of work, lot of watching TV and I tried my best to keep the house clean. But I'm going to need a new playlist for St. Louis:
n “Over Your Shoulder” by Rudderless from the movie of the same name. The movie's OK with a strange premise but the music is fantastic.
n “The Way We Get By” by Spoon.
n “Ballad of the Dying Man” by Father John Misty.
n “I Don't Care About You” by Lake Street Dive.
n And for an old one “A Pirate Looks at Forty” by Jimmy Buffett.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at email@example.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.