Pat Dooley

  • Here’s how you know you are a college football nut — you have a countdown clock in your sports room telling how many days it is until the first spring game of 2018.

    You will flip on the NFL conference title gam […]

    • I wish I didn’t have to say it, but I think I concur with both Mark and Travis. At the get go, anyway. I especially agree with Travis as pertains to, “….we are a harder sell to a recruiting base that has seen us lose an average of 5 games since they were 10”. That has been my main point ever since we took this slide under the last two regimes. Of course, even if we did manage to overcome that challenge, there still remained the issue of “what to do with them once we got ’em”. Put differently, coaching and player development is the other half of that particular “winning” equation…..and there we had deficiencies as well. CreekGator posted in other forums on this site about the exodus of state talent to out of state, as well as losing recruits to FSU and Miami. Well put and at the heart of the matter, IMO.

      So yeah, no pre-season ranking for the Gators, and very little national sports media attention either. (Makes us Gators out here in Texas wonder if Florida dropped football or not!). Willie Taggart is supposed to be the second coming on the recruiting front, Kirby Smart obviously can recruit, and Mark Richt knows what he’s doing too. The solution is a strong start, get in the polls somewhere, and maintain that plus a decent bowl win….that is, let ’em know we’re still here. I’m not hoping for that, I’m expecting it and Mullen is the man to do it. 9-4 by January would do it, for the love of everything good and decent, if freaking Auburn can be still highly ranked this January, we ought to be in the Top-20 too in January 2019. And then the rebuilding really begins, with much improved recruiting and player development. Clearly, this will take a little while, but not as long, I think, as some are saying.

    • By gum, Eugenio, you keep making good points here and I’m thinking you’re a pretty smart guy. Except for the Trump part, but I can forgive you that. Keep it up bud.

  • Sometimes you stay up on a Tuesday night for the SEC and the games aren’t much. Sometimes it’s worth it. I think Mark Twain said that.

    * When Egor Koulechov transferred into UF, visions of Canyon Barry dan […]

  • The crudely made sign said what everyone has been thinking for several weeks.

    In fact, it was so obvious that there wasn’t even a whole lot of artistry put into its creation and it barely made an appearance i […]

    • Great to see Allen back in his true form. And going forward I think it should be a ”one game at a time” mentality for this Gator team (lest they don’t get too full of themselves, see: Top 5 ranking in Dec.).
      I also think this year’s U.K. team could be beaten by U.F., if they play their Gator tails off. Go Gators!

    • This UK team is a bit weak on the offensive side and tends to lay off defensively. On a neutral court with “neutral” officials, Gators win by 12. At Rupp Arena with the ‘home cooking’ crowd, it should go down to the last 2 minutes and what team gets the calls. Wanna bet there will be a foul called on a Florida player in the last 2 minutes of the game? A foul that won’t be seen on replay because it never happened. Just sayin I’ve seen this for years at Rupp arena. I think Gators won there in 2014 (Scotty Wilbekin) and during the two national championship seasons. I could be wrong.

  • The Back Nine comes at you and hopes everyone enjoys/enjoyed MLK Day and remembered it for more than just getting the day off (if you did). Sometimes I look back at race relations in this country when I was a kid […]

  • It didn’t look like a team that had just lost its sixth straight to its biggest rival in front of a sellout crowd.

    There were giggles and singing and optimism dripping from the podium after No. 7 Florida lost a […]

  • Alex McMurtry remembers the feeling. She had just finished off her spectacular junior season with a perfect score of 10 on the bars.

    “That should do it,” she thought. “We didn’t win it all, but that should […]

  • We start out with a word about the main scoreboard glitch at the O-Dome Wednesday night. It was discovered more than an hour before the game, but the overhead scoreboard needed to be lowered to fix it and there […]

  • Chris Chiozza stood there in the media room, a towel around his neck and a washed-out look on his face. We approached him cautiously, like the Florida senior was a walking mousetrap.
    You wanted to hear what he […]

    • I love this kid. Being a full time starter without having to share time with Kasey Hill is giving him an opportunity to show his complete game.He is light years ahead of Hill–who was more highly rated coming out of high school. So much for the “stars”! If the Gators can keep rolling until we get some of our bigs back, we will be a very scary team in the Tourney.

  • The Back Nine comes at you after another college football season in the books. Or as SEC commissioner Greg Sankey could have said after the final game was played Monday night, “In the bank.”
    10. There are a lot […]

    • Yeah, but what is the version you hear on the radio? Hands-down, the Tremeloes version is the more famous (and it is also more famous that “Here comes my baby,” their other more famous tune).

    • I don’t have a clue who “Jim and Sam” are, but I sure as hell remember Sam and Dave and a host of other beach music legends! Oh, I mean what yankees called “Motown”, that is.

    • Totally agree with you, Skip….8-4 regular season is do-able, 9-4 with good bowl win. I doubt anybody will rank the Gators at all, though, but if they do it’ll be 25. Same for year after, 10-2 regular play, either 10-3 or 11-2 after bowl game, but with enhanced recruiting that I think we’ll see….2020 I’m expecting to see the “knocking on the door” part. Good call.

    • I guess it’s because their coach is supposed to be the second coming, or at least the best thing since canned beer and peanut butter (despite his lack of character). Me, I’m scratching my head over Auburn being ranked as high as they are.

    • I get you, finally. Took me a few reads to digest it, but yeah. Kind of like, “What if the South had won the War Between the States”. But it didn’t, and none of that stuff did either, so which is it? Fate or free will?
      Not trolling your premise(s) at all, MT…..just trying to find a way to stop my damn head from hurting right now!

    • #1 and #2, we’d probably still be the Gators but we’d be playing soccer.

      #3 Somebody please stop the voices in my head!

  • We start a new weekly feature for today where staff writer Pat Dooley will take a look at some of the things that stand out about SEC basketball. It will appear online every Thursday.

    * Remember […]

    • I, personally, (while missing John Egbunu’s play inside) am totally into this team and the 3’s they rain down, like a hot summer shower in Hogtown. Most games, Florida is an entertaining brand of basketball (Pat’s right). And good defensive efforts for this team often turn into fast points. Go Gators! Beat Mizzou!
      P.S.-Tourney time is in MARCH, people (hence: ”March Madness”). Get a calendar, I’ve got extras if you need one.

  • So we got what we wanted.
    We wanted chaos. We wanted a playoff with two teams from one conference so two conferences would be left out. We really wanted those two teams to win so we’d have only one conference r […]

    • I beg to differ, Pat. I love college football, and I ”pay attention”. But it’s just a matter of time before it’s NOT the S.E.C. that benefits, like now. It’s only a matter of time before a Florida losing late in the season keeps them out of the ”playoffs.” Just ask the Ambassador, Steve Spurrier, who lost to U.T. late in his career (’01), and was kept out of a possible ”Rose Bowl National Championship game.”
      In fact, it was his last game as the FLORIDA H.B.C. in ”The Swamp”. Just saying!

    • Dooley – Did you just pull a 180 from just a month ago?

    • Yes, it might still happen with an 8 team playoff, but fans up north and out west wold be less likely to tune out an all-SEC final if they knew their favorites at least had a chance to play for the thing, instead of being left out by committee.

    • There will be an expansion. The reason why is the same reason we are where we are today after years of everyone saying the bowls will never be replaced: the love of playoffs to determine a fair champ and the love of $$$. I think they should crown the conference champs of the power 5 with a playoff invite and then pick 3 at large teams to complete the playoff. 8 teams . No one can moan and groan any more with any real respectable reason. TV will get its way…again. Everyone gets paid.


    • Those who argue for expansion because of UCF needs to put the onus on the UCF (or any aspiring playoff team) itself. If they would schedule to play a couple of traditional powers during the regular season (say those programs that regularly rank in the top 20 each year), I’m confident the committee would slate them in the playoffs if they could win those games. It’s not just about having an undefeated season or belonging to a Power 5 conference, it’s also about who they beat during the regular season. Beating Auburn in an exhibition bowl game doesn’t count, not to mention it’s obviously too late for the committee to include that game in their deliberations.

  • Gainesville Sun sports columnist Pat Dooley is back with an in-depth look at the improvements Gator football fans should look for and more.

    • ”Welcome back, Mr. Kotter!” (aged myself). It showed (to me) that some ”U.F. Football players didn’t work out” regularly. And between the leagues letting the players wear 1/2 sized knee pads (very little protection) and not lifting, it’s amazing that more players don’t get injured. But, it’s a new day! Go Gators!

    • Dooley – I can’t help but take the leaks from your source with a grain of salt. Perhaps your respect for him is due to the fact that he feeds you dirt to write about and you want to pump his or her ego up to nurture that relationship. We know you are competing with ESPN and other national media outlets to break the news. For all I know, your source is the same character with an axe to grind that kept leaking dirt during the week that led up to and immediately following McElwain’s firing. I doubt a person of high character would be passing this gossip fit for banter around the water cooler. If you are being fair and impartial, you should get a response from a secret source out of McElwain’s camp. We know you can’t get him to say anything on record because UF stipulated that he can’t talk bad about them as part of the settlement. However, UF’s slimeball sources has the freedom to leak dirt as they fit. Pat, I like your entertaining pieces especially your quirky analogies, but I have to call you on this one.

    • I could coach Florida to 8 wins. Hopefully Coach Mullen will do a bit better. It’s unrealistic to have higher aspirations with so much of the scheme on both sides of the ball in transition.

      Glad your back Pat. Based on the comments, glad to see you didn’t lose your thick skin in the rehab.

  • The Back Nine comes at you after a glut of football over the last couple of weeks, although I pretty much skipped Sunday with only NFL games, most of them with no meaning except bonuses.

    10. As we watched all […]

  • When the buzzer finally sounded and Vanderbilt’s mad bombers had been diffused as much by an expired clock as anything, Florida’s Egor Koulechov tossed the ball over his head and into the air.
    It wasn’t exact […]

    • Mikey, I hope you realize they are without 4 of their big men. I think you may have a different view of their ability when they are healthy.

    • It looked like we turned it up for the opening period, then coasted the rest of the way. That’s behavior is becoming too consistent with this team. I would be OK with averaging out the two periods into some defensive consistency.

      Until our bigs get back on the floor, I’m happy with wins we can get from makeshift alignments. The intensity of Hayes and Stone in the game was the difference inside, especially in the first period.

  • The older you get, the more you realize a couple of things.

    It wasn’t better when you were younger, it’s just that you are struggling with everything new.
    Youth is still wasted on the young.
    The […]

    • ”…beat FSU for its first football title, UCLA for its first basketball title and LSU for its first baseball title. That’s how you do it.” Best line in quite a while, Pat! Hope you’re jumping rope, and banging bank-shots soon (or just walking on a treadmill). Lastly, I hope (and pray) Cheese’s 3 point shot against Wisconsin (to get U.F. to the ELITE 8) isn’t Coach White’s Ole Miss game (see: Mac). And Patrick, above, nailed about Mac.
      Go Gators! Beat Vandy!

    • “While the death threat did give them an excuse to fire for cause or at least get out of part of the buyout…”

      I know most fans will disagree with me but that’s absolutely the slimiest way for a respected institution of higher learning to do business. While it may be a good business decision, it’s a poor ethical one. While the bedrock of Gator athletics is “winning with integrity”, the administration showed little. If you are going to fire someone, fire him and pay the price. Don’t use some lame excuse to weasel out of paying full price and make it look like a “mutual” agreement.

    • That’s trying to rationalize and justify Stricklin’s slimy actions. To speculate that McElwain wanted out and wanted a mutual parting is like saying the victim asked for it. Like I said, I know the majority will probably disagree with me. This is an over generalization but in today’s culture, particularly in the legal and financial professions, it’s OK to rationalize despicable ethical behavior to achieve the desired ends. It’s not about truth, honor, character, and doing the right thing anymore; it’s about whether one can get away with it. Just take a look at who our electorate voted for President. How many people are willing to overlook his character because they agree with him and his party on certain issues. Don’t think the other party isn’t at fault either. The candidate they put up in the general election isn’t trustworthy either.

      • GATOR-6 – Thank you. You are a true gentleman. I just don’t believe changing the narrative as the means to an end is the conscionable thing to to. I do recognize that’s how this nation operates in the current era.

    • I just bet you would have taken one of those diluted East championships this year. We are getting humbled for our delusional outlook on Gator Football . Never apologize for Championship’s of any kind , yet the Gator fan base spit on the last two. You are getting what you deserve. We are not as good a program as most of you think we are . Reality is a biotch.

  • It has been awhile since The Back Nine has been with you and it’s a day late this week because of Christmas. I hope your day was as good as mine.
    10. Dan Mullen has been working feverishly on trying to s […]

    • Pat Dooley, you covering for Jeremy foley who caused all of this are a big part of the blame. Your stupid “back nine” should’ve started with how awesome a job Mullen has done one month on the job , landing Emory Jones and signing the two best transferring receivers out there as well as his current WR targets for the regular signing day. Also your pathetic commentary throwing current receiving core under the bus , 1. Tyrie Cleveland 2. Toney 3. Dre Massey I believe to be three very talented young receivers who were drastically under/misused last year. This Christmas I took the time to go google you and foley in relation to dan Mullen and stumbled upon several podcasts featuring you going off on not liking Mullen, how no one liked him when he was our great OC from 2005-2008 one of the best best runs in gator football. “Aloof” look top football coaches tend to come off as difficult to work with and that doesn’t matter the goal isn’t to make worthless bureaucrats and women’s sports coaches feel appreciated or for you worthless ppl in the press , it’s about winning as many football titles as we can. You didn’t like chip Kelly either , if we had let Pat Dooley pick the coach we’d now have charlie strong a guy who couldn’t even make a bowl game at Texas one of the easiest jobs in the country . In addition I want to throw out there the recent reporting done by Andy Staples regarding our lack of strength and conditioning in the offseason , how players were paying their own way with a x Olympian who got arrested on deprecate occasions for PEDs, other street drug usage, and check writing / money laundering fraud ….. let that sink in , thinking about the off field issues during the jim Mac era that is especially extra alarming. Also in how you helped cover for foley giving muschamp a extra year because “he was such a nice guy everyone liked him”…. wow when did Florida gator football become the Boy Scouts pat????? Thank god we finally got dan Mullen , sadly 7 years too late with damage already done. I hope to never see a gator offense in a pro style offense ever again , only in the spread and I hope we never get another incompetent AD like foley again who destroyed our great program set our facilities back a decade and have a ap dog beat writer like you covering for them.

    • My biggest issue with pat is he gave muschump every break and excuse you can think of should’ve never been brought back for a 4th year but also that he has given the excuse for the mac hire as being “there were not many good candidates out there ” that’s absurd in addition to Mullen who we just got coming off his best yr at state there was Tom Herman who under Meyer just led Ohio state to a NC using 3 qbs in the last 4 games , winning on 3rd string now at Texas with #3 recruiting class there was also James franklin who did a phenomenal job at Vanderbilt and has since now worked wonders for penn state after the NCAA left that program to be dead in the water for at least a decade there are several others but not worth going into. Point is dooley has been peddling this bold face lie around for years , in addition to not liking Mullen for the dumbest of reasons “he just stayed to himself while being OC at Florida ” btw staying to himself abd rolling out the nations top offense 2 years in a row causing no trouble I mean OMG he wasn’t at the women’s field hockey game every Tuesday night waiving Pom Pom with foley omg not a team player ! Bad fit ! He rather stay in and work on a offensive gameplan and chill with his family I mean he was such a monster during his time here 2005-2008. In addition dooley hated chip Kelly and openly endorsed charlie strong to take over forget his epic failure at Texas , this program needs a spread offensive specialist in the worst way not a defensive coach approaching 60 yr old. Sorry but I for one am tired of this nonsense we have been fed the past 7 years, encourage some fans to open their eyes more

    • Thank you mark , you clearly are one of the fans that gets it. Dooley has digressed so much as a writer to where this year every article was a puff piece editorial attempting to get fans to sympathize with his hero x AD Jeremy foley , the narrative had been prior to muschump and reinforced by the jim mac hire that he was the greatest AD of all time, a theory which I thought was a bit delusional to begin with considering he inherited a great situation being given Steve spurrier and let’s not forget that UF as a university and geography is going to pull in a lot of Olympic sport stars regardless of the AD. After our past University president made him go hire urban Meyer who he was familiar with during his time as chancellor of Utah ; he tweaked and is now coaching somewhere else just like spurrier left and went to coach elsewhere which btw spurrier left after foley refused to back him after that fsu thug Derrall Docket destroyed our 2001 nc chances when also thug and known dirty fsu D.C. Mickey Andrews instructed him to stomp on earnest grahams hand dead ball with game well in hand before our big showdown with tennesee. In fact foley supporters first counter is Billy donavan who btw, constantly butted heads with him over facility upgrades and having a gym very outdated and way behind the dukes bucs and Kentucky , Billy won two sadly he won so much with so much less if only we made the investments he suggested sooner we prob would’ve won 5 or 6 and he’d still be here . Helped Ran Meyer off also , foley was a control freak with office next door to the head football coach constantly barged into offices routinely, it all became so much about him. Honestly I have no idea who the Alabama AD is or very many other ADs it should be a very behind the scenes job worrying about admin duties and money raising , the only 3 besides current ad Stricklin I can name off top of head are the recently fired UT ad curry after that coaching search debacle ; the lsu ad aliva who is also scene as mostly incompetent and foley and those three have a lot in common and none of that is good

    • He neglected football and lesser extent basketball when they were at their peak assuming arrogantly it would always lasts and got cocky , in attempt to establish his legacy as greatest ad ever he went to like on by building up all these sports that with all due respect very few ppl care about , I’m not saying they don’t deserve attention but us boosters pay for football and without football none of this other stuff is even possible so it needs priority 1. While other top programs were building stand alone football complexes and hiring quality coaches we were building multi million dollar gymnastics studios and blowing stuff like that up where now even when money has been raised for new 100 million $ football only complex there’s now no room to build it and it’s delayed at least 4 years but I’m guessing more or even guessing it if even gets built at all. Our indoor practice facility built in a rush and shoddy at best is no where near as cool as bama or fsus. In fact the only reason jim mac was so unliked and so quickly (refreshingly) dumped was because he called them out on all this right away had he played brown nose like muschamp did he’d still be here and dan Mullen at tennesee jim macs mouth and just all out weirdness / self destruction truly saved our program or we’d be in very deep trouble had he just played in house politics like “such a great guy despite losing his mind on the sideline like a rabid dog muschamp ” who recently btw is still firing his offensive coordinator after literally every year

      • McElwain pushed Stricklin on facilities and he got canned. Kelly also wanted to speed up the facility plan and some firm commitments. He didn’t get it and they mutually parted ways. Lesson learned is never push Stricklin on facilities or you will be history. That’s Stricklin’s responsibility and he doesn’t like anyone lighting a fire under him. If boosters want a say on the coaches and direction of the program, they’ll have to pony up some more “charitable” donations.

    • I don’t think we can afford to wait a year or years on facilities. We are so far behind. Chip had the right idea. Maybe he talked to McElwain prior to negotiations to get some insight. Maybe Stricklin fans are afraid to light a fire under him. It’s no longer Foley’s ship and McElwain’s ship to blame. Let’s see what kind of commitment we have from the administration, UAA, and boosters going forward.

    • I wish you guys wrote relevant articles! Unfortunately, I have to go elsewhere to find out what’s going on with Gator football. You would think you guys would at least be covering some of the issues that sites or covering. Yes, some of the issues are rumors, but many of the articles are fact-based. I would love to hear you talk more optimistically about what Mullen is doing.

    • Seems to me that to properly appreciate Dooley, you need to realize that he is more lyrical than analytical. I agree that this robs his stories of being cutting edge, but there are a lot of sources for information if you want to get into x’s and o’s, stats, or up-to-date recruiting dirt.
      Pat’s stories are rooted in the region, so there is some homerism going on there, but particularly for those of us who have moved (far) away from Gainesville, his pieces evoke the sleepy town that is part hippie/part redneck, while also host to a huge university and vibrant sports scene, which we left behind.
      So, I appreciate Pat, warts and all, but I can understand where his reporting deficiencies can leave some dissatisfied. In that case, move on.

    • To clear it up. I was referring to the former head coach, Jim McElwain in my comment regarding Muschamp’s type of OC. Really hope things get better with Mullen. You can talk about needs at positions but getting a solid staff who can recruit, develop, and do it the right way is what our program needs.

    • The HBC’s receivers were so strong when he was here. Quez, Aubrey Hill, Reidel Anthony. Really powerful guys. We hired a guy who was no better than a Muschamp type of OC. Pro style offense. Couldn’t master the run or the passing game. Be a Finebaum.

  • It was 2011, a hot and humid day in Gainesville and Kevin O’Sullivan was in shock.
    He had just seen Mississippi State knock off his Gator baseball team on a walk-off homer against his best relief pitcher Paco R […]

  • Well, it’s good to be back.

    I now can tell you about almost every Netflix series (try “Godless”) and what network carries Seinfeld reruns in the morning (TBS) and how annoying the PG version of “Good […]

  • NEW YORK CITY — It was a cold night on the streets of a city that hadn’t even thought about sleep yet. Every 10 seconds or so someone leaned on a horn and steam drifted out of manhole covers like it was a mov […]

    • Don’t call him the old ball coach, I can tell you that. Uber competetive. Betcha Peyton’s never whupped him at golf either.

      • Dead on. The old ball coach started as a slight from Phat Phil, and some of the ESPN idiots continued it. Anyone using that instead of his proper nickname, THBC, doesn’t have real Gator roots.

    • That’s one of the reasons I enjoy reading the Sun and Gatorsports. There’s a deeper level of background and understanding of Gator sports by the senior writers.

      I’m very proud as a Gator to have been a witness of some of the legendary events associated with Steve Spurrier and his storied career as a Florida player and coach. It would be hard to give too much credit for all he has done.

  • The Back Nine comes at you as I am counting down the days until I get to eat hospital food. My left knee and I have been through so much together — mostly pain.
    10. Think Greg Sankey is a happy guy today? The S […]

    • 6 makes sense to me. Reward the top 2 teams with a bye. You would add 1 more week with a total of 5 games which would cover the major bowls.

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