The Back Nine: Draft winners? UF

6
397

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. (AP photo)

Which one of you asked for rain? Try to be a little more specific next time, Noah. The Back Nine still had a great weekend that included gymnastics, baseball and too much to eat. To quote Steve Martin’s Festrunk Brother, “I buh-lame uh-myself.”

10. Grades are in for the NFL Draft and they are to be ignored. The draft is like recruiting in that the guys who give out grades are basing them on their own evaluations rather than the people making the decisions. Any draft and any recruiting class can only truly be graded after three or four years. In which case, I guess we should give out high marks for Urban Meyer’s 2006 and 2007 classes. He had 10 players from those two recruiting classes drafted (nine this year and Percy Harvin last year), four of them in the first round. And there are as many as eight others from those classes who could be drafted next year. This draft was a tremendous recruiting tool that will be used by Florida’s coaches. Because among the criteria a high school senior uses for choosing a school is, “Can you get me to the next level?” Clearly, Florida coaches have shown they can. Especially if Bill Belichick stays in New England. Three picks from UF and he signed Gerard Warren. The SEC had 49 players taken, the most of any conference by 15, as the league continues to flex its muscle.

11. Hey, I’m not going to be critical of the Jacksonville draft because they know a lot more about the players than I do. But it does seem curious that after taking a controversial first-round pick that hardly got the fan base excited, the Jaguars drafted players from Louisiana Tech, Central Arkansas, Murray State, Southern Illinois and James Madison. Where do I line up to buy season tickets? Look, you draft the players you feel are the best fits. I get that. But for a franchise whose fans are already staying away it would seem like you’d try to put a little excitement into your draft. Just saying.

12. The Back Nine is excited for next season in the NFL because there are so many players who were so much fun to watch in college spread around the league. I can’t wait to see how they fit in. This was supposed to be one of the best drafts in 20 years in the league and I think it will be reflected in the quality of play next fall. And don’t worry, peeps, about all the hate coming Tim Tebow’s way. Some of these guys who cover the NFL take it as a personal insult when you don’t agree with them.

13. Almost lost in the draft hoopla was the report that the NCAA appears headed to a 68-team NCAA Tournament in basketball. The NCAA insists no decision has been made but it appears that clearer heads have prevailed. More than anything, the Back Nine thinks that when CBS and Turner upped their offer and blew ESPN out of the water, they also told the NCAA they weren’t that excited about 96 teams. We still could get there eventually, but your bracket is safe for now. The big question that I still want answered — are these going to be 16 vs. 17 play-ins or will the last eight at-large teams play for the final four spots. That would be much more interesting, and if they do it right by having mini-tournaments at neutral sites it could make the tourney even better. The best thing about the 68-team field is that it won’t water down the regular season and still make conference tournaments important. Yay!

Kevin Chapman gives UF a strong lefty to close out games (Brad McClenny/Special to Gatorsports)

14. If you were among those of us who lasted through the 2 1/2 hour rain delay to see Florida and Arkansas play their rubber game Sunday, you saw one heck of a pitcher’s duel punctuated by some amazing defense. Florida got a break from the umpires in the ninth to get the win as the picture in The Sun showed Monday morning. But the bottom line was that Florida’s freshmen pitchers Hudson Randall and Brian Johnson limited the league’s best-hitting team (.348 average in SEC games) to nine hits and no earned runs in 12 2/3 innings. One thing that makes the light-hitting Gators a dangerous postseason team is that they can come at you with three quality starters.

15. Friday was not the best of days for the Gator program with baseball losing, gymnastics stumbling to a fifth-place finish and softball blowing a seventh-inning lead to lose to Tennessee. But Sunday was a special day with baseball capturing the series and women’s tennis winning the SEC Tournament. The softball team now needs some help to win the SEC and will be rooting for the Vols this weekend when they travel to Alabama.

Chris Couch watches his shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the Zurich Classic golf tournament Thursday. (AP photo)

16. Former Florida golfer Chris Couch was in position in New Orleans to take a big step toward securing his PGA Tour card for next year. Couch, on a major medical exemption after playing in only eight events the last two years because of a recurring shoulder problem, needs to make $796,087 in 21 starts to keep his card. That’s what No. 125 on the money list made a year ago. Had Couch shot even par in the final round Sunday, he would have pulled within about $20,000 of that goal. Instead, an early double-bogey sent him scuffling to a 77 and he made only $28,160. Couch has 11 more starts to win a little more than $190,000 (he’s at $605,837 right now). If he does, he’s got a chance at the Tour’s Comeback Player of the Year.

17. Rivals.com on its Web site ranked the top 10 college basketball teams of the decade. Florida’s 2006 team was ranked 10th but the 2007 team came in at No. 1. Uh, weren’t they pretty much the same team? I get that it was much tougher for the ’07 team to repeat, but 10 seems a little low for a team that whacked UCLA in the title game.

18. In honor of the draft, your downloads are as follows — “Rough Draft” by One for the Kids, “We’ll Never Know” by The Drafts and “Busted” by Matchbox Twenty.

19th hole: In a column this past weekend, I wrote that the only retired number I knew of at UF was Neal Walk’s. Maybe I had just blocked from my mind the terrible tragedy of Steve Georgiadis, who passed away 20 years ago in March during a routine surgery. The former pitcher’s No. 19 has not been worn since.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. You can listen to The Pat Dooley Show weekdays from 4-6 p.m. on 104.9 FM. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

6 COMMENTS

  1. The reason the Jacksonville team drafted the way they did is to insure their attendance drops below the level that will allow them to move their team out of Jacksonville, L.A. is very possible. I have enjoyed the college game all My life because I felt they didn’t try to control every aspect of the game as the Pros do but I see the same thing slowly happening to the college game. How did Tebow know to have Bronco hats available in Jacksonville when his drafting took place??????????? Keep up the great work!!!

  2. I love reading your column. It gives me the squirts and giggles and breaks up my day. Thanks…moving on I don’t know about you but I’m surprised more Gators didn’t go earlier. As for Jax well they kind of remind me of that movie Major League where the owner wanted to loose so she could move her team. One last thing I’m just so happy about Tim that I couldn’t wait to get to work and talk smak. It’s been a long time since I was happy to go to work. Go Gators!

  3. Regarding the NFL Draft, does anyone pay attention to Mel Kyper anymore? Did they ever? I have to give the guy one huge thumbs up for apparently being able to earn big bucks on a track record that sucks. The NFL Draft is unlike college recruiting in that the teams use their own resources to decide who they draft, not some talking head who happens to be on TV with no apparent credentials. Kyper is a well spoken guy who looks good on TV and people know his name. Apparently thats all ESPN really cares about. All the NFL coaches who really do know what’s going on are not available to ESPN. The’re too bust actually drafting players. The one analyst who really does know his stuff and also looks and sounds good on TV is John Gruden. Next year lets see more of Gruden and move Kyper off center stage.

  4. the jag’s are the new raiders, they have no clue. The org. Complain all the time the city is not supporting them, but they’re not supporting the city. Who is the guy gene smith picked with the 10 overall pick…for real. It’s like eating at a bad restaurant why keep going when you don’t like the food? One last thing with there last pick they took a 5’2 kick returner from james maddison and brandon james who is also from the area was still on the board..go figure..get it right jag’s cause I am a fan and go gators!!!

  5. One thing that I haven’t seen mentioned is that there is yet another reason to be glad that Jacksonville didn’t draft Tebow…because if they had, no one would be able to watch the games on TV because of the NFL blackout rules. Time to roll out the tarps in Jacksonville. Every year I get more sick of listening to Mel Kyper. There really is no need for this guy anymore anyway…thank you internet. He’s like a really bad Christmas lawn decoration…break him out once a year, plug him in, the sounds he makes become annoying after 5 minutes, and after it’s over you can’t wait to unplug, box up, and store in a shed the other 11 months out of the year. “You talk about a guy that…blah…blah”