The Back Nine comes at you after one last visit to St. Augustine to see my dad before the start of football season. Be sure to wish him a Happy 91st next Thursday.
10. It was hardly surprising UF coach Dan Mullen did not name a starting quarterback Monday and he may not until game day. My theory all along has been that he will play all three and then name the real starter for the Kentucky game, but he shot that theory down like it was the first wave of aliens on the old Space Invaders game. The starter against Charleston Southern will be the starter. Unless there is an injury. Or unless he doesn’t play well. All signs point to Feleipe Franks, but who really knows? What I do know is that people who watched the Sunday night scrimmage came away impressed with the quarterback play and the way they were handled and coached by the staff. It’s not surprising that there would be a big jump from the Monday scrimmage to the Sunday scrimmage because the quarterbacks are getting more used to the offense. My insiders tell me that quarterback will not be a problem for Florida this year. Is that smile on your face real or sarcastic?
11. What we did learn from Mullen on Monday is that he likes the “80s on 8” on Sirius. And that he is a big Howard Stern fan. “Howard will get you through a long drive,” he said. Exactly. That’s why I got Sirius in the first place, for all of those trips to Gator clubs. He also said he converted his wife, Megan, into being a “Parrothead,” as in a Jimmy Buffett fan. (I suggested a channel way down the dial to him called North Americana, but I don’t expect it to stick.) Why am I telling you all this? Because it was another illustration that Mullen is open to having normal conversations with the media. I don’t know how much he has changed from when he was here before. He blew off a question about that Monday. Maybe we didn’t have a chance to get to know him from 2005-08. All I know is he didn’t have a lot of people in his camp when this job opened after the 2010 and 2014 seasons and the biggest reason I was given was that he seemed aloof. All I know is that the guy Scott Stricklin hired is a lot of fun to talk to and really seems to be trying not only with the media, but the fans and everyone who is associated with the program. It’s a welcome change.
12. The first Associated Press poll is out and if you read Monday’s paper you know how I voted and if you didn’t it’s available online. Most surprising — I was the only person to put Kentucky in the Top 25. As I was last year. I’m also surprised at how little support Texas A&M got. Maybe it is the brutal schedule. And I also know this — Florida was 17th and Tennessee 25th in last year’s preseason poll. It didn’t go well for either.
13. So there was a big stink about a CBS Sports poll on its website asking coaches who the most overrated and underrated coaches are in college football. There was a stink because James Franklin at Penn State tied for first in the overrated category. This reeks of bitter jealousy (is there any other kind?) because Franklin has done amazing things at both Vandy and Penn State. Can he be a jerk? Yes. Blowhard? Yes. But overrated? That’s ridiculous. (By the way, Mullen placed in the underrated category.) And one coach accused Nick Saban of cheating. Anonymously, of course. It would be funny if that coach was Will Muschamp, who called out writers last week for quoting people anonymously. Will, I like you, but if you guys didn’t protect information about your teams like they were nuclear secrets, there might not be a need for so many stories having anonymous sources.
14. And Muschamp wasn’t alone in going after the media boys and girls, because Cranky Kirby Smart (hmmm, that was very presidential) was angry because of reports that came out after a scrimmage concerning freshman Zamir White’s knee injury. And he was angry even though the sources for most of the stories were boosters who were allowed to watch the scrimmage. And he was angry despite legitimate media not reporting the story because of Smart’s policy about not reporting injuries until after his meeting with the press. OK, that’s enough about the media and its relationships with coaches. I don’t want any coaches mad at me. While I don’t agree with every policy of Mullen’s — like how he will talk about season-ending injuries but not season-altering ones — it is a refreshing change to have a coach who is not a Saban-policy clone to deal with.
15. Let’s give NFL officials the benefit of the doubt during the preseason and assume they are calling every tackle that is made a penalty to try to clean things up before the real games start. As it is being called now, the NFL is unwatchable. I’m all for player safety, but some of the penalties called have been embarrassingly bad. I think the only way to tackle a guy in the preseason is to grab his leg and hold on for dear life. I keep waiting for an official to say, “15 yards, personal foul, tackling a player because he is on the other team, defense.”
16. It was a pretty profitable week for former Florida golfers at the Wyndham Championship, where Brian Gay, Billy Horschel and Brett Stegmaier combined to shoot 44-under par and won $432,500 among them. But the hottest golfer among former UF players might be Tyler McCumber, who has won three of his last four tournaments on the Mackenzie Canada Tour. The guy is throwing out 65s rolling out of bed. He is 122-under par in his last six tournaments. That’s crazy. Check out this quote from the guy who finished second Sunday, Michael Gellerman — “This must have been how those guys felt in 2000 when Tiger was playing or something. I’m happy for him. But I want to beat him. I’m sick of losing to him.” Two more events for McCumber to try to break the all-time record for winnings on that tour. One cool thing — his cousin, Josh, also a former UF player, was his caddy for one of those wins (in Edmonton) and will be on his bag for the Tour Championship in a couple of weeks. “Impressive run he’s on,” Josh told The Back Nine. (Just as a side note, Brian Gay’s daughter, Mackenzie, will be a cheerleader at Florida this year.)
17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Matt Smith of Southern Pigskin — “Over/under CFB/NFL win totals (my numbers):
Hmm. If Vegas has this bet available, which one would you take? And what would the Florida/Jaguars over-under be? Maybe 19? Anyway, I found this interesting.
18. So I took my old little iPod out to the pool and because I can’t figure out how to get the songs over to my iPhone it was like listening to a Pat Dooley oldies station and now I have a bad sunburn. It was worth it. Anyway, I also compiled this playlist:
• “I Hope You’re Happy” by Blue October.
• “I Don’t Know” by Paul McCartney.
• “Long Distance Runner” by Matt Nathanson.
• “Bad Habit” by Your Smith.
• And it was a sad week because we lost the Queen of Soul so I went with my favorite “Baby, I Love You” by Aretha Franklin.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.