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Jose Jose (that’s not a typo) has been released from his scholarship with UCF. Those of you that follow USF recruiting closely remember Jose being one of the more sought after prospects by the Bulls. He was deemed as someone who could come in and contribute right away and USF wanted him. Early in the recruiting cycle, Jose committed to Tennessee, but opened back up when Lane Kiffin jumped ship for USC. After dropping the Vols, Jose pledged his allegiance to USF, only to make a switch on National Signing Day (despite showing up to his high school that day in a Bulls’ hat). The offensive lineman from Miami Central was thought to be able to play along the line or switch to the other side of the ball and try his hand at defensive tackle at the collegiate level. Now he’ll get a chance to see how junior college treats him. Jose was released from his scholarship after being arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and having a concealed weapon last week. UCF head coach George O’Leary wasted little time, dismissing Jose on Monday. Don’t be upset this one got away Bulls’ fans. Sometimes these things just turn out for the best. Skip Holtz may have pulled the trigger on Jose’s release even quicker than O’Leary did.
You are all aware of FSU’s sod cemetery, right? If not, here’s the idea: the Seminoles have a cemetery for pieces of turf they acquire during road victories. With the program being forced to vacate 12 victories for downright dirty cheating (!), several of those road wins are technically now a whole bunch of nothing. Think you remember them happening? You don’t. They don’t exist. Were never played. So to reflect that in the sod cemetery, a Florida fan with an assistant in tow placed asterisks where they belong. Asterisks as in “career homerun leader.” Asterisks are fun. They give us some breathing room. They help classify what we may be claiming. Basically they add an element of truth. In this case, “yeah you won that game, but you did so with no-good cheaters.” A round of hearty applause to the individuals that pulled this off. Pranks pulled off successfully against a rival program always deserve admiration. And to you FSU fans out there, sometimes it makes it a lot easier if you can learn to laugh at your own team. (H/T: One Eyed Willy)
The NCAA has given Maryland and Texas (every place else seems to list Texas first, but I’m going all alphabetical on you) an extra year allowing their head coaches-in-waiting to have multiple off-campus visits to recruits. The new rule limits those designated as the next head coach to the same rules current head coaches have to abide by. The Terrapins and Longhorns will get one extra year to recruit with the old rules before having to comply with the new ones. My guess is the schools will appeal again next year or come up with some other designation for their coach-in-waiting. Having an assistant coach who can’t recruit the same way as other assistants doesn’t help. The coach-in-waiting designation might, but limited off-campus visits don’t. Then again, if you’re Texas neither may matter much when it comes to recruiting. Mack Brown isn’t leaving anytime soon and you’ll still end up doing better than okay each year.
Not that many knew, but there was still a five-star recruit out there that had yet to sign. His availability is no more. Latwan Anderson is headed to Miami. Anderson originally committed to West Virginia, but ultimately decided to head to the Hurricanes because he could see himself living in Miami after college, but not West Virginia. Seems reasonable I guess. And yet another reason recruits choose certain schools. We’re up to about 1,837 at this point. Anderson was #15 on the Rivals100 and was the nation’s #2 athlete. He’ll most likely end up playing defensive back although wide receiver might not be out of the question. Okay, so living in the city wasn’t the only reason, but he definitely did mention it. Anderson also cited his belief that Miami is closer to winning championships that West Virginia. Historically, that’s definitely true, but these days who knows which one of these programs could take the leap to contender.
Today’s list is at least football involved. Just a few short movie clips for your viewing pleasure. If you can’t wait live football this time of year, you can wear out your football movie DVDs at the very least. Of course you knew which one I would be starting with.
1. I give it a 10.
2. Ring the bell.
3. My name is Willie.
4. Wait just one second. How’d this one get in here???
The Sixth Man: USF’s basketball season most likely came to an end today. Well, not their season as much as their NCAA Tournament hopes. The NIT is squarely in sight and that’s a great thing for the Bulls. It’s not the ultimate goal, but at 20-12, this program took a huge step forward during the 2009-2010 season. Unfortunately it was USF’s shooting woes that destroyed their chances against Georgetown in the second round of the Big East Tournament. The Bulls shot 29.1% from the floor against the Hoyas and only made one of 10 three-point attempts. Georgetown, on the other hand, made seven of 14 shots from behind the arch and controlled most of the game. The loss was especially devastating for the Bulls because a win could’ve meant a tourney invite. But they should be proud of this season and proud of what they are building. If star guard Dominique Jones decides to return for his senior season (and he should), USF will be in a great position to move even higher up the Big East ranks. Stan Heath has the program headed in the right direction and if he sticks around, he’ll have the Bulls in the Big Dance sooner or later.
Now that we know who has signed with Florida, we can start to analyze them with a fine-toothed comb throughout the spring and summer and project what they will do once they suit up for the Gators. In four neat parts, I’ll give my early thoughts about each of the signees and how they may contribute in 2010.
LB – 6’2″, 197 lbs. – Coconut Grove, FL – Ransom Everglades
Ajagbe is fairly small for a linebacker in terms of bulk, but so was a former Gator by the name of Earl Everett when he came to Gainesville. His athletic ability is what drew Florida to him. The coaching staff wants him to get up in the 230-pound range and hopes he won’t lose any speed in doing so. Expect Ajagbe to redshirt while he gets accustomed to Florida’s conditioning regimen.
DE – 6’4″, 210 lbs. – Jackson, GA – Jackson
Ball is in much of the same boat as Ajagbe in that his speed and overall ability led the Gators to him, but he will need to put on some weight to play his position at the next level. Due to Ball’s acceleration, he can end up being a pass-rush specialist for the Gators, but may also do well as a blitzing outside linebacker. He’s another good candidate to redshirt although being enrolled early may have helped him get an edge.
RB – 5’11”, 185 lbs. – Lithonia, GA – Martin Luther King
Brown was one of the one’s Florida fans were most worried about when Signing Day came around. Many weren’t sure if he’d actually end up a Gator. In the end, he was true to what he had been saying throughout most of his recruitment and signed with Florida. Brown could be considered a speed back, but he seems to love contact as well. With some added bulk, Brown could do some damage between the tackles. Looking at the depth chart at running back, you would think he’s in line for a redshirt, but Brown may be too talented to keep off the field in 2010.
QB – 6’2″, 203 lbs. – Venice, FL – Venice
Burton may win the award for best recruiter of the class. The minute he pledged to attend Florida, he became one of the most vocal members of the 2010 recruiting class. Burton is a dual-threat quarterback who will fit in well to an offense which allows the QB to run a good amount of the time. With Jordan Reed moving to tight end (whether it’s just part time or not), expect Burton to be right in the mix to back up starting quarterback John Brantley.
TE – 6’3″, 220 lbs. – West Palm Beach, FL – Dwyer
Ladies and gentlemen, the Florida Gators’ 2010 starting tight end. Okay that’s probably a little premature to declare, but don’t be surprised. Tight end is the thinnest position on the team right now and there’s no reason to think Christian won’t be given a chance to claim the top spot. He enrolled early, has good speed for someone his size, and comes in as one of the nation’s best high school tight ends. Expect Christian to see the field a lot during the upcoming season.
ATH – 5’9″, 170 lbs. – West Palm Beach, FL – Dwyer
Clark could be in line to be the next Brandon James. He can play on either side of the ball – although we heard a lot about cornerback toward the end of the recruiting cycle – but Clark’s strongest point is in the return game. After seeing the impact James had on the Florida program over his four years as a Gator, prospects may no longer shy away from being recruited as returners first. Clark could realistically be the fastest member of the 2010 class. If he is as dynamic in the return game as expected, he should see the field immediately.
WR – 6’2″, 194 lbs. – Baltimore, MD – City College High
Coxson was one of the last recruits to join the class, but his commitment wasn’t much of a surprise. Some see him as a throw-in at the end of the cycle, but that’s not the case at all. He’s a very talented receiver with the size to make an immediately impact. With the entire receiving corps getting an overhaul in 2010, the freshmen will be given an opportunity to fight for playing time. However, Coxson is one of four true receivers in the class (not to mention some athletes who could become full-time receivers) so he may be in line for a redshirt. Fall practice will determine which ones play immediately and which ones we’ll have to wait until 2011 to see.
Come back tomorrow for the next part.
It’s National Signing Day. Are you prepared? You should be by now. If not, you’re useless. You’re a half-fan. Sure we’ll share a drink come game time. We’ll debate game performances around the water cooler (do offices even have these anymore?). We’ll cheer with you as our favorite player rumbles to the end zone. But today, we are completely different animals. You are going about your day as planned. I’m seeing how many times I can hit the refresh button in a single minute. If you want the updates, odds are you already know where to look. But if you want to get them via me, continue to come back to this site throughout the day, become a fan of the Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter. I’ll be updating obsessively. Join the fun.
Signing Day has had some definite intrigue in years past. If you don’t remember the story of Kevin Hart, go ahead and get caught up. It’s a good one. But there was a year when Florida was directly involved in an interesting situation. In 2000, Jonathan Colon signed letters of intent from Miami and Florida. Technically, he should’ve ended up with the Hurricanes because they received their LOI back first, but Colon had actually signed that letter the night before and Miami decided not to pursue the issue. Colon ended up with the Gators.
If there’s one bad thing about Signing Day, it’s the theatrics. And no I don’t mean the theatrics created by the media (how else would those like me get their fill?). I mean the ones some of the recruits feel the need “perform” to announce their decision. Marcus Lattimore pulled one of the biggest bait and switches of recent memory when he had former Auburn star Stephen Davis bring him a bag with two hats. Of course the hat on top was an Auburn one, but the one hiding behind it, the one that Lattimore put on his head, was that of South Carolina. I can’t imagine Tiger fans are too happy with their former running back Davis at the moment.
Florida commit Mack Brown has been told some tall tales from opposing head coaches throughout his recruiting, and the latest one is great. One of the coaches still pushing hard to reel in Brown has told him Urban Meyer will leave the Gators after Signing Day to, get this, become the new head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Let’s just say if that happens I’ll pay a little more attention to Cowboys’ games next fall. If you don’t believe coaches lie to recruits, you were born yesterday. If you don’t believe 99.99% of all coaches do it, you’re still in the womb. And if you believe Urban Meyer will be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for the upcoming NFL season, well, I don’t know exactly what you are, but enjoy fantasy land.
Coordinator salaries are hitting new highs that could change the landscape of the college game over the next few years. Why take a shot at being a first-time head coach at a smaller program or in a smaller conference when you can earn just as much money being the coordinator of a national power? As each SEC program brings in more money, expect assistant salaries to rise. The latest is Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. In 2009, Smart made $360,000 and received $72,000 in bonuses. In 2010, he’ll get $750,000. Not a bad raise if you ask me. It’ll only be a matter of time before the coordinators in the big conferences make more than half the head coaches across the country. The top programs are doing everything they can to ensure they stay on top. This is just one step.
If you hear a rumor enough times, it seems to end up being true more often than not. During the last recruiting cycle, rumors started to spread about Plant’s (Tampa, FL) Aaron Murray choosing Georgia over Florida. Few believed the speculation because the star quarterback was thought to always favor the Gators. But sure enough, he committed to the Bulldogs. That’s not to say you should always believe the rumors, just to take heed when you hear the same one over and over again.
Earlier this week, rumors spread like wildfire stating running backs coach Kenny Carter would be joining Charlie Strong at Louisville. Current Gator commit Mack Brown said Carter told him as much. No one wanted to believe Carter would leave for a similar position at a (sorry Cardinals’ fans) smaller program. But he did. Carter left and Florida needed a replacement.
More rumors began to spread about exactly who that replacement would be. Stan Drayton’s name was pushed to the forefront and many couldn’t believe it. Why would Urban Meyer hire back a guy Florida let go after the 2007 season? A guy who didn’t exactly praise the Gators on his way out? The rumors didn’t make sense, but in the end they were true. Drayton will return to Florida to coach the running backs.
Before you get too deep into “but didn’t Florida not want this guy only a few years ago?” and “why would he ever be brought back?” take a look at what Drayton did and had to work with during his previous stint with the Gators.
Drayton came to Florida in 2005. The year before, Ciatrick Fason had an outstanding year in which he ran for 1,267 yards and 10 touchdowns after which he decided to enter the NFL Draft. Fason’s departure left the Gators with a returning unit that had no player carry the ball more than 58 times during 2004. Florida played in 13 games that season, meaning the leading returning ball carrier only averaged 4.5 carries per game the prior year. Due to that, and a new head coach and offensive philosophy, the run game struggled during 2005. It had its moments, but for the most part took a step back. But that should’ve been expected as the Gators adjusted to the new offense.
In 2006, the Gators won the National Championship in part due to a running game that gained nearly 500 more yards and ran for five more touchdowns than the previous season. The team’s top seven rushers all averaged at least 4.8 yards per carry. Although Florida wasn’t considering a “running” team, the unit did its part.
2007 would be Drayton’s final year with the Gators. It was a season that saw the team gain over 350 more rushing yards than it did in 2006 and up its run TD total from 24 to 39. Yes, a large part of that surge was due to a quarterback named Tim Tebow carrying the ball 210 times, but didn’t Drayton at least have something to do with that? It was Meyer’s offense, but you would think the running backs coach at least had something to do with all aspects of the run game regardless of who’s carrying the ball. Especially when it comes to plays designed to be a run.
The year after Drayton left, the running game seemed to take a leap forward. The three true running backs that carried the ball at least 58 times a piece all averaged over 7.2 yards a carry. Many seem to attribute this to a new coach and going away from the Drayton’s approach to the unit. Not to take anything away from Carter and his accomplishments as a Gator assistant, but he had Jeffery Demps, Emmanuel Moody, and Chris Rainey. Drayton didn’t.
So maybe Drayton’s return isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe he’s a better coach then we think. Maybe he knows the system and has worked with some of the other coaches before and will offer the smoothest transition in. Maybe he’s a great recruiter (which he is…then again, as One Eyed Willy says “it’s Florida, aren’t all the coaches at programs like this great recruiters?”). Maybe Drayton 2.0 will be received better than the first incarnation. We’ll find out soon enough.
When Florida lost Charlie Strong to Louisville, the Gators didn’t just lose their defensive coordinator, they also lost their linebackers coach. It looks like Florida has filled at least one of those openings with the hiring of D.J. Durkin to coach the linebackers and special teams. The defensive coordinator position is, of course, still up in the air.
Durkin comes to Florida from Stanford where he coached defensive ends and special teams. He’s yet another assistant with previous links to head coach (to be I guess) Urban Meyer. After playing defensive end at Bowling Green from 1997-2000, Durkin joined Meyer’s staff as a graduate assistant for two years. In 2001, he was part of a staff that produced the MAC’s top defense.
In 2003, Durkin went to Notre Dame for two years where he continued his work as a graduate assistant before returning to Bowling Green. During his second stint with the Falcons, Durkin coached defensive ends in 2005 and linebackers and special teams in 2006. In 2007, he left for Stanford where he spent the last three seasons leading defensive ends and special teams.
Durkin seems like a great addition to the staff. He’s a young coach with a lot of fire who has worked his way up the ladder fairly quickly. He inherits a linebacker unit rich with talent despite the departure of leaders Brandon Spikes and Ryan Stamper. As for special teams (which Meyer oversaw himself), Durkin will have his work cut out for him not having Brandon James in a Gator uniform for the first time in four seasons. The return jobs will be wide open when spring practices begin.
On the other side of the ball, rumors are spreading rapidly that running backs coach Kenny Carter may be out. Carter is rumored to have told Florida commit Mack Brown that he is moving on for another opportunity. Immediate speculation has Carter joining Strong at Louisville, but at the moment nothing seems definite. With the Carter’s possible departure and the rumors surrounding cornerbacks coach Vance Bedford, the Gators could be looking for more assistant coaches very soon.
It’s that time of year to once again talk about the head coaching position at Notre Dame. As usual, there are two reasons this discussion becomes relevant. The first is due to the fact that, let’s face it, Charlie Weis just ain’t all that and a bag of chips (more like all that, a bag of chips, a block of cheese, a side of ham, a few burgers, a turkey leg, and a gallon of lard to wash it all down). The other reason is the one that directly affects those of us that are Florida fans: the Urban Meyer to Notre Dame rumors.
This time around though, I’m not sure us Gator fans have anything to worry about. We all know that at one point Meyer himself may have considered the head coach of the Fighting Irish to be his dream job. We all know he may have seriously considered heading to Notre Dame five years ago. We all know that it may still cross his mind as stories of Weis’ future come up each time the Irish lose another game. But we also know what Meyer is building at Florida.
Just a few weeks ago, Meyer secured his fifth-straight nine-win season with the Gators. Nine wins for a power program may not seem too impressive, but coming off the Ron Zook years, it is. Meyer, like Steve Spurrier while he was at Florida, being good for nine wins a season at least is a very good thing. Then look at the bigger accomplishment – the national titles. There have been two so far and deep into this season, the Gators are again in a position to play for another. Add being able to recruit from talent-rich Florida as well as the rest of the nation as seemingly easily as he can, and there’s little not to love about staying in Gainesville.
Many people will talk about the marquee jobs in college football. The Alabamas and Michigans of the world. Notre Dame is said to be atop that list. It’s been said to be THE program you want to be the head coach of. But if that’s true, why are we looking at a recent coaching string of Bob Davie, Tyrone Willingham, and now Weis? All had good resumes and good reason to get a job at a premier program at the time they were hired, but if ND is truly the most desirable and best job in the entire nation, why isn’t Mack Brown or Jim Tressel or Bob Stoops or, even, Urban Meyer there now? Of course part of it is attributed to who the Irish brass go after, but who they’ve gotten recently has been more of “hmm, okay, well let’s see how he does” and not “wow, did you hear Pete Carroll is going to Notre Dame!”
The reason is simple. It’s not the premier program it’s made out to be. Don’t get me wrong, the Irish have every opportunity to be one of the nation’s best teams on a consistent basis, but it’s not the drop everything and coach Notre Dame it may have once been considered to be. Too many other programs also have the name, history, and recognition these days. Why go to ND when you already are heading up a power? The way it is now, if Weis does go, there’s just as good a chance the next coach will be Brian Kelly as there is it will be one of the nation’s top leaders.
Martin Luther King (Lithonia, GA) running back Mack Brown committed to Florida back in July. After Saturday’s game against Tennessee, Brown thinks another prominent recruit will be joining him as a Gator. Brown visited Gainesville this weekend along with a number of other profile recruits and left saying he believes Rancho Verde (Moreno Valley, CA) defensive end Ronald Powell will commit to Florida soon.
A weakside defensive end, Powell is the #4 overall player in the nation according to Rivals.com. Powell has been interested in the Gators for quite some time and many have thought it to be a two-school race between Florida and USC. Experts believe he’ll be one of the nation’s best pass rushers within two years at the collegiate level and some even think he can play tight end as well. Every year you hear about those truly gifted athletes that could play both ways at the next level, but the hype about Powell hasn’t gone away.
With a number of upperclassmen defensive ends on the roster, Powell would be a huge get for the Gators, but never count out the Trojans in any recruiting battle. Especially for a kid from the state of California.
Florida. USF. Random rants. Links galore. Sentence fragments. Unrelated videos. Tips from readers. Depth charts. Injury updates. Practice notes. Diary entries. Recipes. Why I’m right. Why you’re wrong. Top plays. Rumors. Arrest counts. Broadcast times. Recruiting. High school scores. Stock tips. Dog training lessons. College football. The Long Snapper.
Jeffery Demps to start. Chris Rainey to relieve. Emmanuel Moody to contribute. Mike Gillislee to play. Mack Brown to salivate.
The injury is not career-threatening, but could be redshirt-inducing. If Andre Debose’s hamstring requires surgery, expect the all-world receiver to watch the 2009 season from the sideline. The specifics of the injury are far from common, but either is Debose. Expect a healthy – and pissed-off – #4 to hit the field with a “here’s what you’ve missed” attitude when he’s back to 100%. Getting some more time to learn Urban Meyer’s offense will only make him more dangerous.
Justin Trattou, tight end.
Meyer on life, liberty, Jaye Howard, the seniors, professionalism, Debose’s bum hammy, the schedule, offensive depth, and more. Consider this required reading pupils.
Saturday’s game against Charleston Southern will air on Sun Sports at 7:00 PM. For those of you who want to watch it again, it will replay on Sunday at 8:30 AM. And again, Tuesday at 11:00 PM. I still can’t believe I have to do this, but I’m actually calling Bright House right now to find out how much EXTRA I have to pay to get Sun Sports HD.
Dennis Dodd’s boner for whichever program is currently the top dog is showing. Three out of the top seven biggest games of 2009 include the Gators. While I bleed orange and blue, taking the entire nation into account, my list would’ve been slightly different.
USF linebacker Donte Spires has left the team, citing academic and financial issues. There’s an outside shot he will return in the spring, but his ship to contribute may have left the gate. If he comes back, Spires will count 2009 as his redshirt year.
Jessie Hester and A.J. Love may not play on Saturday. Both were listed as second-string receivers, but that’s due to their injuries. At 100%, either could start. And yes, I just linked you to the exact same article as in the previous paragraph. You’re welcome.
Big East coaches stick together. Bonus points to Bill Stewart for calling Jim Leavitt by the less formal Jimmy.
The USF depth chart for the Wofford game is out. Don’t expect it to be set in stone. We’re already hearing Jerome Murphy could get the start at cornerback over Kayvon Webster. I say let Webster start. Baptism by fire. Or something like that.
The Wofford game will televised by Bright House on their sports-related station that all of you who have the cable network get, but few of you can stomach to watch. It will be filmed using a Sony Handycam and a sketch artist.
Brion Carnes – a future Bull QB – completed 18 passes for 302 yards and four touchdowns while adding 80 yards and another touchdown on the ground in Manatee’s (Bradenton, FL) opening win against Plant (Tampa, FL). If Plant sounds familiar to those of you not in the Tampa area, it’s because it has recently produced players like Mike Williams, Robert Marve, Aaron Murray, and Orson Charles. Manatee gave college football some guy named Tommie Frazier.
Willie Williams, waste of talent.
A speedy recovery wished to Alabama defensive end Brandon Deaderick, but when a man with a gun asks you for something, just give it to him.
Shareece Wright, out.
Rick Neuheisel brushes his teeth with steel wool, breaks NCAA rules like you break toothpicks, and will punch you in the mouth for inviting him to participate in your March Madness pool. So why would the presence of wildfires 10 miles from the Rose Bowl stop him from wanting UCLA to go ahead with their opener in the stadium? The answer: it wouldn’t. The Bruins plan to play through the smoke.
And finally, because you haven’t seen it in a while and because you know you want it.
If you’d like to purchase a video of One Eyed Willy dancing to this song (the Sugar Hill Gang version) at my wedding, please send $19.95 plus shipping and handling to Dancing with Willy care of The Bull Gator.
As I sit here on this unbearably hot Sunday morning, I can’t help but get a little excited for the upcoming season of that other football league. You know which one I’m talking about. The one where players (legally) get paid. We’ll call it secondary football. It’s the cure to your football hangover. You wake up on a Sunday morning realizing college football is over for the week and while that other league isn’t all the NCAA is cracked up to be, it’ll act as your ibuprofen or Bloody Mary. It’s not great, but it’s good enough and it cures you for the time being.
No I don’t believe Texas Tech is the best job in the country. I’m a Florida fan. To me there’s no job better than being the head man of the orange and blue. If I were an up-and-coming talent in the coaching ranks, that would be the pinnacle. But I’m unequivocally biased. If I had a shred of athletic talent, I also believe Florida would be the best place to play the game. So I can’t accurately declare what really is the best job in the nation.
But Dennis Dodd does make a good point in this article about Mike Leach. Dodd says Leach may have the best job in the country after signing his extension to remain the head coach of the Red Raiders. Why? Leach makes $2.5 million to coach a program that is perfectly happy with 8-4. He doesn’t have nearly the pressure individuals like Mack Brown or Bob Stoops have. If Texas Tech gets beat out by Texas or Oklahoma for the division title, it’s expected. All Leach is asked to do is make the Red Raiders competitive. Winning conference titles and going to BCS bowls would be great, but Leach could probably go 10-2 with losses to the Longhorns and Sooners every year and keep his job forever. So while it may not be the best job, in my opinion, it certainly sounds like a good one.