Some coaches will hit the road this week in preparation of spring recruiting. The NCAA allows schools to get out in April (the 15th) if they designate a particular week in advance of the usual May recruiting. Last year, the first visit was to Demetrice Webb by Gator Coach Ron Zook. We will see if this year he can duplicate the same success.
The recent public news of Taurean Charles and Dallas Baker is obviously not new to the staff. Both situations are being reviewed and I believe the discipline has been taken and that the future will bear that out. Nonetheless, expect more stories on the Charles battery issue to surface until the state and school get all the facts straight.
This time of the year is a difficult one for coaches and they must rely on senior leadership and strength coaches for discipline. Ultimately, it comes down to the kids making the right choices and being in the right places and enviroment. We have already seen Maurice Mitchell, because of his past problems, automatically be accused in the papers and on talk shows for damaging cars. The situation was dropped, but he was in the wrong place and coaches stress to players to make good decisions.
One benefactor of the Charles suspension was backup linebacker Reid Fleming. Fleming who was a pre-spring candidate to move positions ended up grading out very high in the Orange and Blue game. Coach Bill Miller likes Fleming's knowledge of the game and his toughness.
This is an important time in the weight room because players can build the foundation for which a strong summer program can benefit them. IF they don't work hard now they will start the summer workouts short of maximum capability, thus increasing their chances for less gains. Mo Mitchell is one that will work hard to trim down and play defensive tackle. Rob Glass will engineer a high calorie and fat burning workout plan for him, while also constructing a high calorie endurance building plan for possible two way performer Keiwan Ratliff. These are just two examples of players with specialized needs in the weight room this summer.
The NFL draft is this weekend and Rex Grossman and Taylor Jacobs expect to be first round picks. Mike Nattiel, Ian Scott, Todd Johnson, Clint Mitchell and Aaron Walker could all be first day guys. Since the draft went to seven rounds in 1993 the best first day for the Gators was 1999,when seven players, led by Jevon Kearse and Reggie McGrew (first rounders), were selected on day one. The others were Mike Peterson, Johnny Rutledge in round 2, Zach Piller, Tony George and Travis McGriff in round 3. The most first rounders selected for UF was in 1989 when Trace Armstrong, Louis Oliver and David Williams were taken in the #1 round. The last Gator running back selected in the NFL was in 1999 with Jackson who went in the fifth round to San Francisco. Earnest Graham hopes to sneak into the second day possibly the sixth round and Green Bay. Last year, UF had 8 players selected in the 2002 draft, the third most in school history. In 1978, ten Gators were taken and in 1992, nine Gators were selected including Former Buc defensive tackle Brad Culpepper in the 10th round.by Minnesota. The years of 1999 and 2002 are the most in the seven round era with eight picks. Florida has had 25 first round picks all-time that trails such schools as Southern Cal (33),Notre Dame and Ohio St (31),Miami (29) Alabama and Tennessee with (27). UF had a streak of nine consecutive first rounders end in 1991. Finally from the Did You Know File? The first Gator ever selected in the pro football draft was Walt Mayberry a back in 1938.He was selected by the Cleveland Rams in the 6th round.
Coming Friday, the Ack Mock Draft.
Baseball took two of three from Georgia on the road, snapping an eight game winless streak. Christian Madsen a freshman gave Pat McMahon 5 solid innings Sunday in the rubber game of the set. UF won 8-4 and improved to 8-9-1 in the conference. The Gators play Atlantic Sun foe Jacksonville State before hosting #12 Mississippi St. this weekend. Auburn is the highest rated SEC team in this week's USA Today poll, coming in at #8 followed by the Bulldogs #12, Arkansas #15, LSU #17 and then Florida at #23. Alabama dropped out of the poll while in-state rivals FSU #1 and Miami #14 are ahead of the Gators. If the Gators make the postseason they may point to Saturday's game against Georgia as the turning point. Pitcher Justin Hoyman turned in a gutty six hit complete game in the 4-3 win. Not only was it UF's first road win of the season but it got the Gators back into the series. The top two teams are in the SEC tournament, then it's the next four with the best records. UF is in second place, one half game behind South Carolina. The entire West is 9-9 or better. Florida's home game Saturday is at 4pm and broadcast live on Sunshine Network. It is the only top 25 matchup in the conference this weekend.
Thank goodness the Kansas saga is over and Roy (Williams) is in Norh Carolina. Bill Self will do a fine job at Kansas but is it not funny how in 1996 Illinois was a better hoops job than Florida, prompting Lon Kruger to leave and in arrives Billy Ball. Donovan now holds the better job in college basketball. TJ Ford was injured this past week in a pickup game causing him to change his mind about the upcoming NBA Draft. The top five according to NBADraft.Com is Lebron James, Darko Millicic, Chris Bosh and TJ Ford. SEC Players in the latest Mock Draft are Jarvis Hayes at #7 and Mario Austin at #21. In the second round Keith Bogans, Ron Slay, Marquis Daniels, Marquis Estill, Ronald Dupree and Justin Hamilton. That's right no Matt Bonner. Of course the draft is in June so there is a lot of time for him to resurface in the second round. Robert McCollum, a former Kruger assistant, has taken the South Florida job and will bring former Gator player Clayton Bates with him as an assistant coach.