Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day May 28

A few thoughts to jump start your Wednesday morning.

NO PROMISES FOR Billy Donovan

A week after he confirmed that he's been contacted by more than one NBA team about coaching vacancies, Billy Donovan won't promise that he will be returning to Florida next season. That's not to say he won't be back, but Tuesday at the SEC Spring Meetings he said he isn't going to make promises that for whatever reason he can't or won't keep.

"I think when you start making guarantees about life and start making guarantees about where you're going to be, that's not good because if for some reason I ever change my mind and did something, I wouldn't want (people) saying, 'Well, he promised, he guaranteed, he said this on record,'" Donovan said Tuesday. "I just think when you start doing that, that's a mistake."

Donovan is happy at Florida where he is truly a living legend. He has 451 wins at Florida, the most ever by any coach and more than 1/3 of all the wins in school history. He's 14 games from his 500th coaching victory, has a team that could make the Final Four again next season and is on the verge of a lights out 2015 recruiting class.

So would he leave for the NBA, which he says still intrigues him? While nothing is set in stone, best bets are that he will be at Florida at least six more years. Youngest son Bryan has a couple more years of high school ahead of him and youngest child Connor will start her seventh grade year at St. Francis. Billy is so family oriented that if I had to make an educated guess, I would say he wouldn't think about leaving Florida until his youngest has had the chance to finish school in the same place she started.

After then, all bets are off, but if he chose to move to the NBA before then it's not like he made a promise to stay.

SQUEEZING OUT THE LITTLE GUYS

There won't be a proposal to eliminate Division IAA teams from the schedules of Southeastern Conference teams but Will Muschamp made it perfectly clear Tuesday at the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin that he's all for eliminating those game altogether from the schedule. From a fan's perspective that's exceptional news. At a time when fans seem to be trending to staying home to watch games in high definition from the comfort of home rather than watch their favorite team pulverize a team from the lower division, the idea of upgrading the schedules seems like an idea that should have been implemented years ago.

It seems like such a great idea, but it's not without a couple of problems. First, as Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said Tuesday, "I understand what Will's saying: In a perfect world, you play all D1 schools but also you have to have 12 opponents. I understand Will's point of view, and when I hear from the fans, I understand their point of view. Some years, you've got to have 12 games."

The second problem is that a lot of Division IAA teams couldn't balance the books without taking a yearly beating from a Division I school. If the games with the lower division are eliminated – and this is a thought permeating throughout the five power conferences that are about to embark on their own form of autonomy with their own set of rules – then a lot of Division IAA teams might have to give up football or drastically scale back. I'm not sure that's a good thing, either. I'm all for as many scholarship opportunities as possible and the more schools playing football means more scholarship opportunities. I am not in favor of squeezing out the little guys but I do think there is a way to help them financially without compromising schedule strength during the regular season.

I've always thought that a terrific alternative to scheduling Division IAA teams in the regular season would be to change the way we do spring games. Instead of the boring glorified scrimmages that we have now, why not schedule a Division IAA team in the spring and play a real game? I'm all for that. If I have to watch another Orange and Blue Debut like the last two or three I'm gonna barf. If you scheduled a Division IAA team to come play in the spring, it wouldn't count against the record, and would almost certainly draw a hefty enough crowd to pay a large monetary guarantee that would allow the D1AA team to balance its books. And it could save the Division I school from the humiliation of losing to a D1AA team in the regular season and the D1AA team from taking a humiliating beating in the middle of what could be a playoff-type of season.

THE EARLY SIGNING DAY DILEMMA

LSU's Les Miles emerged from the football meetings at the Sandestin Hilton Tuesday and said the coaches are 100% in support of an early signing period that will take place the first Monday after Thanksgiving. I guess it all depends on what your version of unanimous is. Steve Spurrier came out of the meetings and said, "I don't know where it's going to be, but I hope we keep our recruiting calendar because I firmly believe the season belongs to the team — your team, not the recruits. And if everybody's going to sign in the first week in December, you're going to be recruiting all during the season." Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said he's for an early signing period but hasn't seen a formula yet that will work. Auburn's Gus Malzahn said he's just fine with the way things are right now. Yep, that sounds like unanimous to me.

THE POST-MEMORIAL DAY 10 BEST SEC RUNNING BACKS

1. Todd Gurley, Georgia: What's scary about this guy is that he's got 2,374 yards and 27 touchdowns in two years and he's only had seven games with as many as 20 carries, plus he's missed three full games and parts of three others. He also has 53 catches for 558 yards and six touchdowns.

2. T.J. Yelden, Alabama: He will start the season ranked this high because he goes into his junior year with 2,343 yards and 26 touchdowns but if Derrick Henry gets at least 40% of the carries, Yelden might go from #2 in the league to #2 on his own team.

3. Mike Davis, South Carolina: He can grind and move the chains and given a seam, outrun everybody to the end zone from any spot on the field. He had 1,183 rushing yards and 34 catches last year, plus he had two touchdown runs of 75 yards each, one of 53 and one of 45.

4. Terrance Magee, LSU: In LSU's crowded backfield last year he still averaged 7.3 yards per carry and scored eight touchdowns. He will start the season as the #1 running back, but he might back scrounging for carries by the second or third game if Leonard Fournette is anything close to the hype.

5. Alex Collins, Arkansas: He gained 1,026 yards and scored four touchdowns last year as a true freshman for a very bad Arkansas team. He's really good.

6. Keith Marshall, Georgia: If he's healthy, he's really, really good but staying healthy has been his problem. Still, he's gained 1,005 yards on only 173 carries in what amounts to one full season and he's got touchdown runs of 75, 62 and 52 yards to his credit.

7. Corey Grant, Auburn: During the spring he was clocked at 4.18 seconds in the 40, an unofficial time for sure but let's just say he was moving rapidly. He averaged 9.8 yards per carry last year as Tre Mason's caddy and had touchdown runs of 75 and 51 yards plus a 90-yard kickoff return for a score.

8. Jerron Seymour, Vanderbilt: He's a short (5-7) squatty body (225 pounds) who slams it between the tackles and moves the chains. He scored 14 touchdowns last year while gaining 716 yards.

9. Russell Hansbrough, Missouri: He ran for 685 yards last season in a backup role. Probably would have started for 10 SEC teams last season.

10. Kenyan Drake, Alabama: He averaged 7.5 yards and gained 694 yards as a backup last year. If Derrick Henry gets a lot of carries, Drake is going to be the third teamer.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Are you in favor of eliminating Division IAA teams from the Florida football schedule completely or do you see the value in having the flexibility with the scheduling?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

Paul Janeway was about to give up his dream of fronting a band that did soul music the way it was done in the 1960s back in 2012 when he and bass player Jesse Phillips decided to give it one last try before ditching music and getting a job in the real world. Two years later, their collaboration is one of the really hottest new soul bands to hit the music scene in years. St. Paul and the Broken Bones came out with their first CD ("Half the City") in February and shortly thereafter embarked on their first world tour. They will be playing Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee on June 13 and shortly thereafter tour in England and The Netherlands. This is "Grass is Greener" from the "Half the City" album.


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