Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; Feb. 3

A few thoughts to jump start your Tuesday morning...

Dan Quinn didn’t invent the KISS formula. KISS as in Keep It Simple Stupid.

The KISS formula has been Quinn’s calling card wherever he has coached and in four years it has taken him from Florida’s defensive coordinator under Will Muschamp to the best defensive coordinator in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks to now the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

That’s a pretty spectacular rise and it’s all because Quinn doesn’t over-complicate things. He runs only a handful of defensive sets, believes that you get pressure with your front four and use the blitz more as a surprise element rather than a constant, and leaves his corners out on an island where their job is to lock up opposing receivers.

Players love the way he coaches and they love the way he connects with them. During the time he was at Florida, I had occasion to talk to Quinn on occasion about his defensive philosophies and it came down to this: prepare your players for every situation in practice and on game day, let them play.

On game day, and more specifically, halftime, Quinn is at his best. I think he’s the best at making halftime adjustments as any defensive coordinator the Gators have had since 1960. Think back to 2012 and Florida’s game with the Aggies in College Station. Johnny Manziel was brilliant in the first half when he staked Texas A&M to a 17-10 lead, but in the second half the Aggies managed only three first downs, 49 total yards and were forced to punt six straight possessions. This is a Texas A&M offense that scored at least 39 points in nine of its 11 wins and beat national champ Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

The Gators played very good defense after Quinn left for Seattle following the 2012 season, but halftime adjustments by D.J. Durkin weren’t nearly as effective, which probably has a lot to do with an 11-13 record the last two seasons and both Muschamp and Durkin coaching somewhere else.

In Atlanta, Quinn inherits a team that has no problems putting points on the board. It’s also a team that has played defense the last few years as if it took lessons by mail order and the mail was late, so there is plenty of work that has to be done on that side of the ball.

Quinn has never been a head coach before, but he’s a proven NFL guy and understands the NFL mentality. He’s got the organization skills that he learned from coaching under Nick Saban and he’s spent the last two years with the coach who relates best to players in Pete Carroll. He’s well prepared to take the leap from coordinator to assistant. I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t make it in a big way.

THREE NEW GATORS

It was a big day on the recruiting trail for the Gators, who added three more players to Jim McElwain’s first class – running back Jordan Scarlett, corner Chris Williamson and safety/athlete Kylan Johnson. Scarlett is a burner (4.3 speed) out of St. Thomas Aquinas. He picked Florida over FSU and Miami. Williamson is big corner out of Gainesville, Georgia who chose Florida over Auburn and Michigan. Johnson, who probably will grow into a linebacker, was recruited by Randy Shannon. He picked Florida over Kansas State and Wisconsin.

The three new commitments give the Gators 16. McElwain is expected to finish with a class of 20-22.

THEY CALL THEM FLIPPERS

It’s supposed to be a dead period between Sunday midnight and 7 a.m. on Wednesday when National Signing Day begins, but it’s been anything but quiet in the last 24 hours, where the news is dominated by a couple of huge flips. Quarterback Kai Locksley, son of former Florida running backs coach (now Maryland offensive coordinator) Mike Locksley dumped Florida State Monday for Texas, a move that could influence Deondre Francois to stick with his commitment to FSU rather than flip to Florida.

Also, running back Chris Carson de-committed from Georgia and committed to Oklahoma State. Carson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Oklahoma State is “a better situation.” Translation: “I don’t want to sit and watch Nick Chubb for two years.” After losing Carson, Georgia flipped Tae Crowder, a 2-star running back who was committed to Georgia Southern. Carson’s defection makes eight who were committed to Georgia at one time or another who have flipped to another school. Georgia has also flipped six players.

Offensive lineman Nick Buchanan (6-4, 285, Dunwoody, GA) de-committed California Monday night. He is expected to choose between Florida and Georgia on Wednesday. He has visited both schools in the last couple of weeks.

PATRIOTS: FEW 5-STARS, LOTS OF UNDRAFTED FREE AGENTS

Is there a correlation between the stars given a promising high school athlete and the NFL Draft? Obviously, the 5-star athlete is going to wind up at one of the power schools where the competition is greater both in practice and in the games, but does it significantly improve his chances of making it to the NFL?

Let’s take a look at the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Of the 62 players listed on ESPN (counts injured reserve and practice squad), only two (Dominque Easley and Vince Wilfork) were rated 5-star coming out of high school. The roster includes 14 4-star (Tom Brady given 4-star even though there were no ratings available when he came out of high school in 1995) athletes and 22 3-stars. A combined 22 were either unrated or 1- or 2-stars.

And what about the draft itself? How important is the draft? The Patriots roster included eight first rounders (one on offense, seven on defense) and only 10 second rounders. Of the remaining 44 on the roster, nearly half (21) were undrafted free agents.

New England roster

Offense:

High school stars:
0-1-star: 6
2-star: 5
3-star: 13
4-star: 6
5-star: 0

NFL Draft picks:
First round: 1
Second round: 5
Third round: 2
Fourth round: 4
Fifth round: 3
Sixth round: 2
Seventh round: 1
Undrafted free agents: 13

Defense:

High school stars:
0-1-star: 5
2-star: 6
3-star: 9
4-star: 8
5-star: 2
NFL Draft picks:
First round: 7
Second round: 5
Third round: 2
Fourth round: 0
Fifth round: 2
Sixth round: 4
Seventh round: 2
Undrafted free agents: 8

Special teams:

High school stars:
0-1-star: 1
2-star: 1

NFL Draft picks Fourth round: 1 Undrafted free agent: 1

QUARTERBACKS, STARS, THE NFL

How well do 5-star high school quarterbacks fare in getting to the NFL? Among the 5-star quarterback recruits from 2005-09 only four have emerged as starting quarterbacks in the NFL – Mark Sanchez, Matt Stafford, Andrew Luck and E.J. Manuel. There have been two 4-star quarterbacks to win Heisman Trophies from that time frame – Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III, both of whom start in the NFL.

2005: There were three 5-star quarterbacks (Mark Sanchez, Ryan Perrilloux and Jonathan Crompton) and eight 4-star quarterbacks (Josh Portis, Jake Christenson, Ike Whitaker, Kyle Reed, Harrison Beck, Derek Shaw, Willie Tuitama and Ron Schoenfelt). Only Sanchez has had an NFL career while Crompton had a cup of coffee as a backup.

2006: There were three 5-star quarterbacks (Tim Tebow, Matt Stafford, Mitch Mustain) and 10 4-stars (Demetrius Jones, Jevan Snead, Jake Locker, Jeremy Ricker, Josh Freeman, Pat Devlin, Kevin Riley, Neil Caudle, Chris Smelley and Zach Frazier). Stafford and Locker are NFL starting quarterbacks while Josh Freeman was a starter with the Tampa Bay Bucs for a few years. Among the 3-star quarterbacks were 2008 Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford, Andy Dalton and Christian Ponder.

2007: There were six 5-star quarterbacks (Jimmy Clausen, Ryan Mallett, Aaron Corp, Tyrod Taylor, Kodi Burns and Pat Bostick) and 16 4-stars (Cameron Newton, John Brantley, Mike Paulus, Peter Lalich, Jarret Lee, Robert Marve, Steven Threet, B.J. Coleman, Stephen Garcia, Willy Korn, Keith Nichol, Chris Forcier, Josh Nesbitt, Logan Gray, Kellin Killsgaard and Bradley Starks). Newton won the Heisman Trophy in 2010 and is an NFL starter. Mallett, Taylor and Clausen are NFL backups.

2008: There were four 5-star quarterbacks in 2008 (Terrelle Pryor, E.J. Manuel, Dayne Crist and Andrew Luck) and 11 4-stars (Mike Glennon, Landry Jones, Blaine Gabbert, Tommy Dorman, Nick Crissman, Sean Renfree, Star Jackson, Robert Griffin III, Kyle Parker, Marqueis Gray and Darron Thomas). Among the 5-stars, Luck is a Pro Bowl QB while Manuel is a starter. Griffin won the 2011 Heisman Trophy and is an NFL starter. Among the 4-stars, Glennon is a starter while Jones and Pryor are backups.

2009: The 2009 recruiting class produced five 5-stars (Matt Barkley, Garrett Gilbert, Russell Shepard, Aaron Murray and Tajh Boyd) and 21 4-star QBs (Morgan Newton, Cody Green, Bryn Renner, Richard Brehaut, Kevin Newsome, Tyrik Rollison, Geno Smith, Tyler Russell, Zach Mettenberger, Tate Forcier, Derek Carr, A.J. McCarron, Derek Carr, Blaine Dalton, Josh Nunes, Nathan Scheelhaase, Shavodrick Beaver, Raymond Cotton, Alan Bridgford , Jacob Karam, and Jordan Luallen). Carr, Smith and Mettenberger are NFL starters while Barkley, Gilbert, Murray, McCarron and Renner NFL backups.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Do you believe Pete Carroll when he says he made the decision to throw the football on the goal line in the Super Bowl or do you think he’s covering for his offensive coordinator?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

In the 1980s, only Michael Jackson sold more records than Hall and Oates. They rocked the O-Dome in March of 1982, playing all the songs off their “Private Eyes” album that produced two #1 singles (“Private Eyes” and “I Can’t Go for That”) and a couple of songs that would be released on their H20 album that would be released in September. Today’s song is the title song from the “Private Eyes” album.


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