Consider Trip Thurman a Renaissance Man.
He’s the only Florida offensive lineman who has started an SEC football game and one of only two (Fordham transfer and Division IAA All-American Mason Halter is the other) that have ever started a college game period. As a fifth-year Gator who has been through three O-line coaches in his Florida career, Thurman has cross-trained to play both inside and outside. Although he’s slated to start fall practice today as the left guard, it’s entirely possible that he could play anywhere on the line according to head coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. Thurman is expected to take some reps at center and since he came to UF as an offensive tackle, he could play there in an emergency.
“I think he’s got to be able to, in theory, function at all five spots based on whatever happens,” McElwain said at Florida’s Wednesday media day. “We’re going to start him inside at guard, but he’s going to take reps throughout practice at center and possibly as an emergency tackle. He’s got to be able to do that.”
Thurman isn’t the only O-lineman who will be doing some cross-training. McElwain noted that while Halter has spent his career at tackle, the plan is for an 8-man rotation, which means eight players will have to have some flexibility to play other positions.
“I think what we need to do is develop eight solid guys, originally, a little bit like an NFL mentality where some guys have to swing in some positions,” McElwain said.
Later in the day, Nussmeier said the plan for the O-line is to find the eight best players and go with them whether that means putting four tackles on the line or four guards at same time. That tells you the August emphasis will be to find eight guys who can play multiple positions and then developing a rotation based on which five play best together.
So blow up your depth charts for now. The offensive line is far from settled at this point and might not be settled until right up to the first game of the season.
Florida 33, Tennessee 20; September 20, 1997
This was the game that probably cost Peyton Manning the Heisman Trophy. Facing a Florida team minus Danny Wuerffel, Ike Hilliard, Reidel Anthony and Lawrence Wright, this was Manning’s last and best chance to finish his collegiate career with a win over the dastardly Gators. The play of the game was in the first quarter when Manning never saw Eli Williams coming from the blind side on a corner blitz until it was too late. Manning should have taken the sack but instead tried to force a pass to Marcus Nash that was overthrown and into the arms of Tony George, who ran the ball back 89 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 Florida lead. Manning threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns in the game but he was harassed into two interceptions and spent the day running for his life as the Gators brought the heat from all angles. The Gators took a 21-7 lead into the locker room when they scored on a 48-second drive before the half with Doug Johnson connecting with Jacquez Green for a 19-yard touchdown pass. In the second half, the Gators went conservative and pounded the Vols into submission with Fred Taylor gaining 131 of his 134 yards. Johnson, who was making only his third collegiate start, led the Gators on scoring drives of 69 63 and 77 yards while throwing for 262 yards and three touchdowns. Green caught eight passes for 185 yards. Although Tennessee didn’t lose again until getting hosed by national champ Nebraska, 47-17, in the Orange Bowl, it wasn’t enough for Manning to win the Heisman over Michigan’s Charles Woodson. There was much speculation that Manning’s failure to beat Florida in his career was the deciding factor in one of the closest Heisman Trophy races in history. Ironically, the year after Manning graduated the Vols knocked off the Gators in Nashville, went unbeaten and beat Florida State for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl.
Eliot Shor-Parks of NJ.com writes that while Tim Tebow has been at times inconsistent with his passing, the former Gator is likely to make the Philadelphia Eagles roster as the #3 quarterback. While noting that Tebow’s throwing motion has improved there are times when his accuracy fails.
Writes Shor-Parks, “On any given set of reps, Tebow can impress with a run to the side, highlighting his speed and then zip a pass over the middle. On the next play, however, he could throw the ball 10 yards over the head of his receiver, or right into the ground … The good news for Tebow is that all the quarterbacks (Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley are the others) have struggled, so his poor play at times hasn’t stood out.”
Shor-Parks gave Sanchez a B- for Wednesday’s practice while giving Tebow and Bradford a C and Barkley a C-.
Ole Miss 9/1
Texas A&M 18/1
South Carolina 33/1
Mississippi State 40/1
1. Alabama 58-9
2. LSU 52-14
3. South Carolina 49-17
4. Georgia 46-21
5. Auburn 45-21
6. Mississippi State 41-24
7. Florida 37-26
8. Arkansas 35-28
9. Ole Miss 30-33
10. Vanderbilt 29-34
11. Tennessee 28-34
12. Kentucky 20-41
SEC Members since 2012
Texas A&M 28-11
Best 5 coaches
Best 10 players
1. Cam Newton, Auburn
2. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
3. A.J. McCarron, Alabama
4. Amari Cooper, Alabama
5. Barrett Jones, Alabama
6. Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
7. Matt Elam, Florida
8. Nick Fairley, Auburn
9. Shane Ray, Missouri
10. Aaron Murray, Georgia
1. Raymond Wingo, Missouri: When injuries struck in the spring, Wingo was borrowed from the secondary to play the slot. By the time spring was over, Mizzou coaches were convinced they had a future star on their hands. He dazzled in the spring game. It helps that he’s been electronically timed at 4.28 in the 40.
2. Jake Ganus, Georgia: When UAB dropped football, Ganus transferred to Georgia where he made an immediate impact at inside linebacker in the spring. In three seasons at UAB, Ganus made 226 tackles, six sacks, 27.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. He was a 190-pound starter as a freshman but put on 35 pounds of muscle in two years.
3. Dante Sawyer, South Carolina: Juco transfer Marquavius Lewis dazzled at one defensive end back in the spring. Lewis is good. Some day Sawyer, another juco, is better. He’s a former Army All-American who is 6-3, 280 and reportedly runs like a deer. The Gamecocks should have a fearsome pass rush off the edge this fall.
4. David Ducre, LSU: He reminds everyone of a faster version of Jacob Hester, who ran for 1,103 yards and 12 touchdowns in LSU’s 2007 national championship season. Ducre is a 6-0, 240-pound battering ram who had an excellent spring as an early enrollee. LSU wants to use Ducre primarily as a fullback but may move him to tailback whenever Leonard Fournette is out of the game. If he learns to block as well as he runs the ball, Les Miles will be thrilled. He loves the idea of a two-back set with Fournette and Ducre.
5. Dontavius Russell, Auburn: He took a redshirt last year and used the time wisely in the weight room. Now he’s a 6-3, 300-pounder in the middle of the defensive line with the size, strength and speed to split a double team and become a menace to opposing quarterbacks.
Former Gator Percy Harvin, called out as a poison in the locker room by former teammates in Seattle, has reacted and lashed out at his former Seahawks teammates. Speaking on ESPN’s First Take, Harvin said:
"My teammates accept me a little more (in Buffalo). I mean by that I always felt when I went to Seattle a lot of the receivers took me as a threat rather than accepting me as a teammate. I always told those guys, I pulled them to the side several times after seeing the comments they were making to the media, 'Hey, guys, I'm here to ball with you, to take us to the next level.' A lot of guys were looking at they were already established and they didn't need any help. I just took it as I never was kind of accepted in the receiver group by all the members."
Daly says he would love to be Ryder Cup captain someday. He offers up what he calls as a “have fun” approach to bring the cup back to the United States. Daly thinks the American teams get wound up too tight and need to loosen up and enjoy the moment more.
Says Daly, "Hopefully I would one day be a captain, it would be fun. I don't know if I fit the mold. I don't know if I fit what the PGA of America would want. All I know is my team, if I was a captain, we'd have a blast. I'd make sure they had a blast. You don't want to wear a tie, don't wear a tie. Have fun. It's supposed to be fun."
Daly’s idea of fun has always been to pound a few brews then lose a few thousand bucks gambling somewhere.
Nick Saban’s Nicks Kids Foundation, which is named after his father, will donate $480,000 to 130 charitable organizations this year. Since 2007, Saban’s foundation has donated more than $5 million to more than 250 charitable organizations. Saban says the annual Nicks Kids luncheon at Bryant-Denny Stadium is “the happiest day of the year for me.”
Oregon coach Mark Helfrich told the Portland Oregonian last week that he believed Oregon was the only team among the four semifinalists in the College Football Playoff to be drug tested. No so per Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, who reports that all four schools (Oregon, Florida State, Ohio State and Alabama) were randomly tested.
Not only has Jimbo Fisher banned Florida State football players from Tallahassee bars, he’s now banned them from using Twitter and Instagram.
The NFL reacted swiftly to suspend Tom Brady and fine the New England Patriots $1 million for allegedly deflating footballs before a playoff game. It turns out that the Minnesota Vikings warmed up footballs with heaters, which is illegal, during a game and the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rogers stated a preference for over-inflated balls in a pre-game interview. Rogers also said that every game officials have to take air out of footballs that he has purposefully over-inflated.
The College Football Playoff will provide a $2,500 stipend per student-athlete to help their families with travel, hotel and meals for the semifinals and finals. The offer is good for 100 student-athletes per school for both the semifinals and finals.
The Milwaukee Bucks will get $250 million of taxpayer money to help build an arena that will keep the Bucks from bolting to Las Vegas.
What are your chief concerns for the Gators as fall practice starts today?
Soul music in the 1960s and 1970s wasn’t all Motown and Memphis. Philadelphia had its own version of soul. The Philly style was smoother and relied more on harmony. Groups like The Spinners, The Stylistics and the Delfonics all found their way regularly on both the R&B and pop charts. The Stylistics, formed in 1968, produced 12 straight top ten hits between 1971-75 behind the lead vocals of Russell Thompson Jr.