For Wednesday, the August edition of Countdown to Firing Day.
1. Al Golden, Miami: Donna Shalala is no longer Miami’s president. Without a protector, Golden better deliver nine wins. Minimum.
4. Tim Beckman, Illinois: All those allegations that he’s been abusive with players aren’t helping matters. If he starts out 4-0 he’s got a chance to be coaching next year if the abuse allegations don’t send him packing.
1. Willie Taggart, USF: The program is in a tailspin and things just aren’t getting any better. He might get a fourth year with a bowl bid. Maybe.
4. Ron Turner, Florida International: They don’t have any money and they have a rotten stadium and facilities. If Turner gets to six wins he will probably keep his job simply because they can’t afford anyone better.
5. Mike Leach, Washington State: The Cougars are as entertaining as any team not named Oregon in the Pac-12. Unfortunately, they can’t play defense. Leach needs to outscore six opponents to keep his job.
4. Todd Monken, Southern Miss: Monken has made real progress. Unfortunately the program is in the septic tank and the alums wonder why it doesn’t smell like a rose.
1. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia: Oliver Luck is no longer there to defend Holgorsen, but that contract extension through 2017 with the mega-buyout is. Fire him and WVU has to pay him close to $6 million. He’s good for another year.
2. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: They would genuinely love to fire him if someone would pony up the $12 million it would take to buy him out.
Alabama: Nose tackle A’Shawn Robinson, who many experts say will go in the first 10 picks when the NFL drafts next spring, has trimmed down to 314 pounds. He says he is “a lot quicker” and hopes to drop another five pounds before the season begins. Robinson had 49 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss last season but think she can be much more productive.
Arkansas: Head coach Bret Bielema says freshman corner Ryan Pulley has impressed enough that he will see action early and often once the season kicks off … Another freshman being predicted to play early and often is defensive end Hjalte Froholdt, who hails from that football hotbed, Svendborg, Denmark.
Auburn: BUCK end Carl Lawson, who missed all of last season with an injury, was called “unblockable” by head coach Gus Malzahn after the Tigers’ first scrimmage on Monday ... Sophomore center Austin Golson missed his second consecutive practice with an undisclosed injury. Senior Xavier Dampeer took his place on the #1 O-line.
Florida: Although practice film played on news channels makes Will Grier look like he’s in firm command of the starting quarterback job, Jim McElwain says there is no separation between Grier and Treon Harris at this point … Sports Illustrated predicts the Gators will finish 7-5 in Jim McElwain’s first season on the job.
Georgia: Wide receiver Terry Godwin, expected to contribute as a true freshman, is out with a shoulder injury. With Godwin out, freshman Michael Chigbu has stepped up and is making a case for playing time. Also freshman nose tackle Trent Thompson (6-4, 311) is looking like he will start at nose tackle.
Wide receiver Jeff Badek missed Tuesday’s practice with a bruised ankle and offensive lineman Kyle Meadows is being held out extra days after dealing with a severe migraine.
LSU: Josh Boutte has claimed the starting job at right guard on LSU’s offensive line. With Boutte (6-6, 340) is the big guy on an offensive line that averages 6-5-1/2, 317 pounds. Freshman center Will Clapp (6-5 300) is the small guy in the bunch.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs will hold their first full scrimmage of fall camp Thursday night at Davis-Wade Stadium. The big concern is the offensive line, which has to replace three starters. “We have to get a bunch of them ready,” said Dan Mullen. We’d like to get 10 ready but you have to get at least eight of them ready to play.”
Missouri: Freshman Nate Howard looks like the next terror off the edge rush end for the Tigers. He was practically unblockable in one-on-one drills Tuesday morning ... Eight of Missouri’s 12 scholarship defensive linemen have never taken a snap in a college game.
Ole Miss: Head coach Hugh Freeze says third year sophomore Ryan Buchanan has a slight lead over DeVante Kincaid and Chad Kelly for the starting QB job ... Washington transfer Damore’ea Stringfellow is looking like he will be a difference maker at wide receiver.
South Carolina: Steve Spurrier is encouraged with what he’s seeing from the South Carolina secondary and credits co-defensive coordinator Jon Hoke with the improvement … Missing practice Tuesday were wide receiver Pharoh Cooper (bruised knee), linebacker Jonathan Walton (knee), defensive end Gerald Dixon (lower leg), tight Connor Redmond (back) and defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth (pectoral muscle strain).
Tennessee: Tennessee’s offensive line, which allowed 40 sacks last season, has taken a big hit. Marcus Jackson (6-2, 306), who started 12 of the Vols’ 13 games last year, has been lost indefinitely with an undisclosed arm injury. If rehab goes well Jackson might return sometime in November.
Texas A&M: Defensive end Darrell Jackson is dealing with a medical evaluation to determine when he will be able to join the team. He’s not listed on the preseason 105 list … Stud freshman tackle Daylon Mack shed 15 pounds in July. He’s listed at 335, still five pounds more than Kevin Sumlin wants him.
Vanderbilt: Head coach Derek Mason says the Commodores are going to do more work in less time. “The days of having three-hour practices with guys standing around just to be standing around – those days are long gone,” Mason said Monday.
Tennessee 20, Florida 17; September 19, 1998
Tee Martin did what Peyton Manning never did in four tries – beat the Gators – but he couldn’t have done it without plenty of help from second-ranked Florida. Those same Gators who rarely fumbled in 1997 (eight for the entire year) continued their fumbling ways (six in games one and two) against the sixth ranked Vols in Neyland Stadium. Three Florida fumbles and an interception turned what should have been a comfortable Florida win into a 3-point loss that cost the Gators the SEC East championship for the second straight year. Throw in zero running game (net -13 yards) and five sacks of Jesse Palmer and Doug Johnson that totaled -54 yards and you have a team that didn’t just shoot itself in the foot but blew both feet off. There was an omen on the first drive when the Gators moved swiftly down the field only to kill the threat when Terry Jackson fumbled into the end zone when hit at the goal line. On Florida’s second possession, Palmer hit Robert Gillespie on a wheel route that covered 36 yards. It should have been a touchdown but instead of running for the corner where he had the angle, Gillespie inexplicably cut inside. Tennessee had help, stopped him at the three and then held the Gators to a field goal. The Vols scored the next 10 points, a touchdown and a field goal aided by fumbles by Travis McGriff and Johnson. The Gators tied it at 10-10 before the half on an 8-yard Palmer to Travis Taylor touchdown pass. In the third quarter, after the Gators had to punt out of their own end zone, a personal foul penalty gave the Vols the ball on the Florida 28. Two plays later, Peerless Price made a simple move that caused Dock Pollard to slip and fall. There was no safety help so Martin’s 28-yard touchdown pass was the easiest score of the night. Florida answered on the next series when Palmer and McGriff connected for a 70-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 17-17. Florida had what looked like a game-winning drive going in the fourth quarter but Palmer was picked off by Deon Grant. In overtime, Tennessee got the ball first but after two incomplete passes, the Vols were called for holding, backing the ball up to the 38. Martin scrambled for 14 yards on third down to put the ball in easy range for Jeff Hall, whose 42-yarder was the game-winner. On Florida’s possession, the Gators needed two plays to get to the 15 but three straight incompletions forced a field goal attempt that Collins Cooper hooked left. It was the only SEC loss of the season for the Gators. Tennessee had several more great escapes during the season as the Vols went 13-0 and beat Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl for the national championship.
Tiger Woods says he’s not worried about winning the PGA Championship, which starts Thursday at Whistling Straits in Michigan. Doesn’t sound like those three sub-par rounds at the Quicken Loans National boosted his confidence very much.
Here’s a quick way to end your NFL career. I.K. Enemkpali “sucker punched” New York Jets QB Geno Smith in the locker room Tuesday, breaking Smith’s jaw. Smith is out six weeks. Enemkpali was released immediately.
Vernon Adams, a D1AA All-American quarterback at Eastern Washington, needs to pass a math examination at EWU Thursday to graduate or else he won’t be able to play for Oregon this season.
Cecil Cherry, one of the Florida Five who signed with Texas, is transferring out, just three days into fall practice. Davante Davis is the only one of the five recruits from the state of Florida in the class of 2015 that is currently with the team.
Norwood Teague’s past finally caught up with him. The Minnesota athletic director, who had settled a couple of sexual harassment complaints out of court since 2012 totaling $300,000. Teague resigned last Friday when he was accused of sexual harassment by two university employees. Teague called his behavior “inappropriate” and blamed alcohol for his difficulties. No, Norwood. Your difficulties are all in your mind and heart. The alcohol only made it easier to live it out.
In his last start, Tiger Woods had three sub-par rounds to finish 8-under par. Will he be relevant at the PGA this week at Whistling Straits?
Legend has it that Lee High School basketball coach Leonard Skinner called the Ronnie Van Zandt, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins something like “long haired, hippie, commie, pinkos” or words to that effect. Skinner was such an antagonist that the guys changed the name of their band from One Percent to Lynyrd Skynyrd. By 1970 they were the best bar band in Jacksonville and were soon discovered by Al Kooper, who produced their first album. The band was just hitting its stride in 1977 with the album release “Street Surviviors” when Van Zandt was killed in a plane crash in Mississippi on its way to a concert date in Baton Rouge. The band lives on but it’s never been the same without Van Zandt. Florida Roots Week continues with their 1976 concert at Winterland in San Francisco.