So you’ve spent most of your waking hours in August wondering who’s the #1 quarterback for the Florida Gators: Will Grier or Treon Harris? Well, now we know.
Both of them.
One of them will start against New Mexico State but the other one is going to play. And even if one outplays the other, that doesn’t necessarily mean McElwain will name a definitive #1.
“There isn’t a timetable,” McElwain said Thursday. “The timetable is figure out a way to win the football game with whoever is moving the team at that position and getting the right parts at the other positions as well. By no means am I displeased with what they’re doing, but we still need to see live action how the people around them, how they elevate the play of the people around them.”
Translation: This might take awhile. A long while. As in we might be seeing two quarterbacks dividing time all season long. Get used to it.
It might also take awhile before stud freshman offensive tackle Martez Ivey sees the field. Ivey will have arthroscopic surgery today to clean up a pre-existing leg injury and his return could be three weeks or more depending on how quickly he heals.
While this is a blow to the Florida offensive line, the Gators do have the advantage of plugging in former Division IAA All-America Mason Halter into the right tackle position while Ivey recovers and rehabs. There is never a good time to go down with an injury, but if one time is better than others, then consider this better than having to have that same surgery sometime during the season. If Ivey is a quick heal, there is that chance he could be ready to play when the Gators travel to Kentucky on September 19 or when Tennessee comes to town on September 26.
Florida-Colorado State play in 2018: As part of the buyout deal that enabled McElwain to leave Colorado State for Florida, the Gators will face Colorado State in Gainesville on September 15, 2018 with Colorado State getting a $2 million payday.
Virginia Tech thought about it and then decided it wasn’t exactly in the school’s best interests. At Cincinnati, however, they haven’t backed down from implementing a system of fines for disciplinary reasons. Virginia Tech’s football people wanted the fine system but it was shot down by athletic director Whit Babcock. As of Thursday, Cincinnati hadn’t changed its mind. The idea hasn’t been embraced throughout college football. One athletic director whose name was kept anonymous by Jon Solomon of CBSSports.com commented, “The optics of it are just awful. Let me see: White man making $4 million a year tells a kid that he’s going to take some of his scholarship money?”
A true legend checked out of this earth Thursday. Daryl Dawkins, aka Chocolate Thunder, died of a massive heart attack. He was 58. A product of Evans High School in Orlando, Dawkins bypassed college and went straight to the NBA where his monster dunks and magnetic personality made him a fan favorite for 15 years. A manchild at 6-11 and a chiseled 270 pounds, Dawkins was always great for a quote, especially in the early years when he spun tales of his true home, Planet Lovetron. His powerful dunks broke backboards and led the NBA to adopt breakaway rims. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.1 rebounds for his NBA career.
If you were following high school basketball in the 1970s, then you might remember the 1974 state championship game between Evans and Miami Jackson, which featured Mychal Thompson. It turned out that Thompson and three of his teammates were ineligible, but what a battle that was between Thompson and Dawkins. Dawkins didn’t get the state championship that year but in 1975 he led Evans to the state title, then broke the hearts of Hugh Durham at FSU and John Lotz at Florida by electing to go straight to the NBA.
Dawkins was widely criticized for going straight to the NBA. Experts claimed he had so much to learn that he needed at least two or three years of college basketball. Dawkins never denied he needed the college experience but never apologized for taking the money and being able to take care of his mama. He also never missed an opportunity to smile and light up a room with his good sense of humor. He will be missed.
Florida 56, Maryland 23; January 2, 2002
The weirdness of this game should have been a precursor for things to come. It started with Steve Spurrier benching Heisman Trophy runner-up Rex Grossman for the first 20 minutes of the game for missing a curfew and starting Brock Berlin at quarterback. Berlin, a true freshman and the 2000 national high school player of the year, had announced in December that he would be transferring. Speculation was rampant that he would be heading to Miami. Then once the game started, the target of the day wasn’t Jabar Gaffney or Reche Caldwell but Taylor Jacobs. Jacobs, the #3 receiver, caught 10 passes for 170 yards and touchdowns of 46 (from Berlin) and 15 yards (from Grossman). Berlin wasn’t bad – 11-19, 194 yards and a touchdown – but he did throw two interceptions. When Grossman came into the game in the second quarter,Florida led 14-10, but from that point on the 5th-ranked Gators totally outclassed the 6th-ranked Terrapins. Grossman played deep into the fourth quarter, completing 20-28 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns. Earnest Graham, who had missed Florida’s only two losses with injuries, blew through the Terps defense for 169 yards as the Gators ran for 203 yards as part of a 659-yard night. Two days later, Spurrier shocked the college football world by resigning, which led to Gaffney and Caldwell announcing for the NFL. Berlin went on to transfer to Miami and on January 9 Ron Zook was named the Gators new football coach. Weird is what it was.
Alabama: Nick Saban hasn’t named a starting quarterback and he doesn’t seem too worried that he hasn’t selected Jacob Coker, Alec Morris or Cooper Bateman for the job. “Look, I don’t have a gun to my head saying, ‘Okay, if I don’t know this by Saturday I’m going to miss church and go jump off a bridge.’ I ain’t got there yet. I’m not there yet.”
Arkansas: Running back Jonathan Williams has been ruled out for the season with a broken foot, but Williams says if he’s medically cleared during the season and he feels ready to play, he’ll be back. As for next year, Williams says he’s “most likely” leaving for the NFL.
Auburn: Auburn could be in violation of NCAA rules because the athletic department reportedly lobbied to keep an undergraduate academic program frequented by athletes from being eliminated. The faculty voted to disband the university’s public administration major but the Wall Street Journal reports that Auburn’s athletic department lobbied to keep it open and even volunteered to subsidize. The university turned down the athletic department offer but kept the program open.
Georgia: By now, this is probably sounding familiar. Count Mark Richt as yet another coach in the SEC who can’t decide on a starting quarterback. “If it was today, my feeling is we’d play more than one guy,” Richt said Thursday. And while everyone thought it’s a two-man race between Brice Ramsey and Greyson Lambert, Richt made it clear that Faton Bauta isn’t out of consideration yet.
Kentucky: One of the really touching stories is defensive tackle Melvin Lewis, whose dad spent much of his childhood in prison. Raised on the mean streets of Compton, California, Lewis has made the most of his opportunities. He is Kentucky’s incumbent starting nose tackle and now he’s also a college graduate.
LSU: While some college football experts and analysts contend that LSU is overrated and due for another 5-loss season, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit isn’t buying it. He picks the Tigers to win the SEC by beating Tennessee in the SEC Championship Game.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have settled on a starting front four on the D-line: ends Ryan Brown and A.J. Jefferson and tackles Chris Jones and Nelson Adams. Jones is the key. If he can return to his freshman All-America form, the Bulldogs should be rock solid across the front.
Missouri: Redshirt freshman Desean Blair has been making one ridiculous catch after another during Missouri’s camp. Blair and sophomore J’Mon Moore have performed so well that wide receiver is no longer looking like a position of weakness.
Ole Miss: Hugh Freeze continues to insist he’s got a good idea who will be the Rebels’ starting quarterback but he’s not saying who it is and he’s indicated that whether it’s Chad Kelly, Ryan Buchanan or DeVante Kincaid, the situation could change in a heartbeat. “Ultimately, how they do play during the game will be the biggest test,” Freeze said. “I think all three will have their opportunity.”
South Carolina: Unlike last year when the Gamecocks were overrated and predicted to finish in the top ten, this year the expectations are much more subdued although senior left guard Mike Matulis says, “We’re ready to shock the world.”
Tennessee: As if all those injuries aren’t enough of a black cloud over the Tennessee football program, wide receiver Pig Howard has been suspended for game one for a violation of unspecified team rules. Howard is the Vols most experienced receiver with 111 catches for 1,060 yards and five touchdowns.
Texas A&M: With former Oklahoma running back Brandon Williams taking over a starting cornerback position, Tavares Garner has elected to transfer to Henderson State in Arkansas. Garner played in 11 games in two years at A&M.
Vanderbilt: Since losing left tackle Andrew Jelks for the season, the Commodores have reshuffled the offensive line. The starters for the season opener with Western Kentucky should be LT Blake Fromang; LG Jake Bernstein; C Spencer Pulley, RG Delando Crooks and RT Will Holden.
ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit has some surprises in his preseason picks. In addition to picking LSU to win the SEC, Hebstreit is picking Oklahoma over Baylor and TCU in the Big 12, Georgia Tech over Florida State in the ACC, and Arizona State over Stanford in the Pac-12. Other Herbstreit picks:
College Football Playoff semifinalists: Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma, Arizona State
National champ: Ohio State
Federal District Judge David S. Doty, who ruled against the NFL in the Adrian Peterson case back in February, has heard motions to hold NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in contempt. USAToday reports that Judge Doty commented Wednesday, “I’m not sure the commissioner understands there is a CBA (collective bargaining agreement).”
A former girlfriend of Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles, accusing him of participating in a gang rape. Rose is one of 13 defendants accused of drugging the woman then gang raping her back in 2011. Rose’s attorney told Deadspin the lawsuit is “a desperate attempt to shake down” and says the accusations are “completely false and without any factual basis.”
The canyon that is also known as Marlins Park might have shorter fences next season. The Miami Marlins have hit only 192 homers at Marlins Park since it opened in 2012. Only the San Francisco Giants have hit fewer home runs in their home park than the Marlins. Giancarlo Stanton has hit 68 of the Marlins’ homers in Marlins Park. No other player on the team has hit more than seven.
Eastern Kentucky, a longtime power in Division IAA in the Ohio Valley Conference, is waiting to hear from the Sun Belt Conference if it’s petition to move up to Division I has been accepted.
Does it concern you that Jim McElwain hasn’t named a #1 quarterback or are you okay with the competition for the top job continuing into the season?
Over the last 3-4 years I’ve become convinced that the best musical show is The Tedeschi Trucks Band, based out of Jacksonville and carrying on The Allman Brothers tradition with some serious R&B thrown in. Derek Trucks is probably the greatest slide guitar player since Duane Allman. Wife Susan Tedeschi does the vocals and she’s got that throaty voice that makes her the natural for singing the blues. “Simply Southern Week” concludes with The Tedeschi Trucks Band playing in Vienna, Austria last summer.