Attrition. Get used to it.
That’s the word from Bob Redman and if you’ve followed him over the years, then you’ve learned that he doesn’t make predictions like that unless he has solid information. So, when he says expect attrition to reach double figures in the next 6-8 months, bank on it.
After a year in Gainesville, Jim McElwain has given the kids he inherited from the previous staff ample opportunities to prove that they have what it takes to contribute to returning the Florida football program to a consistent, championship level. Now it’s time to sit each player down and have a heart-to-heart talk about what the future holds and that probably means a number of players are going to make the decision that if they actually want to see the football field and contribute to winning it will have to be somewhere else.
Some folks might look at this process and liken it to professional football where roster cuts are made on a weekly basis. Critics will see this as a weeding out process as a coach creates roster room since scholarships are limited but it’s a bit more humane than that. At UF, at least, unless a kid has proven he can’t follow the rules, he won’t have his scholarship taken away, but he will leave those meetings with the head coach knowing exactly where he stands in regard to future playing time. It will be up to the kid to decide whether it’s best to stay at UF as nothing more than a practice contributor or move on to a place where the chances of seeing the field when the games are real are far better.
So take a good long look at Florida’s bowl game roster. The roster you see in the spring and summer months is going to undergo quite a bit of change.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE FROM UF’S WIN OVER JU
1. Sure, it was only Jacksonville University but it was a game in which Mike White had a chance to see how certain combinations of players work together on both ends of the floor. Defensively, this team is very sound. Offensively, the Gators (8-3) still struggle hitting shots from the outside, but if they put the ball on the deck and drive it to the rim, they’ll compensate with some easy shots from 7-8 feet on in.
2. Chris Chiozza and Kasey Hill split time at the point and played about 6-8 minutes on the floor together. They combined for 16 points, 13 assists, hit 7-8 of their free throws and turned the ball over only twice. If they can combine for about 14 points and 10 assists a game while turning it over minimally, the Gators will be good at the point.
3. The lights are starting to come on for freshmen KeVaughn Allen and Kevarrius Hayes. Allen is learning how to pick and choose his spots instead of thinking he can beat everyone off the dribble or make any shot he throws up. The result is two straight under control games in which he’s scored double figures. We’ve always known Hayes could block shots but now he’s making progress every game on the offensive end. He had a perfect day from the floor (3-3) and foul line (3-3) plus 7 rebounds against JU.
4. Once he gets in shape Alex Murphy will be invaluable. He knows every position on the floor both offensively and defensively and when he’s on the bench, you can see him working the young guys, telling them what he’s seeing and how they should handle things if they see those situations on the floor. He’s what is best described as a glue guy that you need to hold a team together.
5. Watch how this team collapses in the paint, swarms whoever has the ball and forces bad shots and passes. It’s a different approach than the defensive style of Billy Donovan but it’s extremely effective and gets the Gators off and running in transition.
TEN VERY HOT SEATS FOR 2016
1. Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M: To put it in very mild yet understandable terms, Sumlin’s welcome has been wearing out for a couple of years. If he survives January 1 – a bad loss to Louisville in the Music City Bowl could be all she wrote – then he’ll only have to win 10 games next year to remain employed.
2. Charlie Strong, Texas: Folks in the great state of Texas will tell you they don’t make folks finer than Charlie Strong. They will also tell you as long as the head ball coach at UT wins 10 games a year, he can be an Al-Qaeda field commander. Charlie has survived two straight losing seasons at Texas. He won’t survive a third.
3. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech: If Paul only had a personality a bit more engaging than oil pan sludge, the folks in Atlanta would give him a mulligan for going 3-9 one year removed from an 11-win season. Eight or 9 wins in 2016 will bring on some Alzheimer’s in Atlanta and 3-9 will be forgotten. Anything less and the move to oust Johnson will grow very vocal.
4. Les Miles, LSU: They will be very lucky in Baton Rouge if Les Miles doesn’t tell Joe Alleva to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. There is probably a better chance that Les elects to go somewhere else than there is that he’ll be fired, but there is a real chance he will have his eye open for a right and new situation.
5. Todd Graham, Arizona State: The situation in Tempe is like a couple of 5-year-olds arguing for control of the sand box. The admin hates Todd Graham and Todd hates the folks in admin. It doesn’t help that longtime offensive coordinator Mike Novel has departed for the head ball coach job in Memphis.
6. Mark Stoops, Kentucky: Stoops is the boy who cried wolf. He has spent three years telling everybody the Mildcats are getting better. Three years later they’re still bringing up the bottom in the SEC and the folks are starting to think maybe it’s time for a change.
7. Mike MacIntyre, Colorado: They could fill the pool with athletic department red ink as a way to save money. The swim team probably wouldn’t mind. MacIntyre certainly wouldn’t. Red ink is why he’s still got a job. They can’t afford the buyout.
8. Mike Riley, Nebraska: They fired Bo Pelini for winning at least 9 games seven straight years. Riley won 5 in his first year on the job. Big Red faithful feel almost ashamed that they’re bowling this year with a 5-7 record.
9. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia: He was an accountant’s “Not so fast, my friend” away from getting pink slipped. The only reason Holgorsen’s still coaching is the accountant says they’ll bounce checks if they have to buy him out.
10. Kliff Kingsbury, Texas Tech: Embarrassing. That’s the only way to describe the situation in Lubbock. While the Red Raiders are struggling to keep their heads above .500 on the field, Baker Mayfield, the guy Kliffy ran off after his freshman year, has led Oklahoma to the final four. Even worse, Texas Tech is getting all kinds of bad publicity because it wouldn’t release Mayfield even though he was a walk-on to begin with.
NEXT YEAR’S HOT COACHING CANDIDATES
1. Larry Fedora, North Carolina: If Kevin Sumlin and/or Charlie Strong exit, he will be on the short list at both schools. He grew up in College Station and played collegiately at Austin College.
2. Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky: He will be a hot ticket item next year. He didn’t see a situation he really liked this year so he stayed put at WKU. His offense produced a 5,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and four receivers who caught 55 or more passes while averaging 526 yards and 44.3 points per game.
3. Tom Herman, Houston: He turned down South Carolina and Maryland, which led to Houston doubling his salary, increasing the pay for his assistants and promising facilities upgrades that will match the shiny new stadium. Houston’s admin really believes the Cougars will join the Big 12 within a year or two, so Herman might very well stay put although a lot of folks say his ideal job would be either Texas or Texas A&M. Since both those jobs could come open in 2016, he might be on the move.
4. P.J. Fleck, Western Michigan: He’s young and dynamic and considering the program he inherited three years ago at Western Michigan, he’s earned his reputation as a miracle worker. He’s also quite the offensive mind.
1. Lane Kiffin, Alabama offensive coordinator: He’s had two outstanding years running the offense at Alabama, setting passing records that might not be broken last year and producing a Heisman running back this year. He will have opportunities either to be a college head coach or possibly an NFL OC as early as next year. The years with Saban will earn him another big opportunity.
2. Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma offensive coordinator: Take not of what he’s done with Baker Mayfield. He’s a 32-year-old QB guru whose offenses gain yards in huge chunks.
3. Brent Venables, Clemson defensive coordinator: If Bill Snyder makes 2016 his last year on the job, Venables will be the odds-on favorite to replace his old coach and mentor. He’s 45 years old.
4. Sonny Cumbie, TCU co-offensive coordinator: He comes from the Mike Leach school of offense who was a Texas Tech teammate of Lincoln Riley. What he did the last two years with Trevone Boykin makes this 34-year-old a hot ticket item.
THE MOST FUN IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL
My second favorite team in college basketball is the Monmouth Hawks of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Hawks are a serious basketball team with wins over UCLA, Southern Cal, Georgetown and Rutgers already this season, but if you’re at one of their games only to watch the basketball, then you’re missing half the fun. Monmouth has basketball’s best bench since Arizona in the days of Steve Kerr. The show from the bench has the full approval of head coach King Rice, the former point guard for Dean Smith and assistant to Kevin Stallings at Vandy.
So far: 5-3
Today’s attempt at predicting winners:
Boise State 35, Northern Illinois 27: Somehow, the boys from Boise escaped. Instead of staying home for the holidays and risking frostbite playing in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on the Smurf Turf, they’ll play on real grass in San Diego, where the weather is warm and women have been known to don bikinis for an excursion to the beach. This is something you do not do in Boise at any time of the year. Good weather. Green grass. A need for air conditioning. What will they think of next? It’s enough to inspire Boise to win the Poinsettia Bowl.
Bowling Green 41, Georgia Southern 24: Bowling Green is from that corner of Ohio that is not all that far from Toledo. Detroit and Cleveland are within shouting distance. Is it any wonder that Dino Babers took the Syracuse job? And, is it any wonder that the Falcons Dino deserted think Mobile is a fabulous resort? The opponent is Georgia Southern, whose most recent coach (Willie Fritts) was more impressed with the New Orleans nightlife (he’s the new Tulane coach) than the fun and games that can be found after dark in Statesboro, Georgia. Imagine that. So, two teams whose coaches bailed on them after getting them to the bowl game battle for the right to leave Mobile after the game. If you lose, you are “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” I couldn’t resist the opportunity to plug my favorite Bob Dylan song ever.
FSU is getting a new video board for Doak Campbell Stadium and rather than send the old one to the junk yard, it’s being donated to Florida A&M. FAMU’s scoreboard has been plagued by malfunctions for years so this is a welcome upgrade. This is a thoughtful and classy move by the FSU athletic administration.
Dennis Franchione retired from coaching Tuesday at Texas State. Franchione had a career record of 210-126-2. He will probably be remembered for bailing on Alabama rather than seeing through the sanctions brought on by his predecessor in Tuscaloosa, Mike Dubose. Franchione was 17-8 in two seasons at Alabama including a 10-3 record in 2002.
There’s a second opening for a head football coach. Pete Lembo resigned at Ball State Tuesday to take a job on D.J. Durkin’s staff at Maryland. Lembo has a 112-65 record as a head coach at Lehigh, Elon and Ball State.
One NFL scout talking to NFL.com about Alabama QB Jacob Coker: “He has size and a pro arm. I think he can be a better pro than college quarterback.”
There is a great story about Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield at ESPN. Mayfield walked on at Texas Tech and won the starting job, then transferred to OU after his freshman year. Because Texas Tech wouldn’t release him, he had to sit two years before he could play again. The two years, obviously, weren’t wasted as he became an intramural legend and friend to everybody who lived in a scholastic dorm.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Two-part question: Have you actually watched any of the bowl games on television so far and what is the most entertaining game you’ve seen?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
Another recent musical discovery is The Brothers Landreth, a Canadian based band that has been officially noticed – they were the opening act for a Hall and Oates tour stop and they’ve got a new record contract. They’ve dabbled in reggae, dabbled in folk and there is certainly some influence from The Eagles and Paul McCartney with some Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young mixed in. Their debut album “Let It Lie” was released last January to good reviews. Today’s music is a live performance recorded in Pennsylvania earlier in the year.