Kan Li / Scout

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; June 8

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

Defense attorney Huntley Johnson, who represents wide receiver Antonio Callaway, sent out an email that offers the first positive news regarding the star wide receiver in months. Johnson says that while there are issues that have to be resolved, Callaway can attend classes and use the UF training facilities. There is still no news as to why Callaway was suspended in the first place. We only know that it involves the student judicial process and that he’s been suspended since January.  

Johnson has been steadfast in his insistence that Callaway should have never been suspended in the first place but he’s never gone into any detail. Johnson is a criminal defense attorney of repute (which also means he’s quite expensive) so the fact he was retained by Callaway only tells us whatever the allegations, they are serious. It should also be noted that Johnson rarely takes on a case that he’ll lose so Gator fans should consider it a positive that Callaway has been cleared to take classes and work out with the team.

Callaway, who is active on Twitter, has only been positive in his tweets. While some people have speculated that Callaway might be looking to transfer, his tweets tell us he’s where he wants to be – Gainesville. I have heard from many sources that a certain school from the Big 12 Conference has been bugging Callaway and Treon Harris (suspended at the same time as Callaway) to pull up stakes in Gainesville and transfer. I can’t speak about the state of mind of Harris, but people I trust tell me Callaway is planning to stay put.

For now, consider the news from Huntley Johnson as a positive. When there will be more positive news is any guess, but once again remember that Johnson isn’t the type of attorney to take on a client who’s going to lose.

SUPER REGIONALS SHOW SEC DOMINANCE

A week ago the talk of college baseball was the Southeastern Conference landing half of the eight national seeds – (1) Florida, (4) Texas A&M, (6) Mississippi State and (8) LSU. With South Carolina knocking off UNC-Wilmington and LSU stopping Rice on Tuesday, the SEC will have five host teams when Super Regional play begins this weekend. You have to like the odds of the SEC sending five teams to Omaha based on home records: Florida (34-5), South Carolina (32-4), Texas A&M (32-5), LSU (29-11) and Mississippi State (29-11).

Here are the Super Regional matchups for SEC teams:

Friday

TCU (45-15) at #4 Texas A&M (48-14)

Arizona (42-21) at #6 Mississippi State (44-16-1)
Saturday

Florida State (40-20) at #1 Florida (50-13)
Coastal Carolina (47-16) at #8 LSU (45-19)

Oklahoma State (39-20) at South Carolina (46-16)

The Atlantic Coast Conference, which set a record with 10 teams in the regionals, has four of the final 16 teams: #2 Louisville (50-12), #3 Miami (48-11), Boston College (34-20) and Florida State (40-20). Clemson, which was the #7 national seed, is the only national seed that didn’t advance to a Super Regional.

Baseball rumor: I am hearing that Texas is determined to make an offer Kevin O’Sullivan can’t refuse to become the head baseball coach in Austin. A friend who donates large amounts of money to UT athletics says they’re willing to pay Sully more than the $1 million a year Louisville pays Dan McDonnell as well as give him close to a blank check for facilities. 
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMMM …

I have yet to understand all the love being given to the Georgia Bulldogs in the preseason. The latest Kool-Aid drinker is KC Joyner of ESPN.com, who writes that Georgia is a sleeper to make the College Football Playoff.

Joyner’s reasons:

1. “Arguably the best pass defense in the SEC”

I guess Mr. Joyner didn’t pay attention to the fact that in losses to Alabama, Tennessee and Auburn Georgia’s DBs didn’t exactly set the world on fire (657 yards, 5 TDs, only 1 INT). Tennessee, master of the 2-inch pass, torched Georgia for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns. Alabama averaged 11.9 yards per pass attempt and Florida averaged 8.2.  But, let’s give credit where credit is due. Georgia looked downright heroic in the secondary against bad passing teams like South Carolina (84 yards), D1AA Southern U (79 yards), Missouri (143 yards), Auburn (62 yards), Georgia Southern (44 yards but GSU only threw 7 passes the whole game) and Georgia Tech (82 yards).

2. “Potential improvement for an already strong rushing attack”

Okay, if Nick Chubb is healthy, Georgia should run the ball better, but that also depends on a reshuffled offensive line that includes playing a 6-2, 278-pound left tackle (Isaiah Wynn), who will be one of the smallest tackles in all of Division I.

3. “The sky is the limit for Jacob Eason”

Maybe the sky is the limit, but when is the last time a true freshman QB lit up the SEC? Johnny Manziel won the Heisman as a redshirt freshman. Aaron Murray had a rather nice redshirt freshman year. Tyler Bray threw for 1,849 yards and 18 TDs as a true freshman at Tennessee in 2010 but he didn’t become the starter until the 9th game of the season and didn’t beat a single team with a winning record.  You have to go all the way back to Chris Leak to find an SEC QB who was an impact player as a true freshman.

4. “Elite recruiting history”

Georgia’s 5th-year seniors were true freshmen in 2012, when Georgia put together the #14 class in the country (per Scout.com). Georgia was #8 in 2013 (4th best class in the SEC, UF was #7), #12 in 2014 (6th in the SEC, UF was #9), #4 in 2015 (not a single member of that class is listed on the spring 2-deep) and #9 in 2016 (4th in the SEC). That’s not bad recruiting, but elite? Am I missing something here?

5. “Schedule is about as favorable as one can get in the SEC”

There’s nothing new to that concept. I consistently wonder how is it that Georgia plays such a favorable schedule. Since 2008, the Bulldogs have played Alabama in the regular season just twice (2008, 2015) and have only had an SEC schedule with both Alabama and LSU on it once (2008). They still haven’t played Texas A&M during the regular season. They do play Auburn every year but that is because Auburn is Georgia’s permanent opponent from the SEC West.  The 2016 schedule pits Georgia against North Carolina in Charlotte in the season opener. That’s a game Georgia could lose. Georgia plays at Ole Miss and Tennessee on successive weeks. Two weeks before Florida, Vandy comes to Athens. Georgia will be favored but the Commodores tend to bring everyone down to their level and it’s not unusual for a hangover that lasts two or three weeks after that game. Then comes the Gators, who have beaten Georgia the last two years. Florida will be a better football team this year. Auburn and Georgia Tech with that pesky triple option are on the November agenda. I can see four losses.

KC Joyner and everybody at ESPN is enamored with Georgia and Kirby Smart. Mark Schlabach (Georgia grad) just released his all-too-early top 25 for June and he’s got Georgia at #12. I will be surprised if the Bulldogs sniff the top 10 this year.

WHAT A COMEBACK BY AUBURN

Emily Carosone’s grand slam to center field in the bottom of the 8th inning completed the most remarkable comeback in the history of the Women’s College World Series Tuesday night as Auburn rallied from down 7-0 after an inning-and-a-half to an 11-7 win over Oklahoma to knot the championship series at 1-1.

Oklahoma looked invincible when it bolted to a 7-0 lead but Auburn came back with 5 in the bottom of the second and tied the game up in the bottom of the fourth.

Auburn left fielder Tiffany Howard saved the day for the Tigers in the top of the 6th when she reached over the fence to pull back in what would have been a 2-run homer by Shay Knighten.

If Auburn can win game 3 tonight, it will mark the fourth time in five years that an SEC team has brought home the national championship.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Tiger Woods won’t play in the US Open. A lot of folks who know him think he’ll never play on the PGA Tour again.

UCLA and Jim Mora Jr. have agreed on a 2-year contract extension. Mora will earn $3.5 million, second only to Washington’s Chris Peterson in the Pac-12, and he can earn as much as $930,000 a year in performance bonuses. Mora is under contract until 2021.

The Golden State Warriors go for a 3-0 lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight in Cleveland. My belief is anything less than a spectacular triple-double by LeBron James and the Warriors win it. 

Magic Johnson says the “Showtime” Lakers of his era would beat the Golden State Warriors. In making his point, Johnson told ESPN, “There’s no way they’re going to deal with Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar). There’s no way they’re going to deal with James Worthy.” Magic didn’t mention the matchup nightmare he would cause playing the point at 6-9 and 225 points.

Did you happen to catch Bruce Pearl and Gus Malzahn cheering on the Auburn softball team at the WCWS in Oklahoma City? ESPN kept the cameras on them throughout the game and it was fun to watch the ebb and flow of their emotions and to see them celebrate when Auburn got the walk-off grand slam. It’s really good to see when coaches in major sports get out to support the women and non-revenue sports at their schools.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

If he is able to return to the PGA Tour, it is unlikely that Tiger Woods will ever return to a championship level. So, figuring his career is all but over, where do you place Tiger among the five best to ever play the game?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

One of my favorite albums is the 1987 “Ragged Right” by the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band. Jerry got a nice boost on vocals from David Nelson of the New Riders of the Purple Sage. The instrumentals are terrific. My favorite cut is “Deep Elem Blues” (right after the band introductions).

https://youtu.be/xP6KlcE1YmM


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