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Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; August 10

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

Tim Tebow will turn 29 years old next week. He hasn’t played a snap in an NFL game that actually counted since 2012 and has been released in the preseason by the New England Patriots (2013) and Philadelphia Eagles (2015). Even with the sad state of backup quarterbacks in the NFL, no one is beating a path to Tebow’s door and begging him to wear a cap, carry a clipboard and be ready to play in case of an emergency. As much as every Gator wishes he had made it big in the NFL, his time has come and gone and that’s why it’s so painful to see that Tebow is plotting a trying for Major League Baseball scouts. If he can’t make a football comeback just three years removed from his last NFL action, what makes him think he can make it to the majors when he hasn’t played competitive baseball since the spring of his junior year at Nease High School in 2005?

If there were a Mount Rushmore for the greatest college football players of all time, Tim would be on it along with Herschel Walker, Archie Griffin and Roger Staubach. Of those four, only Staubach had a great NFL career, which just goes to show you that greatness at the college level doesn’t translate to greatness on Sundays. The odds of achieving greatness are even greater for high school and college baseball players.

Football was Tebow’s best sport in high school. He was a fine baseball prospect as a left fielder and if he hadn’t enrolled at UF in January of 2006, he might have shown big league potential as a pitcher as well. He showed power as a hitter, fielded his position well and there were reports that he threw mid-90s fast balls. Had he stuck with baseball, he might have made it to the big leagues but he almost certainly would have needed 4-5 years in the minors to develop.

Focus on that 4-5 years because that’s pretty much the minimum of what Tebow will need to develop as a baseball player now. Reports are that he hits the ball really well in a batting cage but lots of guys hit great in the cage or in batting practice. It’s a different ball game when the pitching is live and there is pressure to produce with 40,000 people screaming for you to strike out. And that’s for 30-year-olds who have made it through the minors and spent another 4-5 years honing their hitting skills in the big leagues. If it took Tebow four years he would be a 33-year-old rookie.

Former MLB great Gary Sheffield calls Tebow “a natural” and says he has a big league skill set, but consider for a moment what the greatest hitter of all time had to say about the art of striking a baseball – “I think without question the hardest thing to do in sport is to hit a baseball.” If it was tough for Teddy Ballgame, whose work ethic was unparalleled and who had a career batting average of .344 and an all-time best on base percentage of .482, consider how tough it will be for Tebow some 12 years since his last competitive game.  There is a reason why the last high school kid to go straight to the majors was in 2000 and the last time a collegian did it was 2010.   

It’s painful to think of how Tebow’s NFL career ended. That will be a romp in the park compared to what he’s in for if he elects to follow that baseball dream.

Former MLB great Gary Sheffield tweeted out that Tebow is “a natural” and that he believes “in his ability to play in the bigs.”

SEC FOOTBALL ROUNDUP

Alabama: Cooper Bateman and David Cornwell know the Alabama offense inside and out, but the two quarterbacks who could emerge as 1-2 in the rotation are redshirt freshman Blake Barnett and true freshman Jalen Hurts. Cornwell is coming off an injury and was limited in Saturday’s scrimmage. As for the other three, Nick Saban said, “Somebody has got to win the job. Somebody has got to be the leader, the guy that can go out there and execute and win the confidence of his teammates and the players that he plays with on offense. I think we have three guys that are all capable of doing that. I would love it if one of them separate themselves sooner rather than later.”

Arkansas: Last year Arkansas had no problems going to 2-tight end sets with Mackey Award winner Hunter Henry and Jeremy Sprinkle. Sprinkle is back and should be one of the best tight ends in the country. Finding a second TE to go with him is somewhat of a problem, however. Redshirt freshman Austin Cantrell has the size (6-4, 270) and the blocking skills, but he’s got suspect hands. Redshirt freshman C.J. O’Grady (6-4, 248) can make all the catches but he’s still trying to figure things out as a blocker in the running game … When Arkansas scrimmaged Tuesday, the OL looked like this: LT Dan Skipper, LG Hjalte Froholdt, C Frank Ragnow, RG Zach Rogers and RT Brian Wallace.  

Auburn: Auburn held its first scrimmage Tuesday morning with quarterbacks John Franklin III, Jeremy Johnson and Sean White splitting equal time with the first and second team offenses. HBC Gus Malzahn said, “I want to see how they react with both groups. I want to see how the players in the groups react to them as far as their leadership, as far as their energy and their belief. So we're evaluating that right now."

FLORIDA: The quarterback situation is very good. The wide receivers and running backs are an upgrade from last year. The D-line is going to be better than expected, especially if CeCe Jefferson can become that guy like Jon Bullard who can play both inside and outside. There is more depth at linebacker and even though the secondary lost three guys to the NFL, those guys won’t miss a beat. Eddie Pineiro is a substantial upgrade at PK and Johnny Townsend has a hammer of a leg at punter. That leaves the O-line. A couple of folks who have actually played college football and have watched practices so far are hinting that we’re in for a surprise, that these guys are much improved.

Georgia: The Macon Telegraph reports that freshman QB Jacob Eason’s shoulder was checked out by doctors and trainers Tuesday. Reports the Telegraph, “Eason received a rub-down on his right shoulder during the first few periods of the practice and was having trouble with his accuracy on a couple of passes. At times, he was throwing short-to-intermediate passes with a staffer on ff to the side instead of rotating in drills with teammates Brice Ramsey and Greyson Lambert.”

Kentucky: True freshman Landon Young has impressed everyone. He could start at LT over prized juco transfer Tate Leavitt … OC Eddie Gran says QB Drew Barker has completed approximately 70% of his passes in live drills the last couple of days.  

LSU: The Tigers got bad news about DT Christian Lacouture, whose ACL will require season-ending surgery. Juniors Frank Herron and Greg Gilmore will get the first shot at replacing Lacouture in the lineup but 5-star freshman Rashard Lawrence is talented enough to play from day one.  

Mississippi State: WR Fred Ross, who caught 88 passes for 1,007 yards and 5 TDs last year, expects to have an even more productive senior season because he’s almost back to 100% health. “I was hurt the whole season [in 2015],” Ross said Monday. Ross had offseason groin surgery, which caused him to miss spring practice.

Missouri: New Mizzou AD Jim Sterk will have a starting salary of $700,000. The contract has a buyout of $1.4 million. At San Diego State Sterk was making $315,000.

Ole Miss: Bad news for the rest of the SEC. HBC Hugh Freeze says QB Chad Kelly is ripping and shredding in practice. “Today, I thought he was very, very sharp, looked like he did at the end of the season last year,” Freeze said after the second of two Monday practices.

South Carolina: Redshirt freshman A.J. Turner is taking the first team reps at running back as the Gamecocks begin their second week of practice ... True freshman Korey Banks has taken advantage of injuries to Deebo Samuel and Bryan Edwards to get first team reps at wide receiver.

Tennessee: DT Khalil McKenzie, who has played at 350 pounds at times during his career, is down to a svelte 315 (listed on the UT media guide as 325). McKenzie said he hasn’t been that light since his high school days ... Micah Abernathy is on the verge of nailing down a starting job at safety.

Texas A&M: Running back Rakeem Boyd got his papers from the NCAA Clearinghouse so he will be eligible to play in 2016. Only one of the Aggies’ recruits (Alton Robinson) will not enroll in school and be eligible to play.

Vanderbilt: Nose tackle Jay Woods (6-3, 280) will not play in the September 1 season opener against South Carolina as he continues to recover from an offseason knee injury. His place in the lineup should be taken by Nifae Lealao (6-5, 315).

SECCOUNTRY.COM RATES SEC OFFENSES

East Division

1. Tennessee
2.  Georgia
3. Kentucky
4. FLORIDA
5. Vanderbilt
6. South Carolina
8. Missouri

My opinion: Tennessee has the experienced quarterback and a great 1-2 running punch in Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara, but there are questions in the passing game. Georgia at #2? Well, the Bulldogs will run the football, but even Greyson Lambert or Jacob Eason prove they can throw the ball, who’s going to catch it? Florida would be a better choice for #2 and Kentucky should be #4. For lack of a better term, Vandy, South Carolina and Missouri will all be offensively challenged. I’m being kind.

West Division

1. LSU
2. Alabama
3. Ole Miss
4. Texas A&M

5. Auburn
6. Arkansas

7. Mississippi State

My opinion: All seven of the SEC West teams should have a better offense than anyone in the East. LSU belongs at #1 because it has Leonard Fournette and deep threat wide receivers in Malachi Dupre and Travin Dural. It might not matter who plays QB if the Tigers actually commit to throwing the ball. Alabama is replacing a lot of moving parts from 2015, but if the last two years haven’t convinced you about Lane Kiffin, then nothing will. Ole Miss has the league’s best QB in Chad Kelly and the Aggies have wide receivers to die for. Why is Auburn #5? Other than Kiffin, the best OC in the league is Arkansas’ Dan Enos, who will be someone’s HBC next year. Never underestimate a Dan Mullen offense.

RIO

The top 5 countries medal count:

1. USA 26 (9 gold, 8 silver, 9 bronze)
2. China 17 (8 gold, 3 silver, 6 bronze)

3. Japan 14 (3 gold, 1 silver, 10 bronze)

4. Russia 12 (3 gold, 6 silver, 3 bronze)

5. Australia 9 (4 gold, 5 bronze)

South African Chad Le Clos spent all Monday trying to psych out Michael Phelps. Can you say dumb? Phelps responded by winning the 200 butterfly finals Tuesday evening to win the 20th gold medal of his illustrious Olympic career. Le Clos finished fourth.

Half of the USA 4X200 freestyle relay team that brought home gold was made up of Gators – Ryan Lochte and Conor Dwyer. The win gave Lochte his 12th gold medal of all time and #21 for Phelps.

Even though the final outcome was a 2-2 draw, consider it a shock to the system to see the USA women’s soccer team fail to win against an opponent they should have blown away.

The USA women’s gymnastics team finished its dominating team performance by taking the gold medal by 8.209 points over second place Russia. It’s impossible to compare eras, but it’s hard to imagine even the 1976 Romanian team better than this one, which gave Marta Karolyi a magnificent retirement gift.

Serena Williams is out after a third round loss to Ukrainian Elina Svitolina in the tennis singles.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com wrote a story about Alabama HBC Nick Saban that might change your mind and make you think he’s actually human and not a robot.

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/17249588/alabama-coach-nick-saban-showing-different-side

Prince Fielder of the Texas Rangers is expected to announce today that his baseball career is over after having neck fusion surgery for the second time in three years. Because he’s having to retire for medical reasons, he will still collect the remaining $96 million of his contract.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

With 21 gold medals and potentially more to come, is Michael Phelps the greatest Olympic champion of all time or merely the greatest swimmer ever?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

Few bands were ever as good live as Jefferson Airplane when the lineup included Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Marty Ballin, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Spencer Dryden. “Feed Your Head Live: 67-69” is a compilation of Airplane’s performances at the 1967 Monterey and 1969 Altamont festival performances.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1DYLWW0P7U


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