As our friend Franz Beard continues his recovery, I will pipe in a little bit more today and he offers a few of his thoughts below as well.
With the expected announcement today of Scott Stricklin to take over as Athletic Director at Florida and Jeremy Foley leaving the post on October 1, I thought I would share my thoughts on some of the things Stricklin needs to do as the next leader of Gator Nation and things he should look forward to.
The Honeymoon stuff…
It is no knock on Mississippi State, the way they have climbed in several sports and maintained or improved their facilities given monetary limitations has been stuff that books should be written about. But, here at Florida, that budget that was available has just doubled. I think it could be much more, which we will talk about in a little bit, but it is just a different level here in Gainesville.
The Director’s Cup has been a target for Jeremy Foley since he arrived and although Florida has never won the top prize as the winningest all-sports program at the national level, it is a huge upset of they aren’t the winner of the prize at the conference level. Florida’s 21 sports are the most among SEC schools and just about every single one of them is a conference contender every year.
Stricklin probably already knows, but Foley and the administration have done a great job of vetting coaches at some would say each of the sports on campus. This of course coincides with the Director’s Cup rankings, but he’s not being brought to Florida to try and find coaches for the various programs.
The academic infrastructure is as good as it gets anywhere. Yet another thing that will not have to be dealt with when Stricklin arrives. All of Florida’s sports are in great academic standing and the athletes on campus regularly graduate from the school before their athletic career is over or shortly after.
The Relationship Building Stuff…
All is not rosy at Florida all the time. One reason I believe Stricklin is a good hire is because he has found ways to go out and get the money necessary to carry out huge feats in terms of facilities and other budget requirements. While Florida’s budget is twice as much as MSU’s, the amount of money flowing in isn’t nearly what it could be. Stricklin will have to be resourceful in this department to get to the level of funding necessary to carry out what will be the future goals of the entire athletic program.
A hasty dive into the facilities is necessary at this point. It is no secret that a lot of the facilities for the major sports on campus have been neglected to a great degree. Coaching changes in the major sports are reasons for some of this, but decades of “not keeping up with the Jones’” is what we have. There is a $100 million proposal of sorts for football, baseball and softball upgrades, but at MSU Stricklin was in the process of upgrading the baseball facility by $40 million by itself. He needs to take a close look and see if that $100 million is going to do it. My guess is that there will be some big changes.
I have one area more that may touch the nerves of some, but I think it needs to be something that is looked into. There are quite a few things that are currently done at Florida with regards to recruiting on campus, or I should say not done at Florida, because the administration finds these things borderline in terms of against NCAA regulations. While at other programs, they flaunt these things. They will seem petty to some, but the fact is, these other programs use it to sell prospects and we all know that recruiting is the lifeblood of any sport. It is time to get straight answers on these things and either allow them because they are legal, or make sure others aren’t doing them because they are against the rules. All we ask is that they even the playing field.
Wow, that got a little long winded and I guess I could come up with more, but Stricklin both has his work cut out for him and he will be driving the Maserati that is the Florida athletic program.
THE FIRING SQUAD (By Franz Beard)
There are 6 chambers in the revolver and only 5 bullets. These 5 bullets will be fired … and these are the guys who will replace them
LSU FIRED Les Miles
*Jimbo gets the deal of the century. FSU hires Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State
Baylor FIRED Art Briles
*Larry Fedora is a Texas guy and a former Baylor assistant. North Carolina hires Lane Kiffin
Southern Cal WILL FIRE Clay Helton
*Justin Fuente leaves Virginia Tech for Southern Cal. Virginia Tech hires P.J. Fleck of Western Michigan
Oregon WILL FIRE Mark Helfrich
*Oregon hires Bryan Harsin of Boise State
Texas Tech WILL FIRE Kliff Kingsbury
Texas Tech hires TCU co-OC Sonny Cumbie
THIS AND THAT
What is up with the lunacy that is LSU? They make a back door deal with Jimbo Fisher last ear and at the last minute he wants way more money than he originally settled for. This causes LSU to backtrack on firing Les Miles last year and then saying ‘Les is our man’. Miles takes his team on the road in a tough environment and loses by a field goal and is fired game four of the next year. Two questions for me are, how ridiculous do they look, and who in their right mind that is better than Miles would want to go work for a crew like that?
Given the above are they really looney enough to make Jimbo the deal of the century as Franz put it above? If they follow through with that, I really don’t know what to think.
I don’t know if their arm talent or athleticism rates with some of the recent quarterback combos at Florida, but I am really impressed with everything above the shoulders with Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby. Certainly both are competitive and want the job at Florida, but I love the things they have been able to do as first time players in Gator uniforms this year. Their off-the-field character is also off the charts.
Question of the day…
What is the one thing that you wish most for the new Athletic Director to accomplish in the short term at Florida?
Music for the day…
Jim McElwain is looking out for all of those that are ready to jump ship after a bad game by his troops. With that in mind, I am going to flashback to my high school years with one of the groups I listened to. You see I was an eclectic listener of music albeit of the popular variety. I liked dance, I liked soul, I liked pop, and I liked rock. For today and for all of those ready to do so I have for you Van Halen’s ‘JUMP’.