Kan Li / Scout

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; Dec. 15

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

GRADING THE OFFENSIVE TACKLES

We continue to analyze the 2016 Florida football roster position by position and grade performance. Today, the offensive tackles.

David Sharpe: Sharpe is a fine run blocker and he has his moments as a pass blocker, but he struggles with consistency against quick edge rushers who get leverage. He’s got NFL size (6-6, 357) and good footwork, but he doesn’t bring it every game. He probably needs to flop to left guard so that Martez Ivey can move outside.

Jawaan Taylor: Taylor started as a true freshman and while there were moments when he played like a freshman, there were also moments when he looked like a star for the future. He’s got great size (6-5, 340) and a natural aggressiveness that sometimes gets him into trouble, but there is no doubting he’s going to be outstanding in the future.

Kavaris Harkless: He spent the first two seasons on campus reshaping his body and building his upper body strength. After a redshirt freshman year and getting in one game in 2015, he saw action in nine games in 2016. Because of injuries, he moved inside and started at RG in the SEC Championship Game against Alabama.

Stone Forsythe: He’s got great size (6-7, 330) and long arms. He spent 2015 taking a redshirt so he will get a lot of reps in the spring. Due to the lack of depth at the position, he’s got to be ready to contribute in 2017.

Grade C-: Florida gave up fewer sacks (45 in 2015; 25 in 2016) but there wasn’t a lot of improvement in the running game (3.48 per carry in 2016; 3.71 in 2016). Against teams that lack speed rushers, Florida’s tackles more than held their own, but there were too many false starts and holding penalties. The tackles get a passing grade … but barely.

HOW GRADUATION, EARLY ENTRY WILL AFFECT EACH SEC TEAM

ALABAMA

Senior starters (9)

Offense (3): Gehrig Dieter, WR; Korren Kirven, RG; O.J. Howard, TE

Defense (5): Jonathan Allen, DE; Dalvin Tomlinson, DE; Tim Williams, OLB/DE; Ryan Anderson, OLB; Reuben Foster, ILB

Special teams (1): Adam Griffith, PK

Early draft possibilities (3): Cam Robinson, LT; Marlon Humphrey, CB; ArDarius Stewart, WR

Outlook for 2017: Even with the defense losing six seniors plus Marlon Humphrey likely going early, does anyone for even a second think Alabama will have that much of a drop off? Cam Robinson will be tough to replace at LT but Alabama always has O-linemen who can play. The Tide might not be quite as loaded in 2017 but by midseason it won’t be noticeable.

ARKANSAS

Senior starters (11)

Offense (4): Drew Morgan, WR; Keon Hatcher WR; Jeremy Sprinkle, TE; Dan Skipper, LT

Defense (5): JaMichael Winston, DE; Taiwan Johnson, DT; Jeremiah Ledbetter, DE; Brooks Ellis, MLB; Jared Collins, CB

Special teams (2):  Toby Baker, P; Adam McFain, PK

Early draft possibilities (1): Frank Ragnow, C

Outlook for 2017: The Razorbacks will lose five defensive starters. No one would mind if they lost all 11. Over on offense, the Hogs will lose a fine LT in Skipper and if Ragnow goes early, he will be seriously tough to replace in the middle. He’s an intriguing prospect to the pros because he can play all five positions on the O-line. The Hogs lose some receivers but there won’t be any drop off on offense. They will replace their special teams guys but that’s a blessing.

AUBURN

Senior starters (6)

Offense (3): Tony Stevens, WR; Alex Kozan, LG; Robert Leff, RT

Defense (3): Montravius Adams, DT; Joshua Hosley, CB; Jonathan Ford, S

Special teams (0)

Early draft possibilities (5): Carl Lawson, DE; Kamryn Pettway, RB; Daniel Carlson, PK; Tray Matthews, S; Braden Smith, LG  

Outlook for 2017: Pettway is almost certain to come back as is Carlson, the nation’s most reliable placekicker. Carl Lawson is a first rounder and Smith might be one of the first 2-3 guards to go. If Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham is the real deal at QB, Auburn’s offense will be scary good. It will be tough to replace Adams and Lawson on the D-line but overall, there won’t be a huge drop off.

FLORIDA

Senior starters (6)

Offense (1): Austin Appleby, QB

Defense (5): Bryan Cox Jr., DE; Joey Ivie, DT; Daniel McMillian, OLB; Jarrad Davis, MLB; Marcus Maye, S

Special teams (0)

Early draft possibilities (5): David Sharpe, LT; Caleb Brantley, DT; Alex Anzalone, LB; Jalen Tabor, CB; Quincy Wilson, CB

Outlook for 2017: The Gators will return 10 offensive starters if LT David Sharpe does the smart thing and returns for his senior year. He will be drafted if he leaves, but if he stayed and either learned to handle quick edge rushers at LT or moved inside to G where he will likely play in the NFL, he could seriously improve his draft stock. Over on the defensive side, the Gators are going to be hit hard where the line will lose three starters, three linebackers, two corners and a safety. 

GEORGIA

Senior starters (3)

Offense (2): Brandon Kubanow, C; Greg Pyke, RT

Defense (1): Maurice Smith, S

Early draft possibilities (4): Davin Bellamy, OLB; Lorenzo Carter, OLB; Nick Chubb, RB; Sony Michel, RB

Special teams (0)

Outlook for 2017: If Kirby Smart can convince his underclassmen to return the Bulldogs should be loaded. However, if Nick Chubb has a functioning brain, he should leave for the NFL rather than risk another knee injury that would kill his NFL chances. The big need will be to find offensive linemen, not only to replace departing seniors Brandon Kubanow and Greg Pyke but some of the returning starters who underperformed in 2016.

KENTUCKY

Senior starters (5)

Offense (2): Ryan Timmons, WR; Jon Toth, C

Defense (3): Courtney Miggins, DE; Marcus McWilson, FS; Blake McClain CB/S

Special teams (0)

Early draft possibilities (1): Stanley “Boom” Williams, RB

Outlook for 2017: Mark Stoops only loses five seniors and he’s likely to lose Williams, but this will be a vastly improved team. The best recruiting job Stoops did was to keep offensive coordinator Eddie Gran, who had chances to go places.

LSU

Senior starters (10)

Offense (4): Travin Dural, WR; Ethan Pocic, C; Josh Boutte, RG; Colin Jeter, TD

Defense (5): Lewis Neal, DE; Tashan Bower, DE/OLB; Duke Riley, ILB; Kendell Beckwith, MLB; Tre’Davious White, CB

Special teams (1): Colby Delahoussaye, PK

Early draft possibilities (4): Jamal Adams, S; Malachi Dupre, WR; Leonard Fournette, RB; Dalvon Godchaux, DT

Outlook for 2017: LSU is going to lose a lot of players, but LSU always loses a lot of players. Talent won’t be the issue. Ed Orgeron retained his DC (Dave Aranda) and got a new OC who turned Pitt into a scoring machine (42.3 points) with one of the most balanced offenses in the country.

MISSISSIPPI STATE

Senior starters (11)

Ofense (4): Fred Ross, WR; Jamaal Clayborn, C; Justin Senior, RT; Brandon Holloway, RB

Defense (7): Nelson Adams, DT; Nick James, NT; A.J. Jefferson, DE; Jonathan Calvin, LB; Richie Brown, MLB; Kivon Coman, FS; Cedric Jiles, CB

Early draft possibilities (0)

Special teams (0)

Outlook for 2017: Dan Mullen is bubbling over with optimism on his offensive side. A lot of defensive players saw the field so the loss of seven from a unit that gave up points and yards like a sieve won’t be a problem. There is considerable interest from the NFL for Mullen, but it’s unlikely he leaves Starkville.

MISSOURI

Senior starters (6)

Offense (1): Sean Culkin, TE

Defense (5): Rickey Hatley, DT; Donavin Newsom, LB; Michael Scherer, MLB; John Gibson, CB; Aarion Penton, CB

Early draft possibilities (1): Charles Harris, DE

Special teams (0)

Outlook for 2017: There is reason to be excited about an offense that will return 10 starters from a team that averaged 500 yards and 32 points per game. The defense needs a complete overhaul. Scherer and Penton will be missed but the other defensive players moving on won’t be. Charles Harris is saying he will be back for his senior year and that’s a plus since he’s the best defensive player on the team.

OLE MISS

Senior starters (8)

Offense (4): Chad Kelly, QB; Quincy Adeboyejo, WR; Evan Engram, TE; Akeem Judd, RB

Defense (4): D.J. Jones, NT; Fadol Brown, DE; Tony Conner, S; Derrick Jones, CB

Special teams (0)

Early draft possibilities (2): Marquis Haynes, DE; Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR

Outlook for 2017: This situation is a mess. First things first for Hugh Freeze is to replace both coordinators. The offense was fine this year but the defense stunk. Haynes is planning to return. Stringfellow is committed to leave.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Senior starters (9)

Offense (1): Mason Zandi, LT

Defense (6): Marquavius Lewis, DE; Kelsey Griffin, DT; T.J. Hollomon, LB; Jonathan Walton, MLB; Chaz Elder, S; Jordan Diggs, S

Special teams (2): Sean Kelly, P; Elliott Fry, PK

Early draft possibilities (1): Hayden Hurst, TE

Outlook for 2017: Probably the toughest player to replace will be placekicker Elliott Fry, who hammered home 65 field goals in his career. The Gamecocks will be much improved on offense. Will Muschamp played a lot of players on defense. The only significant loss is T.J. Hollomon. Getting Skai Moore back from an injury season will offset losing Hollomon.

TENNESSEE

Senior starters (5)

Offense (2): Dylan Weisman, RG; Joshua Dobbs, QB

Defense (3): Corey Vereen, DE; Cameron Sutton, CB; Jalen Reeves-Maybin, LB

Special teams (0)

Early draft possibilities: Derek Barnett, DE; Alvin Kamara, RB/KR

Outlook for 2017: This was the Vols year. If they were going to dominate, this was it. They lose five starters but they’ll lose Barnett and Kamara early entry and there is no telling how many more will transfer out.

TEXAS A&M

Senior starters (7)

Offense (4): Josh Reynolds, WR; Avery Gennesy, LT; Jermain Eluemunor, RG; Trevor Knight, QB

Defense (3): Daeshon Hall, DE; Shean Washington, LB; Justin Evans S

Special teams (0)

Early draft possibilities (3): Myles Garrett, DE; Ricky Seals-Jones, WR; Armani Watts, S

Outlook for 2017: The Aggies are going to take a hit on the defensive side of the ball because Garrett and Watts aren’t coming back. Over on the offensive side, there is no adequate replacement for Trevor Knight at QB and an offensive line that had too many peaks and valleys will have to replace its two best players. The Aggies have enough talent to win eight games but you have to wonder when the fans will say, “We’re stuck in a run, enough! Time for a new coach.”?

VANDERBILT

Senior starters (5)

Offense (2): Will Holden, LT; Barrett Gouger, C

Defense (3): Adam Butler, NT; Ja’Karri Thomas, ILB; Torren McGaster, CB

Special teams (0):

Early draft possibilities (1): Zach Cunningham, LB

Outlook for 2017: It’s almost certain that Cunningham will go early to the NFL, but he will be the only defensive player difficult to replace. Over on offense, the Commodores will have to find two new O-linemen, but the rest of the offense is intact. This is a team that could win 8 games in 2017.

REPLACEMENT COORDINATORS IN THE SEC

Florida: Geoff Collins got the Temple HBC job so the defense will be turned over to Randon Shannon. Shannon is a terrific coordinator but he won’t have the benefit of an NFL defense, which is what Collins had when he came to UF. Will Florida replace OC Doug Nussmeier?

LSU: The new OC is Matt Canada from Pitt, previously from North Carolina State where he turned Jacoby Brissett into a QB who now backs up Tom Brady with the Patriots. How good is Canada? Well, he turned Tennessee bust Nathan Peterman into a QB (at Pitt) who probably will be drafted.

Ole Miss: It’s looking like Auburn secondary coach Wes McGriff will be the new defensive coordinator. Hugh Freeze is still looking for an offensive coordinator from Sonny Cumbie (TCU), Chip Long (Memphis), Phil Longo (Sam Houston State) and Sterlin Gilbert (formerly of Texas).

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Former Wake Forest player/assistant/radio analyst Tommy Elrod was passing on game plans and other info to opposing teams during the 2016 season. Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich released a statement Wednesday acknowledging that the Louisville staff had not only received the game plan from Elrod but actually used it. This is only going to get uglier. Just call it Wakeyleaks.

Former USF head coach and Colorado DC Jim Leavitt has accepted the DC job for Willie Taggart’s staff at Oregon.

Jameis Winston has settled a federal lawsuit filed by Erica Kinsman, the woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her at Florida State back in 2012. Winston was never charged with a crime. FSU has already settled with the woman for $950,000. Terms of the most recent settlement have not been released.

Former FSU quarterback De’Andre Johnson became the first signee for new Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin. After punching a woman in the face, Johnson left FSU for East Mississippi Community College (Last Chance U).

Former Gator Keanu Neal’s $24,000 fine for a targeting hit on Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews has been cut in half after the NFL appeals process. Neal, a rookie with the Atlanta Falcons, has already developed a reputation as one of the league’s hardest hitters. Although he missed the first two games of the season with an injury, Neal is the Falcon’s leading tackler with 87. Brian Poole, another former Gator who is also a Falcons’ rookie DB, comes off the bench but he has more tackles (48) than the guy he backs up Jalen Collins (20).

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Now that Dak Prescott’s 11-game winning streak is over, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hints that Tony Romo could start at QB again. Should the Cowboys ditch Prescott for Romo or stick with the rookie?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

I came across this 1989 video of a Van Halen concert on the band’s 1989 OU812 tour, recorded in Tokyo. OU812 was the band’s second album with Sammy Hagar as the lead vocalist. The album reached #1 on the Billboard charts and went platinum 4 times. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8-FL-6U1tE


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