Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; Jan. 4

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

Quincy Wilson did what everybody knew he was going to do Tuesday and announced he will forego his senior season at the University of Florida to enter the NFL Draft.  Wilson’s draft stock has risen so sharply while playing the corner opposite Jalen Tabor that he’s considered first round material. Whether it’s first round or second round, Wilson figures to be a rookie starter in the NFL next season.

A bit puzzling was the decision by left tackle David Sharpe to enter the draft. Sharpe certainly has NFL size (6-6, 347), but he is regularly beaten off the edge by speed rushers and it’s truly questionable if he’s ever been in optimum football condition. It’s hard to imagine Sharpe playing tackle in the NFL. It would seem that if he’s going to see the field it will be inside at guard. He will get drafted but it wouldn’t be surprising if Sharpe doesn’t hear his name called until the third or fourth rounds … or later.   

Still to announce their decisions are corner Jalen Tabor, defensive tackle Caleb Brantley and linebacker Alex Anzalone. Tabor will be one of the first corners to be drafted so pencil his name on your gone list. Brantley could have gone last year and he would have been drafted. He came back to improve his draft stock and he’s done just that. It would be a stunning upset if he decided to return for his senior season. Anzalone has a real dilemma. He could help himself if he came back to Florida and had an injury-free senior season. He’s got NFL ball instincts. The problem is he’s never had an injury-free season so he might figure why take a chance? Because he has graduated, Anzalone also has the option to transfer to another school without sitting out a year.

Center Cam Dillard announced Tuesday night that he’s going to graduate and transfer. Dillard started for two years until he tore an ACL against Arkansas. Because he will still be rehabbing in the spring, he would fall further behind T.J. McCoy and redshirt freshman Brett Heggie. He wants to play so the prudent thing is to get his degree and transfer. He’s got experience and he’s a smart kid who can make line calls so he will have many suitors. Dillard is a good kid who played hard, did his best and never complained. Good for him that he will get to play football next year while someone pays for his masters degree.

GATORS IMPROVE TO 11-3, 2-0 IN THE SEC

Mike White has to be concerned after the Gators squandered two big leads in the second half Tuesday night. Yes, Florida took a 71-63 SEC win over Ole Miss (9-5, 0-2 SEC), but the Gators took a lot of wild shots and had a night to forget (11-21) at the foul line, which enabled the Rebels to stage a couple of comebacks.

Florida led 40-21 two minutes into the second half, but the Rebels chiseled that lead down to 9 before Justin and Canyon Barry combined to score 16 points to lead a flurry that rallied the Gators back to a 65-47 lead with a flurry with 8 points to rally the Gators back to a 65-47 lead with 3:54 to go in the game.

That’s where it got interesting. Ole Miss started hitting shots and the Gators suddenly couldn’t make free throws. The Gators were only 3-9 from the line in the final 3:31 with Kasey Hill missing four in a row.

Still, the Gators got a win and that’s what is important. They’re ranked 24th nationally and have a 2-0 start in the SEC with Tennessee (8-6, 1-1 SEC) coming to Gainesville Saturday.

Barry led the Gators in scoring with 20 points while KeVaughn Allen scored 14 and Devin Robinson added 11.

Elsewhere in the SEC: #6 Kentucky (12-2, 1-0 SEC) 100, Texas A&M (8-5, 0-1 SEC) 58; Arkansas (12-2, 1-1 SEC) 82, Tennessee (8-6, 1-1 SEC) 78; Alabama (8-5, 1-0 SEC) 68, Mississippi State (9-4, 0-1 SEC) 58.

SEC FOOTBALL NEWS

Alabama: How’s this for how ridiculous things can get with recruiting: 5-star running back Najee Harris won’t tell Alabama or Michigan where he’s enrolling on Sunday. He says he’ll just show up and enroll.

Arkansas: Athletic director Jeff Long is fending off criticism that the program is heading in the wrong direction after a 7-6 finish in Bret Bielema’s fourth year on the job. Long tweeted out “Razorback Nation I reject the notion the sky is falling. We are strong & will make changes to become stronger.”

Auburn: Auburn was down to its third quarterback by the end of the Sugar Bowl game Monday night. Starter Sean White broke his arm and backup John Franklin III left with an injury so Jeremy Johnson finished the game.

Georgia: Scholarship placekicker William Ham, who lost his job during the season to walk-on Rodrigo Blankenship, is quitting football. Blankenship connected on 14-18 field goals. His father says Rodrigo will leave Georgia if he’s not put on scholarship. Stay tuned on this one.

LSU: Coach O will keep 75-year-old Pete Jenkins on as the defensive line coach. Jenkins, a former Florida assistant, became the interim D-line coach when Coach O was elevated to interim head coach.

Mississippi State: Top 2018 commitment Marcus Murphy has decommitted. Murphy is a 4-star running back.

Missouri: Safety Greg Taylor is transferring out.

Ole Miss: Special teams coordinator/safeties coach Corey Batoon is leaving to join Lane Kiffin’s staff at Florida Atlantic.

Tennessee: Offensive coordinator Mike Debord will join the Indiana coaching staff as offensive coordinator. Debord was not forced out per Jimmy Hyams of gridironnow.com. A native Midwesterner, he took the Indiana job to be closer to family and grandchildren.

Texas A&M: Okay, here’s the latest rumor in the Aggie nation. Kevin Sumlin will take an NFL job and fired San Francisco 49ers coach Chip Kelly will take over at Texas A&M. It sounds really good except that nobody is mentioning Sumlin for an NFL job and Kelly seems to want to stay in the NFL rather than return to college football. Of course, now that he’s unemployed, Kelly might be very happy if some school wanted him to be their coach.

Vanderbilt: Two big questions about the Vandy program: (1) Will Derek Mason find a new offensive coordinator to replace Andy Ludwig and (2) how much longer will O-line coach Cameron Norcross remain gainfully employed?

POWER 5 CONFERENCE BOWL RECORDS

1. ACC 9-3
2. Big 12 4-2

3. SEC 6-6
4. Pac-12 3-3
5. Big Ten 3-7

TEN ALL-TOO EARLY HEISMAN TROPHY HOPEFULS FOR 2017

1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: He could be a better QB but not match the 2016 stats. It happened to Tim Tebow and cost him in 2008.
2. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma:
I would have voted for him this year. I think he’s the best player in the country. He’s thrown for 76 TDs in two years at Oklahoma.
3. Jake Browning, QB, Washington:
Washington will be good again and he will put up extraordinary numbers.

4. Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama: Alabama will be in the national title hunt so Hurts will be on everybody’s radar.

5. Sam Darnold, QB, Southern Cal: If he plays the way he played the last half of the season he will be a serious contender.
6. Saquon Barkley, running back, Penn State:
He’s the most exciting running back in the country.

7. J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State: He’s going to have to play better in big games to make the podium.

8. Quinton Flowers, QB, South Florida: He’s the second best dual threat QB in the country behind Jackson, but can you play at USF and win the Heisman?

9. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU: He should be everybody’s darkhorse candidate after gaining 1,387 yards and scoring 15 TDs as a part timer.
10. Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State:
He’s really underrated. He’s got to beat Oklahoma to have a chance.

COACHING STUFF

After Ohio State’s offensive meltdown against Clemson, Urban Meyer is shaking up his coaching staff. On Tuesday, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Tim Beck took a job as the offensive coordinator for Tom Herman at Texas. It was next reported that Meyer hired Ryan Day to coach quarterbacks. Day was a GA for Meyer at Florida in 2005 and was Boston College’s offensive coordinator in 2013-14. Most recently he was working as an offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers. Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports reports that former Oklahoma OC and Indiana HBC Kevin Wilson will join the staff as offensive coordinator. There are reports that Ed Warriner, who has been coaching the offensive line and held the title of co-offensive coordinator, may be moved to an administrative role. 

Former Florida assistant and Kentucky HBC Joker Phillips, who worked as a quality control assistant at Ohio State in 2016, is joining Luke Fickell’s coaching staff at Cincinnati.

Just a few days after winning its bowl game and finishing with 9 wins, Minnesota is now coach-less. Tracy Claes and Minnesota have parted ways, largely because the AD doesn’t like him. Minnesota would like to hire P.J. Fleck but apparently Fleck has already told the folks in Minneapolis nothing doing. Could this be a job Les Miles would be interested in taking?

Former UF running backs coach Stan Drayton, who spent the last two years with the Chicago Bears, is joining Tom Herman’s staff at Texas.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Attendance at the Sugar Bowl game between Auburn and Oklahoma was 54,077, lowest for a Sugar Bowl game since 1939 when TCU and Carnegie Mellon drew 44,038 at Tulane Stadium.

Former Gator QB and Georgia Tech HBC Chan Gailey is retiring from coaching. Gailey spent the last couple of years as the OC of the New York Jets.

South Florida fired basketball coach Orlando Antigua. The Bulls are 6-7 this year, improved over the last couple of years but there is an NCAA investigation for academic fraud and possible recruiting violations. USF assistant and former East Tennessee State head coach Murry Bartow has been named interim coach.

Finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame are LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Dawkins, Terrell Owens, Jason Taylor, Morten Anderson, Tony Boselli, Isaac Bruce, Don Coryell, Terrell Davis, Alan Faneca, Joe Jacoby, Ty Law, John Lynch, Kevin Mawae and Kurt Warner. Kenny Easley was named by the veterans committed while Paul Tagliabue and Jerry Jones were named to the contributor’s category.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

With the distraction of Lane Kiffin at Alabama, do you think this gives the edge to Clemson for the national championship game or is Alabama just too good no matter how many distractions?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

On the way back from Tampa Monday evening I listened to Steely Dan’s “Two Against Nature” album. I found this very cool youtube of the Two Against Nature tour from 2000.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXoJz78LN50


Fightin Gators Top Stories