Kan Li / Scout

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; Jan. 5

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

It’s Thursday and there is still no official announcement that Randy Shannon has been promoted to defensive coordinator of the Florida Gators. Maybe it’s all just formality and maybe Shannon already knows that he’s the guy to replace Geoff Collins, but recruiting season is in full bloom and a statement from Jim McElwain that he’s taken the interim tag off Shannon would be excellent publicity at a time when the Gators need every good headline they can grab.

What Shannon did with the Florida defense in the Outback Bowl was remarkable. Yes, the Gators were playing a team that is rather one-dimensional all season in Iowa, but UF was playing without six of its seven top tacklers and going with a skeleton crew at linebacker against a team that produced two 1,000-yard rushers in the Big Ten. Shannon’s defense held the Hawkeyes to 226 total yards with 171 on the ground. I don’t have the yards after the first hit stats, but I would be willing to wager that Iowa gained at least 90 yards due to poor tackling, a lot of that by true freshmen who were next men up in Florida’s M*A*S*H unit of a defense. There were very few blown assignments. Players knew exactly where they should be.

Holding any Division I team to 226 yards is a rather strong accomplishment, but especially when so many key elements to the defense are sidelined with injuries. This was a well-coached and well-prepared unit. Iowa, meanwhile, was dazed and confused. The Hawkeyes couldn’t read the coverage, whether it was zone or man, and had no clue where the blitz was coming from. 

Shannon did his part and helped send the Gators out a winner for the 2016 season. He’s got head coaching experience, was the defensive coordinator for Miami’s great national championship team in 2001, has head coaching experience and he’s a lights out recruiter in south Florida, a place the Gators need to score players every year. It’s time to reward him with a public announcement that he’s been promoted.

ANZALONE LEAVING FOR THE NFL

Often injured linebacker Alex Anzalone is the third Gator (CB Quincy Wilson and LT David Sharpe are the others) to announce he’s skipping his senior year at UF for the NFL. Anzalone’s decision comes as no surprise. He participated in Senior Day so his intentions to leave have been well known for some time.

Actually, Anzalone’s decision makes a lot of sense. He spent most of his career at UF injured and missed the final five games after breaking his arm against Arkansas. He played well enough when healthy to earn a shot in the NFL but if he came back for his senior season and spent most of it injured, he would have no chance whatsoever. If he can stay healthy, he’s got the skills to get on the field in the NFL.

Corner Jalen Tabor and defensive tackle Caleb Brantley still haven’t announced but it’s a foregone conclusion that they will announce their intentions to leave within a day or so.

SEC DOMINATES THREE MOCK DRAFTS

There are still 11 days until the deadline for players to announce if they’re going to the NFL or staying put, but that doesn’t stop the people who spend their lives analyzing players from putting together mock drafts. Here are the mock drafts from ESPN (Todd McShay), Sports Illustrated and CBSSports.com.

Todd McShay’s ESPN mock draft features 16 SEC players including six from Alabama and four (Jalen Tabor, Caleb Brantley, Jarrad Davis and Quincy Wilson) from Florida. McShay’s mock draft is interesting also because the first quarterback taken is North Carolina’s Mitch Trubisky with the 30th pick. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson is not picked in McShay’s first round.

(SEC players in bold face)
1. DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama, to Cleveland

2. DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, to San Francisco
3. S Jamal Adams, LSU, to Jacksonville

4. S/LB Jabril Peppers, Michigan, to Chicago
5. CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, to Tennessee

6. LB Tim Williams, Alabama, New York Jets

7. RB Leonard Fournette, LSU, to Carolina
8. CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, to New Orleans

9. OLB Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, to Cleveland

10. WR Mike Williams, Clemson to San Diego

11. LB Reuben Foster, Alabama, to Arizona
12. DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee, to Cincinnati
13. OT Cam Robinson, Alabama, to Indianapolis

14. OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, to Buffalo

15. DE/LB Charles Harris, Missouri, to Baltimore

16. TE O.J. Howard, Alabama, to Miami
17. WR John Ross, Washington, to Tennessee

18. CB JALEN TABOR, FLORIDA, TO PHILADELPHIA

19. DE Carl Lawson, Auburn, to Houston

20. RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State, to Green Bay
21. DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State, to Tampa Bay

22. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Southern Cal, to Washington
23. DT CALEB BRANTLEY, FLORIDA, TO DENVER
24. LB JARRAD DAVIS, FLORIDA, TO DETROIT

25. RB D’Onta Foreman, Texas, to New York Giants
26. DE Taco Charlton, Michigan, to Pittsburgh

27. CB QUINCY WILSON, FLORIDA, TO ATLANTA
28. CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, to Oakland
29. OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame, to Seattle

30. QB Mitch Trubisky, Clemson, to Kansas City
31. DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford, to Dallas
32. RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, to New England

Sports Illustrated’s mock draft includes 14 SEC players including five from Alabama and three (Quincy Wilson, Jarrad Davis and Jalen Tabor) from Florida. In this mock draft, Watson and Trubisky go 2-3 in the first round and Notre Dame QB Deshone Kizer goes #13.

1. DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, to Cleveland
2. QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson, to San Francisco
3. QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina, to Chicago

4. DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama, to Jacksonville

5. LB Reuben Foster, Alabama, to Tennessee
6. S Jamal Adams, LSU, to New York Jets

7. WR Mike Williams, Clemson, to San Diego
8. RB Leonard Fournette, LSU, to Carolina
9. DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee to Cincinnati

10. S Jabril Peppers, Michigan, to Buffalo
11. LB Tim Williams, Alabama, to New Orleans

12. CB QUINCY WILSON, FLORIDA, TO CLEVELAND

13. QB Deshone Kizer, Notre Dame, to Arizona
14. RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State, to Philadelphia
15. S Malik Hooker, Ohio State, to Indianapollis

16. WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan, to Baltimore
17. DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford, to Washington
18. CB Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, to Tennessee
19. WR John Ross, Washington, to Tampa Bay
20. OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, to Denver

21. LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, to Detroit
22. LB JARRAD DAVIS, FLORIDA, TO MIAMI

23. TE O.J. Howard, Alabama, to New York Giants
24. CB Desmond King, Iowa, to Oakland

25. DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State, to Houston
26. CB JALEN TABOR, FLORIDA, TO GREEN BAY

27. OT Cam Robinson, Alabama, to Seattle
28. CB Jourdan Lewis, Michigan, to Pittsburgh
29. DE Demarcus Walker, Florida State, to Atlanta
30. RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, to Kansas City

31. DE/LB Charles Harris, Missouri, to Dallas
32. CB Sidney Jones, Washington, to New England

The CBSSports.com’s mock draft sees 14 SEC players going in the first round with six from Alabama and only one (Jalen Tabor) from Florida. In this draft, Trubisky is the #1 overall pick while Watson goes at #6 and Kizer once again goes at #13.
1. QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina, to Cleveland
2. DE Myles Garrett, Texas A&M, to San Francisco
3. DE Jonathan Allen, Alabama, to Chicago

4. RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State, to Jacksonille

5. S Jamal Adams, LSU, to Tennessee
6. QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson, to New York Jets
7. S Malik Hooker, Ohio State, to San Diego
8. RB Leonard Fournette, LSU, to Carolina

9. LB Tim Williams, Alabama, to Cincinnati
10. WR Mike Williams, Clemson, to Buffalo
11. LB Reuben Foster, Alabama, to New Orleans

12. CB JALEN TABOR, FLORIDA, TO CLEVELAND
13. QB Deshone Kizer, Notre Dame, to Arizona
14. DE Derek Barnett, Tennessee, to Indianapolis
15. WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan, to Philadelphia
16. OT Cam Robinson, Alabama, to Baltimore
17. DT Solomon Thomas, Stanford, to Washington

18. WR John Ross, Washington, to Tennessee
19. S Jabril Peppers, Michigan, to Tampa Bay

 20. OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, to Denver
21. DL Malik McDowell, Michigan State, to Houston
22. DE Taco Charlton, Michigan, to Detroit
23. DE/LB Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, to Green Bay
24. TE O.J. Howard, Alabama, to Miami
25. OT Garrett Bolles, Utah, to Seattle

26. DE/LB Charles Harris, Missouri, to Atlanta

27. RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, to New York Giants

28. DE Carl Lawson, Auburn, to Pittsburgh
29. LB Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, to Oakland
30. CB Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, to Kansas City
31. CB Sidney Jones, Washington, to Dallas

32. DE Demarcus Walker, Florida State, to New England

GATORS #3 IN LATEST REALTIME.COM BASKETBALL RPI

Following Tuesday night’s win over Ole Miss, the Florida Gators (11-3, 2-0 SEC) are at #3 in the Realtime.com college basketball RPI. The Gators have the #1 national strength of schedule. Kentucky (12-2, 1-0 SEC) is the only other SEC team in the top 10.

Here is the top 10, which doesn’t include Wednesday night, which saw Villanova drop its first game of the season to Butler.

1. Villanova 14-0; 2. Baylor 12-0; 3. FLORIDA 11-3; 4. Xavier 12-2; 5. Kansas 13-1; 6. Kentucky 12-2; 7. Creighton 13-1; 8. Louisville 12-2; 9. Oregon 12-2; 10. Minnesota 13-2.

The rest of the SEC: 28. Arkansas 12-2; 37. Georgia 8-4; 47. Ole Miss 9-5; 54. South Carolina 9-3; 60. Vanderbilt 7-6; 72. Tennessee 7-6; 83. Auburn 10-3; 90. Alabama 8-5; 95. Texas A&M 8-5; 98. LSU 8-4; 226. Mississippi State 9-4; 263. Missouri 5-7

Top 15 Conference rankings: 1. Big East; 2. ACC; 3. Big 12; 4. Big Ten; 5. SEC; 6. Pac-12; 7. Atlantic 10; 8. American Athletic; 9. Mountain West; 10. West Coast; 11. Colonial; 12. Missouri Valley; 13. Sun Belt; 14. Southern; 15. MAAC

RANDOM THOUGHTS

How much does recruiting matter? Mike Hugenin of Gridironnow.com reports that 35 of the 44 expected starters for Monday night’s national championship game between Alabama and Clemson were 4-star or better recruits. Hugenin also looked at 12 key reserves on both teams. Of Alabama’s 12 key reserves, 9 earned at least a 4-star rating coming out of high school while 8 of Clemson’s 12 were at least 4-stars.

Alabama corner Minkah Fitzpatrick says Clemson is in for a surprise. Wednesday, Fitzpatrick said, “The whole defense really didn’t play that well, and I said earlier they didn’t see the real ‘Bama last year. They just saw a little flash of it. Hopefully this year if we go play right, they gonna get a little taste of the real ‘Bama.”

So much for tough discipline. Grayson Allen’s “indefinite suspension” at Duke lasted all of one game. Allen is a bully on the court who has been caught tripping  three opponents intentionally. He’s generally regarded as a thug but he can score and that has everything to do with why the suspension lasted one game.

The Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences are in discussions about a scheduling alliance. It’s a smart way to handle schedule upgrades and increase television dollars through better games on Fox, which has contracts with both leagues. There is also thought that this might be the beginning of an eventual merger between the two conferences.

There was good news and bad news at Auburn. DE Carl Lawson declared for the NFL Draft while All-SEC OG Braden Smith announced he will be back for his senior year.

Suspended Texas A&M wide receiver Speedy Noil won’t come back but will instead bolt for the NFL.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

How concerned are you with Florida’s recruiting at this point? Do you believe the win over Iowa will give the Gators any kind of bounce?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

On the way back home from physical therapy today, I heard some old Creedence Clearwater music from their “Cosmo’s Factory” album in 1970. I’ve had “Run Through the Jungle” and John Fogerty blasting away at his version of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” in my head all day. The album was the fifth for Creedence and it reached #1 on the Billboard album charts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CAoS-_1_dA


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