Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; March 6

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

This isn’t payday for Jalen Tabor, Quincy Wilson or Marcus Maye, but how they fare today at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis will go a long way toward padding their bank accounts in the next three months.

Monday is the day for safeties and defensive backs so exceptional times in the 40 and showing strength and good vertical leap are considered far more valuable than how many reps they do on the bench. Tabor has long been considered a first rounder, expected to go somewhere between picks 10-16. Wilson’s stock has risen all year and there are even some draftniks out there who think he could pass Tabor.

No mock drafts have Maye going first round but if he runs well may move from projected third round into the second. 

If all three of the former Gators have a good day Monday, it will be money in the bank for them in May when the NFL drafts.

UF linebackers on Sunday: Jarrad Davis is still rehabbing his surgically repaired ankle, so he didn’t work out in Indianapolis. He took all the tests and did the interviews so he likely impressed everyone. He’s a high character guy with well above average intelligence. He will run, lift and do the drills at Florida’s pro day. There is a lot of speculation that if Davis runs something in the 4.6-4.64 range that he’ll be on the back side of the first round or the first 10 of the second.

Alex Anzalone helped his NFL Draft stock immensely Sunday 4.63 40, the third best time of any linebacker. His 16 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press is a negative but strength can improve. You can’t teach speed. Anzalone’s injury history will work against him but that 40 time might move him up to the fourth round.

 UF D-linemen on Sunday: Caleb Brantley’s 5.14 time in the 40 won’t help his draft stock nor will his 19 reps in the bench so scouts are going to spend more time looking at his film than what he did at the combine. He’s 6-3 and 307 with a proven ability to split the double team and push centers back into the backfield.

Bryan Cox Jr. isn’t going to be drafted as a speed rusher off the edge, so his 4.89 time in the 40 won’t hurt him but his 16 reps of 225 in the bench press will. Scouts will look at his productivity against the run and his sound fundamentals. He’s a fourth round or later guy. Cox measured 6-3 and 265 pounds.

Sunday combine notes: As expected Myles Garrett of Texas A&M wowed everyone with a 4.64 time in the 40 and 33 reps of 225. He’s probably going #1 overall … Also making a case for first round was Auburn’s DE Carl Lawson, who ran a 4.67 and did 35 reps … Auburn’s Montravius Adams opened some eyes with a 4.87 time. He’s 304 pounds and is a perfect fit in someone’s 3-4 scheme … Vandy linebacker Zach Cunningham ran a 4.67 but managed a disappointing 15 reps … LSU linebacker Duke Riley helped himself with a 4.67 40


Florida could still make the #3 line in NCAA seeding even after the tough loss to Vanderbilt Saturday, but to move up the Gators are going to have to win Friday and Saturday at the SEC Tournament in Nashville next week. Even with the double bye, the Gators will get a tough matchup, either against a Vandy team that has beaten them twice already and is hanging by a thread to its NCAA hopes or against a Texas A&M team that played the Gators to the nubs in College Station. Had the Gators beaten Vandy, they would be playing the winner of Georgia-Texas A&M on Friday night.

The Gators seem like a solid #4 but a loss on Friday could change things. Purdue, for example, is on Joe Lunardi’s 5-line and the Boilermakers won the Big Ten regular season title. If they win the Big Ten Tournament as well, they could vault to a #4 and that would mean either Florida, Virginia, Duke or West Virginia could exchange places. Duke could also move up to a #3 or at least a #4 with a great performance in the ACC Tournament.

SEC Tournament schedule

Wednesday: 1. #12 Mississippi State (15-15, 6-12 SEC) vs. #13 LSU (10-20, 2-16 SEC); 2. #11 Auburn (18-13, 7-11 SEC) vs. #14 Missouri (7-23, 2-16 SEC)

Thursday: 3. #8 Georgia (18-13, 9-9 SEC) vs. #9 Tennessee (16-15, 8-10 SEC); 4. Game 1 winner vs. #5 Alabama (17-13, 10-8 SEC); 5. #7 Vanderbilt (17-14, 10-8 SEC) vs. #10 Texas A&M (16-14, 8-10 SEC); 6. Game 2 winner vs. Ole Miss (19-12, 10-8 SEC)

Friday: 7. Game 3 winner vs. #1 Kentucky (26-5, 16-2 SEC); 8. Game 4 winner vs. #4 South Carolina (22-9, 12-6 SEC); 9. Game 5 winner vs. FLORIDA (24-7, 14-4 SEC); 10. Game 6 winner vs. #3 Arkansas (23-8, 12-6 SEC)


Midwest: 1. Kansas; 2. Louisville; 3. UCLA; 4. Virginia

East: 1. Villanova; 2. Baylor; 3. Florida State; 4. FLORIDA

South: 1. North Carolina; 2. Kentucky; 3. Arizona; 4. West Virginia

West: 1. Gonzaga; 2. Oregon; 3. Butler; 4. Duke

Other SEC teams: South Carolina #8 in the Midwest; Arkansas #9 in the West; Vanderbilt #11 in the West and in a play-in game in Dayton


Midwest: 1. Kansas; 2. Arizona; 3. Louisville; 4. FLORIDA

East: 1. Villanova; 2. Kentucky; 3. Florida State; 4. Cincinnati

South: 1. North Carolina; 2. UCLA; 3. Baylor; 4. Purdue

West: 1. Gonzaga; 2. Oregon; 3. Butler; 4. Duke

Other SEC teams: South Carolina #8 in the West; Arkansas #10 in the West

SEC in last four out: Vanderbilt


The top 10 nationally: 1. Villanova 28-3; 2. Kansas 28-3; 3. Louisville 24-7; 4. North Carolina 25-6; 5. FLORIDA 24-7; 6. Baylor 24-6; 7. Kentucky 26-5; 8. Oregon 26-4; 9. Oregon 27-4; 10. Gonzaga 20-1

The SEC in national RPI rankings: 5. Florida; 7. Kentucky; 28. Arkansas; 31. South Carolina; 45. Vanderbilt; 54. Georgia; 68. Ole Miss; 76. Tennessee; 86. Texas A&M; 93. Alabama; 94. Auburn; 147. Mississippi State; 175. LSU; 262. Missouri


Florida’s bats still haven’t fully awakened but the pitching held up nicely as the 2nd-ranked Gators (10-2) swept Columbia over the weekend. The Gators got 27 hits in the three games, not what you would expect going against a team that was playing its first games of the season. The Gators are hitting a mediocre .261 through 12 games and they have hit only 8 home runs. It’s a real concern that JJ Schwarz is hitting just .209 with 0 homers and 6 RBI and Mike Rivera is hitting just .256 with 0 homers and 7 RBI.

There are no concerns at least with the weekend starters. Alex Faedo lowered his ERA to 1.77 and improved to 2-0 with 7 sparkling innings Friday night. Brady Singer is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA after going 5-1/3 innings and not getting a decision on Friday. Freshman Jackson Kowar got his third win Sunday and has a 3.38 ERA.

Kevin O’Sullivan still needs to find a closer and some midweek starters.

The Gators face Florida Gulf Coast in two midweek games, facing the Eagles in Fort Myers on Tuesday and returning home to face them on Wednesday. UF will host Seton Hall for a 3-game weekend series starting Friday. 

Softball: The #1-ranked Gators (20-1) went 5-0 at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, California. Friday was the big day for the Gators as they took out #18 California, 4-0, and followed that up with a 9-4 win over #8 UCLA in the nightcap. The Gators have outscored opponents 142-20 this season and have committed only 4 errors in the field while racking up an 0.70 team ERA. The Gators are off until next weekend when they go to Missouri to open the SEC schedule.

Women’s Tennis: Weather postponed #1 Florida’s match with Texas A&M in College Station until 11 a.m. today.

Men’s Golf: The 2nd-ranked Gators begin play today in the Southern Highlands Tournament in Las Vegas. Among the teams in the field are #3 Oklahoma State, #4 Illinois, #7 Southern Cal and #9 Texas Tech.

Lacrosse: The #3 Gators (3-1) won on the road in Maryland Sunday, knocking off Towson, 13-6.

Gymnastics: The 3rd-ranked Gators got their doors blown off in a showdown for the SEC championship in Baton Rouge as 2nd-ranked LSU cruised to a 198.15-196.6 win to take the conference title.

Men’s Tennis: The 13th-ranked Gators (8-5, 1-1 SEC) rebounded from a Friday loss to Texas A&M with a 4-3 win over LSU Sunday at the Ring Tennis Center.


Tim Williams, Alabama’s pass rush phenom extraordinaire, has admitted that he flunked “a few” drug tests during his four years at Alabama. A few? Do you know how many games he missed? Try the first half of the Kentucky game. He was suspended his sophomore year for a violation of team rules but he was back before the season opener.

This is how things work in Tuscaloosa: No body bag or no beat up woman, no problem. Here is a refresher for your memory. Back in September Williams was arrested for carrying a pistol without a permit after police smelled marijuana coming from his car. Conveniently, there was a passenger in the car who copped to owning the marijuana. Williams produced a receipt for the gun and claimed he thought that equated to a permit. That sells in Tuscaloosa, but not in the rest of the free world.

Of course, Tim Williams was a star. Do you think for one second that a third or fourth team scrubeenie would have been given the same treatment? And how many others have flunked drug tests? And how many of those flunked tests involved something more dangerous than marijuana or perhaps even steroids or human growth hormone?

Things that make you go hmmmmm.


As expected, Missouri has asked head basketball coach Kim Anderson to step down after a third straight losing season. The Tigers are 7-23 this season. In Anderson’s three seasons after replacing slimeball Frank Haith, Missouri went 0-30 on the road. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman speculates that Missouri will target Washington coach Lorenzo Romar, who was once the head coach at St. Louis. One of Romar’s assistants is Michael Porter Sr., a former Mizzou women’s assistant and the father of Michael Porter, who is considered the top player in the 2017 class. Porter is signed to play at Washington.

Former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, projected as a first round draft pick, was sent home from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis after getting into an argument with a hospital worker. Foster had rotator cuff surgery last month so he wasn’t participating in the combine. This kind of incident could send his draft stock plummeting.

LSU All-American corner Tre’Davious White may be NFL bound but he wishes he could stick around and play for Coach O. He says all the LSU players feel the same way. “There’s no guy that those guys would rather play for,” White said at the NFL combine. “I wish I had one more year to play for him. I’m looking forward to 2017. Those guys are gonna have my full attention every Saturday.”

And since we’re on the subject of LSU, no announcement is expected on basketball coach Johnny Jones until after the Tigers are eliminated from the SEC Tournament. They play Mississippi State Wednesday.

Kaylee Hartung, who has been ESPN’s sideline reporter for SEC Network prime time broadcasts, is leaving for a news correspondent position at CNN. You can almost bet the farm that Laura Rutledge, formerly of Fightin’ Gators, will be stepping into that SEC Network role.

There are reports that there is a faction at Ole Miss that wants to fire Hugh Freeze now with the hope that the NCAA will go soft on the Rebels when they go before the Committee on Infractions, but there is still strong support including the school president and athletic director to fight the allegations. Freeze denies any personal involvement or knowledge of the infractions. Prediction: The decision by Ole Miss to fight will back down the NCAA somewhat but expect Freeze to be suspended for half a season.

Wichita State won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament and heads into the NCAA with a 30-4 record, the fourth 30-win season in the last five years. Marshall is paid $3.3 million and a lot of folks this is a year he might bolt if the right job were to open up in either the SEC or ACC and the salary was in excess of $4 million.  Maybe. I think it would have to be a job like Duke or North Carolina to get him to leave Wichita State. Why go someplace where you might have to build a program up to a championship level when you can win 30 a year and make the NCAA there in Wichita?

Florida Gulf Coast won the Atlantic Sun championship. Joe Dooley, a former Bill Self assistant, is the coach. You will hear his name mentioned prominently for openings in power five conferences.

South Carolina won its third straight SEC women’s basketball tournament. That program was headed nowhere when Dawn Staley was hired as the basketball coach and now the Gamecocks could be one of four #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. When you think about Florida’s resources, population base and strong talent pool, you have to wonder why UF is stuck in mediocrity and if there is a commitment to spend the money necessary to upgrade the program.


Do the revelations that Tim Williams flunked multiple drug tests at Alabama alarm you or is this something that goes on at every school and Alabama is just better at covering it up than the other schools?


The Rolling Stones released a blues cover album back on December 2, 2016 called “Blue and Lonesome.” The album features Eric Clapton, who was recording his own album in the same studio, playing a couple of tracks. All the vocals are by Mick Jagger with no vocals from Keith Richards.

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