Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; March 29

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

Jalen Tabor’s Pro Day numbers were actually worse than the ones he posted at the NFL Scouting Combine back in February. In Indianapolois, Tabor ran a 4.62 40 which isn’t great but slow times and Indy go hand in hand. Tuesday in Gainesville, Tabor ran a 4.77.

That’s alarming to scouts and considering this is a draft that has a lot of first round talent at corner that has posted 40 times of 4.5 or faster. A 4.62 at Indy raised eyebrows. What happened Tuesday is the kind of thing that could keep Tabor out of the first round when the NFL drafts in May. Most of the mock drafts since Indy have seen Tabor fall out of the first round.

Perhaps there is an explanation. Maybe Tabor is simply one of those guys whose lights only come on when the pads go on, the whistle blows and it’s time to play real football. Maybe it sounds ridiculous but there are lots of guys in the NFL who are duds in shorts and studs in pads. That Emmitt guy (Smith, was it?) was a bust in shorts but he turned out okay when put on the pads and strapped on a helmet.

“Just press play,” Tabor said following Florida’s Pro Day Tuesday. “I feel like I’m at the top of the list. You watch the film … it really speaks for itself.”

Tabor’s performances at Indy and at Florida’s Pro Day create quite the dilemma for the scouts. Do they believe their stopwatches or do they do as Tabor suggests and trust that what they’ve seen on film is an accurate indicator of things to come? Film will show Tabor blanketing a whole lot of future NFL receivers the last three years but as they’re watching you know those 40 times are going to linger in the back of their minds. First rounders get multi-year contracts worth millions of dollars so mistakes are costly.   

Tabor may just be one of those guys for whom a day in shorts is a total waste of time. The same cannot be said Jarrad Davis and Marcus Maye, who were invited to the Combine but couldn’t participate in Indy because they were recovering from injuries. Joey Ivie, who wasn’t invited to Indy, probably made sure someone will take a flyer on him in a late round by running a 4.97, which is outstanding for a 300-pounder who plays inside on the D-line.

Davis ran a 4.56 in the 40 and a 4.35 in the short shuttle. He had a 38.5-inch vertical. If he had played on Florida’s basketball team a 38.5 would have been the second best vertical on the team this past season. Davis put up the kind of numbers that get hearts pumping and blood racing for the scouts who chronicle a player’s every move at events like this. Now add what they will see on film – a contact-seeking missile who shows up instinctively at the football in a nasty mood and is always on the attack – to the numbers in shorts and there is a good chance Davis has elevated himself into the first round when the NFL drafts in May, maybe into the top 20 picks.

Marcus Maye ran a 4.51 Tuesday and that’s exceptional for a safety. There is an outside chance he could go late first round, but more likely he’s a solid second rounder now. He made sure he will get a nice payday when he signs that first contract.

In many ways, Pro Day is the equivalent of a male beauty contest and the 40-yard dash is akin to the swimsuit competition. With that in mind, Jarrad Davis was Mr. Florida Tuesday and Marcus Maye was first runner-up.  

Tabor? Given his personality he could perhaps be Mr. Congeniality. He better hope personality, charm and some good film will convince the scouts to overlook what he did in the 40.

“You see a lot of these top-flight guys who go out there and run 4.3 and they’ll be out of the league in four years, you know what I’m saying?” Tabor asked. “I’m in for the long run. This is minor. I’m trying to play ball.”

#9 GATORS TAKE OUT #10 FSU, 4-1

The Gators (17-9) scored four runs in the top of the first inning and made them stand up as they took out #10 Florida State (18-8), 4-1, at The Baseball Grounds in Jacksonville Tuesday night before a crowd of 8,924.

JJ Schwarz delivered a run-scoring single and Mike Rivera hit a 3-run homer to account for all of Florida’s runs. The Gators managed only 6 hits in the game, 4 of them in the first inning.

Garrett Milchin (1-1) got the win, giving up just 2 hits in 4-1/3 innings. He was relieved by Nate Brown, who gave up two hits and FSU’s only run in the 6th. Michael Byrne came on to pitch the final 3-2/3 innings, allowing only 1 hit and striking out 4 to pick up his second save of the season.

The Gators hit the road this weekend, traveling to Missouri for a 3-game series starting Friday evening.

SPRING FOOTBALL IN THE SEC

Alabama: The O-line looks like this: LT Jonah Williams, LG Ross Pierschbacher, C Bradley Bozeman, RG Lester Cotton and RT Matt Womack.

Arkansas: As Arkansas makes the switch to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Paul Rhoads, emphasis this spring has been on finding some edge rushers. Last year’s leading sackers Jeremiah Ledbetter and Deatrich Wise Jr. have graduated and none of the returnees had more than 2.5 sacks.

Auburn: Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham is going to start at quarterback for the Tigers but true freshman Malik Willis is raising eyebrows. The other quarterbacks on the Auburn roster are Sean White, who started nine games last year, and redshirt Woody Barrett.

Georgia: Wide receiver Riley Ridley has missed Georgia’s first week of spring practice with what is being described as a foot injury, but speculation is he’s being punished because he was arrested earlier in March for possession of marijuana. Riley is also subject to a 1-game suspension in the fall.

Kentucky: Wide receiver Jeff Badet (31 catches, 670 yards, 4 TDs in 2016), who announced he’s transferring back in January, tweeted that he will be enrolling at Oklahoma. Badet graduates from Kentucky in May so he will be immediately eligible at OU.

LSU: Joe Alleva is once again bucking tradition at LSU. It is being reported that Alleva and LSU are trying very hard to gain approval for beer sales at Tiger Stadium. While that might seem like a brilliant money making idea on the surface it could put an end to the time honored Tiger Stadium tradition of using the football game to sober up so serious drinking could resume once the game is over.

Mississippi State: Researchers at MSU’s Bagley School of Engineering have designed a new football helmet with advanced materials including titanium that is three times more likely to reduce concussions.   

Missouri: Wide receiver Nate Brown (29 catches, 326 yards, 4 TDs in 2015), who missed last season after surgery to repair torn ankle ligaments, will miss the rest of spring football after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder.

Ole Miss: New offensive coordinator Phil Longo says the “light’s coming on” for sophomore quarterback Shea Patterson. “He’s starting to realize how much I think he feels like he can do in the offense,” Longo said. The backup is juco transfer Jordan Ta’amu with sophomore Jason Pellerin dropping down ot third string as well as learning a hybrid position of slot/tight end.

South Carolina: The Garnet and Gold spring football game has been rescheduled for noon Saturday so it won’t interfere with fans watching South Carolina take on Gonzaga at the Final Four at 6:09 p.m.

Tennessee: Senior center Coleman Thomas had surgery last week but HBC Butch Jones wouldn’t reveal the problem. Jones said Coleman’s return “could be a week, could be two weeks.” Coleman has started at right tackle, right guard and center during his UT career.

Texas A&M: A vote of confidence from the athletic director during the season is usually a very bad omen, but how about one during spring practice. Texas A&M AD Scott Woodward gave a vote of confidence to HBC Kevin Sumlin to the Bryan-College Station Eagle, saying, “I have full confidence that Coach will figure it out and will get it right.” The Aggies have started each of the last three seasons at 5-0 only to finish 8-5.

Vanderbilt: At Vandy’s spring showcase last Saturday, the quarterbacks combined for 8-22 passing for 94 yards and 1 TD with Kyle Shurmur leading the way at 7-13 for 88 yards and a TDP. The running game produced 156 yards on 38 carries for four TDs with Jamuari Wakefield leading the way with 50 yards and 2 touchdowns.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

Duke’s Harry Giles has declared for the NBA Draft. He’s had two ACL tears and averaged only 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 11.5 minutes a game as a freshman. With those numbers and that injury history, conventional wisdom says stay in school because nobody will draft you. Here is reality: Giles will go in the first round somewhere.

There is something to be said about genetics. LaVar Ball spent the entire basketball season making one outrageous statement after another about his boy, Lonzo, a first team All-American as a freshman point guard at UCLA. Well, it turns out Lonzo inherited his dad’s mile a minute mouth. In a Tuesday radio interview on ESPN 710 LA, Lonzo compared himself to Washington’s Markelle Fultz, a point guard that most scouts believe will be the very first player taken when the NBA drafts in June. Lonzo said, “Markelle’s a great player but I feel I’m better than him. I think I can lead a team better than him.” As a freshman at Washington, Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game for a losing team. Ball averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.6 assists for a Sweet 16 UCLA team.

The Oakland Raiders have the blessing of the NFL to relocate to Las Vegas in 2020. That means the Raiders will play three more years in Oakland. Will the fans still come out to watch them? And with the Raiders leaving because there is no new stadium you have to wonder how long the Oakland Athletics will continue to play in arguably the worst stadium in Major League Baseball?

FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher says he has a tape showing quarterback Deondre Francois taking numerous late hits that he plans to show at the ACC Spring Meetings at Amelia Island. Only three roughing the passer penalties were called against FSU opponents.

The Cleveland Browns are in desperate need of a quarterback but coach Hue Jackson says his team has neither discussed nor evaluated Colin Kaepernick.

Georgetown has reached out to Shaka Smart (Texas) and Mike Brey (Notre Dame) about the basketball coaching vacancy. Both smiled and said no thankee.

Anthony Grant, the former UF assistant under Billy Donovan and head coach at VCU and Alabama, seems the likely candidate to replace Archie Miller at Dayton. Grant played his college basketball at Dayton and is the sentimental choice.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

In the last 20 years, NFL cities (and in some cases states) have ponied up $6.7 BILLION in taxpayer money to build and/or renovate stadiums. Should taxpayers reward billionaire owners with new stadiums or should the owners have to find their own financing (that’s what Jerry Jones did in Dallas)?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

George Benson has recorded 36 studio albums and five live albums in a career that has also seen him win 10 Grammy Awards. He’s made his mark as a vocalist and guitarist and has crossed over from soul to jazz to blues and made is mark in all three. He’s 73 but still touring and putting on outstanding shows. Today’s music is “The Best of George Benson.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrNeBQURRBM


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