VETTEL: Donovan revolving door a sign of the times

Mohamed Abukar's decision to transfer from the Gator basketball team continues what is a disturbing trend for Billy Donovan's program. Over the last several seasons Florida has seen Orien Greene, James White, Christian Drejer, Mario Boggan, Rashid al Kaleem and Ryan Appleby depart Gainesville for one reason or the other. While only White has gone on to have any meaningful on-court success, the constant flow of transfers away from UF certainly does cause some problems.

Most notably Florida's ability to develop players and balance recruiting classes is severely impacted when guys leave after a year or two. Would Abukar have become a top-flight SEC player? I suspect not, but we really don't know. We know he was not inclined to get physical in a league where physical is unavoidable. But what about the other guys? There's no question in my mind that Greene and White could have been terrific in Florida's press and been difference makers the past two seasons, but it didn't happen.

A hidden complication caused by multiple transfers is the impact is has on recruiting. Whether its Kwame Brown turning pro or a situation like that of Abukar, Florida recruited with an expectation of them being part of the mix. Thus, when they are gone, the roster does not look like it was supposed to. You simply cannot snap your fingers and change that. In the last four years Florida has brought in several sight-unseen recruits in the summer. That quartet, Bonell Colas, Adrian Moss, Christian Drejer and Mohamed Abukar did not contribute much to the Orange and Blue. But summertime additions unquestionably make it tougher in the early signing period, because that's one more guy a high schooler will have to beat out to earn playing time.

The bottom line is this is simply a sign of the times. Times which demand immediate gratification in virtually every walk of life. Players might tolerate a redshirt year or a year being the eighth or ninth player in the rotation, but after that, they expect to play. When they don't they pout, they flunk out or they leave. For Abukar the timing is actually ideal because his departure will not dramatically affect Florida's rotation. (He was averaging 10.3 min/game) Plus, he can pick a team over the Holidays, enroll in January and be eligible to play mid-season next year. I have no idea where he will end up, but if asks my advice, I would tell the San Diego resident to look to L-A and signup with Southern Cal and the chance to play for Rick Majerus. I believe Donovan has chosen a wise course of action with his past two recruiting classes, focusing on likely four-year guys and making sure he spends plenty of time with them before bringing them on board. I love Florida's freshman class and the trio of David Huertas, Derwin Kitchen and Jimmy Sutton should be a nice follow up. It would not shock me to see the Gators add a combo forward type guy in the spring, if that right type of player/person were to be identified.

Who Might Get Those Ten Minutes?

Since Abukar is primarily a "3" in Florida's system, the logical recipients of his playing time would appear to be Corey Brewer (21.3 min/g) and Matt Walsh (26.9 min/g). One option might be for UF to go "big" with Joakim Noah (8.2 min/g) and Al Horford (15.3 min/g) seeing more court time. Going big limits Florida's perimeter scoring, but Noah causes problems in the press with his size. Plus he leads the Gators in rebounds per minute.

Florida Part Of the Old West?

When I heard Urban Meyer had filled out his coaching staff with N.C. State assistant "Doc" Holliday my immediate reaction was, "Couldn't Wyatt Earp get out of his contract"?

The nine assistants joining Meyer in Gainesville create a curious situation. Six of the nine were offensive coaches in this season and four of them appear to have nothing but offensive coaching in their background. Six assistants on one side of the ball is more than a little unusual, but could be justified if both grad assistant coaches were on defense. Keep in mind both Holliday and Mike Locksley have experience coaching on defense and one of them could be ticketed to that side of the ball if needed.

C-4 Doing The Right Thing

With a wife, two children and more than 1,100 yards on the year, Ciatrick Fason had no choice. The Gator junior could have benefited from another season of college football, sure. Maybe he would have been SEC player of the year, an All-American or even a Heisman candidate. But chances are he would have been simply a better version of himself. With only three running backs certain to go ahead of him in the next NFL draft, C-4 could stay no more. I wish he were staying, but I want that out of personal greed, wanting to enjoy his performances and wanting him to help the Gator post wins. I wanted Emmitt to stay, and all the others in between, but it's not my life.

I would guess him to be a second round pick, but so much can change between now and then. Certainly Auburn's Cadillac Williams and Ronnie Brown along with Texas' Cedric Benson top the list of draft-eligible runners. I would put Fason ahead of the next two seniors, Anthony Davis of Wisconsin and California's J.J. Arrington. C-4 could become the number five running back in the draft if Memphis' DeAngelo Williams jumps into the pool as expected. The number five player at a position that traditionally slides on draft day is not likely to be chosen until mid-to-late second round.

All that remains is a decision from Channing Crowder, whose ill-advised indifferent comments about meeting Urban Meyer seemed to signal an intention to move on. While Scouts Inc. "advises" the talented linebacker to stay in school with the chance of moving up into the first half of round one, it seems Crowder will go no later than the middle of the second round.

Linebacker Must Be Huge In Signing Class

With the likelihood of Crowder entering the NFL draft, the Gator LB situation for '05 has to be the top concern. Florida will return just four scholarship LBs for next season, five if you count Jarvis Moss. A team should have at least a dozen; so that means the Gators need six or seven in this year's class. The numbers could be balanced out by moving Eric Rutledge (which I'd have done on day one) and Brian Crum, but I'm not certain that helps in terms of ability. Florida has pretty good positional balance otherwise, but LB has to be hit extra-hard this time around.

By my count Florida has 63 players on scholarship for next year, leaving 22 available scholarships. That tally should allow the Gators, with normal attrition to sign a full class of 25. My list does not include Fason or Taurean Charles, but does count Crowder and Kenny Parker. Florida should sign seven LB, four OL, three DL, three DB, three WR, two TB, plus one at QB, FB, PK. You could drop a LB for a TE but I wouldn't advise it.

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