The Robertson Report

[Premium article] This past weekend we saw two of the elite programs in the country square off in basketball. The Florida Gators couldn't get the last second three to go down to tie Kentucky. The difference in the game was a matter of inches. The gap between Florida and Kentucky in football is much larger. A greater comparison could not be made than in this year's recruiting classes.

Things could not be much worse for the UK football program. They got caught red-handed with a paper trail that would make Bill Clinton proud and they have very little to show for their transgression, a couple of winning seasons and a bowl appearance. It may take a decade before UK emerges from the SEC cellar. At least Bama got an SEC Championship and an Orange Bowl trip from their most recent encounter with the NCAA rules infraction committee. Not that I am condoning cheating in any form, it's just that Kentucky gained essentially nothing and in the grand scheme of things they'll end up in worse condition than before. It doesn't make sense in the end.

The one thing I can say for sure is that Coach Guy Moriss is a man of integrity. I believe he will run a tight program and make the most of what he has. He has had some defections,namely tailback Chad Scott, which makes his job more difficult. His replacement could come from a cast of returnees or it could come from incoming frosh Monquantae Gibson. Gibson is a bit undersized even if you believe his program weight, but he has an athletic frame. Moriss will probably lay the ground work for a competitive program with these young kids. And it won't hurt a bit to let them learn on the fly. If Gibson bulks up a bit, he could prove to be a key piece in the future of that plan.

Kentucky had needs at nearly every position except QB. Between Jared Lorenzen and Shane Boyd, they are set for a couple of years. The O-line and D-line needed quality depth and potential to lay a foundation for the future. WR was of concern and UK seems to find a diamond in the rough every class. Glenn Holt Jr. may be the next one. He has decent speed and good hands. He also has a little something to prove since he didn't have a lot of options, but he could be a good one.

The Cats signed some much needed beef for the trenches. Yancey Reynolds and Walls, MS product Jared McGowan both have size to compete, but the O-line is probably the most difficult place to play as a freshman. The DL may see some immediate help from the likes of Kareem Reid. At 6-5, he has the frame to put on some muscle and he'll need it. With the loss of DE Dennis Johnson as an early NFL defection, everybody with a helmet will need to step up.

The final analysis is UK took what was available. They didn't get any blue chips, red chips, or even potato chips. Sad to say they took most of what was left over and and most of the 2nd tier in state talent. Hey, who could blame a bluegrass kid for leaving the state when faced with the poor chance of success at his home school. Moriss will put a positive spin on this and I think he'll get the most out of these kids. That junkyard dog mentality goes a long way with some folks, but, hey, this is Kentucky we're talking about.

Florida, despite losing Spurrier, raked in their fair share. They had a few top notch kids slip away to rival schools, but they held their own. Hats off to Zook and staff for not blowing the whole class. The worm would have turned on Coach Zook quickly if this class had tanked.

What does Florida really need? Well, before Spurrier left, they needed a tailback, a center, and a DL or two. Now they need WRs, DBs, RB's, and all of the above. Even Brock Berlin left just to play one year at Miami. Florida football took a huge leap back this off-season, but, hey, it's still Florida and a high school kid in most cases likes a big name school. If they get the chance to go, they'll give the new guy a shot.

With Berlin gone and Grossman about to leave in a year or two, Florida desperately needed QB's. They got two great ones in Gavin Dickey and Patrick Dosh. Dickey, from Tallahassee, is very mobile and Dosh has a cannon for an arm. The Dickey pickup made the alumni downright giddy, but I think Dosh will prove to be a huge addition to the squad before he is done. The QB problem is solved for now.

Another in-state coup occurred when the Gators snatched Jermaine and Tremaine McCollum right from under the shadow of the Orange Bowl in Miami. The McCollum brothers are Kevin Prentiss prototypes. Both are 5-9 with blazing speed. These kids, though small, are very athletic. Look for one, if not both, to return kicks someday.

The O-line concerns, in my opinion, were not adequately addressed. The best signee, in my opinion, was Randy Hand. At 6-4, 315, he could prove to be a wall in the trenches. Ryan Carter is another 300+ type mammoth that should provide depth in the near future. The D-line will have a couple of guys come in, but no one similar in talent to Alex Brown. But don't forget that Brown came from nowhere as an underclassman. Not to mention the fact that Zook coached the likes of Joe Johnson and LaRoi Glover in N.O.

I think UF had a top 30 class, but not as great a class as a lot of people who pick them solely off reputation and Spurrier's ability to evaluate talent. Well, Spurrier's talent at evaluating talent is gone to the NFL and the Florida reputation could be gone soon if Zook doesn't pan out. He has coached at the college level before and even coached at Florida, but he wasn't a barnstormer then.

It just won't be the same SEC without Spurrier. I know most people hated him, but the guy brought a lot to the table for the conference. It'll be interesting to see if the conference has a super elite team anymore or if parity reigns supreme in the East much like it does in the West. If that's the case, it'll be an even bigger feat when an SEC team wins the National Championship. The best thing is that the guys who pick football games and write spot columns may have to actually think now when they write about the SEC East. Florida was always the no-brainer pick and even if they lost, nobody poked fun, because we all expected them to win.

Until next week,

Steve Robertson
John 3:14


Steve Robertson is a free-lance correspondent who writes The Robertson Report for the premium site portion of Gene's Page. Steve's email address is therobertsonreport@hotmail.com.

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