Franz Beard: Thoughts of the Day

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY, MAY 23, 2019

RAYSHAD JACKSON TRANSFERRING OUT

Rayshad Jackson might not have blossomed into a star this fall, but as the third leading tackler among Florida’s returning linebackers, he was expected to be a valuable, experienced contributor to one of the nation’s best defenses. In the grind of an SEC season, a fifth-year senior who knows the defensive scheme is both a luxury and a necessity so when Jackson announced he’s placed his name in the NCAA transfer portal on Wednesday, it was a real hit to UF’s defense for 2019.

Jackson, who started three games last year and made 36 tackles, could still return to UF if he has a change of heart but with his name in the transfer portal schools can contact him without penalty. As a grad transfer he will be immediately eligible.

The Gators have enough bodies (12) at linebacker but with Jackson leaving, only half of them have experience so defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is going to have to force feed the kids and make them grow up quickly.

Kylan Johnson to Pitt: Kylan Johnson, who put his name in the transfer portal earlier in the spring, announced Wednesday that he will transfer to Pitt where he will be eligible immediately. Johnson had nine starts in his Florida career with 83 tackles in 33 games played.

THE LIST FOR THURSDAY

Who are the 10 most overrated coaches in all of college football? Here is my list.

1. Randy Edsall, UCONN: He went 1-11 in 2018 and the people who share a common brain at UConn gave him a raise. What? They’ll break the bank if he doubles his win total in 2019?

2. Lovie Smith, Illinois: Overrated might actually be a poor choice of words. Lovie might be a really good defensive coordinator but he is a rotten head coach. The fact that he has a Division I head coaching job tells you he’s at the very least overrated.

3. Mike Locksley, Maryland: In his previous head coaching gig (New Mexico) Locksley went 3-31 and left the program in a very bad way. Just because he was Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator, people seem to think he has learned how to be a head coach. I think he had reached the highest level of his competency as an offensive coordinator for Nick. Now he’s trying to be a head coach again in the same division as Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State.

4. Chad Morris, Arkansas: Maybe this will be the year Morris breaks through but his 4-year record as a head coach (three at SMU, one at Arkansas) is 16-31. Last year Morris piloted the Razorbacks to a 2-10 record, the worst in school history. Everybody says he’s an offensive genius but there is a real difference in being a successful coordinator and a head coach.

5. Willie Taggart, Florida State: FSU is his fourth job. In nine years as a head coach he’s won 52 games and lost 57. Last year, he piloted the Seminoles to their first losing season since the 1970s and their first non-bowl year in more than three decades. Things will get worse in Tallahassee before they ever get better and someone else will have to make things better.

6. Bob Davie, New Mexico: He couldn’t win enough to avoid getting fired at Notre Dame where he had every resource in the world available to him. Now he’s at New Mexico where he’s had five losing seasons in seven while posting a 33-54 record.

7. Gary Andersen, Utah State: Is his brain truly functional? One wonders because he left Wisconsin after two years and 20 wins for Oregon State, which is a graveyard. Now he’s back at Utah State for a second stint. He went 26-24 in his first. Now he’s taking over a program that won 11 games the year before. The over-under is three as in three years before he runs this program into the ground.

8. Kevin Sumlin, Arizona: At Texas A&M he became famous for the second half swoon in which the Aggies went into the tank after a great start to the season. When you can’t win big with all that Texas talent at your disposal, you have serious problems. At Arizona he will make them long for the day when RichRod was piloting the Wildcats to those thrilling 6-6 seasons.

9. Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: He is 24-38 in five seasons at Vanderbilt, which for Vandy seems quite good until you see that James Franklin went to three straight bowl games and posted back-to-back 9-win seasons. Given what Franklin did, the old “it’s Vandy” excuse just doesn’t cut it. At some point the chardonnay and brie tailgate set that makes up the bulk of the Vandy boosters is going to decide Vandy can do better.

10. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan: It starts with these two imposing facts – (a) Harbaugh has never won the conference championship either in the Pac-12 or the Big Ten and (b) he never beat Urban Meyer even though he had superior personnel at least twice. Given the resources, facilities, etc. at his disposal at Stanford and now at Michigan, you would think he would have had at least one championship by now.

Friday: The 10 most underrated coaches in college football.

HISTORY SAYS UF BASEBALL WILL MAKE NCAA FIELD

Step back in time to 2013 when the Gators were coming off at the time was the most impressive run in UF baseball history. With the heart and soul of those three straight College World Series teams gone to the pros, the 2013 Gators struggled to a 29-27 regular season record and just 14-16 in the Southeastern Conference. When the Gators lost to Texas A&M (they did that in 2013 just as they did Tuesday morning) in the first round of the SEC Tournament, most of the experts wrote UF off for the postseason, but when Selection Sunday arrived, the Gators were picked for the Bloomington, Indiana regional where they were beaten by Austin Peay and Valparaiso for a very hasty exit.

The 2013 team made the NCAA Tournament for two reasons: (1) The SEC schedule along with non-conference games series with Indiana, Miami and FSU was brutal; and (2) the NCAA has a hard time saying no to teams that have a history of excellence. That sounds lot like 2019, doesn’t it? The Gators are 33-24, 13-17 in the SEC, 5-1 against Miami and FSU and they’re coming off a run of four straight appearances in the College World Series.

The tough schedule combined with that recent 4-year run of excellence should be the factors that put the Gators over the top when the NCAA picks its field of 64 on Sunday. This isn’t a vintage Florida team just like that 2013 team wasn’t (only Kevin O’Sullivan team at UF with a losing record) but past excellence carries weight with the NCAA.

SOME GOOD QUOTES FOR A THURSDAY

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin speaking to Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com about why attendance is declining, not just at Florida but throughout college football:

“One thing that has a huge impact is visiting teams don’t travel like they used to. We hold about 8,000 for visitors, and they usually bring about 3,000. There’s where the 75-inch TV is hurting us.”

From an ESPN.com, former UF coach Jim McElwain talked about what went wrong at Florida:

“I probably wasn’t a very good fit, and in this business, there is a lot to be said about that. And yet, I’m proud of what we did. I wished we could have won the SEC championship those times we played in it. We weren’t quite there yet, but I think they’ll get there.”

From Stewart Mandel of The Athletic on the future of Alabama football:

It’s not so much that I think Alabama’s dynasty is about to crumble. The extreme degree of staff turnover the past two years concerns me, but Saban’s overcome such things before. It’s more about the competition. Alabama was head and shoulders the sport’s premier program for most of this decade, but at least two other programs have closed the gap. One, Clemson, is every bit Alabama’s on-field equal and is now finally starting to out-recruit the Tide as well. The other, Georgia, is led by the first coach in a decade who’s an even better recruiter than Saban himself, and Kirby Smart’s team has come as close as humanly possible to the Tide on the field as well in their past two meetings.

From ESPN.com’s Q and A with Dabo Swinney on the similarities and reasons why he and Nick Saban win big:

“I think Nick and I are similar in a lot of ways that we’re both incredibly detailed, incredibly passionate about what we do and we’re both teachers, both fully committed and believe in how we do things. But we’re very different too in how we go about it. But that’s why we’re both successful: You are who you are. People who try to be something they’re not — if I tried to do it Nick’s way, I’d probably fail. You have to stay true to the things you believe in as a coach. I had a clear vision for how I wanted to be a head coach and build a program and the type of people and culture I wanted. Nick’s the same way. That doesn’t mean one of us is right or wrong or better than the other. We’ve both won. It’s just – be who you are and do what you believe in for the right reasons and not to be like somebody else.”

From an “anonymous” coach speaking to Lindy’s preseason football magazine about Georgia QB Jake Fromm:

“He’s an NFL-style quarterback; cerebral; can run better than people think; very accurate thrower. If you gave me one quarterback in this league to pick, he’d be the guy. … He makes some bad throws and he has struggled picking up different coverages, but he’s talented.”

SEC FOOTBALL/BASKETBALL STUFF

Quarterback Shawn Robinson, who transferred to Missouri from TCU, has applied for a waiver that will allow him to play immediately instead of sitting out a season. If granted the waiver, Robinson could still play in four games and maintain his redshirt.

Consider this a shot across the LSU basketball bow from Kevin Lennon, the NCAA vice president of Division I Governance. Speaking to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, Lennon said Wednesday, “Activity was going on during that span that was within our purview, but now that the court cases are done, now we’re in a position where you’re likely to see notices of allegations going to institutions that have violated NCAA rules, etc. I think you can anticipate notices of allegations will be coming.” Translation: We have you in our sights Will Wade and what’s going down is not going to be pretty.

LSU guard Skylar Mays will wait until next Tuesday (the deadline) to decide whether to stay in the NBA Draft or return to LSU for his senior season. An academic All-American with a 4.1 GPA, Mays averaged 13.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game last season.

Jacksonville shooting guard Janaud Notae (6-2, 190) is transferring to Arkansas. Notae, who averaged 15.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season, will have to sit a year before he’s eligible to play two more seasons.

RANDOM THOUGHTS: One day after dumping defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and his $13 million contract, the Tampa Bay Bucs are rolling the dice with Ndamukong Suh, who spent the 2018 NFL season with the Los Angeles Rams … How refreshing! The Tampa Bay XFL team has named Jerry Glanville its defensive coordinator. When he was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL once admonished a zebra who had made a pretty bad call that the NFL stands for “not for long,” as in the zebra wasn’t going to be in the league a long time if he made a lot of bad calls … Juwan Howard who was one of the members of the original Fab Five is returning home to Michigan, this time as the head coach of the Wolverines. The Miami Heat assistant signed a 5-year deal that will pay $2 million a year at Michigan. Michigan is now the only school in Division I with an alum coaching both the football (Jim Harbaugh) and basketball teams … Former Gator Jon Bostic, who started 14 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, was signed by the Washington Redskins Wednesday to fill the spot on the roster vacated by Reuben Foster, who tore his ACL at practice on Monday.