THOUGHTS OF THE DAY, JUNE 25, 2019
FOR THOSE WITH RECRUITING ANXIETY
Perhaps lost in the shuffle of 4-star linebacker Derek Wingo (6-2, 215, Fort Lauderdale, FL St. Thomas Aquinas) flipping his commitment from Penn State to Florida over the weekend was a textbook lesson in doing things the right way by the UF staff. There wasn’t a hint of negativity in their presentation to Wingo and his parents and no time was wasted trying to make comparisons between Florida and Penn State. It was a cohesive effort, led by linebackers coach Christian Robinson who made certain the Wingos were 100 percent at ease with the Florida coaching staff and the University of Florida.
In Monday’s edition of The Athletic, Will Sammon takes us through the process with the Wingos, leaving the impression that this is the way Dan Mullen and his staff go about this very serious business of recruiting. It isn’t simply about answering questions, it’s about answering them in such detail that everyone is satisfied.
Writes Sammons about what happened when Wingo and his parents sat down in Robinson’s office:
“Inside his office, Robinson handed Derek Wingo and his parents each a packet of 25 pages of information designed specifically for Wingo. Robinson, sources close to Florida’s program said, spent the entire night before the visit, with the help of Gators assistant director of creative media Kevin Camps, creating the packets.
“Around 4 p.m. on Friday, Carrieann Wingo had informed Robinson that she and her son had created two extensive lists of questions about Florida they wanted to be answered. Robinson went to work answering each inquiry with detail.
“The information was contained in Gators folders. There were pages on life after football, former players, faculty and departments. There were pictures of the dorms. There was information about athletes’ stipends. There was a campus map and a graphic with the exact mileage from the Wingos’ home to The Swamp, because Wingo indicated in his list of questions he wanted to learn just how close the Gators were. There was even an itemized depth chart with pictures and an explanation of how he could be used on third downs as a freshman.”
Wingo’s mom was blown away.
“All of our concerns were there,” she told Sammon. “Absolutely everything Derek and I had on our lists with the exception of a couple of things that were addressed with specific departments were in those packets.
“It wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns, either. There were some things where I was like, ‘Eh, I am not that crazy about that.’ He was very transparent. He gave us the good, the bad and the ugly. No one is perfect. There was no sugarcoating, no pretending. It was unbelievable the time and effort he must have spent.”
Reading the Sammons account of how Florida handled flipping Derek Wingo, it’s impossible not to think Dan Mullen and his staff do indeed know what they’re doing. While true Mullen and staff have yet to turn into a dominant recruiting force, think of what they are doing in the same way you would build a house. You start with a quality foundation and if the foundation is solid, the house is going to stand for a long, long time. Florida recruiting has a very solid foundation being put in place. It’s only a matter of time before the Gators start landing 5-star recruits.
One last thought. Do not underestimate the depth of the recruiting hole left by the previous staff. It has taken nearly two years for Mullen and his coaches to repair the damage to the point where the Gators can compete once again for the best players in the country. There remains work to be done, but the gap continues to close.
THE LIST FOR TUESDAY
There is an old saying that you can manipulate stats to prove or disprove your point, but when it comes to football there are 10 stats – five on offense; five on defense – that truly tell the difference between success, failure and mediocrity. They are (offense) yards per pass attempt (7.0-7.5 average; 7.6-7.9 very good; 8.0 or better outstanding); yards per rush attempt (4.1-4.6 average; 4.7-5.3 very good; 5.4 or better outstanding); yards per offensive play (5.3-6.0 average; 6.1-6.8 very good; 6.9 or better outstanding); sacks allowed (21-25 average; 16-20 very good; 15 or fewer outstanding); and turnovers (15-20 average; 10-14 very good; 9 or fewer outstanding). On defense yards per pass attempt (6.7 or fewer outstanding; 6.8-7.1 very good; 7.2-7.6 average); yards per rush attempt (3.7 or fewer outstanding; 3.8-4.2 very good; 4.3-4.7 average); yards per play (4.5 or fewer outstanding; 4.6- 5.2 very good; 5.3-5.6 average); sacks (40 or more outstanding; 31-39 very good; 26-30 average) and turnovers gained (24 or more outstanding; 18-24 very good; 14-18 average).
So here are the numbers that matter most for each SEC team in 2018.
Alabama (14-1 in 2018): On offense – 11.1 per pass attempt; 5.21 per rush attempt; 7.76 per play; 16 sacks allowed; 15 turnovers lost. On defense – 6.4 per pass attempt; 3.53 per rush attempt; 4.89 per play; 45 sacks; 21 turnovers gained.
Arkansas (2-10 in 2018): On offense – 6.2 per pass attempt; 3.91 per rush attempt; 4.97 per play; 32 sacks allowed; 26 turnovers lost. On defense – 8.5 per pass attempt; 4.2 per rush attempt; 6.00 per play; 26 sacks; 16 turnovers gained.
Auburn (8-5 in 2018): On offense – 7.6 per pass attempt; 4.25 per rush attempt; 5.67 per play; 23 sacks allowed; 13 turnovers lost. On defense – 6.8 per pass attempt; 5.15 per rush attempt; 5.67 per play; 38 sacks; 22 turnovers gained.
Florida (10-3 in 2018): 7.6 per pass attempt; 5.27 per rush attempt; 6.23 per play; 18 sacks allowed; 12 turnovers lost. On defense – 6.2 per pass attempt; 4.29 per rush attempt; 5.12 per play; 37 sacks; 26 turnovers gained.
Georgia (11-3 in 2018): On offense – 8.9 per pass attempt; 5.9 per rush attempt; 7.05 per play; 20 sacks allowed; 14 turnovers lost. On defense – 6.0 per pass attempt; 4.02 per rush attempt; 4.94 per play; 24 sacks; 17 turnovers gained.
Kentucky (10-3 in 2018): On offense — 7.1 per pass attempt; 4.84 per rush attempt; 5.64 per play; 28 sacks allowed; 18 turnovers lost. On defense — 6.4 per pass attempt; 4.27 per rush attempt; 5.24 per play; 38 sacks; 20 turnovers gained.
LSU (10-3 in 2018): On offense – 7.7 per pass attempt; 4.01 per rush attempt; 5.5 per play; 35 sacks allowed; 13 turnovers lost. On defense – 5.8 per pass attempt; 3.87 per rush attempt; 4.81 per play; 34 sacks; 25 turnovers gained.
Mississippi State (8-5 in 2013): On offense – 7.0 per pass attempt; 5.66 per rush attempt; 6.17 per play; 25 sacks allowed; 13 turnovers lost. On defense – 5.5 per pass attempt; 2.87 per rush attempt; 4.13 per play; 39 sacks; 20 turnovers gained.
Missouri (8-5 in 2018): 8.0 per pass attempt; 4.76 per rush attempt; 6.24 per play; 13 sacks allowed; 15 turnovers lost. On defense – 7.7 per pass attempt; 3.7 per rush attempt; 5.68 per play; 27 sacks; 16 turnovers gained.
Ole Miss (5-7 in 2018): 9.4 per pass attempt; 4.7 per rush attempt; 7.12 per play; 32 sacks allowed; 14 turnovers lost. On defense – 7.9 per pass attempt; 5.09 per rush attempt; 6.32 per play; 22 sacks; 15 turnovers gained.
South Carolina (7-6 in 2018): 8.0 per pass attempt; 4.47 per rush attempt; 6.24 per play; 23 sacks allowed; 21 turnovers lost. On defense – 7.1 per pass attempt; 4.46 per rush attempt; 5.57 per play; 26 sacks; 16 turnovers gained.
Tennessee (5-7 in 2018): 7.9 per pass attempt; 3.7 per rush attempt; 5.46 per play; 23 sacks allowed; 16 turnovers lost. On defense – 7.6 per pass attempt; 4.14 per rush attempt; 5.67 per play; 25 sacks; 15 turnovers gained.
Texas A&M (9-4 in 2018): 7.4 per pass attempt; 5.29 per rush attempt; 6.26 per play; 35 sacks allowed; 18 turnovers lost. On defense – 8.2 per pass attempt; 3.23 per rush attempt; 5.77 per play; 37 sacks; 11 turnovers gained.
Vanderbilt (6-7 in 2018): 7.6 per pass attempt; 5.02 per rush attempt; 6.29 per play; 22 sacks allowed; 14 turnovers lost. On defense – 7.6 per pass attempt; 4.96 per rush attempt; 6.14 per play; 22 sacks; 22 turnovers gained.
Wednesday: Job security of each SEC head football coach.
SOME GOOD QUOTES FOR TUESDAY
Paul Finebaum in an interview with Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman on why Alabama fans have a positive view of quarterback Jalen Hurts even though he transferred to Oklahoma:
“I don’t know anyone that really begrudges Jalen the opportunity. I think had he left before last season, there would have been a little bit of maybe bad tidings. A lot of Alabama fans perhaps blindly just thought he should stay and help the program, because that’s what he signed up for. But I think he more than paid his debt. And I think in particular coming in and literally saving the season against Georgia (in the SEC Championship Game). That’s a debt that Alabama fans look at and go, ‘man, regardless of what happened or which side you’re on, Jalen Hurts did the Tide a great service by coming in under difficult circumstances and winning that game.’ Now there is a lot of support.”
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated on one of the chief reasons Marcus Mariota has yet to blossom into an NFL star quarterback:
“Ken Whisenhunt was whacked as head coach halfway through Mariota’s rookie year, and GM Ruston Webster was fired two months after that. Mike Mularkey was hired to succeed Whisenhunt, and Terry Robiskie came in as offensive coordinator—and both were fired two years later. Last year Mike Vrabel arrived as coach, and he hired Matt LaFleur to run his offense. In January, LaFleur left for Green Bay to coach the Packers.”
SEC FOOTBALL/BASKETBALL STUFF
Here are the finances for Alabama’s 3-game series (two in Tuscaloosa; one in Tampa) with South Florida: South Florida will pay Alabama $400,000 for the trip to Tampa in 2023 and receive $400,000 for the trip to Tuscaloosa in 2024. For South Florida’s 2026 visit to Tuscaloosa, Alabama will pay $1 million … Alabama point guard Kira Lewis was selected to play for Team USA at the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Greece.
Asa Martin, who transferred from Auburn to Miami back in December, is on the move again. He’s placed his name in the NCAA transfer portal and is looking for a new home … Auburn’s undrafted free agents Jared Harper and Bryce Brown have signed NBA deals. Harper is signing with the Phoenix Suns while Harper is signing with the Sacramento Kings … Former Auburn forward Horace Spencer will be playing pro basketball next season with Atena Cordoba in Argentina’s equivalent of the NBA.
LSU power forward Naz Reid, who went undrafted last week, has signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Former Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel is once again taking treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Pinkel was first diagnosed with the cancer in 2015 but had been in remission since 2016.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: Just days after a report of a rift so deep between James Harden and Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets that Paul was demanding a trade, Paul told the Houston Chronicle, “I never demanded a trade” … There were 17 fouls called against Spain in the Women’s World Cup match with the US, won by the US, 2-1, on a Megan Rapinoe penalty kick. Despite all the rough stuff there wasn’t a single yellow card issued … Since 2016, only Tom Brady (35-9) has a better record as a starting NFL quarterback than Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys (32-16) … The New York Yankees tied the Major League Baseball record for longest streak of consecutive games (27) with a home run … As UConn preps to leave the American Athletic Conference and return to the Big East where its basketball roots run strong, among the options being considered for football are dropping the the sport completely or else dropping down to Division IAA. There isn’t a single Big East team with a Division I football program but Villanova, Georgetown and Butler all compete in D1AA. And don’t you know that a football matchup with non-scholarship Georgetown is going to fill up 40,000-seat Rentschler Field … Michigan shocked Vanderbilt, 7-4, in the first game of the best-of-three championship series at the College World Series.