"April is the cruelest month." The guy who wrote that (T.S. Eliot) was not a Florida Gator. The fourth month of 2007 begins with the University of Florida atop the collegiate athletics world. There's no break in the action for a sports reporter when the college basketball team wins clean through to April and the defending national champion football team is on the spring practice field with a kid at quarterback named Tim Tebow.
Hello, howdy and hola' back:
I'm the new guy on the Florida Gators' beat and this is my blog. It's a place for South Florida sports fans to read my observations and offbeat opinions of everything orange and blue. While I'm new to covering the Gators, I'm not new to The Miami Herald. I moved to South Florida in 2005 and covered Broward County high schools for the The Herald until about a month ago. Needless to say, it has been a pretty remarkable run since then. I have witnessed 10 events involving the Gators and Florida has won every time.
Before we move exclusively to spring football coverage, here are a few things you probably didn't read about the Gators' national championship run...
GET YOUR LIGHT FEET GOING: Bless his heart, but (former) Florida forward Joakim Noah can't dance. Noah unleashed his moves after the Gators won the SEC Tournament in Atlanta. CLICK THE LINK TO WATCH. Noah calls his dance "Light Feet." (Former) Teammate Taurean Green likes to say, "Get your light feet going. Get your light feet going." I've seen electrocuted scarecrows with better steps.
HUMPHREY WOULD RATHER DUNK: (Former) Florida shooting specialist Lee Humphrey made plenty of three-pointers this postseason. He holds the record for most career three-pointers in NCAA Tournament history. Fans love Humphrey for two reasons. He's awe-shucks humble and he's at his best under pressure. After the Gators' win against Purdue in New Orleans, I asked Humphrey if he could dunk. "Yes, but it's not very pretty," he said. Humphrey didn't hesitate when asked this question: Would you rather win a game with a three-point shot or a dunk? "Dunk," Humphrey said. "Every time."
WOULD YOU CATCH NOAH'S MOUTHPIECE? Joakim Noah tossed his shoes and mouthpiece into the crowd after the Gators beat Ohio State in the national championship game. It begs the question: Would you catch Noah's mouthpiece?
MARREESE GOT HIS WISH: Prior to the Final Four, Florida freshman Marreese Speights told me that he didn't expect to receive any playing time. "I hope so, but I doubt it," Speights said. "We'd probably need to be winning pretty good for me to get in." Speights got his wish in the national championship game and played important minutes defending (and fouling) Ohio State's Greg Oden. Speights even made a jump shot.
Did anyone see what Corey Brewer said about Greg Oden during the national championship game? I can read lips. It wasn't: "I love that guy." Oden unintentionally hit Brewer below the belt during first half.
TRESSEL FLASHBACK: Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel watched the Gators during the Final Four. I spoke with Tressel briefly during halftime of the Florida vs. UCLA national semifinal game. "They can get up and down the court," Tressel said of the Gators. Look familiar?
$$$CHRIS RICHARD$$$: No one made more money in Atlanta than Chris Richard. The Gators' career reserve player, Richard impressed many with his exceptional low-post play. If Richard can't find a roster spot in the NBA next season, expect him to make plenty of money in Europe while honing his skills. Sound familiar (Udonis Haslem)?
SPEAKING OF CHRIS RICHARD: Think he can play tight end?
GREEN ON GUMP: Throughout the NCAA Tournament run, Green kept his teammates smiling with impersonations of Private Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue from the movie Forrest Gump. "Barbeque shrimp, shrimp sandwich...," Green said. It was a bit bizarre but seemed appropriate while the Gators were in New Orleans. "He just likes the movie," Richard said.
BREWER WINS THE M.O.P. AWARD: When Corey Brewer told his teammates he would return for his junior season it helped trigger a chain reaction that kept Noah, Green and Al Horford in Gainesville for one more year. Fittingly, Brewer was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. Just my opinion, but 10 years from now (after a few NBA All-Star Game appearances) Brewer will be remembered as the Gators' best player in school history.