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51 posts from February 2009

February 16, 2009

UF lineman Carl Johnson arrested

GAINESVILLE -- Florida offensive lineman Carl Johnson was arrested on Monday for allegedly violating the terms of a temporary restraining order, according to the Alachua County jail record. The charge is listed as a first-degree misdemeanor.

Johnson was booked into the Alachua County jail at 1:21 p.m. on Monday by the University Police Department after allegedly following a woman off a bus. Johnson had been ordered to stay away from the woman. Johnson was issued a restraining order last week.

Johnson, a sophomore, worked his way up the depth chart to first-string guard last season and started the Gators' final nine games of the season. He is expected to compete for a starting position this spring.

University Athletic Association spokesman Steve McClain said in a statement on Monday night that the university is aware of the report and gathering details about the incident. Florida coach Urban Meyer is out of the country, according to McClain.


Donovan: 'Are they trying the best they can?'

GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Billy Donovan wasn't overly critical of his team on Monday, two days after losing to Georgia, a team that hadn't won a game since Dec.31. The message: These guys are trying hard.

"I kind of evaluate it in: Are they trying the best they can? Are they trying to give me everything they have?" Donovan said. "There is no question there are some limitations there but I do feel like those guys are trying to do what we’re asking them to do. There are certain things maybe inside the game that they do struggle with, that’s challenging with them, but I really do not have a problem with their effort."

Florida (19-6, 6-4) has lost two straight and hosts Alabama (13-11, 3-7) on Wednesday.

Losing to a team as bad as Georgia is certainly a good time for reflection. Donovan did a lot of that during his Monday press conference.

"I had a conversation about this the other day with Urban [Meyer]," Donovan said. "It is all so fragile in a lot of ways -- the highlights of things when things are really, really incredible and then, maybe, when you’ve got some challenges. When I look at my time here, I probably have grown more as a person and coach through the challenging parts than when things were great."

There's a rumor going around the SEC that Florida has a soft team this year. Donovan reminded everyone on Monday that Florida doesn't make a point to recruit soft players. "We won two national chamionships with three monsters up front and a 6-8 small forward." Sigh...

Donovan also reminded everyone that when he returned to Florida after the second championship (turning down the NBA in the process) that Florida basketball was "starting from scratch."

"One of the things that I looked at and knew going into last year and the opportunity that I had after 2007 was the challenge of taking on — just knowing there was going to be a drastic drop off," Donovan said. "A drastic drop off in talent, a drastic drop off in experience and just a drastic drop off of just having a lot of guys coming in that were going to be thrust into situations with no level of leadership above them and having to go through it and figure it out.


"I’m actually in a certain way — and I know because the level we’ve been at people don’t maybe have a tendency of looking at it this way — but the reality is I think our team totally overachieved last year."


Last year, Florida had Maurice Speights, who left for the NBA after his sophomore season. Donovan thought Speights was coming back.


"I don’t think when the season started last year that Maurice Speights would be gone," Donovan said. "Our frontcourt complexion looks totally different if you now have Maurice, Alex [Tyus] and Dan [Werner]. At the time when we signed some of these guys there is no question that the role they’re in right now is a different role than what we had envisioned when we signed them."


Everyone is always critizing Dan Werner for being Dan Werner. It's not Dan's fault, says Donovan.


"I think Dan [Werner] has had a tougher time shooting the basketball since SEC play has started. That would help," Donovan said. "I don’t think it’s the situation with us being undersized has anything to do with those guys at all as players. We felt like Dan was going to be a great complement but the one thing you can never forecast is guys leaving early ... It’s tough for Dan to lineup 30 minutes a night and expect him to go grab 10-12 rebounds. Inside of what his ability is, I think he’s doing all the things he can possibly do. "


Don't you get it, people. These guys are trying the best they can. What more can you ask for?



One sentence that sums up the SEC this year

GAINESVILLE -- We all know the SEC's collection of men's basketball teams is absolutely garbage this year, right? Well it wasn't always that way. On Monday, Florida coach Billy Donovan reminded reporters of the good ole days:

"I took the No.1 team one year into Kentucky and lost by 30."

How's that for perspective?

Does anyone out there have ONE SENTENCE that sums up SEC men's basketball this year?


February 15, 2009

Tebow chats with Spurrier at Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH -- The Great American Quarterback is at the Great American Race.

UF quarterback Tim Tebow is at the Daytona International Speedway today for the Daytona 500. He was present for the pre-race drivers' meeting, which was attended by celebrities, reporters and, of course, drivers. Tebow, Florida's latest Heisman-winning quarterback, stood next to the Gators' first Heisman winner, Steve Spurrier during the meeting. The two chatted briefly, no doubt asking each other when the heck Lane Kiffin is going to start taking his medication again.

The editorial staff of Gator Clause, Inc., is taking a break from the Gators today and helping out with The Herald's NASCAR coverage. All bets are off, however, when Tebow pops up. Other celebrities present in the drivers' meeting were Tom Cruise, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. That was kind of awkward.

Most importantly, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano was at the drivers' meeting. Get this, Sparano used to live in Daytona Beach and was a chef at an old Days Inn, which used to be located across from the Speedway. Weird, uh? Sparano lived in Daytona Beach briefly while commuting to the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Just because I know all the Gators out there HAVE to know this. Here's what Sparano thinks of Tebow:

"I haven't studied him because, obviously, we knew right away he wasn't coming out," Sparano said. "I got a chance to watch him play a few times and I like what he does with the football. The guy throws the ball well and he runs it pretty well and when you see a guy doing those kind of things ... I haven't really studied him, so I can't really comment."

February 14, 2009

Gators' season beginning to tailspin

GAINESVILLE -- Grab the parachutes, girls and boys. The Gators' men's basketball season is beginning to spin out of control.

Florida lost to Georgia 88-86 on Saturday at Stegeman Colisuem. It was the Bulldogs' first conference win of the season and first win of any kind since Dec. 31. Ouch. Even more disturbing, the Gators lost despite another epic performance from sophomore guard Nick Calathes. He had a triple-double, the third of his career. Calathes finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.

The loss to Georgia (10-15, 1-9) comes four days after Florida (19-6, 6-4) lost to Kentucky despite a 33-point effort from Calathes.

Georgia guard Terrance Woodbury, who had seemingly been in a shooting slump all season, torched the Gators for 32 point. He made 7 of 10 three-point attempts.

What makes this loss so confounding is that the Gators actually played one of their best games in some time ... at least until the final five minutes of the game. In addition to Calathes' effort, four other Gators scored in double figures. UF guard Walter Hodge had 22 points in the loss and made 6 of 8 three-point attempts. UF forward Chandler Parsons scored 11 points. Alex Tyus and Erving Walker scored 10 apiece. Dan Werner had eight points.

Georgia led by nine points with 18 minutes left in the second half when Florida began chipping away at the Bulldogs' lead. UF took the lead (79-76) with 7:27 to play but, similar to their effort against Kentucky, the Gators went cold in the final minutes of the contest and only scored two points in the final five minutes.  


February 12, 2009

Gators need five more wins to insure Tournament berth

GAINESVILLE -- How many more games does the Florida men's basketball team need to win to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament? I'm predicting the magic number is five.

Seven games remain of the men's basketball season and Florida (19-5, 6-3) is locked in a four-way tie for first place in the SEC East with Tennessee (15-8, 6-3), South Carolina (17-5, 6-3) and Kentucky (17-7, 6-3). On Monday, ESPN projected five teams from the SEC to make the NCAA Tournament: the four teams currently tied for first in the East and LSU (20-4, 8-1) from the SEC West. Nothing is guaranteed, however, and I expect Florida needs five more regular-season wins to insure a place in the NCAA Tournament. It will not be easy.

Florida plays at Georgia on Saturday and hosts Alabama and Vanderbilt next week. The Gators should win these three games. Georgia hasn't won a game since December and Alabama is 3-6 in the league and playing without guard Ronald Steele, who quit the team. Vanderbilt lost to Florida 94-69 at home on Jan.25.   

Assuming Florida defeats Georgia, Alabama and Vanderbilt, that leaves the Gators needing two wins with four difficult contests remaining: at LSU (Feb.24), Tennessee at home (March 1), at Mississippi State (March 4) and Kentucky at home (March 7).

In case anyone was wondering, Florida's RPI, according to realtimeRPI.com, is 36. The Gators are 1-3 against teams with an RPI in the top 30 and 5-5 against teams with an RPI in the top 100. It's not exactly a strong resume.

Florida's best non-conference win came way back on Nov.25 with an 86-84 victory against Washington. Washington currently has an RPI of 19. Syracuse, which currently has an RPI of 22, defeated Florida 89-83. Florida State (RPI 20) defeated Florida 57-55. Tennessee (RPI 24) defeated Florida 79-63.


February 11, 2009

Don Shula, Dan Marino, Bobby Bowden and ... Tim Tebow?

GAINESVILLE -- In case you didn't know, ESPN's SportsCenter is putting together a "Mount Rushmore of Sports" for every state in the union, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. CLICK ME! It's a good idea and a great conversation piece. So, naturally, let's discuss it.

Four sports figures represent each state. It seems to me that a person (or horse) should only represent one state, but a few sports icons represent several states. No big deal, I guess. Standing atop Florida's Mount Rushmore are Don Shula, Dan Marino, Bobby Bowden and Tim Tebow. Tebow, by the way, is the youngest sports icon of any state. Michael Phelps of Baltimore, Md., is 23 years old. For a complete list of Florida's sports icons CLICK ME!

Should Tebow be on this short list of Florida's sports icons? What about Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher? How about Roy Jones, Jr., arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer of all time? How about Michelle Akers, one of the greatest U.S. soccer players of all time? What about tennis icon Chris Evert? What about Ray Lewis, Michael Irvin or Deion Sanders? Swimmer Dara Torres makes a strong case as well. From the basketball court, Florida can boast Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Amare Stoudimare, to name a few off the top of my head. Affirmed, a Florida-bred, was the last horse to win the Triple Crown.

It should be noted that Florida is one of only two states represented by an all-football Mount Rushmore. Mississippi, another talent-rich state, boasts Jerry Rice, Brett Favre, Walter Payton and Archie Manning.

If you want to check out all 52 Mount Rushmores of Sports, then scroll through the index on the feature's main page (LINK LISTED ABOVE.) If you want to vote on the five best Mount Rushmores of Sports then CLICK ME! 

Who makes your Florida Mount Rushmore of Sports? At the rate he's going, does UF athletics director Jeremy Foley ever enter the conversation? I hear you laughing but he has turned an underachieving athletics department into arguably the nation's best. Florida has had the best collection of sports programs in the Southeastern Conference in all but one of his years as A.D. My Florida Mount Rushmore of Sports would be Don Shula, Chris Evert, Roy Jones Jr. and Emmitt Smith.

I know I'm biased, but I have long since believed Alabama (my home state) has produced the most concentrated collection of sports icons in the nation. ESPN's Mount Rushmore of Sports feature only bolsters that argument, I think. I've got to disagree with Alabama's Mount Rushmore, though. I'll take Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, of course. They're arguably the two greatest baseball players in the history of the game. Bo Jackson is a keeper, too. He's the greatest athlete that ever was. I'll gladly replace Bear Bryant (born in Arkansas), however, with a few more deserving Alabama natives: Satchel Paige, Mia Hamm, Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Willie McCovey or John Stallworth.


Gators collapse in final minutes to Kentucky

GAINESVILLE -- The Gators' road struggles continued on Tuesday night with a 68-65 loss to Kentucky at Rupp Arena.

Florida led by six points with 3:19 left but Kentucky outscored Florida 12-3 from there and won the game in dramatic fashion when guard Jodie Meeks swished a three-pointer with six seconds to play. UF had a chance to tie the game with six-tenths of a second left when UF guard Nick Calathes was fouled by Kevin Galloway while attempting a three-pointer. Calathes missed his three free throws.

Calathes led the Gators with 33 points and Alex Tyus had 14. It wasn't a good showing for the Gators' upperclassmen. UF senior guard Walter Hodge was ejected from the game for stepping on the arm of an opponent and UF junior forward Dan Werner had four points.

Florida did an excellent job of containing Kentucky power forward Patrick Patterson. Patterson scored seven points, making just 3 of 9 shot attempts. Meeks led Kentucky with 23 points and forward Perry Stevenson scored 10 points.

Florida (19-5, 6-3 in the SEC) is now in a three-way tie in the SEC East with Kentucky (17-7, 6-3) and South Carolina (17-5, 6-3). It could become a four-way tie for first place in the SEC East on Wednesday if Tennessee (14-8, 5-3) defeats Georgia.


February 10, 2009

UF's Brombacher begins season with one-hit shutout

GAINESVILLE -- For all you college softball fans out there, here's a quick blog post on an emerging star. UF sophomore pitcher Stephanie Brombacher of Pembroke Pines tossed a one-hit shutout in her first start of the season on Saturday.

Brombacher led the Gators to an 8-0 victory in the second game of a three-game series. Florida defeated Baylor 3-0 in the first game and lost 1-0 in the third game. UF (2-1) travels to Jacksonville on Wednesday before hosting the Lipton Invitational this weekend. It's a big weekend for college softball fans. The tournament includes Texas Tech, South Alabama, FAU, Georgia Tech and Coastal Carolina.

Brombacher, who starred at Plantation American Heritage in high school, is one of two ultra-talented pitchers on the Gators' roster. Senior Stacy Nelson is the team's ace but Brombacher isn't far behind. On Tuesday, UF softball coach Tim Walton said UF has two No.1 pitchers. If you know anything about college softball, then you know two ace pitchers is more than enough to win a conference championship.

In a matter of full disclosure, I must confess that I'm a big Stephanie Brombacher fan. Back in the day, back when I proudly covered Broward County high school sports, I wrote this first-hand account of what it's like standing in the batter's box and facing Brombacher. CLICK ME! 


February 09, 2009

Irony is a funny thing, Tennessee football reports recruiting violations

GAINESVILLE -- In a rather interesting twist of irony, this happened today up in Knoxville. CLICK ME! Talk about a rookie mistake. If Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has an appetite tonight, he's probably eating Volunteer-orange and idiot-white shoes.

SI.com recruiting writer Andy Staples chimes in on National Signing Day and the bizarre Thursday that followed. CLICK ME!

LSU's defense allowed plenty of points last season and lose everyone on its defensive line except this guy. CLICK ME!

Up in Columbia, S.C., coach Steve Spurrier is starting from scratch on offense with four new assistants. CLICK ME!

And if ya don't know, now ya know. CLICK ME! Lady Gators are No.9 and rising. More on women later this week in a Miami Herald near you.

Mark Bradley of the AJC -- one of my favorites -- compares psychos. CLICK ME!

It has been an exceptional week for the Alabama Crimson Tide football program. CLICK ME!

Editor's note: The editorial board of Gator Clause, Inc., reserves the right to update this blog throughout the night and into morning. Check back for updates!


Stopping Kentucky's Patterson, Meeks key for Florida

GAINESVILLE -- The back half of the Florida Gators men's basketball team's Southeastern Conference schedule begins at 9 p.m. on Tuesday night with an important away game against the Kentucky Wildcats. The game will be televised by ESPN.

Kentucky has lost three straight, including two at home, so expect the 'Cats to take the court believing this is one of their most important games of the season. Florida (19-4, 6-2 in the SEC) is a game ahead of Kentucky (16-7, 5-3) in the SEC East standings and currently leads the division. A road when at Rupp Arena would bolster not only the Gators' NCAA Tournament resume but also strengthen the young Gators' collective confidence level. Florida has lost two of its last three away games.

"This game means a lot to them but also means a lot to us," Florida guard Nick Calathes said. "This will put us in first place in the SEC. It's going to be a tough game."

In a loss at Tennessee on Jan.31, Florida was out-muscled and out-hustled by an athletic Volunteers team in need a win. It's the same scenario on Tuesday. Kentucky is led by 6-9, 235-pound power forward Patrick Patterson, one of the SEC's most dominant big men. Florida doesn't have a player to match-up with Patterson's ability and strength, so expect a steady rotation of UF defenders throughout the game. Florida coach Billy Donovan said on Monday that the goal defensively against Kentucky will be to tire Patterson early in the game and limit Kentucky guard Joe Meeks, who is averaging 25.1 points per game.

"Patterson is a beast," UF forward Chandler Parsons said. "Him and Jodie Meeks are like the highest-scoring tandem in college basketball, so we're going to have to do a really good job on those guys. We're going to throw different defenses at them and see what we can do."

Florida basketball fans are quite familiar with Patterson. After a long recruiting battle, he chose Kentucky and new coach Billy Gillispie over Florida and coach Billy Donovan. Kentucky has lost seven of its last eight games against the Gators but defeated UF at Rupp Arena last season in Patterson's first home game against Florida.

"[Patterson] is big and strong and he knows how to use his lower body and hips and doesn't have to play with his arms and his hands," UF junior Dan Werner said. "He hits you with his hip and you can't get up and that's something you learn and is a talent."

Meeks is capable of dominating a game as well. He scored a school-record 54 points in a win against Tennessee in January. Does Meeks have the ability to dominate Florida? UF recently allowed 33 points to South Carolina guard Devan Downey.

F Dan Werner 6-8, 230 (9.2 ppg/4.4 rpg)
F Chandler Parsons 6-9, 213 (10.4/5.9r)
C Alex Tyus 6-8, 220 (12.4/6.3r)
G Nick Calathes 6-6, 194 (18.1/6.4apg)
G Walter Hodge 6-0, 170 (7.7/2.4a)

F Ramon Harris 6-7, 218 (5.3/3.0 rpg)
F Perry Stevenson 6-9, 207 (7.9/6.7r)
F Patrick Patterson 6-9, 225 (18.3/9.2r)
G Michael Porter 6-3, 193 (3.5/2.9apg)
G Jodie Meeks 6-4, 208 (25.1/3.5a) 


February 08, 2009

10 storylines for Florida Gators spring football

GAINESVILLE -- Spring practice begins on March 25. There is going to be plenty of storylines to cover this year and the biggest might be quarterback Tim Tebow's transition to a new quarterbacks coach.

Dan Mullen is gone and the new guy was brought in to -- this is everyone else's thoery and not mine -- help get Tim Tebow to the NFL. New quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler coached Tom Brady and Chad Henne at the University of Michigan before coaching for one season with the Detroit Lions. Loeffler spoke with reporters on National Signing Day but didn't say much beyond the company line. When asked if Tebow could succeed in the NFL, Loeffler answered with an overly dramatic, "Damn right he can."

Wolves Why? How do you know? This is what all the crazy reporters wanted to know. Those dogs! Those wolves! 

Well, Loeffler couldn't offer anything concrete. He'll know more about Tebow in the coming weeks. Give the guy a break, right? He's only been on staff about a month, he has been recruiting the whole time and Tebow has been recovering from surgery.

Loeffler explained that Tebow had the "it" factor. A few years ago, Loeffler started recruiting Tebow to Michigan when Tebow was only a sophomore in high school. "From day one meeting the kid he has had "it" and he will always have "it," Loeffler said.

In other, just as vague words, you know "it" when you see "it?"

"Hey, man, is that "It" walking down the street?"

"Yeah, man, I heard "It" is moving to Cananda. "It" just up and cracked. Can't take "it" any longer.

What is "it," you're asking yourself? Is "it" something that only slick quarterbacks coaches and NFL scouts and general managers can understand? Does "it" come in pill form?, you're secretly asking yourself.

It-clown It is an amorphous entity that no one on Earth other than Joe Montana, Tiger Woods, Tim Tebow and Stephen King could possibly try to understand. "It" is like the human version of a Jedi knight's metachlorian count. "The Force is strong with this one," explains Yoda.  

"The Force is what gives a Jedi his power," says Obi-Wan Kenobi in Stars Wars (the first one). "It is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."

Use-The-Force You got that? Tim Tebow has been penetrated by The Force! Right...Well, a blind mind who only knows Florida football by the sound of Mick Hubert's voice could tell you that.

We'll have to wait and see what Loeffler can contribute that Mullen could not. My guess, not much. That's not a knock, of course. That just means Mullen was pretty good, too. Loeffler is new to the spread (although he said he has been studying it for a long time), so he's going to be busy learning that this spring. My guess is Loeffler was brought along more for John Brantley's sake than Tebow's.

Loeffler on Brantley: "I know his family. He comes from good stock."

Maybe I'm way off base on that? Anyway, that's a little preview of the quarterback-coach storyline I'm sure you'll be reading about once the spring rolls around. Here are a few more spring storylines to keep in mind:

1. Replacing Percy. Who's going to do it? Everyone says Andre Debose but Debose can't participate in spring practice. Is Brandon James the answer?

2. Emmanuel Moody, where are you? This guy needs to show up in a big way. It's time for Moody to earn the trust of his coaching staff.

3. Offensive tackles! The most important story of the spring, in my opinion, will be the development of the new offensive tackles. Marcus Gilbert, it's time to take charge. Gilbert is expected to fill one of the open tackle spots. Who wins the other starting role? Does a Pouncey move to the outside?

4. Matt Patchan. Where is he going to play?

5. Deonte Thompson has waited two years for this spring. Time to earn your scholarship, kid.

6. Is David Nelson the new wingman? What about Riley Cooper? How will the baseball season interfere with his spring football schedule? Which young receiver will earn playing time?

7. Where is UF thin? Answer: Tight end. Aaron Hernandez will be the only scholarship tight end this spring. How will that affect spring practice, the offense?

8. One story I'm looking forward to writing...With so many starters returning, will the most heated spring battles be on special teams? Maybe this is the ONE story that will put into context how good Florida is right now: Florida is so good, five-star recruits are trying to win starting spots on special teams...that sort of thing.

9. Could we be looking at the best defense in Florida football history? Historically, what are some other SEC defenses that might compare? 

10. Tim Tebow story. Can't leave this guy out no matter how many times you've written about him. What is his role this spring? What does he work on? What kind of cereal does he eat? Boxers or briefs...or maybe boxer briefs? Mission work?


February 07, 2009

Kiffin calls Pahokee coach and apologizes

GAINESVILLE -- Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin called Pahokee coach Blaze Thompson on Saturday and apologized for the statement's made about the Palm Beach County high school during a Tennessee booster function on Thursday. Pahokee is still awaiting a public apology by Kiffin.

"He said he wasn't making excuses and that what he said was wrong," Thompson said. "He apologized and said he would make a public apology to the town and the school and also call the principal as well. I said thank you and that we appreciate that and the town and schools needs for you to make a public apology."

Thompson said that Pahokee's formal letter of complaint will still be sent to the Southeastern Conference and the University of Tennessee.

"I'm so glad he called so we can get past this," Thompson said. "I'm glad I didn't have to call. I told him I was glad he was doing what is right and being a man about it."


Pahokee to send formal complaint to Tennessee

GAINESVILLE -- In an effort to prove it knows how to use a fax machine, the city of Pahokee is preparing to send a formal complaint to the University of Tennessee regarding the recent comments made by Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin. Here's a copy of that letter. CLICK ME!! 

Pahokee coach Blaze Thompson said the letter will be faxed, mailed and emailed to just about every important person in Knoxville. Thompson called Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton on Friday but hasn't heard back. Thompson also called SEC commissioner Mike Slive.

"You can't do this to somebody," Thompson said. "It's not right."

Thompson is obviously a very patient man but here's what's going to happen if he doesn't hear from Kiffin either today or tomorrow. Just a guess, but Kiffin and his assistants probably won't be welcomed in Pahokee anymore. And I'm assuming the other schools in the area -- Belle Glade Glades Day and Belle Glade Glades Central -- have been paying attention to this whole saga. Thompson and Pahokee want an apology and also want Kiffin to set the record straight. Either Kiffin writes a letter or visits Pahokee or else.

Kiffin's rivals are taking advantage of his recruiting mistakes. Florida coach Urban Meyer called Thompson on Saturday morning just to touch base.

"He wanted to know if Florida did anything wrong in recruiting Nu'Keese," Thompson said. "He also wanted to make sure Florida and Pahokee maintained a professional and ethical relationship."

See, Meyer knows something that Kiffin hasn't figured out yet. In the SEC, recruiting is all about building relationships. Back in the Pac-10, all Kiffin had to do was tell people he coached for USC. Kiffin is either too young to realize this or too arrogant to think it matters. He'll learn.


Which team in the SEC had the best recruiting class?

GAINESVILLE -- Was meaning to breakdown the SEC's 12 recruiting classes on Thursday but I was busy writing about Tennessee's Boy Wonder. Hey, the guy knows how to stick his foot in his mouth almost as good as he knows how to recruit, apparently. Only time will tell, of course. Anyone other than Sec me looking foward to the Janoris Jenkins vs. Nu'Keese Richardson match-up next season? More importantly, anyone other than me totally digging the Academy Award weekend on AMC?

Before we breakdown every team in the league, let's review the three major recruiting rankings: Rivals, Scouts and ESPN.

DON'T FORGET to vote in the poll at the bottom of this post! This post took awhile.

Team          Class Size     Rivals Scouts ESPN
Alabama            27              1        2         2
Arkansas           31              15      23       20
Auburn               28             19       19       25
Florida               16              10      13        5
Georgia              18              9        10       6
Kentucky            29             42       32      n/a
LSU                   24              2        4         1
Mississippi         37             18       12       22
Miss. State         27             23       22       23
South Carolina    29             12       9         12
Tennessee         20              17      20        15
Vanderbilt           17             73      67        n/a

Continue reading "Which team in the SEC had the best recruiting class?" »

February 06, 2009

Ole Miss signed a real winner on Wednesday

Jamar Hornsby is a Rebel. Hotty Toddy! Gosh almighty! Who the hell is he? This guy ...


Summitt should teach Kiffin a few lessons

GAINESVILLE -- I've read plenty this morning about Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin's buffoonery on Wednesday but no where is anyone writing what might be the worst part about all of this.

On the day Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt got win No.1,000, Tennessee's football coach intruded into Summitt's spotlight and embarrassed her university.

Summitt might be the best coach in the country --college or pro -- regardless of sport. She has won more games than any other men's or women's college basketball coach in the history of the sport. Hell, she could probably coach football better than most of the guys in the SEC.

All that winning and has anyone ever heard Summitt brag about anything other than being surrounded by great people? She should probably do Kiffin a favor by sitting down with the guy and going over a few things. In my brain, here's how that conversation would probably go:


KIFFIN: "Congratulations, coach, on your 1,000th wi..."

SUMMITT: "Sit down and shut up, son."


SUMMITT: "Shoot, you got some mouth on that pretty little face don't you, son."


SUMMITT: "Save it. We all make mistakes...especially our idiot athletics director...Heck, but I wouldn't sweat it. No one here in Tennessee cares about Florida anyway. But, listen, you've got to be a little smarter if you want to have a long and successful career here at Tennessee. Now, your daddy probably taught you something about public speaking but you just forgot, right?"


SUMMITT: "No, don't answer that question, Lane. It was rhetorical. I was being sarcastic."


SUMMITT: "Put your hand down, Lane. Frankly, I don't want to hear anything else you have to say. Now, grab a pen and a piece of paper and write this stuff down. Follow these rules and you'll be fine from here on out.

"No.1: When speaking into a microphone, never mention yourself or your rivals by name.

"No.2: Let Ed Orgeron be the point man when it's time to talk about recruiting.

"No.3: Never...Wait, on second thought, don't ever let Ed speak to the media. Come to think of it, don't ever let him speak to anyone other than recruits.

"OK, No.3, and this is an important one, son: Never try and upstage me, kiddo. This is Pat Summitt's town. You got that?"


"No. 4: You're not in California anymore. Pete Carroll might joke around and have fun at USC but you're not Pete Carroll and people in the South don't have a sense of humor when it comes to college football.

"No. 5: Always give everyone else the credit.

"No. 6: Get a nose job. Something is wrong with your face. I'm pretty sure it's your nose.


"No.7: Fly to Florida and apologize face to face with the people at Pahokee High School. Lord knows there' s not enough talent in this state to field a competitive football team. In case you didn't know, you're probably going to need a few recruits from Florida if you want to win an SEC championship.

"No. 8: If you see me on campus or at the Christmas party or at the SEC meetings or downtown eating dinner, don't talk to me. I'm being serious now, Lane. Just smile and wave and keep on walking."


In case anyone wanted to see Lane Kiffin make a fool of himself, here's the video of his ill-fated shot at Urban Meyer. CLICK ME!

Columnist Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel ripped into Kiffin this morning. CLICK ME!

Here's how Florida lost Marsalis Teague to Tennessee, according to Kiffin. CLICK ME!

Lane Kiffin wants Marsalis Teague to play receiver. Monte Kiffin wants him at cornerback. CLICK ME! could play receiver for Vols. 

If that wasn't painful enough to read for Gators fans, then this one will be like shoving bamboo shoots under your toenails. CLICK ME!

Was Kiffin's blunder reported by the Knoxville News-Sentinel as a success? CLICK ME! Reading through the comments of Tennessee's fans is pretty funny.


February 05, 2009

Pahokee coach confused, saddened by Kiffin's comments

GAINESVILLE -- Florida wasn't the only school Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin took a shot at on Thursday. The Vols' coach also called into question the people at Pahokee Middle/High School.

While addressing a crowd of about 1,000 people at the Knoxville Convention Center, Kiffin said that receiving a faxed National Letter of Intent from Pahokee receiver Nu'Keese Richrdson on Wednesday was made difficult by the staff at Pahokee. Kiffin inferred that Pahokee High wanted to somehow prevent Richardson from signing with UT.

"You can't understand how hard this is to get done," Kiffin said. "[UT assistant coach] Eddie [Gran] had this set up at 7 o'clock in the morning. [Richardson's aunts] got the papers signed by the kid. They didn't go do it at the school because they knew somebody at the school was going to screw it up. The fax machine wouldn't work, or they would have changed the signatures, all the things that go on in Pahokee now. The aunts took it over to a junior high, found a fax machine that worked and faxed them over to us at 7 o'clock, and I kept it in a drawer till their 1 o'clock press conference."

Pahokee coach Blaze Thompson said on Thursday he was "confused" by Kiffin's comments. For starters, there isn't a junior high in Pahokee. Pahokee High School and Pahokee Middle are the same school. Thompson said that Kiffin must have been talking about Pahokee Elementary, where Richardson's aunt works.

Thompson said that he has been friends with the Richardson family for 20 years and also said, "I wouldn't think they would say something like that about me."

Thompson was troubled by Kiffin's apparent fear that Pahokee had the intentions to somehow sabotage Richardson's attempt to fax his National Letter of Intent to Tennessee.


"I'm just confused," Thompson said. "I don't know where he would get we screw up faxes or change signatures. No player here has ever been coerced by me or anyone else at the school to go to one school or the other. Pahokee is certainly not a Florida school. [UF cornerback] Janoris [Jenkins] was our first to go there in a long time. We would have been proud for [Richardson] to go to Florida but we're just

as proud he went to Tennessee, although with these statements, I'm confused why [Kiffin] would bash a school he would get a commitment from."


Thompson said he looks forward to speaking with Kiffin and "hearing what this is all about."


"We have to deal with Tennessee and we're going to maintain a professional relationship with them," Thompson said. "They've got a great kid and a great player. We've never had anyone at Tennessee and we're excited about it. This is really sad that Coach Kiffin would make these kinds of statements.


"You put your heart into working with kids and any time your professionalism or your character is questioned it takes you back and makes you concerned."



SEC reprimands UT coach Lane Kiffin

GAINESVILLE -- The Southeastern Conference wasted little time in dealing with Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin and his public comments about UF coach Urban Meyer. League officials issued a public reprimand on Thursday afternoon, stating that Kiffin violated the SEC's code of ethics.

"Coach Kiffin has violated the Southeastern Conference Code of Ethics," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. "SEC Bylaw 10.5.1 states that coaches and administrators shall refrain from directed public criticism of other member institutions, their staff or players.

"The phone call to which Coach Kiffin referred to in his public comments is not a violation of SEC or NCAA rules. We expect our coaches to have an understanding and knowledge of conference and NCAA rules."


Florida responds quickly to Kiffin's recruiting accusation; NCAA says no rules were violated

GAINESVILLE -- Florida moved quickly on Thursday after Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin accused Florida coach Urban Meyer of a recruiting infraction. UF athletics director Jeremy Foley fired back at Knoxville with this terse statement:

“There was no rule violation and we have confirmed this with Southeastern Conference. It is obvious that Coach Kiffin doesn’t know that there is not a rule precluding phone contact with a prospect during an official visit on another campus during a contact period. His allegations are inappropriate, out of line and, most importantly, totally false.

"It is completely unfair to Urban Meyer, our coaching staff, our football program and our institution. The appropriate action at this time in my opinion is for Coach Kiffin to make a public apology. His comments not only slandered our coach, but he violated SEC rules by publicly criticizing another coach and institution.

Just to double check, I emailed the NCAA about the possible recruiting violation. Here's the response from Christopher Radford, the NCAA assistant director of public and media relations:

"It is not a violation of NCAA rules for a coach to contact a student-athlete while they are on an official visit to another school."

Kiffin's bizarre comments are, however, a violation of my sanity. Think nothing good can come out of this for Tennessee and Lane Kiffin? Think again. It's the day after National Signing Day and guess who we're talking about? Tennessee and Lane Kiffin. In a related story, Kiffin's belligerence has apparently landed him an endorsement deal with Kellogg's newest cereal, Ritalin-O's. Kiffin eats them with bananas.



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