Thoughts of the Day: August 30, 2019



Florida men's basketball coach Mike White and women's coach Cam Newbauer were on the program at the Ocala Tipoff Club, which held its annual August meeting at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club Thursday night. Here are a few notes from White's comments.

Depth and talent: The Gators have size, depth and talent to be really good. The key will be team chemistry and for the coaches to find the right combinations for each situation.

Coaching staff:All three assistants – Darris Nichols, Jordan Mincey and Al Pinkins – turned down chances to be a head coach and opportunities to make more money as assistants somewhere else to remain with the UF program.

Kerry Blackshear Jr.: Extraordinary talent who gives the Gators scoring options in the post they haven't had. Showing good leadership qualities.

Gorjok Gak: Healthy for the first time in a long while and doing things on the offensive end that are surprising everybody.

Noah Locke: Was able to avoid surgery and has healed quite nicely from last year's hip injury. He's close to 100%. White said he's super tough.

Andrew Nembhard:He's currently playing for Team Canada and is only going to be a better player after playing with and practicing against pros the last few weeks.

Keyontae Johnson: Another very tough guy who plays much bigger than 6-5, but has skills that give the Gators lineup flexibility. They can play small ball with Johnson at the power forward and he's a good enough shooter that he can play on the wing.

The freshmen:Tre Mann is an extraordinary offensive talent with tremendous range (and accuracy) on his jumper and the ability to get to the rim … Scottie Lewis is an incredible leaper who is a tremendous defender. White described him as a “one-man full court press” in his high school days. Lewis has to continue to develop offensively … Omar Payne has size (6-10, 222), good feet and talent. He's going to play … Jacques Glover is seriously fast and is a blur going from one end of the court to another … Jason Jitoboh will be a candidate for a redshirt if he can't get into better shape.

On how the Gators landed Lewis, Mann and Payne: Florida was in on all three early on and began recruiting all three when they were freshmen in high school. What sealed the deal was when all three came to UF for an elite camp.

Transfers Tyree Applebee and Anthony Duruji:Both will redshirt this year … Applebee is a fine outside shooter who is quick enough to get into the paint almost at will … Duruji has a 46-inch vertical. White said he might be the best player in the program.

Cam Newbauer on women's basketball:There isn't a single player on the UF roster that played under former coach Amanda Butler. On Newbauer's remade roster, the Gators have the size that was lacking when he took over the program in 2017 ... Newbauer got a recruiting assist from former UF men's point guard Erving Walker in landing guard Nina Rickards, who played at Walker's high school alma mater, Christ the King in Middle Village, NY … Freshman Brylee Bartram set the national high school record with 533 3-pointers during her high school career at Seffner Christian in Metro Tampa. Bartram is the only player who played her prep basketball in the state of Florida … The Gators landed freshman Lavender Briggs from under BYU's nose in Provo, Utah, where she averaged 32.2 points and 12.5 rebounds en route to making the Jordan Brand Classic … Four of the 12 women on the roster are from outside the US.


From Andy Staples of The Athletic on the possibility the Alabama-Clemson stranglehold on college football's national championship will be broken maybe sooner and not later:

“Now it feels as if only two programs (Alabama and Clemson) have a chance to win because they’ve played for three of the past four national titles – and met in a semifinal the year they didn’t play for all the Tostitos. The root cause of this is Saban’s dominance at Alabama. It is the only constant the past 10 years. But even if Saban remains at Alabama for another 10 years, a change in the membership at the top is coming because some other coaches (most notably Clemson’s Dabo Swinney) have made it so Alabama doesn’t get every player Saban wants.”

From Jay Glazer of The Athletic on Andrew Luck's decision to retire from the National Football League and walk away from the money and fame that goes with it:

“As far as Andrew Luck’s decision, he has every right to decide what he wants. He said it very well in his press conference, it was very self-aware: he lost the joy. This is not a game you can play if you don’t have joy. You can’t put your body on the line like that, the way he does, with the injuries he’s played through, and there have been a ton. Never question Andrew Luck’s toughness. Ever.”


Alabama:On his Thursday night radio show, Nick Saban said, “We had a couple of guys that exited the program, whether it was their choice or ours for them to do that, that were what I call energy vampires, where you spend all your time trying to manage them and you can’t spend time with the guys that are doing things right.” Auburn:HBC Gus Malzahn will start true freshman Bo Nix at quarterback against Oregon Saturday. Malzahn said Nix was impressive in fall camp and “he earned the right to lead us out Saturday.”

Georgia:Due to Hurricane Dorian shifting some Saturday games around, Georgia's opener with Vanderbilt in Nashville has been moved from the SEC Network to ESPNU.

Kentucky:Mark Stoops agreed to a restructured contract that will extend him through 2025 with guaranteed raises of $500,000 per year.

LSU:Offensive tackle Saadig Charles, who has missed practice time this week, will be available but Adrian Magee will probably start at LG as Chase Hines is still battling through injuries … If there are suspended players, they will be announced Saturday.

South Carolina:Out for Saturday's game with North Carolina are S Jaylin Dickerson (hip), TE Kiel Pollard (neck), DL Devontae Davis (foot) and DL Keir Thomas (ankle).

Texas A&M (1-0):Kellen Mond threw three touchdown passes and ran for one other as the Aggies opened their season with a 41-7 win over Texas State. The Aggies had two backs go over the100-yard mark – Isaiah Spiller with 106 and Jashaun Corbin with 103.

The Sayer Says Sooth

#2 Alabama 45, Duke 7:The only reason the Crimson Tide won't score 60 is because Nick Saban will take it easy on David Cutcliffe, who played his college football at Alabama. Arkansas 41, Portland State 14: Arkansas isn't that good but Portland State is bad and from D1AA. #16 Auburn 24, #11 Oregon 14: The Pac-12's nightmare start of the season will only get worse. Auburn's defense is so good the Tigers won't have to score a lot to win, good news since they're starting a true freshman QB. #3 Georgia 37, Vanderbilt 21:Vandy's offense is good enough to score some points. The problem is the Commodores can't stop anyone. Kentucky 35, Toledo 27: Toledo will give Kentucky fans white knuckles with that really good offense. Kentucky will put up a bunch of points on a bad Toledo defense and win the game. #6 LSU 42, Georgia Southern 10: LSU's retooled offense won't look anything like LSU offenses of the past few years. Mississippi State 27. Louisiana-Lafayette 10: This might be an upset special if the bulk of those 10 players who will miss eight games due to NCAA suspensions turn out to be starters. Missouri 31, Wyoming 17:It's a night game at altitude with temperatures expected in the 50s. That might affect Missouri and make this a close call.

Memphis 44, Ole Miss 35:Whoever has the ball last might win this one. Don't expect much in the way of defense. South Carolina 34, North Carolina 14: The Mack Brown Era at UNC will begin the way the Larry Fedora Era ended – with a loss. Tennessee 35, Georgia State 7: Tennessee isn't that good but Georgia State is that bad.


Is there any conference more in need of something good than the Pac-12? The last thing the league needed after last week's disastrous loss by Arizona to Hawaii was for UCLA's season to start like a blocked punt, but the Bruins had it stuck to them by Cincinnati, 24-14. With that loss, Chip Kelly is now 3-10. The Pac-12 did pick up expected wins by Utah (over BYU) and Arizona State (over hapless Clark Kent State). It might be the upset of the century if a Pac-12 team makes the College Football Playoff.

Geoff Collins, who belongs to the coaching trees of both Jim McElwain (Florida 2015-16) and Dan Mullen (2011-14), had the misfortune of facing 2018 national champ Clemson in his first game as Georgia Tech's head coach. It wasn't pretty even though the Yellow Jackets picked off Goldilocks Lawrence twice. Tech had no prayer against the run as Clemson ran for 411 yards (Travis Etienne had 205 of them on 12 carries and three TDs) to pound out a 52-14 win.

UCF fans will be talking as if the Knights are the best team in the state of Florida after their 62-0 win over D1AA Florida A&M. The Knights threw for 356 yards and ran for 358.

Old Yeller is 1-0 at Central Michigan after the (Corn) Chips beat up on D1AA Albany, 38-21 … Is there a worse place for Division I football than UConn? The school is $40 million in debt, has to pony up $13.5 million to leave the American Athletic Conference and join the Big East, and they've got a coach they'd love to fire (Randy Edsall) but can't because they can't afford to buy out his contract. Making matters worse, the Huskies barely beat D1AA (Honus) Wagner, 24-21, in the season opener. Official attendance was 19,648. Real attendance? Probably a lot less … Former Gator QB coach Scot Loeffler is off to a good start at Bowling (For Dollars) Green with a 46-3 win over (Capt) Morgan (and Coke) State … A bad night at the office for Butch Davis. Two Lane blew the doors off FIU, 42-14 … Mini Soda of the Big Ten (plus four) had to rally past D1AA South Dakota State, 28-21.

RANDOM THOUGHTS:The threat of Hurricane Dorian has caused Saturday's Florida State-Boise State game to be relocated from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. Instead of the 7 p.m. kickoff that was scheduled for Jacksonville, game time in Tallahassee will be noon … Southern Cal offensive coordinator Graham Harrell, the former record-setting quarterback for Mike Leach at Texas Tech, is well-known as a passionate professional wrestling fan. He named his son Herschel Hawk Harrell – Triple H … Serena Williams bounced back from a first set loss to beat Catherine McNally in the second round of the US Open, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 … Feleipe Franks' older brother Jordan, a Cincinnati Bengals tight end, caught three passes for 32 yards in the Bengals' 13-6 exhibition loss to the Indianapolis Colts ... Former Gator Jordan Scarlett ran for 22 yards and caught three passes for 25 yards and a TD in the Carolina Panthers' 25-19 exhibition win over the Pittsburgh Steelers … Former Gator Nelson Maldonado (Chicago White Sox minor league system), who has shown he can hit in three different leagues since leaving UF back in June, is hitting .321 with two homers and 33 RBI through Wednesday night's games … Former Gator Brady Singer (Kansas City Royals minor league system), who has split the season between A and AA ball, is 11-5 with a 2.93 ERA.

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