Thoughts of the Day: February 11, 2020

PERINE MOVING UP ON NFL DRAFT LISTS

Here is what breaking off an 88-yard touchdown run against Auburn and a 61-yarder against Virginia can do for you along with showing off your pass-catching skills at the Senior Bowl. Lamical Perine, pretty much late round or free agent guy on the NFL radar back in September, is now being projected as the #7 running back for the 2020 draft by The Athletic. Mel Kiper of ESPN ranks Perine the #8 running back.


Those two long touchdown runs showed that Perine can shift to another gear and outrun people, something that wasn’t all that evident in his first three years at UF. He became a viable receiving option, catching 40 passes as a senior, then spent Senior Bowl week proving he’s got the kind of hands that could make him an every-down back in the NFL. He will still have to prove that he’s capable of taking on blitzers and edge rushers effectively, but if Perine proved anything at Florida it is the fact that he will take coaching and then go about the task of improving until he’s more than dependable.


The Athletic top 10 running backs (height, weight, 40 time) (1) J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State (5-9, 219, 4.51) (2) De’Andre Swift, Georgia (5-9, 215, 4.47) (3) Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin (5-10, 218, 4.53) (4) Clyde Edwards-Helaire, LSU (5-8, 211, 4.56) (5) Zack Moss, Utah (5-9, 218, 4.52) (6) Cam Akers, Florida State (5-11, 214, 4.48) (7) LAMICAL PERINE, FLORIDA (5-11, 216, 4.55) (8) Eno Benjamin, Arizona State (5-9, 205, 4.46) (9) AJ Dillon, Boston College (5-11, 241, 4.54) (10) Anthony McFarland Jr., Maryland (5-8, 196, 4.48)


ALL-TOO EARLY RANKING THE SEC QUARTERBACKS

(1) Kyle Trask, Florida: You’re lying if you say you saw this coming back in September when Trask was warming up to replace Feleipe Franks who went down with an injury against Kentucky. Who knew Trask was this good, that he could make all the throws, read defenses and make good decisions? Well, he can and now he’s going to be on a lot of preseason best lists in 2020.

(2) Kellen Mond, Texas A&M: Mond tears up lesser opponents but he’s got to show he can play well enough to beat the higher-level teams. This is his fourth year as a starter, third year under Jimbo. It’s now or never but there is no question he’s got the talent. Can he put it all together?

(3) Bo Nix, Auburn: After a freshman year in which he beat Oregon and Alabama with epic comebacks, Nix seems poised to make the big leap, but how will he adjust to the coaching of new offensive coordinator/QB coach Chad Morris? If Morris can improve Nix’s accuracy, the Auburn offense could be explosive.

(4) Mac Jones, Alabama: With receivers like Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle to throw to, Jones should have an outstanding year. He throws a great deep ball and is extremely accurate plus he will be working behind one of the nation’s best O-lines.

(5) KJ Costello, Mississippi State: Can Mike Leach do for Costello what he did for Gardner Minshew? Costello certainly hopes so. He was stagnant at Stanford. Now he’ll be throwing the ball all over the yard and will have a chance to lead the nation in passing yards.

(6) John Rhys Plumlee, Ole Miss: Think back to what Lane Kiffin did with Jalen Hurts at Alabama. Plumlee is coming off a season in which he ran for 1,023 yards. Kiffin will polish up his passing, which is going to make Plumlee a nightmare to defend. (7) Jamie Newman, Georgia: Sorry, but I’m not buying into the hype. Yes, Jake Fromm could only run like Newman in his dreams, but Fromm was an accurate passer who rarely threw an interception. Newman has a strong arm but he has a habit of forcing the ball in coverage. He’s about to find out that the DBs in the SEC cover a whole lot better than the ones he saw in the ACC and there is no shortage of D-linemen and linebackers who can get after a QB.

(8) Ryan Hilinski, South Carolina: He’s got the arm and the cool to handle pressure, but can he make the big leap from true freshman that makes mistakes to sophomore who knows what he’s doing? He’s got a new QB coach/offensive coordinator in Mike Bobo who should open up the passing game a bit more.

(9) Feleipe Franks, Arkansas: He checks all the boxes when it comes to leadership. Teammates will embrace him. There are two questions: (1) how soon will he be able to go full speed after that horrendous season-ending injury at UF and (2) will offensive coordinator Kendal Briles be able to rid him of the bad decision-making demons? If he’s healthy and can get in a good decision-making mode, he could rise up the rankings. The talent is there.

(10) Terry Wilson, Kentucky: Had he stayed healthy last season he probably would have had a strong year but he had a season-ending knee injury. Will he h he have the same mobility post-injury? If he’s as quick and mobile as he was pre-injury, he’s a dangerous QB who is a seriously elusive runner when he breaks containment. (11) Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee: There is Good Jarrett and there is Evil Twin Skippy Jarrett. Good Jarrett makes good decisions and throws well. Evil Twin Skippy makes rotten decisions and doesn’t listen to coaches. The Vols need 12 games of Good Jarrett. (12) Shawn Robinson, Missouri: He showed promise when he was a starter at TCU. He sat out a year learning an offense from a coach who is no longer in the house. He needs to learn in a hurry. (13) Myles Brennan, LSU: He was a skinny 6-5, 180 when he came to LSU. Now he’s 210 pounds. He’s got the big arm. He’ll be working with NFL veteran offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, just hired Monday by Coach O. (14) Whoever is the quarterback at Vandy: The only QB on campus right now is Allan Walters (2-9 passing for 36 yards in his career) but they’ve signed four. Not exactly the kind of positive situation for a coach (Derek Mason) whose seat is so hot that it’s about to erupt in flames. It reminds me of the opening of Ray Stevens song, “I Need Your Help Barry Manilow.”

“My account is overdrawn, my car slid down the hill

I’m givin’ up, I’ve got no more to give. My beagle bit the vet and my daughter’s on the pill And my ficus plant has lost its will to live. I owe Mastercard my life, I’ve got adolescent skin My doctor says I can’t use any salt. My waist is getting thick but my hair is getting thin And my house is on the San Andreas fault. I need your help Barry Manilow I’m miserable and I don’t know what to do.

Sing me a song, sing it sad and low. No one knows how to suffer quite like you.”


IT’S A NUMBERS GAME NOW FOR UF HOOPS

The Gators (14-9, 6-4 SEC) were already in a numbers crunch even before the loss to Ole Miss Saturday but now it’s pretty cut and dried what has to happen in the final eight games. It’s going to take a minimum of four wins to get the Gators into the NCAA Tournament, maybe five, and even that might require at least one win in the SEC Tournament.


To accomplish four or five wins, the Gators have to do it against a daunting schedule that includes road games at Texas A&M, #12 Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. The home games are against Vanderbilt, Arkansas, #25 LSU and #12 Kentucky.


The Gators have a #44 RPI national ranking (Realtimerpi.com), which is fifth in the SEC (#2 Auburn, #17 LSU, #24 Kentucky, #27 Arkansas) and a #26 national strength of schedule. The Gators rank #47 in the kenpom.com rankings with a #33 national strength of schedule.

SEC BASKETBALL Tonight’s games #12 Kentucky (18-5, 8-2 SEC) at Vanderbilt (9-14, 1-9 SEC), ESPN Mississippi State (15-8, 6-4 SEC) at Ole Miss (12-11, 3-7 SEC), ESPNU Arkansas (16-7, 4-5 SEC) at Tennessee (13-10, 5-5 SEC), SEC Network Missouri (11-12, 3-7 SEC) at #25 LSU (17-6, 8-2 SEC), SEC Network Wednesday’s games

FLORIDA (14-9, 6-4 SEC) at Texas A&M (11-11, 5-5 SEC), SEC Network South Carolina (14-9, 6-4 SEC) at Georgia (12-11, 2-8 SEC), SEC Network Alabama (13-10, 5-5 SEC) at #11 Auburn (21-2, 8-2 SEC), ESPN2


GOOD QUOTES FOR TUESDAY

From Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, Joey Roberts, the director of scouting for Elite 11, talks about the quarterback recruiting in 2013 and offers a telling statement about how some guys get a very high ranking: “The domino that typically creates that ranking is a scholarship offer. Back then (2013), you might have this 6-4 kid and if, say, Lane (Kiffin) offered you at USC, that pegs you as a four-star right off the bat. You might not have ever started a game in high school … “


From Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, retiring Big Ten football official Dan Capron talks about the Georgia fan base, which blamed him for the Poodles loss to Alabama in the 2017 national championship game: “You know, you were talking about the Michigan fan base. Well, they’re pikers compared to the Georgia fan base. I was getting emails, texts. It was ugly, vile. Something gets out on the internet that I somehow worked for the University of Alabama, and it becomes gospel truth. Of course, I couldn’t care less [who wins].”


RANDOM THOUGHTS: Michigan State was the preseason favorite to win the NCAA basketball championship. The Spartans are 16-8 and unranked now. I wonder how many Michigan State fans want Tom Izzo fired? … Since we’re on the subject of Michigan State, Cincinnati HBC Luke Fickell turned down an offer to be the Spartans HBC and who can blame him. He’s got nearly everyone back at Cincy and should have a third straight year of 10-plus wins. Better jobs await Luke Fickell. So who does Sparty turn to? Bret Bielema might emerge as the leading candidate. He knows the Big Ten (was HBC at Wisconsin before making a bad choice in moving on to Arkansas) and will work for less ... This is called The Tennessee Shuffle. Former Gator DL coach Chris Rumph, who has been coaching outside linebackers at Tennessee, is departing the Vols for the Houston Texans. Tennessee D-line coach Tracey Rocker is departing the Vols to join Will Muschamp’s South Carolina staff. Tennessee personnel director Drew Hughes is also leaving for South Carolina. Jimmy Brumbaugh is leaving Colorado to become the D-line coach at Tennessee. Got all that? … Justus Reed, who began his college football career at Florida, has been granted a SEVENTH (you read that right) year of eligibility by the NCAA. He’d like to transfer from Youngstown State to LSU so he can continue to play under Bo Pelini, now the DC in Baton Rouge. Reed had 12.5 sacks at YSU last year where Pelini was the HBC … When you add in the life insurance policy (LSU is paying it) to the base salary, Coach O will make $8.7 million next year, which more than doubles what he was making in 2019.

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