The Back Nine comes at you after a wonderful weekend which included date night at a Gainesville landmark. Thanks to everybody at the Salty Dog.
10. It’s what we do. After almost every coach leaves Florida, we point out all the things that were wrong with him when he was here. Not with Steve Spurrier, but with every coach who has followed him. Of course, in basketball, people did not wait until Mike White left to start bashing him. The incessant noise was one of the reasons he left for Georgia. This is a long way of getting to my point, so long I will move on to the next number.
11. So, Dan Mullen was the quarterback whisperer, but never wanted to play Kyle Trask until he was forced to and instead played a guy who may be a starting tight end in the NFL this year. He didn’t want to play Anthony Richardson until he had no other choice and Richardson could be a first-round draft pick this year. Oh, and then there is the fact that he wouldn’t lean on Dameon Pierce for carries despite an erratic passing game and Pierce will probably start in the NFL this year. What was he seeing that we didn’t? Don’t get me wrong. I think Mullen did some great things here. But after a coach is let go, we tend to pick at his bones. He was a great play caller and a really sharp offensive mind. But
12. With a new sheriff in town, we still don’t know what to expect and probably won’t until the end of September. No team in America has a tougher month schedule wise and it should be a good indication of what is to come. I’m not talking about it in terms of wins and losses, but in terms of discipline and effort. And then, there is the other ball of wax if Florida gets off to a 1-3 start, which is certainly possible. Do the Gators keep getting better or do they slack off once the SEC Championship Game is out of reach. So, no matter what the final record this team has – ceiling 10-2, floor 6-6 in my opinion – we are going to know a lot more about what Billy Napier had brought to town in so many ways.
13. And it can’t get here fast enough, even though there should be some Gator trepidation about that first opponent. Kyle Whittingham has his culture in place and it involves being physical and developing players. Napier is just getting started. I keep getting questions on national radio shows about whether or not Florida fans know what they are in for with Utah. Yes, we have cable and satellite television. I will say this – Florida fans who believe the humidity will be a huge advantage are banking too much on the weather. Oh, it could be a factor late in the game, but the Gators better be ready for a slobber-knocker from the opening kickoff.
14. I was listening to one of those national college football shows and started thinking that I may have to rescind my ban on the term “Week Zero.” I mean, it’s a part of the way everyone talks about football season. Fortunately, I got a grip and slapped myself awake. How can it be Week Zero when there is a Power 5 conference game among the 14 games being played, five of them with Power Five teams? It’s Week One. Florida plays Utah in Week Two. Yes, it’s Week One for Florida, but when there are 14 games – 12 with FBS teams involved – it’s Week One. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
15. This Cale Gundy story leaves you a little wobbly when you think of a coach spending 23 years at a school and being part of so many championships and then resigning because he read a word that was on a player’s iPad. I despise that word and there is a part of me that gets it and a part of me that says the cancel culture has gone too far. A suspension was warranted, but that’s not the way Oklahoma wanted to start off camp.
16. Remember when the Braves were coming for the Mets – just a half-game back — and some of us got all excited? And then the Mets beat the Braves four of five to take a 6.5-game lead? Still a lot of ball to be played, but there is a real possibility that the NL East could have three of the last four World Series champs and it would be three different teams. That says a lot about the division. It is nice to see the Yankees slumping, but I think they are just bored and it feels like everyone is playing for second because the Dodgers are so good, but that’s what I thought last year.
17. A very emotional goodbye from the booth for Sir Nick Faldo on Sunday. I’m not a big fan of his work, but he does care about the game. Maybe we can get Johnny Miller back with a like, no?
18. Nobody asked but my mini-golf vacation went very well. It’s almost time to wind down because football is here, but I will keep the playlists going:
* “Grace” by Marcus Mumford.
* ”Spitting Off The Edge of the World” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
* ”The Less I Know The Better” by Tame Impala.