National wide receiver Ricky Pearsall of Florida during a Senior Bowl practice for the National team at Hancock Whitney Stadium. [Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports]

Pat Dooley’s Back Nine: NFL Draft Shows Lack Of Talent On ’23 Gators

The Back Nine comes at you after a lazy weekend that included a lovely nine holes with my wife and a couple of sleep-deprived nights.

10. The NFL draft was everything that makes the NFL – as my friend Chris Harry likes to call it – The King. It was also about what makes the NFL so over the top that it’s difficult to watch. I might have watched two minutes. ESPN spends months dissecting the possible draft and then the geniuses spend 10 minutes ripping the picks, because they are not the ones they would have made. In the end, I’m just happy for Ricky Pearsall, a contributor to our golf tournament by the way. I’m not sure anybody enjoyed his draft experience any more than he did.

11. The draft also showed you a little about why Florida had a losing season last year (although when a Florida team goes 5-7, it’s not only about the talent). Florida had a first-round pick and extended its streak of having a player selected, but it also had nobody picked before or after Pearsall. So, that was one, the first time since 1980 that Florida has had only one player taken. The team that begat the 1980 draft went 0-10-1 and the only Gator taken was Scot Brantley, who only played in two games that season because of a head injury.

12. The Legend of Jac Caglianone only grew in Fayetteville when he golfed a pitch out for a grand slam because THEY HAD TO PITCH TO HIM with the bases loaded. Some stats for you – Cags has a .404 batting average with 26 homers and 53 RBI, plus a 5-0 record on the mound. Can you be the SEC player of the year on a team with a losing record?

13. Because Florida is one game over .500 and the schedule – already rated the toughest in the country – isn’t getting any easier. This quote from Kevin O’Sullivan reeks of frustration – “We continue to talk about the same things over and over, but they continue to happen.” You mean like Brody Donay’s base-running error that caused Florida to lose the first game of the Saturday doubleheader? Or the other missed opportunities in losing the first two games against an elite Arkansas team? You get this late in the season and you kind of are who you are.

14. On a more positive note, that was an awesome finish for softball in Athens on Sunday. Jocelyn Erickson for president. Her three-run homer when the Gators were one strike away from losing the series got me off the recliner. Florida would have been eliminated from any chance to win the SEC if that had gone the other way. Instead, they face second-place Texas A&M to finish out the regular season after a Wednesday game at FSU. Get your popcorn ready.

15. And I certainly wanted to recognize another great job by Mandee O’Leary in winning another AAC lacrosse title. They don’t get a lot of attention because it’s not an SEC sport, but to have won 12 conference titles in a sport the Gators only started playing 15 years ago is worthy of recognition.

16. Certainly, J.C. Deacon was not happy to bow out of the SEC Championships in men’s golf, but the Gators nearly pulled off a great comeback against Vanderbilt. This team may not be as good as last year’s national champs, but it has a chance to make some noise in the NCAAs.

 17. OK, so you have been wondering if we had children in the house, because I mentioned sleep deprivation. I’m just struggling because the 29thBob Dooley Invitational is less than two weeks away. As usual, the field got really fluid over the last few days and will continue to vacillate. But Tom Petty taught me “most things I worry about never happen anyway.” Well, he tried to teach me.

18. Yeah, the real pressure is to have a great playlist as I ride around and solve some of the tournament problems. As great as our sponsors have been, I don’t anticipate many:

  • “Bored” by Waxahatchee.
  • “Sunny”, by Nicolette Norgaard and Tim Hoffman, from the movie The Brink Of, which was written and directed by my son-in-law Patrick Meaney and included both of my daughters in a couple of scenes. It’s available on Netflix and I highly recommend it.
  • And for an old one (although I can’t hear it without thinking about the movie Semi-Pro) “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield. sports columnist Pat Dooley can be heard on “The Tailgate” along with Jeff Cardozo from 4-6 p.m. Monday-Friday on 98.1-FM/AM-850 WRUF.

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