The Front Nine comes at you after an interesting night watching the NFL Draft and getting ready for a big baseball weekend.
1. One thing that was interesting about that first round where Alabama dominated is that it feeds into the notion that things are never going to change as long as Nick Saban is the coach in Tuscaloosa. The whole evening was basically a commercial for Alabama football and, let’s face it, the No. 1 goal for most young men choosing a college is getting to the next level. It was also a big boost for Florida to have two pass-catchers in the first 20 picks, an example of what Dan Mullen, Tim Brewster and Billy Gonzales can do for a player who is willing to put the work in. Remember that both Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney were Jim McElwain recruits (Pitts signed with Mullen but committed to McElwain) and Toney was a three-star recruit. Here’s the thing – Saban has shown he’s really good at recruiting and developing talent. Mullen still has a way to go on recruiting and hopefully the new facility will close the gap. But he continues to send receivers to the NFL. Maybe this is WRU. Naw, Alabama has that locked up, too.
2. I did try to stay with the draft as long as possible, but it literally competed with the Oscars for being long and drawn out and boring. The chair just didn’t do it for me and certainly, when they say the pick is in it’s time to go find out who it was instead of chattering on about the last pick. I will say this – I found myself rooting for so many players that it went pretty much the way I hoped it would. I really hope Justin Fields kills it in Chicago and love the Jags draft and the emotions shown by the players all night were special. It’s just that you had to time it so you could miss as much of the gibberish as possible between picks. I used a movie as my go-to between picks.
3. So now we come to tonight and a really cool evening to watch sports. There are several Gators who will be drafted and I can’t wait to see where Kyle Trask goes. Second round, third round, who cares? What is important is that he goes to the right place. And then, of course, we have Florida vs. Vandy baseball in a top 15 matchup and a very important softball series for the Gators at Missouri. I know Florida has four series remaining and closes with the No. 1 team in the land, but this weekend is ginormous in terms of helping Florida host a regional. And the way Jack Leftwich pitches on the road …
4. It’s right there for the Florida softball team. Just win your last six SEC games and the worst you can do is share the conference championship. The Gators are tied in the loss column with Arkansas and wouldn’t mind some help from No. 16 LSU in Baton Rouge this weekend. But Florida has to take care of its own business with No. 15 Missouri on the road starting tonight. And then the Gators close the season with Texas A&M while Arkansas gets the week off. It should be fun.
5. Not as much fun as I have had lately relearning my golf swing. After two knee replacements, I was all arms. I had forgotten how to turn. Then, Jeff Cardozo showed me a video of my swing and now I’m turning and hitting bombs. I owe him. I also owe him for the bet I made with him on The Tailgate that Toney would not go in the first round.
6. I’m not going to make too much of Tim Tebow working out as a tight end for the Jags. I’m sure Timmy still needs to scratch that itch and Urban Meyer certainly isn’t going to tell him no. If rosters were like college rosters, you could use a guy like Tebow in many ways. Line him up in the backfield on third and short and watch the defenses try to figure out what to do. But these are only 53-man rosters. So, I don’t see it happening. But I have been wrong about Tebow before.
7. I didn’t even mention another thing going on this weekend which is, of course, the Kentucky Derby. I know all of you can’t wait for me to pick a winner so you can know who not to bet on. Heck, I’ll give you the trifecta. Midnight Bourbon to win, Rock Your World to place and Soup and Sandwich to show. I just like the names.
8. It’s “Trivial Trivia Time” and we’ll stick with the Draft because it was such a good night for the Gators. I mean, I was seriously cheering for both UF selections like it was overtime of a Gator football game. There have been 11 drafts in which Florida has had two players selected in the first round. But there has been only two years where UF had three players go in the first round? Give me the years. Talk among yourselves.
9. For my recommendation of something to watch, well, you may get bogged down in sports this weekend. But at some point, give this a shot – “The Wrecking Crew.” And on this one, you can go one of two ways. You could watch the 1968 Matt Helm movie starring Dean Martin and featuring Sharon Tate. Or you could watch the documentary from 2008 on the session musicians who were responsible for playing on so many hit records in the 1960s. The first one has a lot of the elements that Mike Myers picked up for “Austin Powers” and the second is just awesome. Oh, the trivia. In 1989, Trace Armstrong (who invented the transfer portal), David Williams and Louis Oliver were all first round picks and in 2010, Joe Haden, Maurkice Pouncey and Tebow were all chosen.