The Back Nine comes at you after another weekend on the road and some and, yes, I feel pampered. And poor. Now it’s time to pour myself into the 26th Bob Dooley Invitational (May 15).
10. So, the NFL Draft finally is over and the SEC once again flexed its muscles setting a record for the most players ever drafted. And it’s not as if we went to 10 rounds like the old days that anyone would catch up. The SEC is America’s League and everyone else is living in it. It’s where the most elite players want to play because they know this league is the smoothest route to the NFL. And the Florida Gators were happy they could be a big part of it. Every school in the conference had at least one player drafted and it’s not like this is a conference with nine teams or something. When you have eight players drafted and you are only third in your conference and fifth in the country in number of players taken, well, it kind of feels like recruiting season.
11. My wife told me the other day that she hates hearing about where players are being drafted because it means they won’t be playing for the Gators anymore. I feel her pain, but this is a part of life’s cycle. I’m just happy we were able to enjoy them, but there is that nagging thought that this team – with all of its talent – could have been more than 8-4. Of course, there were reasons why it was not and most of them revolved around defense, but that’s old news. I try to look at it differently and tell myself that the NFL is way more interesting today than it was a week ago. I don’t have a favorite team in the league (it’s a long story), but it should be a lot of fun next year just to keep track of what is going on with the Gator Boys. I don’t think I have ever been happier for a drafted player than I was for Kyle Trask. From 2-star to second round? I hope he lets me write the book if he becomes a star when Tom Brady hangs them up.
12. The one guy I don’t understand is Tre Grimes. Here’s a guy who has an NFL body and incredible ability to go up and get the ball and I just thought he was a sure fourth-to-sixth round pick. Now, the Eagles are thrilled they were able to get him as an undrafted free agent. The NFL people watched more tape than I did and talked to coaches and I understand that he does not have the skills that necessarily translate to special teams (which is a negative if you aren’t a top receiver). I won’t be surprised to see him stay in the league for a while and I know you are better off not getting drafted than getting picked in the bottom of the seventh because you can choose who you want to sign with. But I still don’t get it.
13. Kind of life the Gator baseball team. Every time the fan base is ready to bail, they do that thing they do. Let’s face it, Friday night was somewhat embarrassing and certainly turn-the-channel worthy. And then they beat the No. 2 team in the country twice. “We’ve all been waiting for this team to have a weekend like this,” said Kevin O’Sullivan. “Now, hopefully they know what it feels like and what it’s supposed to look like against a team like this.” We will see because this team is playing well and is right back in the race for the East (one-game back) and at the very least should be designated for a regional. Don’t forget that the new ballpark at Florida has to be a factor when they are deciding regional sites even if they will tell you it is not.
14. Florida’s softball adventure was almost as convoluted as the Gators were run-ruled in the middle game and rallied to win the other two. That sets up an interesting softball Monday for the Gators back home in Gainesville as they wait to see the Arkansas-LSU doubleheader. If Arkansas wins both, the Razorbacks clinch the SEC. If there is a split, Florida could share the SEC title with a sweep of Texas A&M next week. Of LSU sweeps, Florida could win it outright. So, the fate of the conference season is out of the Gators’ hands, but it could be right back in there next weekend.
15. I wish I could so my list of the top 25 Gator softball players over again. Because Hannah Adams is having a crazy year when it comes to the clutch gene. A three-run homer with the game on the line in the seventh to win the series? Who does that? Well, she does. Adams is now hitting .401 with eight homers and 33 RBI. It feels like every RBI has been crucial in getting the Gators where they are today.
16. The Bob is less than two weeks away. The Bob is less than two weeks away. We’re in great shape and I’m still a nervous wreck. The Bob is less than two weeks away.
17. For “The Florida Four” today, I decided to go with the four players most likely to be drafted next year from UF:
Cornerback Kaiir Elam.
Defensive end Brenton Cox.
Linebacker Ventrill Miller.
Wide receiver Jacob Copeland.
Who knows where they go? But if Cox and Copeland take the next step in their development, they could be first-rounders. Elam will be, assuming he just keeps ballin’ out.
18. OK, so there was no backlash to the rejuvenation of the Playlist so we’ll try it again, very slowly.
* “Lust For Life” by Iggy Pop.
* ”Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne because I had forgotten all about this song and video.
* And for a really old one, “I’m Telling You Now” by Freddie and the Dreamers.