Ask Gary: Did FSU or Florida win the hiring game?

by Gary Shelton on December 9, 2017 · 4 comments

in general

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It’s probably never happened that both Florida and FSU have hired new football coaches in the same year. How do you compare the strengths and weaknesses of Willie Taggart and Dan Mullen? Which hire do you like better?

Larry Beller

Larry, I'm a Willie guy, but it may be because I've spent more time with him. The job he did at USF, going from two wins to four to eight to 11, was very impressive. The program was broken after Skip Holtz, and he restored the energy.

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If you read the copy out of Oregon, they were devastated that his impressive recruiting class might not stay together. He proved that with a big-time program behind him, he can be a major player in recruiting. Yes, it's possible to look at Tagart's career and think that he's only had the one special season, but the way he did it was huge. I think he'll be able to get into living rooms because he's coming from FSU (which has had its way in recruiting in recent years) and he'll be able to stay there because of his personality.

Keep this in mind. Taggart was FSU's first choice for a new coach. Mullen was Florida's third.

I think Mullen has a chance, though. There are a lot of Florida alums in the state, and a lot of kids want to play for the Orange and Blue. Keep this in mind, though. In eight of his nine years at Mississippi State, his team lost four conference games. In the other, 2014, he lost three. Now, it's easier to recruit at Florida than Mississippi State.

I think it's going to be fun to see. Miami is the team to catch right now. UCF and USF are overachievers. FAU and FIU are better than usual. And FSU and Florida are rebuilding.

We'll see who wins at recruiting, at facility improvements, at developing players. Tell me: Of the seven, which ones would you expect to be in a conference title game next year?

Which NFL team has the greatest list of quarterbacks looking at its entire franchise history?

Scott Myers

Good question. There are a lot of teams that would claim to have been the best. Remember, even all Hall of Famers aren't equal. So get ready for a lot of debate.

To me, the discussion starts with Green Bay. Remember Arnie Herber, who played in the prehistoric days? He led the Packers to four titles and made the Hall of Fame. Then you had Bart Starr, and Brett Favre. Now you have Aaron Rodgers. That's a pretty good Mount Rushmore.

San Francisco had two good Hall of Famers in Joe Montana and Steve Young.

Miami had Bob Griese and Dan Marino.

Dallas had Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman.

Pittsburgh had Terry Bradshaw and now has Ben Roethlisberger.

The Colts (is it one franchise or two") had Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning.

The Bears had Sid Luckman and Paddy Driscoll.

The Redskins had Sammy Baugh and Sonny Jurgenson (and Billy Kilmer, who isn't in the Hall of Fame).

The Raiders had Kenny Stabler and Georgia Blanda (and Daryle Lamonica, who isn't in the Hall of Fame).

The Rams had Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin.

And is Tom Brady so dominant that even another guy like Steve Grogran can get the Patriots into the discussion?

So even if you agree that Green Bay has had more good quarterbacks for more seasons, you're in a heated debate over which team is No. 2. I'd go with the Colts if you count it as one franchise; the 49ers if you think the Colts are two franchises.

You wrote about it this week, but Is there any reason the Bucs wouldn’t start Peyton Barber this week and if he continues to do well make him the featured back for the rest of the season? Haven’t we seen enough of Doug Martin not only this year but maybe forever?

Larry Beller
The thing about running backs, as opposed to quarterbacks, is that you can play more than one at a time. Martin remains the most talented Bucs' back, and he's had the most good days. So I don't think I'd throw him away ... yet.
I'd give each back a few (3-4) carries to see how they're hitting the hole, what kind of vision they have, etc. And I'd go with the hot hand.
I know the temptation is to go with Barber, but he hasn't been a star either. Last week was his first 100-yard game, so you have to wonder if you're going to get a repeat.
I'm not a big Martin guy; I guess everyone knows that. But there are only four games left. I'd use this one as a test to see how much Martin plays down the stretch and how much of the load Barber should carry.
I could be wrong, but I don't think next year's featured back is on the roster.
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller December 9, 2017 at 6:27 am

Personally I would reverse the roles and use Martin as the change of pace back to spell Barber. At least give Barber a couple of games to see if he can repeat his excellent performance last week. If Barber does well then we know he’s worth keeping around for next year. By now Martin should have used up all his chances with the Bucs. Running backs have an early expiration date and Doug Martin has passed his. The Bucs have so many holes to fill in next year’s draft it would be important to know how much a guy like Peyton Barber can be counted on for next year.We already know that answer for Martin. None.

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Gary Shelton December 9, 2017 at 6:41 pm

They’ve played together in 27 games. Barber has had two games that was better than Martin. I agree the Bucs need a new back, I just don’t think it’s Barber.

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Bruce Brownlee December 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm

I’m with Larry on this one. I, too, have seen plenty of Doug Martin and will bet I have a better chance of making the Bucs RB roster next season than he does (and I am a semi-retired insurance agent). One knock I do have on Barber is his blocking for Jameis…..bad to put it mildly. Martin is a head case in my opinion. Some games his mind & focus are in it, most of the time not. So what if he signs elsewhere after we cut him, weak minded backs place little fear for even our defense.

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Gary Shelton December 13, 2017 at 9:21 pm

It’s impossible to defend Martin, even though his line isn’t very good. I’d like to see what Barber can do with three full games.

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