Random thoughts: Ranking Florida’s college coaches

by Gary Shelton on July 2, 2017 · 4 comments

in general

Sunday, 4 a.m.

The Magnificent Seven need some improvement. The seven college coaches of Florida's major colleges could be ranked higher, frankly. Athlon Magazine has Jimbo Fisher ranked fourth in the country. According to the magazine, Mark Richt is No. 14 and Jim McElwain No. 21. No. 58 is Charlie Strong, followed by No. 80 Lane Kiffin, No. 85 Scott Frost and No. 87 Butch Davis. If you're interested, ex-USF coach Willie Taggart is at No. 34, ex-Florida coach Will Muschamp is No. 55 and ex-USF coach Skip Holtz is No. 67. Ex-Bucs coach Lovie Smith is ranked No. 106 of 130 coaches.

– I think the main reason the Lightning didn't sign Kevin Shattenkirk was that he isn't old enough. The Bolts made 35-year-old Dan Girardi a $6 million man, and  then they signed soon-to-be 38-year-old Chris Kunitz. I think the team wants to qualify for the early-bird special.

– There were 1,101 home runs in June. On four days, teams hit more than 50. Great. We get over the steroid era, and now the baseballs are juiced.

– I see where Jake Odorizzi suspects the baseball has been juiced. We will be able to tell once we find some of the long balls he's surrendered.

– Does LeBron James eat Nick Saban's leftover cupcakes? The two have had a parallel path in their careers. They both won titles in 2012, 2013 and 2016. They both finished lost their last game in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Just saying.

– In 1930, when the world was still in black-and-white, Big Bill Tilden won Wimbledon at age 37. Roger Federer now will go after a title at age 35. If you don't think 1930 was a long time ago, Gandhi was threatening Britain with civil disobedience.

– Brad Keselowski calls Danica Patrick one of the greatest female athletes of all time. I have to question that. Patrick has never finished above 24th in the standings. I'm going with Serena Williams, Jackie-Joyner Kersey, Steffi Graf, Mia Hamm, Martina Navratilova, Annika Sorenstam, Babe Didrickson-Zaharias or Abby Wambach. But I rank Patrick a firm 47th.

– Ask the Tampa Bay coaches about the Bucs' offensive line, and you'll hear raves. That's why the team didn't draft anyone or chase anyone in free agency. But Pro Football Focus has the team's offensive line ranked only 30th, behind the Browns, the 49ers and the Jets. The site had Donovan Smith ranked 66th of 78 tackles which, I think, is somewhere behind Charles McRae and Kenyatta Walker.

– 49ers general manager John Lynch may be one of the last men in the NFL (Seahawks aside) to actually hear Colin Kaepernick's voice. He doesn't think Kap is being blackballed, despite the choir of internet writers who seem determined to find work for the unemployed quarterback. I've said it before: If someone wanted to get Kaepernick, all they would have to do is sign him … and waive him on the final cutdown.

– Brett Favre said he might return to the NFL as a general manager or a coach. Wait. Isn't this the guy who had to ask a teammate what a nickel defense was? Where is Favre going to take his immense knowledge? Cleveland?

– Former Bucs's linebacker Derrick Brooks was the No. 6 linebacker of all time, says Gil Brandt of the NFL network. Brant ranked Brooks behind Lawrence Taylor, Derrick Thomas, Dick Butkus, Ray Nitchske and Ted Hendricks. Brooks is ahead of Bobby Bell, Ray Lewis, Bill George and Kevin Greene. I'd have Butkus a little higher and Hendricks a little lower, but we'd all tweak the list a little, wouldn't we. I'd add Hardy Nickerson, too.

– It was sad to watch the film of Jeff Fisher meeting with his coaches after he was fired. No one likes to see anyone lose their job. Sadly, footage doesn't make Fisher's record any better, does it?

– Ah, fans. I see a Falcon fan has the team emblem on one his teeth,  and a Dolphin fan was married in a helmet (to keep his new brother-in-law from throwing things). That doesn't count the back tattoos out there. I remember a superman who hung around at Dolphin games until he thought of himself as part of the show. Eventually, his wife told him "it's the team or it's me." And he said "bye."

– Maybe major league baseball is blackballing Colin Kaepernick, too. The one-time pick of the Chicago Cubs won only one more game in the NFL than in baseball last year.

– I don't know who might play if the NFL has an exhibition in China in 2018, but I do note that the Chiefs and Bucs wear red.

– The Sporting News ranks Jason Licht as the No. 19 general manger in the NFL, which is awfully close to the bottom third of the league. Was Roberto Aguayo that bad a pick?

– The Sporting News says that the 2002 Rays were only the 22nd worst team of the last 30 years. Funny. They looked like a bottom 10 team to me.

– Remember the touching story about how umpire John Tumpane kept a woman from committing suicide? Fans were so impressed that a whole day went by before umpire Joe West was hit in the head by a ball thrown from the stands. Tough gig.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller July 2, 2017 at 10:18 am

Surprised to see the Yzerman take a flyer on Girardi who the Rangers thought so little of they bought out his contract. Seems like a waste of cap money to give him $6 million. Yzerman seems to be saying the defense was so bad last year almost anybody will be an upgrade.

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Gary Shelton July 2, 2017 at 3:37 pm

I have more faith in Yzerman than that. Girardi was a quick signing, for a nice paycheck, which suggests the team wanted him. Don’t forget the Rangers once gave up on Anton Stralman too early, too. I was a little surprised that the Bolts were giving big money to very old guys, but it isn’t my money. I don’t think last year’s defense was very good, and I think the team has more options for the coming years. But Yzerman, while not infallible, knows more about the sport than most of the rest of us.

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Larry Beller July 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

Of course Yzerman is a solid GM and knows more about hockey than any of us but the Girardi signing is no slam dunk as far as being a big upgrade for the team. It may turn out well and I hope it does. Girardi was probably the best available defenseman in free agency that doesn’t break the bank. Yzerman is desperate to improve the defense so that’s why he pulled the trigger on the deal. Braydon Coburn was supposed to be a big upgrade when they got him but he’s been mediocre at best. It’s very difficult to find affordable top defenseman in free agency or by trade but Yzerman isn’t going to stop trying. More power to him.

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Gary Shelton July 3, 2017 at 8:44 pm

Yzerman has spent most of the off-season trying to firm up his defense. I’ll wait to criticize Girardi. It may come to that, obviously, but it seems that would be the first question Yzerman would want answered.

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