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April 15th: He said he wasn’t going to do it into his thirties, but he’s back. The most decorated Olympian ever, Michael Phelps, un-retiring, lured back into the pool by the, quote, “fun of it.” No, I don’t think so. Twenty-two Olympic medals, what more is there to accomplish Michael? Go out as the greatest. You’re coming back for what? Can he win? He’s 29 this year, he’ll be 31 in 2016, but he’s going to get in the pool in a couple weeks, April 24 through 26th at a meet in Mesa, AZ – short distances – 50 and 100 and 100 meter butterfly. Michael Phelps one more time, I don’t know, we’ll see.
April 14th: Two things I’m going to take from the Masters. Number one, when you talk Masters favorites from here out, you better put Bubba Watsons’ name in the equation. The guy’s game is made for Augusta; he hits it a mile, a mile and then some. He reminds me of a guy I used to know back in the late 90s early 2000s – we’ll talk about him in a minute. Bubba Watson, you better talk about that guy, because in the next six or seven years he’s going to have six or seven real good chances to win Green Jackets. Secondly, was there less buzz around Augusta? You better believe it. You want numbers? On Friday last year 4.2 million watched, on Friday this year, 2.5 million watched. You figure it out.
April 11th: All right Cleveland Browns, you’re on the clock, not for the Draft – it’s a little bit different here. You’ve got five days, five days Cleveland. Five days to decide – five days – to either match or free Alex Mack. FREE ALEX MACK! FREE ALEX MACK! And let him come to Jacksonville, F-L-A. I’ve got a little Alex Mack fever. I can’t help, but envision an offensive line with Mack and Beadles and Joeckel OOOHHHHH with Gerhart running behind them here come the Jags with Watkins catching passes down the field and a ferocious pass rush OOOOHHHHHH NOOOOO!!! Can we turn it around in one year? I’ve got a little Jag fever.
April 10: FREE ALEX MACK! FREE ALEX MACK! Doesn't look like it's going to happen per Adam Schefter of ESPN this morning who says the Browns would match the offer and right away. That's a bit disappointing but the Jags knew going in...they took a shot and I like that they're aggressive. I like that they are willing to spend some money and put Mack and Beadles next to each other on the interior of that offensive line. Ohhh, that sounds so good. But I won't get my hopes up because it doesn't look likely now once Mack does in fact sign the offer sheet that everyone is reporting will be done. Regardless it was nice knowing you Alex Mack, good luck in Cleveland. Oh what could have been.
April 2nd: Man the NCAA Tournament is a lot of fun and for the Florida Gators is been real fun because they’ve won all four of their games. It’s also a tournament where everything’s fallen into place. Let’s be honest, getting Dayton – who was playing good basketball – was a positive if you’re the Gators. And they beat Dayton. The point is Florida did not play their best basketball in the South Regional and they’re going to have to amp it up if they want to cut down the nets. Yes, they’re the overwhelming favorite. Yes, they’re playing a UCONN team that barely beat them without Casey Hill and without Scotty Wilbiken on the floor at the game’s end back on December 2nd. But Florida is still taking on a team capable of beating them and they’ll play one again in the finals. They’re going to have to play better basketball if they want to celebrate another national title.
April 1st: I love how people talk about Jadeveon Clowney in his pro day. What does he have to do? I mean, here’s what he has to do: he has to show up without a cigarette dangling from his lips and a heater around his stomach. I mean, Jadeveon Clowney’s pro day, are you kidding me? So let’s all go to Columbia and see Jadeveon Clowney. He’s a freakish athlete and all he has to do is not be out of shape. Not be slugging back a Schlitz and he‘ll be just fine. It’s the first, second or third pick overall. I mean my goodness gracious I’m looking for first. I mean come on, it’s Jadeveon Clowney. If he is there you’re going to grab him right? I mean Jadeveon, this is a slam dunk. Get it done.
March 31st: Something odd happened as the seconds ticked off at the South Regional and the Gators won to get to the Final Four. Yes there was a celebration but it wasn't enormous. It was somewhat subdued as they cut down the nets and they've done it now a couple times, remember they did it in Gainesville, they did it after the SEC Tournament but they want to do it one more time and that's my point. This is a verteran team that knows what it wants to do and they want to go to Dallas and win. That's what they desperately want - a National Title. It's the only thing left for this Florida team. They want to pay the price, they want to climb the mountain as Billy says. Getting to the Final Four in a incredible accomplishment for this program, it's Billy Donovan's 4th trip.
March 27th: Has anyone ever gotten more out of being a student athlete than Jacksonville’s own Patric Young? He spent all four years at the University of Florida, engaged in all kinds of activities on campus, tremendous work ethic in the game of basketball as well. Has gotten every ounce that he could get out of himself in leading these Florida Gators over the past four seasons, has had to adapt his game to the college level, he has gone on mission trips, talks about perhaps one day being a minister. Patric Young gets it. If there is one guy I’m rooting for, one guy I hope plays ten years in the association; it’s Jacksonville’s own Patrick Young. He has been terrific. He was terrific when he was in High School at Paxton. Of course he won a state championship in Providence. Nothing would be better than to see Patric Young cutting down the nets, next week in Dallas.
March 26th: Only one basketball program in the entire country has gone to four straight Sweet Sixteens in the last four years, you should know who it is: it’s the Florida Gators. What does that say about Billy Donovan as a coach? We’ve already established that he’s the best coach in the University of Florida history; he’s a college basketball hall of famer. This guy has got one of his best teams ever, trying to make another national championship run and he’s doing it at Florida, at a school where basketball has always been an afterthought. I agree with one thing that Rick Pitino said to us last week, “I don’t know why that court hasn’t been named after him already?” I know Jeremy Foley likes to do things after guys retire, but listen, if anything that should be Billy Donovan Court at Billy Donovan Stadium on Billy Donovan Way – get it done Florida, make it happen!
March 25th: The wheels keep spinning for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but they’re getting some traction. That’s a good thing. Look, free agency is basically completed. The Jaguars have added some pieces to the puzzle. Now the real work begins. It’s the NFL Draft and it’s where the Jaguars really have to make their mark, because that’s how they want to build their team and that’s the right thing to do. But the Jaguars know that they have to find starters, plural. Dave Caldwell admitted as much yesterday when he said the second and third round should be very fruitful. So the pressure starts to turn up a little bit on the Jaguars GM who has done a pretty solid job I’d say in taking this program and ripping it apart and now rebuilding it. But the draft comes up in May and that’s where Caldwell has got to swing for the fences.
March 24th: To win a national championship in College Basketball you need breaks along the way and you could consider yesterday a break for the Gators. Look I know they beat Kansas before and they may have beaten them again. But I don't care who you're talking to, a Stanford - Dayton winner is much better than having to beat Kansas for a trip to the Final 4. To get there, the Gators still have to beat UCLA on Thursday. A UCLA team that has played well by the way. But the way the bracket has shaken out things couldn't have broken much better for Florida. They've proven to be one of the better teams in the country but now they have a golden path to Dallas and the Final 4. They still have to take it one game at a time but the bottom line is this, Kansas's exit is Florida's gain. Go get yourself a trip to Dallas Gators, you're almost there.
March 18th: I find myself going back and forth on this NBA MVP race. One night I watch Lebron and I say he is the king, he’s the reining, he’s the champ, he gets it. Then the next night I watch Kevin Durant and I go, "hey wow he’s doing things that nobody has done since a guy named Jordan." He’s a scoring machine. He’s put OKC on his back while Westbrook was gone. He scores 30 points in ten rebounds every night. He’s streaking and I want to give him the MVP. Then I’ll go back and watch the Heat again and I’ll say, it’s Lebron, look at him, game winning shot. Two terrific basketball players, fun to watch. You decide who the NBA MVP is. Bottom line is this, I don’t think you could have a problem with either of them and I think we’re going to have a very close vote this time around.
March 17th: The Florida Gators are SEC champions, regular season and tournament wise. And listen gang, the pressure is on them to get to the Final Four and to win a national championship, but my goodness what more can you do. It’s the greatest regular season in the history of the program and it’s going to be hard to ever top it. A perfect season in the SEC. They won 21 games in conference. I don’t care what conference you play in. That’s something special and there’ll be a banner that hangs in the rafters. Now, they hope there will be another one. They’d love to have that national championship, but it isn’t going to be easy. Winning six games straight after you’ve won 26 in a row is tough. This team can do it. It’s going to be a fun ride and we look forward to seeing exactly how it goes down over these next three weeks.
March 13th: The more I am around him the more I continue to rave about Jaguars Coach Gus Bradley. He's got it all and we've talked about what the Jags did in the second half of the season last year. And also about how the arrow for this Jaguars franchise is pointing up, I think it's greatly in part due to their head coach and the staff he's assembled. Plus the General Manager, the ying to his yang. Those two guys have done a terrific job down there and now they're procuring players that are going to make a difference. They fixed the bottom third of their roster during last season with all those roster moves. Now they're attacking the middle and upper third and I think they're going to continue to build a winner here in Jacksonville. It's a long time coming and I can't wait.
March 12th: On the first day of free agency allow me to wax poetic about Blaine Gabbert who’s gone.Gone, gone, gone and if you look at the picture in the pamphlet today, there’s a picture of Gabbert, Gene Smith and Jack Del Rio. And that’s what happens when you draft the wrong quarterback. It’s a buyer beware world in the NFL man. It took three years, cost a lot of people jobs. It just didn’t work here in Jacksonville. I like Blaine Gabbert. Nice kid, I wish him nothing but the best. Did all the things right except his performance on the field. It’s that simple. He just didn’t have it. He didn’t have it for three years and in his third year it was just injury after injury. So while we’re excited about Beadles, while we’re excited about Gerhart, while we’re excited about Big Red; today we say goodbye to Blaine Gabbert.
March 11th: Let the plan begin for the Jacksonville Jaguars. It starts at 4:00 today. Now 4:01, you know given some time here. But I suspect they might have a guy in fold later today, and we’ll start to see exactly what they’re up to. It appears like they want to try to follow a Seahawk model if you will and build the team up and find that quarterback when the time is right. Chad Henne has been resigned as they had planned to do. There is more and more talk that they most likely won’t take a quarterback with the three pick, and they need offensive linemen. Their offensive line was not great last year. Our guy Brad Meester has since retired. They need center. They need guards. They need interior linemen. They need a pass rusher. Will they find them in free agency? I think they’ll find a couple. Keep an eye out.
March 10th: HEY THE JAGS SAID THEY WERE GONNA BE ACTIVE IN FREE AGENCY BUT THEY EVEN JUMPED THE GUN BRINGING IN RED BRYANT. LOOK, 6 FOOT 4 323 POUNDS IS WHAT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT RED. A RUN STUFFING DEFENSIVE END WHO REALLY FOUND A HOME ON THE OUTSIDE SETTING THE EDGE IN GUS BRADLEY’S DEFENSE AND JAGS SCHEME OBVIOUSLY JUST LIKE SEATTLE’S. RED BRYANT GETS A NICE DEAL TO COME HERE AND HE’LL BE 30 YEARS OLD WHEN THE SEASON BEGINS BUT THE KIND OF FOOTBALL PLAYER THAT MAKES YOUR TEAM BETTER. AND I LIKE THIS SIGNING, I LIKE IT AND IT’S A START, NOT THE END JUST THE BEGINNING. NOW THEY HAVE TO REPLACE MEESTER, NWANERI, PERHAPS RACKLEY AS WELL. LOTS OF WORK TO DO FOR DAVE CALDWELL.