Tuesday, February 17, 2009

No way this makes Jacksonville better

The Jacksonville Jaguar purge continues, with Fred Taylor the latest person cut loose. Taylor's been underappreciated for his entire career thanks to playing in Jacksonville, so this may turn out to be a positive for his potential Hall of Fame chances if he goes to a more popular team and has good numbers. I believe Fred can still get it done for someone, but he needs to be used properly. We'll see where he lands. I can say this: no player I have ever covered has matured more as a person of the course of his career than Fred. When he got to UF he was a wide-eyed guy from Belle Glade who would follow whoever he was with and as a result found trouble frequently. By the time he was a senior, he'd grown up a lot and then covering him daily in Jacksonville for two years I couldn't believe what a sharp guy he'd become. He will be missed more in that locker room than Jack Del Rio can imagine.

Carl Johnson has become the latest Florida player to find trouble off the field. I'm puzzled to know just what to think about this yet, since no one has explained yet what the original "sexual violence restraining order" was about. It doesn't sound good, though, that's for sure. Johnson is an important part of the plan for next season, and before this he wasn't someone I'd heard about as a troublemaker.

There's been a recent spate of ATM robberies in Richland County, where most of Columbia is located. One woman was murdered in cold blood, and over a half dozen people have encountered a pair of armed robbers as they tried to take out cash. Couple that with the usual gang activity and burglaries, and you can imagine how much time people wanted the sherriff spending on trying to charge Michael Phelps for being photographed hiting a bong. After several weeks of threats, Leon Lott acknowledged reality and says Phelps will not be prosecuted. This was a stupid PR stunt from the beginning, and I hope it gets this guy voted out of office next time he runs.

Speaking of stupidity, how about the geniuses at the NCAA having a rule which would keep Mark Richt from going to hear a player who has already signed with him give a valedictorian speech? There's absolutely no advantage being gained by Richt here, and the young man would like his future coach to be there. Exactly who is a policy like this in place to help?

Kentucky is taking on Vanderbilt this evening on ESPN. It's a potential third chapter in the ongoing "Billy Gillispie acts rude and inappropriate to ESPN sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards" saga. Gillispie's behavior has been downright odd, and Sports By Brooks claims the reason is because Edwards shot him down when he asked her out. Seems reasonable enough on her end, what with being married and all, but Gillispie may not see it that way. I would hope this story is not true, but either way Gillispie's behaved poorly both times toward a professional woman attempting to do her job. He's not a good guy, and the coach part is in question as well.

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