I can't remember a Senior Night at the O'Connell Center quite like the one that will be held tonight for Dan Werner. He and the crowd both hope not to be back there for an NIT game in two weeks, but there's lots more to it than that. Werner has come to symbolize the frustrations of the post championship era of Gator basketball for fans. They, particularly the students, have not been bashful about sharing that fact with him. Werner was supposed to be an ace three point shooter out of high school but has never been able to do that consistently in college. He wound up so low on confidence he's seeing a sports psychologist. Early in his UF career, Werner struggled with adapting to the freedom that came with college life. Midway through his second season he began making really sharp plays that demonstrated what great basketball intelligence he has. Despite that, Werner also seems to have a remarkable ability to botch something crucial at the worst possible time - losing track of Zam Fredrick defensively at the end of the South Carolina game last year springs to mind, as does Saturday's inexplicable pass attempt with two seconds remaining in the game. Here's hoping that tonight Werner is able to have success in his final night on the Odome floor, but also that the students will show some class if he doesn't.
The NFL has changed its draft routine this year, with the first round only on Thursday night and then the second and third rounds the next evening. Now that the second round picks will be featured in prime time, the league may invite second rounders to the draft. This actually makes sense considering the second round will be getting the same exposure as the first now. If this goes through, count on it being described as the Tim Tebow Effect. He's got a fanbase eager to see him selected that will tune in until he is, which has to be what led the league to contemplate this potential change. Post Combine, Tebow needs to disappear for a bit. Between the "new throwing motion" story, his Super Bowl ad and the Senior Bowl he's been in the news almost every day for months. A break would be a good idea for his image and his NFL chances.
Bobby Bowden is apparently coming out with another book this fall. "Called to Coach" will hit bookstores in August. Interesting timing, especially since Terry Bowden is described in the linked article as being reluctant to discuss the situation with his father and FSU. Will Bobby go after the school's administration right before the season starts as revenge for what happened last year? I doubt he'll completely unload on them, but I'll be curious to see how much mud Bowden is willing to throw. Bobby has come out with several books already - wonder how much fresh material he'll have for the ghostwriter this time?
I'm lucky enough not to have a wife who forces me to watch "Dancing With the Stars", so I can honestly say that I have never seen a second of the show as it aired. I have wound up seeing highlight clips of guys like Jerry Rice and Warren Sapp, because one of their staple casting devices has been to put former jocks on the show. This year, they've switched it up and gone with current ones, as Ochocinco and the men's figure skating gold medalist have signed up. I'm somewhat surprised Erin Andrews will do it after her stalking nightmare last year, but I'll be rooting for her. Is it a bad sign that I have literally never heard of three of the eleven "stars" and the fourth I only know the name of from an article I read because he was just "the Bachelor"?