KNUCKLEHEADS, GUNDY THE GATOR?, HOOP DREAMERS, FINEBAUM & A DIRTY SUIT

November 20, 2014

One of the great things about sports is loyalty. Hey WE can criticize our favorite team but NOBODY else can right? We are protective of our schools and squads often like they are family or our pet dog.

They may be losing and have knuckleheads in the dugout or in the huddle…..but they are OUR knuckleheads.

Speaking of knuckleheads:

saints joker

Meet this spirited and now nationally recognized Saints fan who calls himself ” The Joker. In New Orleans, he’s now known as the Party Pooper after making a bee line for the Rear End of  Tight End Jimmy Graham as he jumped in the stands following a recent touchdown. Yeah? It was certainly awkward and understandably led to Graham saying he will never jump in the stands after a score again….

My point?

I don’t care if you are a Saints fan, a Patriots fan or an Eagles fan—-all of them have Jokers and its funny to me how some people act like some fans are worse than others.

This just in—-every crowd on either side of the fence has clowns like this.

I always laugh when Gator fans make fun of Seminole fans and vice versa—-lets live in the reality that you can find bad fans in every stadium from every team.

Saints fans are some of the most loyal and passionate fan bases I have ever seen and yes The Who Dat Nation also houses loads of knuckleheads.

But so do the rest of them……..

Eliminating the Jokers, our first priority in this lap around the Naborhood —as always appreciate you stopping by.

NEXT HEAD GATOR: It was a long shot but I thought Will Muschamp might…just might make it  out of the woods if had he beaten South Carolina. In the end forget Murphy—“Muschamp’s Law” came back to bite him. Let’s face it when it comes to the now fired Head Gator, anything bad that could happen, usually did and that South Carolina game was the perfect example. Not many Head Coaches have a field goal and a punt blocked in the final three plus minutes with the game seemingly in hand, but with Muschamp it just seemed like another day at the office.

muschamp pic

Sure he wasn’t lucky but it wasn’t that simple. No doubt he can coach defense and will have loads of colleges lining up to be their next defensive coordinator, but like many defensive minds, his offense never got on track. His biggest problem—he never had a quarterback.

Think about it when did FSU start turning around its program?  When it got great quarterback play. See Christian Ponder, EJ Manuel and that Jameis WInston fellow–well he’s not bad either. Jeff Driskel never lived up to the hype, neither did John Brantley. Meanwhile Muschamp failed as a talent evaluator as he picked Driskel over Jacoby Brissett who went on to bigger things at NC State. All of this along with conservative, playing not to lose play calling lowered the Boom, on Coach Boom.

So who should succeed him?? My vote is Oklahoma State’s Head Man Mike Gundy. I love his offensive mind , he’s a terrific recruiter and he’s taken a historically mediocre program in Stillwater and certainly raised the bar. Coaching the Cowboys has been a great stepping stone for the likes of Jimmy Johnson to Miami and Les Miles to LSU, I think Gundy could have similar success in Gainesville. Unlike Johnson and Miles he’s an O-State alum and I’m not sure if he would leave home but he flirted with overtures from Tennessee and Arkansas in the past?

mike gundy

When many think of Gundy, they think of his “I’m a man, I’m 40” postgame rant but his coaching career took off after that as the tirade actually endeared him to potential recruits and their families. I have interviewed him several times and found him to be articulate and very innovative not to mention a coach who can go toe to toe with Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops whom many have at the top of their list to replace Muschamp. I say go with that other guy in Oklahoma who is still young and will bring the Gators much of what they have lacked the past four years.

MY FAVORITE HOOPSTERS: Speaking of the Gators, head a great visit to Gainesville recently where the basketball team is once again loaded with top ten talent but they also feature a story even you non-sports fans would fall in love with. Meet freshman guard Zach Hodskins who earned a spot on the team as a “prefered walk on” despite only having one arm.

zach hodskins pic

How great is this?

Zach was born without his left arm but clearly was also born with quite a skill set not to mention loads of grit and determination. I had a chance to visit with him a few times over the past month and was really impressed with his confidence and his insistence of not being considered different than any other Gator. His family has done a lot of media the past year but have indicated they want to shut it down so their son can just enjoy his college experience.

After a standout prep career, Hodskins told me he had full scholarship offers at smaller schools but was determined to play for a big school and felt the most comfort with Billy Donovan and the Gators who unlike other big schools, made him feel comfortable from the very beginning. Zach got in the game recently against William & Mary and missed a shot in the lane. Sure he wanted to make it but his smile after the game when talking to the media showed how much he appreciated making it as far as he has. Donovan hasn’t guaranteed how much action Zach will get but here’s hoping he scores his first basket very soon. Zach is the reason I love covering sports—how do you complain after watching what it took for him to achieve his goal….

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS: College Basketball gives us Zach and recently I read a great article about Max Lenox in Sports Illustrated. He was given up for adoption right after his birth by a mother who was addicted to crack. Max is black and was adopted by a white gay couple—–this sounds like a movie but its reality and the best part— it has a happy ending which could teach many a few things about stereotypes.

max lenox with his parents

What is Max up to these days? How about this—-he is the starting point guard at…..West Point? Lenox is Army’s captain and says he owes everything to the two men who raised him. The best part of the story is the affection he feels for  his parents and doesn’t give their sexual preference a second thought, in fact he was excited when they finally had a chance to get married.

“The most pride I’ve had in my family—ever,” Lenox told Sports Illustrated. “Just knowing that they finally got to do what they’ve been trying to do for a long time, and the world is slowly accepting this great thing that I have in my life.”

If it doesn’t bother Max, why should this bother anybody else?

POWER OF PAUL: I’ve always said the secret to making it big is doing something nobody else does. When it comes to broadcasting, Paul Finebaum certainly has that theory down pat. The king of SEC Media originally made his mark as a controversial columnist who shook up the state of Alabama by not holding back his thoughts on putting coaches and players on the hot seat. He may have been the most opinionated writer out there.

paul finebaum sec book

I just read his latest book where if you hate the SEC, don’t waste your money, but if you love it like me, its an interesting read. Finebaum after making his name as a writer, chronicles the real reason he rose to such popularity—his one of a kind radio show. It started in Birmingham and is now broadcast on the ever growing SEC Network.

I frankly like Finebaum’s writing and the many guests on his show but don’t like the premise of it which is caller driven. Sure he gets some crazy fans on there but much like Jim Rome’s show—-its gets old after awhile.  Finebaum is very bright but his radio show seems to focus on many who….well aren’t.  That’s not entertaining to me.

The formula has worked for Finebaum though who has parlayed it into quite a career. I will give him credit for constantly evolving and developing a brand few have out there—the book was an interesting read on how he got to where he is today plus gives some great stories behind today’s current SEC coaches and players.

I just can’t listen to his radio show.

RAND UNIVERSITY: One thing I love are those ESPN 30 for 30’s. The latest was on the rough and racial upbringing of Randy Moss ironically in “Rand” West VIrginia. This doc is like the others —very well put together and gives us the most sensitive side of Moss on record.

I never covered him in the NFL but do remember Moss’s brief tenure at Florida State in the mid nineties when I was working in Tallahassee…..

randy moss at fsu

Oh what could have been? Can you imagine Moss against those ACC defenses? He was Jameis Winston before Jameis Winston—-making a lot of stupid decisions but unlike Jameis he served two stints of jail time and lasted only one spring in Tallahassee.

My favorite Moss story back then. I was interviewing Bobby Bowden in his office when there was a knock on the door. Bowden yelled, “Who’s there?” It was Moss who had gotten back late from a weekend out of town. Bowden asked him right in front of me and my co-worker, “Randy, did you get back for class this morning?” Randy replied “No coach, I didn’t” Bowden just looked at him and said “You gotta to go to class buddy”

Moss grew up after leaving Tallahassee and sure he had some missteps after that but will be a Hall of Famer one day—quite a journey.

NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT…. One of these years, I’m gonna visit Australia. I’ve never heard anything bad about this country. Its beautiful, clean, and full of wealthy folks—oh yeah recently read it has the highest minimum wage of any economy—seems like they have their act together. Another plus, I love this story from their version of the Today show where its answer to Matt Lauer—Karl Stefanovic put on an interesting fight against sexism.

You see for a year, Stefanovic wore the same suit—-yes for an entire year!

same suit

The wearing of the rip-off Burberry suit for 356 days was a silent protest against the sexism his Today show co-host, Lisa Wilkinson, faces on a daily basis in regards to the clothes she wears, how she styles her hair, how she applies her make up and her general appearance.

Good stuff, that’s a long and seemingly silent protest—-only in Austrailia—-a big part of my bucket list.

EXTRA POINT: Why would anyone want to marry Charles Manson?

UNTIL NEXT BLOG,

Mike Nabors

@mikenabors

PHOTO CREDITS: The Times Picayne,Florida Alligator, Victoria Will (SI), Harper Collins,The Today Show,mashable.com & Mark Foley/Associated Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

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