The Osceola360: Volume II takes a look at news, notes and nuggets from around the ACC, state of Florida and the rest of college football;
From the Time Heels All Wounds department; North Carolina head football coach Mack Brown recently underwent knee replacement surgery. The former FSU running back returned to Chapel Hill this off-season to lead the resurgence of the Tar Heel football program. Brown was head coach of the Tar Heels from 1988-1997 before leaving for the much bigger and greener pastures of the University of Texas. His surgery was performed this past Monday by one of his former UNC players, Dr. Michael Bolognesi, who played defensive back for Brown from 1988-1993. Brown, who led Texas to 158 wins from 1998-2013 and the 2005 national championship, only needs four wins in his second stint at UNC to become the Tar Heels all-time winningest head football coach. Former UNC head Dick Crum currently holds the top spot in Chapel Hill with 72 victories. Please click on the following link to ESPN.com for more on Brown’s operation; https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/26893642/mack-brown-kneereplaced-former-player.
It has already been documented this summer that the University of Florida would like to strengthen its home football schedule in the future by limiting the number of FCS opponents it plays. The Gators took a step in that direction when the school announced it would play UNC-Charlotte from Conference USA in 2023. The game was to be played on November 18th according to a report by Saturday Down South just a week before its annual match-up with FSU. The game will now be played on September 23rd. Please click on the link below for more on the game; https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/florida-football/report-florida-adds-nonconference-foe-to-2023schedule/.
From the Not So Fast My Friend department: Florida head football coach Dan Mullen is being compared to Gator legend and former head coach Steve Spurrier by the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum. While there is still a lot of chompin’ to do in the Swamp to validate those lofty comparison, at least one former Gator gridiron great agrees with the popular television and radio talk show host. Mullen did impress in his first year winning 10-games, including a New Year’s Six win against Michigan in the Peach Bowl. The former Mississippi State head coach still has a lot of work to do in the post-game presser department before he can realistically be compared to the old ball coach though. Please click on the following link from Swamp247 for more on the Mullen-Spurrier comparison; https://247sports.com/college/florida/Article/Dan-Mullen-Steve-Spurrier-florida-gators-football132607072/.
From the Millennials On The Move department; Miami is the latest school to lose a quarterback to transfer. Cade Weldon, 6-3, 220-pounds is transferring to East Tennessee State University according to the Johnson City Press. Weldon is the son of former FSU quarterback Casey Weldon. The red-shirt sophomore will arrive on the Buccaneer’s campus with three seasons of eligibility remaining. Weldon’s new head coach at ETSU will be former FSU quarterback coach Randy Sanders. Last year Weldon appeared in four games for the Hurricanes and attempted just three passes. Please click on the following link for more on Weldon; https://www.johnsoncitypress.com/Football/2019/06/05/Miami-quarterback-transferring-to-ETSU.
From the Way Too Early to Call It department: This is of course the time of year that almost every site and/or publication that covers a college football or a particular college football team is writing articles forecasting the 2019 football season. While we won’t know anything until toe-meets-leather this fall at least one publication is predicting that the Miami Hurricanes will be state champs. Although it would be interesting to see what UCF, who has been the most dominant college football team in the state the last two seasons, would have to say about that. Please click on the following link to take a look at how SBNation forecast the Canes match-ups against Florida State and Florida; https://www.stateoftheu.com/2019/6/5/18644132/miami-hurricanes-football-2019season-what-to-expect-versus-florida-gators-florida-state-seminoles.
While the SBNation site associated with Syracuse University isn’t making any predictions yet on the Orange’s game against FSU this season they have taken a closer look at what they expect from the Seminoles. There is a video of Cuse head coach Dino Babers addressing his team after the FSU game last year which just goes to show you how much teams and coaches from other programs regard and cherish wins against FSU’s storied and respected football program. For more details on the scouting report on FSU and the impact the game could have on Syracuse’s season please click on the following link; https://www.nunesmagician.com/2019/6/4/18651316/syracuse-football-2019-opponent-preview-florida-state-seminoles-orange-matchup-season-acc.
Earlier this summer the Osceola ran a column about the challenge college football programs are facing as it pertains to the downward trend of season ticket sales. And while the following article is not directly linked to just season tickets, it does give us another example of the struggle to put fannies in seats… even for the best of the best in college football. According to a report by the Greenville News, Clemson didn’t record a single sellout last season in spite of going 15-0 last season on way to it’s second national championship in three seasons. Please click on the following link for more on the challenges Clemson faced at the turnstile last season; https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/sports/college/clemson/2019/06/04/clemson-football-2018attendance-stadium/1298253001/.
There are a number of former FSU players and coaches who played or worked under Coach Bobby Bowden who have moved onto high profile jobs in college and pro football. Some who come to mind quickly: former running back Edgar Bennett is the receivers coach for the Oakland Raiders, former quarterback Chris Weinke is the Tennessee Volunteers quarterback coach, former assistant coach Mark Richt moved on to great success at Georgia before finishing his head coaching career at Miami, his alma mater. There are also a significant number of former players who are having successful coaching careers in high school football around the state of Florida. Former FSU defensive back Dedrick Dodge was recently named head football coach at Ridge Community High School in Davenport, Florida. Dodge has been coaching at the high school or college level since his retirement from the NFL in 1998. Please click on the following link for more on the former free safeties coaching career and new job; https://www.theledger.com/sports/20190523/dodge-taking-over-ridge-football-program.
From the Keeping Up with the Jones’ department: There is just as much competition off the field these days in college football, as it relates to facilities, as there is on the field. More and more programs are moving to stand-alone football operations facilities or spending millions on renovating their existing infrastructure. Virginia Tech is the latest ACC program to re-enter the arms race. The Hokie’s Jamerson Athletics Center is undergoing a $16.6 million face lift. Please click on the following link for more details on the project; https://www.roanoke.com/hokies/behind-the-scenes-virginia-tech-football-offices-get-a-facelift/article_18578c74-882b-11e9-91cf-9be05c067db4.html.
One opposing player on the Seminoles 2019 schedule whose progress Florida State fans will be interested in following will be Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks. The redshirt junior showed significant progress in 2018 under first-year Gator head coach Dan Mullen. Franks improved his completion percentage from 54.6-percent in 2017 up to 58.4-percent last season. He also threw for two less interceptions in 2018 (6) and fifteen more touchdown passes (24) than he did during the 2017 season. While the strong-armed Wakulla High School product is certainly gifted physically at 6-5 and 230-pounds, he recently told Gatorsports.com that his focus this off-season is leadership. Please click on the following link for more on Franks’; https://www.gatorsports.com/2019/06/summer-job-franks-continues-to-work-on-his-game-being-florida-team-leader/.
From the Who’s Calling Plays This Year Department; As most ardent college football fans know the turnover in assistant coaches at any level is fast and furious. The reasons coaches move on varies from moving to bigger name programs for bigger money to being not so kindly asked to find a new address. Most football fans, Florida State fans or otherwise, still pay attention to what is going on in the SEC to some degree. There are six SEC teams with new offensive coordinators this year including Georgia where former FSU quarterbacks coach James Coley will be drawing up the plays. Tennessee and Alabama will also have new play-callers this season. Please click on the following link to a story from Kentucky.com for more details on the offensive coordinators from every SEC team; https://www.kentucky.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/sidelines-with-john-clay/article231264678.html.