Commentary | Brian Poole ready to move into starting role with Florida Gators

adell@bradenton.comJanuary 9, 2013 

Now that the decks have been cleared for Florida's 2013 football season, it's time for Brian Poole to win himself a starting spot.

The former Southeast High phenom said he prefers to play cornerback, but with the Gators deep at that position and versatility one of his strengths, maybe it's time for Poole to reconsider.

He will be a sophomore in 2013, and you want to see someone with his talent on the field for nearly every defensive snap.

Matt Elam's decision to leave for NFL riches opens a lot of doors. The safety was the Gators' best defensive back and played cornerback, covering the slot when Florida went to its nickel package.

It would seem Poole could slide in and fill his spot.

Cornerback Josh Evans has graduated. The Gators are loaded at his position, and somebody in that group has might be willing to switch to safety.

The Gators have a verbal commitment from Tampa Wharton cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, rated the No. 2 defensive back in the country by Rivals.com, but with a 4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash, he does not have Poole's speed.

Muschamp risks future

Draw your own conclusions on this, but eight of the 19 players Gators head coach Will Muschamp

signed in 2011 will not be on the 2013 roster.

Perhaps the biggest void is backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett, which shouldn't surprise anyone. He lost his battle with Jeff Driskel for the starting job and with both heading into their junior seasons, there is no reason for him to stay.

Brissett will be fine, but we're not so sure about Muschamp. The head coach has put his reputation on the line with Driskel and without another quarterback on the roster who has thrown a pass he is going to sink or swim with that decision.

Driskel is not exactly a fan favorite after how poorly he played in losses to Georgia and Louisville, not to mention he was the overseer of a Florida offense that had a mediocre passing game at best.

He didn't show any improvement in the Sugar Bowl loss to the Cardinals, who were ranked 88th in sacks and sacked him three times.

At this point it's safe to say Brissett's future looks better than Muschamp's. A lot of schools want the Palm Beach Dwyer product, who will have two years of eligibility after sitting out '13.

Sugar Bowl: Who cares?

If you need further evidence that we have a bowl saturation problem in this country, all you to do is look at the Sugar Bowl.

Florida is supposed to travel well, but obviously it didn't to watch the Gators in their bowl game. The announced attendance of 54,178 for the Sugar Bowl was the lowest in 74 years, surpassed only by the 1939 Sugar Bowl (44,308), which pitted TCU against Carnegie Mellon.

Short stint at USF

Here today gone tomorrow. No matter.

The decision by Tampa Plant head football coach Robert Weiner to withdraw his commitment to become receivers coach at USF under Willie Taggart less than two days after he accepted the job will have little impact on the Bulls.

Weiner has won four state titles at Plant, but his greatest asset to USF would've been recruiting the Tampa Bay area, and USF has that pretty well covered with Taggart, assistant Ray Woodie from Palmetto and Larry Scott, a holdover who stayed on.

Weiner told Rivals.com that he sees himself as a high school coach and couldn't get himself to go after telling his team on Sunday that he was resigning.

"I've got to follow my heart and do what makes me happy. I love to teach, I love to coach. I'm a high school football coach," Weiner said. "Right now, I'm the town idiot. I'm a happy idiot, but I'm the town idiot."

Honoring Ray Lewis?

NFL's wild-card weekend seemed like a frenzied attempt to eulogize Ray Lewis, which is disturbing.

Let's not forget the man is linked to a double murder that took place in Atlanta right after the 2000 Super Bowl.

Say what you want, think what you want about the Baltimore Ravens linebacker, but here are some facts that cannot be ignored.

He admitted in a plea deal to obstructing justice in the investigation of a murder, which has to put his character in question.

Lewis settled two civil suits against him filed by the families of the murder victims. Now that does not mean he is guilty, but it makes you wonder why he would make a deal that reportedly cost him a hefty amount of cash.

The missing white suit: Lewis was reportedly seen wearing a white suit that was blood stained after the stabbing. It has never been found. It was reported an occupant riding in the limousine that carried Lewis' entourage told investigators someone in the vehicle threw a laundry bag of stuff in a trash bin, and it has never been found.

Two of the men with Lewis were charged with the murders and acquitted. Atlanta law enforcement officials have said they will not reopen the case because those two committed the crime.

If you want to like him, fine, but there doesn't seem any reason to make Ray Lewis a hero.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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