The Russell Report: No. 1 Gator Baseball set to begin its season; and the Gator gymnastics team keeps rolling

Published: Feb. 15, 2021 at 5:01 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The gator baseball season opens up this weekend when arch-rival Miami comes to town for a three-game series.

The Gators are preseason ranked No. 1 in just about every major poll and many people have them winning a national championship. But coach Kevin O’Sullivan has seen this before; his 2012 team had a ton of talent, was preseason ranked No. 1 and it got to Omaha where it promptly fell on its face and lost.

In that season, O’Sullivan fought a sense of entitlement from that team for the entire year and the hope is that this group won’t suffer the same fate. They are good, you know it, I know it and they know it, but can they keep grounded and stay focused and humble? Let’s hope they can in a brand new beautiful ballpark they will play in as well.

What a gymnastics meet this past weekend in Baton Rouge when No. 1 Florida met No. 2 LSU with the Gators squeaking out a win in a meet when both teams scored 198 or better.

Florida’s 198.15 total is the nation’s best score this year, and the Gators had to come from behind to win the meet after trailing after three rotations -- the first time they did that since 2019. It’s really cool to see two teams bring out the best in each other and that’s exactly what happens when these two compete in gymnastics. Both squads are legit contenders to win a national title.

The NBA is now playing the national anthem again at all of its venues after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban confirmed they hadn’t been playing it before their home games.

The league at first said that because of the pandemic, teams could make their own decisions as to the anthem, but when criticism mounted, the league reversed course and said teams had to play the anthem per long-standing league policy. I see both sides of this argument; some see it as further erosion of our national identity, but consider this: Do they play the anthem at the place you work? So why play it at the place NBA players work? With the NBA’s decision to play it, however, the issue is moot. At least for now.

Finally, the Urban Meyer era in Jacksonville has hit an early bump in the road after Meyer announced his staff and it included Director of Sports Performance Chris Doyle, the former University of Iowa strength and conditioning coach who was accused of belittling players and making racist remarks in allegations made by several African American players on the team.

Meyer is a great coach, and he’s used to getting his way, and perhaps he thought because he’s known Doyle for 20 years and that he personally vetted the hire, that it would just be accepted. Well, this isn’t college where the coach often gets his way; Meyer is now dealing with grown men and with a league where racial intolerance is not accepted. The NFL has spit out great college coaches like Nick Saban, Lou Holtz and Bobby Petrino, and Meyer will face the same fate if players aren’t behind the coach and the actions he takes.

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