Bleeding orange and blue
The Bucs were back at work Tuesday, resuming their offseason workout program with a morning practice at the team facility. The thermometer crept toward 90 degrees, a sampling of what lies ahead when the team reports to training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in late July. But there wasn't much in the way of NFL news to talk about, so, naturally, talk turned to the indecision of Gators basketball coach Billy Donovan.
Hey, why not?
Veteran defensive end Kevin Carter, a UF alum, was happy to hear Donovan was reconsidering his move to the NBA and the Orlando Magic to return to the Gators program for a run at a third consecutive national championship.
"I think he realizes the best school in the known universe, the best place to be a college coach, is right there in Gainesville," Carter said. "I don't know why anybody would ever leave."
Count Carter among those who does not think less of Donovan for changing his mind.
"I can't fault him at all," Carter said. "My wife and I are both Gators and we talked about it last night. We talked about his change of heart. You can't fault his decision. He made the right one. He's back in the right place. Of course, we're biased. We're Gators. But you have to look at the situation he's created there. He's been there for 11 years and won two national championships. It's a great place to coach and play. Anybody you know who went to school there had the same experience I did as an athlete. You have a wonderful college experience. So I'm glad he came back."
Receiver Ike Hilliard, a member of the Gators 1996 national championship team, sympathized with Donovan's dilemma.
"I just hope it works out for everybody," Hilliard said. "I don't think it's about money. I think he's going to be paid well wherever he goes. God bless him and his family. It's a tough sitaution for him, obviously. ...God knows what he's going through being pulled between two places, the challenge of the NBA and staying there in Gainesville and trying to build a dynasty. ...I'm a fan also. I still bleed orange and blue. If he goes back it will be great for the university. Obviously, the kids are going to come and want to play for him."
On a football note, Hilliard was encouraged by the fact the team did not draft a receiver despite plenty of pre-draft buzz about the team's desire to move up and draft Georgia Tech receiver Calvin Johnson.
"That's a vote of confidence for us," Hilliard said. "We like our jobs. We're a good group."