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Entries in Brandon Spikes (3)


Brandon Spikes Won't Half-Ass Vandy Suspension

Brandon Spikes

One Great Season

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Florida's tough-guy linebacker Brandon Spikes demonstrated a sensitive side Wednesday night when he announced he'll sit out the entire Vanderbilt game Saturday, according to published reports.

YOUR THOUGHTS: Does Spikes' Decision Make Meyer Look Bad?

Coach Urban Meyer's decision Monday to suspend Spikes for only the first half of the No. 1 Gators' next game caused quite the backlash in College Football Nation, and after the criticism heated up over the last 48 hours, Spikes decided enough was enough.

"I feel like things were blowing up," Spikes said in a statement cited by ESPN's Joe Schad. "I feel if I would have played it would be a big thing. I'm just trying to stay out of the way. I'm pretty sure (fellow linebacker Ryan) Stamper's got my back and my teammates support me."

Spikes was seen on video replay sticking his fingers inside the facemask of a Georgia player during Saturday's beatdown of the Bulldogs. reported that Meyer supports Spikes' decision to sit out against Vanderbilt, whose 93rd-ranked offense has scored just 19 touchdowns in nine games this year.

With or without Spikes playing for the nation's No. 2 defense, the 2-7 Commodores don't seem a likely candidate to pull off the upset in Gainesville.


Brandon Spikes "Wired Differently," Florida Asst. Says

Brandon Spikes

One Great Season

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Brandon Spikes is obsessed with being tough.

Those aren't just words inspired by the horrific video replayed over and over on television and YouTube the last few days, showing the menacing Florida linebacker gouging the eyes of a Georgia player.

YOUR THOUGHTS: Does Spikes' Self-Punishment Make Meyer Look Bad?

But those are the words of Gators strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti.

I spoke to Marotti on Thursday, two days before Spikes was caught on camera gouging the eyes of a Georgia running back during Saturday's 41-17 thrashing of the Bulldogs.

Coach Urban Meyer had a problem with Spikes' act, so he suspended him. For the first half of the Vandy game this Saturday. That's a pretty weak punishment. If you think there's something wrong, suspend him for a game, not a portion of a game.

Have you ever seen a pitcher accused of throwing at a batter earn a four-inning suspension? Or a basketball player who left the bench during a brawl get docked half a game's pay?

Mickey Marotti

My conversation with Marotti (pictured, right), however, had more to do with who you wouldn't expect to be the weight room demon in Gainesville. Maybe you've heard of this guy.

Tim Tebow is a nice kid and an accomplished young man. Take away his football achievements and his potential to play professionally and earn millions of dollars, and his remains a life worth emulating.

Most college football fans outside Florida hate Tebow, largely because he's so likeable. He's a good kid, he's publicly proclaimed his purity, he's a team leader, gets along with his coaches and teammates, performs the occasional surgery on, yawn, goodwill trips to the Philippines and, ho-hum, pitches his religion to convicted felons when he visits penitentiaries.

I probably don't even know that he donates his time to animal-rescue centers or something like that.

Anyway, such words hardly describe a young athlete who also seems to have a chip on his shoulder and feels the need to prove something every time he competes.

But that's what you get with Tebow, and nothing less, Marotti said.

Tim Tebow

"Tim's probably the most competitive, determined athlete I've ever worked with," said the coach. "He's a guy that always has something to prove."

Marotti is an old friend of mine, and I was hoping to pick his brain about Spikes, figuring the 6-foot-4, 260-pound giant ruled the weight room. Not that Spikes isn't a gym rat -- and we'll get to him and others in a minute -- but Marotti couldn't help but pour the praise on the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner.

"No matter how miniscule a drill might be, everyone will work hard, but Tim takes it to another level," Marotti says. "Like running the stadium steps. Some guys will go hard and try to push the group. Tim just takes off and wants to finish first."

It seems that No. 15 is out to prove that nice guys can finish first, even on game day.

"When he's carrying the ball, getting close to the sideline, why not just go out of bounds?" Marotti asked. "He wants to run people over and prove he's tougher than the other guy. It's almost like he's not real. He's the toughest guy I've been around."

If you were to meet Tebow in a dark alley, or shoot, at the bingo parlor, you better hope he doesn't have Spikes with him. In pads and out on the field, Spikes is a man among Lilliputians. His presence is just as noteworthy in the weight room.

"These days we look at people as energy givers and energy takers," Marotti said. "Brandon's an energy giver. He's very influential. He's got a lot of juice going, a lot of excitement and passion."

Despite Spikes' size, he covers the field with great athleticism. Many expect him to be the first inside linebacker taken in next spring's NFL draft.

"Brandon's a big dude," Marotti said. "He's pretty athletic, and he's got great feet. He's also very confident and passionate about the game of football. He loves practice, he loves the smell of the grass. He loves his cleats. He loves everything about the game."

Marotti worked the same gig at Cincinnati and Notre Dame prior to Florida. He said linebacker Nate Dingle was probably his toughest baller at UC and center Jeff Faine, now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, would "fight guys in practice every day" when Marotti worked at Notre Dame.

"(Tough guys) are all the same in that they're all different," Marotti said. "They're workout freaks, they're wired differently and they obsess about training and preparing. They're obsessed with getting better. And about being tough."


Friday Notebook: Wet Footballs, Dez Bryant & Top Coaches

Matt Barkley

One Great Season

EUGENE, Oregon -- After deleting some vulgar comments left below the video I posted of Oregon coach Chip Kelly welcoming USC quarterback Matt Barkley to Autzen Stadium, I noticed a couple of funny comments that did not need to be deleted:

666TheScarecro666 said, "Barkley's gonna piss his pants on Saturday."

MJaxsun25 said, "Barkley has been running his mouth and showing his ignorance. Everyone in College Football knows that Autzen Stadium is the loudest stadium in the Country. It set the record. 127.2 decibels. Bring it Barkley."

Jeremiah Masoli

Other notes for a Friday:

+ I can't remember a weather forecast having the kind of an impact on a game that Saturday's probably will here in Eugene. Most reports I've heard indicate rain during the morning and early afternoon, but the wet weather should move on by kickoff at 5 p.m. PT. And while one would think a wet game would slow down USC's athletes, I think it would actually do more harm to Oregon, whose smaller quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, could have trouble gripping and throwing a damp football. So if the rain passes, the Ducks' chances are improved.

+ I hope Virginia Tech's coaching staff can restore running back Ryan Williams' confidence. The talented freshman has surpassed all expectations filling in as the No. 1 back for the Hokies this year, but his late fumble last night led to North Carolina's game-winning field goal as time expired. Williams has a bright future ahead, and I hope he runs for 200 yards on Nov. 5 at East Carolina.

Dez Bryant

+ Dez Bryant did not violate any rules with his association with Deion Sanders, but because the NCAA has so many rules, Bryant thought he broke one of them, so he lied to cover a up a dinner he had at the former football star's home. Can you blame him?

IMAGES: Dez Bryant Gallery

By all means, punish him, but the NCAA got this wrong like it so often does. If part of its mission is to help its student-athletes, suspend him for two or three games, but not for one full year. It continues to amaze me how out of touch the rich, old, white men in suits are when it comes to doling out discipline. Bryant will get the last laugh, however, when he gets drafted among the top 12 picks in next spring's draft. All the NCAA ensured was that it lost some star power for about eight games this season, including Saturday's huge, nationally televised game against Texas in Stillwater.

+ I've reached out to some friends, fellow writers and athletic department people, asking them to rank their top 10 coaches. I'll have a full story on this next week, but you might be surprised to learn that Les Miles and Jim Tressel aren't getting a whole lot of love.

+ Another story I'll push out next week is a Q&A I had on the phone yesterday with Florida strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti. He said it's not Brandon Spikes who rules the weight room in Gainesville. I'll tell you who does in a few days.