Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

CopyCats Still Face Long Road

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

CopyCats Still Face Long Road

Article excerpt

LEXINGTON, Ky. --- What must Jerry Claiborne have been thinking last night as he drove down a roadway called Hal Mumme Pass?

What thoughts raced through the mind of this bastion of old-school, grind-it-out, grunt-it-out, stack-em-up, back-em-up football as he traversed a road named after a coach who has conned the Commonwealth into thinking he is some sort of gridiron guru?

It was billed as "Jerry Claiborne Weekend" at UK last night, honoring the former UK player and coach for his induction into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. But the Florida Gators and Kentucky Wildcats were most certainly playing a brand of football Claiborne could not have recognized.

And, really, wasn't that the only difference between this UK club and the non-descript teams coached by Claiborne in the 1980s? Aren't these Mildcats just packaged a little differently?

Mumme is bold and brash and has sold himself as the SEC's next Steve Spurrier. In reality, Mumme's record is closer to another former Duke coach --- Steve Sloan.

As the Gators were running out to a 28-0 second-quarter lead over Mumme's mummies last night, it struck me: At least, Claiborne used to lose close.

Sadly, it's not so much about substance anymore as it is style. Why else would Kentucky name a street after Mumme, the former Valdosta State coach who has a 14-13 record in two-plus years at UK and has beaten only one SEC team with a winning record?

Hal Mumme Pass, Jerry Claiborne Run? --- what's the difference? Kentucky still loses.

After Florida's 38-10 victory last night, Florida coach Steve Spurrier was told of the street named after Mumme. Said a surprised Spurrier: "Where? In Valdosta? . . . Does Bill Curry have a street up here, too?"

Can you imagine if every school started naming streets after coaches with mediocre records? …

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