17 Gator Bites for Tuesday, May 7

By Adam Silverstein
May 7, 2013

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» The relationship between Dwyer High School head coach Jack Daniels and the Florida Gators has soured. According to ESPN 106.3 out of West Palm Beach, FL, Daniels is angry that two former Dwyer players who committed to Florida but have since left the program (quarterback Jacoby Brissett and tight end Gerald Christian) did not get the opportunities they were promised with the team. “I’ve said all along, I don’t think he’s been given the fair shot which was said was going to happen,” Daniels said in regards to Brissett. “It was made clear to him, and to everybody else, that it didn’t matter what Jeff Driskel did, it was [Driskel’s] job and going into next fall, it’s going to be the same way. I think he had no choice. If I was quarterback on that team last year, I might have been able to get some wins, the way their defense was playing.” He continued: “The way Jacoby was handled and the decision that was made…if it was my kid, I wouldn’t expect anybody to treat my kid like that, and I don’t think anybody should treat anybody like that. I think it was a complete lie about how he was going to be given a fair chance and I don’t think there’s anything to dispute that there wasn’t a lie.”

Despite all of this – including similar comments about how Christian “was frustrated and felt like the coaches were lying to him” – Daniels (a Florida alumnus) said he will not dissuade his students from playing for the Gators. “I can’t hold a grudge forever and I still talk to Coach [Will] Muschamp,” he said. “I would never steer a kid away.”

» Former Florida wide receiver Stephen Alli was selected with the second pick in the sixth round of the 2013 CFL Draft by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers over the weekend. Alli, who would have been chosen higher had he committed to playing in the CFL next season, will instead attend graduate school and continue his education at UF.

» He may currently be a free agent hoping for the opportunity to continue his NFL career, but former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow received a shred of good news this week when Forbes named him the most influential athlete in the United States. “A unique set of QB strengths and weaknesses and an affinity for wearing his Christian faith on his sleeve combine to make Tebow a compelling public figure, even as an NFL backup,” staff member Tom Van Riper wrote.

Check out 14 more interesting bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!

» Below is a trailer for the upcoming SEC Network. Read about it by clicking here.

» No. 2 Gators lacrosse (17-2) suffered a tough defeat at the hands of the rival No. 4 Northwestern Wildcats, which captured the 2013 ALC Tournament title by taking down Florida 8-3 on Sunday. UF had won three of the last four meetings between the two teams – including the 2012 ALC Tournament championship and a 22-4 whipping during the 2013 regular season – but was outmaneuvered over the weekend. The Gators then learned that they had received the No. 5 overall seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament despite beating two of the teams seeded ahead of them. Florida will host the first and second rounds of the tournament but will receive a first-round bye before playing either Denver or Jacksonville on May 12 at 1 p.m.

» The American government’s “We the People” website, which allows citizens of the United States to petition President Barack Obama to consider issues they are passionate about, recently saw a new petition pop up with ardent supporters demanding that the Jacksonville Jaguars and general manager David Caldwell sign Tebow to the team. “If the Jaguars sign & START Tebow, home games will be sold out, sales will spike, the team will win and the fans will be happy. Mr. Caldwell is ignoring lots of facts about the misunderstood Tim Tebow,” the petition read, in part. That is the past tense of “read” because the petition has since been removed from the website for violating the terms of service and being “superfluous.”

» Though many players, coaches and front office people have turned their backs on Tebow, former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka threw a vote of confidence his way recently while speaking with the Chicago Sun-Times. “I think [Tebow] can play quarterback in the NFL, but whatever offense you run might have to be tweaked a bit. This kid is a talent and he proved it in college. He is an outstanding leader,” he said. “Now, does he have an unusual throwing motion? Yes. But there a lot of quarterbacks that didn’t have a perfect throwing motion. Some of them turned out to be great quarterbacks because they were great leaders. I really do think there’s a place for him. If not at quarterback, I think he could play tight end. If I was in the league and coaching today, I would take a chance on him at quarterback.”

» New Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed did not participate in the team’s rookie minicamp over the weekend because he is recovering from a bone bruise in his knee. According to the Washington Examiner, Reed also has a pulled quad and should be able to practice in a “couple weeks.”

» Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh gushed over safety Matt Elam when he selected him in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft and feels exactly the same way about the player after spending minicamp with him over the last few days. “Matt really picked things up quickly. . He really did a nice job of communicating on the back end, which is not usually for the rookie,” said Harbaugh, according to the Carroll County Times. “He’s smart, picked it up quickly and jumped right back there and made the calls with force, very forceful back there, and played fast. He looked good.”

» So far so good for running back Mike Gillislee and his tenure with the Miami Dolphins. Head coach Joe Philbin was pleased with what he saw from the fifth-round pick during the team’s rookie minicamp. “It looked like he had some good burst out there,” Philbin told the media. “He’s picked up the offense relatively well so far.” Media in attendance also praised what they saw from Gillislee, noting that on a couple of occasions he broke through the line and got to the second level of the defense.

» Jacksonville Jagaurs defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker, who spent a ton of time with safety Josh Evans during the draft process, spoke with The Florida Times-Union about what he sees in the player and how Evans performed during minicamp. “Just watching him on tape, the guy just plays fast and plays hard. I was kidding with him on the practice field – he’s a throwback, a hard-nosed, old-school football player. We like his speed, how fast he plays and his aggressiveness,” Walker said.

» According to the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman, Tebow has a future in television when he decides to stop playing football (or the NFL gives up on him). “The odds of him landing a TV gig as a college football analyst are much better – excellent – if Tebow wants to take the plunge,” he wrote on Saturday. With so many new names in the sports television landscape – CBS and NBC already have networks, FOX is in the process of developing two – ESPN “is aware Tebow could be in play” and “ain’t letting Tebow walk [to other outlets] without pursuing him, big-time.”

» Check out a pair of interviews with Gillislee and linebacker Jelani Jenkins, both new members of the Dolphins, via The Finsiders.

» Forward Corey Brewer had a pretty bad 14 seconds of basketball during Game 6 of the Denver Nuggets’ first-round series against Golden State.

» The school’s website sat down with Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley to discuss a number of hot topics concerning the program. Below are a few important quotes from the piece, which can be read in full by clicking here.

Q: How will the SEC Network perhaps change things from a Gator fan’s perspective?
A: … I think from a Florida fan’s perspective on the short term, there might be a little pain because we have had a significant situation with Sun Sports. In essence we’ve had our own cable network within the state of Florida, in 6 million homes. That will change because the inventory that has been on Sun Sports is now going to be on the SEC Network. It’s not going to be a situation where if a baseball game is not on the SEC Network, can you put it on Sun Sports? No, because all the rights have been assigned to the league, so that will be a change. Exactly how some things sift down that is to be determined. …

Q: What’s the latest update on the proposed renovation of the O’Connell Center?
A: We’re committed to it. The key is raising the money. It’s a $50 million project and I think we’ve got about $16 million pledged toward it at this point in time. It’s not a project we can go borrow money for, it’s a project that we’re going to have to have to count on donors to assist us. I’m confident that just like in the past, this university has always had donors to step up and help us get to where we are today. …

» Florida did not sit back and wait for Rutgers transfer guard Eli Carter to contact them about an opportunity, the Gators pursued him hard and made sure he knew that there was a spot open for him in Gainesville. Carter spoke with InsidetheGators.com’s Russ Wood ($) and explained how head coach Billy Donovan jumped at the opportunity to bring him to Florida. “None of [the other five schools] recruited me as hard as Florida,” Carter explained. “When I got my release, Coach Donovan called and said, ‘I’ll be there tomorrow.’ He came up and met with my dad and me at home. He said he had a need for me and that he wouldn’t be recruiting me if he just wanted me to play 15 minutes a game. He wants me to make an impact and be one of the experienced guys.” Donovan quickly got Carter to agree to visit Gainesville and he made his decision almost immediately. “When I left, I knew that was where I wanted to be,” he said.

» Former Gators center Vernon Macklin is currently playing in the Philippines but is still making highlight reels. Check out this clip below of Macklin throwing down a powerful dunk over Jerome Jordan.

9 Comments

  1. VO2max says:

    Jack Daniels is a coach at a football factory (W.T Dwyer) that takes FULL advantage of of gray areas in eligibility by using Choice Programs. The Panthers draw stud football players from a much larger area than the standard geographical boundaries permit. Daniels is the beneficiary of this which is all fine and dandy. But at the end of the day he is just a HIGH SCHOOL coach. I am tired of seeing him inject himself into this matter, that from my perspective, is none of his business. If a player has the skills and grades to attend a D-1, it’s that player’s decision, NOT the coach. If a coach, such as Daniels, doesn’t permit college coaches on campus he is meddling in something he has no business in. I support Daniels and Dwyer football, but I think he should just keep his mouth shut. It irritates me when HS coaches refer to “sending their players” to a certain school. Please! Jacoby Brissett is a fine young man. When he joined UF you knew somebody was going to lose. It’s unfortunate that Brissett but these exact same starting job winner/loser scenarios transpire all over every teams roster every spring. Daniels has egg on his face for calling attention to this particular case. “They lied”….blah blah blah. Stick to winning District 13-7A Daniels.

    Totally psyched for Mike Gillislee. It will be awesome to see him produce at the next level. What a story he is.

  2. Joe says:

    Tebow as an analyst on the SEC network? They could do worse.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I think there are a lot higher paying gigs available for him.

      I still don’t understand his situation, I’ve never seen a QB – after alockout no less as a rookie – come in recover his team’s entire season, win a playoff game witha record setting TD and a year later rather than being given an opportunity to continue proving that he is a winner, discussing post-career commentator/analyst role.

      Sad how upside down today’s society is, Jason Collins is celebrated, gets calls from President tweets from first lady, as a mediocre at best center in the NBA, and Tebow is ostracized for his outspokenness and continually proven to be a winner of high moral character.

      • chigator says:

        Are you saying Jason Collins is somehow not a high character individual? The attention garnered has nothing to do with his performance as a player but as someone with exception courage to come out on a particular social issue that is bigger than the sport itself.

        I’m not going to get into it but be careful with your words. We all love Timmy and what he stands for but his situation has nothing to do with Jason Collins.

        • Don’t believe that was the implication he was making. A LOT of people on the day after Collins came out decided to juxtapose someone who (they believe) is sinning being praised for expressing his beliefs but someone who (they believe) is righteous being shunned for expressing his beliefs.

          • Ken (CA) says:

            Yes, I was not meaning to imply anything negative about Collins, simply that 2 completely different lifestyles that are pretty incompatible and the one that most americans (80% christian) to be moral and the other often associated with indecency (I don’t have a particular view either way, just noting the dichotomy of the situations and the way they are treated). As far as courage, I think it takes far more courage to do what Tebow does than to go with the current political climate that has been cultivated for the last few months, hence the instant SI cover and call from the President and Tweet from his wife. The only thing not made to order about Collins announcement is that Goddell after laying out all the groundwork for someone to come out got one-upped by the NBA doing it first. And for all the good works he does, Timmy continuously gets raked over the coals for any discussion of his beliefs and called a hypocrite because all the good works he does are supposedly just to help convert more “pagans”

  3. Ken (CA) says:

    I really don’t understand the sham of the seeding in Lacrosse. It is the 2nd year in a row that the Gators have been well underseeded. They actually beat 3 of the 4 teams seeded ahead of them and the 4th they didn’t play.

    The 8-3 loss to NU was a lot less convincing than the 22-4 thrashing was. Beating UNC in Chapel Hill and Syracuse in Miami no less as well. I hope UF gets the chance to embarass the committee’s decision by winning the first ground and thumping Maryland.

  4. Spike says:

    I thought the sec network was a good idea – but losing sun sports coverage and gator vision for games not broadcast live – sucks. The sec network may give more money to sec schools I could care less about watching auburn gymnastics or miss st baseball – we r going to lose gator coverage. Sucks.

    • It’ll work out. Florida can stream through ESPN, which may make accessing the content smoother (though video quality may go down). There will be things that Florida will be allowed to stream outside of ESPN most likely.

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