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. In these instances, or when stories fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.
» OGGOA learned this week that the Florida Gators basketball team is set to scrimmage the Rollins Tars on Saturday in Gainesville, FL. Florida usually hosts another team for a scrimmage before the season begins and practiced against Central Florida in this spot one year ago. Former Gators forward Adam Allen and walk-on guard Kyle McClanahan both now play for Rollins as Allen is re-starting his basketball career following multiple knee surgeries and McClanahan transferred in order to play more.
» ESPN’s Andy Katz confirmed on Wednesday that Florida and Georgetown will both be wearing camouflage uniforms for the Navy/Marine Corps Classic in Jacksonville, FL on Nov. 9. The uniforms have not yet been received by either school as Nike is putting the finishing touches on them before producing and shipping them out.
» Here’s a fun commercial for the 2012-13 basketball season: “Live Live in the Dome.”
» The University of Florida and University of Georgia student governments established a rivalry trophy in 2009 for the annual football series between the two schools. Though the Gators held the Okefenokee Oar the first two years it existed, the Bulldogs got to bring it back to Athens, GA last year. Anxious to get it back, UF built a display case for the trophy in the Reitz Union, which the student government hopes can be filled with the oar following the game. More from The Gainesville Sun.
Read EIGHT more Gator Bites…after the break!
» Two weeks ago, Gators senior tennis player Lauren Embree captured the first national singles title of her collegiate career by winning the 2012 Riviera/ITA All-American Championship in Pacific Palisades, CA. Embree, who is known by Florida fans for her clutch NCAA Tournament play, took down Virginia’s Julia Elbaba 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to win the Grand Slam title. It is the second-straight year that a Gators player won the event as classmate Allie Will took home the title in 2011. Only two other players in school history (Jill Craybas – 1995, Jessica Lehnoff – 2001) have won the event.
» It may not have been in a national event, but junior Olivia Janowicz won a singles title of her own this week by winning the consolation tournament at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships. Janowicz lost her first-round match but won five-straight to capture the title, picking up a 6-1, 6-0 win over Georgia State’s Linn Timmerrmann in the final on Monday in Tampa, FL. Embree did not compete in the event.
» ESPN held a conference call with Todd McShay last Friday, and he had some nice things to say about two Florida players in particular. McShay said that senior running back Mike Gillislee was “completely off the radar” before the season and ranked as the 36th best running back in the nation. However, because he is tough and efficient, “leaves very few yards on the field” and has shown that he “can catch the ball” and run with “enough speed and quickness,” Gillislee has “impressed a whole bunch of NFL scouts” and now has a fourth-round grade as the 11th best rusher in the class. Also improving his draft grade is senior linebacker Jon Bostic, who has jumped up into the second- or third-round range in what is a very deep class of linebackers.
» As first reported by Rivals affiliate TigerIllustrated.com, Gators executive associate athletics director for external affairs Mike Hill is a top candidate to take over as athletic director at Clemson. Hill, who grew up in the area and still has family in South Carolina, has been a huge part of Florida AD Jeremy Foley’s staff. He does most of his work in marketing and promotions and recently was a big factor in helping UF and the city of Jacksonville secure the Navy/Marine Corps Classic. A hire is expected to be made within the next two weeks.
» Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, despite being signed a few weeks ago, has yet to step on the field this season for the Miami Dolphins. Coming off of injury and learning a brand new offense, Gaffney has been trying to find a role with the team and believes he has finally done that. “I’m definitely ready to play,” Gaffney told the Miami Herald this week, adding that he feels like practices are going great. “I’m a lot better than I was when I first got here,” he said. “I’ve gotten better with each and every practice and it’s helped me play rather than just thinking. I would have to say [Tuesday] was my best day, definitely better than Monday.” Dolphins fans are hopeful that Gaffney will be on the field Sunday to bolster a lackluster group of receivers.
» No. 11 Florida soccer had a rough start to the 2012 season, going 1-2-1 in its first four matches and just 3-2-1 in non-conference action. However, since beginning their Southeastern Conference schedule, the Gators have amassed a 10-2 record over the last 12 games and boast a 13-4-1 overall record heading into Thursday’s regular season finale against South Carolina in Colombia, SC at 6 p.m. A win for Florida in Thursday’s match, which will air live on Sun Sports, would clinch the regular season SEC Championship for the Gators for the first time since 2010. Florida had won five-straight from 2006-10 before finishing fourth in league play last season.
» No. 12 Florida State Seminoles volleyball ended a 21-match and 18-year losing streak on Wednesday by sweeping No. 11 Florida 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-21) in Tallahassee, FL. The loss also snapped a 14-match winning streak for the Gators, which are now 17-3 overall and but remain perfect (11-0) in SEC Play. Florida, which is rebuilding following the departure of a superstar senior class one season ago, also dropped both of its games in the NIKE Big Four Classic (Aug. 31-Sept. 1); all three of this season’s losses have come to ranked opponents. The Gators have a three-game homestand ahead before finishing the regular season on the road for four of their last six matches. UF has a comfortable three-win lead in the SEC standings and is also on pace to win its first SEC Championship since 2010. Florida had won 18-straight league titles from 1991-2008 and boasts 19 overall (2010) having lost out in both 2009 and 2011.
» Earlier this week, I appeared on the online show SEC Press Pass to discuss Gillislee’s emergence and how the Gators’ secondary has been able to stand out for Florida seven games into the 2012 season.