Top 11 for 2011: On the Field Moments of the Year

For as much as the Florida Gators were in the news off the field in 2011 (check out Friday’s post), the Gator Nation was making plenty of headlines on it as well. From breathtaking moments, game-changing and game-winning plays to winning championships and setting world records, Florida accomplished some unique athletic feats in 2011. Below are OGGOA‘s Top 11 On the Field Moments of the Year.

Plenty of Florida student-athletes suffered injuries in 2011 but three in particular caused fans to gasp and remain worried about the future of said player. Participating in the semifinals of the 2011 SEC Tournament, Gators baseball wound up dropping a close game 4-3 to Georgia, a loss that forced an elimination game which Florida would later win. However, UF sophomore right-handed pitcher Brian Johnson was taken off a stretcher in the top of the first inning after giving up two earned runs and accidentally being beaned in the back of the head with the baseball by sophomore catcher Mike Zunino. Trying to pick off a runner stealing second, Zunino got his leg tangled with the batter, tripped and flung the ball into the head of a crouching Johnson. He was quickly stabilized, brought to the hospital and deemed responsive though he had a massive headache and was diagnosed with a minor three concussion (no skull fractures or bleeding). Johnson missed the entire Gainesville Regional but returned to action in the Super Regional after being sidelined for more than two weeks.

Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley was in the middle of playing the best game of his collegiate career (despite throwing a costly pick-six) when he went down with an ugly lower leg injury at the end of the first half against Alabama. Brantley had thrown a pretty 65-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose on the first play of the game and was in the middle of driving Florida in for another score before being sacked twice and having his lower leg contorted the second time. Brantley was nearly immediately ruled out of the team’s next game against powerhouse LSU with a high-ankle sprain, and UF was forced to start a true freshman who had not even taken a snap in the team’s first five games in consecutive road contests against LSU and Auburn. Needless to say, the Gators lost both of those contests.

Brantley was never the same after the injury. He nearly helped Florida beat Georgia but was pretty much immobilized in the pocket and threw three interceptions in the team’s first five possessions against Florida State before being knocked out of the game with a head injury that was equally painful to watch. However, that was not the Gators’ only major injury in that game. Perhaps the scariest incident of the year came on kickoff coverage when sophomore linebacker Darrin Kitchens was hit hard from his blindside and laid motionless on the field while trainers attended to him. To this day Kitchens does not remember anything about being hit. Lucky for him, he was cleared that evening with “just” a concussion, released from the hospital and allowed to return to practice with the team just before Christmas. He is expected to play in the 2012 Gator Bowl.


The Florida lacrosse program has been making history since the day it signed the nation’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class prior to the team’s inaugural season in 2010. The Gators were a young but talented group and won over the school even if falling short of some of their goals one year ago. Florida took the next step in 2011, ending the regular season with an 11-0 record at home and on a 13-game winning streak. The Gators capped their stellar regular season by defeating Northwestern for the 2011 ALC Championship just 419 days after the team played its first game in school history. Florida would fall to Northwestern just over three weeks later in the finals of the 2011 ALC Tournament, splitting the season’s conference title down the middle, but took home a number of awards from the league. Sophomore midfielder Kitty Cullen won Player of the Year honors while head coach Amanda O’Leary was named Coach of the Year in just her second season. Two more players were All-ALC first team selections and three others earned spots on the second team. The ladies made it all the way to the Elite Eight of the 2011 NCAA Tournament as well before being taken down 13-9 by Duke, their only loss at home on the season. The Gators were the first program in the history of the sport to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament in only their second year of existence and defeated some of the top teams in the country on the way to an unforgettable season that sets Florida up as a favorite heading into 2012.

Continue Reading » Top 11 for 2011: On the Field Moments of the Year

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2013 PG Kasey Hill chooses Florida Gators

The last day of 2011 was a good one for Florida Gators basketball, which earned a 90-70 victory over Yale early in the day and nabbed a commitment from 2013 four-star point guard Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL) following the game.

Hill, the No. 27-ranked player in his class according to, chose Florida primarily over offers from Florida State and Louisville.

“I [committed] after the game but I knew before the game that I would do it,” Hill told ESPN‘s Dave Telep. “I told [Billy Donovan] that I was ready. Last time I visited he told me to let him know when I was ready. I came up today and I was ready.”

The Gators’ first commitment for 2013, he adds yet another supremely talented point guard to UF’s recently surging backcourt.

Hill is currently teammates with Gators four-star 2012 guard commit Michael Frazier (Montverde, FL) at Montverde Academy. The two are good friends, and Hill is also close with Florida three-star 2012 G commit Dillon Graham (Orlando, FL). UF also has four-star PG Braxton Ogbueze (Charlotte, NC) pledged for 2012.

With Hill now in the fold, Florida will focus on earning a commitment from four-star power forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL) for 2013. Walker, Rivals‘ No. 8 player in the country, is believed to have the Gators as his leader and would be a fantastic addition to the class. He is also high on Kansas and Kentucky.

UF is still actively trying to get a positive response from 2012 five-star PF Anthony Bennett (Henderson, NV) who has Florida in his top 10 along with Connecticut, Kentucky, Ohio State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, UNLV, Washington and West Virginia.

ESPNU considers both Hill and Walker five-star prospects and has them ranked No. 16 and No. 5, respectively in the 2013 recruiting class.

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No. 10 Florida tops Yale 90-70 to close out 2011

Attempting to put a good taste back in their mouths after being upset by Rutgers on the road Thursday, the No. 10 Florida Gators (11-3) overpowered the Yale Bulldogs (8-4) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on New Year’s Eve, defeating their Ivy League opponent 90-70 just eight hours before closing out 2011.

Gators junior guard Kenny Boynton and Bulldogs forward Greg Mangano led the way for their squads as each registered a game-high 26 points. Boynton posted his on an efficient 8-of-12 shooting while going 5-for-7 from downtown, while Mangano hit 11-of-18 shots from the field and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.

Yale started off by hitting three straight shots from downtown to take a 9-0 advantage, but Florida immediately answered with a 17-3 run and 29-6 scoring stretch to take a 29-15 lead with 9:55 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs hung around though and used an 8-1 run late in the half to pull within five of the Gators. Consecutive three-pointers by Boynton – including his traditional four-point play – kept Florida ahead of Yale, but the Bulldogs went 9-for-14 from downtown in the opening half and kept the Gators’ advantage at 11 points heading into the break.

With Florida holding a 12-point lead three minutes into the second half, Yale put together a 6-0 run to cut their deficit to just six points. However, Gators junior F Erik Murphy responded with back-to-back makes from beyond the arc to negate the run. Minutes later, Boynton hit a pair of treys and Murphy added yet another as part of a 9-2 run that gave UF a 17-point lead.

Florida kept their foot on the pedal from that point forward. Freshman Bradley Beal took a great pass in for a one-handed dunk and followed that up with an alley-oop to sophomore center Patric Young. Young added seven more points as part of a personal 9-0 run that put the Gators ahead 83-57 with less than four minutes left in the game.

Complementing Boynton’s stellar performance, Young finished with 19 points, five rebounds and a career-high five assists while shooting 60 percent from the floor and hitting 7-of-8 shots from the free throw line.

Murphy posted a career-high 18 points while going 5-for-7 from downtown, and Beal added 11 points (including three highlight dunks) along with eight boards.

Mangano also registered a game-high 15 rebounds (five offensive) and blocked two shots in the contest, completing his impressive effort for Yale.

The Bulldogs outrebounded the Gators 31-28 (11-5 offensive), but Florida outshot Yale from the floor (53.4 to 42.2 percent), three-point range (57.1 to 50.0 percent) and the charity stripe (69.6 to 62.5 percent). UF had 24 assists on 31 made baskets and sported a 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio (24:7) on the afternoon.

Florida will begin 2012 with their final non-conference game as UF will host UAB on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. The game will air live on FOX Sports Network (check your local listings). The Gators begin SEC action on Jan. 7 with an 11 a.m. contest at Tennessee.

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Top 11 for 2011: Off the Field Stories of the Year

For as much as the Florida Gators accomplished on the field in 2011 (check out Saturday’s post), the Gator Nation was making plenty of news off of it as well. From former players ending their accomplished careers to coaches and current players being part of some of the biggest news stories this year, Florida was spread all over the sports landscape in 2011. Below are OGGOA‘s Top 11 Off the Field Stories of the Year.

Like 2009 and 2010, Florida could not escape its share of unfortunate arrests and embarrassing incidents in 2011. It started simply enough early in February when a pair of Gators swimmers – Lily Ramirez and Daniela Victoria – were arrested and indefinitely suspended from the team after being accused of shoplifting from Nordstrom at the Orlando Mall. Next up was Florida senior outfielder Bryson Smith, who was picked up on March 13 for driving under the influence. Oakland Raiders wide receiver Louis Murphy was arrested in Gainesville, FL three weeks later and charged with a trio of misdemeanors for failing to obey a police officer, possession of a drug (Viagra) without a valid prescription and resisting arrest without violence. The month of April was a tough one for the basketball team. Forwards Erik Murphy and Cody Larson were arrested in St. Augustine, FL and charged with third-degree felony burglary charges after allegedly breaking into a car, and team manager Josh Adel was also arrested for principal to burglary for allegedly serving as a lookout. Charges against the players were eventually reduced and each settled their respective case, while Adel had all charges against him dropped. Additionally, former Florida F Dan Wener was charged with a DUI even though he blew below the legal limit (0.08) on the Breathalyzer twice. The State Attorney’s Office eventually dropped his charges due to insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction.

Unfortunately the year of brushes with the law was just getting started for the Gators. It surfaced on April 24 via a news report that both linebacker Chris Martin and defensive end Kendric Johnson were cited with misdemeanors for possessing approximately two grams of marijuana each in their respective vehicles on separate occasions. Former Florida WR Reche Caldwell was arrested one month later for possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license. Gators runner Andries Dumisane Hlaselo had the darkest arrest of the year, being picked up in June after being accused of rape and sexual assault. He was immediately dismissed from the team. The Florida football team had the remainder of the year’s arrests. Sophomore safety Matt Elam was cited for underage drinking for the second time in as many years in July, and an August report noted that freshman defensive back De’Ante Saunders was cited for misdemeanor possession of marijuana in May. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Dee Finely was arrested on Sept. 13 on a first-degree misdemeanor for driving a scooter with a suspended license as well as a third-degree felony for resisting arrest without violence, and freshman cornerback Marcus Roberson was served with a written arrest for underage drinking just one day later. Sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley had the last brush with the law of 2011 as he was accused of attacking a former Alabama player early in October but was cleared of the charges one month later. All-in-all, for every positive thing accomplished by the Gators in 2011, there always seemed to be something negative about the program just around the corner.

It would be difficult to recount everything that Gator Nation has gone through in 2011 without remembering those close to the University of Florida who left us for a better place or suffered through serious medical issues in the past year. Young and old, these Gators departed too soon or had plenty to deal with as the year went on. Jimmy Carnes (76), a former Gators track and field coach, passed away in March after losing a four-year battle with prostate cancer. Former linebacker/safety and three-time Super Bowl winner Godfrey Myles (42) suffered a massive heart attack in June and, while in the hospital on life support, had a stroke that took his life. Former punter and 12-year NFL veteran Don Chandler (76) also lost a long battle with cancer in August. Mike Heimerdinger (58), who was diagnosed with cancer early in the year, passed away in October. He was a former graduate assistant and wide receivers coach at Florida and won consecutive SEC titles with the team from 1984-85. Ending the year on a sad note, beloved Gainesville, FL businessman and former Gators long snapper Harold Monk III (42) died suddenly in December. OGGOA once again sends our deepest condolences to the families and friends of these men.

Florida freshman linebacker Neiron Ball was the first of three members of the Gators family to suffer serious health issues during the year. He was rushed to the hospital in February after a blood vessel in his brain ruptured as part of a congenital vascular condition. The doctors were able to stop the bleeding and Ball was released from the hospital four days later, but he was forced to miss the entire season for recovery purposes. In the middle of the year, Miami Heat guard/forward Mike Miller was lucky enough to have his wife give birth to a daughter named Jaylen. Unfortunately for the family, she was forced to spend two weeks in a pediatric intensive care unit after doctors found that she had five holes in her heart upon being born. The Millers eventually brought Jaylen home with them in a bit of a coincidence considering they actually donated $1 million to a pediatric intensive care unit at children’s hospital in his home town in 2007. Later that month, former Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, which he is currently still recovering from and will continue to do so over the next few months.

Continue Reading » Top 11 for 2011: Off the Field Stories of the Year

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Rutgers shocks No. 10 Florida 85-83 in double OT

Thursday’s contest against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights was supposed to be just another game for the No. 10 Florida Gators but instead of an easy win, Florida (10-3) was forced to play hard for 50 minutes and fell 85-83 to Rutgers (8-5) in double overtime at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, NJ.

Scarlet Knights guard Eli Carter led all scorers with 31 points and was supported by a superb performance off the bench by G Myles Mack, who scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, was 3-for-5 from downtown and hit a number of clutch shots down the stretch.

The Gators shot a paltry 45.2 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc as junior G Kenny Boynton led the team with 26 points.

Florida junior forward Erik Murphy had a hot hand early, hitting the Gators’ first three shots (two from downtown) to provide his team with an 8-2 advantage that helped them jump ahead 14-5. Rutgers answered with a 7-0 run to cut UF’s lead to two and added a 9-2 scoring stretch to tie the contest at 21 with 8:06 remaining in the first half.

The Scarlet Knights played solid defense on the Gators for the remainder of the half, holding Florida to just two field goals in the final 10:31 of the period. The Gators scored nine of their 13 points over the final eight minutes from the line and took just only a four-point lead into the locker rooms at the break.

UF began the second half on a 7-2 run and had a 46-38 advantage after a three-pointer by Boynton, but RU quickly responded with a 15-6 stretch to take their first lead.

Rutgers only led for 52 seconds, however, as Boynton answered with five-straight points including a bomb from downtown to put Florida back ahead four with 4:32 left.

The Gators had a seven-point lead with 2:49 to play and once again with 2:06 left, but a trey by Mack brought the score within four. Consecutive Florida turnovers by Boynton and senior point guard Erving Walker gave the Scarlet Knights two additional opportunities to score, and Rutgers added four more points to complete a 7-0 run and tie the game with 44 seconds remaining.

Walker missed a layup on the ensuing possession, and Mack shanked a jumper at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.

The extra period started back-and-forth but sophomore center Patric Young put the Gators ahead one after muscling in a layup and adding a free throw. A scoop layup by Scarlet Knights G Jerome Seagears gave Rutgers the lead back, but Young put UF ahead one point again by converting a layup with less than a minute to play.

After a miss on the other end, RU purposely fouled Young to send him to the line for the one-and-one. He hit both free throws and gave the Gators a 76-73 lead with 31.8 seconds left, but Carter negated that advantage immediately with a big three to tie the game once again and send the contest into double overtime.

Rutgers outplayed Florida from that point on, taking a four-point lead with 1:46 to go before trading threes and regaining that advantage with 58 seconds left. Walker hit a floater to cut UF’s deficit to two but missed an off-balance shot at the buzzer to allow RU to escape with the upset victory.

The Scarlet Knights only turned the ball over 11 times compared to 18 by the Gators; Rutgers also held even with Florida on the boards with each team grabbing 32 rebounds. RU outshot UF from the floor and downtown, registering 18 assists on 35 made baskets.

The Gators, however, were an efficient 18-for-19 from the free throw line, the team’s best work from the charity stripe all season long.

Florida freshman G Bradley Beal was second on the team with 15 points but hit just 4-of-12 shots from the field and 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. He also grabbed seven rebounds but turned the ball over a game-high seven times.

Murphy finished with 14 points and a game-high eight boards, Young added 11 points and six rebounds, and Walker registered nine points with six boards and six dimes but had four turnovers and was also inefficient from the floor (4-of-11, 1-for-5 from three).

UF’s prior two losses this year had been to the now-No. 1 (Syracuse) and No. 2 (Ohio State) teams in the country; both came on the road by an average of 5.5 points. The Gators’ defeat by the Scarlet Knights Thursday was their first regular season loss by an unranked team since Jan. 29, 2010 (Mississippi State).

Florida will look to regroup and end 2011 on a positive note when they host Yale in Gainesville, FL on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will air live nationally on ESPNU.

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TWO BITS: Brewer’s top play, Tebow’s games

1 » It looks like former Florida Gators guard/forward Corey Brewer is already fitting in well with his new team – the Denver Nuggets. Brewer has played double-digit minutes in each of his first two games with the team and is averaging 5.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals, but the highlight of his young Denver career came Wednesday night with the steal and alley-oop viewable below. The play came in No. 9 on ESPN‘s Top Plays.

2 » Searching for programming to eclipse the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, CBS Sports Network has decided to show four complete games featuring none other than Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow playing during his career with the Gators. The now-Denver Broncos quarterback will be featured on the network from 9 p.m. Saturday evening until 9 a.m. Sunday morning. The contests that the network will air include the 2007 game at Kentucky in which Tebow scored five touchdowns (9 p.m. Saturday), the SEC Championship victory over Alabama in 2008 in which Tebow scored three touchdowns (midnight Sunday), the four-touchdown game Tebow had against Georgia in 2009 (3 a.m. Sunday) and the come-from-behind victory Tebow led against Arkansas in 2009 (6 a.m. Sunday). If you’re not going to watch the ball drop at Times Square or be out of the house celebrating, many would say there is not a better way to ring in the new year. Find CBS Sports Network on your television.

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12/28: Rosario ready for his return to Rutgers

With No. 10 Florida Gators basketball set to resume action with a road contest against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Thursday in its second-to-last game of 2011, head coach Billy Donovan met with the media Wednesday to discuss what preparations he and the team are making for the squad’s next game.


Despite being declared “doubtful” last week and a person close to his family telling he was unlikely to play Thursday, redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario is expected to be back on the court against his former team, Donovan said on Wednesday.

“I think right now he’s going to play. He went through practice on the 26th – he did do a full contact [Tuesday] although, through my own decisions, I pulled him in and out,” he said. “He’s still having some discomfort there but it’s not at the level it was. When you’re dealing with his back, it has to be how he feels a little bit and what he can handle.”

Rosario agreed with Donovan’s assessment, also saying Wednesday that he is “100 percent” and feels “way better than I felt two weeks ago.” He continued, “It’s a long process and it’s a long season. I feel as though I’m in a great position right now, and I’m just happy to be a Gator.”

Due to both his injury and what Donovan referred to as his mental state a few weeks back, Rosario has not see the court as much as he may have liked to this point. Nevertheless, he remains positive about his spot on the team going forward. “It’s not frustrating. I had a little setback because of my back,” he said. “When you have injuries before your conference play, you always want to take care of that because you want to make sure you’re 100 percent before conference play comes. By me taking those couple days off really helped me and got me ready for [Thursday’s] game.”

The fact that Rosario will be able to play against his former team is lost on him whatsoever. “It means a lot to go back home and play in my state, especially playing against a school I went to two years ago. It’s going to be a great opportunity for me to go out there and just have fun and be able to play the game and have fun,” he said. “I’m just excited to go back up there and be able to play and have my friends and family and some of the people that I still speak to at Rutgers come out and see me play. The most important thing is to just go out there and have fun. I’m just anxious for the opportunity.”

Donovan is equally happy to have him back in the fold, especially considering how important he knows the game is to his player. “I do think that Mike is a valuable and important piece to our team. Keeping him healthy and having him available is important to our team,” he said. “I’m sure there will be a lot of emotions running through him – when you make a decision to transfer and leave and then all of a sudden your first year back playing you’re going back there to play.”


Florida is currently No. 1 nationally in three-point shooting, but Donovan said he is even more pleased with the way the team has been finding sophomore center Patric Young ever since the Arizona game a few weeks ago. He feels that the Gators’ realization that they need to play inside-out has opened up even more shots from downtown and helped the team be more consistent form that distance.

“It’s not about how many threes we get up, it’s about the shooting percentage,” he said. “If we’re shooting 40 percent from the three-point line, that’s a good thing. Where you get hurt a little bit is when you take a lot of three-point shots and you start shooting a percentage below 30 percent. Then it’s not good.”

Rosario is not surprised how well Florida is shooting from beyond the arc. In fact, he thinks the Gators should and will be hitting a higher percentage of its attempts from downtown as the season wears on.

“We work on shooting every day and coach loves when we run-and-gun, when we run up and down and shoot threes and just being a run-and-gun team. That’s something that we’ve been trying to take advantage of,” he said. “I think we should be shooting better from three, but time will tell. We’re in the gym every day taking a lot of shots and putting a lot of shots up. It feels good to be leading the nation behind the arc.”

Because he feels Florida will shoot even better and improve its defense and consistency from the line (see note and quotes section), Rosario believes the Gators are not close to the team they will be in March. “I really think you haven’t seen close to what this team will look like,” he said. “This team hasn’t reached our peak yet, and we’re still trying to find the little things that we need to win a championship. That’s what we’re trying to do.”


» Donovan said some members of the team are suffering though illnesses. Redshirt freshman forward Cody Larson missed some time recently with a sore throat but returned to action against Florida State, and sophomore G/F Casey Prather is expected to be out of action Thursday due to being sick.

» Donovan on Florida’s competition up to this point in the season: “We’ve had a pretty good measuring stick going into the league [schedule]. We’ve played clearly two of the best teams in the country on the road. We learned a lot from both of those games. We played a Florida State team who is obviously long and athletic and big, and we played well in that game. The Arizona game there was some adversity. We didn’t play well, we frustrated ourselves, [but] we found a way to win that game. Texas A&M – going down [to Sunrise, FL] against a top-20 team, playing them.” He is pleased that the team has been exposed to various styles of play and competitive teams in great environments while participating in close games and having some of their weaknesses exposed.

» Rosario on what the team needs to improve: “Free throw shooting is the most important thing, but I think that we can be a very good defensive team. That’ something that we’ve been working on every day trying to get better at that. The opportunity is here. The season is here and it’s a great opportunity for us to go out and prove the nation wrong.”

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FOUR BITS: Dillman hired? Rosario, Kitchens

1 » According to the coaching news website, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp has hired Jeff Dillman as the team’s next director of strength and conditioning. Dillman, who OGGOA reported last week was a top candidate for the job, is currently the head of physical conditioning for the IMG Performance Institute. A former college football player, he served as an assistant strength coach at LSU under head coach Nick Saban and was also the former director of strength and conditioning at Appalachian State during the team’s back-to-back national championship seasons. OGGOA will have more on Dillman when/if the University of Florida officially announces a hire, which is likely to come after the bowl game next Monday.

2 » Putting together a short preview for the 2012 Gator Bowl, which will be played on Monday, Jan. 2 at 1 p.m.,’s Cory McCartney uncovered an interesting “did you know” fact. “The Gators ran the fewest offensive plays of any team in the nation this season with 735,” McCartney wrote. As luck would have it for Florida, the Ohio State Buckeyes were not far behind, running just 12 more offensive plays on the year. UF actually ranks ahead of OSU in total offense (101st to 107th) heading into the game; the Gators also check in better than the Buckeyes defensively (9th to 24th).

3 » When Florida basketball’s 2011-12 schedule was released, there was no doubt that redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario was eyeing the team’s road game at the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the team he transferred from two seasons ago. However, due to a back injury that began acting up on him over a week ago, it appears as if Rosario will be out for the game even if he will once again grab a seat in the Louis Brown Athletic Center. Head coach Billy Donovan said last week that Rosario was “doubtful” for the game, especially because he would be going home for Christmas and not available to do rehabilitation with the Gators’ training staff.’s Adam Zagoria spoke with a “family source” who said that Rosario is not expected to suit up. “He’s still questionable,” the person said. “He wants to play, but I don’t think he’s going to play.”

4 » One of the last football moments fans will remember from the 2011 is a scary incident involving Gators sophomore linebacker Darrin Kitchens laying motionless on Florida Field after being hit hard while on special teams during a kickoff against Florida State. Speaking with UF senior writer Scott Carter recently, Kitchens said the entire moment is a blur. “I don’t really remember anything,” he said. “I remember running down the field and my chin strap came loose, so I was trying to buckle it up. That’s the last thing I remember. The next thing I know I was talking to my trainer.” Kitchens, who was placed on a spinal board and taken to the hospital for evaluation, was cleared that evening with “just” a concussion, a relief to his family, friends, teammates and the coaching and training staffs. He returned to practice prior to the short break for Christmas and should be active for the Gator Bowl. Carter spoke extensively with Kitchens, teammates, staff members and trainers about the incident in a feature story you can read by clicking here.

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