SIX BITS: NCAA bubble, PGA, Brantley, Brown

1 » After a huge upset win over the No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers last Tuesday, the Florida Gators looked to be squarely in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. A few days later, the Gators found themselves back on the bubble falling to the Georgia Bulldogs on the road. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach looks at what happened and what the team needs to do from this point forward.

2 » Four former Florida golfers were at the top of the leaderboard going into the final round of the PGA‘s Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday. Mark Calcavecchia, Matt Every, Camilo Villegas and Chris Couch were all in the hunt for the tournament title, but each wound up falling short in the end. Couch finished T4 (-13), Villegas was T8 (-11) with Every and Calcavecchia shot a final-day 74 to fall to T43 (-7).

Four more BITS on Brantley, Brown, tennis and baseball…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: NCAA bubble, PGA, Brantley, Brown

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Knight, lacrosse, Moreno

1 » Buffalo Bills head coach and former Florida Gators quarterback Chan Gailey, who incidentally hired defensive coordinator George Edwards away from his alma mater, spoke about QB Tim Tebow while at the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, IN. “Habits are not changed over a short amount of time; habits are changed over long periods of time and many reps,” Gailedy told the Palm Beach Post. “If you’re going to change somebody, it will take time to do that. If he thinks it’s a weakness, and he thinks he needs to work on it, and he thinks he needs to change, that should help him be a stronger player down the line. If he didn’t think it was a wekness and he’s doing it for somebody else, then it’ll make him a weaker player.” Interesting perspective.

VIDEO » Tebow interviewed by Steve Mariucci and Mike Mayock of NFL Network Thurs.

Find out about Knight, UF lacrosse and trouble for Moreno after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Tebow, Knight, lacrosse, Moreno

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Gator Bites for Wednesday, February 24

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.

» Arguably the greatest player in the history of Florida Gators baseball, free agent Brad Wilkerson has signed a minor-league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was a member of the 2010 UF Hall of Fame class, a part of the 1996 and 1998 College World Series teams, a two-time All-American, three-time All-SEC selection and the 1998 Collegiate Player of the Year. Wilkerson holds career records at Florida for batting average, RBIs, slugging percentage and walks. He played for four MLB teams from 2001-08 and won a gold medal with Team USA baseball at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

There are seven more Gator Bites for you to check out…after the jump!
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TWO BITS: Tebow hurts recruiting, Dunlap update

1 » As OGGOA wrote earlier today, former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has adjusted his throwing motion and will put it on display for NFL front offices at Florida’s Pro Day on March 17. In the Paul Finebaum model, Ray Melick of The Birmingham News cautions high school recruits that Tebow’s struggles should have big-time QB prospects shying away from the Gators. “There is a lesson here, however, for young quarterbacks who envision themselves having the chance to play in the NFL one day,” Melick contends. “Look around for a coach who runs an NFL-style offense, and coaches quarterbacks to play with NFL-style mechanics. […] If you were a young quarterback with NFL potential, would you want to play for [head coach Urban] Meyer right now?”

2 » The Orlando Sentinel’s Jeremy Fowler caught up with former Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap’s father and asked him how his son has been progressing in workouts leading up to the 2010 NFL Scouting Combine. Asked if Dunlap, Jr. was ready to prove everyone wrong, his father replied emphatically. “That’s putting It mildly,” he said. “He knows that all his training has led to this moment, this week. He’ll be ready.” Fowler tells us Dunlap’s goals are to do 25 reps of 225-pounds on the bench press and run a 4.6-second 40-yard dash.

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FOUR BITS: Women’s basketball upsets Georgia

1 » Led by a strong effort from seniors guard Steffi Sorensen and forward Sharielle Smith, the Florida Gators women’s basketball team (14-13, 7-7 SEC) achieved a 64-57 upset over the No. 20 Georgia Bulldogs (20-7, 7-7 SEC) in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Sunday. Sorensen and Smith combined for 31 points and 14 rebounds as the Gators earned their first victory against a ranked opponent in more than a year.

2 » No. 7 men’s tennis (7-2) continued its terrific play this season, taking down the South Florida Bulls (3-5) 6-1 on Sunday at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex. The No. 10-ranked doubles duo of redshirt senior Antoine Benneteau and junior Alexandre Lacroix won its 20th match of 2009-10 with an 8-2 victory. Lacroix, ranked No. 17 as a singles competitor, took down No. 91 Jamal Adderley, 6-2, 6-4 for his 11th win against a ranked opponent this season.

3 » Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is one of the most famous Gators fans in professional sports. From attending games to razzing teammates who are fans of opposing teams, Pierzynski is not shy about his Florida pride. That includes wearing orange and blue shoes around MLB camp last week, according to the Chicago Tribune.

4 » The Gators want three-star tight end Michael McFarland (Tampa, FL) to gain weight. His high school basketball team? Not so much. “They want me to put 10 to 15 pounds of solid muscle on before I get there,” McFarland told the St. Petersburg Times. “I want to start [working out] so bad.” McFarland, at 6’6” 240 lbs., is his team’s starting center and has two weeks to go before he can begin Florida’s workout routines.

Extra BIT » High school junior Lindsey Cooper, the younger sister of former Gators wide receiver Riley Cooper, recently made unofficial visits to Florida and Florida State as she decides where to attend college on a soccer scholarship. A standout at Clearwater Central Catholic High School, Cooper hopes to sprint for a university’s track and field team as well.

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Florida does not grant K Marvin Kloss admission

Though he was offered a scholarship and grayshirt by the South Florida Bulls, three-star kicker Marvin Kloss (Naples, FL) had decided to accept a walk-on offer from the Florida Gators pending his admission. Unfortunately for Kloss and the Gators, the University of Florida decided not to grant him admission due to his grades and test scores; he will now be a preferred walk-on with the Bulls.

“If [Florida] can get me in, I’m going up there,” Kloss said earlier in the week. “I want to play right away, and they’re a lot better [than USF] scholarship-wise with just one kicker and one punter on scholarship.” His tune obviously had to change on Thursday. “It wasn’t that hard a decision,” Kloss told the St. Petersburg Times. “I thought about it, sat down with my coach and my parents, and overall, I just had a better feel about USF.”

His grade point average and test scores already earned him a Florida Bright Futures scholarship, though they were obviously not high enough to get him into UF. Kloss had previously told the Times that Gators interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio would be taking his paperwork to the admissions office on Wednesday.

Kloss had scholarship offers from the Purdue Boilermakers and Marshall Thundering Heard before National Signing Day, both of which he declined in order to attempt a walk-on. He is not guaranteed a scholarship from USF, especially since he will be competing with the six kickers already on the team’s roster this spring.

Photo Credit: David Albers/Naples Daily News

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FOUR BITS: March, UF in NFL, Harvey, ’07 recruits

1 » The month of February is half over and Florida Gators basketball fans are concerned about where their team will be playing in the end of March. Will it earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons or join some other traditional college basketball powerhouses in the NIT? While ESPN‘s Joe Lunardi has left the Gators out of his most recent bracketology, Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated believes Florida still has a legitimate shot. Davis lists the Gators as a 12-seed and predicts an upset over 5-seed Wake Forest. “Despite recent struggles, Florida looks like a team capable of making the tournament — and staging a first-round upset,” Davis writes.

2 » With the 2010 NFL Draft coming up and plenty of Florida players in contention for top picks, The Houston Chronicle’s Lance Zierlein looked at how former Gators have fared in the league since 2001. The results are less spectacular than Florida fans would hope, though the team has certainly had its share of impact players.

3 » One former Gators star on the verge of a bleak NFL career is Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Derrick Harvey. Though he has struggled thus far in Jacksonville and only compiled two sacks in 2009, Harvey is a favorite of new Jaguars assistant coach Joe Cullen. “Our pick was going to be Derrick Harvey if he was available,” Cullen recounted about the 2007 draft to The Florida Times-Union. “We did a lot of research on him, put him through a great one-on-one workout after Florida’s pro day. The qualities we saw in Derrick are still there. He’s explosive, strong. He’s going to be a powerful rusher. With more repetition and work, that can come out of him.”

4 » Looking back at college football recruiting classes from 2007, SI’s Andy Staples reaffirms that the Gators had the best class in the nation. “This class provided the raw materials for a championship,” Staples writes. “It’s interesting to note that this class could produce as many as four 2010 first-round draft picks.”

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Florida impresses recruits at first Junior Day

Recruiting contributor Zach Abolverdi takes a look at Junior Day for OGGOA…

The Florida Gators’ first Junior Day of the 2011 recruiting cycle was a successful start to the season, despite the absence of head coach Urban Meyer. By all accounts, interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio was firing on all cylinders, doing a good job selling the program to the prospects in attendance. He emphasized how coaches, players and recruits united when uncertainty surrounded the program just over a month ago and claimed it was a testament to the resiliency of Gator Nation.

Recruiting requires many crucial components and qualities, one of which is developing relationships early in the process. Addazio and the coaching staff got that chance this past Saturday, when they saw familiar faces mixed with some brand new ones. There were no drills, workouts or whistles, just an opportunity for prospects to take in the city, campus and everything the University of Florida has to offer.

Find out who visited and what their impressions were of the Gators after the jump!
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