Takeaways: Florida baseball bookends losses at Ole Miss with wins over Florida State, Stetson

By Andrew Olson – OnlyGators.com baseball writer

No. 5 Florida Gators baseball (21-5, 3-3 SEC) bookended the last week with high notes but ran into some trouble in the middle games, going 3-2 against the Florida State Seminoles, Ole Miss Rebels and Stetson Hatters in its last five games.

Florida began the seven-day stretch with a 14-8 win over No. 11 FSU, the Gators’ fifth straight win against its in-state rival. UF then dropped its series opener 4-1 to Ole Miss and lost the first game of a Saturday doubleheader 5-2 before claiming a 8-4 victory in the series finale to hold off a sweep. The Gators then ended their short road swing with a rally-aided 9-6 win against Stetson on Tuesday in Deland, Florida.

Here are five takeaways from the last five games:

1. It starts with pitching: In Florida’s two losses at Ole Miss, its starters put the team in an early hole on the road, which spells trouble at every level of baseball. For the second week in a row, sophomore right-handed pitcher Logan Shore (3-2, 2.48 ERA) has given up at least one home run in the first inning. Against Tennessee last week, Shore settled down to pitch five more frames; this time, Shore (3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, WP) was unable to get through four innings. Sophomore left-handed pitcher A.J. Puk (4-2, 4.73 ERA) struggled even more. Puk (2.1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 2 WP) was unable to make it out of the third inning of the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, ensuring another long day for the bullpen.

Continue Reading » Takeaways: Florida baseball bookends losses at Ole Miss with wins over Florida State, Stetson

Florida Gators announce $1.2 million upgrade to basketball practice facility weight room

As referenced last month by athletic director Jeremy Foley, the Florida Gators have followed through on plans to make a significant upgrade to the weight room at the Basketball Practice Complex.

The two-story facility – which spans nearly 48,000 square feet and was built for $10 million in 2001 before being renovated to include pieces of the Final Four courts and additional technology at a cost of $1.8 million in 2007 – will receive a $1.2 million upgrade to improve its weight room.

According to the school, the area of the facility designated for health and fitness will be doubled to more than 3,000 square feet, a “nutritional bar” will be added and extra office space will be provided for training coordinators for men’s and women’s basketball, golf and tennis (all of which utilize the complex).

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The Silver Lining for March 24 on Billy Donovan, NBA interest and Florida Gators basketball

You never say ‘never,’ and you never say ‘forever’ either

With the end to another college basketball season comes another offseason of questions about the future of Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan.

A two-time national champion who has led Florida to four Final Fours and 10 SEC titles (six regular season, four tournament) over the last 16 seasons, Donovan has spurned overtures from other programs (Kentucky – twice, NC State, etc.) and the NBA (Orlando Magic) to remain with Gators.

His second stint with Florida – if you consider his six days as Orlando’s coach to be a break of sorts – has included Donovan taking on additional challenges, such as serving as the head coach of USA Basketball’s Under-18 and Under-19 National Teams, to fill the void of not coaching basketball year-round.

Donovan’s international record? Just 19-0 with three gold medals and an average margin of victory of 43.7 points per game. He is returning to coach the U19 team this summer.

But back to that void. Donovan has long stated and never shied away from the fact that he has felt the lure of the NBA – not simply because he wants to test himself on a professional stage (he does) or coach the best athletes in the world (that too) but due to the fact that the NBA is all basketball, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Some of the NBA stuff, as I’ve said before, is intriguing in a lot of ways – the basketball part of it,” Donovan told the Orlando Sentinel last May.

Continue Reading » The Silver Lining for March 24 on Billy Donovan, NBA interest and Florida Gators basketball

FOUR BITS: Bonner, Tebow, Noah, Wambach

1 » During an NBA game on Friday, former Florida Gators forward Matt Bonner received an uppercut to the groin courtesy of Boston’s Marcus Smart, who was ejected from the game and subsequently suspended one game by the league. Smart claimed it was unintentional and “just a freak accident,” noting that Bonner likely would’ve gone after him had he thought it to be intentional. Bonner, a 10-year veteran who is averaging 4.0 points and 1.6 boards for the San Antonio Spurs, has yet to discuss the incident.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Bonner, Tebow, Noah, Wambach

Former Gators golfer Matt Every wins second straight Arnold Palmer Invitational

There’s something about Matt Every and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

The former Florida Gators golfer accomplished a rare feat on Sunday by winning the event, played at Bay Hill Club & Lounge in Orlando, for the second straight year.

Every, whose first and only PGA Tour win prior to Sunday came at the 2014 event, became the third golfer in tournament history to win it in back to back seasons. Loren Roberts (1994-95) and Tiger Woods (2000-03, 2008-09, 2012-13) were the first two.

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Florida Gators 2015 spring practice: McElwain, Nussmeier on starting from scratch offensively

Head coach Jim McElwain took the field with the Florida Gators for the third time on Friday as the 2015 spring practice session rolled along. Afterwards, McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier met with the media in a short sessions to discuss some of the early goings on with the team.

Opening statement

“First day of getting some pads on, we went shells today. It was good to kind of hear some of the pads cracking a little bit, which was kind of fun. I thought their tempo overall was pretty good, just OK. I think the thing that we need to kind of understand is the pace of which we practice, the different post drills that we do that are going on at the same time and the understanding as to why we do it and to create chaos, to help them understand to focus on the details to be successful to execute each and every play. So that is what we’re getting to. I thought our guys did a really good job of fighting through a lot of it today. It was good to get some heat. …

“Obviously the defense is well ahead right now and yet there’s some really good learning going on offensively. I felt really good about how they’re picking it up and that’s’ been real positive. … We worked some situations today. It was the first day we kind of really got down into the different red areas as well as really started to work some third-down stuff. Understanding each and every down and what the situation is, that’s something that both sides of the ball I thought defense did a really good job on third down today and we’ll see tomorrow when we get out of practice tomorrow afternoon.”

Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2015 spring practice: McElwain, Nussmeier on starting from scratch offensively

Tim Tebow visits Manny Pacquiao during Floyd Mayweather training session

Manny Pacquiao may not have Justin Bieber or Triple H in his corner like his upcoming opponent, but he’s got former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, who visited him during a workout on Saturday, on his side.

Tebow has been training in Los Angeles for 18 months hoping for another NFL opportunity and was invited to stop by Pacquiao’s sparring session; the two men, who have worked on charity projects together in the past, shared photos of their meeting.

“Awesome being with my Filipino and Christian brother,” Tebow wrote.

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Idaho cancels rescheduled football game against Florida in 2017 after scheduling Missouri

A severe lightning storm resulted in the Florida Gators and Idaho Vandals canceling their 2014 season-opening game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida, on Saturday, Aug. 30. It was decided that the contest, which was first delayed and then permanently suspended due to weather, would not be made up that season.

It now appears as if the rescheduled game, set to take place in 2017 as part of the cancellation contract, will not go off as planned either.

Continue Reading » Idaho cancels rescheduled football game against Florida in 2017 after scheduling Missouri

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