FOUR BITS: Tebow, Hill, Pounceys, tennis

1 » New York Jets signal caller Tim Tebow made headlines – again – this week when mentioning on 1050 ESPN Radio that he’s “not sure” if he will ever be a starting quarterback again in the NFL. Honest as always, Tebow was sure to mention that it was not something that concerned him because, in his mind, it was not something he could determine. “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future,” he said. “That’s something that has always given me peace and comfort. That’s why I don’t have to worry about the future. I can just worry about today and worry about becoming better as a football player and a person.” Tebow spoke about a number of other topics on The Michael Kay Show (listen here) including how the way he will be utilized this season compares to what he did for the Florida Gators with QB Chris Leak.

2 » Speaking of Tebow, he received plenty of support and praise recently from a former teammate as safety Will Hill was interviewed by the Newark Star-Ledger for a story published on Saturday. Hill, who recently participated in a Pro Day in Martinsville, NJ hoping to catch on with a NFL or CFL team, spoke in depth on what drives Tebow, how hard he tries to motivate his teammates and why Hill believes he is a special player. “I had arguments with people, tons of arguments, about how well Timmy was supposed to do in the league,” he told the paper. “They criticized his throwing. Alright, what do you want? A winner, or do you want just a pretty quarterback? You’ve got pretty quarterbacks that can throw the ball and never win – like the guy that was there before Tim [in Denver]. But Tim know[s] how to win and that’s what the league needs: A person that knows how to win, and he knows how to win.”

3 » Life-long professional wrestling fans, former Gators offensive linemen Maurkice and Mike Pouncey will have a chance to live out their childhood dreams on Sunday night as they form a tag team to compete in WrestleMania XXVIII in Miami, FL. Mike Pouncey, the Miami Dolphins‘ starting center, even spoke at a recent WWE press conference promoting the event. Since he was already set to attend the show as a fan, Pouncey suggested bringing his brother in as the duo forms a tag team that will don orange and blue tights while fighting WWE Tag Team Champions Primo and Epico. April Fools!

In actuality, WWE Champion C.M. Punk did recently joke that the Pouceys could make a good tag team due to their size, strength and the fact that they’re twins. “Well, we have the Bella twins, and the Bellas look a lot better than the Pounceys,” he told “But, you know what, I’m always for celebrity involvement. If they want to get in the ring, clearly they’re good athletes. I’d love to see a twin tag team. That would be something. That would be cool.” The brothers may be in attendance at the event due to it being held where the Dolphins play at Sun Life Stadium. One former UF football player that will certainly be there is Thaddeus Bullard, who will work a dark match as Titus O’Neil.

4 » Florida women’s and men’s tennis each swept the Auburn Tigers 7-0 on Friday. The No. 2 women (14-1, 7-0 SEC) took down Auburn (8-8, 3-4 SEC) on the road behind plenty of solid play. The Gators won 14 of 15 combined sets (singles and doubles) as well as a tiebreaker with every ranked player and pairing winning except the No. 1 duo of junior Allie Will and sophomore Sofie Oyen; they did not participate in the match as a doubles team. The No. 11 men (11-7, 4-3 SEC) were equally impressive, toppling the Tigers (14-6, 3-4 SEC) at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, FL by winning 15 of 16 combined sets. Both teams will face Alabama on Sunday as the women remain on the road and the men once again host another opponent.

Erving Walker cited for alleged theft of taco

Point guard Erving Walker, playing his last game in a Florida Gators uniform just under one week ago, was cited early Friday morning for two misdemeanors after allegedly stealing a taco from a street vendor and evading police.

According to an arrest report from the Gainesville Police Department obtained by the Palm Beach Post and Gator Country, Walker ordered a $3 taco from a cart in downtown Gainesville, FL and chose to run away rather than paying after being handed the food.

An officer eventually tracked down Walker but he continued to run until the officer and “several marked patrol cars” found him again. He reportedly admitted to stealing the taco but claimed he was “just playing around.”

Walker has been charged with a pair of misdemeanors for petty theft and resisting arrest without violence and received a notice to appear in court on April 19 at 9 a.m.

3/30: Muschamp on Leonard, spring progress

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp spoke at length Friday prior to the team’s second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. He discussed not only the status of one player in particular but also how the offense is coming along and some individual things he is pleased with following the 10th practice of the spring session.


Florida announced Wednesday that sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard had returned to practice following a six-week suspension from team activities that he incurred after being arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery. Though Leonard’s case is still pending, he returned to the team on Monday; however, his status for other activities is up in the air.

“After six weeks of being suspended from our football team, I felt like he’s done the things that I’ve asked him to do from the standpoint of the measures that I took with him to this point. And I’ve allowed him to practice only – only,” Muschamp said. “No decision on the fall has been made. No decision about playing as been made. He still has an awful lot of things to do in order to play for our football team and play for the University of Florida. He’s very remorseful about what happened. He made a mistake. And that’s all I’m going to comment on that at this point. All he has been cleared to do is practice.”

He did wind up commenting further on the situation, however. Muschamp said that Leonard’s status for the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut on April 7 is to be determined and then provided an anecdote to explain why discipline for one player or another is not always cut-and-dry depending on the reason they are being punished.

“At the end of the day, I’m not talking about this situation. I’m talking about just discipline in general. I’ll never forget when I was a defensive coordinator – and I’m not going to say where it was or who the head coach that was involved [was as] it was a guy I have tremendous respect for. We had three players late for a team meeting. When the team meeting got done, one of the players was my position players. [The head coach] went up to the three players and he looked at one player and said, ‘This doesn’t need to happen again.’ He looked at the next player and said, ‘You need to do this, this, this and this.’ He looked at the other player and listed 40 things he had to do. He’s the head coach. He’s the boss. ‘Yes sir.’

“We leave the team meeting and the middle guy came to me, he was my position guy, he came to me and said, ‘I don’t understand why one guy had nothing happen to him, I got this and the other guy, he’s going to have a lot of stuff he’s got to accomplish to work his way back.’ I said, ‘There’s only one person that can answer this – that’s the head football coach.’ So we walked down to his office and I said, ‘Tell him what you told me.’ He repeated the question he asked me.

“[The head coach] said, ‘Obviously you and Coach Muschamp don’t have all the information.’ No, I don’t. He said, ‘The first young man has made no poor decisions since he’s been here. He has done nothing wrong. He was late for the team meeting. We locked the doors, he was late, he had poor judgment and he was late for the meeting. It’s the only thing he’s ever done wrong.’ OK, that made a lot of sense to me. Then he said, ‘You’ve had this happen, this happen and this happen. Now you’re late for a team meeting. Obviously your judgment as a member of this football team is not very good. So that’s why I gave you the discipline I gave you. Now the other guy, he’s what we call a ‘list guy;’ he’s on every list in the building. He’s on the academic list. He’s on the training room list. He’s on the weight room list. He’s on every list in the building. So he has a very hard time with choices and decisions in life. So that’s why he’s got a bunch of stuff to come back from.’

“The point being made here is: I was an assistant coach and didn’t have all the information. The players don’t have all the information. And certainly just anything that’s public you don’t have all the information. Does that make sense? So a lot of times when discipline is handled within an organization – whether it’s a team or whatever it is – if you don’t have all the information it’s really hard to comment on why the discipline was handled in a certain way. Does that make sense?”


Continue Reading » 3/30: Muschamp on Leonard, spring progress

Beal, Boynton still mulling futures with Gators

There was a grave concern at one point that the Florida Gators could lose as many as five players following the 2011-12 season as freshman guard Bradley Beal and sophomore center Patric Young flashed NBA potential, senior point guard Erving Walker was set to graduate and many believed junior guards Kenny Boynton and Mike Rosario were questioning whether or not to remain with the team.

That number has already dwindled down to a maximum of three as Young and Rosario have both expressed their intention to remain in school at least one more year. Young will be a junior in 2012-13 and Rosario will play his second year in orange and blue before hopefully graduating as a redshirt senior.

However, the future of the other two players remains up in the air as Beal and Boynton have yet to officially decide on the path they will take in their respective careers.

According to The Gainesville Sun‘s Kevin Brockway, Boynton may be near a decision that will put a smile on the faces of Florida fans. “Boynton’s father, Kenny Boynton Sr., said he expects his son to return for his senior season,” Brockway wrote on Thursday.

NBA scouts do not consider Boynton to be talented enough to select in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft due to the fact that he remains somewhat inconsistent with his shot (even after taking a huge step forward last season), is not proficient enough at driving to the hoop and is undersized for a shooting guard yet does not have the proper handle or experience to run the point. Should he decide to leave school, chances are Boynton would wind up playing somewhere overseas.

Beal, on the other hand, is a consensus top-10 pick who is expected by most analysts to be one of the first five players selected in the draft. He has been ranked as high as No. 3 overall and could certainly go that high depending on the needs of the teams selecting in the top potion of the first round.

That does not mean his path is necessarily leading him away from Gainesville, FL.

“I know it’s going to be a hard decision for him,” Bobby Beal, Bradley’s father, told Brockway on Thursday. “Some people say [leaving] is a no-brainer, but I know that he loves college, loves the atmosphere down there.”

There are two other factors in addition to loving college that could lead him back to Florida. He was reportedly extremely disappointed that the Gators did not reach the Final Four (seeing the goal as unfinished business) and remains close friends with Young, who has already decided to return and continue his Florida career.

The Sun reports that Beal is currently on his way back to his hometown of St. Louis, MO to see his family and begin discussions about what to do with his future. Where he would be selected in the draft is likely of little concern to Beal as there is no chance he would fall out of the lottery and a slim chance he would even make it past No. 5 overall.

With the decision deadline of Tuesday, April 10 rapidly approaching, expect Beal to announce where he will ctoninue his playing career sooner than later.

TWO BITS: Futures of Tebow and Jenkins

1 » Former Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer said Thursday something that many fans of quarterback Tim Tebow demanded from the Denver Broncos throughout the 2011 season. Asked how the New York Jets should utilize Tebow while making an appearance on ESPN, Meyer said simply, “Let him play. Just let him play.” He went on to note that Denver did not do that with Tebow often enough last year and that the coaches were way too conservative with him overall. The Broncos’ coaching staff received plenty of praise for the way they “handled” Tebow but Meyer, like Tebow’s supporters, seemed to contend that they were hindering his effectiveness rather than giving him an opportunity to blossom. “When they had success I think they [let him play],” he said. “When you started seeing him throw against those easy coverages it was because they had to stop the run.”

2 » featured former Florida (more recently North Alabama) cornerback Janoris Jenkins on its front page for a good period of time Thursday afternoon. The front page display linked to a video of Mel Kiper, Jr. discussing Jenkins’s talents, an article about him walking a tightrope as he prepares for the 2012 NFL Draft and another listing him as the second-best playmaker at his position.

One portion of the former article, found below, was particularly interesting in regards to how Jenkins has since rebounded from the mistakes he made in Gainesville, FL.

Jenkins met with Muschamp while Cornelio and William listened to the coach’s reasoning for dismissing his star cornerback. The coach told Jenkins he had two options: enter the NFL supplemental draft or transfer.


During the four-hour ride back to Pahokee, Cornelio clarified things even more while William glared at his son.

“I told him he had three choices,” Cornelio said. “When he finished college, he was either going to the NFL, the Army or back to Pahokee to work with his father [driving a truck]. He had to decide. And to his credit, he needed about 30 seconds to make the right choice.”

“They basically told me that I had made my mistakes,” Jenkins said. “And now I had to figure out how to deal with them.”

William and Cornelio agreed that allowing Jenkins to enter the supplemental draft would be counterproductive. Along with losing money, Jenkins wouldn’t have paid a steep enough price for his mistakes.

SIX BITS: Macklin, lacrosse, softball, Gilbert, Meyer

1 » Former Florida Gators forward/center Vernon Macklin was recently set down to the NBA Development League for no other reason than that the Detroit Pistons wanted to see him get some in-game action rather than sit stationary on the end of the team’s bench during NBA games. According to M Live, Macklin has been playing for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and has been dominating. In his first five games with the team, Macklin is averaging 16.6 points and 17.2 rebounds (10.6 on the defensive glass) in more than 36 minutes a game. He will remain with the team through April 7 before returning to the Pistons. “He’s playing with a lot of energy and effort. He’s gotten better each and every game,” Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said. “It’s great for him to get that experience. We see continued development. We see progress in Vernon.”

2 » No. 4 Florida lacrosse (11-2) hit two major milestones on Wednesday, recording their first-ever shutout while registering the highest goal total in school history in a 29-0 beat down of the Fresno State Bulldogs (2-6) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Freshman midfielder Nicole Graziano scored a game-high and career-high six goals on seven shots, and freshman attacker Nora Barry joined her in dominating on offense with five goals on six shots. The duo also combined for six ground balls and six draw controls in the contest. Junior As Ashley Bruns and Gabi Wiegand combined for six goals and three assists with Bruns becoming the first player in team history to eclipse 200 career goals. In addition to scoring the most goal sand allowing the fewest in team history, the Gators set or tied a number of other records. Florida had the most points (41), assists (12) and draw controls (24) in team history, tied their records for shots (44), first-half points (17) and second-half points (12) and also committed a record five fouls, the fewest in team history. The Gators accomplished all of this without Juniors A Kitty Cullen and M Brittany Dashiell, two of the team’s leading scorers.

3 » Despite falling to a ranked opponent, No. 4 Florida softball (29-3) suffered a tough 4-1 defeat on Wednesday in Gainesville at the hands of the No. 21 South Florida Bulls (30-5). Freshman right-hander Lauren Haeger (9-2) tossed a complete game, allowing four runs (two earned) on eight hits along with five walks and four strikeouts. In addition to going up arguably the nation’s best pitcher in Sara Nevins, the Gators committed a pair of costly errors that put them in a 4-0 hole through three innings. A solo homer by Haeger (1-3, HR, RBI, R, BB) in the bottom of the fifth was the only run to cross the plate for Florida, which left eight base runners on including three in the bottom of the sixth and two in the bottom of the seventh with the game-tying run at the plate. UF defeated USF 3-2 in extra innings on Feb. 12 but will not have another chance to earn revenge.

4 » Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert will receive a bump in responsibility next season as head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed on Wednesday that he will help protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side as the team’s new left tackle. Gilbert, who played both left and right tackle in college, was drafted to eventually hold down the former role but was relegated to the latter position in 2011 due to experience and depth issues. “We fully expect him to [move],” Tomlin told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I probably had more concerns about him being the right tackle than I did him being at left tackle just because of his college experience.” Gilbert is the second Gators offensive lineman to recently be drafted and become an starter for Pittsburgh as center Maurkice Pouncey won his job out of training camp two seasons ago.

5 » Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer sat down for an interview this week with’s Dennis Dodd to discuss a number of topics mostly concerning his return to the sidelines and how the Ohio State program is coming along heading into his first season at the helm. However, Meyer also touched on a few things at Florida including what he called an “awful” team that the Gators fielded for his first season in 2005. “We’re not a good team. As a matter of fact, we’re bad, a really bad football team – not aligned, selfish. We had some really good players on defense. On offense we’re a mess. Chris Leak wasn’t ready. Then we lose to South Carolina,” he recounted. “I remember walking to my radio show and there are some boos. The phone calls were absolutely brutal. I’m looking at [Mick Hubert] and I’m just getting greased. I’m thinking to myself, ‘What are you doing here?'” Meyer said the Florida State win really turned things around both on the field and off the field in recruiting. He also spoke about other issues he faced including “the Spurrier culture” in the SEC.

6 » While the Denver Broncos were in the process of signing quarterback Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow was in Tampa, FL helping open up the new D1 Sports Training facility while working out with, meeting and greeting children, teenagers and adults. Despite so much being on his mind about his NFL future, Tebow was obviously thinking about plenty of other things during this special occasion (photo gallery).

3/28: Leonard returns, Quinn talks defense

Florida Gators sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard has returned to practice after serving a six-week suspension following an arrest for misdemeanor domestic battery. Leonard was indefinitely suspended from team activities by head coach Will Muschamp, who said early in the spring that he still had a number of conditions to meet before he would be allowed to return to the team.

However, in a statement released Wednesday evening following a report by The Gainesville Sun, Muschamp explained that Leonard was back at least temporarily. “After a six-week suspension from team activities, A.C. Leonard has been cleared to return to practice only,” he said according to the team. “He still has a lot of things to work through before his status for the fall is addressed.”

Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn sat down Wednesday to discuss how his unit is progressing approximately midway through the 2012 spring practice session. Quinn touched on some individual players that are standing out, how teachings from the classroom are translating to the field and his overall plan for the 2012 season.


Quinn helped lead Florida to a top-10 ranked defense in 2011 but is anxious to see what his unit can do after a year of retention and execution. He and Muschamp have spoken extensively throughout the spring about the team focusing on turnovers on both sides of the ball. However, there is a second step in the Gators’ becoming one of the top defensive teams in the country: dominating the line of scrimmage.

“That’s the goal,” he said of taking the defense to the next level this year. “That’s the whole reason of doing it here – to say where can we take this group of guys and see how far we can come as players and how far we can take our defense.”

“One – we got to get better at taking the ball away from the opponent. That’s clearly one of the things that we had a tough time doing last year, and it’s going to be a real emphasis moving forward. Two – for us to be the defense that we want to be, we’ve got to do a better job at the line of scrimmage and in the run game. For us that’s going to create more third-down opportunities, more opportunities for us to get to the pass rusher. […] If we do those two things and keep moving forward in the other areas, then you’re [a team that’s] hard to deal with.”

Already confident in the defense, Quinn has seen his players become more efficient in the meeting rooms, quicker when it comes to comprehending new concepts and taking significant steps in improving their communication. The instant recall that Florida is showing leads to less thinking and more reacting with helmets and pads on.

“We have a number of players back so for the first meetings – boom – the recall, the communication, the trust, the knowledge of how to work. What a difference a year makes,” he said.


Junior Buck linebacker Ronald Powell: “He really has had a bunch of focus where he came in to say, ‘I’m going to really work at it.’ And, to his credit, his offseason went that way. It’s kind of almost like a continuation of that where is work from the offseason program started right away and went into spring practice. I’ve been real encouraged by what we’ve seen, and I know the guy is really focused and determined to play as well as he can.”

Senior Mike linebacker Jon Bostic: “It’s really a good thing to see a guy take it from the meeting room and then put it on the grass. That to me is when you see the light [turn on]. […] With Bostic it has really been more of a physical element of the game because the guy has always been pretty mentally quick. In his system he plays all downs so he picks up football fast. It’s a real compliment to a guy to say this guy gets football. And Jon does. […] When he took that from the meeting room on to the grass this spring, I was really encouraged by that and anxious to see him take the next step as a player.”

Senior safety Josh Evans: “Josh Evans is another one whose communication and confidence [have improved].”

Linebackers redshirt sophomore Michael Taylor and freshman Antonio Morrison: “Michael Taylor is one to me from where he was from a year ago to now, the trust, the knowledge of the system – in that way he’s really improving. Antonio Morrison is a young player that has really grabbed our attention by how physical he is and the style that he can play.”

Junior cornerback Cody Riggs: “Cody Riggs is having a really good spring. It’s good to see that experience take over and do things.”

Sophomore CB Louchiez Purifoy: “Louchiez Purifoy as a young player is really moving in. He uses his size and uses his length. […] He really kind of came on and played some. All the way through the bowl preparations is where we saw the guy break through. And in that game he played a bunch. In the offseason we said the light has gone on for him. That has carried on through the offseason. I like the way he challenges. As a tall guy he can press and get his hands on people. He’s had a good offseason and we’re halfway through the spring practice and I’m pleased with where he’s at.”


» Quinn said junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd will continue to play both his natural position and defensive end both due to the lack of depth at the latter position as well as his immense talent. “I think he can handle it. It happens with a lot of big guys where right now he can be a nickel tackle – and he’s done a lot of that this spring – and a base end.” Junior DT Dominique Easley, like Floyd a year ago, may be considered for a defensive end role when he returns from a torn ACL; however, Floyd is the one at that dual position right now. “He adds value to me for our defense because I know he can do it at end,” Quinn said. “My goal is to put guys in the best spot to help us win and really that’s what we’ll do when we get [into training camp].”

» On if Purifoy could start at cornerback opposite sophomore Marcus Roberson: “He is absolutely in the mix to do that.”

» On Bostic and redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins being instrumental to the defense: “We are really counting on these linebackers to make some plays. I think both of those guys have the explosiveness to create big plays.” Quinn wants to see more than just wrap-up tackles but also tracking down players on the edges, covering tight ends and creating turnovers.

» On if it is hard for junior college defensive linemen like junior Damien Jacobs to transition: “Having a junior college player here at the [defensive] line position for the spring, that really makes a difference. It is a whole new system and that’s hard to learn in just a training camp – not just for a lineman. It’s not just necessarily he plays. A lot of the big guys can learn the plays; it’s not exactly rocket science what we’re doing on the defensive line. But there is a lot of technical play – where you put your hands, where you put your eyes, how you run the stunt. So it’s more along the lines of how you learn the technique fast.”

» On emphasizing pass rush in addition to turnovers: “Turnovers is really a team thing. It’s how we go about our approach with the players. But certainly rush and affecting the quarterback – at times we’ll do it with pressure, at times we’ll do it with a four-man rush. But we’ve been working hard at it and I think we’ll see the benefit of that.”

FOUR BITS: Jenkins, Moultrie, Fowler, Donovan

1 » Despite well-documented problems off the field (marijuana arrests) and a number of questions about his maturity (four children under the age of four supposedly by three different women), former Florida Gators cornerback Janoris Jenkins continues to be a hot name for teams looking for secondary talent in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The Detroit Lions have recently emerged as a team in serious contention for Jenkins’s services with the No. 23 overall pick. However, the team and its front office are undoubtedly doing their due diligence on Jenkins. According to the Detroit Free Press, the Lions met with Jenkins at the 2012 Under Armour Senior Bowl and “are expected to host him on a visit” soon. When asked about him in particular, general manager Martin Mayhew played coy: “Wouldn’t you like to know that?” he said. “Like I said, we’ve got a lot of work to do in the process, and we haven’t done it all.”

2 » Florida senior center fielder Michelle Moultrie picked up a second weekly award on Tuesday as she was named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week for her dominant performance the prior weekend. Moultrie went 8/11 with two home runs, three doubles, four RBIs, six runs and a stolen base as UF swept Arkansas on the road. She was also named the SEC Player of the Week on Monday for her efforts.

3 » In a question-and-answer session with ESPN, Gators five-star defensive end/Buck linebacker commitment Dante Fowler, Jr. divulged some specifics about his personality and excitement to don the orange and blue sooner than later. Fowler noted not only that he recently got some advice from junior Buck LB Ronald Powell but also that he is “actually like a big teddy bear” instead of a “big, mean person” that some think he is just because he plays football. “People might say that I’m kind of shy because I put my head down when I talk and stuff,” he said. “But I’m a big teddy bear. My favorite TV show is iCarly. I’m going to be a big teddy bear off the field, but on the field I’m all business.”

4 » USA Today has released a compiled list of the salaries of the 68 head coaches participating in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Florida’s Billy Donovan came in No. 4 on the list in terms of total pay, earning $3.64 million for 2011-12 with a maximum bonus of $454,000. Though Donovan’s salary and bonuses are high, they are very much in-line with what Kansas’ Bill Self ($3.63M, $425K max bonus) and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo ($3.60M, $425K max bonus) bring in annually. The only men above Donovan are Kentucky’s John Calipari ($5.39M, $850K max bonus), Louisville’s Rick Pitino ($4.81M, $575K max bonus) and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski ($4.70M). Alabama’s Anthony Grant ($1.84M, $415K max bonus) is ranked No. 18 on the list and Virginia Commonwealth’s Shaka Smart ($1.21M, $621K max bonus) checks in at No. 30.

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