FOUR BITS: Haden shining, Leak wins Grey Cup

1 » Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden has really turned it on in recent weeks, nabbing an interception in each of his last three games. Haden, who is technically a back-up but started his first game on Sunday in place of the injured Eric Wright (knee), is set to start once again this week. “Joe has done really well,” head coach Eric Mangini said of Haden. “He’s getting better as we go. He’s making a strong, strong case for continued playing time.”

2 » The Montreal Alouettes of the CFL won the 2010 Grey Cup on Sunday and two members of the team have ties to Florida. Former Gators National Championship-winning quarterback Chris Leak, the team’s back-up, and head coach Marc Trestman, who worked with former Florida QB Tim Tebow on his throwing motion and mechanics prior to and after NFL combine workouts, both picked up their second Grey Cup rings. The duo also participated in the 2008 Grey Cup but failed to be victorious.

Extra BIT » Former Florida running back DeShawn Wynn, a member of the San Francisco 49ers practice squad this season, was promoted to the active roster on Tuesday as a replacement for Pro Bowler Frank Gore, who fractured his hip during the team’s Monday Night Football game yesterday. Wynn is a four-year NFL veteran who saw his most action with the Green Bay Packers (203 yards and four touchdowns) in his rookie season (2007).

Photo Credit: Todd Korol/Reuters

Murphy, Wise, volleyball honored with SEC awards

Finishing the season with a perfect 20-0 record in the Southeastern Conference and a No. 1 seed in the 2010 NCAA Championship Tournament, No. 1/1 Florida Gators volleyball (27-1) was honored by the SEC on Monday with a number of awards.

Florida junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy was named the 2010 SEC Player of the Year, head coach Mary Wise was named 2010 SEC Coach of the Year and six Gators earned All-SEC recognition including three to the First Team.

Joining Murphy on the First Team were seniors middle back Lauren Bledsoe and outside hitter Callie Rivers. Junior MB Cassandra Anderson and junior OH Kristy Jackel were named to the Second Team, while freshman setter Chanel Brown earned All-SEC Freshman Team recognition.

Florida will host the first two rounds of the 2010 NCAA Championship at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Opening round action for the Gators begins on Friday when they face South Carolina State at 7:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Southeastern Conference

FOUR BITS: Demps, locker room, Sanders, bowl

1 » Though Florida Gators junior running back Jeff Demps has missed most of the regular season after injuring his foot against Tennessee, the school’s track and field coach believes he will be ready for the upcoming season. “In talking to Jeff, everything is status-quo,” head coach Mike Holloway told GatorZone‘s Scott Carter. “The biggest thing with Jeff is: Jeff has another football game to play. When that football game is over, we’ll evaluate where he is going with track. Honestly, they are going through a tough time right now. My main concern is keeping his spirits up so he can keep helping the football team.” Demps won the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship in the men’s 60-meter dash and the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championship in the men’s 100-meter dash last season and is expected to be healthy for the team’s Jan. 15, 2011 debut.

2 » Contrary to reports that the Florida football team had damaged and trashed its locker room after the butt-whipping it was handed by the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, FSU’s equipment staff has denied the story. According to The Florida Times-Union’s Michael DiRocco, the Gators’ equipment staff spoke with their Seminoles counterparts and was assured that the locker room was fine and rumor was false. The Orlando Sentinel also spoke with Florida State, which said the rumors have been “completely blown out of proportion” by those online. “To make it clear [Florida] did not trash the locker room in any way,” school spokesman Rob Wilson told the paper.

3 » Florida redshirt senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders said via his Twitter account that he had surgery on Monday to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. Though Sanders did not miss any time with the injury, the surgery will likely keep him out for the bowl game but get him healthy enough for NFL workouts early next year.

4 » With bowl games set to be announced shortly, all indications are that the Gators will be accepting a bid for the 2010 Gator Bowl, held on New Year’s Day in Jacksonville, FL. Should Florida be offered and decide to participate in the game, they will face a Big Ten opponent which would likely be either Penn State, Iowa or Michigan.

Photo Credit: Jim Burgess

DE Jeoffrey Pagan decommitts from Gators

The third commitment for the Florida Gators’ 2011 recruiting class, four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, NC) decommitted from the program on Sunday, according to an interview he conducted with Rivals.

Pagan, who committed in April before being iffy with his decision in May and ultimately reaffirming his choice in July, told Rivals that he pulled back his commitment on Sunday because he was “missing out on some stuff and wanted to get back into everything.”

He also admitted that Florida losing assistant head coach and defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney to North Texas “play[ed] a factor” in his decision. McCarney personally recruited Pagan, who is Rivals’ No. 36 overall player and No. 3 DE for 2011.

ESPNU ranks him No. 19 overall and believes he is the fourth-best DE in the 2011 class.

Pagan was unanimously considered UF’s second-best 2011 commit behind only five/four-star quarterback Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL).

Head coach Urban Meyer promised after Saturday’s loss to Florida State that he and the coaching staff would “recruit our butt off” while simultaneously preparing for the Gators’ bowl game. Meyer has reportedly been hot in pursuit of four-star Miami DE commit Anthony Chickillo (Tampa, FL) who was also being recruited by McCarney.

Photo Credit: Asheville Citizen-Times

Florida basketball drops after back-to-back wins

Despite winning back-to-back games including a 55-51 nail biter against the previously undefeated Florida State Seminoles (5-1) on Sunday, the Florida Gators (5-1) fell two spots each in both of this week’s Top 25 polls.

Despite Purdue and Washington falling behind Florida, the ESPN/USA Today poll elevated Connecticut, Minnesota, Georgetown and Memphis ahead of them. UConn entered the poll at No. 9 after defeating No. 2 Michigan State and No. 9 Kentucky over the last week. Minnesota simply beat West Virginia and North Dakota State, Georgetown got two 15-point wins over North Carolina State and UNC-Asheville, and Memphis took down Louisiana State and Tennessee-Martin.

The AP already had Memphis ahead of UF but elevated UConn, Tennessee, Georgetown and San Diego State while also dropping Purdue and Washington. UT beat both Virginia Commonwealth and then-No. 7 Villanova, while SDSU only won against Miami (OH) and San Diego Christian.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 10 (1,048)No. 8 (550)-
2W 77-69 vs. North Florida1-0No. 11 (995)No. 10 (535)-
3L 53-59 at No. 20 Wisconsin
W 86-56 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock
2-1No. 16 (619)No. 14 (359)-
4W 67-53 vs. Southern
W 79-59 vs. MTSU
4-1No. 15 (729)No. 13 (395)-
5W 86-60 at Jacksonville
W 67-66 vs. Florida State
6-1No. 15 (758)No. 12 (426)-
6L 64-65 at No. 12 UConn6-2No. 19 (434)No. 19 (258)-
7W 67-61 vs. No. 13 Kansas7-2No. 16 (699)No. 17 (296)-
8W 77-75 vs. Memphis
W 66-49 vs. Fresno State
9-2No. 13 (881)No. 14 (383)-
9W 76-34 vs. Savannah State10-2No. 12 (915)No. 13 (413)-
10W 67-58 vs. Richmond11-2No. 10 (1,052)No. 11 (473)12
11W 74-58 vs. South Carolina
W-OT 84-82 at Arkansas
13-2
(2-0 SEC)
No. 7
(1,205)
No. 7
(573)
8
12W 72-50 vs. Georgia
W 68-61 at Auburn
15-2
(4-0 SEC)
No. 6
(1,303)
No. 6
(639)
8
13W 68-62 at Alabama
W 67-41 vs. Tennessee
17-2
(6-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,436)
No. 4
(694)
5
14W 62-51 at Mississippi State
W 69-36 vs. Texas A&M
19-2
(8-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,482)
No. 4
(720)
3
15W 68-58 vs. Missouri
W 78-69 vs. Alabama
21-2
(10-0 SEC)
No. 3
(1,477)
No. 4
(711)
5
16W 67-58 at Tennessee
W 69-59 at Kentucky
23-2
(12-0 SEC)
No. 2
(1,543)
No. 2
(752)
4
17W 71-66 vs. Auburn
W 75-71 at Ole Miss
25-2
(14-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(791)
3
18W 57-54 at Vanderbilt
W 79-61 vs. LSU
27-2
(16-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,606)
No. 1
(793)
3
19W 72-46 at South Carolina
W 84-65 vs. Kentucky
29-2
(18-0 SEC)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(793)
2
Post-
season
W 72-49 vs. Missouri
W 56-49 vs. Tennessee
W 61-60 vs. Kentucky
32-2
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
No. 1
(1,610)
No. 1
(794)
1
FinalW 67-55 vs. Albany
W 61-45 vs. Pittsburgh
W 79-68 vs. UCLA
W 62-52 vs. Dayton
L 53-63 vs. UConn
36-3
(18-0 SEC)
(3-0 SECT)
(4-1 NCAAT)
-No. 3
(735)
-

ESPN/USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Duke (29), Michigan State (2), Ohio State, Kansas State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Villanova, Purdue, Kentucky, Syracuse, Washington, Missouri, Baylor, Florida, Memphis, Georgetown, Minnesota, Gonzaga, Illinois, Temple, Texas, San Diego State, Butler, Tennessee, North Carolina

This Week 1-25: Duke (31), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State, Syracuse, Missouri, Connecticut, Baylor, Kentucky, Villanova, Minnesota, Georgetown, Memphis, Florida, Tennessee, Purdue, San Diego State, Texas, Illinois, Washington, UNLV, Gonzaga, Brigham Young

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Duke (58), Michigan State (6), Ohio State, Kansas State (1), Pittsburgh, Kansas, Villanova, Kentucky, Syracuse, Purdue, Missouri, Baylor, Washington, Memphis, Minnesota, Florida, Georgetown, San Diego State, Illinois, Texas, Temple, Gonzaga, Brigham Young, Tennessee, North Carolina

This Week 1-25: Duke (65), Ohio State, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State, Connecticut, Syracuse, Missouri, Kentucky, Baylor, Villanova, Tennessee, Memphis, Minnesota, Georgetown, San Diego State, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Brigham Young, Purdue, Washington, UNLV, Notre Dame

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: Week 12 recap

With the 2010-11 NFL season still in full swing, a number of Florida Gators participated in Week 12 action, some of whom had an impact on their team’s performance.OGGOA has checked and re-checked the box scores to bring you a summary of what these Gators accomplished during the 12th week of the season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
WR DAVID NELSON, Buffalo Bills: Six receptions for 58 yards (targets: 7, long: 17)
DE CARLOS DUNLAP, Cincinnati Bengals: Three solo tackles, two sacks
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Three tackles (two solo), pass defended, interception (12-yard return)

LB MIKE PETERSON, Atlanta Falcons: Fumble recovery
S MAJOR WRIGHT, Chicago Bears: Six tackles (four solo)
WR ANDRE CALDWELL, Cincinnati Bengals: Fumble on punt return
S REGGIE NELSON, Cincinnati Bengals: Four tackles (three solo)
WR JABAR GAFFNEY, Denver Broncos: Three rec. for 59 yards (targets: 6, long: 28)
KR BRANDON JAMES, Indianapolis Colts: Two receptions for four yards (targets: 3), nine kickoff returns for 150 yards (long: 24)
DT JEREMY MINCEY, Jacksonville Jaguars: Solo tackle
WR PERCY HARVIN, Minnesota Vikings: Five receptions for 32 yards, three rushes for 14 yards, four kickoff returns for 78 yards (long: 26)
LB JERMAINE CUNNINGHAM, New England Patriots: Three tackles (two solo)
TE AARON HERNANDEZ, New England Patriots: Reception for 18 yards
LB BRANDON SPIKES, New England Patriots: Three solo tackles, pass defended
DT GERARD WARREN, New England Patriots: Two tackles (one solo)
DE ALEX BROWN, New Orleans Saints: Two solo tackles (one for loss)
WR LOUIS MURPHY, Oakland Raiders: Four rec. for 73 yards (targets: 6, long: 29)
WR RILEY COOPER, Philadelphia Eagles: Reception for 29 yards (targets: 2)
C MAURKICE POUNCEY, Pittsburgh Steelers: Tackle
LB BRANDON SILER, San Diego Chargers:Two tackles (one solo)

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN — NO STATISTICS / DID NOT PLAY
G Cooper Carlisle (Oakland Raiders) – QB Tim Tebow & DT Marcus Thomas (Broncos), DE Derrick Harvey (Jaguars), Channing Crowder (Miami Dolphins), CB Lito Sheppard (Vikings), RB Fred Taylor (Patriots), DE Ray McDonald (San Francisco 49ers), FB Earnest Graham (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), QB Rex Grossman (Washington Redskins)

INACTIVES
LB Andra Davis (Bills), DE Jarvis Moss (Raiders), LT Max Starks (Steelers)

NOTES
- This is Haden’s third-straight OGGOA Player of the Week honor; he has nabbed an interception in three consecutive games.
- Taylor was activated for the first time since Week 3.
- Wright played his second NFL game and saw success.
- Moss was inactive after joining Oakland late in the week.

OGGOA RELATED: Week 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

TWO BITS: Volleyball earns No. 1 NCAA seed

1 » No. 1/1 Florida Gators volleyball earned the program’s first-ever No. 1 national seed on Sunday when the NCAA officially announced the 64-team bracket for the 2010 NCAA Volleyball Championship. One of six Southeastern Conference schools to qualify for the tournament, Florida will take its 22-match winning streak into the event. The Gators finished the regular season a perfect 20-0 in SEC competition, the first team to do so since the schedule was adjusted in 2006. Florida (27-1) will face South Carolina State (17-22) to start off their tournament on Friday at 7:30 p.m. as the first and second rounds will be hosted from Dec. 3-4 in Gainesville, FL. Also in UF’s region are Florida State (21-10) and Georgia Southern (27-8). Though being a No. 1 seed is new for the Gators, hosting NCAA action is not; Florida has started the NCAA Tournament at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center 19 times in the last 20 seasons.

The Gators completed their perfect SEC slate on Friday by defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-12) on the road at the Volleyball Competition Facility in Columbia, SC. Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers notched a team-high nine kills while junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy totaled seven kills, 12 assists, four digs, four service aces and a season-high five blocks.

2 » Florida women’s basketball was also busy over the weekend; the ladies were victorious in back-to-back contests to win the 2010 Dead River Company Classic in Orno, ME. The Gators (5-1) defeated the South Alabama Jaguars (3-3) 61-51 on Friday and ended the short tournament with a 52-43 win over the Navy Midshipmen (4-2) on Saturday. Florida junior center Azania Stewart was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after totaling 24 rebounds in two games. UF redshirt junior guard Jordan Jones was placed on the All-Tournament Team due to her stellar performance including 18 points.

Florida basketball holds on to defeat FSU 55-51

Hoping to save the University of Florida from a disastrous weekend in Tallahassee, FL, No. 14/16 Florida Gators basketball (5-1) survived a late run to take down the Florida State Seminoles (5-1) 55-51 at the Donald L. Tucker Center on Sunday.

Up a game-high 13 points with 14:30 remaining in the second half, Florida allowed Florida State to rattle off a 15-3 run to narrow their lead to a single point. From there the game went back-and-forth until sophomore forward Erik Murphy put in a layup off an airballed three from sophomore guard Kenny Boynton to ice the contest for the Gators.

The Seminoles began the game with a quick 5-0 run including an opening three-pointer and fastbreak dunk. Minutes later, Gators freshman F Casey Prather hit a trey to give his team their first lead of the game; it would never be relinquished after that point.

A 12-2 run helped Florida extend their lead to 17-11, and a subsequent 9-2 run to end the half allowed the Gators to walk into the locker room up 30-21.

Florida started the second half strong with a 6-0 run including a three from junior point guard Erving Walker, free throw from freshman F Will Yeguete and jumper from Boynton that put them up a game-high 13 points.

Florida State went on their 15-3 run at that point, leaving UF scrambling to keep its 44-43 lead over FSU. After plenty of back-and-forth, Seminoles G Michael Snaer nailed a trey off a loose ball to cut the Gators’ lead to 53-51 with 51.4 seconds left.

Murphy’s layup made it a two-shot game, and Florida State conceded the contest after a turnover with only three seconds remaining.

Boynton led the way for the Gators with a team-high 14 points on 4-of-11 shooting (2-of-5 from downtown) with a game-high three steals and five rebounds. Murphy made his presence felt off the bench playing major minutes in place of senior F Alex Tyus. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting (1-of-1 from three) with a team-high six rebounds (three offensive).

With Tyus and redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin only seeing 14 and 13 minutes on the court, respectively, Florida’s freshmen frontcourt players stepped up. Center Patric Young played 25 minutes grabbing five rebounds and Yeguete notched 22 minutes with five boards of his own.

The Gators were effective in somewhat shutting down Seminoles star F Chris Singleton, who was held to eight points on 2-of-12 shooting while only grabbing five rebounds. Snaer led Florida State with 15 points (5-of-6 from three), and G Derwin Kitchen contributed eight rebounds and four assists.

UF shot better from the field (38.1-33.3%) and the line (68-54.5%) than FSU but not downtown (37.5-41.2%). They grabbed six more rebounds, notched one more block and committed six fewer fouls but turned the ball over three more times (17-14).

Winning their first road game of the season and coming out victorious in Tallahassee for the first time since 2002, Florida will remain on the road for their following two contests – a neutral site contest against Central Florida in Orlando, FL on Dec. 1 and a true road game in Washington, D.C. against American on Dec. 5.

POST-GAME NOTES & QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Florida basketball holds on to defeat FSU 55-51

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